Fortnite Battle Royale’s third, most recent season of content is what turned the game into a global phenomenon. In Season 3, which started back in February and ends April 30, Fortnite grew from another battle royale game to one that could rival any in the genre, to a household name and a favorite game of some of the world’s biggest celebrities.
So, in celebration of this season’s final day, we’re taking a look back at the best and worst parts of Season 3, and what exactly made it so popular.
Best: First shot accuracy
When Fortnite Battle Royale’s third season started, it was quickly becoming clear to players that the game’s reward for accuracy was a little lacking. Before patch v3.4, the first shot from most guns could go anywhere within a small circle, leaving players at the mercy of luck, even if their aim was good.
But thanks to the addition of first shot accuracy, which is exactly what it sounds like, players were guaranteed that their first shot would go exactly where they wanted it to, so long as they took a second to stop moving before they shoot. While subsequent shots are still subject to Fortnite’s “aim bloom,” a system that could send the bullets flying in almost any direction within the limits of a player’s crosshairs, skilled players welcomed the guarantee that their first shot would be as good as their aim. This change helped open up a path forward for Epic to make the game’s shooting rely less on randomness and more on player skill.
Worst: Weapon swap delay
The community has been living with Epic’s imposed weapon swap delay for the better part of a month now, so let’s take stock of what this really changed. Epic added an animation to pulling out weapons that made the process just a little bit slower for things like the Pump Shotgun and Tactical Shotgun. This was meant to eliminate the prevalence of players using two shotguns, shooting one and switching to the other, which has become a part of Fortnite’s default weapon setup for most players.
So, did it work? Not really. Double shotguns is still a more-than-relevant strategy. After the first few games, players stopped making the mistake of jumping into a fight before they had pulled out their gun, instead, everyone just started playing slower.
Fortnite’s still a fast-paced game, and the moment-to-moment adrenaline that comes with shotgun fights that can be over in the blink of an eye is still there. But since patch v3.5, the old standby of “build and shoot” has become “build, pause, and shoot” instead. It’s an unnecessary speed bump that just gets in the way of the action that makes the game exciting.
Worst: Guided Missiles
Goodnight, sweet prince. Everything about the on-paper design of the guided missile was essentially perfect: a silly tool of destruction that you could operate from the safety and comfort of a hidden base. It could even be a personal taxi service to get halfway across the map with no assistance. Yes, the guided missile could be everything to everyone — or, at least, that’s the way it seemed before people played against them.
As it turns out, the guided missiles were a little too perfect. They gave everyone a way to play it safe, while still keeping opponents pinned down and unable to move. Even worse, when it tried to nerf the guided missiles, Epic discovered that the changes it made caused the weapon to not function properly at all. These newly introduced bugs, and the fact that players hated them, meant that Epic retired guided missiles to the vault.
Guided missiles were easily one of the most fun weapons to be introduced in Fortnite’s third season. But in the end, the fact that they didn’t work and Epic’s willingness remove them is actually the perfect example of what made Fortnite’s third season so popular.
Best: The comet
In the end, this is probably what we’ll all remember most about Season 3 of Fortnite. Epic loves the community that has come up around Fortnite, and it seems more than happy to listen to them. That makes the difference between a battle royale game that can stick around and maintain its popularity and one that simply fades into the background, another fad in a genre bubble. Season 3 was the moment that Epic proved itself, and not just by listening to the community — but by also rolling out a carefully planned mystery to end the season.
Whatever happens in Season 4 — whether a comet leaves Tilted Towers in ruins, or meteors demolish Dusty Depot — it will be unlike anything we have ever seen before in a battle royale game. Players have spent months looking at the sky to catch glimpses of stray meteors hurtling toward the map, and now, those are finally going to make contact and likely lead to changes in the game itself. The meteors have been a tease, but they’ve also given rise to a conversation. They’re something that’s brought together a surprisingly kind community to all look at the same sky and wonder what changes tomorrow will bring.
This kind of communal moment is rare for a multiplayer game, especially one that’s designed from the ground up to encourage competition. It’s the surest sign yet that Fortnite Battle Royale is in good hands with Epic.