Fortnite’s new creativity-focused Playground Mode has returned to the game, days after developer Epic Games was forced to take it offline due to technical difficulties.
The Playground Limited Time Mode debuted as in Wednesday’s patch v4.5, but just a few hours after its release, Epic took it down. Playground is far and away the most anticipated Limited Time Mode in Fortnite’s history, which made its all-too-brief appearance after patch v4.5 even more disappointing for fans. Thankfully, it’s now back on the live servers, and Epic has even provided the community with a few details about what exactly went wrong.
The first signs that something was not quite right with Playground’s launch came just moments after patch v4.5 went live. Players were noticing extremely long queue times for the mode, but it seemed like that could be attributed to the excitement of hundreds of players queuing up for the mode at the same time. Turns out, that was the case. But it wasn’t hundreds; it was far more than that. Just over an hour after the mode’s release, it started to affect the queue times of players’ regular games, before eventually collapsing Fortnite’s matchmaking system entirely. So, understandably, Epic decided to take Playground off the live servers so it could fix matchmaking for the other modes.
According to a Reddit post by JShredz, a member of Epic’s Live Operations team, the issue simply came down to how many people wanted try Playground.
“When you make matches for every 1-4 people, it requires between 25x and 100x as many matches as normal per 100 people depending on their party size,” JShredz explained. Since then, Epic has done some work on the back end of its servers to help prevent this kind of issue and make game creation easier. And as a fallback plan, Epic has isolated Playground onto its own server so it can’t affect regular game modes.
As a bit of bonus information, JShredz said, “There is a very good chance based on the data I saw that matchmaker was creating online game lobbies faster than any game in history has ever done. We’ve got world-class engineers, but even we are sometimes blown away by how popular this game is.”
JShredz also commented on private hosting of Playground Mode, along with an explanation of why exactly that won’t work. Fortnite’s code doesn’t function without client-server interactions, so there really is no way for people to host their own games. Thankfully, he explained, there is no issue at all with server availability; the problem was with how fast the system was able to create the matches themselves, which is something that should be fixed now.