The real problem isn’t that missions are too long

4bd581a1a08ad6e0eaa0c51869130801  1200x630 1024x538 - The real problem isn't that missions are too long

but rather they are too repetitive

Hey guys, I'm Whitesushi and I want to address this issue which has been brought up fairly frequently in the past few months. To start, let's first examine the missions in the game. They usually range anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes with the fastest being single atlas missions where you drop your BluGlo and start and the slowest being encampments/ radars/ survivors that force you to extract only after 20 minutes. Now if we just compare this to literally any other game (yes, I have played all of these)

  • MOBAs (League of Legends, DOTA 2) easily take upwards of 30 minutes per match
  • Battle Royales (FortniteBR, PUBG) easily take upwards of 20 minutes
  • Hero Shooters (Overwatch, Paladins) easily take upwards of 20 minutes

and some other more RPG relevant titles

  • Warframe is an interesting one but we are looking at at least 10 minutes as well with raids going up to 20 to 30 minutes
  • MMORPGs (WoW, FF14, TERA) raids or just dungeons in general can easily take upwards of 20 minutes or even an hour
  • The Division where most games take 10 – 20 minutes (resistance runs) but if you are super experienced, you can finish legendary missions in 5 minutes or so
  • Action RPGs (Diablo 3, Path of Exile) where you can run a map in 5 minutes or so depending on your gear but can also easily take 10 minutes onwards starting out

Well I could go on and on but you guys get the point, 10 to 20 minutes per mission isn't long at all in the grand scheme of things. So why is this "problem" so apparent in the Fortnite community and is hardly brought up at all in all the other RPG games (I want to compare RPGs because it is a lot more relevant to Fortnite). There's actually a handful of reason we can attribute to

#1 Skill isn't rewarded

No matter how good you are at Fortnite, regardless of how much stats you have, there's very little you can do to control the duration of your runs. I could be a PL 100 player going into a PL 1 Stonewood atlas mission and still end up spending the exact same amount of time to complete it as I would playing a PL 100 Twine Peaks atlas mission. This is due to the fact that most of Fortnite's missions run off timers rather than the ability of the player to kill things

I am aware there are exceptions in Stormshield Defense and Horde Bash where you can technically shorten your waves by killing faster but most of the time, at least for missions in general, we face a timer problem

Now compare this to some of the other RPGs I have listed earlier which counts a player's progress in any individual map by either

  • How far they've made in the zone (The Division, MMORPGs) where if I clear an area faster, I can progress onto the next and so on, eventually finishing the mission in a shorter time
  • How many enemies they have killed (Diablo 3, Path of Exile) where our goal is to clear as many enemies as possible for their loot of course and we would just portal out once the map is reasonably clear

The player's experience (skill) as well as his gear has a direct impact in helping him finish a map faster. As such, as a player gets further into the game, he is able to complete these missions faster and this in turn fuels the player's desire to keep playing and progressing so he can get even further/ faster. You don't experience this in Fortnite because you are going to take the same amount of time regardless of how strong you become

#2 There are too little variation to the game modes

Repair the Shelter, Ride the Lightning, Retrieve the Data and basically every other mode besides those 20 minute ones all boil down to the same sequence of defending something for X amount of time. It's kind of funny because I was recently playing with some of my friends who made it to Plankerton and they sounded a little bored of the same few missions so I thought bringing them to do a "Deliver the Bomb" would spice things up. Well, it did

  1. They were really happy that it was something different, building the track and escorting the bomb
  2. Except when the bomb went into the launcher, I heard the same dreadful "you mean we must defend it again?"

Of course, bringing them to do Evacuate the Shelter wasn't any better and they didn't even realize it was EtS (thought it was just Repair the Shelter). Now compare this to other games like

  • Warframe (which offers a diverse selection of gamemodes the range from the regular defense missions to hijack, rescue and finally survival…. not to mention the open world)

  • Diablo 3 / Path of Exile (yea these don't really give many different game modes but many different types of enemies especially when spawned in conjunction to create some insane combos can make or break your run)

  • MMORPGs (with their unique boss mechanics that keeps players on their toes even after they have ran it several times… that is not to mention all the other non-raid non-dungeon gimmicks)

you quickly realize why missions in Fortnite aren't selected for their type, but rather the rewards (and only then you consider the type of mission) and I think that's saying a lot about the game modes, or lack thereof.

