Season 7 Recap
In Fortnite season 7, we saw: an iceberg hit the island, leading to snow covered areas and new Points of Interest (POI); new modes of transportation with zip-lines and biplanes; multiple tweaks to balance damage and gameplay; Christmas celebrated by covering the whole map with snow; an in-game event where the Ice King (Tier 100 outfit from the Battle Pass) released snow over the whole island again along with ice zombies; an in-game concert for Marshmellow; and a free Battle Pass promotion for completing several overtime challenges. Season 7, while for the most part divorced from the “lore” of the past few seasons, managed to pack quite a bit into its schedule, and I didn’t even mention the pop-up tournaments that players could join in each week. I’m sure that growing dark spot in Wailing Woods is nothing to be concerned about…
Season 8: The Ocho
Adventure Awaits! Pirates and ninjas. Dancing bananas. Style (clothing) upgrades galore. Oh, and a huge volcano spewing hot magma where The Block and northern Wailing Woods used to be, along with a few new POIs in the northeast corner of the map. The X-4 plane and golf cart have been vaulted, but they added cannons that players can use to attack enemies or launch themselves across the map. Also aiding mobility are Volcanic Vents, which fling players skyward like a naturally occurring launch pad. So if last season saw the southwest corner becoming a snowy biome (it still is) then the northeast corner has become tropical, and has new features including a volcano, pirate ship, and jungle. Still no new map, sadly. But if I had to venture a guess, the cracks all over Tilted Towers and other locations make me think the map changes aren’t over for this season. For a list of all the changes, check the patch notes here.
Speaking of change, Epic has made this season the first instance of not only a female, but minority female as the tier 100 outfit for the Battle Pass. There’s always been good diversity in the outfits overall, but for the top tier reward we’ve had John Wick, Omega, Ragnarok, and werewolf dudes. Now, though, we also have a black woman channeling her inner Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez. While she might share some similarities with Apex Legend’s Lifeline character, what Epic really stole from that game was the ping system—players can now tag enemies and items, as well as locations on the map. Tagging also shows distance now.
Since pirates are a big part of this season (and pirates steal amirite?), it’s not totally surprising that cannons have made their way into the game. It seems that someone at the Fortnite offices is a fan of Sea of Thieves since players can not only shoot the cannons at enemies, but load themselves into them and fire a humanoid cannonball across the map. Just. Like. Sea of Thieves. You can get some good distance if you have redeploy gliders as well. Just be sure not to land in a tree, stranding yourself like I did.
Slightly frustrating is the continued lack of discernible story or lore – and I know, I know, nobody goes to a Michael Bay movie or a Battle Royale game for story, but it used to make sense what was happening on the island from season to season. Last season and this one it’s just “This happened! Now fight!” See the intro video above, which is one of the shortest season trailers I think they’ve made. Again, it’s cool what they’ve added, and I understand from a programming perspective it’s far easier to just make small tweaks to an existing map, but it’s getting tiring to me that they keep just shoving new things onto the map, much like a kid pushing more and more toys onto a play area. There should be a new map already. Or it could be cool if they just did a Limited Time Mode (LTM) where they let people play on an old map, like season 1 or 2. Maybe remembering how sparse the first few seasons were would also keep complainers like myself from whining about wanting a new map.
Challenges this season have gotten harder, with weekly challenges now asking players to get eliminations or do damage with multiple different weapons. To aid players with this is the Party Assist feature that lets you select one challenge per match that your entire party can help you with, so if you stink with sniper rifles you can get everyone to help you complete that pesky “Do damage with a sniper rifle and SMG in one round,” challenge. Or you can knock out the “Visit three stone faces” in one match with everyone in the squad’s help. It doesn’t work with randomly queued players however, just your party. Sorry Rando Calrissian.
Between the pirates versus ninjas, bananas (and banana dance), and emphasis on play over lore or story, it definitely feels like Epic is catering to it’s target audience of kids and internet-savvy adults. The volcano is a cool addition, and the lava gives the game a bit of Mario feel as you take 1 point of damage and bounce off. But after a year and a half, the cycle of drop/loot/fight/die (sometimes win!) is starting to wear thin, at least for me. There are some cool additions to season 8, and if you received the free Battle Pass promotion you should definitely check it out. However, as more games like Apex bring new ideas to the table, Fortnite is going to have to do more than just add new outfits and a couple map changes to keep everyone engaged.
Season 8 of Fortnite: Battle Royale runs from February 28th to May 8th, 2019.