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Fortnite vending machines now drop free swag

Plus changes to cross-play matchmaking.

Hamster balls, free vending machines, yet another extension to the infinite dab: Fortnite patch v8.10 is here, and brings with it yet another wave of changes to the game. Sometimes I feel like I could blink and accidentally miss a Fortnite patch.

First up, if you've ever been out of pocket in Fortnite and wanted some goodies from the vending machine, you're in luck. The material cost of items has now been removed, meaning vending machines have essentially become another form of loot chest. Each vending machine will now self-destruct once an item's been claimed. Seems like they could do with some maintenance.

Those Jurassic World-style hamster balls, meanwhile, are indeed making their debut in this patch. They can be found at expedition outposts and near pirate camp loot stashes, and feature both a grappler and boost function to help players "swing through the trees". Surprisingly the balls also provide players with a fair amount of protection: the vehicles have 300 health and prevent the player inside taking damage. Until the ball gets destroyed, of course.

If your RPG gets stuck, just give the machine a kick.

Meanwhile, in order to run "more playlists during more hours of the day", Epic is making some alterations to cross-play matchmaking. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players, for instance, will now be grouped together for cross-play. Players must opt-in to this, although opting out will restrict you to creative mode and playgrounds.

A more significant change is the merging of Switch and mobile cross-play pools, which Epic said will likely create "an on-average better game experience for both mobile and Switch players". Switch players previously had to cross-play with Xbox One and PS4 parties, but the new mobile pool should definitely provide a fairer playing field.

One of the main alterations to the meta in patch v8.10 involves a nerf to the heavy assault rifle. This previously caused 44/46/48 damage when rare, epic and legendary respectively, but will now drop as common/uncommon/rare with a base damage of 36/38/40. The heavy assault rifle already has a low rate of fire, and the reduced damage means this could fall out of the favoured meta.

A more beneficial addition, however, is elimination credit will now be given to the "last damager" (within the last 15 seconds). This means if you do significant damage but the enemy is eliminated by the storm, you'll still get the credit.

There's a bunch of other subtle but sweet changes in this patch, such as a much-demanded custom animation for the chug jug, which you can check out in the notes here.