The new gold bars in Fortnite Season 5 were introduced as a unique resource that would carry over across games, but has been difficult to balance for competitive games.
Originally, competitive games of Fortnite had players start with no gold bars, requiring players to earn them from scratch like anything else. However, this led to competitive Fortnite players ignoring the powerful items and perks that could be purchased with gold bars, as the resources were often too difficult to collect in significant quantities before the game ended.
Why persistent resources were a bad idea for Fortnite
Epic likely introduced gold bars into Fortnite Season 5 to test out a new design direction for the game. The implementation has been fairly inconsistent, and feels antithetical to what made Fortnite so good to begin with. Although these persistent resources can only be obtained through gameplay, they nonetheless create an innate power dynamic across the game.
Players who have amassed a sizable collection of gold bars will begin with an advantage over those who haven’t, and there’s just no other way to spin it. In competitive Fortnite, the solution was initially to have players always start with zero bars, which unfortunately led to players ignoring the many options gold bars unlocked.
It’s clear gold bars were balanced around the ability to collect them across multiple games, as some of the abilities can cost hundreds of gold bars.
In order to encourage players to use the numerous NPCs littered around the island, Fortnite has changed it so players begin competitive games with a bank of 50 gold bars. While this might seem like a reasonable boost, it might not change too much.
Why are gold bars hard to balance in Fortnite?
Fortnite gives players quite a few resources to manage, but most of them can be focused on or gathered at a reasonable rate through normal play. Players already know where to find the three building materials in abundance throughout the map, and ammo is usually very easy to find for anything that isn’t a rocket launcher.
But gold bars are a little harder to find en masse. Gold bars can be accumulated through chests, occasionally found in the environment, in safes, or by eliminating players and completing bounties. But it takes time to earn gold in the numbers needed to buy anything of worth, so players are mostly encouraged to make do with what they have.
The 50 gold bar boost for competitive Fortnite will certainly help in making the various vendors see at least some use, but it will most likely be in a more ineffectual way. Fortnite players might decide to upgrade a common gun into an uncommon one for a quick boost in the early game, but given how much more deadly the game becomes as is goes on, it’s likely that most players won’t get to buy the more expensive items.