I cannot believe how much Fortnite/Epic are being rewarded

After the major blowout of loot boxes from Battlefront at the end of last year I really thought Fortnite was going to be in line for getting publicly dragged, but they have thrived instead.

I tried out the Battle Royale mode for a few hours and went up like 5 or 6 “tiers” in the game (which is separate from levels) and only ever unlocked an emote. when I looked ahead to future unlocks as a free player i saw that i would get 100 Victory Points at tier 14 despite nothing in the in-game shop being less than 150 VP. When you go to the level-up/unlock screen you see the “free” path of unlocks, which is one simple thing every 6 - 7 tiers and the “paid” path which unlocks at least 3 rewards every tier. not to mention being advertised for the VP bundles (real cash for thousands of VP at once) when you want to look at the shop.

Am i totally missing something here? When Epic put the game in Early Access and then put physical copies of their SOON TO BE FREE TO PLAY GAME on retail shelves they should have been knocked for misleading uninformed consumers that will buy the game without ever knowing the F2P plan. Then they load up this free BR mode that uses the worst forms of mobile economy manipulation and people have seemed to separate the BR mode from the original horde mode that is definitely less popular, but is being fully subsidized by the microtransactions in BR and anytime someone decides to actually buy the game.

please, someone tell me why Epic is being aloud to run this game this way. Because to me, this is some of the most unethically run games.

You make a good point here, but probably the reason you don’t see them getting dragged much is people who would be writing about it are informed of the f2p situation and it slips their minds that there might be people who wouldn’t be? I mean I don’t know that to be the case, but it seems a reasonable guess.

edit: I also have no idea what the packaging on the physical copies looks like and how clear it makes things, so it’s entirely possible it’s not as sketch as you suggest


For one, there’s the fact that Fortnite is free-to-play, which automatically makes people a lot less critical of anything it does monetization-wise. I’m not necessarily saying that makes what their model OK - it’s just a fact that most people will be a lot less critical of how a free-to-play game does these things.

For the most part, though, I believe it’s good timing on the side of epic. Most people are kinda spent talking about loot boxes, and while Fortnite is incredibly popular, it has flown underneath the radar of most of the more critical commentators of business practices. I have seen individual players criticize the game along similar lines as you have, but not enough to where Epic would feel compelled to change anything.

Sometimes it’s all about knowing when to put your exploitative system out there.


I’m not really understanding the issue you have with the Battle Royale mode as it’s 100% free to play the gameplay portion of it with the only thing behind microtransactions being cosmetics.

In regards to it being like mobile microtransactions or manipulation of the consumer it is far from being close to some of the gross practice happening in that section of the industry. When someone at Epic is profiling top spenders to cater to them or is giving people who have spent over X amount an exclusive store with offers only available to them then we will have hit close to the level of mobile gaming consumer manipulation.

There are other F2P games that sell physical copies in stores, it’s not illegal. Is it disingenuous? Certainly but not illegal. Riot Games used to sell a physical boxed copy of League and no one really cared as an example.

Probably because they are not actually doing anything illegal and most people have no problem with their business model. It’s not like Battlefield Heroes or Battlefront 2 where you could put money into the game to get an advantage.

I honestly can’t stand Fortnite BR, but there is nothing shady going on here. Battlefront 2 was ripped to shreds because items with serious gameplay consequences were behind a paywall, and the game already cost anywhere from 60 to 100 dollars out the gate. BR mode is completely free, and if you pay you get some cool new colors for your pickaxe and stuff i guess? nothing that affects the gameplay, because everytime you jump out of that bus you’re just as capable as any of the other 99 players in your match.

Yeah, I understand the in-store selling is odd, but I beleive that is for “Save the World”, and not for Fortnite Battle Royale. It may not be completely ethical, but you are also comparing a PvP game content with the PvE content that could soon to be free to play. I’m not sure if “Save the World” will be free to play since it appears most of the development team is focusing on BR since that is their moneymaker.

