In the ever-changing – and some would even say volatile – world that we live in, it can be a rather reassuring, if small, comfort to know that those who look after our hobbies and means of escapism have plans for the future, especially if your preferred hobby involves a surprisingly popular free to play game that faces stiff competition from another not-so-free-to-play but equally popular game of the same genre. Coincidentally, Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite Battle Royale, released an update regarding the state of their game and their goals moving forward. Among other things, Epic has apparently set their sights on matchmaking and social connectivity issues, new cosmetic items, and general player experience improvements.
Interestingly enough, Epic admitted that they have been unable to “stay ahead of our continued growth and multiple of our backend services have been struggling under load the last several weeks” and Fortnite Battle Royale’s v2.3.0 update was shipped with “significant bugs.” Fortunately, Epic wants to make it clear that they don’t consider either fact to be acceptable, and that they are mobilizing to remedy this.
On the technical side of things, Epic will look at improving load times and generally providing a smoother in-game experience, stating that “We’re getting close to being able to test a significant optimization to our networking code that should get us closer to running the server at a solid 20 Hz even in the beginning of the match.” In addition, console players should receive an optional 60 FPS mode sometime later this month that is “tuned for each console to maximize frame rate while minimizing loss of visual quality.”
Of course, having a smooth-running game means nothing if you can’t find anyone to play with on a server that is remotely near your location, so U.S. West Coast and Brazilian Xbox servers have been added. Epic will also look into matchmaking changes to ensure that players will be connected to matches that have a “more balanced distribution of skill,” though how this would apply to a game of Fortnite Battle Royale’s nature is up to anyone’s guess.
If you already have friends to play Fortnite Battle Royale with, then the future may be looking a little bit brighter for you: Epic has short term and long term plans revolving around the social aspect of the game. Long story short, at some point Epic will eventually rework the social features of Fortnite Battle Royale so that you can invite people from social networks like Facebook, or you can use a proposed Looking for Group feature to more easily find and or curate the random players in your squad. It may also be interesting to note that you will soon be able to spectate and chat with friends who are already in a match, a feature that is presumably intended to give friends a way to cheer each other on and not completely roast each other over missing a few (dozen) sniper rifle shots. Custom matches are also on the horizon if you are looking for even more intimate games with your friends.
Literal game-changing features are also being looked at, so don’t fret if the technical side of things doesn’t interest you. Audio features, such as footstep elevation differentiation, volume-player location-camera behavior, and construction audio, will receive improvements so that it should, for example, make it easier to determine where someone or something is based on sound.
Quality of Life fixes are being developed as well, featuring a grab bag of improvements for a number of issues that are listed below:
- Improved building controls on console
- Team Communication outside of voice chat
- Ability to re-queue from the death screen
- Ability to preemptively hold down the search button while approaching a searchable object
- Display of how much ammo is loaded into a gun on the weapon widget
- Larger map w/ zoom
- Quickbar improvements to enable smoother weapon-build bar transitions
Limited Time Modes aren’t going away anytime either, with more on the way. Some of the new modes include Blitz (shorter matches), first circle deployments, faster circle transition periods, larger team sizes, and even a tentative “floor is lava” mode. The 50v50 mode will also be tweaked so that both teams start on different buses, you will be able to see all of your squadmates on the map, and more supply drops will be provided to enable a sense of all-out war.
New weapons, consumables, and other items will (unsurprisingly) be added to Fortnite Battle Royale as time goes on, and existing weapons will be rotated out of the game as the situation requires. The SMG will be the first weapon to receive such a treatment as it is moved to the “Vault”, though whether or not it will return in the future is uncertain.
Last, but certainly not least, are a series of cosmetic items that may or may not make it into Fortnite Battle Royale in the near future. Dragon themed Gliders, astronaut Outfits, and unicorn Pickaxes are all things that have entered the conceptual art stage (Epic is encouraging audience members to show off their ideas, especially on the game’s subreddit), though it wouldn’t be much of a shock if concept becomes reality in the near future. Existing cosmetic items will also be given new visual effects, the most notable of which is the Party Animal Pickaxe which will receive splashing animations.
Speaking of cosmetic items (and in what should be very unsurprising news to everyone), there will be a Battle Pass Season 3. Fortunately, some flexibility will be added in Season 3 in that the second daily challenge will be replaced with a weekly system. As the name implies, Battle Pass owners will be given a set of quests each week, which can then be completed at any time so long as it is before the end of the season.More About This Game