Fortnite’s progression system will make it the ultimate battle royale forever

With nearly three weeks to go until the end, I’ve already reached Level 100 in the current season of Fortnite. Battle passes are normally a bit of a grind, requiring us to invest tens of hours in live service games to earn all the potential rewards before time runs out. This may mean spending extra to move up the ranks for fear that we won’t have time to play every day to complete challenges and missions and earn those fun experience points, or investing an irrational part of our personal lives into a game for rewards that just aren’t worth it.

Fortnite is different. Since the release of Chapter 2 several years ago, Epic Games has delivered a cadence of progression that nothing else in the genre can match. It is demonstrable too rewarding. You’ll need to be a Fortnite Crew member or earn a paltry amount of V-Bucks to access each new Battle Pass, but the stream of unlockable cosmetics and surprising updates scattered throughout each season provide so much incentive to keep playing. I’ve already maxed out the vanilla pass, but I won’t stop.


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While they’ve improved in more recent seasons, games like Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone so often associate battle pass progress with completing challenges and objectives rather than earning base experience. Points still matter, but are more concerned with increasing an overall ranking rather than entering the season loop. Fortnite doesn’t have a base level for every player, and probably never good, and is so much better for it.

I remember stepping into Fortnite: Chapter 2 and being amazed at how generous the free-to-play Battle Royale had become. Rather, it was a triumph, but the iconic island and predictable formula had grown old, meaning something had to change. Rather than introducing a new map and folding it into lore, Epic Games turned the existing island into a character unto itself. Certain locations were preserved, others replaced less memorable while small remnants of the changing landscape remained the same.

The knowledge on offer here was so juicy and incomprehensible, but the real brilliance was in how Fortnite wanted to appeal to an even larger audience than ever before. The first match of this new update was largely filled with bots, a cutscene that heralded our first exit from the battle pass with catchy music and a level of circumstances that made us feel like a really bad. We weren’t, but coming out victorious from a match largely focused on encouraging our win, this new chapter felt absolutely necessary. Every action had an impact.

Experience points are earned for almost everything. Open a chest in search of weapons and ammunition? Here are some points. Survive a certain time or enter another storm circle? Here’s some more! Complete challenges and/or quests that often focus on things you’re going to do anyway? Keep it up, here’s a little more. I haven’t even talked about the presence of supercharged experience points – which despite being described as a bonus, never seem to go away – and how it makes leveling up so much easier. If I kill a decent number of players and make it to the top 10, there’s a good chance I’ll return to the lobby with a healthy selection of Battle Pass stars to spend and so much to show for it.

I was skeptical about Fortnite’s new battle pass when it first debuted a few seasons ago, but now I couldn’t help but see it. Instead of a linear progression, we can now choose from whatever rewards tickle our fancy. Granted, some will be mandatory before you can unlock bigger loot like character skins and emotes, but having that flexibility to spend our hard-earned currency instead of being funneled down a road that doesn’t have much appeal makes more different than you might think. I don’t care about Indiana Jones, but the fact that I can complete a selection of fairly simple quests to unlock his skin is a great option to have. You are always moving forward no matter what you do. I can’t think of any other game in the live service market that offers this generosity.

Fortnite has the best progression system out there, and it will keep getting better as more ideas, crossover skins, knowledge, and mechanics are folded into the overall package. You even earn experience points through creative modes developed by other players, which Epic could have so easily nipped in the bud because it can’t be folded into its own playlists. Yet it didn’t, and understands that its audience wants to play Fortnite in myriad ways and deserves to be rewarded no matter what form that might take. I can’t wait to see where this game goes in the future, and what other surprises it has in store for the seasons to come.

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