Fortnite Has Looped Back To 2004

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daavpuke

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Edited By daavpuke

The new Fortnite season is here! Chapter? It's one of those interchangeable words, for sure. There's new content for Fortnite! This means that there's another battle pass to complete, which I already have done. Well, I'm above level 100; now I just need to prestige it. Additionally, the game has another regimen of special events and landscape changes in store for the island.

I'd review the whole season, but I don't feel I'm a representative player. I play on a Nintendo Switch and that experience isn't what you'll be facing in the game. I just won a game where the game disabled my sprint button completely. Couldn't run; still won. My daily complaints are found on Twitter, while I just post a different Victory Royale on Instagram daily. In short, the island is covered in chrome and everything has been pulled into the air. The added draw distance this verticality forces is tearing my poor Switch to shreds. Regardless, I'm still playing a ton of Fortnite and finding my enjoyment where I can.

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There is, however, one minor pebble I'd like to needlessly dissect. Just take a small point and go way too far with it; that's the internet way of things. See, the Fortnite modus operandi is to crank out a new event every week, without fail. That event then also comes with a set of objectives to complete, which coaxes players to keep grinding forever. Once you've completed those missions, there will be a new set of them next week. At the end of the carrot, you'll find something like an emote or maybe even a skin. This further triggers the ol' FOMO, which is fear of missing out. I could also talk about what the butterfly effect is for brute forcing that much content, but we're drilling much further down.

Most objectives in Fortnite are kept simple, for a good reason. Every abstraction will make it harder for players to clear an objective. If a player gets too frustrated, then they'll skip a mission. Skip enough content and suddenly that FOMO fades, since the payoff isn't worth the effort. As a result, most of what you'll need to achieve is to get a kill with a certain weapon, drop in a specific location or do a quantity of damage. It's a very 2004 feeling, being the number one head honcho who also gets tasked with killing the rats in the cellar.

Just kill Vader... while everyone else also is doing that
Just kill Vader... while everyone else also is doing that

It's one Mr. Driller block down that we're gonna go. The whole 2004 angle may sound simple and clean at first, but it comes with a kind of insufferable quirk. Fortnite puts a bunch of mini bosses on the map, for further distractions. This season, almost every event has a mission to go kill one of those chuckleheads. The issue is that, just like in 2004, the boss isn't its own instance. That enemy, who is pretty powerful, just exists in the same world as the 99 players who want to kill you. Not only that, but most of these players also want to complete that mission.

Now you've got two different problems. The first problem, which I've faced the most, is that you didn't land close enough to the boss. By the time you get there, someone has already killed your kill and they either ran off with the powerful loot drops or, worse, they didn't run yet and you're in their way. It's impossible for you to complete the mission this round, so you'll have to queue up again. That's great for player retention over at developer Epic Games' data center, but it sucks for the player.

The second issue is, if you do choose to land close, you'll be dropping hot and spicy. Several others will be cannibalizing the limited loot around, but more importantly: they're not there to kill the boss. These players are going to target you first. Fortnite, for as good as it is with its objectives structure, has no etiquette when it comes to mission completion. If any player spots another, it's go time. So, not only can you not kill the boss, now you're forcing a fight with very little resources and a ticking clock for when other people might join in. The whole structure is a have and have nots conundrum.

Gwen Stacy has a lightsaber now. Don't question it.
Gwen Stacy has a lightsaber now. Don't question it.

It's one thing to be stuck in 2004, idling in a field all day, waiting for your spawns not to get stolen. In those older games, however, you weren't also fighting everyone on the server to the death. Fortnite has chosen to bottleneck an already obsolete bottleneck that online games have solved over the many years of player management. This is completely mystifying game design and it comes from needing to have more content on a weekly basis, which limits the vetting process. Personally, I thought they would have caught this in the first week, but they're now up to the third mini boss quest. Now, every time they add another powerful enemy on the island, I dread the time where I'll need to spend two or three hours just forcing my way through, just to tick a box.

This week, they've brought back Darth Vader, who also happens to have another mission location right on top of him. It's a goddamn shitshow in that area right now, pardon my French. Everyone is either trying to kill Vader, sprinting to get the crates you need to open or trying to sabotage the aforementioned goals, because there are other players in their way. Meanwhile Vader throws a lightsaber around that crushes everything in its path. There's a force push that throws people around. It's more chaotic than a full lobby of Fall Guys in there. This forceful intensity is a far cry from just needing to go catch some fish. There's a risk in standing still and fishing, but at least it's not a complete crap shoot.

I guess my point is: Not all nostalgia is necessarily good. We don't need to bring back everything from the old World of Warcraft days. We have quite literally put these methods to the test of time. I don't want to gangbang Guns McGee that's coming in next week's inevitable event. I'm too old for that kinda partying.

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chamurai

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#1 chamurai  Online

I was lucky enough to take out Vader very early with another player. We apparently had an understanding that we wouldn't attack each other until Vader was taken out. Then once that was done we both took out our lightsabers and dueled to the death. It was awesome.

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daavpuke

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@chamurai: That's the kind of emergent tidbits you come back to this game for, because you'll be able to remember them for ages. That's great.

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Actually, a lot of people were waiting in fields for their mob to spawn whilst looking out for gankers. This post proves that you (like me) play MMOs on PvE servers. There is a startling number of players who outright prepfer playing the whole game with PvP on, including questing, and arguably this just helps your point.

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Ryan3370

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#4  Edited By Ryan3370

I get being annoyed at the Vader quest, but it doesn't reward anything but a small amount of battle pass XP anyway. It's barely more worth it than a daily quest and there really shouldn't be any FOMO there

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daavpuke

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@ryan3370: if you are trying to complete the battle pass, which has the majority of unlocks, it is crucial to do as many quests as you can. Those XP bumps will start racking up quickly.

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Ryan3370

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#6  Edited By Ryan3370

@daavpuke: yeah I've completed it, well over level 100 I've just come to peace with not needing to 100% every drip of content

I could do that Vader quest or play a couple extra games and get an equivalent about of xp, and have more fun anyway.