Since Season 7 began at the beginning of December, Fortnite has added eight new items into the game and vaulted ten others.
Those items are, in order of being introduced: Planes, Infinity Blade, Boombox, Suppressed Sniper Rifle, Scoped Revolver, Gliders, and Sneaky Snowman.
The vaults ranged from overpowered (Infinity Blade) to underpowered (Six Shooter) and everything in between.
Compared to other battle royale games, and other esports in general, Fortnite is in a constant state of flux.
League of Legends adds a new champion once every couple of months. Overwatch usually goes four months before adding a new character.
Obviously, those games are much different than a Battle Royale game based around wacky weapons and new additions.
I don’t think people would care nearly as much about the constant changes in Fortnite if Epic didn’t put down $100 million in prizes.
They basically chose to ignore the structure it takes to make an esport (leagues, tournaments, a stable meta) and just covered those issues with a mountain of cash.
So here are the pros and cons of Fortnite’s revolutionary new model:
The Pros of a Constantly Changing Fortnite
- The game stays fresh. With other esports, the use of a ranked ladder pushes people to continue playing and climb the ladder. With Fortnite, the thrill of Victory Royale’s dulls a bit over time. By constantly adding new things and changing the game, Epic gives people a reason to log on every day. New items introduce new situations which keep the game fun with over hundreds of hours played.
- New items reduce the skill gap. People may not like this take but building is the most skill intensive aspect of Fortnite. Season 7’s additions were often direct counters to building. Planes, Boomboxes, and the Infinity Blade all made build battles much less important. By introducing items that make the game easier to play, they keep weaker players happy and still playing the game and buying skins.
- Keep the Item Shop running. While this article is about the new items and weapons, it’s the skins that keep Epic rolling in dough. This is all personal opinion, but I feel like the constantly changing map and weapons push people to also want to constantly change their skins. The game feels new, so your skin should too.
The Cons of a Constantly Changing Fortnite
- The competitive scene suffers. A response I see a lot in our replies on Twitter and on the site is that pro players should just adapt to the changes. That’s an oversimplification of a complex problem. The best Fortnite players are practicing this game 8-10 hours a day, every day. They learn a meta and all-too-often have had the meta flip on them just days before a massive tournament. Epic has addressed this concern, but Fortnite’s Season 8 is still scheduled to start the same day as IEM Katowice’s $500,000 Fortnite tournament.
- Casual players suffer. This may seem counter-intuitive so let me explain. When players stop playing the game for a month or so, the whole game changes drastically. There are going to be new map locations, new weapons, old weapons gone. It can be a lot to keep up with if you aren’t a regular player. This has the potential to make players feel like they are relearning the game, a daunting task that some may decide to pass on entirely. However, these players are so casual that they probably aren’t buying skins, so it’s unlikely they are who Epic is truly targeting.
Obviously, there are more pros and cons to Epic’s model and as a company, they have done well to change how many publishers are pushing their games. Rocket League, for example, has adopted the Battle Pass and is expected to go F2P at some point in 2019.
Clearly Epic is doing many things right. Do you think the constant updates are good for the game or not? Did I make some valid points or do you want to tell me how wrong I am? Let me know in the comments below: