From the Beginning:
Epic Games first revealed Fortnite in 2011, however it lacked popularity until recently. With the release of a battle royale mode in 2017, it has since been a huge success. Inspired by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite Battle Royale takes a different and innovative approach to the battle royale genre that is incredibly fun.
Fortnite follows the traditional form of a battle royale, where 100 players jump from a ‘battle bus’, into a large open world. These players are equipped with nothing but the skins they chose, and have to search the world for weapons, traps, resources, and healing devices. In addition to finding supplies and finding players, there is an encroaching storm that deals damage to players who are outside of it. Some key mechanics separate Fortnite from shooter genre and help develop its popularity. These mechanics include items, destructibility, building, pace, style, updates, and price.
The items found in Fortnite are incredibly simple to use. As listed above, there are four main items to find in the game: weapons, traps, healing devices, and resources. Everything excluding the resources have a level of rarity, ranging from 1(common) to 5 (legendary).
The weapons have a large breadth of usages, ranging from sniper rifles to shotguns. Using them is incredibly easy, since you just find a weapon, equip it, and start shooting. The only real problem to be encountered is finding the correct ammo, however, with ammo crates in almost every building, it is hard to not have some on hand. While the rarity rating system does imply an advantage to the higher ranking weapon, they are not so overly powerful that people who do not find them are immediately disqualified from a ‘Victory Royale’.
Traps, a system that go hand in hand with the building aspect of Fortnite, pushes players for more innovative and creative building techniques, while also punishing players who play recklessly. Although not lethal, they do immense damage, and can change the flow of battle. Some traps are not really traps, but are built similarly. The jump-pad is technically a trap, but it instead allows players to jump high in the air and redeploy their glider, making rapid, or long distance movement easier. Traps are easy to forget for new players, however, the more seasoned players understand their importance.
The healing system is similar to the weapons system in rarity, although the ways to heal health and add additional armor are based how much it can heal you. However, unlike the weapons, these upgrades in rarity come at a cost: consumption time. While some items may heal the player quickly, others may only hinder the player if they need some health in the heat of a firefight. Healing plays a major role in the flow of the battle royale, because every drop of health matters when you can lose it all at any given time.
The resource system in Fortnite is monumental to the games stature. This allows for the building mechanic that dominates the game play. While setting a high limit of resources that can be obtained, players often find themselves running out of materials quickly. Also, it is important to note that the different resources have their own system of rarity. While wood is plentiful, and quick to assemble, it is easy to destroy. Steel is the opposite, since it is more rare, mining it takes more time, and it’s construction is timely, but worth while.
While the items are important, the massive amount of destructibility plays as one of the most essential mechanics. Almost everything that is visible in the battle royale is destructible, allowing for massive effects on the gameplay. The player is not limited to walls or floors, but rather it is the player’s craft. It further adds importance to the building mechanics, since continual building to evade total destruction is necessary.
The building mechanic is what separates fortnite from the other battle royale games. It is difficult to learn, and takes time to master, but is essential to the game. The building mechanic is broken down into five sections: walls, floors, stairs, roofs, and traps. Each of these can be further modified to other compositions, affecting gameplay accordingly. While building may seem like a slow mechanic that allows for luxurious fortification, it is quite the opposite. Building in fortnite progresses combat because it allows for protection while being offensive towards another player(s). Large forts are uncommon, since players can easily destroy, or invade them. Instead, fast building dominates. Fast building requires a different form of skill than other building games, since it has to be quick and concise. Building battles are a result of this, where a single misplaced piece will be costly.
The pace in Fortnite is very fast. Each round should last no longer than 15 minutes. This is because of the intense combat, and encroaching circle. Because the combat is so essential to progression, firefights spark everywhere. The circle also pushes the players to advance towards more combat. The building mechanic also affects the pace, allowing for players to play aggressively and overcome obstacles easily. In addition to this, the map may appear large, but it is actually quite small. This fast pace mechanic is one of the reasons for Fortnite’s success. Unlike it’s rival PUBG, Fortnite is much fast paced. This means that players do not have to invest much time into each round. This is important for casual gamers, since they do not have to invest much, while pro gamers get the benefit of a fast paced skill intensive game.
Fortnite’s stylistic choice of being cartoonish is also a credible reason for it’s success. It can appeal to both a young and older crowd. The cartoonish appeal draws in young gamers because it shows a lack of seriousness, while also reminding older gamers that this game is not realistic, and shouldn’t have pressures for realism. This is essential for helping explain the building mechanic and layout of the map. Fortnite’s season’s themes also share a stylistic choice that draws in all gamers because they are things commonly associated with the geek community (i.e. super heros). This stylistic choice is fun, well thought out, and well placed.
One of the most impressive parts of Fortnite, is the constant updates. This includes map changes, weapon balancing, themes, and more. This keeps the game fresh, fun, and gives the player reason to return. Weekly updates are always giving a new game mode to explore. Fortnite is so replayable not only because of it’s pure enjoyment, but because each game offers the player a new chance to explore.
The price for Fortnite is one of the biggest, if not the biggest reason for its success. Fortnite is free. The only way to spend money on this game, is to buy the battle pass for $10 per season. Even then, the battle pass and it’s unlocks do not directly affect gameplay, rather it just further speeds the progression system in unlocking new aesthetics to the game (skins mostly). By having this idea that synergizes what the gaming community wants with in game purchases, the price for Fortnite, is a steal.
The Experience of Fortnite:
Fortnite can be enjoyed in a number of modes, some that are always changing, while others maintain a constant battle royale mode. In addition, it also has a massive appeal to a massive amount of people due to its style and it’s more casual approach. Each game is fun, regardless of mode.
The combat in Fortnite is an acquired taste. The building mechanics make combat unrealistic, but individualistic aspect of the game. It is a different skill set, one that must be mastered to play well, but fun regardless. Although the weapons seem limiting due to their lack of variety, with the five given slots, it provides the perfect amount of room for players to make tough decisions, but never unfair decisions. Although the game offers suppressed weapons, stealth is not often a winning tactic.
Fortnite has massive success for good reason. It is a skill intensive shooter that doesn’t rely heavily on shooting. The building mechanic dominates the game, so players who are more interested in a more realistic shooter would be better off with games like PUBG. However, for the rest of the community, I highly recommend Fortnite. It’s price is hard to beat, for a game that runs smooth, and creators that genuinely care about their craft. It’s constant updates will bring you back every week, and it’s fun ideas are great for all players. The pace of the game allows for casual gameplay, but the intensiveness of combat welcomes more serious players. Fortnite is a model game, and I can not wait to see where this game goes, and how it influences the next generation of games.