Epic Games has issued an apology to Fortnite players after resetting bases built in advanced zones without forewarning or notification. Fortnite players logged in after the most recent patch to find their Storm Shield Bases, permanent structures players expand over time, in three different advanced areas had been uprooted. Panicked frustration followed, as Epic had reset these areas intentionally, but neglected to tell players about it.
According to Epic, the upheaval was a necessary part of the patch. The Fortnite team had made significant changes to the specific regions, Plankerton, Canny Valley, and Twine Peaks, and there was no way to convert Storm Shield Bases to the updated+ maps. The bases weren’t completely erased, just dismantled. All traps and materials were placed within the Storm Shield Base storage, with extra overflow room added as necessary. Epic says these kinds of resets are necessary and may happen again in the future. Fortnite is still in Early Access, after all.
The apology from Epic isn’t necessarily for the reset itself then, but rather for the lack of communication from the development team regarding the reset. Here’s part of that apology, as well as some clarification regarding the issue and plans for the future:
“As we move through Early Access we will be modifying the game and making changes to improve the experience, at times this will mean changes that require refunds to core systems like the skill tree, research tree, and storm shields. We are never going to reset your overall progression. Moving forward we’ll make sure to communicate changes BEFORE they happen. Apologize [sic] again for the confusion.”
Pre-patch notes will now include any plans for these kinds of resets going forward.
For many players, the apology doesn’t make up for their frustrations. Storm Shield Bases, as the Fortnite team says it understands in its apology, are players’ homes within the game. Outside missions come and go, but a Storm Shield Base persists. The player constantly adds onto their base as they unlock new powers or build new traps, and base defenses with friends grow into memorable shared experiences. Having hours of effort and memories suddenly disappear suddenly is more painful than just tedium.
Yet therein lies the complicated situation that premium Early Access titles like Fortnite create. While Fortnite will eventually go free-to-play, right now players have to pay up front to get in. And on top of that Fortnite is heavily intertwined with microtransactions on top of that up-front cost. It’s less that Fortnite players don’t understand what Epic is doing so much as they may not understand what they were buying into in the first place, or do understand and still find it unacceptable from a premium product anyway.
There’s really nothing to be done about the situation beyond what Epic has already said. The team has apologized and promised to be more transparent about these decisions in the future. Fortnite remains an Early Access game and communication is all players can really ask for from a developer.
Fortnite is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in paid Early Access. An official free-to-play launch will follow in 2018.