Fortnite season 9 is live.
Fortnite season 9 is here, and it’s all about the future. Epic released the new season of its popular battle royale game with changes to the theme, new in-game content and other changes for players.
When does season 9 begin?
Fortnite season 9 went live May 9 after servers were taken down for updates. Once the servers were back, Epic tweeted the new season trailer.
According to the trailer, the volcano event that happened on Saturday had a lasting effect on the island. The two destroyed areas, Tilted Towers and Retail Row, are now replaced with futuristic versions of the locations, called Neo Tilted and Mega Mall. The volcano also changed and is now known as Pressure Plant.
Epic tweeted on May 14 that the first official update, v.9.01, will happen on Wednesday, May 15, at 1 a.m. PT.
Get up close and personal when the v.9.01 update releases tomorrow, May 15.
Downtime begins at 4 AM ET(0800UTC).— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) May 14, 2019
As the company regularly does, Epic also included a tease within its tweet with the phrase “get up close and personal.” This could reference a new weapon Fortnite players saw when logging in on: the Tactical Assault Rifle.
Season 9 will last for the next 10 weeks, and then Fortnite season 10 will start Aug. 1, according to fan site Fortnite Intel.
As prominently shown in the Fortnite season 9 trailer, there are two new areas to explore: Neo Tiled Towers and Mega Mall. Players who know the island like the back of their hand will have to spend some time exploring to figuring out the places to loot and where to ambush others, as these two spots will be popular in the early days of the new season.
Another futuristic addition: the Slipstreams. Located around Neo Tilted Towers, Mega Mall and a large portion of the inner island, these new towers will propel players once they enter the wind stream. Players should use these Slipstreams as both a mode of transportation and a way to get out of trouble. Air vents were another mobility addition to propel players into the air and make them immune to fall damage.
Slipstreams around Mega Mall
Epic added only one new weapon at the start of season 9: the combat shotgun. The semi-automatic weapon takes the place of the pump shotgun, which was removed from the game otherwise known as “vaulted.” Several other weapons, items and throwables were also vaulted including Clingers, Buried Treasure, Poison Dart Trap, Scoped Revolver, Suppressed Assault Rifle, Thermal Assault Rifle and Balloons.
Epic also made changes to the Battle Pass for Season 9. As in previous seasons, those who purchased the pass for 950 V-Bucks, or just shy of $10, will have 100 levels to work their way through to unlock new emotes, pickaxes and skins such as the Sentinel, Rox progressive and for those who make it to tier 100, the Vendetta skin.
Something new with this Fortnite season 9 Battle Pass are the Fortbytes. These collectible computer chips are hidden across the island with a new one unlocked each day of the season. Collecting these items will piece together an image that hints at what’s in store for Fortnite season 10.
With these new additions, Epic made various changes to the gameplay and improvement. The company also added new Limited Time Modes such as Trios, where players can make three-person squads, the Legendary-focused Solid Gold mode and One Shot, which has players with 50 health and can only access sniper weapons, meaning one hit is all it takes to eliminate players.
After the first week of Fortnite season 9, Epic released the first update of the season, v9.01, on May 15. That includes a new weapon, the Tactical Assault Rifle.
Fortnite Tactical Assault Rifle
The automatic weapon, unlike most rifles, is far more effective up close than at a distance. It also has:
30 round magazine
Deals 22/23/24 damage
Headshot multiplier of 1.75x
Epic also reduced the damage of the Drum Gun, which was brought back from the “vault” during the volcano event that kicked off the season. Many players complained about the weapon’s damage, so it was decreased from 26/27 to 22/23.
Fortnite players should expect more content, modes, weapons skins, and, eventually, clues to the next season.
Hidden secrets and Easter eggs
Epic tends to add clues and Easter eggs on the island that hint at upcoming events or the next season. A less than subtle example in Fortnite season 9 is the addition of a building in Paradise Palms that looks remarkably like the house from the John Wick films.
John Wick house in Fortnite
One data miner also discovered a set of challenges for a limited-time mode called Wick’s Bounty, or WAX. This event could take place when the third entry in the franchise, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, appears in theaters on May 17.
