More at the link.
Here's Mighty Goat, one of the many struggling streamers uploading reams of candy-coated Fortnite: Battle Royale videos to the internet every day. His library is manicured with startling efficiency—a legion of jump-pad highlights, cross-country snipes, and garish guides informing elementary school kids how to acquire the latest skins. But last month, in the middle of all that, he tried something different. "Look, I know everyone and their mother plays Battle Royale right now, but we're gonna play the new—well I guess it's not new—but it's new to me, Save The World," he says. "It's like the campaign version of Fortnite. I've never played it. I've never even seen videos on it."
It's both funny and tragic to watch a career SEO miner play through the version of Fortnite Epic spent six years developing—the soul of what this game was long before Drake, Travis Scott, and JuJu Smith-Schuster showed up. My favorites are the comments that dot Mighty Goat's videos; they're full of surly disciples excoriating him every time he says "This reminds me of Fortnite!" as he tours the Save The World infrastructure. "This is Fortnite," they hiss. "Battle Royale is not Fortnite."
"When I first started playing Fortnite I didn't know a lot about it," says Peter, 34, originally from Ireland and now living in Canada. "In fact, I thought it was some sort of Overwatch clone. As soon as I started playing I could tell this was not your normal multiplayer game and I struggled to put the game down. I lost days and weeks in the game but I loved every second. As time went by I would put aside a little bit of money every week which I would spend on Vbucks. Over the 6 months or so since I have long finished all my quest missions yet I still play the game almost every day. The game mechanics keep me coming back, pure and simply."
I met Peter through the Fortnite subreddit, which is still called r/Fortnite, and is served with a tongue-clucking disclaimer in the FAQ that if you're looking for the Battle Royale forum, you will need to point your browser in the direction of r/FortniteBR. This wasn't my first time soliciting the tenor of a game's community through Reddit, but when I made my post, saying I was a journalist looking to interview some vanilla Fortnite superfans about the state of their nation, the intensity of the response surprised me. I'm generalizing, but it certainly felt like those who responded were desperate to say their piece on a game they're passionate about before it was too late. My inbox filled up in a way it rarely does. It must feel strange to see Fortnite on top of the world and still feel left out in the cold.
"[We] had already spent time and experience leveling [these weapons] up," says self-described Fortnite superfan Brandon. "The few times [Epic] has earned a little good will from the community such as hoverboards, they have followed it up with something like this reroll issue. For me, they have pretty much lost any good faith that I had left in them. They keep saying 'we can and will do better,' when it comes to communication, and then they do things like not release the patch notes until the patch is going live."
Unlike Peter, Brandon predicts a darker forecast for vanilla Fortnite. "I don't think people are buying Llamas, [the Save The World lootbox equivalent,] so it probably sees little financial return compared to the six year investment Epic has already made," he says. "Once Saves The World goes free-to-play, [which is scheduled for sometime before the end of the year,] it would be that much easier to sever it if Battle Royale is still a hit."
More at the link.