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12 new features you'll notice when you play 'Fortnite' chapter 2, season 1

Game returns with new map, weapons, skills

"Fortnite" Chapter 2 (Epic Games via CNN)

DETROIT – "Fortnite" has long been one of the most innovative games in the video game world and the way it brought in a whole new chapter was perhaps its finest moment yet.

Epic Games has hosted live events and concerts through "Fortnite," all while building one of the most popular games in the world.

Over the weekend, "Fortnite" players saw the world they'd grown to know and love sucked into a black hole that took over their screens for more than 24 hours. The game's social media pages went radio silent and players were left scouring the internet for any piece of information they could find.

Then "Fortnite" chapter two, season one came back with a bang.

One minute players were watching a clip of four characters exploring a whole new world. Then, with a distant, familiar, "beep beep," the Battle Bus was back. You were flying through the air to Konata Small's "Ruckus," a vibrant new world below you.

Here's a taste:

The way "Fortnite" introduced the new chapter was awesome, and there are plenty of new features to keep players around for more than just the initial rush.

Here are 12 new features you'll notice hours into chapter two.

New map

It would be a disservice not to start this list with the new map, which has many similarities to the first island but is also entirely different.

On one hand, there are the same basic principles: trees, plains, hills, rocks, houses and major cities. But there are also 10 new named locations and "landmarks" outside the major cities.

Sweaty Sands is a unique beach location that the first island lacked. Steamy Stacks is a northeastern factory. Slurpy Swamp has leaking barrels of shield lying all around.

Salty Springs, Pleasant Park and Retail Row are back, but they've all gotten face-lifts. You can also find other familiar structures, such as the old Paradise Palms hotel in Sweaty Sands and a Happy Hamlet  feel to Misty Meadows.

But even the familiar locations are worth exploring to understand the makeovers. This new map will feel just as familiar as the first after a few seasons, so enjoy the exploration period while you can.

Cosmetics

Even though the essence of this new world is the same, new cosmetics make the island pop more than in previous seasons.

There are also cosmetic updates to weapons, items and characters. Everything looks just a little bit different.

It doesn't technically affect the gameplay, but a new world with the same exact trees, fences, rocks and structures would have left something to be desired. Luckily, that's not the case.

Leveling

"Fortnite" completely overhauled the way players level up during the battle royale, most notably making the game more than just fighting.

Players get experience for opening chests and ammo crates, surviving longer into matches and completing other tasks.

There are also medals to earn in-game, and that goes toward a player's overall level, which is now displayed in parentheses next to the gamer tag.

Also, "Fortnite" got rid of the seemingly redundant tiers/levels system. Tiers previously allowed players to unlock battle pass rewards while levels were only useful to slowly make progress toward tiers.

Now, the conflicting leveling system appears to be gone, replaced instead by one consistent meter, displayed at all times at the bottom of the screen during matches. The bar fills in real time, so players can see how close they are to reaching the next level after an elimination or other tasks.

Overall, the leveling system feels cleaner and easier to understand, and it also offers hope to players who aren't as polished in battle.

Fishing

One of the new ways players can gain experience is through fishing. That's right: You can casually whip out a fishing rod and fish for goodies during the middle of a match.

Fishing poles are common items that can be found in chests or simply lying around the map. They take up an inventory spot, so you likely won't find yourself doing much fishing late in matches.

But players who land and aren't satisfied with their loot can cast out and fish for ammo, weapons and more. They can also reel in fish for health.

Just cast out a line and wait for the controller to vibrate. When it does, hit the trigger to pull in your prize.

If you're in a remote area by the water and want to improve your loadout, fishing is a new option.

Speedboats

Great news: no more mechs! Sad news: no more hoverboards.

The new vehicle introduced by "Fortnite" this season is the speedboat, which is useful in getting across the map if the first few storm circles don't go in your favor.

The speedboats can launch rockets -- one at a time -- and have a boost feature that isn't overly powerful but regenerates fairly quickly.

One drawback is the boats are very loud and leave players completely exposed to any nearby players on land. If someone's near the shore when you fly by on a speedboat, they'll definitely know you're there.

But if you land at Sweaty Sands and need to get to the southeast part of the map to avoid the storm, a speedboat might be your only option.

Swimming

One major difference in the new world is the amount of water throughout the map. The first island had Loot Lake and Lazy Lagoon, as well as a shallow river that ran from west of Lucky Landing north into both lakes.