To add more fuel to the John Wick fire, the Fortnite v9.01 update had a slew of movie-related content leaked by data miners. First is the new John Wick outfit that has a secondary style called “Damaged.”
Another data miner found more info about the Wick’s Bounty limited-time mode in the v9.01 update. The new mode will have infinite spawns, and players will have to collect coins off of other players, which most likely drop when eliminated.
There’s also a new skin known as “Sofia,” which is the name of Halle Berry’s character in John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. The data miner noted that the head is temporary and could change when the skin officially goes live in the future.
Though the content found by the data miners isn’t official, Epic on May 15 tweeted an emoji-only tweet consisting of a bearded man, a dog, a pencil and a money bag, which are references to the first two John Wick movies.
????????????✏️????— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) May 15, 2019
Another subtle reference found in Fortnite season 9 is a storefront called Scoops Ahoy, the ice cream shop in Stranger Things. The third season of the Netflix series starts July 4, which would be during the second half of Fortnite season 9.
Fortnite is available on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, and Android and iOS devices.
Originally published on May 7. Updates, May 8: Adds new tweet from Epic and server downtime notice; May 9: Adds new season info; May 10: Adds new section on Easter eggs; May 14: Adds tweets on next update and new weapon; May 15: Adds info from update v9.01.
Amazon warns PS5 preorder customers their consoles might ship late – CNET
Sony’s PlayStation 5 (left) and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET Citing high demand, Amazon is emailing customers who preordered the PlayStation 5 to warn them that their console might not arrive on release day, Nov. 12.”Hello,” Amazon’s message to preorder customers reads, “We’re contacting you about your order of PlayStation 5 console…
Sony’s PlayStation 5 (left) and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.
Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET
Citing high demand, Amazon is emailing customers who preordered the PlayStation 5 to warn them that their console might not arrive on release day, Nov. 12.”Hello,” Amazon’s message to preorder customers reads, “We’re contacting you about your order of PlayStation 5 console to let you know in advance that you may not receive this item on the day it is released due to high demand. We’ll make every effort to get the item to you as soon as possible once released.”
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Demand for the next-gen gaming console has been sky-high, with the preorder process sending shoppers scrambling between retailers to try and make the purchase whenever consoles come in stock.Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: Full comparison
2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 review: More than enough, but something’s missing – Roadshow
A four-cylinder engine joins the Supra range for 2021 and it’s a good ‘un! Craig Cole/Roadshow After a couple hours in the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 I thought to myself, “We waited two decades for this, a reskinned BMW Z4 with a fixed roof?” Don’t get me wrong, this new, entry-level, four-cylinder Supra is…
A four-cylinder engine joins the Supra range for 2021 and it’s a good ‘un!
After a couple hours in the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 I thought to myself, “We waited two decades for this, a reskinned BMW Z4 with a fixed roof?” Don’t get me wrong, this new, entry-level, four-cylinder Supra is stylish, sharp and plenty swift, but it still lacks a certain magic, that somethin’-somethin’ that compels you to take a late-night drive to get some milk even though there’s still plenty in the fridge.
LikeImpressive fuel efficiencyBlistering accelerationSharp steeringExotic looks
Don’t LikeUnintuitive infotainment systemGargantuan roof pillarsWhere’s the magic?
