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Fortnite Battle Royale: the popular broken mess – My love/hate relationship with Fortnite BR

My current online game experiences have gone through an evolution I call “wtf’s per hour”.

 

I have been playing League of Legends for a while now. Very few times have I experienced a situation where I was thinking “wtf just happened?” This game has a well developed feedback system. A bunch of new tweaks even expanded the feedback by showing certain status changes on the health bars of a champion, communicating clearly if something is different.
Heavy attacks have heavy sounds, heavy visuals, making it very clear they will hurt a lot.
The only wtf’s I have experienced playing LoL, is when other players do weird actions.

 

Then I started playing Overwatch. When I was getting into the game, my “wtf’s per hour” started to increase. At the start, I thought it was just the learning process. But even to this day (roughly after 8 months playing the game) I have regular wtf’s. The main reason here is when I die and don’t know actually caused it (like being dropped as a tank character by only 3 hits). The kill cam gives an insight, but even then, I might stil be baffled by how it could have happened. A major factor here is that the feedback system lacks the finesse of LoL’s. When Diva activates her ult (you can compare it to a nuke attack), I still don’t get what the radius of that bloody thing is.
And eventually I was introduced to Fortnite. The “wtf’s per hour” skyrocketed and reached new, unprecedented heights.
Let me just stress something from the get-go: I am frustrated with Forntite Battle Royale, not Fortnite Save the World (the paid PvP mode). I actually like Save the World.

 

The Battle Royale concept has a certain appeal to it, that’s why I’m still playing Fortnite BR, despite the frustrations.
I am a veteran in gaming. I completed games like Dark Souls and Cuphead without ever rage quitting. Fortnite BR has caused me to rage quit multiple times already. And even worse: I already hurt myself out of my frustrations. Some people like to throw hardware around when frustrated, but because I know the value of my stuff, I rather slap my hands or arms while making a f*ck off gesture. My most recent fit actually resulted in a hemorrhage underneath the skin where I smacked my arm …

 

I’ll share my frustration by giving a couple of cases. But my main issue with the game is the game design. It’s seriously flawed.

 

Number one on my list is the RNG of the bullets. All bullets have so much spread, you might as well just be throwing dices. It’s that unreliable. Having the skill to aim doesn’t give you an advantage in any way.
Why is it even more frustrating? If you play Save the World, all your weapons HIT where you are aiming. So if you are used to this game mode and then dive into Battle Royale, the “wtf’s per hour” might change in “wtf’s per minute”.
I get they want to prevent players from “sniping” with simple handguns. Every weapon should have it’s purpose depending on the distance, but that doesn’t make up for the wheel-of-fortune shooting mechanics.
The worst situation I ever encountered for the RNG, was a shotgun blast I did while my crosshair was full on the enemy, yet there were still some minor spaces to the side of the enemy where bullets could get past him. Well: my shot DIDN’T HIT. For some reason, all my bullets in the blast (I think a shotgun blast is seen as 5 random smaller bullets) were calculated to go in those small spaces where there was no enemy body. That really, really feels like a broken game.
I got my first solo Victory Royale (= winning a game) during a shooting test. This was a mode where they tried out more accurate shooting mechanics. Says enough about the shooting mechanics, doesn’t it?

 

The game is counter intuitive from every shooter that has ever come before it.
The game does critical damage when landing head shots, but it might actually be a very bad idea to try to make headshots in this game.
When you aim for the head, there is maybe 25% (and I think the actual chance is even lower) that you might hit the enemy. If you would aim for the body, there might be a 85% chance you hit the enemy. During this 85%, you might even land a headshot because of the RNG!
Crouching makes you less visible and gives you a better aim. But from experience, the RNG messes this up, so you have no real advantage of crouching. The real downside of crouching in this game, is that you become a “ball target”. Your whole body might fit in a crosshair, making the chance of hitting you maybe around 90%. And if the other player is standing up, he has the height advantage and has a large chance of actually landing a headshot and doing critical damage.
To the younger people out there: Epic Games has made some of the most definitive shooters in the industry. Having the weapon mechanics behave this badly is a real travesty and a slap in the face of the players who also play Save the World.

 

Rockets from rockets launchers, even Epic and Legendary ones (the weapons in this game have loot rarity, the more rare, the more damage) might not one-shot enemies. I have had numerous situations where I see the rocket hitting an enemy directly and not dropping him. The most extreme situation is where I have seen a rocket only doing 25 damage while it hit the person right in the face …
A standard shotgun might one-shot an enemy if it manages to do critical damage.
Also jarring, is the splash damage. If you manage to build a flimsy wall and the rocket hits it while you are behind it: no damage. When a rocket hits a wall and you are at the same side of the rocket: massive damage!

