Fortnite - The Best BR For Normal People?
I’ve written about my current obsession with competitive multiplayer games a few times recently, so excuse yet another gaming post. Quite a lot of my competitive gaming time has been spent in Battle Royale games. I think, at this point, I’ve played the vast majority of those with any popularity. I’ve spent many frustrating hours in Realm Royale, PUBG, Warzone, Naraka: Bladepoint, Super People. You name it, I’ve rage quit it.
One of the earliest games that got me into the genre was, of course, Fortnite. After doing the rounds, multiple times, I’ve come to a possibly controversial conclusion. Fortnite is the best Battle Royale (BR) game for normal people. Let me explain why. I’m going to assume, firstly, that if you’re reading this you know what this game genre is. If you don’t, however, Wikipedia has you covered.
The Perfect Battlepass?
The idea of a ‘battlepass’ is a fascinating one to me. You pay, on average, about £8 for a few months of access to a system that rewards you with various cosmetic unlocks as you level up / progress through the pass. The key thing about these items is, as I mentioned, that they are completely cosmetic, so in turn, fully optional. It makes no impact whatsoever to the game. The game is profitable via the whales that like to buy multiple cosmetic items, and can remain completely free to play for everyone else. From what I recall, Fortnite started, or at least popularised this format, but pretty much every game in the genre has replicated this setup. If all BR games have a battlepass now, how does Fortnite’s differentiate itself from the others enough for me to call it, in my opinion, the stand out best of the bunch?
Well, firstly, the current iteration does not unlock cosmetic items along a single predefined path. By this, I mean after you level up you don’t just unlock the next item up. You, instead, are rewarded five stars which can be traded in for the rewards in each tier in the order you want. You can, for example, choose to unlock the skins you like instead of loading screens and emotes. Or you can prioritise the unlocks of the in-game currency which you can use to buy other skins not in the pass. If you progress far enough, you will ultimately end up unlocking it all anyway, so this isn’t a big deal for completionists, but it gives some welcome flexibility to everyone else.
The second difference is far more of a game changer, however. In 90% of BR’s out there, the battle pass is unlocked through a pure grind. You play a match, and the further you go in the match, the more experience you earn, which in turn pushes you further to the next level until, eventually, you hit level 100 and you’re done. With this method, the player is obviously driven to win at all costs. This leads to some very sweaty matches, full of camping and try hards (see Warzone). I, generally, only get a couple of hours a night to play games, so a solid grind like this to complete a battle pass is frustrating. It makes you feel you need to play this, and only this, to have any hope of grinding yourself to level 100. It’s kind of draining.
The Fortnite Battlepass acts in a very similarly way on the face of it. You earn experience in matches and progress. The huge difference which has really solidified Fortnite as the best BR for me, however, are the weekly tasks. Each week, on a Thursday, you’re given a new set of about 7-8 tasks or missions to complete in a match. As the pass progresses these get a little harder, but they are all achievable by yourself or in groups. These tasks range from a simple ‘visit X location’ to more detailed ones like ‘Destroy and collect telescope parts in a single match’. This may not sound like much, but for me it makes a huge difference. Firstly, the completion of each tasks gives you a huge boost of experience. By giving these large boosts per week, via easily achievable tasks, I’ve been able to level my battlepass up to 72 (out of 100) by really just doing these tasks once a week and then maybe 1-2 games sprinkled through the week. I have felt absolutely no need to grind anything, or play every day. I’ve been able to jump in, play for a couple of hours and drop out into something else and still progress a great deal through the pass. It values your time far more than any other BR game I’ve played to date. This is a big deal.
Not only do each of the tasks give you a great experience boost, but they are also fun. They give you, and others, something to do in a match beyond just winning. It makes the game feel like a game and not a job like so many other titles of this ilk. You can drop in, do a few missions for your battlepass, potentially without killing anyone, or firing a shot. You certainly don’t need to win. Considering there is only ever one winner, but one hundred entrants into a match this seems like a win/win situation to me. Fortnite has the potential to please all one hundred people per match, not only the one lucky, eventual winner. I think it’s pretty unique in this regard.
This next part will likely not appeal to many core gamers, but it’s hard to deny a general mass appeal of Fornite to pretty much anyone. My daughter, for example, has no interest in Fornite (yet?) but she was really into the recent Ariana Grande performance in the game. I watched / played this with her and, while I’m not an Ariana Grande fan (you’re shocked I know) it was still a pretty special experience. It was something I could enjoy with my daughter, but it was also impressively done, looked great, and really did feel like an experience to witness. It feels like this idea has some huge potential and is much more likely to be what the ‘metaverse’ ends up being rather than the weird idea Facebook has for it.There’s currently a Tones and I version live as I write this and, whilst not as flashy as the Ariana Grande one it’s still fun and I found I actually quite like the music of Tones and I. Job done I suppose!
Something my daughter is into is Roblox and, guess what, it looks like they have a version of that in Fornite now as well. I was glancing around the creative modes and there are full on games within a game in there. This is obviously part of an evil Epic plot to tie kids into the game before they get credit cards and can start buying their way through the cosmetics store, but it’s still interesting nonetheless and, again, just adds to the incredible scope and range of this title.
If you’re a gamer, but find Warzone and Apex too stressful, grindy, or just far too sweaty I really do recommend you put down your it’s just for kids bias and give it ago. If you’re after something light, relaxing, nice to play with kids around (there’s no bloody in sight, and no one ‘dies’ they just sort of … turn into pixels and float away) and respectful of your time, this may be a winner.