I should probably give Fortnite another chance. When I took a look at it last year, it played like a less tense version of Player Unknown's Battlegrounds - but it's increasingly embracing a wackiness and an eagerness to experiment that's tempting me back in.
Temporary modes are one way that it's toying with the battle royale formula. Today's patch features the one which just went live, pitting 5 teams of 20 against each other. I wasn't sold on the 50 v 50 mode from a few months back because it sounded like a recipe for lopsided drag-a-thons, but this setup should leave room for exciting comebacks. There's no word on how long the mode will last, but previous events have stuck around for a week.
I wish all trailers could be that punchy.
The mode makes a few tweaks to better suit large groups roaming around, like a slightly increased chance of treasure chests and ammo boxes spawning (10% and 5%, respectively). Supply Drops also come in batches of five and have more stuff in 'em. The circle shrinks 6 times rather than 9, and the maximum match length is 23 minutes rather than 25. More specifics can be found here.
I liked the idea of constructing elaborate fortresses with a big team in the 50 v 50 mode, but judging from the comments from when Fraser Brown checked it out for us I was right to be weary. My fear was that once one team gained the lead, the remaining players on the opposite side would have little chance of turning the tide. But this new mode adds more teams to the mix, so a handful of players on one team might be able to pull together and sneak a win despite being outnumbered.
Epic Games talked about their ideas for temporary modes in a blog post last month. Those include a mode with short round times, a smaller play area and a tweaked version of the 50 v 50 mode. I'm most interested in the "Floor is Lava" mode though, which will arrive a little later on once they've made "internal improvements".
One problem I found when I played last year was that the building system hardly seemed to make much difference to how encounters played out, although I suspect that might have changed. I also just found a building tutorial that promises to teach me how to build "them dank stairs", which seems like too good an opportunity to miss.