Every Fortnite season has injected new life into the game, whether it be through the new skins in the battle pass and shop, the hype drummed up in the closing weeks of the season before or the introduction of new items and weapons. Since the start of Season 1 back in October 2017, Epic have miraculously managed to keep Fortnite fresh.
Compared to the millions enjoying the game around the world now, only a few experienced Fortnite's Battle Royale when it launched almost a year ago. Only a few remember what life was like when there were smoke grenades and ceiling traps, crossbows and the elusive zapotron that obliterated players in one charged up shot. Fortnite has morphed into an entirely different game since then, changing every 10 weeks with the arrival of a new season. But when was Fortnite the most fun? Let's figure it out and revisit each season from worst to best.
Fond memories will be had by all for Season 1, as it’s the time when nobody knew how to build and every game was tenser than a powerlifter's biceps. There was no such thing as a battle pass, the only challenges available were the dailies and you had to earn the privilege to spend V-Bucks on skins in the shop. That said, the skins you could purchase included the famous Halloween ones—anyone for a Skull Trooper return?
Aside from the cool skins, Season 1 was very barebones. The terrain was barren aside from a few places of interest, there were just a few weapons in the game and each game played very slowly. Season 1 was Fortnite Battle Royale before it discovered its own identity and separated itself from the then-deserved PUBG comparisons. Since then, Fortnite has evolved so much it’s hard to even compare Season 1 to the rest. It's only great in the rearview.
For a lot of players, Season 4 was the first full season they experienced. Fortnite blew up during Season 3, so a lot were there from the very start of Season 4 through the end, from the meteor crashing into Dusty Divot to the rocket launch. New locations were added, like the superhero and supervillain bases, Risky Reels and the enormous basement in Salty Springs. Despite the shiny new shoes, Season 4 was underwhelming.
A lot of players were hoping the meteor would do much more than just destroy Dusty Depot. Perhaps it would replace Tilted Towers, or it would obliterate the entire island and we’d get a brand new map. People were ready to experience a huge change, but in the end the only totally novel addition were hop rocks.
Season 4’s metagame wasn’t the best either, as double-pumping was rampant. Later on in the season, Epic buffed explosives immensely. C4 became a win button. On top of that, the time-limited grind to unlock all armour pieces for Omega toward the end of the season meant a lot of players got burnt out. Complaints flooded the internet, but thankfully, Epic has since lifted the time limits from its coolest skins in Season 5.
Season 5 is still going on, so it’s hard to give a definitive verdict. But so far, it's progressive and regressive in some pretty significant ways. On the plus side, the new desert biome is a welcome change of scenery to the greenery that was found throughout the entire map. Paradise Palms and Lazy Links are two locations that have quickly become favourites for many players, while the Viking Village is the first place we’ve seen a snowy weather effect in-game. Toys, like basketballs and the ability to golf, make for fun ways to interact with each other and the world that don't have to do with murder.
Escaping the storm and traversing the island is now far easier in Season 5 too, with the addition of both All Terrain Karts and rifts. One is a four-man vehicle that can drift and boost up hills, while the other is an instant launch pad that allows you to glide across the map. Both have changed up the meta significantly, especially if you manage to use a rift in the middle of a fight. Diving onto your opponent’s head feels great.
Unfortunately, the meta has also taken a sharp turn for the worse. Players were crying out for a shotgun nerf and while they were taken down a tad, they were nerfed considerably and still do inconsistent damage. Explosives still reign, and with the addition of both the P90 and the drum gun, submachine guns are nearly impossible to build against, even after a few nerfs. Recent buffs to building materials and a new double barrel shotgun have softened the impact of the SMG meta, but don't feel like quite enough. The game has the lowest skill ceiling it’s ever had and right now, it’s probably in it's most frustrating state. However, at the rate Epic introduce patches, there's still plenty of time to turn things around.
Without a doubt, Season 3 was the time we binged Fortnite the most. The battle pass maximum tier was increased to 100, there were plenty of great skins to unlock, weekly challenges were first introduced—it was a grand time. Everything was space-themed, and even the Rust Lord is a unique skin with an infamous reputation now despite everyone rocking it back then. (Reaper, aka John Wick, is overrated though.)
Players were still getting used to the major map changes in Season 2 as well. Tilted Towers, Snobby Shores and Haunted Hills were all introduced for the first time. The flow of the map went from everyone landing at three major locations to half of the lobby dropping at Tilted and the other half being spread throughout the island. Near the end of Season 3, the excitement generated by Epic surrounding the meteor was incredible. It was all anyone would talk about.
One of the best aspects of Season 3 was the pacing. Matches were fast, there weren’t many bugs to exploit, and the modern build meta was emerging. You saw something new almost every fight. It's when Fortnite truly became Fortnite.
With all of that said, our favourite season was the second. The battle pass was introduced for the very first time, the skins were rad, and the original map—despite being barren compared to how it is now—had some great locations that have since been changed or removed. Believe it or not but Flush Factory used to be one of the best drops on the entire island.
One of the key reasons Season 2 is such a dear memory to us is because it felt like winning a game actually meant something, like you’d achieved something impressive. Nobody was building outside of tall 1x1 towers, double-pumping wasn’t a thing back then, nobody spammed explosives. Winning a game felt like it took a lot of skill whereas now victory royales happen by accident as often as they do on purpose.
The Black Knight was a phenomenal reward for reaching the end of the battle pass too. With it's deep red eyes and obsidian sheen, it’s the epitome of a cool skin. Even now, if you come up against a Black Knight or a Sparkle Specialist, you know you’ve got a tough fight on your hands. Plus, the emotes were more iconic. Nothing beats a good Worm on your opponent’s remains or a Floss when you’ve won the game.
Let's not forget the incredible sound design, from the main menu to the battle bus to the victory royale screen. Players have been clamouring for those iconic tunes to return to the game, but it doesn’t seem like Epic is listening, sadly.
But most of all, Season 2 was Fortnite on the verge of growth and change and discovery. Season 2 is when Fortnite became vanguard of battle royale, rapidly taking the genre to a more playful, experimental place. It may not be the most refined Fortnite ever was, but it was the most exciting and unpredictable time to play, easily.