season 7 is here and it's a big, map-changing update for the winter holidays and beyond. For starters, the iceberg that had slowly been approaching the island in the days leading up to the update finally made landfall, covering nearly a third of the map in snow and adding tons of new areas to explore. There's also a new where you can save your creations and share them with other players. But perhaps an even bigger change is the addition of Stormwing airplanes and new Ziplines that could change gameplay completely.
The map changes are some of the biggest we've seen since the beginning of Fortnite. I mentioned that snow covered nearly a third of the map, but what's important to understand is that the map with the addition of the iceberg also got a lot bigger. A huge portion of the island in the southwest is all new, with new buildings, an airport (more on that in a second) and tons of other places to check out.
Take to the skies
In a move to make it a little easier to get across the larger map, Epic Games added a couple of new ways to travel with Stormwing planes and Ziplines. The planes can be found scattered around the map, but there are only a couple of airstrips. You'll find the most planes at a new location called Frosty Flights, which has a couple of airplane hangers along with a long airstrip. Flying takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy to control with the left control stick and you even have a button to fire a mounted machine gun for when you get into a dogfight with other players.
The new Ziplines have been added all over the map almost wherever there are mountains. You can travel both up and down Ziplines simply by jumping onto one and you'll start moving automatically. Both of the new ways to travel will be a big twist to Fortnite's usual battle royale gameplay, and I'll be interested to see how they affect the game as the season goes on.
In season 6, we already had Playground mode where you could mine at a higher rate, build to your heart's desire, explore the map, practice against your friends and play minigames. But with Creative Mode, you'll now have unlimited time to play around and you can save your creations for later. You can also play user-made maps from other players. It will be fun to see what people will come up with as the season progresses.
New Battle Pass
With every new season, of course, comes a new Battle Pass. You can buy it for roughly $10 to give you a tiered system for unlocking rewards and -- like every season -- there are 100 new tiers to unlock. As most Fortnite players know, the more you play and complete weekly challenges, the more emotes, dance moves and cosmetic items you can get. In season 7, you'll also be able to unlock a new item called Wraps, which act as skins to customize your characters, vehicles and weapons.
It's hard to say how all these new changes will affect the game and how players will take to the game-changing new ways to travel. But it's clear Epic Games isn't done surprising us with new content, keeping players coming back to see the next big thing.