Fortnite’s latest update brings some interesting balance updates to the game as well as a few other changes that have may have gone otherwise unnoticed when you first scan the change list. There are many changes that may seem small at first, but work together in such a way that high-level or even casual play could be changed significantly.
This is a pretty beefy update, and fan reaction was decidedly mixed before the servers came back online so people could actually see the changes in action. The question is how everything will hold up once the players stream in. It’s going to take a little bit of time for everyone to play enough to get a sense for how strategies have changed, and which ones will stay the same. Watching streams for the next few days is going to be an adventure.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important, or at least interesting, details from the patch notes.
Building has been nerfed
The starting health of all building materials except for metal has been decreased, and metal build time has been increased to 25 seconds from 20. Even pickaxe damage to structures has been increased.
Epic has been open about wanting to create new opportunities for late game play, and these changes show how serious they are about decreasing turtling and upping the action.
The risk is that Fortnite’s building mechanic may be de-emphasized to the point where gunplay becomes much more important than building skill. It’s hard to know how all this will play out until the best players have a few days to try things out.
Epic Games has been tinkering with Fortnite’s SMG selection since last week’s patch, and adding the Compact SMG with its 50 round magazine and 23-24 base damage is certainly going to mix things up. Combine this new gun with the flimsier wooden walls described above and you may find yourself with a much more aggressive style of play being rewarded.
Which is probably the entire point! But it’s yet another way some of the character of Fortnite could be washed away. Players need to be able to construct a structure quickly and gain cover for at least a second or two, but it seems like Epic is rebalancing the game to turn that kind of building into more of a momentary respite.
Playground Mode is back, with some beefy updates
The Playground Mode was a great way to goof off with some friends without the pressure of everyone else trying to kill you, and the fact it’s coming back is great news. It seems that Epic learned from its past mistakes however, and won’t be releasing it until Wednesday, July 25.
The issue with the original Playground Mode was technical rather than creative, and it’s likely that Epic wants to wait a day until the rush of players after the patch calms down a bit to make sure the system can handle the extra load.
But it should be worth the wait. “New team select options let you and your squad set up team battles for practice and training,” the Fortnite team wrote in the patch notes. “Race! Create, and share your screenshots and cinematics on social.”
Being able to set up private games with adjustable teams and the freedom to enjoy all the new minigames from Season 5 at your own pace is going to be a blast. The increased rocket spawns and inventory limits, increased bounce and launch pad drops and decreased respawn timer all make it sound like the focus is gong to be on the ability to do and make some ridiculous things.
We’ll have more when we’re able to test the mode.
Running just became a little easier
Most players spend more time running than walking, so giving players the option to run as the default and hold a button to walk is a welcome one. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of update you don’t realize you wanted until you turn it on.
A little bit of the fun has been removed
“Players will no longer hold weapons while emoting if they’re riding in an All Terrain Kart,” the Fortnite team wrote in the patch notes. These sorts of bugs are always bound to be removed, but it was fun while it lasted. I’ll always remember dancing with my guns while driving around the map.
Allow me to leave you with this somber note: