The Fortnite Season 5 blockchain announcement you probably missed

Chris Stead 13 July 2018 NEWS

It’s a hugely exciting day for the biggest game in the world, but there is one Fortnite Season 5 announcement involving MagnaChain you likely missed.

Fortnite is huge. In under 10 months, Fortnite has shifted from a casual following to an industry behemoth enjoyed by over 125 million gamers. To put that figure into context, your standard Call of Duty game pulls in between 20 million to 25 million players over its entire lifespan.

Yep, Fortnite has put the Epic in Epic Games, and the developer – to use the World Cup parlance of our times – is in dreamland.

The Fortnite model is working a treat, too. The beloved Battle Royale mode cycles through 10 week seasons, ensuring that the entire community has a defined end goal in sight for every play session, and something exciting to look forward to in the foreseeable future.

Today is a big day. Season 4 has ended, and Fortnite Season 5 begins. At the bottom of this article, we run through the major changes for you and what you can expect next time you jump out of the bus, but there is one reveal that should have – but hasn’t – received any attention. One that could ultimately change the way Fortnite is played, and in turn, alter the greater gaming industry that is trying to replicate its success.

As discussed in today’s episode of GxB: Video Games and the Blockchain (see below), developer Epic Games is going a little crypto.

Fortnite on the blockchain

With little to no fanfare, the MagnaChain Testnet launched overnight. The MagnaChain (formerly known as CellLink) is a new blockchain custom built for use in video games. It uses a hybrid Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Stake system, can be scaled through sidechains, can be used to deploy games directly and can handle up to 100,000 transactions per second, which is vital to any game of size – like a Fortnite – to function.

If you’re not up to speed with the whole blockchain phenomenon, we have a full beginner’s guide here. Best known as the technology that drives the cryptocurrency industry, the blockchain has significant and powerful applications beyond the finance sector. For example, did you know it has already been deployed through the Xbox ecosystem?!

So why is this relevant to Fortnite Season 5? Alongside the launch came the announcement of a partnership between MagnaChain and Epic Games, quietly revealed on the former's website. The details of that partnership have not been revealed, but we know Epic Games has already been actively looking for blockchain solutions to include as part of its software development kit (SDK) for the hugely popular Unreal Engine 4.

If there is one thing we know about Epic Games, it’s that it uses its own games as the guinea pigs for new Unreal Engine technology in order to show off to other studios what is possible. And ever since it was first announced (the best part of a decade ago), Fortnite has been the poster child for Unreal Engine 4.

If and when this partnership leads to blockchain integration with Unreal Engine 4, it’s fair to assume Fortnite will lead the way. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, has been vocal in his support of what blockchain can achieve, too. In an interview with GameBeat, he said:

You come to the realization that the blockchain is really a general mechanism for running programs, storing data, and verifiably carrying out transactions. It’s a superset of everything that exists in computing. We’ll eventually come to look at it as a computer that’s distributed and runs a billion times faster than the computer we have on our desktops, because it’s the combination of everyone’s computer.

Now we’re approaching 10 years of the blockchain. As these technologies become more widely accepted, we’ll see a whole new generation of distributed systems, which really changes the game — away from closed to open. Instead of building a business that extracts money from a service, you build an economy in which everybody can be rewarded for participating in many different ways.

Why Fortnite is a great fit for the blockchain

It doesn’t hurt that Fortnite is ripe for transcending across to a blockchain ecosystem. Many of the game’s key features would benefit greatly from the fast, cost-effective, secure and transparent nature of the blockchain.

There is the in-game currency system, the nature of the battle pass unlockables and the levelling-up process, plus the big push into the eSports scene. Linking all of these components and the financial transactions to access them to users (and potentially content creators) would save Epic Games a lot of money in overheads, and provide a better user experience to boot.

There is also plenty that can be offered to the fans in terms of a true ownership of characters and items, with huge potential for Fortnite to leap into the US$50 million strong secondary market as seen through the likes of OPSkins. Epic Games has the power and position with Fortnite to be the leader and pioneer in this space.

