If you don’t have teens or video games are not your thing, you still may not be aware of the phenomenon that is Fortnite. But if you are aware, you may know that the creators of Fortnite, Epic Games, recently update the franchise to what they call Chapter 2.

After 2 years and 10 “seasons”, taking the gaming world by storm, and doing some very interesting things, they shut down their product for 36 hours before launching a revamped version.

And I love the update!

What’s better

First, like most products, a revamp usually entails a slightly new look. And Fortnite follows suit here with a new map (the story shifts to a “new world”). The new location borrows a little from the first, but the overall look and feel has a little more texture to it. The water, the leaves on the trees, the entire landscape feels homey.

But along with that aspect of the game, Epic Games also update the UI. The location of items in the player’s HUD are slightly different, but so too are the mechanics for getting to your next match. Previously, once you were eliminated from a match or were the victor, you could spectate the person who eliminated you, or return to the lobby. From there, you could then start your next match.

In Chapter 2, this is greatly improved. When you’re eliminated, you can choose to spectate or return to the lobby. Or you can choose the new default option, which is to just head into your next match immediately. Not having to wait to return to the lobby and then wait while the next match loads removes the majority of the friction of playing.

After a couple of weeks of playing the game, my biggest takeaway was this:

In that vein, I think Epic would do well to make it a little easier for new players. Programmatically get groups of players in similar tiers/levels against each other so someone who’s played less than 10 times doesn’t wait 2 minutes for the game to load only to last 30 seconds before getting two pumped from behind by some person who's played since season 2… totally speaking from experience here

They really nailed this aspect in Chapter 2. After a couple of games, I felt like I was such a better player. So much so that I was compelled to dig into what had changed. And it was bots …

Now, the word itself causes confusion. When I first mentioned to my boys that the reason Chapter 2 feels easier and more fun is because of bots, they were confused. That’s because in their circles, bot is a word for a player who has purchased all the loot and looks like they’d be dangerous, but they really don’t know what they’re doing. There’s an entire vernacular for young people about this game.

But in Chapter 2, Epic Games added real bots As in, computer controlled players:

In the next Season, we are adding Bots to Fortnite. They will behave similarly to normal players and will help provide a better path for players to grow in skill. Bots will work in conjunction with the new matchmaking system, and as your skill improves, you’ll face fewer Bots. Bots will not be present in Competitive playlists. This is another system that we will continue to update and iterate.

Thanks to these changes, I finally achieved my first victory with 6 eliminations. And it felt sooo good. I’m pretty sure some of those six were even humans.