Fortnite has been building without a building for years

It all started with swimming. When Fortnite marked the beginning of its second chapter with the dramatic implosion of the game’s original island, it also added a seemingly small feature: players could finally swim. But since then, the shooter has slowly transformed by making the game faster and more mobile. It may have come as a shock to some when building, one of the defining traits of Fortnite since its inception, it was removed as part of the current season (although this is likely a temporary change). But it is a change that has been a long time coming.

Ever since players could swim, developer Epic has continually added new ways for people to move around in the game. There have been vehicles like planes and cars, zip lines and launch pads that speed you across the map, and even giant monsters that would launch you through the air. Last season introduced two extremely fun new mechanics: one allowed you to slide down mountains at incredible speed, while another involved swinging through trees and buildings as Spider-Man. Not all of these things stay permanently, I really miss Klombo’s goofy monsters, but the ones that do remain have had a huge impact on the way you can navigate. Fortnitethe world

Meanwhile, the current season stands out for a few things. For starters, it adds sprinting and climbing, which, when combined, essentially allow you to parkour sections of the Fortnite island. There are also vertical zip lines so you can quickly reach specific areas high up. When you put this together with all the other changes over the years, you have a very fast moving game, especially when you compare it to the early days of Fortnite.

Which brings us to the build, or lack thereof. The iconic feature has been removed from the game, though most players agree that this is likely a temporary change. For the uninitiated, construction has long been one of the most unique features of Fortnite. Players can gather resources and then build structures to reach high areas or create defensive barriers around them. It’s amazing to see the best players in the world build complex structures in seconds; there is an ability called tunneling, where players build a tunnel around themselves so fast that they can run through it while being protected from incoming fire.

That’s great if you’re competing in the World Cup. But for the average player, building isn’t just tricky: it can slow things down, since you have to pause what you’re doing to start building things. However, the most recent changes to the game allow you to do many of the same things but in a more intuitive way. Instead of building a ramp to get to the second floor of a building, I can now run up and up. Instead of building a wall to block incoming fire, I now have a reload shield. If nothing else, it will be very interesting to see how top Fortnite players adapt to these changes. (Regular players sure seem to be enjoying the new mechanics..)

But the most interesting thing will be what happens when the construction returns to the game. Rumors suggest that his absence will only last the first nine days of this season, which started on Sunday. So it could be a short-term problem in FortniteIt has a surprisingly long life. But, given developer Epic’s propensity for drastic changes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the build looked very different when it returned or if its removal eventually became permanent. One of the things that has kept the game vibrant for so long is that it always changes in new ways. A single update can have a huge impact on the overall experience.

The building is one of Fortnite‘s most defining features, but then again, so was the original island.

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