With Fortnite Season 7’s announcement came the news that Epic is changing how the Battle Pass works this season and is letting players choose the order in which they unlock rewards through a new currency called Battle Stars. Although this idea is a good one, in execution it ends up as more of an illusion of choice than a genuine improvement.
When talking about the Battle Stars on its blog post, Epic said that the purpose was to allow players more customisation and put them behind the wheel. That’s what it sounds like in theory anyway, giving you the ability to choose what outfits and bonuses you get first and the option to ignore the ones you don’t care for. Sprays and music tracks? No thanks, I’m going for the gliders and pickaxes.
Problems arise pretty much straight away though. Each page and its associated rewards still have a level tied to them. So, to get all of the items on page 4, you’ll need to be level 50, which means there’s still a direct order in which you can unlock things. Sure, you can now choose to get a glider before a spray, but if you want to get that sweet sweet Rick skin, you’ll need to be Level 100.
Another problem comes with the fact that to unlock any of the actual character skins, you’ll need to get all of the other items on a page first. If you’re someone who is just interested in getting the characters, you’re out of luck as you’ll still need to unlock everything on the pass. You might as well not have the choice at all when it’s this restricting and arbitrary.
The only time it seems like it’ll come in handy is if you’re really wanting to unlock a specific glider or back bling first. Even then, you’ll still need to unlock everything else on the page to get the associated character skin, so it just feels pointless. These design choices aren’t offensive or anything, they’re just completely pointless and change very little about the battle pass experience.
More than anything else, it feels a little tone-deaf to some of the actual issues that come with these systems. Getting to Level 100 and earning everything may seem like an easy task to people constantly playing Fortnite, but not everyone has that sort of time. Therefore, locking eye-catching characters like Rick behind the last level feels a little unfair and means that only the most consistent players will get the Pickle man. This has been an issue with other seasons as well, with Baby Yoda being a level 100 unlock in the bounty hunter season, and Iron Man being a pretty high level unlock when the Marvel pass rolled around.
I was excited to unlock Rick and meme it up, but unless I’m committing the next couple of weeks to Fortnite, I won’t be getting the character at all. Otherwise, I can just pay a whole bunch of V-bucks to skip to the last level immediately, and at that point, I’d rather just pay for Rick himself. Similarly, Superman isn’t even available as of the time of writing, which makes the pass as a whole feel a little anti-climatic. Sure, some of the outfits on offer are pretty cool, but when two of your biggest draws have such big asterisks next to their unlocks, it’s a bit deflating.
If Epic is really wanting to make changes to the battle pass, I’m all for it, but for that to happen they need to, you know, actually make some changes rather than adding some extra steps and calling player choice.
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