Fortnite’s New Ranked Mode: A Mixed Bag for Zero Build Fans


After years of requests, Epic Games has finally introduced a ranked mode in Fortnite. This update should be cause for celebration, but there is a cloud hanging over it, especially if you prefer the Zero Build mode. As it stands, Zero Build fans are limited to playing ranked mode in the duos playlist. This restriction brings some unfortunate complications, going against the usual freedom of choice that Fortnite players enjoy.

The Problem for Zero Build Players

Zero Build mode removes Fortnite’s signature build mechanic, which initially set it apart from games like PUBG. This mode has attracted a significant following since its launch, reaching a wider audience for the shooter. However, it has not been seamlessly integrated into the game’s new ranked mode, as matches are limited to two-player teams only.

Fortnite ranking chart
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While it may be a test of server capacity, given the popularity of Build Mode, this approach feels self-defeating in practice. The lack of choice offered to Zero Build players risks pushing away newer players who were drawn in by this mode. Being paired with a random partner in a high-stakes game can hinder communication and game planning, making it a potentially disastrous experience. And for those who prefer playing alone, they have no choice in the matter, resulting in exclusion.

Impact on the Player Base

The impact of this decision is already evident in the player counts. Currently, the ranked battle royale mode has 304,000 players, whereas Zero Build has around 83,000. With limited options available for teams of different sizes, Zero Build mode is now operating as a niche alternative.

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The Imbalance Issue

What concerns me the most is the inherent imbalance created by this implementation. Fortnite is known for its competitive nature, attracting players of varying skill levels. From high-level content creators to young children having fun, the player base is diverse. Competitive Zero Build players who want to participate in ranked matches face a significant disadvantage when randomly paired with partners who may not be compatible in terms of skill level.

Fortnite character grinding on rail.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

To put it in perspective, imagine if LeBron James were partnered with a random high school basketball team to play against an NBA team. These insurmountable odds are now the norm for Fortnite players who usually prefer solos but want to partake in ranked matches.

An Unusual Restriction

Fortnite is a game that thrives on giving players a wealth of choices. Whether it’s playlists, playstyles, or player numbers, the game rarely imposes such limitations, especially following the introduction of the popular Zero Build mode.

Looking Ahead

I remain hopeful that this situation will not be long-lasting. Epic Games has a reputation for updating the game to please the players, and I expect the Zero Build ranked update to address these issues in the near future. If not, I hope you can find a reliable partner to navigate this challenging terrain.

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