Welcome to the beginning of Fortnite’s third season, which kicked off with this week’s Patch 3.0. There’s a lot going on with this update, starting with a new battle pass that includes astronaut outfits, funky dances, and other cosmetics.
Other changes impact both Save the World and Battle Royale, such as an increase of console performance to 60 frames per second (enjoy living like one of the PC master race!), the addition of hoverboards (zoom!), a giant hand cannon (blammo!), a color blind option (considerate!), and many build mode improvements that allow you construct pretty much anywhere in the game (bang!).
Audiophiles might be pleased to hear that Fortnite just got a completely new score composed by film composers Marco Beltrami and Pinar Toprak.
While it’s not as cool of a name as “Thunderdome,” Paladins’ Battlegrounds is still likely to attract plenty of bloodthirsty savages looking for a good scrap.
The new game mode, which is pretty much your now-standard battle royale (complete with the ever-shrinking walls of poison fog), arrived in Open Beta 66 this past Wednesday. Other changes that came with the patch include a Facebook Live streaming option, changes to the minimum system requirements, and a required level of 15 for the classic siege mode.
Hi-Rez has had its hands full this week. The studio faced an uprising from players following the addition of lootboxes in Update 64. These lootboxes, which came in the form of cards, were seen as pay-to-win by many and resulted in players flooding the Paladins subreddit with crappy card art as a way to mock the move. This goofy protest paid off, and Hi-Rez announced that it will be removing and replacing the system.
Funcom is announcing something big next week. And it’s not the Secret World Legends update you’re still waiting on, nor is it another Conan franchise spinoff.
The long-running MMO studio sent ’round a promise to announce a new game on February 28th and a link to a countdown timer. Well, more than a timer; the website shows some sort of post-apocalyptic bar setting with some outlines of people. The setting prompted some of our writers to suggest a battle royale game, while the outlines hint at something more MOBAy or shootery – or maybe something more in the studio’s RPG wheelhouse.
Given Funcom’s flair for mystery, we suspect there are hidden bits tucked in there too. What do you think it is?
May 8th seems pretty far away to me, but I bet Funcom is feeling Conan Exiles’ impending launch is rushing up to meet it. In its most recent newsletter, the studio says its various teams are hard at work on memory leak repairs, UI fixes, the temperature system, new clothing and outfits, first-person perspective animations, engine optimizations, the monster revamp, and of course, the combat system.
“The old combat system was more like an MMORPG than an action game, where a creature would stand in front of you and attack. Under the new paradigm we plan to make creature attacks more varied, with better anticipation time and ‘tells’ so you’ll know what comes next. [… ] We have a vision of what Conan Exiles should be, which might differ from your vision of what Conan Exiles should be, and our job as a developer is to merge the two into a coherent whole. Game development is normally a closed process, but because we opted for Early Access we also had to make sure that the community had a voice. The new combat system is a direct consequence of this interaction that fits in with the Conan vision.”
Building is a big part of Fortnite, and Epic Games has revealed some construction improvements geared to speed things up in both Battle Royale and Save the World come v.3.0.0. The combination of turbo building (holding down primary fire continuously placing building pieces) and automatic material swapping when you deplete one resource will allow players to build on the run. As in, build a ramp as you run up it! The rules for building collision have also changed: Larger items like rocks, trees, and vehicles will no longer block structures. However, all structures will still need a connection to a floor or terrain.
The final change is speeding up switching between building pieces by removing the need for that command to travel through Epic’s servers. This change is only slated for Battle Royal currently, but devs plan to get it into Save the World as well.
Are you a little sick and tired of lockboxes everywhere and all of these games desperately trying to jump onto the battle royale bandwagon? It might be of some small comfort that Funcom has no immediate plans to add either to Conan Exiles (although “never say never” and all that).
Creative Director Joel Bylos addressed these issues and more in an interview with PC Gamer. Now that Conan Exiles is just two-and-a-half months from official release, Bylos said that the team is working hard to making the whole package work, even if it means cutting content.
Bylos was asked several questions about the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and how it could impact Conan Exiles’ profile. “You just do your thing and make things that are unique and interesting,” he said. “In terms of press attention, it’s always hard to get press attention when there’s a pretty girl at the ball. PUBG is definitely the pretty girl at the ball this year.”
You’d think that figuring out how to squeeze loot from a battle royale clone wouldn’t be all that complicated, but in Fortnite, you’d be wrong. Epic Games has a new dev blog out this week on its Battle Pass system ahead of the switchover from season 2 to season 3, and it’s reminded me just how convoluted Buying Stuff has become.
Essentially, you pay for the Battle Pass, which gets you some loot. And then with that unlocked, you can play and level up the tiers to unlock even more loot. Or you can just buy tiers and skip all that playing stuff. In fact, there are more tiers this time around.
