When Fortnite’s newest season launched recently, I did what I’ve now done many times before: installed the game again, watched the new cutscene, dropped in for a few matches, and stopped. But a day later, something unusual happened: I returned and played some more. And then even more, and more again. And now, I’m a full-on Fortnite guy; all it took was the removal of building and Indiana Jones. Let me explain.
I’ve dabbled with Fortnite’s online PvP ever since 2017 when Fortnite launched its now-popular battle royale mode. Often I’d see people talking about a new season or chapter, get excited, and load up the game again. And then the frustration of losing a few matches and feeling like I wasn’t making any progress would set in and I’d bounce until a new season launched and the whole cycle repeated. (Throughout, I would still invest hours and hours into the game’s original Save The World co-op mode.) So this recent summer update was just the latest to catch my eye and lure me into trying Epic’s online shooter once more.
Upon loading in, I found a new series of quests connected to unlocking Indiana Jones as an in-game skin. I love the Jones films and also enjoyed the weird prospect of playing as him in Fortnite, so I looked into the quests and decided that instead of trying to win, I’d just try to unlock Dr. Jones. Even if I quit again after a few matches, at least I’d have this weird piece of pop culture in my cosmetic library that I could pull out the next time a new season brought me ‘round again.
I know, quests and cosmetics are nothing new here. But before this, I’d always treated Fortnite as a competitive shooter. It was a game that I needed to win, and in my mind, not winning was a waste of time. Suddenly, with some quests and a fun reward to work toward, I found myself dropping in and having a good time. Sometimes I’d finish a quest or two and then focus on winning. Other times I’d barely complete a quest before getting sniped by Harley Quinn. “Whatever, I got my quest done,” I’d think to myself, and then load up another match to do more.
Another big reason for my enjoyment was the relatively new Zero Build mode, which removes all the tedious and boring building and resource gathering, leaving just the action. I understand that some people adore the building aspect, claiming it gives the battle royale a different feel compared to other shooters. And I completely agree, it certainly does. But I still hate having to break walls and trees to build forts against people who are clearly more experienced at all of that and who can build literal houses around me in seconds. For me, Zero Build offers a version of Fortnite where its goofy-but-precise combat takes center stage over breaking fences to make walls.
Maybe the most surprising development to come from my new, chill Fortnite mentally is that I’ve also ended up winning more often. And when I don’t win, I’m at least reaching the top 10 more frequently. I think it’s because challenges and quests have lowered the stakes in a way; many of them can be completed across multiple matches, so I no longer feel as much pressure each time I play. And that more relaxed attitude seems to translate into more wins.
The blessed lack of building combined with my newfound realization that I don’t have to win matches to have fun has resulted in me spending the last two weeks playing way too much Fortnite. It’s quickly become one of my favorite games to load up for an hour before bed or on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
I’ve even started looking into buying a Crew Membership. I’ve truly become a Fortnite guy, and honestly, I’m okay with it. I’ve realized that Fortnite, beyond the memes and backlash, is actually a very well-made game that is always changing and growing. It’s always exciting to load it up every day to see what new quests or goodies are awaiting me.
So yeah, I’m into Fortnite now. And it only took me five years. Better late than never, I guess?