I always give multiplayer phenomenons like Fortnite: Battle Royale a wary look. I’ve been down this road before with Dota 2, DayZ, and too many other games to count, and I’ve been awful and got discouraged each time. Maybe you’re looking at Fortnite the same way right now, refusing to get invested in what threatens to be another protracted blow to your ego. I’ll be honest: you probably will be awful at Fortnite when you first start playing because, on top of the usual skill requirements, it’s a pretty weird game. But you’re still going to have a great time for the same reason. Or more specifically, these seven reasons.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is free-to-play and free-to-suck-at 

The best free-to-play games

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You ever pay full price for a cool new multiplayer game, then realize that you are 100% the worst at it? Maybe it’s been out for a while and every other player knows all the tricks, or maybe the game just doesn’t fit your current skillset. It happens to us all, but it won’t happen with Fortnite: Battle Royale, because it’s free-to-play with only cosmetic microtransactions. In other words, you don’t need to lay out any cash to discover the depths of your terribleness and whether it bothers you too much to keep playing. 

If the idea of fighting and building your way to 100-player victory keeps you excited even as you repeatedly end up on the wrong side of a shotgun blast (or a sniper bullet or a rocket-propelled grenade), great! If you can’t stand getting your cartoon face repeatedly stomped into the cartoon dirt, no problem! Just uninstall it and go on with your life, free of sunk-cost guilt.

Winning’s an unrealistic goal, so why worry about not sucking?

Think about it. There could be as many as 100 players in any given match of Fortnite: Battle Royale. Assuming you’re playing in Solo mode, one of them will win and 99 will lose. No matter what you do, you are… hold on, let me do some calculations here… yep, you are 99 percent likely to be one of those losers. So don’t stress about trying to win.

Here’s a good example: I made it to the final four the other day and lost. You know what my biggest regret was? The fact that I turtled with a boring old sniper rifle instead of breaking out my grenade launcher (I had looted it off the one kill I managed to snag a few minutes). I could have had a great time jumping around and blowing the holy **** out of the other survivors’ precious forts before they managed to shoot me down, and it really stung when I died from peeking out a little too far instead. You bet your festive llama loot box that’s the first thing I’m gonna do the next time I find a grenade launcher.

You don’t have a team to let down when you suck

I enjoy the dynamics of team-focused games like Overwatch or the Battlefield series. But I hate being the weak link on my team, so I end up playing conservatively and stick to what I know (which is usually support classes). When I’m playing Fortnite: Battle Royale in Solo mode, the only person I can mess things up for is myself – and as I established in the last point, that’s no biggie because it was probably going to happen anyway. You can also play Fortnite: Battle Royale in squads or duos, in which case you do have some people theoretically counting on you. But if they’re matchmade randos they probably went off on their own and died 10 minutes ago anyway.

Putting the concerns of teammates aside for a while is incredibly liberating. I’m still gonna happily play Ana and Lucio and other support heroes the next time I go back to Overwatch, but I’m glad to finally have a designated game for being the world’s worst lone wolf.

Sucking at Fortnite is less stressful than sucking at PUBG

In PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds you control a customized, realistic survivor; in Fortnite you control a random cartoon person. In PUBG you parachute out of a cargo plane; in Fortnite you jump out of an impounded school bus with rockets attached. In PUBG, you can attach a grip to your assault rifle for more stability; in Fortnite you can throw bombs that make people dance uncontrollably. There’s room for both in the wide world of video games, but I know which one makes me feel more welcome.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds deserves tons of credit for pushing the battle royale genre from niche audiences into the mainstream. But all those intricate gun models and swappable scopes and ammo types kinda freak me out. It’s hardcore, and it makes me want to be hardcore too… which means I hate it when I flail around and die instead. Did I mention I’m awful at PUBG as well? Fortnite doesn’t take itself too seriously, so I have an easier time shrugging it off when I get wrecked.

Suck at shooting? Maybe you’ll suck less at building

If you’re bad at shooting in most shooting games, you just have to keep shooting until you stop being so bad at shooting. Ipso gosh darn facto. But if you find yourself falling victim to the same cycle of ‘not shooting good enough and dying all the time’ in Fortnite: Battle Royale, consider your failure an invitation to explore the other half of the game: building. Bash down a couple of trees and create some stuff.

Yeah, you can start out with the trusty four-walls-and-a-ramp shelter, that’s an important one to learn. But if no enemies are nearby you might as well get creative: build a whole base, or an expansive labyrinth, or a towering misspelled swear word, anything that will make somebody pause and say “Wow, they really made the **** out of that, didn’t they?” long after you died (because you’re still bad at shooting). The more stuff you build, the more comfortable you’ll be with the tools when you need them in a tense situation. More importantly, it’s fun!

You probably know other people to suck at Fortnite with

Fortnite is huge right now. How huge? It hit a new record of 3.4 million concurrent users on February 4. That’s concurrent as in playing at the same time, and yes it did totally melt the servers for a while. But they came back! The point is that of all the millions of people giving this game a try you probably know at least one or two of them. And great as it may be for lone-wolfing, Fortnite is even more fun when you’re playing with friends. There’s even a kinda glitchy way for PS4 players to party up with pals on PC!

Playing Fortnite with friends feels quite different; they actually communicate and try to revive you when you go ‘down but not out’. And if you play in a squad of four, your team instantly goes from a 1 in 100 chance of Victory Royale to 1 in 25! Just don’t focus on winning at the expense of having wacky fun – 1 in 25’s still pretty bad odds. With a few folks gathering resources and another few building, however, you have a very good chance of completing your massive meme sculpture.

Sometimes your sucky plans work

You could bumble all the way into the top three without a single kill, then walk home with the win when the other two perish in a close-range rocket launcher fight. You could become a gleeful dungeon master when the giant, trap-strewn maze you built at an arbitrary point in the map ends up being the center of the circle. You could disguise yourself as a bush and watch a skill-level-9000 player go Rambo on everybody else, then assume your true form as the Avatar of Anticlimax and shotgun them in the back of the head.

You never know how a match is going to play out. There are too many variables. Just keep thinking of weird stuff to try and you’ll have a great time no matter when your 1% chance comes up.



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