The theme of Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 7 is Invasion, and you can’t have an alien invasion without UFOs. The UFOs in Fortnite are called Saucers, and take environmental hazards to a new level to the frustration of many players. This isn’t the first time the game has seen balance issues due to flying vehicles or environmental hazards, but it’s the first time they’ve been combined. Are Saucers obtrusive? Should they be vaulted? Let’s try to understand how Saucers work.
When you check a POI on your map, you’ll see two or three locations with purple, wavy text. This means that it’s under siege by aliens. You’ll find Saucers flying about here, and they can either hit you with a laser blast or a tractor beam. The laser blast deals 30 damage, but the tractor beam is what you’re going to want to watch out for. It’ll lift you up and throw you away, messing up your positioning or even into the storm.
Should Saucers be taken out of Fortnite?
If you can take one down, you’ll be able to battle its pilot and take the alien’s Ray Gun. When taken down, the Saucer will restore back to full health for you to commandeer. It can do this three times before it’s disabled. We haven’t had a flying vehicle since Chapter 2 Season 3, but the UFO isn’t actually as good as the Chopper and certainly not as bad as the Stormwing.
Let’s take a look at the history of flying vehicles in Fortnite. Back in Chapter 1 Season 7, we had the X-4 Stormwing. This was widely considered a mistake, and is one of the game’s most glaring controversies. Mobility and power made the game devolve into dogfights, and made building (Fortnite’s key mechanic) almost useless against the aerial menace.
Choppers, on the other hand, were all about mobility. You could hit up many locations and score great loot, even away from the circle. If you got a Chopper early on, you could use it to get a huge early game advantage and even stall out the late game.
The vehicle is only half of the Saucer. It’s also an environmental hazard that can really ruin your day if you’re not paying attention. It reminds me of the Loot Shark, since they’ll hound you down. It doesn’t do enough damage with its laser, but the tractor beam is really, really annoying to get hit by.
Luckily, they’re not invincible. Epic seems to have learned some lessons from the aforementioned examples, and have implemented them into the Saucers to make them more fair. Unlike Sharks, they don’t take a million bullets to take down. They have a huge hitbox and have to get pretty close to use their weapons effectively, so you have plenty of opportunities to fire at it. You can even take and easy shot at it while you’re being tractor beamed. The new Railgun also makes extremely short work of any UFOs.
On the mobility front, Saucers can’t run as long as the Chopper or Stormwing. They don’t run on gas, and their batteries can’t be refilled. Their weapons systems don’t do much damage, and they have to get close. The tractor beam’s most dangerous use is throwing players into the Storm, but they’re so hard to find and easy to shoot down that you probably won’t need to worry much about them.
The start of a season is always a little chaotic to say the least. All of the new updates and gimmicks are thrown at you full force, which I believe is to get players back into game after an absence. That’s why the first and last week are a little more difficult, since that much more players are logged in. After a few weeks Epic Games tends to streamline Fortnite into a more traditional experience, like when normal loot started appearing more frequently towards the end of Season 6.
Do Saucers need an emergency vaulting? Not in casual playlists. They’ve had some problems with Saucers in competitive modes, but that’s unrelated to their balance. I bet that Epic Games will dial back the frequency and number of Saucers as the season goes on, like they’ve done before.
At the very least, they toned down the obnoxious noise it makes when the laser is fired.