At the beginning of Fortnite’s latest season, 40 unplayable characters were scattered around the map for players to find. All NPCs can give players quests and items, and some can even help them join the team and fight. This is a big change for Battle Royale. This is something Epic Games has been working on for some time.
Computer-controlled characters, including bot players, Marvel heroes, recruitable Henchman, and more, have been continuously added to the game for the past two years. Epic uses these characters to help players diversify the experience they experience from match to match. The studio is heavily inclined to use these characters, but players want more from them.
Epic Games has inserted some sort of computer-controlled character during many of Fortnite’s seasons, especially after the start of Chapter 2. They roamed the map randomly, looking for players to kill as predators, and acted as security for Midas and its crew during the season. Supported Dr. Doom and Iron Man (controlled by AI) in their respective named locations during 2, and more recently Season 4. Sometimes they just hang out for no reason.
These AI-controlled characters threw a wrench into the standard battle royale action known in this genre. The other two players may appear in the middle of the battle, which is an advantage for those who are far away. Season 5 IO Guards, located in underground boxes at some designated locations, are a great way to trap the last few circles. Leading other players to the IO Guards location for ambush is a good way to win the royal of victory.
However, setting traps is suitable for most bots. Whether you are fighting or against them, they are of little use in all other respects. They rarely aim in the right direction and often choose to harvest material instead of fighting. These show the same behavior as the bot player added to the game at the beginning of Chapter 2 to help improve players with lower skill levels.
The main mechanic introduced by Season 5 NPCs into the game is quests. This is a challenge available in all games (no weekly or daily challenges). It’s similar to Call of Duty: Warzone’s contract system, which provides players with a variety of tasks and rewards to assist them during the match. Warzone has revolutionized the genre with contracts, letting players who don’t want to keep fighting other players throughout the game do something else.
Fortnite’s NPC system builds on top of it, creating RPG-like scenarios where players pick up quests from NPCs and then fight for supplies. However, Fortnite bots often fall short of expectations. All Fortnite bots, including Season 5 and earlier bots, are hopeless. Fortnite players want bots to play as diversely as their own.
There’s a reason why bots haven’t been added to other battle royale like Call of Duty War Zone. It’s not very challenging for new players because it’s difficult to balance bots, but it’s not completely pointless. Fortnite’s new NPC is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a way to go.
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