'Fortnite' is live again with a new map and more ways to level up
The "Fortnite" black hole that took the game down worldwide has reopened, throwing millions of players back into the game with a new island to explore (with some familiar areas) and several new ways to level up.
Players were greeted with a new trailer teasing all the new features, including swimming, fishing, motorboats and several new ways to level up.
As soon as the trailer finishes, the player leaps out of the black hole, assuming the role of Jonesy, one of the default characters who's become the audience surrogate for the nonsense that happens in the "Fortnite" universe. And suddenly the player is back into his first solo battle royale game. Your reporter placed 34th in the first match. All the default skins now sport a new look with a green jacket.
Players seem to trickle back into the game. Your reporter's first Team Rumble match, for example, only had six total players dropping into the island.
By the way, the entire map is grayed out and new alliterative locations like Slurp Swamps are left for you to discover. But if you want to plan out where you want to drop with your squad, here's the new map.
One of the new ways to gain experience points in the game, it appears, is assisting another player with a kill, which was previously not available. Given that there are new bars for players to fill up for rewards, more ways to level up like the new medal system (which works like Xbox achievements or PlayStation Trophies) is a welcome addition.
There's also a new upgrade system with workbenches. Players can dump surplus resources into upgrading their weapons.
The entire black hole event was part of a planned downed maintenance for the world's most popular video game as it undergoes its most significant changes since the introduction of its "Battle Royale" mode. Twitch streamers were up late waiting for the rumored updates. Right as the clock struck 4 a.m., games across several platforms began to download the large files. As the black hole opened Sunday, all the official "Fortnite" Twitter posts disappeared, but as the updates began, the tweets returned.
Prominent "Fortnite" streamer and esports player Ben "DrLupo" Lupo said at his 4 a.m. stream that he would be disappointed if there was no "black hole" back bling, one of the cosmetic items players can buy or gain in the game. Sure enough, the item shop was updated with a black-hole themed skin with a new character named Zero (you have to fork up 2,000 V-bucks though).
A new battle pass for the regular price of about $10 is up too, with 100 of the usual tiers for players to fight through in the coming weeks. The battle pass also allows players to earn back 1,500 V-bucks, which is more than enough to purchase the next season's battle pass. Previous seasons only awarded players just enough to earn back the money, so the battle pass offers more value now.
More than 6 million people watched the game-ending event Sunday, crashing Twitch momentarily and causing high amounts of traffic to the Fortnite Battle Royale subreddit.