After roughly a day and a half, Fortnite’s black hole is over. Despite the anticipation for a big event, the server simply went offline. There it is.
At around 4 a.m. Eastern, with thousands of people around the world staring at Fortnite’s swirling black hole, the game suddenly blinked to a loading screen, with a message reading “Fortnite servers are currently undergoing maintenance. Please try again later.” The servers currently read as “offline,” presumably undergoing maintenance for the next season.
In a normal Fortnite season, this is pretty standard: Developer Epic takes the game offline between roughly 4 and 6 a.m. to update things. I’m not surprised to see downtime here, and I’m glad we’ll be getting the new season so soon. But after all the waiting and social media blackout surrounding the black hole, this feels a little anticlimactic to me. Was a big “black hole death” event inside us all along? I’m awake at 4 in the damn morning, so I’m going to say yes, because I need this.
Some folks on Twitter are saying the new cinematic trailer played for them in the lobby, but I was unable to access that, as pressing “relaunch” just took me out of the game, which is currently updating. [Update: 10/15/2019, 5:51 a.m. ET: Here’s the official trailer.]
Following the game’s big end-of-season event, Fortnite turned from a game of weird characters and 10-year-old teammates into a swirling black hole. It then, to the internet’s collective shock, stayed that way. Confused players joined forces to decode mysterious numbers, play a hidden minigame, entertain themselves with speculation, and spend more than 35 hours staring at what basically amounts to a screensaver.
At last, we are free from the hole, and we’ll be getting a new season of Fortnite. There have been hints of a new map, and a supposed leaked battle pass trailer shows possible new weapons, a new way to level up, and new things to do. We’ll see what Fortnite’s new world looks like when the game comes back online, which for me is in 60 percent.
Update: 10/15/2019, 4:43 a.m. ET: My update finished, but I’m just seeing “servers offline.” I’m making a second pot of coffee.
Update: 10/15/2019, 5:53 a.m. ET: I got in. The cinematic above played, and at the end of it I was dropped straight into a solos game, which I have to admit was pretty cool. There is, as expected, a new map. The patch notes are up, but they’re very vague so far: The new season is called Chapter 2, and it features 13 new locations. There’s also fishing, swimming, and boats. You can hide in haystacks and dumpsters. There’s a new battle pass featuring “a brand new XP system and medals you can earn in-game.” You’re also able to “upgrade weapons using resources at the upgrade bench.” In my quick first playthrough, XP appeared on the screen and I got a medal for finding a new location.
Things are certainly different! I’ll have more impressions as I play more.
Update: 10/15/2019, 6:32 a.m. ET: Fishing involves using a findable fishing pole, which allows you to catch a fish you can eat for health. I got an achievement once I ate one, which you can view on your career page. Swimming is what it sounds like and is pretty cool: Sound gets muted underwater, and you can dolphin jump. I hid in a dumpster, which rewarded me a medal, just like in real life.
Medals are present in my lobby screen as a “punchcard.” Medals grant you XP, which you use to level up your battle pass. You seem to get a lot more XP now, including for opening chests, and the XP pops up on your screen when you get it. It’s nice to feel rewarded.
Update: 10/15/2019, 7:55 a.m. ET: There’s a new weapon, which was hinted at previously in leaks, that shoots bandages at your teammates. You can also use it on yourself. On my PC, the new map looks great: It feels sharper and a little grittier than before. I haven’t found an “upgrade bench” to try out yet, but I’m looking for one.
It’s a little frustrating not to have comprehensive patch notes like we’ve gotten in previous seasons, but the sense of exploration is exciting. After all the mystery of the black hole, a bit more mystery doesn’t feel all that out of place.
Update: 10/15/2019, 9:51 a.m. ET: I just played a suspiciously successful squad round, with multiple kills and headshots. (I also carried a downed enemy, which is a weird and hilarious new feature.) I can’t tell yet if it’s due to updates to matchmaking or the bots Epic said was coming this season, or if I just got lucky. I’m seeing other players report a lot of success as well. How have you been finding things in Chapter 2?