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Official Site: Epic Games

Boss Key owner Cliff Bleszinski claims that Epic Games is poaching his staff

If Radical Heights is not a success, it’s the fault of Epic Games, according to Cliff Bleszinski. The head of Boss Key Studios recently tweeted out an accusation that Epic Games (creator of Fortnite and the Unreal engine, among other things) is trying to poach some of his staff, which comes a few months after the co-founder of Boss Key Studios left to join Epic on a heretofore unannounced project. He went on to state that there are still more things to be done in the battle royale genre, but they may remain unseen based on this employee poaching.

Epic has remained mum on the accusations of poaching employees, so it’s hard to be sure whether it’s actually happening or not. One might also want to look at the game’s numbers and its overall playerbase figures following its surprise reveal and early access launch and take that into account as part of this narrative, as well.

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Fortnite passes $5M in mobile sales while adults grapple with its popularity

Like it or not, the Fortnite wave has yet to crest in our culture. The multiplayer shooter just passed $5 million in mobile sales over the first 10 days of its release — and that’s not even counting everything that Epic has raked in from the PC edition.

The sheer phenomenon of this game among youth has sent parents and teachers scrambling to understand it and even use it for good. A piece on Waypoint points out how adults are noticing how the game is dominating discussion and playtime among children of a scope that hasn’t been seen in years.

Some of the effects of the game are positive, such as connecting introverted kids with their classmates or being incentive to do good work in school. Some of it is strange, such as Fortnite-themed prom invitations and a Fortnite version of The Great Gatsby in a high school literature class. Some of these effects have resulted in less-than-desirable outcomes, such as declining grades and a concern over desensitization of shooting violence.

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Fortnite talks game modifications while players design forts and resell skins, all while crushing PUBG

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.

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Epic Games releases the Paragon assets for free use in Unreal Engine 4 development

It’s interesting to learn that the art and animations for Paragon cost Epic Games $12 million, all told. How do we know that? Well… the company is giving them away. Not to anyone, to everyone. All of the characters, skins, environmental art, and so forth are all offered completely free of charge to anyone who wants to use them in any sort of Unreal Engine 4 development project.

For those of you not following along, that means that fans could resurrect Paragon completely for free if they wished to. They could also make a totally new game based on the same characters, or just use some of the assets, or use those assets as a starting point for something completely different. It’s entirely up to each individual user. Because all of the assets are there, and again, they’ve been released to the public for use completely for free for UE4 development.

In short: This is really cool.

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Fortnite speeds up construction

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.

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Fortnite outlines a new roadmap for Battle Royale and removes submachine guns

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.

Source: Official Site via VG24/7

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Western gamers start petition to save Paragon while Chinese players await info

It shouldn’t really need to be said, but Paragon has fans. You may not love it yourself, but there are a lot of fans who are really upset about the shutdown announcement. So the fans have turned to that time-honored tradition in the wake of an unwanted shutdown, a petition for Epic Games to keep the lights on at the bare minimum.

The petition was aiming for 25,000 signatures and as of this writing has almost hit that number, so it’s clear that a lot of people are willing to write in to support the game at least remaining online even if the updates grind to a halt. Of course, petitions to avert shutdowns do not have the most positive track record; nevertheless, if you are sad about the game shuttering, we encourage you to throw your name onto the list.

Don’t think a petition is going to work? You could always join the folks playing on the Tencent-backed Chinese version of the game, which reportedly either isn’t sunsetting – or hasn’t been told yet.

Source: Petition; thanks to Kinya for the tip!

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Epic shutters Paragon over playerbase size woes, declaring it ‘unsustainable’

When Epic Games admitted last week that Paragon’s playerbase just couldn’t seem to push past its core, many fans all but expected this announcement, and now it’s come.

“It’s with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon. We truly appreciate everything you’ve put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community. After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable.”

Epic has taken the unusual step of offering refunds to all Paragon players for all purchases on every platform ever. The servers will close on April 26, 2018.

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Fortnite adds silencers in its first Battle Royale update of 2018

The first Fortnite update of the new year has arrived for the Battle Royale mode, and it introduces the silenced pistol along with a special silent skirmish mode starting January 5th and running through January 8th. No one will hear you coming!

Except, you know, that is not how silencers work. Silencers make guns quieter and harder to pick out among ambient gunfire, but there’s a difference between “quieter” and “quiet.” Seriously, a four-second search on YouTube will turn up dozens of videos in which you can hear how loud a “silenced” gun still is.

So the question is how the silenced pistol works in Fortnite. Does it make the gun quieter but still loud, or does it turn the bullets into completely quiet little “fffpp” noises you see in so many games where silencers are magic toys made by wizards? You can find out yourself in-game right now, assuming you pick one up from the floor, by supply drop, or in treasure chests. It’s available in both Epic and Legendary rarities; have fun searching.

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Fortnite is getting a new large-scale battle royale mode

Over the past weekend, Fortnite managed to hit a peak of 1.3 million concurrent users and 30M total users. That’s a lot of people. So how do you capitalize on that for the game’s Battle Royale mode? Why, you throw them all into an arena and make them fight. At the Game Awards tonight, Epic Games has just revealed a new limited-time mode that gives players a large-scale arena to fight in for a 50v50 battle. Last team standing wins, and to the winner goes…

Well, not being shot. That’s incentive.

There’s a trailer for the new mode just below, and the important thing is that… well, it’s big. Really, mind-bogglingly big. You might think that the current mode is big, but this is a clash of makeshift armies. Check it out if that’s the sort of thing you like to see, and don’t forget the patch notes for the new limited-time mode!

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Fortnite settles one of its anti-cheater lawsuits out of court

If you’d forgotten, Fortnite wound up bringing a lawsuit against two people for cheating software being used in the game. One such suit hit a wrinkle when it turned out that the defendant was a minor, which has yet to be resolved. The other suit is all done and over with, though, as the developer has reportedly agreed to an out-of-court settlement regarding the lawsuit against Charles Vraspir.

The terms of the settlement forbid Vraspir from taking any actions similar to his prior ones, with a $5,000 penalty if he is found in breach of the agreement. The bright side for him is that he won’t have to pay a fine at all so long as he sticks to the terms of his agreement, so we can only hope for his own sake that he does so. It’s a somewhat anticlimactic ending to that particular matter, but probably the best one for all concerned parties.

Source: Gamasutra

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Mother of Fortnite cheater claims that her 14-year-old son is being used as a scapegoat

Last month, Fortnite developer Epic sued two alleged associates of a cheating software site as part of the studio’s hard-line approach to cheaters. Makes sense; cheating is not all right, and this approach has a chance to actually shut down some cheating. Only the mother of one of the defendants has come forward protesting Epic’s actions, stating that her 14-year-old son is being made into a scapegoat and is unfairly being targeted by this legal action.

The mother’s objections include the claims that she never gave parental consent for Fortnite’s terms and conditions, that the developers claims of profit lost on a free-to-play game are impossible to substantiate, and that her son did not help develop the cheating software but simply downloaded it as a user. Furthermore, she stated that the company released her son’s name, which is illegal under Delaware law when concerning a minor. You can draw your own conclusions about how valid her complaints are, but it may well add an extra wrinkle into the ongoing legal battle against cheating software.

Source: Kotaku

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The Stream Team: A final foray into Fortnite’s Fortnitemares

Last time, Massively OP’s MJ was only able to check out a couple of the Halloween quests in Fortnite’s Hexsylvania. Now, she’s diving back in to experience more before that awesome spooky map disappears! Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for MJ’s final foray into Fortnitemares.

What: Fortnite
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

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