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Fortnite: v8.20 Update Breakdown

v8.20 Fortnite Update

This weeks update provides a lot of content for Fortnite. In the new v8.20 update, there is a new LTM, new traps, and some reversions which players are not happy about. Twitter is already in a storm and even the casuals aren’t happy. The patch is not all bad and adds some great competitive elements. However, overall the patch isn’t looking too hot.


v8.20 Fortnite Update

In-game look at “Floor is Lava” // In-game capture by Nicholas Rivera

Fortnite now has a game mode called “Floor is Lava.” In this new playlist, players have to loot fast since the entire map is buried in lava after just a few minutes. The lava raises from the lower areas up to the higher points of the map. Despite being able to build on the lava, the game is rough to say the least.

When the circle is stuck at low ground, it is very hard to continue to build so much. Mats are granted per second, but rushing enemies is hard since they shoot the player down. Normally just continuing to push would be enough, but the lava does 20 damage per touch. This is a lot even in the early stages since players are always very close to it. Carrying lots of heals and rifts is the key to this game mode. Focus on living since kills no longer reward health in casual games. The lava also rises late game without notice, so make sure to pay attention to the levels.

Poison Dart Trap

v8.20 Fortnite Update
New poison Dart Trap // Image courtesy of Epic Games

The new poison dart trap is the latest addition to the trap section. Dealing 80 player damage over the course of seven seconds, this trap reaches three tile cells away. That means any player who walks within three tiles the way the trap is facing will trigger it. Re-hitting the trap resets the timer back to seven seconds but does not increase the damage. The trap has a considerably longer range than any other, making it very lethal for unsuspecting enemies. Since the trap ignores shield and goes right to health points, it will be very useful in scrims. Placing the trap while rotating in small circles is bound to ruin someone’s day and take almost all their health without even seeing the trap coming.

Casual Reversions

The following quote is directly from the Epic games patch notes for v8.20:

“In v7.40 we implemented a few Pop-up Cup settings as a test in core modes. After monitoring a combination of gameplay, data, and feedback, we’ve gathered necessary info to conclude this initial test. We feel it has resulted in an unhealthy level of aggressive play, diminishing other viable strategies. The following changes have been reverted in all core modes:

  • 50 Health (or Shield) based on your health when the Elimination occurs.
  • 50/50/50 materials dropped on Elimination.
  • 500/500/500 Cap on materials.
  • Harvest rate increased by 40%”
v8.20 Fortnite Update
Example of players burning mats in public games // In-game capture by Nicholas Rivera

This is the worst change Epic has made so far. Public games are a nice escape from competitive matches when players just need a break. Public matches also offer a good way to prepare and warm up for competitive matches since the health and shield gain was active. Now public games are a chore. Carrying so many heals and spending so much time farming just isn’t worth it. After tasting what the 50 health on kill can do for public games, they play very slow now. Battle royales are supposed to be slow with mid game and late game action, but it just doesn’t feel right. With no heals on kill, it feels like time is spent gathering materials again since everyone overbuilds.

Lots of people make the argument that this type of play is better for casuals, but casuals do not make a game. The Fortnite competitive scene is the most influential and the most lucrative. Catering to the competitive players is what keeps the game alive long after the casuals leave. The competitive side of the game has received great updates, but casuals are left to adapt again. The meta is now totally different than it was yesterday. That means some will adapt and some players will leave.

New Consumables

v8.20 Fortnite Update
Jackal eating a coconut // In-game capture by Nicholas Rivera

Just like certain areas have apples, the map now has more with consumable items. In the tropical biomes, bananas are found in certain parts of the map and grant players five hp when eaten. Coconuts also drop in tropical biomes, as well as desert biomes, and grant five hp or shield. The coconut ticks up over a short period of time, like a tiny slurp. Coconuts drop from damaging palm trees and bananas are on the ground.

Peppers are the newest consumable in desert biomes and have a unique twist. Peppers not only grant five hp but increase player speed by 20 percent for 10 seconds. The peppers will be helpful for situations where players have to rotate but do not have the time. When competitive games end near peppers, it will be interesting to see how pro players use them for things like rotations and high ground takes. Building 20 percent faster than an enemy seems like a quick way to overtake a scrim game.

Baller Updates

v8.20 Fortnite Update
Jackal in a Baller pushing two enemies // In-game capture by Nicholas Rivera

Epic has acknowledged that the Baller is not having the desired effect in games, especially late game. They say they will release an update next week that allows players to shoot through the glass of the Baller. This is a great change because of how competitive late game is. With half the lobby in a Baller, it makes it very RNG for who gets free placement and who doesn’t. With the new glass breach, it will force players to get out and build if being shot at. This helps take away some of that RNG and provide every player with a fair chance to die. Among all of the iffy notes this week, this is the best news.


v8.20 Fortnite Update
In-game look at Arena event page // In-game capture by Nicholas Rivera

Arena Mode is finally here. To rank up in arena mode for solos or duos, players must now earn “Hype.” Hype is the point system for Arena and allows players with similar hype to play together. There are leagues and sub divisions, allowing players to rank up and get Hype points to reach the next division. These divisions will allow players to participate in tournaments and World Cup online opens.

The arena mode playlist is essentially a competitive playlist that the gauntlet was leading up to. Since it is a new list, players will not get good competition for a few days while all of the points balance out. Once good and bad players are separated, this playlist will become the new everyday list. Now that health per kill is gone, players need to get used to healing or get good at competitive. Since money tournaments are now based on who places where in arena, they will be much more fun since fewer casuals will be allowed to participate. That means better practice and good quality games.

The full patch notes can be read here.

Feature Image Courtesy of Epic Games

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