After 10 weeks of grinding to unlock the full Omega skin, a live rocket launch that fractured the Fortnite sky, and a whole host of other rumors, Season 5 of Fortnite has finally begun. As expected, it’s brought a whole host of changes both cosmetically and to the root gameplay, but just what exactly will the changes mean to the average player and the pros alike?

Meta Change

Using a combination of any two shotguns is no longer a viable option after Epic introduced a delay to any shotgun fired shortly after a first one being fired, covering the pump, tactical, and heavy shotguns. However the spread of the shotguns are now more consistent, with the spread of the heavy shotgun being increased from 5 to 10 pellets, making it the best of the shotguns currently.

For a while now, Epic have tried to encourage a new meta by recently buffing the silenced SMG and introducing a brand new submachine gun to the weapon rotation. Alternatively: the drum gun is an extremely viable option to use alongside a shotgun or even replacing it, especially when you consider its magazine size and the damage it does to structures per bullet.

Still, there has never been a time when a player can vary their loadout this much during a game of Fortnite and still keep it competitive. From the destructive C4 to the powerful akimbo pistols, there is still a diverse range of weapon selection for everyone to use heading into Season 5.

Transportation (All Terrain Karts and Rifts)

The addition of the All Terrain Karts now means Fortnite now offers a vehicle experience like you get in other Battle Royale titles, and changes the way squads and duos can play based around them. Rather than worrying about rotating or travelling to the next circle quickly, players can rely on the quicker mode of transportation to get them there, meaning it allows for more time to loot a specific area. It also allows for some really fun engagements when you stumble across another squad, and adds a new element for those players who aim for flashy kills.

The newly added Rifts look likely to split the community, just as the Hop Rocks that were unique to Season 4 did in the beginning of that season. The idea of being able to teleport back into the sky and glide into a new position is appealing to a lot of players, as it gives them the chance to outrun the storm again, as well as being able to choose a place to reposition easily.

However, it has already caused some issues in the competitive scene, due to how easy it is for players to rotate to the new circle much later than they normally would. Players not near a Rift still have to leave and rotate early, while their competition near Rifts can rotate later whilst still managing to get themselves in a much better place to set up. It will be interesting to see if any of the popular tournaments will continue to allow the use of Rifts going forward, and how the pros will accordingly adapt if they do.

Storm Circle

One of the bigger changes implemented in Season 5 is the way that the centre of storm circles 7, 8, and 9 are determined. Instead of simply shrinking as they did in the previous seasons, the centre of the circle now shifts randomly into a new area that is currently in the storm. This means that players now have to move with the storm while fighting enemies, preventing players from turtling up inside structures spamming new building pieces.

Though this only affects the very late stages of the game, it is a massive change to competitive play. With the $100 million prize pool put up by Epic, it is understandable that they are trying to make the viewing experience as enjoyable as possible when it comes to competitive Fortnite.

New Map

The most notable changes to everyone that plays Season 5 is the drastic overhaul to the map, with two new named locations, a new biome, and several new unnamed landing locations throughout it. Lazy Links has replaced Anarchy Acres on the north side of the map, while a new desert biome has taken up the southeast area of the map. Paradise Palms is the main feature of this new biome, which already looks like more of an appealing drop that Moisty Mire, featured in the game since its original release.

The vibrant colours of the desert biome add a whole new dimension to Fortnite, especially considering that its map was made up of a virtually 100% green environment up until now. It will be interesting to see if Paradise Palms and the rest of the desert biome consistently reduce the number of Tilted Towers landing throughout the season, and if its popularity will see any new biomes coming in during future seasons.

Though it’s been less than a week into Season 5, it would be fair to say Epic hasn’t disappointed with the new release, and the next 10 weeks of gaming look set to be a good one.