Some calls from players urging the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds studio to region-lock Chinese players into their own segregated area are being resisted by the game’s creator. The stated reason for this is alleged cheating and the high ping issues that are dragging down the game experience for everyone else.
Brendan Greene said that region-locking will cause more problems than those it solves. “I mean, everyone that [suggests] region locking [is forgetting about] VPN. It just doesn’t work,” he said. Greene also revealed that the studio is focusing on ping-based matchmaking to keep latency from being an issue.
As the battle royale shooter is being overtaken in market share by Fortnite, it shouldn’t be surprising to see PUBG announce that it will be offering limited-time modes in much the same way that its competitor does.
After years of trying to crack the serious issue of negative behavior and toxicity among their individual communities, 30 game studios and industry leaders are teaming up to see if their combined strength can win the day.
League of Legends’ Riot Games, World of Warcraft’s Blizzard Entertainment, EVE Online’s CCP, Fortnite’s Epic Games, and Twitch’s Twitch are among those companies that have formed a “Fair Play Alliance” in an effort to combat bad player behavior. The coalition’s goal is to create a set of behavioral standards that will be shared among the whole community and help up-and-coming developers as they try to break into the e-sports markets.
“As an industry and as a society online, we’re trying to find our way. Having to be a company that steps out and says ‘We’re gonna be the ones to do this’ is kinda scary. This is an opportunity for all of us to say ‘What if we walked together as an industry?’” said Riot Senior Technical Designer Kimberly Voll.
There’s a lot of stuff swirling around the Fortnite community of late, starting with adjustments to the game’s Blitz mode to reduce how many resources you gain at once. It made farming materials a little too trivial, and so you’ll have to deal with slightly fewer resources. It’s an attempt to modify player behaviors with mechanics, which is also why the game removed friendly fire options; forcing players to play together was an effort to combat toxicity instead of rewarding nastiness for the heck of it.
Off of the official side, players of the game are reselling special Twitch Prime skins via eBay, which involves some shady (read: patently disallowed) account sharing antics. On the less shady side, a dedicated player has put together a fort designer to help players on a time budget come up with good fortifications to deploy in-game for the Battle Royale mode, so you don’t need to become paralyzed with choice before someone snipes you from halfway across the map.
Fortnite’s mobile version is already kicking butt and taking names, even landlocked to iOS. According to app-tracker SensorTower, the game is ranked #1 for iPad and iPhone in pretty much every major English-speaking country and already appears on track to dethrone PUBG, having made 1.5M in just four days.
Meanwhile, PUBG’s mobile version has officially arrived in North America,
at least if you’re in Canada using Android. I wasn’t able to access it in the US earlier today, but expect it soon. Updating: It’s now soft-launched in the US on Android and iOS as well. As Polygon notes, PUBG won’t be a direct port with crossplatforminess, though it’s does include the original map.
Either way, maybe don’t play PUBG around Barber Emily Javier, who apparently stabbed boyfriend Alex Lovell with a katana for cheating and playing too much PUBG in his attempt to become a pro player. Actually, maybe just don’t be around her at all. Lovell will be OK, by the way, though he can’t walk yet and his limbs and fingers took serious damage. What in the actual.
After a brief delay, Fortnite’s 3.3 patch is in with a bang, literally, thanks to new explosives and supply llamas added to battle royale mode. Epic says it’s improved server performance too. Save the Worlders will find a new St Patrick’s Day themed questline and gear to keep them occupied.
In other Fortnite news,
- The game helped set a new Twitch record last night for concurrent watchers on a single string when rapper Drake hopped on stream with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins for some Fortnite talk. This is real life.
- VG247 has a piece arguing that Fortnite is a “true next-gen game” for the first generation of kids raised on free games, crossplatforminess, and hand-me-down hardware.
- And Gamasutra posted a Q&A with Epic Games on the development of BR mode. “Because our timeline was so short, and we wanted to create a playable version immediately, it wasn’t ‘hey we could do all these crazy things,’ it was ‘what can we do, and how can we get it done as quickly as possible,'” Epic’s Eric Williamson says. “It wasn’t pie-in-the-sky land. Naturally, that meant that lots of ideas we had didn’t really get fully explored.” Now, of course, there’s time.
Were you one of the long list of folks hacked in Fortnite? Epic Games told Kotaku that it’s aware of the mass-hacking going on, at least some of which appears to be originating in Russia and resulting in wild purchases in the game on victims’ credit cards. The good news is the company is also helping players affected.
“We are aware of instances where users’ accounts have been compromised using well-known hacking techniques and are working to resolve these issues directly with those players affected. Any players who believe their account has been compromised should reach out to our player support immediately.”
Meanwhile, if Fortnite isn’t doing it for you, how about FortCraft? That’s Netease’s overt clone of the game, coming straight to Android and iOS. The company is promising a huge map, 13 environments, destructible environments, on-the-fly building, five weapon classes, and three gameplay modes.
