Fortnite has updated to version 8.1, and as always, the patch notes are lengthy. The headliner is the previously announced vehicle “The Baller.” The hamster ball-like object allows a great range of fast movement. It can release a grappler, as well as boost, making scaling mountains or avoiding enemies both not difficult and also exciting.

08BR_TheBaller_Social.jpg
Photo via Epic Games

After attaching the grappler to say, a tree, the driver can spin around the tree and use the momentum to propel themselves in another direction.

In my first match with the Baller, I didn’t leave the vehicle at all: I rode it all the way to Victory Royale. In the Top 10, I frantically dashed around an open field to avoid fire. Once in the Top 2, all I had to do was travel with the eye of the circle until my opponent fell. Was it the most impressive victory? No, but I had a blast and my heart was pumping as I narrowly escaped death a few times in the games final minutes.

 

A key change coming in this update will apply to player pooling. While Switch players were previously matched with PS4 and XBox One cross-platform parties, they will now be pooled with mobile players. Epic Games says this will increase performance for both parties.

In another change, vending machines will no longer require material to purchase items. Instead, these machines will be single-use, dropping an item to the first player that can find it, free of charge. Infantry Rifles were also buffed, with the projectile size slightly increased. In a visual tweak, the animations for consuming potions/bandages has been changed. When I played, my character opened the lid of his shield potion and actually consumed it. It’s a small touch that adds a little charm to the game.

The Getaway! limited time only mode was announced and doesn’t seem to be available today. In it, players will compete for four jewels hidden across the map in vaults. The first player to retrieve a jewel and safely bring it to a getaway car will win in this mode. It’s one of the more unique game styles we’ve been offered, and should be fun to play upon release.

Gauntlet sessions were also extended, with some minor tweaks to the scoring system.

You can read the full patch notes from Epic Games here, and to stay up to date on Fortnite, video game, and Nintendo news, be sure to follow Nintendo Plaza on Twitter.

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