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When Did Fortnite Save the World Become Free? A Complete Guide

To directly answer the question – Fortnite‘s original Save the World game mode has still not gone completely free-to-play yet as of 2023. It remains a paid experience requiring purchase.

As a passionate Fortnite fan and expert player myself, I‘ve put together this comprehensive guide to walk you through everything you need to know about Save the World‘s origins, current status, and the possibility of it finally going free someday. Let‘s dive in!

The Origins of Fortnite and Save the World

It‘s hard to believe Fortnite started out as just Save the World back in 2017. The Epic Games title has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the insane popularity of Battle Royale. But originally, Fortnite was envisioned as a PvE co-op experience.

First announced way back in 2011, Fortnite was planned as a zombie survival game focused on building forts and fighting back the monsters. After years of development, Fortnite finally launched on July 25, 2017 as a paid early access game across PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

The original game mode was Save the World, letting up to 4 players join forces to harvest resources, build forts, craft weapons, install traps, and complete missions against zombie-like foes called ‘husks‘.

According to Epic, over 1 million copies of Fortnite Save the World were sold in its first 2 weeks on the market. Decent sales, but a far cry from the insane success that Battle Royale would soon achieve.

The Road to Free-to-Play

Epic announced their intention was for Fortnite Save the World to eventually go completely free-to-play once it was out of early access development. The plan was to release the full free version sometime in 2018.

However, Epic admitted in a 2019 AMA that Fortnite Save the World was simply too complex and needed too much additional work to reach the polish level required for a successful free-to-play launch.

As Epic‘s focus shifted heavily to the explosive growth of Battle Royale, Save the World remained in paid early access with slowed development. The free-to-play launch plans were shelved indefinitely.

Current Status of Save the World

In 2023, Fortnite Save the World remains a paid game mode rather than free-to-play. It costs $39.99 USD for the Standard Edition to gain access.

Here‘s a quick rundown of where things stand currently:

  • No longer early access but still paid access only.
  • Periodic updates and new seasonal content.
  • Available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
  • Current player population stable but low compared to Battle Royale.
  • Purchasers keep permanent access to play Save the World.

So while left in the dust by Battle Royale, a small but dedicated community continues to enjoy Fortnite‘s original PvE co-op mode.

Purchase Options

For those interested in playing Save the World today, you can purchase access from the Epic Games store or in-game store:

Standard Edition – $39.99

  • Includes base game access only

Deluxe Edition – $59.99

  • Includes base game, 8 heroes, weapon and trap schematics

Super Deluxe Edition – $79.99

  • Includes base game, 16 heroes, weapon and trap schematics

As you can see, Save the World remains a premium experience rather than free. But one purchase provides permanent access to play.

Gameplay Overview

For anyone unfamiliar with Save the World, here is a quick overview of the core gameplay:

  • PvE co-op for up to 4 players.
  • Fight zombie-like husks and complete story campaigns.
  • Build forts with walls, floors, stairs and traps.
  • Harvest building materials from trees, cars, rocks and structures.
  • Loot weapons, traps, heroes and schematics.
  • Complete quests, storm shield defenses and daily challenges.
  • Explore randomly generated maps for loot and survivors.
  • Unlock and upgrade heroes with new skills and perks.
  • Earn rewards of XP, evolution materials and V-Bucks.

The gameplay loop focuses on building up your fort, heroes and arsenal to take on growing threats. The PvE co-op action provides a more tactical, base-building feel compared to the quick competitive matches of Battle Royale.

Popular Activities

Some of the most popular activities and features include:

  • Storm Shield Defenses: Defend your home base against increasing difficulties of husk waves.
  • Daily Quests: Take on daily challenges to earn gold, evolution materials and V-Bucks.
  • Events and Seasonal Content: Enjoy limited-time events with new quests, stories and rewards.
  • Collection Book: Slot heroes, schematics and survivors to earn rewards over time.
  • Expeditions: Send your heroes on expeditions to gather loot and resources.

Why Isn‘t Save the World Free-to-Play?

This is the big question many players, including myself, keep asking – why isn‘t Fortnite Save the World free yet? Here are some of the major theories:

  • It still serves as a source of revenue – Sales of new copies along with Founder‘s Packs for existing owners. In 2018, total revenue from Save the World was estimated around $300 million.
  • The slower pace of development means it lacks the polish needed for a successful free launch. Updates are much less frequent compared to Battle Royale.
  • Making it free could significantly strain server capacity, which is already pushed to the limits by the huge popularity of Battle Royale.
  • As a premium experience, it retains appeal for devoted Fortnite fans willing to pay for deep co-op gameplay.

Based on these factors, it appears Epic sees more value in keeping Save the World as a paid experience for now. But the possibility of finally going free-to-play still remains.

Will Save the World Ever Go Free?

This is the big question on every Save the World player‘s mind – is it possible Fortnite‘s original mode could someday go completely free-to-play?

The short answer is maybe. If Epic can get Save the World polished and optimized enough to satisfy their quality standards for a free launch, they may finally make the transition.

However, with development efforts still heavily focused on Battle Royale, progress has been very slow. Personally, I‘m skeptical Save the World will ever go fully free unless Battle Royale player counts start to decline substantially.

But as a hopeful Save the World fan, I‘m crossing my fingers Epic finds a way to revive development and finally fulfill their original vision. The PvE mode going free-to-play would provide a massive boost to the player population.

How to Earn V-Bucks

One nice perk of purchasing Save the World access is the ability to earn V-Bucks, Fortnite‘s premium currency, through regular gameplay.

Here are some of the main ways to earn V-Bucks in Save the World:

  • Daily Quests – 50-100 V-Buck rewards
  • Daily Login Rewards – 150 V-Bucks every 7 days
  • Storm Shield Defense Missions – 100 V-Bucks each
  • Mission Alerts – Occasional V-Buck rewards
  • Collection Book Rewards – Up to 1,500 V-Bucks as you level up
  • Random Gameplay Rewards – Small chance when looting chests or piñatas

For casual players, you can expect around 300-500 V-Bucks per week normally. Daily logins and Daily Quests provide the most reliable source.

These V-Bucks can then be spent in Battle Royale on new skins, gliders, emotes, season passes and more. So Save the World serves as a nice supplemental way to get premium currency without spending real money.

What Doesn‘t Carry Over to Battle Royale

It‘s important to note that all of your progression, unlocked items and schematics in Save the World do NOT carry over or provide any benefit in Battle Royale.

The two modes are completely separate experiences. Your Battle Pass level, cosmetics, and V-Bucks are shared, but nothing else.

So spending money to progress faster in Save the World doesn‘t give you any gameplay edge or new items in Battle Royale. Only the V-Bucks can be used across both game modes.

The Future Remains Uncertain

While Save the World has come a long way since its paid early access days in 2017, the road ahead is unclear. Will Epic keep it as a premium experience for dedicated fans willing to pay? Or someday make the leap to free-to-play?

As an avid Fortnite gamer myself, I hope to see Epic get Save the World into a polished enough state to roll out as a free update. It would reinvigorate the player base and let PvE fans like myself share the experience we love.

For now, Battle Royale reigns supreme as Fortnite‘s massively popular free mode. But I haven‘t given up hope that Save the World may someday complete its journey and open up for everyone to enjoy.

Ready for Some Co-Op Action

That covers everything you need to know about the origins, current status, and uncertain future of Fortnite Save the World. I hope this guide provided some great insights into Fortnite‘s original PvE mode.

While it remains paid access only for now, Save the World can still provide hours of co-op fun and a nice way to supplement your V-Bucks balance. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! I‘m always happy to chat more Fortnite.