Mazda’s pint-sized Miata has exactly this enchanted feel; its spellbinding dynamics harmonize with your soul. Something like a Ford Shelby GT350 with its bellowing V8 can provide similar feels, albeit on a much larger, louder scale. But the Supra gives me no such tingles. I feel no more connected to it than I do to my work laptop. Both are purposeful and highly responsive, but I’m in love with neither.This sentiment was completely unexpected because the Supra does the sports-car thing well, Bavarian underpinnings and all. The car’s ride is properly pounding, any suppleness traded in for exemplary body control and zero roll through corners. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, which are gummier than hot tar and envelop a set of stylish 18-inch wheels, provide seemingly inexhaustible grip. This machine’s hefty steering is immediate and exacting. Despite being slightly smaller than what’s fitted to its six-cylinder sibling, the GR Supra 2.0’s brakes are potent and progressive, with a nice, firm pedal feel. But despite ticking all these boxes, something’s still missing, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
2020 Toyota GR Supra 2.0: A strong performer that needs some soul
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That isn’t to say the Supra isn’t objectively impressive. The Supra’s 2.0-liter engine option is new for 2021. Borrowed from BMW, this four-cylinder turbocharged unit is superb, both snappy and smooth, cranking out 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Those figures pale in comparison to the heat six-cylinder Supras pack, but this car still absolutely rips, shooting from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat (the 2021 Supra 3.0 can do the deed in as little as 3.9 seconds). The engine is linear in its power delivery and extremely refined. Honestly, there’s no need for a higher-end Supra — the performance this base model provides is shockingly good.An eight-speed automatic transmission helps keep that engine roiling. Quick and crisp, it’s a willing accomplice when driving delinquency is demanded, though it’s still no substitute for a manual. At least for now, a row-your-own gearbox is not offered in any version of the Supra, and perhaps that’s partly why the car leaves me feeling less than enraptured. But hey, at least the automatic helps reduce consumption. According to the EPA, my tester delivers 28 miles per gallon combined, a figure derived from its city score of 25 mpg and its highway rating of 32 mpg. In the real world, however, I obliterated those figures, averaging more than 36 mpg after an extended drive, a performance that underscores this powertrain’s all-around excellence.
This car’s styling is undeniably attractive.
Yes, I love the Supra’s giddy-up, but I’ve also fallen for its design. The car’s handsome proportions, nose-to-the-ground front end and perky backside make it look like nothing else on the road, especially when dressed in Nitro Yellow. That double-bubble roof is oh-so-cool, and those broad hips draw your eye with every glance in the side-view mirror. Despite the curvaceous metalwork, this machine isn’t particularly wide, or large in any dimension for that matter. It’s longer than a Miata and shorter than a Mustang, slotting neatly between those two competitors. This car is also something of a ‘tweener in Toyota’s lineup, a stepping stone between the affordable 86 sports car and the more potent Supra 3.0.
I find my tester’s leather-and-Alcantara-covered seats comfortable, offering plenty of support thanks to the firm padding, though the bolstering may be too aggressive for some. Manually adjustable unlike in higher-end models, the chairs’ various levers and ratchets make it easy to find a good driving position, though no amount of tweaking will improve the rear sightlines. Those massive roof pillars that help give this car such sexy styling are also great at obliterating visibility. The small backlight is no help, either. Making matters worse, blind-spot monitoring and other useful features, such as rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and parking sensors, aren’t standard. Instead, they’re bundled in the $3,485 safety and technology package.As for other features, the Supra Command infotainment system is like forgotten leftovers: starting to stink. Basically an older version of BMW iDrive, it comes with an 8.8-inch display and a convoluted interface. It’s not particularly easy to navigate, though you can operate it with control buttons on the center console or via the touchscreen, which is nice. Embedded navigation is also included with that safety and tech package, as is wireless Apple CarPlay. Android Auto isn’t offered, so sad trombone if you’re a fan of The Google. Another downside is that this Toyota won’t be updated to iDrive 7, BMW’s latest and greatest infotainment system, even though its sibling, the Z4, already has it. Yeah, I’m as confused about this decision as you are, but so it goes.Does this interior look German to you?
