To say that Fortnite is a big deal in the gaming industry right now is a bit of an understatement. It's now available across all platforms and, as reported by Forbes, regularly rakes in over $100 million on a monthly basis.
That's a ton of money being pumped into a video game which must beg the question: what's the smartest way to spend money in Fortnite?
How much is a V-Buck?
Before we talk about getting the best value out of your V-Buck, we should first break down the value attached to the currency itself. The smallest amount you can buy is 1,000 V-Bucks for $10, so that sets the base value of a single V-Buck around one cent, although you won't find anything in the Fortnite store for less than 500 V-Bucks. That makes the base in-app purchase around $5. Of course, Canadians and anyone living outside the U.S. will end up paying more based on the currency exchange rate.
Here are the pricing levels for buying V-Bucks via in-app in USD:
- 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99
- 2,500 (+300 Bonus) V-Bucks for $24.99
- 6,000 (+1,500 Bonus) V-Bucks for $59.99
- 10,000 (+3,500 Bonus) V-Bucks for $99.99
It's worth noting that the V-Bucks you buy on a specific platform stay with that platform, so if you've bought 1,000 V-Bucks on Xbox One, you won't see them in Fortnite Mobile and vice versa. However, once you've spent your V-Bucks on items you'll be able to access them across all the platforms you play. Also, because Epic Games didn't launch Fortnite on the Google Play Store, you'll need to authorize payment through another means and can't use any Google Play credit towards your V-Bucks purchase.
What should you buy with your V-Bucks?
To keep Fortnite free-to-play, Epic Games have implemented Battle Pass seasons. Each season sees players completing objectives to rank up through tiers and unlock in-game rewards along the way. Players are given a free Battle Pass with its own dedicated objectives and rewards, but the premium Battle Pass, available for 950 V-Bucks, lets you unlock up to 100 in-game rewards throughout the season. By comparison, the free Battle Pass for Season 5 (the current season) is just 16, and they've been spaced out over 62 tiers.
Epic Games says that you'll unlock 25,000 V-Bucks worth of content with a premium Battle Pass, but in case you're curious what that would actually look like, I'll break it all down using Season 5 as an example.
If you were to complete all tiers of the Season 5 Battle Pass, which Epic Games says typically takes 75 to 150 hours of gameplay to complete you'd get:
- 1,500 in bonus V-Bucks (15 x 100 V-Bucks).
- 19 XP boosts.
- 7 character skins — two of which are gifted to you to start.
- 2 harvesting tools.
- 2 back blings.
- 4 gliders.
- 5 free-fall contrails.
- 5 emote dance moves.
- 6 toy balls.
- 14 battle icons.
- 12 emoticons.
- 15 spray designs.
- 12 loading screen images.
Right off the hop, if you're able to make it through 90% of the season tiers you'll be able to win back enough V-Bucks to cover the cost of the next season's Battle Pass — pretty good motivation alone. You'll also get the hottest skins and features of the season in the form of outfits, harvesting tools, gliders, emote dance moves, and other goodies.
But as we go through the list you'll notice that out of the 116 total rewards offered, the majority fall under the category I call "basically useless"; these include profile icons, in-game emoticons and tags, and literally new graphics to stare at during loading screens — absolute filler. These represent roughly 50 of the tiers you're tasked with completing with your premium Battle Pass, so those cosmetic upgrades better be worth it.
If you'd prefer to pay a bit more to avoid grinding through the Battle Pass tiers, you're also able to buy 10 tiers for 900 V-Bucks. Keep in mind that your premium Battle Pass along with all your progress resets at the end of each season, so you'll want to buy your Battle Pass earlier rather than later so you have more time to work your way up through the tiers.
On top of the stuff you can unlock throughout the Battle Pass season, you're also able to directly buy cosmetic upgrades from the in-game shop. The catch is that only a limited number of items are available at one time, and the items available rotate out every day. I found a great resource for tracking all the Fortnite cosmetics that lets you scope out what's currently available, wh
There are four categories available on your character to upgrade:
Outfits: These affect the overall look of your character and is the most significant cosmetic upgrade. There are a ton of outfits available and while some are much bigger it's worth noting that a bigger outfit does not necessarily increase your character's hitbox. It's also worth considering that the flashier the outfit the more you will stand out in the field, so that's something to keep in mind if you prefer stealth play. Outfits start as low as 800 V-Bucks for Uncommon outfits and up to 2,000 V-Bucks for Legendary outfits.
Harvesting Tool: By default, Fortnite gives you a generic pickaxe for busting down walls and harvesting building supplies but you can swap out your trusty pickaxe with a wide range of crazy skins for your trusty tool. These have no effect on your harvesting ability but can look pretty fun. There's also typically a corresponding harvesting tool for each outfit if you're a stickler for continuity. Harvester tools can be bought for as low as 500 V-Bucks and as high as 2,000 V-Bucks.
Glider: Upgrading your glider gives you no speed advantages over your opponents, although it can sure look intimidating to see an upgraded glider floating around your landing area at the start of the game. Uncommon Gliders start at 500 V-Bucks, while a Legendary Glider costs 1,500 V-Bucks
Emotes: There's nothing sweeter than busting out a quick dance move after you've knocked out an opponent, knowing that the other player has a front row seat for your antics on the kill cam. There are over 80 different Emotes to be unlocked or bought and they start as low as 200 V-Bucks.
What's the best value?
Buying cosmetic upgrades in a free-to-play video game such as Fortnite is akin to donating to the developer. You get a modest reward that helps your character stand out while investing in the longevity and profitability of the game itself. It's also 100% optional and can get really expensive if you get hooked on upgrading your character on a regular basis.
Let's take a look at how much someone could hypothetically spend to fully kit out their Fortnite character, based on the average price of items available in the item shop:
New Outfit: 1,500 V-Bucks New Harvesting Tool: 800 V-Bucks New Glider: 800 V-Bucks New Emote: 500 V-Bucks
Total spent: 3,600 V-Bucks, or $35 in in-app purchases
That's a sizeable chunk of change for some digital apparel. If you're a parent with kids begging you to buy them V-Bucks, you ought to know just how easy it is to blow through that $25 in-app purchase in just a few quick taps.
Should you buy V-Bucks?
In my opinion, you should only invest in V-Bucks if you're a diehard Fortnite player and you play across multiple platforms. A Battle Pass upgrade is a great place to start, as a thriftier gamer with just a Battle Pass upgrade has the potential to unlock a good collection of gear through just one season of play. The $25 pack that gives you 2,800 V-Bucks is probably your best value, as you'll be able to afford a premium Battle Pass for the upcoming season while maintaining a V-Bucks balance in case something in the item shop really catches your eye.
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