Why you should believe in the Fortnite hype

Battle Royale modes are the hottest trend in gaming right now, with millions of online players striving to be the last ones standing.  Fortnite has become one of the leading providers for a competitive fix in recent months and shows no signs of slowing down. The Formula is simple: 100 players drop into a destructible, periodically shrinking map armed with nothing but a pickaxe and their wits, the aim being to shoot, loot and build their way to victory.

Seems like that might get boring quickly? Wrong. I’ve been infatuated for weeks at this point, me and my “squad” desperately trying to get that elusive first win under our belt and assert our dominance over the 90+ other players who dare to challenge us. It’s one of those ‘one more game’, games. It’s addictive. I’d start my own support group for other sufferers if I actually wanted to kick the habit. But I don’t. Incredibly, Epic Games, the people who blessed us with the original Gears of War trilogy and more importantly Bulletstorm (the single most underappreciated game ever produced), are dishing out the last man standing mode for free.

Like a lot of you probably are right now, I scoffed at the whole idea. I saw the PC gamers flock to PUBG (player unknown battlegrounds) in spades, and I wrote the concept off as a trend that would inevitably die out; much in the same vein as ‘salt bae’ memes or Dapper Laughs’ relevance. But it’s safe to say that I was wrong. Catastrophically wrong. I finally caved after weeks of badgering from my more susceptible friends and downloaded the game from PS store. After two or three embarrassing showings and a woeful attempt in landing at tilted towers (rookie error, I know), I had no idea what all the hype was about. The gameplay was basic to say the least and the graphics, whilst fun and colourful, were a little rough around the edges. I was failing to understand why around 3 million concurrent players had taken residence within this chaos.

But despite this, the same phrase slipped from my lips at the end of every failed shootout and poor landing, “Shall we try one more?” The urge to survive longer and longer just kept pulling me back in, I found myself scheming tactics about where we should land, which route we should take. I learned how to use my gathered materials to build, I started to bide my time instead of going into a settlement guns blazing. I honed my craft, and eventually I accepted the hard facts: I was a Fortnite player. I was still far from the elite of the YouTube montages, and I won precisely zero games in this whole period, but I was converted – wholeheartedly.

Just the other night, though, my time finally came. I’d manged to peel myself away from the game all night in the name of my FIFA ultimate team, but I leaped at the chance to squeeze in a cheeky one before bed. Myself, two friends and an unknown matched player (who will forever remain in my heart) entered the battle bus as we had dozens of times before, and headed straight for our preferred starting point, Anarchy Acres. The first couple shrinkings of the map came when the storm forced us towards the ironically named Pleasant Park and then to Snobby Shores on the west coast, quite the expedition from where we had started. Cautiously and not with without incident, we found ourselves with the higher ground overlooking Shores, just ourselves and two other teams remaining. Our new-found best friend had been on the cusp of death on the long journey, but we quickly came to his aid, there’s strength in numbers. Eventually, after patiently watching the two enemy teams battle it out, it came down to a 4v4 battle for victory. Our opposition had secured themselves an empty house with plenty of fortifications, but the final shrinking of the map was kind, and gave us an upper-hand whilst putting the ball in our rival’s court. We assembled our make-shift cover in the form of a brick staircase and hunkered down, our weapons pointed firmly on the front of the house. Finally, the door swung open as the squadron of heavily armed fish ran out into our tactically placed barrel and we systematically took them out, claiming victory in the process.  I’m not saying the feeling was as amazing as losing my virginity, but it certainly lasted longer.

This is just one story from a game of endless variety, where the premise is always the same, but no two matches are. Imagine you and all your workmates gathered around a water cooler on your lunchbreak sharing stories of the previous night’s antics, it’s a little clichéd, but that is exactly the sort of conversations this little gem lets you have. The feeling of finally claiming a win will quickly disperse any frustrations in previously failures and uplift you in a way I haven’t felt too often in all my years of gaming. I urge you, cynical gamers of the world, not to write this off as a fad that will pass by. Give into the hype, grab your pals and hop on that battle bus.

Words: Nathan Warby

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