After some server downtime, an extensive new Fortnite patch adds the Double Barrel Shotgun weapon, the new Steady Storm LTM, and a host of balance changes and quality-of-life improvements. Alongside the Double Barrel Shotgun, some notable highlights from this patch include a nerf to Remote Explosives and an update to aiming mechanics. Furthermore, players who took part in the recent sale for Save the World are in luck, as Fortnite‘s PvE mode received substantial updates as well. For now, we’ll focus on dissecting the updates to Battle Royale.
The reason why the Double Barrel Shotgun is necessary
After Fortnite developer Epic Games spent the beginning of Season 5 tweaking SMGs, many players felt these weapons became too powerful. In previous seasons, close-quarters combat was dominated by shotguns, particularly the “double pump” meta. This tactic involved players carrying two pump shotguns and switching between them after every shot, effectively bypassing the reload animation. Epic nerfed this strategy by introducing a delay when players switch to shotguns. However, this made shotguns significantly less viable than SMGs.
Today’s update seeks to remedy the situation by introducing a new alternative. Per Epic’s patch notes, the Double Barrel Shotgun functions as follows:
- Available in Epic and Legendary variants.
- Can be found from floor loot, chests, Supply Drops, and Vending Machines.
- Delivers high burst damage at very close range but damage falls off heavily at distance.
- Fires 10 pellets like other Shotguns, has a larger spread, lower critical damage multiplier (1.25x), and a 2 second cooldown time when swapping weapons.
- Epic Variant
- Up to 143 base damage per shot at extreme close range.
- Legendary Variant
- Up to 150 base damage per shot at extreme close range.
Whether or not this addition is enough to satisfy disgruntled players, however, remains to be seen. One of the chief complaints players share about shotguns is that, in addition to the delay, the damage output decreased as well. Because of this, the Rare pump shotgun no longer packs enough of a punch to one-shot players, and frustrated shotgun users were open for retaliation while waiting for the reload. Since the new Double Barrel deals 143/150 damage per shot, the two available slugs provide more than enough to down players in close range.
No safe zones in new Steady Storm LTM, further updates to Playground
The next big part of patch 5.20 is the inclusion of the new Steady Storm LTM. Unlike regular matches, the storm in this mode is constantly aggressive. Not only does the storm completely close within 15 minutes, but there are also no safe zone circles. Players must watch the map and predict where the Storm will close in. Furthermore, the storm does 10 damage per second. This is greatly increased from the standard mode, in which the first storm circle starts at 1 damage per second and increases with subsequent circles.
Meanwhile, the fan-favorite Playground LTM sticks around for another week. For players who are unfamiliar, this mode de-emphasizes the violent conflict of Battle Royale and instead allows players to focus on the creative aspects of the game. Though this week’s update doesn’t introduce sweeping changes, it further refines what’s already there. For now, a Fill/No Fill option has been added, similar to the other game modes. In addition, the spawn rates for Chest and floor loot have been adjusted to prevent clutter in-game.
Vending Machines buffed, Remote Explosives nerfed
In a rather surprising update, Vending Machines received significant changes. The spawn rates for each variant, aside from Common, are now increased. Not only that, but the material cost for each rarity is decreased. For example, Legendary Vending Machines now have an 8% chance to spawn and only cost 375 materials instead of 500. These changes certainly incentivize players to use the vending machines more often.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Remote Explosives and a few popular guns received hefty nerfs. Over the past few weeks, the fanbase’s discontent over the potency of C4 continued to increase. Despite reducing the damage to players, the explosives are still dominant at reducing buildings to rubble. To counteract this, Epic reduced the item drop count from 4 to 3. Furthermore, the max stack size is nearly halved, dropping from 10 to 6. While Remote Explosives are still a viable option for leveling structures, players will now have to be more tactical with where and how often they throw the charges.
Lastly, a welcome change to weapon accuracy is sure to upset fans of the “spray ‘n’ pray” meta. A higher accuracy penalty is now applied to players that are either jumping or sprinting while firing Dual Pistols, SMGs, and Hunting Rifles. While an accuracy penalty was already in place, it did little to prevent players from spamming the jump button while engaging in mid- to close-range firefights. If applied correctly, this update should reward strategic play over chance.
General updates, and quality-of-life improvements
Update 5.20 includes a number of smaller changes as well. Some, such as the added ability to honk in ATK vehicles, are simply for entertainment’s sake. Others impact the overall operation of the game. This is especially true for Nintendo Switch users. Fortnite received “significant GPU optimization” for this platform, and was “moved to the high-end forward renderer.” As such, dynamic resolution improved by as much as 10%. Furthermore, despite its gameplay nerfs, C4 received a performance update on the backend. Epic states they’ve “optimized C4 network usage,” and the sound radius of the item has decreased. Given the troubles that C4 caused Epic during the first Summer Skirmish, it’s not surprising to see they’re honing in on its optimization.
Another welcome change is that the Challenges menu is now available in-game. Daily and Suggested Challenges also appear on the map screen. This is a great improvement and will help players track their challenges more easily. Be sure to consult our weekly guides to catch up on challenges!
Squashing all of the bugs
In addition to these major updates, patch 5.20 also includes the usual list of bug fixes. Party and chat functionality is improved, and features that were broken, such as “Sprint Cancels Reload,” now work properly. While we won’t list every bug addressed in this patch, there are a few notable standouts. First, Epic continues to try and combat the scourge of “edit peeking.” This once-popular strategy involved using the editing system to see through walls. Earlier this season, Epic issued a hotfix to remove this. Unfortunately, the fix resulted in obstructed views when using certain character skins. Now, however, Cuddle Team Leaders can rejoice, as this bug is supposedly resolved.
Meanwhile, updates to the game’s audio remove a few of the more annoying glitches. Previously, there was a chance that the ambient audio loops would stack atop one another. As noted by Epic, “this was creating a sound phasing issue that sounded familiar to a ‘fighter jet.'” Fortunately, the jets are now at bay. Furthermore, players will no longer hear “ghost footsteps.” This is Epic’s term for a frustrating glitch in which footsteps could still be heard after eliminating an enemy. Though this didn’t happen all the time, it was disorienting because players were unsure if there was another enemy nearby or just an error.