Of course, it is unlikely that Fortnite Season 5 will be the era in which we see Epic Games make use of its new blockchain partnership, but there’s certainly something afoot moving forwards. While gamers, for the most part, have been standoffish when it comes to cryptocurrencies and blockchain entering their lives, it’s inevitable. It just has too many benefits for developers, gamers and hardware manufacturers alike.

Fortnite Season 5 Map Changes

List of main Fortnite Season 5 changes

Rifts: These new shimmering portals pop up around the map and transport you way up into the air so you can glide back to earth. The perfect way to reposition yourself after a poor landing, or if you’re getting trapped by the storm.

All Terrain Kart (ATK): A four-person vehicle that can help you get your whole squad around the map. Its roof doubles as a bounce pad, and if you drift you activate a speed boost. You can also ollie over obstacles if you work as a team, with all players leaning back and then forward at the same time to initiate the jump.

New Locations: Anarchy Acres has become Lazy Links (a golf resort) while the Moisty Mire has evolved into Paradise Palms, drying up into a large desert environment. Dusty Divot has become overgrown with trees, no doubt balancing out the loss of Moisty Mire for wood collectors. Between Greasy Grove and Snobby Shores, a Viking town and ship has appeared, too. There are also a host of other more subtle changes.

Fortnite Season 5 Battle Royale patch notes

WEAPONS + ITEMS
  • Shotguns will now indicate how many pellets hit, visible within the reticle.
  • Adjusted shotgun spread patterns to be consistent with no random variation.
  • Heavy Shotgun now fires 10 pellets rather than 5.
    • Maximum damage for the Heavy Shotgun remains unchanged.
  • After firing a shotgun, another shotgun cannot be fired for a very short time.
  • Reduced Hunting Rifle aim assist when targeting to match that of other Sniper Rifles with projectile bullets.
  • Changed the damage drop-off profile for the Suppressed SMG to be the same as other SMGs.
    • Fall off starts at 24 metres from 28 metres.
    • Damage reduced to 80% at 35 metres from 85% at 47.5 metres.
    • Damage reduced to 65% at 50+ metres from 75% at 70+ metres.
GAMEPLAY
  • The centre of Storm circles 7, 8, and 9 can now shift in random directions (instead of simply shrinking). As the storm closes in, it will move and shrink to the new location.
  • Starting in Season 5, progressive challenges will no longer be restricted to a single season. You can now complete progressive challenges at your own pace.
  • Progressive challenges are now completed by acquiring a fixed amount of XP and is no longer dependant on your season level.
  • Gyro/motion controls have been added to the Nintendo Switch. Adjust these options in the Settings menu.
  • Weekly challenges are now split into two sections, free and Battle Pass. The first three challenges will be available for free while the last four are only available if you own the Battle Pass. The threshold to unlock the weekly challenge reward will remain at four.
  • 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.
    • Players that were crouching when knocked Down But Not Out will be returned to a crouching state upon revival.
  • Emoting will now interrupt sprinting.
  • You now earn XP for reviving teammates in 50v50 and Teams of 20 LTMs up to three times per match (30XP, 10XP, 10XP).
  • Weapon reticle will now fade slightly when reloading, out of ammo or changing weapons.
  • The player camera can now see out of the water when walking in lakes.
  • Launch Pads and Cozy Campfires now destroy overlapping small objects when placed.
  • Reduced trigger volume for floor Damage Trap to better match visuals and prevent triggering when standing on ledges above.
  • Supply Llamas now fall to the ground if the object they were standing on is destroyed.
  • Autorun will no longer cancel if you let go of the stick and it slightly flicks backwards while using a gamepad.
  • Fixed issue where Autorun could be active while using a Shopping Cart.
  • The first Storm circle will now consistently do one damage.
  • Players will no longer get stuck in a doorway if they were standing in it when the door closed.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some weapon animations from playing.
  • Autorun can no longer be activated while walking backwards.
  • Textures will now consistently appear correctly while in Edit Mode.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when logging out.
GENERAL
  • When the "Invited to Party" prompt appears in the UI you can now immediately accept the invite rather than having to open the Party Finder.
  • The News widget has been adjusted to avoid the need for a scrollbar in most cases.