#3 Lack of gameplay diversity

This is actually a pretty big one personally and it's the reason why I've been only able to play this game on and off in the recent months. To elaborate, it means that every single game plays out more or less the same and there isn't really much I can do to spice up my gameplay. In case you are wondering what I mean by "more or less the same", it's basically

  1. Get to the objective and setup some simple funnels (or skip this altogether if it's an easy mission)
  2. Spam ability/ shoot/ watch B.A.S.E blow stuff up
  3. Rinse and repeat

Sure I could rotate between the abilities and run slightly different perks on my weapons but ultimately it is just playing the numbers game and there isn't any tangible differences to my playstyle as a result of these variations. On the contrary, we have games like

  • Path of Exile where you can literally run different builds from commanding a horde of minions (and just this alone has like 4 different variations from golems, zombies, spectres and skeletons) to blowing things up with fiery balls (while teleporting around) to just being an aurabot supporting your teammates. The combinations aren't endless but there's a great deal of ways you can mix and match your assets to diversify your gameplay

  • MMORPGs with their typical class systems that further branch into gear sets that scale your character differently. Finally, there's the rotations which players can customize to their own playstyle

  • Warframe is a pretty big one in this regard where almost every weapon feels and plays different and that's not to mention the abilities unique to each Warframe which can be further optimized depending on the mods equipped. Then when you think you are all done with figuring out each warframe and weapon, you start matching them up and create whole new experiences altogether

  • Even The Division has more diversity when it comes to builds as you try to optimize your gear set, the weapon mods and the talents/perks to go along with them

and you just feel this lack of diversity when you go into Fortnite games, so much so that the only times you get some of the bigger variations is when new seasonal event hits and you get some new weapons to play with, some being pretty unique (Neon Launcher, Neon Sniper, Dragon's Roar, Obliterator and the list goes on)… and even these aren't drastically switching up the gameplay


#4 Meaningless grind

This is more of a combination of points #1 and #3 but in essence, I'm trying to say there there isn't really anything for the player to work towards. When we finish a mission, we are rewarded with a plethora of resources from experience to evolution materials to PERK UPs but all these does is increase our numbers. Leveling survivors up make our stats higher, perking weapon perks up make our weapons do damage and so on. However, this isn't a problem in itself because a lot of other games that I have listed suffer from this problem as well. That said, it is a problem when these arbitrary improvement to our numbers doesn't mean anything. We are just farming missions to get stronger so we can farm harder missions.. but for what? On the contrary, you have games like

  • Path of Exile where as your character gets stronger, you can farm maps even faster, start doing bosses and eventually become the proud owner of a perfect gear piece… or you can just play the economy with what you farmed

  • Warframe where you can challenge yourself by playing endless survival runs or just accumulate wealth… and again play the economy… but let's be honest, we just play it for the fashion frame

  • MMORPGs where you can of course play the economy as mentioned above but can also become a big player when it comes to raids and even compete for leaderboards. A lot of MMORPGs also have proper PvP systems so there's like real competition to be had between players and gear plays a huge role in these

Basically, there is meaning to the grind when it either helps you overcome some end-game hurdle like bosses or enables you to engage in miscellaneous activities like playing the economy or player vs player. Unfortunately, Fortnite kind of lacks both at the moment

Fortnite's unique problem

All those problems I have listed aside, I have to give credit to Fortnite for accomplishing something which is rather hard to implement and that is the concept of limited resource. None of the games I have listed above challenges the player in the same way Fortnite does when it comes to managing your resources. Every single mission you play in Fortnite, the player has to make a conscious decision on how much resources he is willing to commit because you

  • Commit too much and you end up spending more time farming for them which in turn translates into a loss of efficiency

  • Commit too little and you risk failing the mission altogether which is even worse

In fact, this design choice indirectly plays into this unique problem Fortnite faces which is that it cannot afford to make missions too short. In a game where building and trapping, especially under limited resource scenarios, are a huge part of the game, players would be unwilling to commit their resources to mere 5 minute ordeals. By shortening missions, we take away the "Fort" in "Fortnite"…. so then it just becomes "nite" (ok nevermind, that was a terrible attempt). Anyway, you guys get the point.

