Developer Epic Games issued an apology last night after several fans of Fortnite, a surprisingly cute player vs. environment game about surviving the apocalypse, were caught off guard when their laboured-after bases disappeared. The unannounced change was a part of a patch yesterday for the Early Access game.
Players say they spent several dozen hours constructing bases on the Plankerton, Canny Valley or Twine maps, only for these bases to be suddenly removed yesterday. In Fortnite, bases reflect players' advancement through the game and grant rewards such as better stats for players and their allies. A major part of Fortnite's appeal is constructing and strategising around those bases.
A big patch yesterday made changes to Fortnite's UI and added bug fixes. It also removed player bases on maps where the changes made these bases inconsistent. Unfortunately, this big base demolition wasn't announced prior to the patch or in Epic Games' first version of their patch notes. Players were not pleased:
This is crazy, I apparently had used over 33k steel and 50k stone over dozens of hours.
You should have given us at least a 24 hour notice.
— Thorlord (@Thorlord) August 4, 2017
It's good that you have given resources back.. But what about time? I personally spent many hours, building, upgrading and designing. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/cjNsR7BIIX
— Buck (@ItsJust_Buck) August 4, 2017
54/15 inventory representing 50-60 hours of building lost. How to lose a fanbase right here. pic.twitter.com/w7MnwD8sAy
— Pete Souza (@psouza4) August 4, 2017
I spent 20 + hours tuning Plank base. This ruins the game for me and after being told there would be no resets after EA launch... Lamas plz!
— whyman (@whyman) August 4, 2017
Bases were supposed to be permanent. I spent over 10 hours building in Plankerton and now you expect me to do it all over again? Fuck that.
— Naota Nandaba (@NNandaba90) August 4, 2017
Epic Games immediately responded to players' complaints and issued a very candid apology. A representative explained that Epic Games was tweaking the game's balance at higher difficulties and, as a result, had to change up some maps. Some bases would conflict with the map changes. Epic Games says:
OK first we messed up in missing a HUGE part of our patch notes. I apologise. We understand how much time you have invested in building your Storm Shield base, it's your home, your defence, your vision, we feel that way too. We will be dedicated in providing detailed at patch notes going forward. In our haste to get this patch out we missed clarifying tweaks to the Plankerton, Canny Valley and Twine Peaks Storm Shield maps... As we move through Early Access we will be modifying the game and making changes to improve the experience, at times this will mean changes that require refunds to core systems like the skill tree, research tree, and storm shields.
Fortnite's community has been exceptionally understanding after Epic Games explained their decision. (In my experience, the game's community has been uniformly kind.) That's in part because Epic refunded players' building materials. Also, in part, it's because a lot of players welcomed the opportunity to build better bases. These kinds of things happen in Early Access games, and it's uplifting to see the community respond with such sympathy after everything was explained.