For those of you who have been living under a rock and have yet to hear about Fortnite, or perhaps haven’t gotten around to looking into what it’s all about, you are in luck – I am here to tell you all about it! It’s basically an impressive mash up of a lot of popular genres. I personally really enjoy the art style and feel of it as well; after so many dark, gritty zombie games, it’s fun to have one where they’re throwing their faces and baseballs at you.
Success and Controversy
Epic Games’ newest project officially launched a few months ago in July as a paid early access title, with the intention of going free to play sometime in 2018. The main (PVE) game revolves around saving the world from hordes of zombies. There was a lot of hype around the release, and the game had a healthy amount of players from the start.
However, the gaming company didn’t stop there. On September 26th, Epic updated the game with a new player mode: Battle Royale. This mode was free to play from day one, had an extremely successful reception, and continues to gain players. If you’re unfamiliar with battlegrounds, the game throws 100 players including yourself onto a large island. You must scavenge for weapons, resources, and other items to kill everyone else, and eventually ends with the last man (or group) standing. Fortnite’s smooth building mechanic is capitalized on in your fights with other players, and you can play as solo or in a co-op, with groups maxing out at 4 players.
There might have been another game you may have heard of that will forever be compared to Fortnite Battle Royale. Bluehole’s groundbreaking Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, anyone? There have been some heated accusations from the massively successful title’s development team aimed at Epic Games. Of course, anyone who has played or watched either game will immediately see the similarities between the two games. Given that Fortnite Battle Royale is free, as well as being available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, Bluehole will have to up their game if they want players to continue shelling out $40 for their (currently) PC-only title. Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk a little bit more about that.
As previously mentioned, the PVP mode of Fortnite is extremely popular. What makes it mostly different from PUBG is the building mechanic. You can collect the wood, brick, and metal along with your guns and shields, which can often be a game changer when it starts boiling down to the end. You can build walls to shield a downed teammate or to make a fort to ward off someone shooting at you with a rocket launcher. A quick bridge can help you to escape certain death, or a stairway to a chest full of loot, or you can gain a better vantage point on enemies. It’s all about strategy and technique. And let’s be honest, not everyone is a good shot, but if you can save your teammate that is one, you’re playing just as important of a role in surviving. Even though…accidents do happen…
Recently they’ve also starting introducing new rare items, such as the bush that you can put on and walk around as, or the launcher pad that you can use to escape or get to a better vantage point or safer place.
Will Fortnite overtake PUBG? Or will they be sued for all they’re worth? Time will tell. In the meantime, Battle Royale is an extremely fun, surprisingly well-optimized game to play with friends who are also poor assuming you’re not all try hards.
So what exactly is the PVE all about in Fortnite? I’m glad you asked. The human race has dwindled down to almost nothing, and you are one of the surviving heroes. You are teleported to different areas on Earth and given time to collect resources, save other survivors, and generally complete quests and begin building your fort around whatever it is you’re protecting from the storm of zombies that is about to try to fuck you up. Or as they’re called in game, Husks (yeah I don’t know why). To gain a higher score you have the option of completing certain tasks, such as exploring the entire map, building within your limit, taking advantage of your utilities like building and crafting, and completing the mission quickly. All of these will determine what kind of chest you your teammates will receive.
For those of you Minecraft-lovers, you’ll also have your own Homebase, which you’ll build up and upgrade as you go. You can get creative here with forts, traps, and builds. As you can see here, a friend of mine…did just that. This was something like day two of him being in the game:
At its core, Fortnite is a game about progression. Saying that may seem odd, because what game isn’t about progression? But where some center around combat or a story to push players to continue playing, it seems to me like progression for the sake of it is what drives the game. For example, when I first started I found it a little bit bland despite also liking a lot of things about it. I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to spend 15-30 minutes on a mission just to do it again to level up a few things. However, I was tempted to jump into it again when I heard and saw the things you could get from the Halloween event. I thought I would just do this storyline for the cool-looking and useful rewards. I soon found myself genuinely enjoying everything a lot more than I initially had, and a lot of things clicked into place that I had been confused about. I realized I would only have to complete two missions to finish a quest, which would give a decent reward in return. As soon as I got that reward and saw the next one, and finished half of it in one mission, I would have to go ahead and do another one to finish it up. From there it was somewhat of a snowball effect where I…didn’t get addicted so much as lost myself in the progression.
There is always something to work on leveling up or evolving, and that is essentially what is going to keep people playing. Luckily, progression hooks aren’t the only thing Fortnite has going for it. Such as…
Even if you’re ever only tried out the free Battle Royale mode of the game, you’ll have a decent idea of what building in Fortnite is like. As someone who has never been into crafting or building games (no, not even Minecraft), I caught onto it very quickly in this game because of how utterly simple it is. I could be wrong about this due to the same lack of experience, but I don’t believe there is another game that has done it better. The more you play the game, the more you’ll learn ways to build . Where the skill comes in is knowing what to build, where, and keeping within the building limit (if you want the max score). Again, this knowledge is mostly important later down the line, so you’ll be able to practice with different builds and materials as you go.