How to fix it?

So can we really fix the problem? For one, shortening mission durations isn't going to fix the issue at hand. Players are just going to get bored of the game faster because now, they are able to experience all their weapons/ heroes at their fullest potential (numbers wise of course) earlier. That said and in the regard of missions timers, I believe implementing a more dynamic timer similar to Warframe would benefit the game greatly. Put it simply

Give players the option to play for as long as they want but in fixed intervals/ waves

That way, players who don't have much time but just want to hop into a game to finish up their dailies can do so in maybe 5 to 10 minutes (with reduced rewards of course) while others who really love to commit into their builds and setup death funnels can continue to do so with their groups for as many waves as they want until the husks eventually overwhelms them (of course with greater rewards but then you don't get the rewards for the section you fail to complete). This not only offers flexibility for players who are just looking to complete the bare necessities, but also provide the more dedicated and hardcore players something to work towards.

And then there's the other problem, diversity

Honestly, this is really hard to fix and it would probably require an overhaul of the game's systems. That said though, I am here to offer solutions not problems and I actually thought of something which could be potentially interesting and that is to split up the game's many systems. (I'm thinking more for heroes but you can totally do this with weapons as well). So what I mean by this is to have, instead of just a subclass,

  1. A hero class
  2. A hero skin
  3. And finally the hero perks

So let's say I want to play B.A.S.E. In order to do so, I must first pick the Constructor because only the Constructor has relevant skills. Next, I would pick a Constructor skin from all the skins I have unlocked based on the subclasses I have previously received from llamas. Finally, I would pick a combination of 11 abilities (with 1 being the default Creative Engineering) to slot onto my Constructor

"BUT THAT'S OP" you might say

Well not exactly. We would need to associate a "perk capacity" to the hero, maybe depending on our level in Constructors and also associate a "perk cost" to each perk available to the Constructor class. This way, Taking a powerful ability like "Power Modulation" could cost us 5 points out of our 30 points total while something like "Exit Plan" could cost only 3. In essence, the player would be able to min-max their character builds which offers diversity while at the same time not making the character insanely broken. Of course, ultimately whether or not it's balanced would have to depend on the costs attributed to the various abilities

As for weapons

Leveling up perks for every single weapon is a pain in the ass. Instead, why not make the perks behave like Warframe mods where once you leveled one up, you can shift it around your various weapons. This way, it is a lot easier to introduce new perks into the game without breaking older ones. It also allows for a lot more diversity when it comes to setting builds up on top of the fact that players no longer have to dump 53208510850154 PERK UPs leveling them up over and over. Of course, we could just balance it with the "perk capacity" thing mentioned above to make certain perks cost more

The Conclusion

I honestly think it is a myth that Fortnite missions are "long" because if you just look at any other game, be it within the same genre or beyond, most matches can easily take more time than the average duration of a Fortnite game. That said, I do feel that the problem is more apparent in Fortnite due to the fact that players are required to farm the same resources over and over just so they can level up similar heroes/weapons/survivors that offer little diversity to their playstyle. In short, it just feels tedious and repetitive.

Is Fortnite a bad game? Of course not because if it was, I wouldn't have played it for over a year. That said, it is a repetitive one and I have played a lot of repetitive games (trust me on this) but Fortnite is just on the "less rewarding" end of the spectrum when it comes to the grind.

Thanks for reading through a kind of post I don't usually write. What do you guys think about what I said? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments

TL;DR Fortnite missions aren't long. They just feel long because they are unrewarding. If Fortnite adopts a system similar to Warframe, the grind can be streamlined tremendously

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