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Why the changes in Fortnite’s v8.20 update made sense for the casual player

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When Epic Games released the second major update of Season 8, players fixated around three key bullet points.

In v8.20 Epic reverted the changes they made in v7.40 when they brought some features from Pop-Up Cups to the main game.

Those included bringing the total materials down from 3000 to 1500 by capping each material slot at 500, adding a siphon of 50 health/shield for each kill, and increasing the rate of harvest.

Epic made it clear in the patch notes that these changes are great in competitive settings, which is why they are still live in Arena Mode.

The reactions to this change were quick and brutal. Everyone and their mom had an opinion on the changes and the major voices in the community were basically across the board negative.

But that wasn’t my reaction. Are these changes ideal? Probably not. Still, Epic moving towards a split in casual and competitive game modes is something Fortnite has needed for a long time. This may not be the way to go about them, but I do think this speaks to a positive trend for Fortnite as a whole.

People who have been reading this site for a while know I have been vocal about how Fortnite needs two sets of rules, one for casual and one for competitive modes.

So I wasn’t that mad when I read these patch notes. I have no doubt in my mind that this patch had the goal of de-sweatifying the main playlist. Arena Mode exists now and is a permanent fixture. If you think you are an above average player, Epic wants you to move to Arena.

I plan to struggle my way through the low-level Arena Modes, an experience I have had with every other esport from Rocket League to League of Legends. Ultimately I’ve found that progression through ranks to be one of the more rewarding aspects of playing a game.

Still, it hasn’t just been the streamers complaining. Reddit and Twitter are both almost universally are against this change. But Twitter and Reddit don’t make up the majority of the player base, or even a significant minority.

Epic has said there are 250 million unique Fortnite accounts. For comparison, the Fortnite Twitter has seven million followers, /r/FortniteBR just one million subscribers. Obviously Fortnite is F2P so tons of those accounts are inactive, but even if just 50 million are active, that still dwarfs the Reddit and Twitter communities.

These changes were made for them. I have a personal connection to one of those players, he is my roommate.

I asked my roommate what he thought of today’s patch. His response: “What’s a patch?”

Lately, he’s been playing Fortnite less because he has been getting dominated, but his brother is decent and they connect over the game.

He doesn’t check patch notes or visit Fortnite forums, he probably hasn’t ever even read one of my articles.

I think this update was aimed at players like my roommate. Epic basically said: “We have a 100 million tournament that is open to the public and a new ranked mode, go play that. We need people to still be able to play Fortnite and have fun, and that means making some changes that benefit the casual player.”

Now sweats have their own playlist where they can play against other people of the same level skill with the ruleset they love, but they still want to be able to pubstomp.

They want the feeding ground of weaker players they can rush at any time without much consequence. But that isn’t what Epic wants.

Even if casual players enjoy the siphon on kill, Epic’s goal with this change is to push a top-level group into Arena Mode by taking out a universally loved mechanic. In fact, just about everyone who reads FortniteINTEL is probably in that group they want to push towards Arena.

Epic gave the top players a ranked system that is based on MMR (Hype) to match players up with people of their skill level. You know, the same thing literally every other esport has. In fact, many esports casual modes are also based on behind-the-scenes MMR.

Fortnite doesn’t have that. You can still play against bots in the lobbies, it will just be harder to rack up massive kill games as you will need to spend more time harvesting and will be more susceptible to third-partying. Compared to other esports, even after these changes, Fortnite still is tilted in favor of the better players.

I have been quick to defend the complaints of pro players when they call for changes because in a lot of cases the competitive mode has been broken. But these are changes made directly for the casual player, AKA my roommate.

It isn’t clear right now if the changes will work, and harvesting speed is definitely not one I would have been itching to change, but having Fortnite begin to separate the player bases is a step in the right direction.

If it means that streamers can’t drop 20 bombs on bots, so be it.

This is clearly just my opinion, but because I have one that seems to be going against the grain this time, I wanted to share. I am curious what you all think, please let me know in the comments below.

Leak

Fortnite leaks point to underwater swimming coming in Season 3

Swimming underwater may be a permanent feature coming to Fortnite Season 3.

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Early leaks of underwater swimming in Fortnite came to the game files several patches ago. Naturally, this led to the assumption that we’d be able to dive underwater in future Fortnite seasons.

These hopes were dashed when the Astronomical event happened. We swam underwater during this event, and most fans assumed that this would be the bulk of our undersea travel.

A couple of updates later, in v12.61, we saw the ability to swim underwater updated, yet again. When you combine this with the unconfirmed leaks covering Season 3, all signs are pointing to the ability to swim underwater in the next Fortnite Season.

Several data miners covered the new strings in the game files. After a bit of digging, they came up with the animation, itself.

