Fortnite

Compulsion over Quality: Stop it EPIC games!

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Let's be clear: this is a good game.

It needs polish, but the core of it is good.

What isn't good, is the methods this game uses to make a habit out gaming — a compulsion.


Compulsion: Limited-time

Instead of story content for all players to discover as they progress, we've gotten content was made to be thrown away (or "Disney Vault"-ing it). Content that was designed specifically to make us "play now, get the limited-time rewards, before it's gone forever".

This is not what's good for us as gamers, this is not why we want to play the game. This is a trap designed to compel us against our best interests to play Fortnite as much as possible.

There is no reason for this, because again: this IS a good game — that needs more polish.


Compulsion: Daily Tech Point Grind

The tech tree being split in two so only if you log in regularly to get all the "tech points" with their roughly 8-24 hour cap on maximum held points adds to this. The added fact that you even have a cap on those points is added evidence that this system was designed not with the player's health or benefit in mind, but for the sole fact of ensuring we play as often as possible.

The rest system in WoW actually combats gaming compulsion, as it rewards you for not playing for extended periods of time. Yes, WoW has a cap on how much rest you can earn, but the cap is a comparatively long amount of time (nearly a full 1.5 levels worth). If EPIC either tripled or removed the research point cap that would help from forcing players to play when they maybe don't want to.


Compulsion: "Daily" Quests

A small kudos is in order amid this rant, as EPIC did consider it's players needs by allowing us to save up 3 of these, vs having this intense pressure of needing to get (roughly) 3 matches in every day in order to keep up with these.

However, that just adds to the curiosity of what their design doctrine is when it comes into consideration with the other compulsive elements in the game now.

If we're suppose to play each week (below), and we're suppose to log in 1 to 3 times a day to collect all of our research points, as well as log in each season to get the "story" content that is here for a limited time, what does their ideal player look like from a design perspective? That's not rhetorical, I legitimately want to know how often they designed this game to occupy time in the average player's weekly and monthly life.

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Compulsion: Weekly store

Again, a small kudo as the weekly store and event store fixed a lot of the unlikable RNGness of this game.

However, this thing resets every 7 days, so in reference to my question above, how many hours a week do they expect us to play?

Often the special item of the week will be 3,200 seasonal gold. So to earn just that alone we're talking 32 matches a week for the average plankerton player (which, since they haven't touched Canny's story since launch, is likely where most of their playerbase is). So… They want us to play 3 matches a day (21/week or 8.75 hours weekly)? or do they want us to play 6.5 matches a week (2.7 hours weekly)? Or do they want us to play 32 matches a week (13.3 hours weekly)?


Compulsion: Other elements

All of this is before we discuss the grind-by-design of the loot llama at launch, where you had no choice but to pray to RNG-Jesus that you would roll a hero or gun you would actually want to play, and then hope to luck that it was epic or legendary, on top of dreading that the rolls weren't shit.

But this is the ray of hope, as it may have taken them almost a year but they have addressed the grind that this game had with it's punishing RNG elements that tried to make us compulsive players like Gambling addicts — putting our vbucks into the slot machine and hoping for a jackpot.

That element has been extremely mitigated now, even if that is still their core business model. But it gives me hope that we will have another ray of hope in the near future: Ray in Canny Valley and beyond, an increase in the cap before collection for Research Points, the ability to queue up more daily quests, so everything leans towards a "play it for 9 hours on your weekend" instead of a "play it all the time, every time you get a second, or you might miss out!" like it is now.


Conclusion / TL:DR

Instead of focusing on developing the best game possible, EPIC is developing this game to make you feel "an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one's conscious wishes" (Compulsion) instead of making you "enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity." (addicted).

I LIKE the gameplay of Fortnite, I LIKE the building, the defending, the shooting. But in order to afford to support this game I love (the Ultimate Edition for me and the Limited edition for my kid), I need to work, I need to have a life outside of games and work, and Fortnite isn't very well designed for that right now.


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