 

Building in BR is another level of annoyance.
In Save the World, the levels are somewhat “blocky”, so placing a building piece fits nicely in the geometry. In BR, they decided to go for a flowing landscape. But underneath it all, is still the block grid. Causing some of your building pieces to barely popup above the ground. Also editing a building piece is not possible whenever the building piece slightly gets beneath the ground. You simply don’t see the interface to edit!

 

Some other frustrating, puzzling situations:
– Getting hit by an enemy while he visually isn’t even pointing at you

– Getting shot by an enemy while he is still on a ledge while my teammate actually saw me getting killed during the time the enemy jumped off the ledge and killed me in his fall

– Shotguns firing half a second later than you actually click

– Weapons not firing because I’m getting killed (while I should at least have fired 1-2 shots before I dropped)

– Click to make an explosion with C4. Yet no explosion because I get shot AFTER I clicked.

– See entire AR clips fired between enemies with maybe one or 2 shots hitting in the entirety of the firefight

– Having the strongest assault rifle in the game, yet getting one-shot by a simple pistol while the other guy maybe took 50 damage max.

– Built structures collapse when they have no connection to the ground in some way. Yet, seen structures float in midair, messing up my intent to make an enemy plummet to his death and also wasting my bullets.

– Changing between traps is not the same as in Save the World. In Save the World, you can get a radial menu to select the trap you want. In BR, you need to click right mouse. And if you have gone through all of them, you need to stop placing a trap and reopen the menu to select a possible previous trap.

– No way to adjust the sensitivity of the scroll wheel. One normal ‘roll’ results in selecting an items/weapon 2-3 slots down the line instead of the next one (actually remapped the selection to my mouse buttons and disabled the scroll wheel).

– The game shows you “place trap with left mouse” when you run onto a ramp. Yet, it does nothing and you actually fire when pressing left mouse.

– Seen people descend faster than me during the sky drop with arms and legs spread wide open while I am descending face first, heading straight down.

– The “automatic building” change results sometimes in building pieces in places you are not intending it to be (above you, beneath you, besides you, but not where you think you are aiming).

– Traps not firing immediately. I know there is a slight cooldown on freshly placed traps, but if it’s been around for a while, it should just fire. Well, it sometimes doesn’t. Had a situation where I ran into a building without checking. I saw a trap on the wall next to me, I was standing in front of it. Nothing happened. I passed by it a second time, thinking it’s broken. BAM! Got hit …

– Save the World has text messaging build in. Battle Royale lacks text messaging completely. WHY? I’m not fond of having to listen to a bunch of children shouting at me while playing a game.

– Getting shot through architecture (might be lag making it to look that way).

 

And to finish my rant, I have to address the predatory way of the micro transactions. The BR mode is free, so I understand they want to earn money with microtransactions. I personally haven’t put a single dime into the game. I was lucky to be gifted the game to me by a friend.
If you play Save the World, you can unlock the currency to buy cosmetics in Battle Royale. So I have some of them.
But if you only play Battle Royale, you might need to purchase the currency with real money.
Some of the items cost € 20,-. 20, freaking, euro for a SINGLE skin … Not everything is that expensive, but they rotate items on a daily basis. There are emotes and dances that cost € 8,- or more. This is a game where you almost never use these, only maybe if you are a griefer.
There is a system in the game that is pretty smart, namely the Battle Pass. If you purchase it, you get weekly challenges and rewards for each tier you achieve (tiers are achieved by completing challenges and leveling). To this day, you have been able to purchase the Battle Pass with the in-game currency, but Epic Games have been thinking about making it only purchasable with real money. They also give players the possibility to buy tiers, about € 1,50 for each tier. And during the writing of this piece, they also have a promotion where you get a skin when purchasing for about € 5,- in-game currency. And I have seen A TON of people using that specific skin.
As micro suggests, it’s a small sum. So where’s the harm? But current generation gamers tend to dump all their pocket money in the next hot thing, not realizing they are paying for a way overpriced in-game asset. I can probably get 3 good full indie games (or if you are into retro games, full older AAA games) for about € 10,-. But the new generation just shells out € 20,- for a single cosmetic item in game they will probably move away from once the next big thing hits.

 

I have paid for overpriced assets in free-to-play games if I think it’s a good game. I have put a decent amount of hours into Fortnite and will probably do so in the future. But Epic Games has to step up their game before I ever put a single dime into this broken mess which is called Fortnite Battle Royale.

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