Fortnite’s Latest Season is a Strange Beast Without Building

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Fortnite’s changing a ton of things up with Season 2, but taking out building entirely is both the strangest and most interesting adjustments.

Expanding off the foundational PUBG, basically, every battle royale game has found its own niche through unique mechanics, style, and other characteristics unlike any other comparable title in the genre. What set Fortnite apart from the rest was the Building mechanics; dedicated base-building capabilities leftover from the game’s origins as a defence/survival game. One of the most iconic parts of Epic Games’ battle royale title, a squad’s offensive and defensive capability is largely defined by players’ abilities to build and counter-build around opponents. Theoretically, the removal of building from the game would drastically alter the game’s meta, and that’s exactly what’s happening now.

With Season 2 of Chapter 3, Fortnite has temporarily disabled building in favour of some similarly drastic changes to movement abilities and other major balance changes. Among other things like Doctor Strange headlining the next battle pass, the short-term shift away from building leaves in favour of an additional over shield, a tactical sprint, and a new mantle/parkour system. It is a surprising departure, even for a game known for its shape-shifting meta and unpredictability, and has effectively turned Fortnite into a very different game. It is still a temporary change, but Fortnite has never changed as drastically as eliminating the building mechanics, and the results have been unusual.

Fortnite: Building and Movement Changes in Season 2

While there isn’t exactly a complex reason from the story, besides “Building has been wiped out,” Fortnite will not have any building from now until April 3. Any kinds of walls or traps cannot be placed, though players can still use their pickaxe to break through geometry. In place of being able to build cover at will with resources, Epic Games has substituted this with an over shield on all players. Players will have a bar of 50 extra health that takes priority over traditional health and shields and will recover when outside of combat as well. However, beyond just adding another shield, players will have access to a number of new movement options as well.

Alongside the existing combat slide that players could do after sprinting, players now have a new higher-speed sprint, the ability to mantle up and over ledges, as well as the ability to bash down doors. Similar to Call of Duty: Warzone, players can now utilize a second sprint that’s faster, but forces players to put their weapons away for a boost in speed. There’s only a certain amount of stamina available for super sprint, so players have to use it sparingly. When it comes to mantling, it allows players to clamber and climb up most surfaces for a boost in verticality. Lastly is the shoulder bash, which just opens doors faster, and also allows players to slide through doors.

How Fortnite Changes with No Building

Despite Fortnite adding the ability to swing from a web like Spider-Man, among the many other surprising new mechanics added to the game, removing building is arguably the biggest change. Building has been a defining feature of Fortnite since the very beginning, even before the battle royale mode existed with Save the World. Plenty of other battle royale games don’t have building mechanics, but that’s largely in place of another defining feature (like a tactical sprint in Warzone, or the hero abilities in Apex Legends) instead. Taking out buildings, and replacing it with movement features found in other battle royale games, makes Fortnite a very different game.

The focus on farming resources with pickaxe becomes way more diminished, instead focused more on using the environment to the player’s advantage. The island’s layout becomes vastly more important for traversal since players can’t erect cover when a gunfight starts up. The added mobility means players can reposition in a variety of different ways, but it makes traversing the many open areas of the map far more dangerous. It means later fights as the circle tightens will become much tenser, as players won’t be able to utilize towering to minimize risk during engagements. The potential for quicker and more twitchy gameplay is much greater now.

Granted Fortnite will presumably return to “normal” at the beginning of April, but for now, the game is very different. It’s a bit strange to get used to, especially for seasoned Fortnite players who are used to complex offensive/defensive building. This is all in tandem with all the other unique aspects of Fortnite‘s Season 2, like all the IO tanks and blimps, among other changes. It’s also worth pointing out that the building is still available in a competitive queue, so that remains rightfully unaffected. That being said, Fortnite is a strange experience without building. Even if it’s only temporary, players have to adapt their playstyle to a completely new meta and gameplay style.

Fortnite is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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