Fortnite dev explains why pickaxe harvesting bug took so long to fix

by David Purcell


Epic Games promised that they would fix an ongoing harvesting issue in Fortnite Chapter 2 with their next patch, but some players were confused as to why problems continued after the Feb 10 update – and they have now explained why along with finally fixing the issue.

The battle royale game had been plagued with bugs since moving over to a brand new game engine with the v11.50 update on February 5. Players had reported problems dropping from the Battle Bus, being unable to use Launch Pads properly, and having difficulties harvesting.

A surprise update, hotfix 11.50.1, was released just six days later on February 11 there wasn't much information about what was being addressed, with the developers simply stating that "stability" problems had been worked on.

One of those, however, was clearly not the pickaxe glitch.

Fortnite Chapter 2 key art.
Epic Games
Fortnite Chapter 2 moved over to a new game physics engine on February 5, following a patch.


The pickaxe harvesting bug stopped players from harvesting as they normally would be able to. With weak spots not working correctly, those wanting to pick a load of mats from destroying trees, cars and other features were being slowed down in their tracks.

Weak points on surfaces usually make it faster to collect materials with each swing of a pickaxe, although that feature hadn't been working correctly since the update went live. Now, Epic Games have explained why.

Responding to a post on Reddit, where user LeOsaru was wondering how the recent hotfix never resolved the problem, EpicDustyDevo said: "FYI – Only data changes can be hotfixed – code bugs like these require a new build," referencing the bug mentioned here.

"Basically hotfix means you change data (like how much damage a gun does, or how long it takes for the storm to close in), whereas most actual code bugs need to be fixed in code, compiled, and then a new version of the game has to be released to you. That process takes at least a few days in the best of circumstances."


A few players suggested, in that case, that the devs could increase the speed of harvesting to counteract the issue in the meantime, using a hotfix, although they weren't really a fan of that idea.

EpicDustyDevo responded: "You are correct that we could hotfix that but that kind of HF would go across all platforms so PC would also get elevated mats which would have exacerbated the problem.

"The problem there is hotfixes are not platform-specific so we would be elevating farming for all platforms. Don’t worry, this will be a distant memory soon."

Reddit, LeOsaru
An Epic Games employee has explained why a fix for the harvesting bug has taken a little longer than many expected.


PS4 players weren't impacted by the update on February 11, which meant everybody playing on that console had to wait even longer for stability issues to finally be resolved on February 12.

Even though the glitch is now fixed for members of the console community, there's a lot more than just the harvesting problem alone that is impacting their gameplay, at least at the time of writing.