It’s very rare that a game has me scouring its huge, expansive map for a multi-coloured llama piñata. But when my glistening eye dilates as it catches sight of one, then I will run, I will jump, I will literally hurdle through hell itself, kicking Satan in the d**k if need-be. If the end goal is a goofy-looking llama containing 1, 500 resources and lots of ammo; then it becomes a matter of life or death to get it.
Side-note: Death is a reoccurring theme in this game too.
Fortnite is a weird and wonderful game, although very divisive.
This…is a pick axe. Be honest, you want it don’t you?
It’s divisive in the sense that it’s arguable taken the crown as king of battle royale games, although PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, H1Z1 and DayZ might have something to say about this. It’s become the most-streamed game on Twitch, has the most active players and gets the most revenue of any game in the battle-royale genre, despite being free-to-play.
But before all of that, what is a battle royale game? Good question.
It’s an RnG-influenced skirmish, traditionally pitting 100 people against each other, air dropping onto a sprawling map filled with randomised loot.
Your objective? Gather materials to build yourself impromptu defences, loot chests and houses to find the best weapons and accessories, all the while running away from a storm that closes in on the map to kill you. Get caught in the storm? Then you may die. But why are you doing this? To kill the other players and be the last person and/or team standing.
Earning a sacred ‘Victory Royale #1’ is a great feeling.
It took me a few months to wrap my head around the addictive nature of Fortnite, but a couple of weeks into Season 3, I made my illusive bow and forayed into the crazy world. Within a couple of weeks I was suckling the sweet teat of this game and being overrun by its addictive juices. Seriously, it’s infectious.
I went into my first few games with severe trepidation as my only exposure to the content of this game was through social media. Skyscrapers and intense 1-on-1 battles with players frantically assembling gargantuan, wooden structures with en-suite bathrooms was certainly intimidating. Nevertheless, I had to join in.
It’s a tough game to get to grips with no doubt, there was is much choice, yet I had no idea what any of it meant.
When your experience with something is very much in its infancy, then your baby steps are going to be like walking on lava with this game, oh boy. But when you begin to understand the mechanics of the game, then it becomes very satisfying.
Throughout the course of season 3, the game underwent a myriad of changes: ranging from weapons having their damage output nerfed, all the way to the addition of a sticky grenade in the shape of a plunger (charmingly entitled ‘The Clinger).
A portable fort, light-machine guns, heavy shotguns, remote explosives and impulse grenades are just some of the newest additions that have helped to mould the game we have today.
It’s not just the stuff you can use, it’s the modes you can use them in too. Sniper Shootout limits the inventory to sniper rifles and hunting rifles, a fast-paced Blitz mode, to one team versus another one, 50 v 50.
The thing that’s impressed me most with Epic Games, is their ability to constantly reinvent their game. Upping their game each week with the changes.
However, it’s not just Epic’s willingness to expand the elements, it’s also the way in which they will respond to feedback and withdraw some of those elements too. The laser-guided missile was added towards the end of season 3, and it’s safe to say that it was an over-powered beast. You could give a baby, fresh out of the womb, one of these bad boys and they’d probably still be able to make mincemeat out of your favourite squishy kitty.
Boogie bombs, the pressurised equivalent of LSD, had developed a glitch that allowed players to hold unlimited weapons, so they were pulled for a couple of weeks. There’s no standing on ceremony with Fortnite, if Epic believe something is harmful to their baby, then they’ll eliminate the threat without hesitation.
Now, it’s a given that they’ll do this, especially when you consider that Fortnite supposedly raked in $126 million in February alone.
The game is free-to-play, so where’s the money coming from then? Cosmetic purchases. The only half-decent form of paid downloadable content in the world.
To be fair, Fortnite excels in giving value for money. The optional Battle Pass, priced at around £8, gives players 100 tiers to earn stickers, costumes, interchangeable accessories, skins, loading screens, and the ever-lovable emotes.