As you can see from FortTory’s tweet, this animation is different from the normal swimming animation. You can dive, swim, and float in place while underwater.

There are still a ton of questions to be answered on this front. Will we able to swim underwater indefinitely or will we have an oxygen meter? Will this only be allowed on certain areas of the map? Does this mean we’re getting an underwater POI?

Underwater swimming has always been a difficult concept in gaming. Unfortunately, it could lead to a host of bugs and issues if there are some blind spots in development. Let’s hope for the best, though, and trust Epic to get it right.

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Patch Notes

Fortnite v12.61 patch notes: aim assist changes, bug fixes & more

Take a look at everything that changed in the Fortnite v12.61 patch notes.

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The Fortnite v12.61 content update released this morning, which marks the final update of Fortnite Season 2. It was a small patch and one that was largely geared toward preparing the game for the rumored Doomsday event.

Most of the interesting parts of v12.61 came in the form of leaks, which we’ll cover in some separate articles. There were a few above-board changes, though. We’ll delve into them here.

Aim assist changes

The most noteworthy change was to controller aim assist on all platforms. This one is tricky since we need to rely on community reporting to tell exactly what’s different.

Early reports had it that close-range aim assist was lowered by 20%, mid-range aim assist was lowered a bit, and long-range aim assist was buffed. Our early testing shows very little difference from the old system, however. Casual players probably won’t notice a difference, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Fortnite Mobile Controller Support
Via Epic Games

Storm the Agency Challenges

Storm the Agency will, almost certainly, be the last batch of challenges before Season 3. We aren’t getting any Overtime Challenges, so these will have to do.

The new challenge set has not been released at the time of writing but should be available later today or this week. They may be released as late as Thursday, ahead of the Doomsday event. We’ll cover the challenge tutorial in a separate guide.

Storm Circles

Epic appear to have changed storm circles in the v12.61 update, as well – at least in public matches. The first phase of the storm closes much more quickly – but on a larger circle. The circle then gets much smaller, causing some players to have to rotate, quite quickly.

The circles aren’t perfect, either. Just take a look at this tweet from broadcaster AussieAntics. We’ll have to wait and see how this shakes out.

Bug Fixes

There weren’t too many bug fixes in this patch. The biggest issue that was addressed was the inability to refund the Dragacorn Glider for some players. Here’s everything that was fixed in v12.61:

  • Numbers not changing on sports-themed Outfits
  • Unable to refund Dragacorn Glider
  • iOS players hitching at high rate

We’ll update this post with any additional changes that surface as more players get their hands on the new patch. This was a small one, though, and largely focused on adding the Doomsday Device to the game.

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Leak

Leaked Fortnite v12.61 update skins and cosmetic items

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Epic Games

Fortnite update v12.61 has arrived, and while Epic Games didn’t add many new skins or cosmetic items to the game, data miners and leakers have been sifting through the files and given us a look at what’s to come before the end of Chapter 2, Season 2.

Season 2 is rapidly coming to its conclusion, with the highly anticipated Doomsday event set to rock the game to its foundations as Epic Games moves to Season 3.

With the current season drawing to a close, the game’s developers have released the v12.61 Update on May 26 which includes a number of leaks as to what the event will entail.

For those who are looking a new skin or some new dances moves, though, Epic have added some new additions to the files which will be released over the next week or so.

Cyclo Doomsday skin and Windshear Cloak

There’s only one new skin in the game this week, but it appears to have major links to the end of Season 2, with the mysterious and imposing skin added to the files under the name “Hurricane,” prompting many to wonder if he is set to unleash the natural disaster onto the island.

On top of that, there is also a brand-new cloak that goes with Cyclo Doomsday, which appears to have been battered by winds and torn in places at the bottom. You can view the skin and back bling below courtesy of @Lucas7yoshi.

Drake’s Toosie Slide comes to Fortnite

Definitely the most surprising addition to the game, global megastar Drake has made his first appearance in Fortnite, with a brand-new emote appearing in-game based on a dance from the music video for his latest single, Toosie Slide.

The track debuted on April 3, and was then eventually released as part of his new mixtape Dark Lane Demo Tapes. It immediately became a hit on TikTok, with creators dancing along to the instructions featured in the song, and now Fortnite players can do the same. You can watch the Toosie Slide emote in action below, thanks to @HYPEX.

On top of that, Epic have actually licensed the song, so when you’re sliding in front of your downed enemies, they’ll hear October’s Very Own singing along.

Fortnite’s v12.61 patch is expected to be the final patch before Chapter 2, Season 3 kicks off, so it was always likely that new cosmetics would be in short supply this week. Data miners are still sifting through the files though, so if any more are discovered we’ll be sure to update this article.

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