Another week, another Fortnite datamine. Courtesy of @FNBRLeaks, this latest revelation hints at the return of Guided Missiles, a polarizing weapon that was vaulted a few months ago. This is not the first time developer Epic Games has reintroduced a vaulted weapon. Just last week, players saw the return of a long-lost Season 1 item, the bounce pad. However, that item saw some changes since its original format, modifying it to work better with other tools that had since been added to the game. Similarly, it seems the guided missile will also see some changes. Rather than functioning as a standard weapon, this new iteration is rumored to be a backpack item.
Guided Missiles: What they were…
The original guided missile was like any other explosive weapon. Originally available in Epic and Legendary rarities, the two variants dealt 105 and 110 damage, respectively. The missiles also dealt 1,000 environmental damage. What separated guided missiles from other weapons, however, was their unique ability of control. For 18 sweet, blissful seconds, players were able to guide their missile, veering towards fleeing enemies. Naturally, players cried foul. Even after a nerf from Epic, the weapon was considered too powerful, and was ultimately removed.
That being said, unlike the reintroduction of the bounce pad, the guided missile has greater implications. Despite being a “new” item, the bounce pad existed within the larger category of trap items. However, the rumor is that the guided missile will return as a backpack, retitled as a Guided Missile Pack. Backpacks differ from “back bling,” which is Epic’s term for cosmetic items worn on a character’s back. Rather, backpacks are found in-game and, like weapons, fill an inventory slot. Currently, there are no other available backpacks. The first and only official backpack was the jetpack, which was originally introduced as a limited-time item and has since been removed from the game. There was also a backpack that was accidentally released, the “Eye of the Storm,” which allowed users to track storms. This, however, was removed shortly after its launch.
…and why their return is important
There are long-term implications of a permanent backpack item being added to the game. At its core, Fortnite consists of weapons, healing items, traps, and building materials. Epic has only recently experimented with new categories of items, adding the temporary jetpacks and most recently, the game’s first vehicle, a shopping cart. Though not surprising, these new categories show Epic’s willingness to reshape the fundamentals of their game. While this may be exciting for casual players, it has a greater effect on the competitive scene of the game.
With Fortnite‘s competitive future looming ahead, players will need to know the mechanics inside and out. Backpacks and vehicles could provide significant shifts to how players, especially squads, approach the game. What’s most important is how Epic will continue to introduce future updates. Oftentimes, many of these updates, like the jetpack, feel like trials. This makes sense, given that the game is still in Early Access. During this upcoming competitive season, mid-season changes could ruin the balance of the game.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that guided missiles will make a return. The last datamine revealed stink grenades and drop traps, and so far, neither have been introduced. Oftentimes, leaked files included information for both Fortnite game modes, Save the World and Battle Royale. Time will tell what does and doesn’t make it into the game. Until then, players can only speculate. Tell us: what vaulted items would you like to see return? And, more importantly, how could they be improved?