I play Fortnite a lot, more than I want to sometimes as it unnecessarily diverts my attention away from my main games. But that’s the beauty of the ‘Take the L emote’. The music for that emotes had me in tears from laughing when I first stumbled across it.
The item shop also updates daily with exclusive content, all cosmetic, and it’s all just bizarre and wonderful nonsensicalness. Your psyche wars so much with this game that spending hard-earned money, turning your avatar into a bright, pink Easter bunny man that dances like a reincarnated Michael Jackson, is totally worth it.
This is the Rabbit Raider aka “Mr BunBunMan”. He has been my main avatar for a long time. I love him.
The Game Itself
Step 1: The pre-lobby camaraderie between players usually begins proceedings. People around the world showing off their imaginative combinations of attire and dance is always fun and ironic. You could literally be dancing in front of the same dastardly individual who will later end your dreams by one-shotting you with a green pump shotgun.
Step 2: Next, it’s all aboard the battle bus. All manner of individuals, crammed inside a cramped, claustrophobic bus. It sets sail in the skies. Flying in a straight line over the battlefield. It’s then up to you to deploy and pick your poison. Want an action-packed game that will inevitability see you eat a swift death? Tilted Towers for you. Or perhaps you’re sick of dying, and want to take a more conservative approach. Moisty Mire or Junk Junction then. Either way, find a Gold Scar if you can.
Step 3: This is generally the part of the script in which players will depart. The desperate dash to find a weapon, and not leave yourself more exposed than a naked man in a mine field. Even if it’s a common revolver, take it. Otherwise you’ll be trying to fend off a fellow vulture with your pitiful pick axe. Any weapon > a 10 damage pick axe. Back to the lobby you go.
Step 4: Ok. You’ve scrounged a weapon and gotten your shaky hands on some loot. You’re armed to the teeth with a Gold SCAR, a Gold Heavy Shotgun, Gold Bolt-Action, Gold Grenade Launcher and a Chug Jug; along with 16 kills to your name. Yeah, in your dreams. You’re packing a green AR and 3 mini-shields and survived your only encounter with 1hp left. Good luck, we’re all counting on you.
Step 5: Oh, you’re still here…Ok, well keep going, there’s only a few people left. The storm circle is very small and the end is near for most of you. Basically, use all your skill to survive, kill and get that W.
Step 6: You’ve either claimed the win. Congratulations. Otherwise, quit out and get yourself into a new game pronto and do it all over again. If you’ve won, quite out and get yourself into a new game pronto and do it all over again!
That’s another pleasing attribute of the game, the accessibility of it. If you die, then you can immediately quit out, retaining your match rewards, without having to stay until the end. Normally you’ll be straight into another one within a minute or so.
I guess my only really gripe with Fortnite and/or the genre, is that you can actually win a game without making any meaningful contributions. It’s entirely possible to win a game without getting a single kill or even an assist. There are 6-week old pieces of mouldy pizza, left to rot at the bottom of a bin, growing new kinds of fungi unbeknownst to man, that can say they made more of an impact on some Fortnite games than their respective winners.
But apart from that minor misdemeanour, it’s been a joy to play Season 3, especially towards the latter stages as the, now infamous, ‘Comet’ stirred up conspiracy theories and grapevine chatter all the way up until its seismic conclusion.
The sighting of a comet in the sky, getting closer with every passing week, was the starting point of many debates: What would it do? Will it destroy anything? etc.
After many false dawns, it finally crashed into the map, decimating Dusty Depot. In its place is the newly christened Dusty Divot, creating many craters around the map and generally facilitating the evolution from Season 3 to Season 4.
What will it bring about I wonder. An elastic band gun that fires fireworks? Port-a-tank? Kamikaze Squirrel Bombs?
We’ll have to see. As long as I get an emote depicting Booker T’s Spinaroonie then I’ll be happy.