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Fortnite Zero Build makes the game better for everyone

Fortnite recently added an all-new game playlist that strips the game of what many saw as its core mechanic: Building. That addition came as a bit of a shock, especially if you’re used to seeing clips of players constructing two-story mansions in an instant. While clips like that have always turned heads, they’ve also made the game daunting for casual players who don’t have building skills.

Fortnite Zero Build Official Gameplay Trailer - No Build Battle Royale

The game quite literally forced players to work around the feature or master it to truly get enjoyment out of the game. That is until Epic made one of the best decisions possible and made a mode for “the big kids” that just want to keep things between you, me, and my guns. That’s made the game better for all players, casual and diehard alike.

Shoot your shot

When Fortnite‘s Zero Build mode launched, it received a lot of fanfare from players. While most of the buzz came from casuals who couldn’t keep up with the high-skill build meta, there was surprising hype from pro players. Fortnite diehards like Upshall Games and Ninja have praised the new mode and play it almost exclusively now. Epic managed to make everyone happy with a revelatory addition — one that’s left players wondering just why the heck a mode like this wasn’t included in the game in the first place.

Fortnite with no building > most fun I’ve had on Fortnite in YEARS.

— Ninja (@Ninja) March 22, 2022

During the initial release week of Zero Builds, my Twitter feed was suddenly full of new Fortnite players. I’ve even got my partner and sister, who aren’t the biggest gamers around, to find even more enjoyment in the game thanks to the mode and how feasible it is for almost anyone to win (especially in team playlists). It’s a little mind-blowing that the game now feels more welcoming to more players five years in. And what’s especially impressive is that no-build doesn’t remove the tech skill that high-level players love.

I like to move it, move it

In hindsight, it seems like the Fortnite team has been planning to drop Zero Build ever since it started updating the game’s movement. First, a slide move gave players a new groove and was then followed by a full-on tactical sprint and the ability to do some hardcore parkour with mantling. Taking a note from the book of Apex Legends, movement is now key in the world of Fortnite and that goes double for Zero Build mode.

Three characters sprinting on a roof in Fortnite.

Without the ability to build away from situations and into mix-up tactics, players must rely on their feet and awareness alone to dodge crossfire and hit their mark. For example, a popular maneuver I’ve gotten tons of mileage from is the shotgun slide. This entails running up to an enemy and sliding all while shooting until you get behind them. It’s hard to track unless you’re expecting it or can counter with movement of your own.

While I can already do so much, we’re still in Zero Build’s infancy. That means the game could continually evolve as players discover more movement techniques and playstyles. Epic is pushing new ideas and seeing what works in the mode with further updates, as seen with another new movement mechanic in the jetpack item, which is an amazing tool for aerial strafing and sneaky cross-up shots.

The problem with builds

There have always been issues with building in Fortnite despite it being the main mechanic of the game for so long. Of course, anyone can build, but in a game this popular with such a varied player base, some treated it as an optional mechanic.

I wanna get into fortnite comp so bad but 40 ping is fucking laughable. I can’t hold walls, and people with 0 ping can shoot you thru builds with certain weapons. Shits wack.

— para (@Parallax_) December 9, 2019

The same even goes for pros who have seen building as a feature that cuts into the smoother flow of the game. With builds, every confrontation turned into an annoying game of chess thanks to wall holding, which gets frustrating when you factor in inconsistent internet performance. Players like Upshall have cited issues like that when talking about why they enjoy Zero Build so much.

Fortnite w/ no building gives me the hardest OG fortnite vibes ever.

Enjoy this simple but clean shockwave clip.

— Ninja (@Ninja) March 25, 2022

Despite already being the biggest game on Earth, Fortnite is now somehow in an even better place than it was before. I never imagined that a game this large would get even larger five years later, but that’s what happens when studios look to open a game up to more than just its hardcore base.

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DeAngelo Epps
De'Angelo Epps is a gaming writer passionate about the culture, communities, and industry surrounding gaming. His work ranges…
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