“Even though we added 30 tiers, you’ll still be able to complete the Season 3 Battle Pass in the same amount of time as the Season 2 Battle Pass (typically 75-150 hours),” Epic says. “Don’t have the time? You can always purchase tiers for 150 V-Bucks each.” That’s about $1.50, if you’re wondering. $28 will get you the pass and 25 tiers at a discount.
In other words, there’s barely even a pretense that you’re paying for a game or gameplay; you’re paying for the ability to get loot. Detachment ensues. Shrug.
The ping-locking system that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds began testing last month is finally back on track, PUBG Corp says today on Steam. The team says it was previously delayed because “resources were focused on cheat blocking and prevention” instead. That gave the devs time to improve ping-locking too.
“Unlike the method considered earlier, we are going to divide the matching pool depending on ping,” the studio says. “This means that the users with lower pings will be prioritized during matchmaking. The team is expecting to improve the overall play experience by splitting the matching pool rather than restricting connection depending on ping.” The first leg of trial testing is expected to begin this week.
Moreover, that roadmap the company promised last week? Don’t expect that until March.
Polygon has a report out this afternoon sourcing data aggregator GitHyp, both of which are casting doubt on H1Z1’s future viability as a game and as a professional e-sport.
Daybreak-watchers will recall that last autumn, the MMO company dropped the King of the Kill branding from H1Z1 and the H1Z1 branding from Just Survive, splitting the two games up amidst a push for a China launch and a new pro league. In October 2017, we were already eyeing H1Z1’s falling playerbase numbers in comparison to PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s meteoric rise – even at the time, H1Z1’s peak concurrency had fallen a full third since August.
That trend has unfortunately continued, according to GitHyp, which now says the game has lost 91% of its players since its July peak. Steam Charts suggests the drop-off is almost that bad too.
Hope you PvE folks didn’t have your Valentine hearts set on that Fortnite update that was supposed to roll out today because… it didn’t. As we’d previously reported, Save the World mode was supposed to be updated with a themed questline, but it’s apparently been delayed.
“The patch is not set to release tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted on when we do plan on bringing it out though. :)” an Epic rep wrote on Reddit.
On top of that, players were apparently told that gold would reset, so people went out and spent it. The reset also didn’t happen, further inflaming the playerbase, which was already grumbly over the lack of communication and the dramatic shift of the game from being a PvE-centric building sandbox into a battle royale-focused PvP game with Save the World tacked on.
The Valentine’s Day buyables, however, made it in today.
The designers behind Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode have plans. What are those plans? You’ll need to go on a dangerous mission to retrieve them by sneaking into the… oh, never mind, you can just read them right here. That was straightforward.
Whether or not you’ll like what you read is a different discussion. Most players will probably like the prospect of 60 FPS on console versions of the game, west coast servers, and new character skins, but the game is also tossing regular submachine guns into the Vault (i.e. a metaphorical box from whence items cannot be pulled out and used). In short, it’s yanking the weapon from the game for the moment.
This isn’t to say that they’re bad, just that this balance change is meant to encourage using other weapons and to shake up the game’s metagame balance; in the future, other items can also be added to the vault and removed as time requires. There are also new social features and limited-time game modes planned, so on a whole the roadmap has lots of cool stuff to look forward to. It’s just slightly less if you love submachine guns.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Vendetta Online, Worlds Adrift, Monster Hunter World, Hellion, Rust, Skyforge, Blade and Soul, Portal Knights, Final Fantasy XI, Dreadnought, PUBG, Hyper Universe, Crossout, Black Desert, Dark and Light, H1Z1, Dauntless, Robocraft, Fortnite, War of Rights, Cosmos Invictus, Ultima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!
This right here would be why Epic Games isn’t all that wrecked over having to put down Paragon: Fortnite hit a new peak concurrency of 3.4 million players over the weekend – that’s up from 60 thousand just a few months ago. Battle royale, folks.
The downside for those 3.4 million players is that the “extreme load” caused half a dozen “incidents” over the same time period, which resulted in matchmaking problems, database failures, and actual outages. There’s a huge postmortem on the official site explaining how it all broke down, but the takeaway is that Epic says it’s working on those problems (and indeed, is hiring folks who specialize in fixing them).
In other Fortnite news, how about some Valentine’s day nonsense? Obliged. In addition to a bunch of pretty pink cosmetics for heroes and gear, the PvE Save the World mode of the game is getting its very own Valentine’s questline. Future patches, Epic says, will include a spring-themed questline, “complete in-game music overhaul,” the stamina patch, improved crafting inventory, and quest map tweaks.