Quickfire was introduced alongside the landscape update back in March and has quickly grown to be one of my least favorite features in Brawl Stars.
In an effort to increase player retention, Supercell added Quickfire as a way to help them transition into the game. However, the feature has numerous consequences and lowers the overall skill of the game.
Before Quickfire was introduced, the game felt very unique, and every shot you fired felt like it counted. Developing your aiming skills and dodging enemy shots was a core part of the game and an indicator of a player’s skill. Many, many hours were invested in perfecting your juking patterns and figuring out where to aim and when to fire. I remember my first time hitting someone with a point-blank Shelly super. It felt exciting and was something I wanted to do again and again. Now said feat is easily replicable by tapping a small orange button. It’s not exciting at all, and it certainly doesn’t feel very good when you’re on the receiving end.
Auto-aim also has the effect of making certain brawlers extremely strong. Standing close to an enemy and running back and forth around them was a viable strategy to avoid their shots, relying on your opponent to mistime their shot. Now it doesn’t matter how good you are at running in a circle; players are able to tap a red button repeatedly to easily defeat their opponents.
It also reduces the thought required behind aiming a shot. Unless an enemy is at a distance where they can dodge a Quickfire shot, tapping a red button will always achieve the desired result. And if an enemy is at that distance, you often have no business aiming at them to begin with, as they are at a distance where their team can cover them.
Quickfire also drastically reduces inconsistency. Before Quickfire, crucial melee attacks could be missed. These misplays provided valuable time to capitalize on your opponent’s mistake and outplay them. With Quickfire, these moments basically never happen. They reduce player error to a point where aiming is never required at close ranges.
Quickfire makes the game a lot easier, making the most crucial part of the game much too simple. There is no need to put meaning behind your shots. Simply use Quickfire and a satisfactory result can be achieved. There is often no reason to aim a shot. This creates an unhealthy gameplay habit where Quickfire becomes the only attack a player uses. It promotes non-interactive gameplay where the correct move is often not to fight the enemy. Before Quickfire, there were options to engage on the enemy even if they countered you or had the superior position. With Quickfire, a majority of these options are taken away.
It even has the unintended consequence of actually hindering players. When Quickfire is so prevalent that it becomes a superior choice in almost every scenario, players can forget they are able to aim and default to using Quickfire.
Using Quickfire can also provide unfair advantages. When an enemy is hiding inside brush and you do not have vision of them, as long as they are the closest target, you are able to use Quickfire to identify their position. This can also be used to track enemies you don’t have vision of and to figure out which side they will approach from.
Supercell tried to say that Quickfire was for player retention and also had positive effects for experienced players, as it would be a good option for them in certain scenarios when in fact it has become the best or only option in certain scenarios. Trading skill to keep beginning players is not only a poor decision; it also has negative consequences on the game.
Attempting to justify Quickfire by saying that avoiding certain brawlers altogether is a terrible argument. It promotes unhealthy and uninteractive gameplay. A brawler should not be able to control a zone around them because of the threat of them tapping a red button. They should have influence around themselves, but having Quickfire makes their threat overbearing and encourages less combat.
Quickfire does not have a place in a competitive game. If Brawl Stars wants to go global, Quickfire poses an issue with the game’s longevity and overall health.
Obviously, the correct solution is to remove Quickfire, but that would defeat the original purpose it was added into the game for. A possible solution would be to disable the feature above a certain trophy amount, although that may be unintuitive to suddenly not have a feature once you’ve reached an arbitrary number. When Brawl Stars goes global, it could have a casual mode in addition to its ranked mode. Quickfire would be available here, but not in ranked.