Fortnite players, the event you've been waiting for is finally here. Epic Games has officially kicked off the battle royale shooter's fifth season, offering a whole host of new locations, weapons, vehicles and mechanics. After teasing a historical theme at the end of Season 4, today's update delivers viking ships, sandy outposts (goodbye Moisty Mire), ancient statues and plenty of skins to do them justice.
As expected, the biggest changes are within the map. Epic has unveiled a new desert biome, giving you a break from the familiar luscious green pastures of the island. It's also added two new named locations: Paradise Palms and Lazy Links, on top of a few anonymous areas that will surprise when you jump out of the Battle Bus.
With Paradise Palms and Lazy Links providing new, surprising settings, Fortnite needs a fancier way of navigating the island. Where Shopping Carts provided some extra zip for duos, Epic has gone one better in Season 5 with the introduction of the All Terrain Kart (ATK). The ATK is basically a ruggedized golf cart that enables speed boosts when drifting. All four members of a squad can climb inside, but also work together to enable higher jumps using a well-timed lean. If that wasn't enough, the roof also acts as a bounce pad.
Remember the cracks in the sky at the end of Season 4? Epic has brought some of them down to earth in the form of Rifts. These Rifts act as mini portals that drop you into the same area from the sky, providing a quick escape route if an enemy squad has you pinned down.
While the new locations and features will capture your attention, Epic has made a number of important tweaks to the in-game mechanics. Where storm circles would normally just shrink, Epic has decided that the seventh, eighth and ninth circles should move in random directions, giving campers a whole new headache to deal with. However, the first storm circle will now only ever do 1 damage, no matter how long you're stuck in it.
The company has also seen fit to indicate how many shotgun pellets hit a rival player, providing more context as to why a point-blank shotgun shot only registered 8 damage. Heavy shotguns have been given a 10 pellet magazine, instead of 5, and the ability to double pump has been reduced with the introduction of a shot delay.
In the past, big team modes have been plagued by selfish teammates who ignored other members of their squad after they'd been downed. To rectify this, players can earn XP for reviving their teammates in 50v50 and Teams of 20 matches.
For all of the new locations and items that have been added, one major mode has been removed: Playground. Epic says that it'll improve the popular sandbox mode to enable team fights and enable players to properly hone their skills free from rival players.