To Fortnite or Not to Fortnite...
Here we are with another controversial subject. Is Fortnite good?
Little back story. Even as much as a gamer as I am, it bypassed me beyond what I’d seen as a zombie battle game going into beta in about 2016. I thought it looked ok, but nothing stood out to me as a game I’d be interested in getting. Then my son comes home from school ‘flossing’ all the time, we asked him what the hell he was doing simply because out of context it looked ridiculous. Once he’d explained it was from Fortnite and all his friends played I decided to look into why this was.
The media had been destroying its rep with reports of paedophiles and scammers going after vulnerable people and stating categorically on the BBC kids were smashing consoles up playing the game… We didn’t want any involvement with it. At this time the kids were away on a mini-break with my in-laws, so my wife and I decided to install the free game and see what it was about, without the thought that our eldest would see the game and think he could have it.
We joined at the tail end of Season 4 with a week to go into season 5 of the game. At this point not knowing a thing about why it had seasons, nor the idea of battle royale being added to it, let alone being the prime focus. We created our accounts with Epic and had a match.
The first thing of note is how colourful the game is, how vibrant the characters and items were compared to the realism focused gaming of late. It didn’t dissuade us, more pulled us into the thought that it was kid friendly. Our first match was spent wondering what we were meant to do and running around like headless chickens, building the occasional wall. Our second we had a plan, we went in a squad and followed 2 other players about, learning what to do by watching first-hand.
We started at about 4 in the afternoon, and by the time we got up to get dinner it was near 9pm. Time had vanished. Not that this was a bad thing, actually far from it and gives legs to the trope of ‘don’t knock it until you try it’. We encountered none of the creepy stalker kid scamming arses we’d been reading and listening to the media telling us about, we saw no money grabbing outside of a shop, that’s completely your choice to buy credits for cosmetics, this isn’t micro-transactions in the negative pay-to-play world, but there was a Battlepass.
We had absolutely no clue what that was, we had to watch streamers on YouTube to see what the seasoning was, once it was made clear that every 3 months the game has a progressive story, we caught up on the events and understood that each season held its own 100 tier reward system that, while you could play for free and still get some things, if you invested £7.99 for the pass, you get a reward for every tier as well as access to challenges you don’t in free mode.
Essentially playing for free and paying for a pass was up to the individual, even free players could buy and own items in the store, so it seemed like a mod shop to someone in my way of thinking. Buy what you like and have fun, and fun was well and truly had.
The kids returned from their trip and we had set them up with an account each on their consoles and told them they could play if they wished. To say my eldest was exited was an understatement, he ran to his room, threw his bag down and booted up. A few hours of gaming passed and then it started “Daddy, can I get some vBucks so I can get the BattlePass?”
Now we, having been playing this for a 3 day weekend, had invested in what was now season 5’s BattlePass and it was totally worth it, if for nothing more than the ability to have something we both enjoyed playing and now our kids were in on it too. It was hard to deny them a taste of the pass system, but we decided to buy it on their behalf giving them a goal to achieve, get all 100 items and make it worth our money.
Several days passed, many hours played, and something came up in store I wanted… but so did the boy. This is where all those reports on ITV and BBC (uk mainstream media channels) had been slating it, people complaining the game was bankrupting them, and it all made sense. It boiled down to nothing more than gamer ignorance. Parents who used games as a way of sticking their kids in a corner and not paying attention to them. Parents who have no concept of what the next gen console and gaming world looked like and trusted their little 10yr old darling children to be sensible with their credit cards linked to the kids account… I’ll pause for a slow clap moment there.
I looked some stories up to confirm my thoughts and sure enough, a website that was becoming famous for people who acted like the best mums, while in the real world were more interested in the latest gossip and bandwagon to jump on for their ‘kids best interest’, and Fortnite was their latest target. ‘My kid stole my money for vBucks’ a common headline and this excerpt from a national rag…
—– Earlier this year, a concerned parent on Mumsnet complained that their son had “accidentally spent £80 on Fortnite”.
“He was literally scrolling through, and press the A button instead of B.
(Nb: No this isn’t my spelling/grammar error, it’s printed on the site as such!)
“It was done by that one press of a button.
“Any ideas? I really can’t afford to lose £80, certainly not this month.” —–
Now anyone who’s got a brain, not saying you have to be a tech whizz, but you’ve allowed your card to be authorised without password protection on your kids console, so bravo for that. But no, no it does not get done by the press of ONE BUTTON. It is done by pressing (Y) for a start to buy to which then you are prompted to buy vBucks, you then press (A) over the value you want to spend, and then it brings up a payment method screen where you would have to click accept over your card, then your card is verified, then you press (A) again and THEN your card is charged. The account is credited with vBucks and you have to repeat the purchase steps just without the card method. So it’s a lot more than “he accidentally pressed a button”. But the media as a whole, loves to go after gaming for some reason or another.
Is Epic responsible for parents having their money taken by a child? No, the parent is always accountable, and it is nothing short of just knowing what they are doing, so the whole ‘evil’ concept of the game was dismissed in large on our part. I denied any form of payment outside of gifting them enough for a pass which in itself gave 1200 vBucks upon total completion so it’s not like they couldn’t save them up if they wanted, but they’d earned that currency and it was literally theirs to do with as they please.
In the years that have passed, we have been though 5 seasons, a new chapter update and now 3 more seasons and I have personally spent a LOT on this game, mainly on crossover events where I own all the Star Wars characters and items as well as everything Marvel have released, Batman, John Wick and a couple of other things, just because for me, it’s like collecting toy’s, but these I get to play with!
Now I’m not as into it as I was once upon a time, but I do like to occasionally login and have a couple of fights, and I do ensure season completion before the end of the pass timeframe so my money isn’t wasted. My time in game isn’t limited by anything other than a drive to play, the latest updates are not much to my liking, but I don’t buy into the whole ‘Fortnite is for kids’ setup, nor do I pay mind to it’s toxic hater base that the ‘edgy’ crowd seem to revel in, despite those same people having some emotes only available in early seasons that took a lot more to earn than a few kills…
So yes, I Fortnite. Is it the best game? No, not at all, but it is in its own way fun. After all, isn’t that what we as gamers thrive on? Fun?
I will never be ashamed to be considered part of a fanbase, nor will I give into the hating crowd because it’s cool to be a sheep, my game likes vary massively, this is but one of them. It’s not like I log into Candy Crush everyday to get a new 5 lives and say I’m gaming… No, my mobile game time is reserved for Dr. Mario haha!
Never take other people’s opinions of a game as verbatim, don’t follow the sheep hate mentality and try it for yourself. If you like it, don’t be ashamed because you have a friend who thinks its trash having never even downloaded it.