Fortnite Season 8 has dropped and a lot of the usual changes that were expected have arrived in its wake. A new biome called ‘the jungle’ has replaced the offerings in the northeast corner (Wailing Woods, et al.) of the map, older areas have had some minor adjustments and changes, the challenge UI has been reworked and the X-4 Stormwing has been decommissioned. Season 8 brings a lot of changes, but not quite as many – or game-changing – as Season 7 (considering how much ‘turbulence’ the X-4 caused, you might consider this a good thing).
Fortnite Season 8 Map Changes
The most obvious change is the complete rework of the northeastern corner of the map. Like Season 7 and Season 5, Epic has reworked a dated portion of the map, tailoring it to the theme of the Season. In Season 7 the new area was grafted on, leaving the current terrain mostly intact (just snowed over where applicable). This time around as there isn’t a giant space of empty ocean to inhabit, so Wailing Woods and its surrounding areas have been completely removed and replaced with the new jungle biome and its offerings.
Fortnite Jungle Area
Everything north of Dusty Divot and Lonely Lodge is completely new, consisting mostly of overgrown plantlife, a thick tree canopy, hot springs, a lagoon, pirate town, Aztec (or Inca, I’m not a historian) architecture and the biome’s focal point; a volcano. The general feel of the zone is an unexplored tropical paradise lush with wildlife (though there is actually no wildlife) and natural hazards (lava counts as a hazard). It’s relatively easy to hide, set-traps or shake a pursuer in this zone thanks to the enhanced mobility the biome offers as well as how difficult it can be to maintain line-of-sight in the jungle. If you enjoy ambushing people or giving people the slip, sticking around this portion of the map is the go to move.
Located at the heart of the new biome is a large (by the map’s standards) volcano serving as the main attraction of the region. This volcano is active, complete with lava run-offs and backdraughts. You can even enter the volcano which allows you to ride the backdraught up and out of the opening that top (do it on a hoverboard for a good time). There is loot inside the volcano as well as a throne not unlike the Frostking’s, the ‘Lavaking’s’ (Lavabeard, Hotbeard, Brandbeard, something like that I assume) perhaps?
The lava itself isn’t as dangerous as you’d initially surmise. Touching it only does one damage and shoots your character forward a respectable distance (think cartoon), making them quite useful in a fight for swift repositioning (or just getting around quicker). There are also volcanic vents around the jungle biome that a player can use to launch themselves with and deploy their glider to get around the map (or climb the volcano) quicker. Because of these factors this biome features much greater mobility compared to other regions, especially with the X-4 Stormwing being placed into retirement.
Lazy Lagoon cuts out the usual river that was here and replaces with a lagoon, pirate ship and pirate town. It occupies roughly the same position The Block used to inhabit on the map and is one of the two new named locations in the biome. Supposedly this is the main base of operations for the pirate outfit that has arrived in Fortnite.
Sunny Steps is a largest Inca/Aztec (again, no historian) building complex in the region, spicing up the more traditional modern and medieval architecture you see elsewhere on the Fortnite map. There are also smaller Inca/Aztec themed buildings around the region, especially near the volcano to be explored as well. It is yet to be revealed what their relation to Season 8 is yet.
On the northern edge of the jungle biome (around G2 and G3 on the main map’s grid) is a hot spring that is littered in volcanic vents. Particularly awesome if you want to spend your time doing tricks on a hoverboard.
Expedition buildings are strewn around the region, but there is a particularly large one at H2 on the main map’s grid. If I didn’t know any better I would’ve thought the two hangars would be for X-4s, but seeing as that’s out of the question you can find an ATV and hoverboard here if you want to use the vents and volcano to simulate the good ole’ days of Tony Hawk.
Other Map Changes
Pirate camps have been added. These function quite similarly to the expedition outposts of Season 7. Instead of being a brand new building however, these are built atop the remnants of older buildings (except of course the one’s in the new biome itself), being reinforced and armed for what appears to be a holdout situation. These have a flag raised atop a mast at their peak with the picture of a Kraken.
The Block has been re-situated close to east of Junk Junction (northeast of Pleasant Park) and is the only part of the old northeastern section of the map that survived. It makes sense for Epic to salvage The Block as it’s a fairly unique addition to the game that changes on a regular basis (mitigating stagnation) and providing incentive for content creators.
The last overall map change is for Spawn Island (starting island while waiting for the Battle Bus) has been given a Season 8 facelift. The above picture is actually of the lobby island itself, being converted to the lush overgrown appearance.
Redone Challenges UI
The last seasonal change worth mentioning is the changes to the challenges UI. Nothing groundbreaking, but it has been streamlined, grouping the challenges based on their timeframe. The weekly challenges are placed together, dailies together, certain reward structures are grouped together and so on. Navigating to the correct set of challenges to find out rewards or what needs to be done is a lot less cumbersome now and was a long time coming.
That’s about it for the initial Season 8 drop. It didn’t quite shake things up as much as Season 7 did, with the overall map additions being a slight retread of the previous season in implementation. UI changes were necessary, but not as exciting as getting a wholenew type of skin (weapon skins). It also didn’t have anything completely game altering like the X-4 Stormwing either, with Epic deciding to shy away from a controversial addition like that again. It’s definitely a less bold implementation than Season 7 was, but the jungle biome and its unique mobility options should keep the game fresh for a while at least.