    • A scroll option has been added for controller users in the event that scrolling is needed.
  • Updated consoles to use less shader storage. This improves patch sizes and reduces load times.
  • Optimized file ordering to reduce load times on all platforms.
  • The “Epic Friends” button now appears on the Main Menu when using a gamepad on Windows or Mac.
PERFORMANCE
  • Improved performance of Shopping Carts on both the game client and server.
AUDIO
  • Added unique ambient audio to the new desert biome. More unique ambient audio for the map will be coming in future updates!
  • Lowered the volume of the Battle Pass Challenge success sound.
  • UI audio has been redesigned, all button and interface sounds updated.
  • Dual Pistol fire sound will no longer get cut off if you switch weapons immediately after firing.
  • The True Love emotes audio will no longer overlap with itself if multiple players use it near each other.
  • The funky electronic track to the Dance Moves emote on Mobile/Switch platforms has been re-enabled.
UI
  • Users can now enable the same sound visualizer on all platforms that were created for mobile. However, while the visualizer is enabled, audible sound effects will be muted. Mobile platforms are unaffected by this change and will retain sound effects and the visualizer. You can find this new option under the Accessibility tab in the settings.
  • Streamer mode no longer just says "Player###", instead it now uses the player's cosmetic character as their display name "Character[###]". So instead of “Eliminated Player100” you may see, “Eliminated Rust Lord[100]”. Anyone eliminating someone in streamer mode will now see Streamer[###].
  • Added extra audio and visual fanfare to the Victory Royale end of match sequence.
  • The “Dialogue Audio”, “Global Chat”, and “Auto Equip Better Weapons” options have been removed as they have no function in Battle Royale.
  • Zooming in and out on the map is now twice as fast with the controller.
  • The “Play Again” button will now allow players to preview pickaxe visuals and sound effects in the Item Shop, Battle Pass and Locker.
  • New faster animation for displaying XP sources have been added to the end of match stats screen.
  • Map markers will now re-appear if removed and added back to the exact same location.
  • End of match stats now appears correctly on all platforms in their correct numeric format.
  • Key bindings for weapon and structure sections in the HUD are now displayed properly.
  • A typo was removed from the item description for the Victory Lap harvesting tool.
  • Controller input will no longer fail when at the Main Menu.
  • Fixed an inconsistency in the UI that was displayed when placing a trap in some cases.
  • “Distance Traveled” is now reported correctly in the Match Stats screen.
ART + ANIMATION
  • Revive animations are no longer skipped if the player was reloading when downed.
  • Effects now appear properly when jumping with the Pot of Gold Harvesting Tool.
  • Prevented sprays from affecting props used in emotes (eg the basketball from Baller).
REPLAY SYSTEM
  • “Camera type” is now localized in the view settings header.
  • Gamepads will no longer continuously rumble when a replay is paused.
  • The Main Menu will no longer become unresponsive if the Friends List is opened while a replay is paused.
  • Nameplates no longer block input on camera settings.
  • Nameplates no longer disappear if the camera is directly above a player.
  • The bottom portion of the nameplate will no longer become cut off.
  • Nameplates on PS4 will now show team number and weapon.
  • Weapon animations will now play in replays after scrubbing the timeline.
  • Timeline markers no longer disappear on saved replays on PS4 and Xbox One.
  • Shopping Cart visual and audio effects will no longer break in replays.
  • The “Revive” and “Drive” prompt will no longer persist in replays if a player was eliminated while being revived or near a Shopping Cart.
MOBILE
  • Autofire has been added as an option on mobile platforms. Enabling this causes the player's weapon to automatically fire when the reticle is over an enemy that is within range.
  • Players will be given the option to select their preferred fire mode after launching. All players can change their preferred fire mode by navigating to Options, Custom HUD Layout, then choosing the "Select Fire Mode" option and confirming their selection.
    • Tap-to-fire.
    • A dedicated fire button.
  • The Thermal Scoped AR now has the proper visual effects on all devices.
  • Vehicle passengers can now detonate Remote Explosives.
  • Entering build mode while holding the “fire” button will no longer adversely affect your ability to build in the future.
  • Health and Shield numbers will no longer be displayed as your own while spectating.

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