Crafting is essential (something that usually automatically puts me off any game) but it is also simple. Everything you need to basically gained from collecting the same three key resources that you use to build: wood, metal, and brick. You’re not going to need to collect A, B, C, and D in order to craft X, which you’ll need to get Y, which you’ll need to make Low Level Item Z! This is the way I typically view crafting in games. I find it extremely annoying and time consuming, and the complete opposite of fun. Obviously, you’ll need several times to craft more rare items, and acquiring the number you need isn’t always easy, but it is straightforward and doesn’t require sitting around crafting other things in order to get. You just collect the resources by finding them in things around the map, or in other resources (rock, trees, metal), select what you want to craft, and press C. Boom, done, and you’re back to shooting off zombie faces.
There are basically 4 main focuses, or classes, in the game. That might not seem like it would give you a lot of options, until you see all 10 sub-classes attached to them. A simplified breakdown of these classes are:
Soldier – The ranged damage, the Soldier has good dps as well as buffs/debuffs.
• Subclasses include Warlord, Urban Assault, Special Forces, etc.
Constructor – Pretty self-explanatory, these guys focus on building and fortifying your forts, and have good CC.
• Subclasses include Hotfixer, powerBASE, MEGABASE, etc.
Ninja – Is the melee class that also does well at exploration and has good speed.
• Subclasses include Dragon, Shuriken Master, Dim Mak, etc.
Outlander – Focuses on collecting as many resources and finding as much treasure as possible.
• Subclasses include Pathfinder, Ranger, Enforcer, etc.
Now any these classes can fulfill any other role, so which one you go with isn’t going to make a massive difference – at least not at the start. So be sure to try out each class and decide what your playstyle is. If you’re not sure, Soldier is a popular choice (who doesn’t like to kill things?). As with any game, there are a few specific heroes that are in the meta, but hero/survivor builds are something you can get creative and play around with.
Obviously most of the combat involves shooting or chopping down legions of husks as fast as possible, but the feel of combat will change depending on which hero you’re using. Ninjas obviously focus on swords. Constructors have big hammers and other large heavy weapons which are much slower and not really my kind of thing, but it’s always an option. There is a massive arsenal of guns, each with their own unique stats and rarities. You can also equip grenades, build traps, and use special AOE skills to do the job. So whether you’re sniping, in the thick of the enemies, or focusing on utility, your role in combat is essential and varied. With several slots for different weapons, you’ll be able to switch smoothly from one to another with little problem either.
It should also be mentioned that traps are another helpful item that can be collected to crafted to protect yourself or kill enemies. I’m not going to try to list all of them, but they will eventually play a large role in your base-building. There are traps for the floor, wall, and ceiling, so you can literally make a big tunnel of death and watch the zombies die should they dare make it past you and break through the first layer of defenses. There are also healing “traps” that can give you back a good chunk of health in desperate times, and launch pads to assist you in getting around quickly.
Pay to Win?
A lot of people argue that Fortnite is pay to win. Technically it is, but it’s not really in your face p2w. What I mean by that is, the way in which it’s pay-to-win is in regards to the llamas (pinatas that you break open for loot), which are basically loot boxes. Someone with a lot of money can buy a ton of llamas to acquire a lot of additional heroes, weapons, schematics, etc, which they can use to transform other things, or to get more xp for the heroes and weapons that they want to upgrade. All of these things are easy to get by playing the game, but that requires the good ol’ grind. Some may argue that this is just pay-to-progress instead of of pay-to-win, but seeing as it is a game of progression…it’s oddly kind of the same thing. I’m not really sure why someone would want to go this route for the same reason. The end game is the same game as the beginning, only more difficult. So what you’d be doing by going to the pay-to-progress/win route is essentially shooting yourself in the foot. You’re not gaining skill or experience, you’re just getting to a different part of the game faster…
More importantly, and the reason it being pay-to-win isn’t an issue for me, is because those people buying llamas aren’t going to have any effect on my game whatsoever. And if it doesn’t affect my gameplay at all, then it doesn’t really matter.
Is It Worth Playing?
Not something I can answer for you, but considering the game will be going free-to-play, there’s also no reason you shouldn’t find out for yourself. Perhaps the pay-to-win/progress thing really bothers you for some reason. Maybe you hate the art style, or the whole progression system just isn’t your thing. At the moment it’s around $40 for the Founder’s Pack, and the more expensive options basically just give you a few more perks and cosmetic appearances. As previously mentioned, for early access the game is very well optimized. There’s occasionally some lag, some friends have crashed on the odd occasion, and there have been some issues with connecting to the Battle Royale servers. But it’s an easy relog to retry and none of these things are a consistent problem, so hopefully things will only improve.