Fortnite, like many games, breaks down into two communities, the larger and wildly successful casual community, and the smaller and more dedicated competitive community. But is competition good for Fortnite as a whole?
Who is a part of the Fortnite competitive scene
The overwhelming vast majority of Fortnite players have nothing to do with the competitive scene and have no desire to become a part of it, and that’s fine. While some games might lend themselves to competition well, Fortnite certainly does not. With matches of 100 players, randomness baked in to each game, and weapons having meaningful rarity differences, Fortnite could never reasonably hope to foster a well developed competitive scene. Those who are a part of this scene (mostly) accept this, however, and choose instead to focus on the aspects of the game they can train.
What does competitive Fortnite offer
While most players are non-competitive, the competitive scene benefits casual players as well. Most notably, successful content creators almost always tend to play Fortnite at a competitive level. If you’ve ever enjoyed a stream by Ninja or SypherPK, or used online tutorials to learn how to improve your game, you have benefited from the Fortnite competitive scene. Beyond that, however, the competitive scene often has greater credibility than the casual scene when discussing the game’s problems. Lots of people can claim that something is overpowered, but competitive players can back up their claims with well thought out analysis and thousands of hours of experience playing at a high level. The competitive scene is also responsible for the development of strategies and counter-stratagies which keep Fortnite fresh and exciting.
Where do competitive and casual Fortnite differ
Problems between the two communities of gamers arise when there is a difference of opinion. Currently, it seems that the competitive community seems to find the most recent iteration of Fortnite problematic, while the casual community has been able to enjoy what it has to offer. Part of this difference can simply be that competitive players put so many more hours into the game, creating a situation where a game can become stale if it doesn’t have enough variety.
However, competitive scenes also tend to stick around a well designed game far longer than casual players. Fortnite might be on top of the world at the moment, but if anything should become more popular in the future then we can expect the casual community to be the first ones to move on. Competitive players will have a much harder time leaving behind a game they put so much time and effort and dedication in to.
A common refrain from a different game, in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 it is often said that the only reason the game remained relevant was thanks to a highly dedicated competitive community that stuck with the game for a full decade longer than the casual community. When a sequel was made 11 years later, this competitive community was the reason that game ended up being so well received, and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ended up being one of the biggest games in the fighting game community as a result.
If the developers at Epic want Fortnite to last as a game, they should be sure to listen to their competitive players.