Probabilities and the Mid-Game

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The Inner Game of Fortnite – Probabilities and the Mid-Game

There are 37 people left in this game and I see one of them running to get to zone. The other player is far away. I have four elims. I crouch, line up my AR and pop off a few shots, taking off their shield. We’re near the edge of the next zone, the storm is pushing players in from Salty and all of a sudden, after I take my shots, it’s not two of us in a fight, three more people appear and the situation just got real tough. The probability of me being eliminated just got much higher.

The question I should have asked myself was, “what is the probability that taking this fight will lead to me winning this game?”

The other player was far away. They weren’t engaging me. And my goal is to win. My Marginal Advantage is anonymity; no one’s shooting at me. No one knows I’m here, it seems. Upping my elims from four to five isn’t going to change anything. It doesn’t help my chances of winning, especially because the other player is so far away.

Mid-game is tricky, right? A handful of players remain on different parts of the map and now it’s about taking smart engagements as zone gets smaller, not elims for elims-sake. Mid-game is about gathering resources, upgrading your loadout, and, most importantly, getting to the endgame.

Before we take a fight in the mid-game, consider our position: do we need mats? Are we near a POI or somewhere that could attract more players with the sounds of our shots and the sights of our builds? Do we have decent guns or are we still carrying a green Tac?

If our goal is always to be the last person standing, does taking this fight increase that probability? A lot of times in the mid-game the answer is no. The best thing for us is to remain anonymous, let that person run away if they don’t see us, and keep playing our own game, on our own time. We may fight that player later, but we don’t have to fight them right now.

When we think about probabilities, we don’t have to think in actual numbers. We can think high/medium/low. As in, there’s a high probability that taking this fight in this location will lower my probability of winning.

Say it with me: just because we see another player doesn’t mean we always have to fight them.

Sometimes though, we have to take the fight. Maybe the other player saw us, maybe we’re low on mats or ammo and we think that if we take them out, we can grab what they have and be in a better position. That’s fair. That’s a game-time decision that we need to make considering a variety of game-time factors.

Keep in mind, there are no right answers. If you put a mid-game chess board in front of 30 players, you’ll get 30 different solutions or routes to checkmate. The same thing goes with a position in Fortnite. One person might swing up to a POI and chill in a house while they wait for next zone. One person might push a player who’s close by to get more mats. One person may build a metal 1x1 and hang out, seeing where the next zone goes. Everyone’s brain works differently. That’s part of the beauty of playing games like Fortnite: there are no right answers.

We could even make what we think are good or safe decisions and something could come up that shifts the game dramatically. Maybe that’s a moving zone playing back in a direction we didn’t expect or maybe we ran out of mats (oops). Now we have to get creative to figure out how to win.

Regardless of the specific decisions we make in a game, we should always be thinking about probabilities. Does doing this thing make it more or less likely that we’ll win this engagement or this game?

Give that a try, let me know what you think.

Sub-Skill Drills – Right Hand Peeks

This is Fortnite Fundamentals. Regardless of your skill level, Fortnite is made up of hundreds of fundamentals that build up to us being great players. As the investing adage goes, “good investments aren’t sexy.” Fundamental aren’t sexy but we practice them.

So let’s practice our right hand peeks.

(photo courtesy of techcenturion.com)

In the photo above, this player is almost entirely safe from a potential enemy on the stairs of this house. They have a near full view of anyone coming up the stairs and can take a safe shot, without exposing themselves to too much damage. In terms of the probabilities we talked about just now, the probability this player is going to win their fight is a lot higher than a player that comes up the stairs.

How do we practice this?

  1. Warm up in Team Rumble or Creative with a friend.

  2. Either use natural cover like a tree or a wall in a house or make an window or corner edit so that after you complete the edit, your body is almost entirely covered.

  3. Take your shots and repeat.

Try to get into 5-10 covered engagements where you win the fight to illustrate the power of the right hand peek.

That’s it for today. I hope you think more about taking smart engagements and probabilities in your endgame and I hope you work on your right-hand peeks.

See you Friday!