Epic Games has published a detailed blog post discussing some of the changes and updates planned for Fortnite, and there’s some big stuff in there. Many of these changes seem to be aimed at getting the game ready for upcoming live events and the rush to get good at competitive play that is sure to ramp up due to the $100 million in prize money coming to tournaments in the next year.
Let’s break down the biggest news in the post, and what it could mean for the game.
There is finally a Playground mode coming
This is going to be a limited-time event, but you’ll be able to have fun and mess around in the Battle Royale map with your friends. It’s a feature that people have been asking for, and it’s great to see that it’s coming to the game.
Battle and build to your heart’s content with an extended period of time to roam around the map as well as increased resource generation. All treasure chests and ammo crates will be spawned, try droppin’ in different spots and scope out the loot. Friendly fire is on so you can scrimmage with your squad (up to 4 friends per match), but fear not you’ll respawn immediately.
Stats and challenges won’t be tracked in this mode, so players won’t be able to use it to cheese their way through each season.
The blog posts lists this as “v1,” so it’s pretty clear that we’ll see more refinement of this idea as time goes one. “This represents our initial step into what a creative mode looks like in Fortnite,” Epic Games said in the post. “Practice, strategize and enjoy yourself. We can’t wait to see what you do!”
Challenge progress updates
This is the one I’m most thankful is coming: The game will highlight your challenge progress through pop ups starting in version 4.3.
This may seem like a small thing, but challenges that require you collect a certain number of items or do a specific amount of damage with a particular weapon can be hard to track as you’re also trying to survive and help your team. Knowing what’s going on with your challenges visually is going to be a big help.
On the other hand, some players are probably going to find this idea obtrusive, so I hope it can be toggled on or off depending on player preference.
Improved server performance
If you’re getting lengthy hitches where the game pauses completely while playing, you’re not alone. Epic Games says it’s tracking these issues with more detail and addressing them, so hopefully they will soon be a thing of the past.
The movement data that is sent to the server is currently throttled, and Epic said it’s hoping to remove that aspect of the experience in the future.
“Currently the game throttles the frequency that your player’s movement data is sent over the network to 20Hz for roughly the first half of the game,” Epic Games explained in the blog post. “This is reduce strain on the server’s physics system, allowing it to maintain frame rate. As the number of players participating in the match reduces to 24, we increase the frequency of updates to 33Hz. Over time we’ll improve performance of server physics calculations, and we expect to be able to remove this throttling in a future update.”
This is all great news, and the post goes into even more detail about what’s going on with the servers.
The Victory Royale screen is getting refreshed
“Getting a Victory Royale should be a memorable experience, and the victory screen should support that,” the Fortnite team wrote. “We want to freshen up the celebration and make it a bit more rewarding.”
I was getting bored not seeing the current Victory Royale screen in the current version, so a livelier version of the screen I still won’t get to see is a neat update.
The replay system is getting even better
The replay mode is already great, but Epic Games wants to make it better to help show off the Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am that’s taking place at E3 2018.
“We’re developing new camera features that allow you to orbit around any point of your choosing as well having the camera automatically track the action for you by focusing on a group of players, rather than just one person,” the Fortnite team said. “We’ve also been refining the map view in replays to add more functionality to the player list and to add bullet trajectories to the player markers on the map. Additionally, player nameplates have been tweaked to avoid overlapping where possible. “
This isn’t all, by any stretch
The post has more information about topics like key mapping on the console version of the game and mentioned that the jet pack will featured in tomorrow’s limited-time event. The team is also discussing keeping a game mode with larger squads around forever due to the enthusiasm players have shown for the 50v50 modes that have already been tested.
Fortnite is growing and changing at a rate that’s hard to believe at times, but even so this is a pretty ambitious list of goals for a game of this size. It all sounds like good stuff, but you never know what’s going to happen until the changes get into the hands of the community, and sometimes Epic has even put items into the game by mistake. We’ll keep our eyes on the weekly patches coming to the game.