Fortnite Season 6 has kicked off with a bang, with floating islands, spooky towns, and invulnerable players running around, phasing through walls. The Shadow Stones are the reason behind all these ghostly shenanigans and players have quickly realized that these mini cubes might be a little bit too strong. In fact, Epic Games has temporarily disabled the Shadow Stones because of a glitch. These other-worldly rocks will be returning soon, but are the Shadow Stones actually just plain broken?
For those that have been living under a giant purple cube for the past week, the sixth season of Fortnite has introduced a new consumable called the Shadow Stone. Players who are lucky enough to find a Shadow Stone can use it to enter Shadow Form, where although they are unable to use weapons, they become invisible while standing still, gain increased movement speed, jump height, and suffer no fall damage, and gain a short-range teleport called Phase. The effect was supposed to last 45 seconds, but it turns out some players were experiencing an especially powerful glitch that left them permanently invisible.
Ignoring the fact that Shadow Stones are unavailable for the time being, players are still trying to adjust to a life where fighting ghosts is a reality. The last few moments of a Fortnite battle can come down to an intense build battle where two players are trying to out-maneuver one another through building, all while trying to find openings for an attack – Shadow Form negates all of this.
In saying all this, Shadow Stones, when used poorly, can be just as dangerous to the player wielding it as it is to the opponent without one. The argument then is whether Shadow Stones are overpowered overall or whether it is just when used by above-average players, and if it is the latter, is that not the case with every new consumable or powerful weapon? The main problem comes when a new item or weapon drastically changes – or negates – a core mechanic of the game, rendering it almost entirely obsolete. In the case of Shadow Stones, their ability to trivialize base building races skews it more toward overpowered than simply an item that makes a good player better.
A player who is lucky enough to get their hands on a Shadow Stone, and survive to the final moments, immediately has an advantage over the other player. This is one situation where it can be argued that the introduction of Shadow Stones has drastically changed the meta of Fortnite. The final moments of a game of Fortnite are pretty well balanced, both players usually have a good supply of weapons from killing other players, as well as enough resources to build a good defense, but now that Shadow Stones are in play, whoever doesn’t have one is in a difficult position.
For every player that does well with the Shadow Stone, there’s another one that proves it’s not needed. Take for example Fortnite player ZHomeSlice, who manages to go completely undetected for an almost unbelievable amount of time. They didn’t even need the Shadow Form to sneak past enemy defenses, set up a good position, and provide their own team with detailed intel of the plans and strategies the opponent was implementing.
While the Shadow Stones are an exciting new addition to the Fortnite battle royale experience, the way it affects the core formula of Fortnite could make them too strong in their current form. Avoiding end-game builds is one thing, but getting inside the indestructible ice cream truck is definitely game-breaking. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts to the Shadow Stones after Epic Games enables them once more. If the Fortnite community is known for one thing, it’s their ingenuity in creating unique ways to deal with challenges. What do you think of the new Shadow Stones, do you think they’re too powerful in their current form?