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Your career in Fortnite is also an interesting topic.    Compare this with your PvP game of choice.

I started out as a clueless newbie who had seen nothing more than my daughter running through a virtual world much as I have done many times over the years, and/or watching her fall from the sky in a fantastic skydive / glide combination before hitting the ground and starting the real match.

You control your direction and the speed of falling. You eventually deploy a glider which falls slowly but has lots of lateral movement.

And I played my first game.   I got killed, I think.   I followed my daughter and obediently listened as she explained nuances of the game.    I stepped back and let her turn on the feature “If you’re handicapped and can’t hear well, we will show you where the sound of footsteps is on the screen” – right up my alley considering the amount of silent gaming that I do.    (If you play on a PC, turn this on.   Super helpful.)    And her friends were all amused at the Silent Dad fumbling his way through the game and helped protect me.

But after a dozen games I was on my own and solo, and I’d figured out the first pieces of the game.   How the weapons work, how to build a wall, where the controls were.   And a funny thing happened – I won the game.

Wow, am I good at this or what ?

No, I definitely suck at this game.    It turns out that Epic has added bot players to the game, and then there are the people trying to play on devices which Fortnite was never meant to be played on, like smartphones, or where control issues are present.    And I merrily pickaxed them, shoved shotguns in their faces, and avoided anyone who looked like they were building structures, until I was the last man standing.

People build crazy things like this contraption at the speed of mouse clicks. I’m much slower.

And I really enjoyed it.   I had come out on top, after all.     And in my mind it was all those years of shooters via the PC (Wolfenstein, Doom, and the rest) that made me victorious.   So I played another solo game.

The COVID 19 lockdown convinced me to keep going and stop being such a cheapskate, buy the $10 pass, so I did.   And I kept winning.    Almost every game.

I’m not sure when, but at some point I only managed to keep in the top 10 or top 5 where I have stayed ever since, but that has to be the gentlest introduction to PvP I have ever been exposed to.    And in a 100 person murder simulator no less.

No sense of loss at all.   Earn XP by doing well at the game, and carefully managed by the designers, so you don’t earn too much or too little and follow their intended path to Max Level.    Move up and down skill tiers based upon how well you do in the game (The formula has not been shared with The Internet).

I can compare this well with Ingress.

  • The first day I played I could not touch anything the other players were doing, because I didn’t understand the game and their power was logarithmically higher than mine.
  • My attacks the first day were laughably weak and didn’t do any damage.   Not that I understood that, I just noticed that nothing was happening.
  • Every defense was a loss.    Both on my first day, and on my last day – it’s impossible to defend, leading to a losing experience.   Sure, you just rebuild, but in the moment you lost, if it was a portal or field you wanted to keep up.
  • Every bot account was player created and dedicated to spying or cheating.

What a different experience than I’m used to for anything PvP.   New players are just fresh meat to be beat up on until they can rise to the occasion; or just beat up on until they quit.   Not Fortnite.   Epic carefully holds peoples hands and skillfully matchmakes them to create enjoyable experiences.

I think I’m hooked now, for the moment anyway.    And a lot of it comes back to that intoxicating feeling of beating 100 other people at The Hunger Games – whatever the truth of that is – and gives me a window in the success of Epic.