I wonder if Epic understood the scale of the Pandora’s Box it was opening when it decided to remove building this season.
Today, Fortnite adds a new game mode called Zero Build that switches Fortnite‘s building mechanic off. The Zero Build mode now will sit among others on the Discover screen across Solos, Duos, Trios, and Squads. The move was announced via the official Fortnite blog. Chapter Three, Season Two introduced the Zero Build game type in March. Zero Build was designed to give the new Fortnite season a fresh feel, and it worked. Zero Build proved an instant hit, luring in lapsed players and drawing in a wave of new players put off by the complexity of the building mechanic.
When Epic announced the changes, a large swath of the community begged the developer to make Zero Build permanent. In the weeks since, however, the building argument has now split the Fortnite community cleanly down the middle. Many players have cheered its removal as a way of flattening the proverbial playing field and making the game fairer. Other long-time players bemoaned the change, complaining that building was what set Fortnite apart from other battle royale games.
What are the primary arguments for and against building in Fortnite?
The No Building camp argues that building creates a hard skill divide. It conveys an instant advantage, creating cover and high ground positioning on the fly. For new players and those without the time to master it, it’s almost impossible to bring a good builder down. Precious inventory slots must be committed to anti-building items like firefly jars and grenades, just in case a cranker (a community term for experienced builders) is encountered.
The Pro Building camp’s argument that abolishing building removes Fortnite‘s key market differential is a sound one. Without it, Fortnite becomes similar to any other battle royale title on the market, a point laid out by prominent YouTuber McCreamy in a recent YouTube video. The pro-building camp also argues, correctly, that the Chapter Three map was created with building foremost in mind. Without it, many points on the map become unreachable or unusable. The game’s destructible environments are also shredded by weapon fire and all the giant vehicles rolling around this season, meaning many builders suddenly feel quite exposed.
This final observation is, of course, the entire point of the Zero Build mode. It forces players to think differently, make more effective maneuvering decisions, and make the best of what they have.
It’s safe to say Epic has used this early part of C3S2 as a testbed on the community response to No Building. I wonder if it could have predicted the surge of interest the change has created.
It’ll go back to normal after this, right?
Yes, probably. It seems like Epic envisioned Zero Build as a standard LTM, or Limited Time Event. These are special modes adjacent to the main Battle Royale game that make fun or interesting changes to the format but aren’t strong enough on their own to be a permanent fixture. Zero Build appears to be the first stage of an olive branch, a way for Epic to offer the best of both worlds. Though the standard game format has not yet returned, the indication is that when it does, Zero Build will remain for those who prefer it.
Whether Zero Build will remain an LTM or become a permanent addition to the game’s mode roster remains to be seen.
So, for now, the Pro Building camp will have to put up with Zero Build while everyone else has a nice time.