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Fortnite’s Device Event—Has Epic Drowned its Players’ Hope in the Game?

Written by 

Mackenzie O Brien

Posted 

5th Jun 2021 17:19

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Yesterday brought Fortnite's long-awaited Device event, which has been teased for the past several weeks on the Epic Games website and the official Fortnite Twitter. Fans were looking forward to the end of Chapter 2 Season 2, which has been a long time coming. This season has experienced so many delays that players were absolutely starved for new content, making the hype for this live event unmatched. 

The original Tweet announcing that the Device event would be pushed back to June 11 was met with a lot of mixed reactions, and mostly angry ones at that. When the live event and subsequent Season 3 kick-off were postponed yet again until June 15 and 17, respectively, this was met with even more annoyance and disdain. Players wanted to experience new content after growing bored of the Chapter 2 Season 2 map during the quarantine. After many delays and a lot of anger from fans, a final start date for both the event and season 3 were made. 

On the official Fortnite Twitter post announcing the event, over 41,000 people liked the post and nearly 5,000 retweeted it. People were excited that the second-longest Fortnite season (second to only chapter 2 season 1) was finally coming to a close. Fortnite streamers, such as Tfue, who had claimed they wanted to take a break from the game were planning to return to it with the announcement of the Device event and Season 3. The hype was definitely real, and with people hyped about Fortnite again, the stage was set for a truly incredible live event...

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Then, the 15th rolled around. Hours before the live event started, people were logging into Fortnite, anxiously checking the countdown timer in excitement for the live event. Epic Games had advised players to arrive 30 minutes before the event in order to secure a spot, which most players had done. So, it came as a shock to many players when they were unexpectedly kicked from the game or could not log in, long before even the thirty-minute window preceding the event.

People began scouring the internet for reasons as to why the game had placed them in the eternal game queue or flat-out wasn't launching. According to Google Trends, search interest in "is Fortnite down" spiked worldwide just before the live event was set to happen. Even the official Fortnite Twitter account had to make a response, stating that the event had reached capacity and advising players to catch a live stream on Mixer, YouTube, or Twitch to see what would happen with the Device. 

This infuriated players, as many thought Epic Games was just using a low audience cap in-game to advertise streamers and popular Fortnite competitors. Streams were at the highest numbers they had ever been, with Tfue's stream of the Device event reaching over 90k viewers at its peak.

Stream chats and Twitter were filled with angry fans, expressing their dismay at being unable to participate in this live event or being kicked from the game entirely. Many people took to Twitter to ask Epic Games why the Travis Scott Astronomical concert had gone so well, yet this live event had not.

Even Donald Mustard, creative director at Fortnite couldn't log into the game and Tweeted that players should "catch a stream" like he had to do. Even Fortnite developers could not get into the game and had to watch livestreams of it from popular let's players.

Once players noticed this, they stopped chalking up the server issues to Epic favouring streamers and started complaining that Epic had not prepared for the event in general... And this all occurred before the event even started. The countdown timer was still counting down and at any second... it was going to reach zero.

Tfue's Stream

When it finally did, players were taken by surprise as the Device began to raise from its position in the agency. Massive pillars appeared in five different places surrounding the building. They rose out from the water with giant splashes and rose up. Once all of the pillars were in place, the Device shot beams of energy at each one, creating a huge network of pure light energy. The Device ascended further upward and the sky began flashing as ominous colours of light emanated from it. It was then that players started looking more toward the sky, wondering if anything of interest would happen...

Tfue's Stream

As the Device continued to emanate pure energy, the Agency was destroyed, exploding in a massive cloud of debris. The pillars descended from their height, receding back into the water, however, it was at this point that players looking toward the sky were met with shock and surprise. Instead of seeing the night-time sky, a giant wall of water filled most of the horizon, slowly coming closer and closer to the players.

Tfue's Stream

It was at this point that players realized that this massive tsunami was replacing the storm. Areas covered by this wall of water did not allow players to use weapons and destroyed boats and other forms of transportation upon impact. Exiting the water is extremely difficult and sometimes can be unrecoverable. For a large duration of any match, the water will cover most familiar POIs, making the current Chapter 2 Season 2 map feel even smaller than it actually is.

Despite the current map's small size, this different version of the storm adds an extra level of difficulty to the battle royale gameplay. No one is sure how long the storm will be like this, or whether the map will expand by Wednesday's Season 3 release or stay like this for an unspecified duration.  

The Agency is also an extremely notable change to the old map, as it is in pieces, most of the hiding and camping spots within it, completely open and easily discoverable. Many competitive players are happy about this, as it makes matches more dependent on strategy and even more likely to go by faster.

The bottom level of the Agency is also completely filled with water, which provides an extra challenge for players wanting to get around the fragmented building quickly. The destruction of the Agency was something that players were hyping up for months and it was probably the most well-received change in the whole live event, as its destruction eliminated camping and even provided players with easier access to loot.

Tfue's Stream

Cutscenes also happened during the event, appearing at different times during the Device's detonation. These cutscenes featured Jonesy and the player in an office of some kind, presumably sometime in the future. Fan theories are circulating that this might be teasing that all of Fortnite: Battle Royale's characters are part of a big simulation, which might be expanded upon in the third season, but only time will tell if this holds any water.

Yesterday evening, the official Fortnite Twitter posted a tweet stating that over 12 million people watched the event in-game and almost 9 million more watched live streams of it. They stated that the event had to be capped at this number of players in order to maintain performance, however, they wanted to improve servers and systems in place so that more people could experience their live events.

After this Tweet, they began teasing that they were excited for players to "dive in" to the new content, confirming the popular fan theory that season 3 would take place underwater. They then began to post teaser images, which generated some excitement amongst fans, however, many were still upset about the live event. Only time will tell if the Season 3 kick-off will resonate better with players, or if the Epic servers can even handle how many players are going to show up. One thing is for certain, however, players are ready for Chapter 2 Season 2 to end and for the next season to bring a new map and new changes to the game.

Images via Epic Games | Tfue

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Esports With The Biggest Tournaments - And How They Were Won

Epic Games

Written by 

Mackenzie O Brien

Posted 

5th Sep 2021 19:30

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