Last week, when Epic Games announced it was porting Fortnite to mobile, there was one console conspicuously left out of the list for cross-play support: Xbox One. Over the weekend, clarity emerged from Microsoft and Epic, and yes, cross-play is happening there too, with the usual PS4/Xbox anti-cooperation shenanigans.
“We have been working closely with the team at Epic Games for some time to bring this functionality to all current and future versions of Fortnite and expect it to be available on Xbox along with other platforms,” Microsoft told The Verge. “Microsoft has long been a leading voice in encouraging the adoption of cross-platform play and the potential of connecting players across PC, mobile and all consoles.”
Epic Games’ Nick Chester spelled it out more overtly. “Xbox One players can play with PC, Mac, and mobile,” he tweeted. “PlayStation 4 players can play with PC, Mac, and mobile.” So basically, full cross-play except between PS4 and Xbox One. As usual.
Have you been wondering which of the big battle royale titles would make a bid for mobile? Probably the first one that came to console, yeah? You’d be right: It’s Fortnite. Epic announced last night that BR mode is headed to iOS and Android, though iOS first, which might have seemed normal years ago but is admittedly a bit bizarre in 2018, given Android’s overwhelming market share, but there you go.
“Fortnite Battle Royale is coming to mobile devices! On phones and tablets, Fortnite is the same 100-player game you know from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. Same gameplay, same map, same content, same weekly updates.”
The really awesome part is crossplatforminess. “In partnership with our friends at Sony, Fortnite Battle Royale will support Cross Play and Cross Progression between PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS and eventually Android,” Epic says. “This means players across devices can squad up with friends and play together.” Note, not Xbox One. Save the World mode is also not mentioned.
This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.
So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?
Remember way back in the long, long ago, before H1Z1 hit early access, split, reconstituted, renamed, didn’t launch, aborted a console port, and all those shenanigans? You know, back when the game was planned as a free-to-play title, but it didn’t happen?
Now it’s happened.
Following the official launch of H1Z1 (the battle royale half) last week, Daybreak has formally announced that it’s going free-to-play. Today. There are brand-new buyable packs on Steam running up to 100 bucks, but they are at least technically optional.
Readers will recall that the game has appeared to be struggling on Steam over the past half year as other battle royale games picked up players; as of February, the game had apparently lost 90% of its playerbase since last summer, presumable to the likes of PUBG and Fortnite, the latter of which launched free.
The zombie sandbox half of the game, Just Survive, hasn’t made any free-to-play announcement yet.
Ladies and germs, we are now in the final days of this seemingly unstoppable arms race between battle royale titles. Please spend some extra time with your loved ones because we do not know what tomorrow may bring.
Actually, we do. It’s a 20v20v20v20v20 mode for Fortnite called “Teams of 20.” The free update coming on March 8th will pit five teams of 20 players each against each other in what can only be called “crazy to the max” if you’ve traveled back in time to the 1990s.
This will be one of several “limited-time modes” that Epic Games is experimenting with as alternate versions of the classic Battle Royale mode. Other ideas in the works include a shorter Blitz Mode and another 50v50 match.
Get a look at the insanity of “Teams of 20” in the game’s latest trailer below!
With the insane success — both in terms of popularity and finances — that Dota and League of Legends spawned, you can easily understand why game studios latched onto the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) as a relatively quick cash grab. After all, with players providing the ongoing content (through PvP matches), developers were freed up to focus on balance tweaks and churning out new skins and characters to sell.
In a relatively short span of time, the market became flooded with many imitators that sought to grab that slice of the profitable pie. And while some, such as Hi-Rez’s SMITE, have endured, many games discovered the one key danger with this approach: If you could not generate and sustain a large, active playerbase, you were as good as dead. A critical mass was needed, and when it was not achieved, games started folding up left and right.
In today’s Perfect Ten, we’re going to look at a dozen MOBAs that tried and failed to make it. Perhaps they serve as cautionary lessons to other studios seeking to mimic League of Legends’ format, but we somehow doubt that the era of the MOBA is over just yet.
Who saw this one coming? Fortnite has officially pushed past PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in terms of games that get the most playtime on Twitch. That’s according to SullyGnome, which tracks streamtime for big online games. Fortnite is now topping PUBG in number of streams, number of channels streaming, time streamed, and number of daily viewers as Fortnite continues its climb – and PUBG falls.
Worth pointing out, however, is that the Fortnite community is somewhat skeptical about the sudden boom. As Polygon explored yesterday, some streamers and watchers argue that multiple Fortnite-centric channels are seeing a spike in Twitch Prime subs from “compromised accounts and bots” thanks to Epic’s current skin promotion, through which Twitch offers an exclusive. It’s possible the spike in viewers and viewtime for the game are related.
In other Fortnite news, Epic says it’s “working on bringing parity to the control schemes” between the PvP battle royale and PvE Save the World modes.