But none of the water required players to swim. Instead, the players would slowly wade through the water, leaving them susceptible to opponents.

This new map is covered in water. There's a group of islands north of Sweaty Sands, a large lake with an island in the center of the map and rivers throughout. If you use a speedboat, you can basically get to all corners of the new world without leaving the water.

Unlike on the first map, this water is deep and requires swimming. Luckily, "Fortnite" skins are apparently avid swimmers who move quickly and can leap into the air to avoid predictable movements.

Swimming is much faster than running for anyone trying to make it across the map.

For the first time since "Kevin the Cube" lifted the house out of the center of Loot Lake, the "Fortnite" map has islands that can only be reached by going in the water. It adds a new dimension to exploring the world.

Exploring new places

"Fortnite" has found a way to make sure players explore every corner of the new island: an updating map.

When players first enter a game, the map is gray and the named locations are called "???"

As you visit named locations and "landmarks," sections of the map unlock, and they'll be colored in the next time you pull up the map.

Not only does this encourage players to visit the entire island and complete their map, it helps them keep track of the places they haven't checked out yet.

New weapons

Most of the weapons in the new world are the same as the ones we left on the old island -- albeit with the aforementioned cosmetic changes.

But there are a few new weapons at the beginning of chapter two.

Most notable is a weapon that's never been seen before and isn't really a weapon at all: the bandage launcher. This "epic" rarity item is about the size of the old minigun and shoots bandages out on the ground for players to pick up and use to heal.

"Fortnite" also brought back the three-round burst, with common, uncommon, rare, epic and legendary versions.

Along with the familiar tactical and pump shotguns is a common, epic and legendary version of the pump.

A rare form of the pistol has also returned.

Players will be most excited to welcome back the epic and legendary versions of the submachine gun, as well as an uncommon version of the bolt sniper rifle.

The rocket launcher can be found in common, uncommon and rare versions, in addition to the epic and legendary versions.

Upgrade benches

There are no item vending machines on the new island, but there are upgrade benches that allow players to improve their weapons -- for a price.

Unlike the free vending machines from previous seasons, players must pay resources to turn a common item into an uncommon item, an uncommon item into a rare item, a rare item into an epic item or an epic item into a legendary item.

As the power of the weapon increases, the cost rises. For example, it costs 50 wood, 50 brick and 50 steel to turn a common weapon into an uncommon version of the same weapon.

It costs 150 of each resource to upgrade from an uncommon to a rare item, 250 of each to upgrade from rare to epic and 350 of each to upgrade from epic to legendary.

That's obviously a high price to get the best items, but it could come in handy if your loadout is otherwise uninspiring.

These benches are scattered throughout the map and emit a soft sound, similar to the one that lets players know a chest is near.

Big ammo crates

Players can still find the small, green ammo boxes while looting, but there are also larger ammo crates lying around in the new world.

The new ammo boxes are about twice as large. They're blue with a yellow line on the lid and a large X on the front.

Unsurprisingly, these boxes hold more ammo than the smaller crates. They can also contain mini shield potions.

Hiding spots

"Fortnite" also offered a helping hand to campers who prefer to hide until late in the match before joining the fight.

There are new hiding spots available throughout the map, namely bushes and dumpsters.

Players can literally jump into open dumpsters and become completely invisible. Then, if an unknowing opponent is around, they can jump out and attack.

Thick bushes are scattered throughout the wilderness and offer a chance for players to hide while scanning their surroundings.

Haystacks are similar to the dumpsters in that players can jump inside and become invisible. Just watch out for others who might try to knock them down with a pickax.

Carrying downed opponents

The ability to pick up enemies who have been knocked down in duo or squad matches is a completely new feature in "Fortnite" chapter two.

Opponents who are "downed" can now be thrown over your shoulder and carried around the map. You can even run and jump while carrying a player.

This could be useful to lure the opponent's teammates to a specific location or to move to a safe place to finish the elimination and collect the dropped loot.

Or, it could just be fun to make another player watch you run around carrying their character.

'Fortnite' chapter two takeaways

The new era of "Fortnite" was worth the wait, as there are just enough similarities to tie it to the first 10 seasons but plenty of new features to explore.

Epic Games surely has more in store as this season moves along, including an update to how the first storyline ties into the second.

For now, enjoy the massive new world! If there are any additional features I missed, shoot me an email at dhutchinson@wdiv.com.


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