In my business, by writing about video games for real money, we have what we call various “golden ages” of content. This is when a game is so popular, that everything you write about it is gold, racking up hundreds of thousands, millions of views, especially on guide type content, things that people search for on Google. It works for print and on YouTube, and the golden ages past have been the launch of Pokémon GO (which still works pretty well to this day) or the pandemic era of Animal Crossing where everyone was locked in. playing nonstop.
But one of the best golden ages was Fortnite’s first two years. Back then, you could write the How To Take Challenge X guide and get 100,000 to millions of views on a single article.
And yet, over the years, things have changed. Partly because Fortnite isn’t as fresh and trendy and hugely popular as it used to be, but also because Epic Games has, over time, made changes that have completely decimated the entire guide industry. .
This can range from thousands of dollars for individual writers or YouTubers who previously made guides, or it can potentially be millions for outlets in total. It may sound like a joke, but there was serious money to be made there, a synergistic relationship where Epic made a game that people were invested in, and the content creators created content that helped people with the game and redirected them to it. this. Win-win.
But these days? I barely write Fortnite guides, as Epic has changed the challenges so much that they’re relatively unnecessary to do, other than on extremely rare occasions.
The ‘Golden Age’ had a fairly straightforward list of weekly challenges that were uploaded each week upon reset. Some numbers would be generic “do X damage with Y weapon” things, but there were many that were like “find X secret object” or “dance in front of Y places”. Things you wouldn’t know how to do off the top of your head, then you should either do a ton of in-game exploration or… look for a guide. You and many millions of other people.
But over the years that has come to naught:
1. Epic started hiding challenges behind other challenges, meaning you had to complete them in a specific order, so a “good” guide challenge could potentially be hidden behind multiple layers of other things. and people never even get it.
2. Epic has started converting most challenges to ‘quests’, as with this season you have to talk to a whole bunch of map NPCs to get a million individual quests, making guide writing a nightmare with no schedule. fixed weekly and everyone all on different pages.
3. On the rare occasions where ‘guideable’ challenges are still being created, Epic has now taken the liberty of simply marking the map for players to know where to do things (this week, dance in front of birthday cakes for the anniversary event).
4. There are no longer any real mysteries or fun hunts for things that require guides. The Best Epic Thing already made for the guide industry was a seasonal event called “Fortbytes” where every day they were hiding something on the map that was worth writing a guidebook. They haven’t done anything close for years now.
Why did Epic do this? Presumably they don’t want to people google to search for guides and stay in the game. Or they thought the “hidden things” type challenges were too boring and so almost everything is just “killing people in different ways” or “s’ engage with this new seasonal mechanism “.
But something has been lost here. Not just the tens of millions in revenue for websites and YouTubers that were previously “needed” in this process, but a relationship that seemed to benefit both parties, with frequent coverage of the game. But now? I’m writing about the gig he has in a season, his final live event and maybe his battle pass. Far from the 4-5 articles I could write each week.
It doesn’t really happen in other games. Pokémon GO and Animal Crossing are still worth covering to this day and have only added Following things that can be guided over time. Fortnite ran the other way, and it might sound like a joke, but it was a blow to many writers, myself included. Epic might not know or care, but this current system has gotten so bad that I felt like I had to say something in case they saw it (Hi Donald!). Go back to the glory days. Everybody wins.
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