Fortnite

Fortnite’s Challenges Have Gotten Way Too Easy

I really wish that Fortnite would embrace the best parts of its weekly challenge system and get rid of this new tendency to hold players’ hands all the time.

It started with the in-game challenge map. Suddenly, players could simply see exactly where to go for 90% of the challenges that required any sort of searching. Making matters worse, most challenges these days spell out exactly where to go to begin with, specifying the Named Location you need to search.

Season 7 Is Worse Than Ever

There are many good things about Season 7 of Fortnite and a few things I dislike, but the challenges have just gotten even more ridiculous, despite the cool narrative stuff found in the weekly Legendary Quests.

In Season 7, however, challenges have been watered down even more. In the current week’s Legendary Quest lineup we have two potentially interesting challenges:

  • Collect a vintage can of cat food in Catty Corner or Craggy Cliffs
  • Collect a vase of flowers from Lazy Lake

Notice how both these challenges immediately spell out where to find the item. In challenges of Fortnite past, these would be much less specific. Something like:

  • Collect vintage cans of cat food (5)
  • Collect a vase of flowers from beside a long swimming pool (1)

The first challenge would now require you to collect 5 vintage cans of cat food. You wouldn’t know where to go, but you could guess that maybe some of them would be near Catty Corner since it’s a cat-themed location.

The second challenge would still require you to find a vase, but you’d have to go looking near swimming pools that fit the description. There’s one in Lazy Lake, so you could go look there . . . .

What makes these challenges even more insulting, however, is just how many options you have to find these cat food cans and vases. You only need one vase, you know where it is because of the challenge title, and then when you go to Lazy Lake there are a total of eight different vases you can collect. You only need one, you know where to go, and you have eight different places to find one. How is that a challenge at all?

Same with vintage cans of cat food. You just need one, but there are four different cans at each of the two locations. That’s eight different spots to complete the “challenge.”

Challenges Are Satisfying Because Of The Challenge

One thing I liked about the Search Between challenges of Fortnite Chapter 1 is that they gave hints that you could figure out for yourself but that weren’t blatantly obvious. Search between a Farm House, a Race Track and a Gas Station is pretty easy to figure out, but at least it isn’t just right there on the in-game map. At least it makes you do a little bit of digging. And older challenges, like finding Gnomes, didn’t show you exactly where to look, but the gnomes would often make a little sound when you were near, clueing you into their proximity.

And sure, many people would obviously just turn to guides instead, but even that takes a little bit of work. You have to choose to figure it out yourself or go look it up online. Either requires some time and effort. It isn’t just right there for you in the game itself, spelled out in bright lights. That’s not a challenge—that’s just a guide.

I’m reminded of the very puzzling option in the new Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PS5 exclusive that allows you to just skip any puzzle you please. Get frustrated, simply pause the game and skip ahead. That may save you some frustration, but it robs you of the satisfaction you get from beating a hard puzzle. At the very least don’t make it an option right away.

Video games don’t always have to be challenging, of course, but a lot of the satisfaction we get out of them is won through overcoming challenges, beating the odds, figuring out puzzles, finally taking down a difficult boss or platforming your way through a perilous stage.

Being able to just skip all of this, having “challenges” that hold your hand from start to finish, and just generally dumbing down video games will not make them better or more fun.

The Good Old Days

Fortnite would be better-served by making its challenges more challenging. It used to be that at the end of each week’s challenges, if you finished all of them, you’d earn a special Loading Screen. Within that Loading Screen was a clue pointing to the location of a secret Battle Star. This was really fun, rewarding players who completed all the challenges but not by just giving them that extra Battle Star—they still had to go look for it.

Likewise, the special Battle Pass Skin each season would be secret and involved solving a lot of challenges. That made it special and exciting. Now we basically know exactly who the secret skin will be each season and it’s insanely easy to get. At least Deadpool was presented in a humorous way and had his own weekly challenges to solve, which were often quite clever.

This extends beyond challenges. When the comet appeared in the sky way back in Season 3 (Chapter 1) there was no fanfare—just fan theories. There was no countdown timer to the big event. We had to do some guesswork and fans had fun posting their theories about the demise of Tilted Towers and so forth. Now we have too much information and not enough mystery or suspense. (I could go on about how so many licensed skins from Marvel, DC, Star Wars etc. etc. etc. water down the game as well but that’s another story for another time).

I’ve written before about how messy and unnecessarily busy the new NPC system is. It’s harder to navigate challenges, to see which week’s you’ve completed. There are even timed challenges now that expire after a week. In many ways, simply seeing what challenges you have to complete is more difficult than ever, while actually completing those challenges is easier and less interesting than ever.

Here’s my video on this subject:

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