After weeks of mysterious events with in-game rocket launches and vanishings crossing over into our world, Epic's free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale today kicked off Season 5 with a big world-changing update. Viking longboats, ancient statues, and a chuffing great desert biome have appeared on the once-verdant island, for starters. And how better to see the new sights than in the new kart vehicle, which can drift, function as a trampoline, and even jump if people in the back seats rock it? The update is now live, though you may need queue first to launch the game then to join a match.
The desert has appeared in the southeast corner where Moisty Mire used to be, now dried out and looking a bit like Utah with red sandstone buttes. It's home to a kart racing track, a luxury resort, a mine, Joshua trees, and nice teal ponds and streams.
More than being a handy way to transport four players, the kart seems a right laugh. It can drift and gets a speed boost after doing so, the roof is a bounce pad so you can trampoline yourselves into the sky, and passengers standing on the back can make the kart jump by leaning back then rocking forward - even getting a higher jump if they do it at the same time. I do like how Epic are trying to make vehicles interesting and active in themselves, and giving backseat drivers something to do is a good call.
Renovations elsewhere have replaced the farm of Anarchy Acres with a golf course and resort, named Lazy Links. Trump's America, eh? Little bit of politics there, ladies and gentlemen.
Dusty Divot, the big crater left by Season 4's meteorite strike, is looking a lot less dusty now. Trees and grass have sprung up, pools of water have gathered, and the research facility is overgrown. I'm sure the spacecrystals haven't done anything weird to the flora and everything will be just grand there from now on.
Consult the Fortnite Battle Royale Season 5 map for the big picture.
The map doesn't show everything new, mind. Oddities from across history are scattered around, and certain areas are also littered with little Rifts, cracks in space which open wider as you approach then--as far as I've tested--warp you high into the sky above to fall/float back down. They are handy for quick travel if you don't have a bounce pad (or kart) at hand, though I wouldn't be surprised if players soon discover some weird tricks and secrets too.
A new Season means a new Battle Pass. New levels and challenges to grind and new cosmetic rewards to unlock are here, both in the lightweight Free Pass and the goodie-filled paid Battle Pass, which costs the usual 950 V-Bucks. Most outfits and doodads are themed around vikings, racecars and their drivers, and beach fun. The Battle Pass also introduces 'toys', a variety of balls to throw and whack around. Here, see some in the trailer:
As for the rest... the Fortnite v5.0 patch notes detail plenty of other changes. Here are some which caught my eye:
- Shotguns will now indicate how many pellets hit, visible within the reticle.
- Adjusted shotgun spread patterns to be consistent with no random variation.
- After firing a shotgun, another shotgun cannot be fired for a very short time.
- Changed the damage drop-off profile for the Suppressed SMG to be the same as other SMGs.
- Down But Not Out players now have smaller collision. Previously their collision was at the standing height which blocked DBNO players from crawling under doors and blocked building collision in some cases.
- You now earn XP for reviving teammates in 50v50 and Teams of 20 LTMs up to three times per match (30XP, 10XP, 10XP).
- Improved performance of Shopping Carts on both the game client and server.
Fortnite Battle Royale is free-to-play through Epic's client.