Also, EA was in trouble because their loot boxes were pay to win, and completely altered every player experience based upon how good of “Star cards” you had. Fortnite BR has no “loot boxes”, and allows you to pay for the battle pass for $10 and get more character skins, pickaxes, dances, emotes etc, (also you get 1,000 vbucks which means you get your vbucks back from buying the season pass). Since there items are simply cosmetic, I don’t see a problem with it.

I’ve also been playing BR since September 26th, 2017 when it came out, and fell in love with the game. PUBG wasn’t my jam, but the newfound hate for Fortnite BR is becoming a bit…annoying, and I will defend it whenever I can!


I haven’t seen it in stores, but I think he is talking about the “Save the World” that you can buy, and not BR. I may be wrong though.

Fortnite deserves as much flak as the rest of the industry for loot box mechanics, but let’s not get carried away and call them out for particularly egregious behavior. By loot box standards, Epic has been pretty “ethical” all told. Items are cosmetic only with no impact to gameplay, and there’s very little pressure to buy the battle pass. I’ve put dozens of hours into Fortnite BR since launch and haven’t dropped a cent on it, and I’d imagine for most players it’s the same situation.

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I think we also need to be clear about the loot system between the two game modes that make up Fortnite.

Fortnite - Save the World: Has Lootboxes (llamas), and “can” make the game easier, and should receive
flak for that, but you can also grind out these items (although it takes forever, and the loot box is just a dangerous carrot that doesn’t guarantee progress). This is also strictly PvE though, and the pay to win factor isn’t as egregious since you aren’t getting a one up on human competition. Although I would say the llamas are the perfect definition of a lootbox since they are exploitative.

Fortnite: Battle Royale - Simply cosmetic, and no loot boxes at all. You get to pick from the store, and no items are random.

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Fair point. I have not played any of Save the World and cannot speak to that.

It should be pointed out that no loot box system is ethical. They all prey on the compulsions and needs of a certain group of the population; they are all predatory in nature. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of excusing a certain manifestation of the phenomenon for not being the absolutely worst possible as the industry constantly goes further and further with its business models.


i didn’t think that there were lootboxes at all in battle royale. you can buy stuff (at ridiculous prices) but you always know what you’re buying, and it’s always cosmetic.

you’re right in pointing out that the “free” progression tier is an absolute joke. there’s nothing there. if you’re interested in any sort of progression/unlock you have to buy in for ten bucks (which i do think is a fair price). my guess is that most people who are playing battle royale have spent at least that $10. when i first started playing a month or so ago there were plenty of people (the majority, even) running around with the default no-pay skins. now the vast majority of people i’m playing against have skins that have been purchased either direct via the store or through the paid progression system.

No, you’re right, there are no loot boxes in Fortnite BR to the best of my knowledge. I was making a general point.

i’m not ever anyone who wants to be like “aw leave the big huge corporation alooooone” but “i bought a thing and got less of a thing than i wanted!” is not something i can work up much emotion about

the problem with loot boxes is that they’re exploiting ppl w gambling addictions etc not … idk, false advertising?


Honestly, we should be talking about Overwatch instead. Every time there’s an event, I see loads of tweets about folks putting in lots of money but not getting the skins they want. That’s exploitation right there.


This is the thing though, one section is free to play and you download the game as a whole when you get it free. They just lock off the Save the World mode but its right there.

My problem with the physical copies is 1) they are asking for early access funds to keep subsidizing Save the World mode and puttong the money behind getting physical copies manufactured and out with retailers seems lkke a waste. 2) unless theres a giant sticker sonewhere that tells the consumer that the game is planned to go free to play and has been from the start, they are actively preying on the uninformed person that just wants to buy a fun looking game for a friend or family member.

Its all one product. If you go with the free digital download you start in a main menu that shiws you Save the World and Battle Royale. If you buy the physical copy you syart in that same main menu.

I think its all oart of the same problem. These games are bith popular and bliwing up this they seem to be getting a pass for crap.

Its not so much the “less of a thing” but they are clearly shoving in your face everything you could be getting if you put in money. And their progression system is almost pointless as a free player because the reward unlocks are not only few and far between but minimal when you do unlock.