Why Fortnite's Playground Mode Didn't Work at Launch and How Epic Games Fixed It - Dexerto

Why Fortnite’s Playground Mode Didn’t Work at Launch and How Epic Games Fixed It

Published: 19/Jul/2018 9:02 Updated: 26/Jul/2018 12:07

by Ross Deason


Epic Games has released lengthy “postmortem” of the trials and tribulations that were involved in the release of the Playground Limited Time Mode.

Originally released on  June 27, the Playground Mode was easily the most highly anticipated LTM that has come to Fortnite Battle Royale so far. But, soon after its release, it was disabled.


This happened due to the Matchmaking Service (MMS) not being able to handle the extra strain, as Epic explains:

“Since Playground mode makes matches for every 1-4 people instead of 100, it requires between 25 and 100 times as many matches as normal depending on party size.  While we could pack virtual servers a bit tighter per physical CPU for Playground mode, we still had to use 15 times as many servers as we had been running for the other modes.  We were able to secure the total server capacity, but it meant the list that each node had to manage was suddenly 15 times as long as well,”

“When we released Playground, the overwhelming demand quickly exhausted the local lists for MMS nodes far faster than the system could refresh them.  Each node was running to every other node to request extra servers that just weren’t there yet, or at the very least took a long time to pick out of the non-local lists.  The long compute times caused the CPU to end up with a backlog of pending requests, resulting in a feedback loop that eventually caused the system to grind to a halt.”

It took Epic longer than they expected to fix the issues, but eventually the mode returned on July 2.


Epic states that the solution involved giving the Playground Mode its own service cluster and to then give that service cluster the ability to re-balance sessions from other nodes:

“Once we identified the root of the problem as the exhaustion of sessions from local lists, the solution was to give the cluster the ability to bulk rebalance sessions from other nodes to ensure repeated lookups were not necessary.  With the system constantly shifting regional capacity from nodes with an excess to nodes that might be running low, the odds of a node running dry for a particular region and having to search outside its local list have been drastically reduced,

“We pushed the load-testing process to the limits during our MMS restructuring, because the scale of what we were trying to simulate was so far beyond normal usage or testing patterns.  We needed to spin up many millions of theoretical users and hurl them at our Playground MMS system in a big, crashing wave in an attempt to strain our new session rebalancer. While the tweak – test – evaluate cycle took several hours per loop, it allowed us to develop and refine the rebalance behavior to a point where we felt it could stand up to the traffic, as well as to identify and fix edge-case bugs that could have torpedoed the effort to bring Playground back online.”

To conclude, the developers states that they learned a great deal about their own matchmaking system throughout the Playground Mode saga and say that they did not properly anticipate the rush of players that would want to play it.

“In short, we learned a lot about our own matchmaking system and its failure points as well.  We planned and prepared for what we thought to be the maximum sustained matchmaking throughput and capacity based on the size of our player base (plus a healthy buffer), but didn’t properly anticipate the edge-case of of the initial “land rush” of players exhausting local lists,

“The process of getting Playground stable and in the hands of our players was tougher than we would have liked, but was a solid reminder that complex distributed systems fail in unpredictable ways.  We were forced to make significant emergency upgrades to our Matchmaking Service, but these changes will serve the game well as we continue to grow and expand our player base into the future.”

The full postmortem can be found here.


How to complete Fortnite Season 4 Week 7 challenges

Published: 8/Oct/2020 0:31

by Brad Norton


We’re now in the seventh week of Fortnite’s Marvel-themed season meaning that there’s not long to go until the current battle pass items are locked away for good. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest challenges to help with your experience gains.

As with every other season, XP is vital in Fortnite. Whether you’re trying to unlock one of the 100 base tiers in the Season 4 Battle Pass, or you’re pushing beyond that for ultra-rare skins, there’s always something to pursue.


Challenges are often the best way to help boost your XP gains. Most can be knocked off in a matter of minutes for some of the biggest XP dumps possible in the battle royale. If you’ve already been ticking objectives off each week, you’ll feel right at home this time around.

From searching chests to tallying eliminations, the Week 7 challenges couldn’t be simpler. Here’s our complete overview of the eight unique tasks on offer.

Fortnite gameplay
Epic Games
Be on the lookout for enemies near Doom’s Domain this week.

You’ll be jumping around the map quite a bit this week as almost every challenge will take you to a new location. Finding eliminations at Craggy Cliffs should be a breeze as this is sure to be a hotspot over the next few days. Just be prepared for an immediate fight every time you drop here in Week 7.

The same can be said for Doom’s Domain as players will be looking to enter the vault for easy XP. Make sure you have a decent loadout before heading in as you’re sure to face some opposition here.

One rather unique challenge this week asks you to deal damage in a very specific way. First, you’ll need to find and equip Storm’s Whirlwind Blast ability. Once you’ve got an enemy in your sights, use this ability to knock them back. Once they’re pushed off course, you’ll then need to swap your weapons and deal 1,000 damage.


To tick off multiple challenges at once, you could always find Storm’s ability, then head to Craggy Cliffs, or even Coral Castle. The full list of objectives for Week 7 can be found below.

Fortnite Season 4 Week 7 Challenges:

  • Search Chests at Catty Corner (7)
  • Eliminations at Craggy Cliffs (3)
  • Enter the Vault in Doom’s Domain
  • Destroy Cobwebs at The Authority (3)
  • Discover Tony Stark’s hidden Lake House laboratory
  • Drive a car from Sweaty Sands to Misty Meadows in less than 4 minutes without getting out
  • Deal damage after knocking an opponent back with Storm’s Whirlwind Blast (1,000)
  • Deal damage to opponents at Coral Castle (500)
Fortnite gameplay
Epic Games
Stark Industries will be swarmed by teams looking for the secret Lake House

If you’re struggling with the unique tasks this week, here’s a few quick pointers. Storm’s ability can be used to knock enemies off high ground vantage points. Any fall damage will count towards your weekly objective.

Additionally, Tony Stark’s hidden Lake House can be found just North of the Stark Industries POI.