Fortnite is one of those rare games that has transcended the online world.  Fortnite is an online video game developed by Epic Games back in 2017.  It is a free-to-play battle royale game where up to 100 players strive to be the sole survivor.  Fortnite boasts a player base of more than 250 million players and earns hundreds of millions of dollars per month.  Fortnite is set to be a free-to-play title.  It is monetized through the use of V-Bucks.  This in-game currency can be purchased with real-world funds. V-Bucks can be used to buy cosmetic items like cooler character costumes. In 2017, the game was nominated for “Best Co-op Game” by PC Gamer and for “Best Spectator Game” by IGN. In 2018, the game won the award for Best Ongoing Game by PC Gamer and IGN, the latter of which nominated it for “Best Nintendo Switch Game”, “Best Mobile Game”, and “Best Action Game.

Players start as a passenger on the battle bus (a flying schoolbus).  All players skydive out of the bus and are able to select what part of the island they land on to begin the Battle Royale.  Players begin with a pickaxe which is used to knock down structures and collect the basic resources (wood, brick, and metal).  Those resources are used to build other structures like walls, floors, and stairs.  Various weapons, ammunition, first aid kits, and more can be found scattered all around the map.  You’ll need to be quick and/or stealthy as the other players are looking for resources too.  If you’re too slow you may find yourself taken out by one of the other players.  Epic Games found a cool way to prevent players from just camping out in one area of the map and trying to wait the other players out.  There is an incoming storm.  Players must continually keep moving to remain in the eye of the storm.  If you get caught in the storm you will quickly take damage and your character will die.  This makes for a pretty active free for all.

Fortnite has crept into nearly every aspect of every day life.  You will see kids (and some adults) with various Fortnite logos and characters just about any place you go in public.  Professional athletes have used the Fortnite emotes as their victory celebrations.  Professional gaming streamer, Ninja, broke Twitch viewership records when he hosted a Battle Royale with celebrities Drake, Travis Scott, Kim Dotcom, and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.  Fortnite has become so popular that Epic Games developed organized esports competitions for it.  The inaugural Fortnite World Cup in July 2019 was a $30 million event.

It seemed like Fortnite was at the top of their game (pun intended).  Fortnite has hosted lots of in game events that affected the map and the way players interacted with the game.  Sunday October 13th was one of those events.  A meteor smashed into the island and the whole screen turned into a black hole.  No one was able to log into Fortnite.  On YouTube and Twitch, more than 5.5 million people watched the destruction of Fortnite’s map, titled “The End” by Epic Games.  Keep in mind that number is only those who watched via video stream. There were millions of players logged into Fortnite servers and watched the whole event firsthand from within the game. Lots of conspiracy theories were floated around the internet surrounding this event.  My favorite was that Elon Musk purchased Epic Games and shut down Fortnite to save our youth.

Just as suddenly as Fortnite was gone, it was back again.  Tuesday morning Epic Games relaunched Fortnite with an entirely new map.  The map is not the only upgrade/change.  Most of the changes are small interface tweaks making it much easier to do all the tasks required to play the game effectively.  The biggest upgrade I noticed is the ability to get right back into a new round without having to go back to the lobby and wait around.  A lot of time was wasted before just sitting in the lobby waiting to start a new round.  If you get picked off quick, that wait can be brutal.  One of the cool new additions is being able to carry and throw other characters around after they have been picked off.  Another nice new feature is using a missile launcher speedboat to travel along the canal system on the island.

These new updates/changes should keep Fortnite at the top of the online gaming world for another coupla years.  I’m not sure how they are gonna top the media frenzy they got with this new reboot, but I am sure they will.

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