I was once a fairly avid MMO player (World of Warcraft was my poison of choice), but I eventually fell off the majority of online titles in favor of more personal or party games. There were a few reasons, but one loomed large: I couldn’t keep up. As much as I enjoyed exploring an alternate version of Draenor or wondering whether Nightwing would murder me where I stood, there was always too much to do. Unlike some players, the feeling that I’d never be done and there would always be more was not a comforting one for me. Rather than enticing me to explore, it felt like an ever-growing inbox I’d never see the bottom of.
That’s the thing with a growing game world: expansions are exciting, but they build a backlog. Without good management of that repository of experiences, things can become stale at best, downright daunting at worst. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t approached Fortnite: there’s a lot going on, and I felt like I’d always be behind the times.
Then they straight-up destroyed the game.
Even without preteen nieces and nephews, I would have heard about this eventually. The already infamous “black hole” reboot racked up a record-breaking 7 million views on Twitch, breaking the previous record of 1.7 million viewers tuned in for a game. It went even bigger on Twitter, becoming the platform’s most-viewed live gaming event with 42.8 million pairs of eyeballs taking it all in.
For those who somehow missed the scene, the short version is the entirety of the game’s map was sucked into a black hole, leaving the server a literal void as the game underwent its two-day makeover. When the game returned, it wasn’t with a mere extra feature or city wedged in: it was a reboot.
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From what I know of Fortnite then and what I’m seeing now, this isn’t just an expansion. This is a move that took thought, troubleshooting, and actually weighing player feedback instead of just dropping something new on top. It looks welcoming and exciting, offering players old and new something to explore at the same time.
Plus, I have to admire Epic’s methods. It’s pretty daring to just take your map, push it through a black hole, and leave your servers down for two days. That’s a move that also caught the attention of people who are disinterested in Fortnite… and especially those who might be a little burnt out on its omnipresence in modern geek culture. Watching players freak out over their favorite game blinking into a singularity is going to make that game’s naysayers take notice — and maybe even take interest.
It’s wild, it’s cute, it’s clever, it’s brave… and most of all, it’s encouraging. People who have never tried Fortnite know that trying it now will take them somewhere fresh and open, rather than clambering over multiple patches and additions. It’s being advertised as a good starting point for new players, and I’m inclined to agree.
Does this mean my nieces and nephews might encounter me on the Battle Bus? Possibly. Sorry in advance, Gavin.