Technological curiosities aside, the rest of the Supra’s cabin is a nice place to be. There’s plenty of soft plastic, which has a dense, high-quality feel and an attractive pattern. For better or worse, the climate controls and other switches are borrowed from BMW. Aside from the Nokia brick-phone electronic shifter and cheesy-looking gauges, everything meshes quite nicely. As you might expect, the Supra is not a particularly versatile car. In-cabin storage is scarce, limited to a small cubby on the center tunnel, another bin ahead of the gear selector and tiny door pockets. The trunk is also petite, though it should be spacious enough to carry luggage for two people.Compared to six-cylinder models, the Supra 2.0 is down on power and torque, it also has smaller brakes, no strut-tower-to-radiator-support reinforcements, fixed rather than adaptive dampers and a standard differential. On the plus side, it’s also about 219 pounds lighter and, most importantly, way more affordable — like, a whopping eight grand cheaper. Out the door, my tester checks out for $47,895, a figure that includes the $3,485 safety and tech package, a $425 paint job and $995 in delivery fees. In comparison, the Supra 3.0 starts at 52 big ones and goes up from there.Of all the Japanese sports cars available today that are engineered by Bavarians and assembled in Austria by a third-party manufacturer, the Toyota Supra is hands down my favorite. But all jokes aside, even in base, four-cylinder guise it offers potent acceleration and crisp dynamics. But after extensive time behind the wheel, I think I’d still rather have a Mazda Miata or even a Mustang EcoBoost with the high-performance package. Toyota’s Supra does many things right, but it somehow leaves me completely whelmed, neither over nor under.
The best espresso machine for 2020: Cuisinart, Breville, Mr. Coffee and more – CNET
If you’ve ever fallen in love with espresso, you know first hand its powerful charms. Ultra-strong, rich, yet balanced espresso’s complex flavors are addictive. Making it at home though can be a tall order. A lot of coffee makers billed as domestic espresso machines are that in name only. If you don’t do your homework…
If you’ve ever fallen in love with espresso, you know first hand its powerful charms. Ultra-strong, rich, yet balanced espresso’s complex flavors are addictive. Making it at home though can be a tall order. A lot of coffee makers billed as domestic espresso machines are that in name only. If you don’t do your homework chances are good you’ll wind up with a terrible appliance, one that slings awful drinks. Make sure you avoid this pitfall and by a machine that produces superb shots all day long.The best home espresso machines have an advanced brewing process and handy bells and whistles like a double portafilter basket for double shot drinks, and a milk frother and steam wand for a cup of cappuccino or a latte. These automatic machines don’t come cheap, and you can expect to pay at least $500 for something that whips up legit cafe-caliber espresso drinks (or an espresso shot, if that’s your thing). But when in doubt, try to remember how much you’ll be saving on all the lattes, cappuccinos and double shots you get from your coffee shop thanks to your espresso and cappuccino maker.Espresso coffee is uniquely powerful and flavorful. It’s the ultimate test for home brewers.
You can also drop as little as $100, if you’re willing to settle for a mediocre espresso, but I urge you not to pounce on products that cost less, especially if you plan on drinking espresso regularly. A seemingly affordable espresso machine may look like a bargain at first blush, but they’re often a waste of money and counter space, too. For those on a budget, “espresso brewers” (in the $30 to $50 price range) typically lack motorized pumps and are powered by steam pressure alone. What they produce is really moka pot coffee, the sort of drink made by simple stovetop brewers; it won’t taste quite like the espresso you’re used to from the barista at your local coffee shop or cafe. That’s not inherently bad — it’s just not really espresso.
Want to buy an espresso machine? Here’s what you need…
To find the best espresso machine for espresso lovers, I spent over 80 hours putting 10 available espresso machines through their paces. I limited my testing to manual espresso machines, not the ones that make espresso from pods or capsules. I also revisited three other espresso machines I reviewed previously. During the process, I made and sampled scores of espresso shots, double shots, lattes, cappuccinos and pitchers of steamed milk and milk froth. Basically, if it was a coffee drink, I made it. I also took into account other things like water reservoir and storage, water filter, control panel, grinding capabilities, automatic milk frother length (and its ability to steam and froth milk) and more. After my experience, these are the three I’d qualify as the best home espresso machines. While they all get the job done and offer the essential features you need — like a steam milk frother, drip tray, substantial water reservoir, and easy-to-clean stainless steel base — the key differentiating factor between them is the price point. And how much you spend on an espresso machine does have a major impact on what type of coffee you’ll ultimately get.
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I also limited this list to automatic machines and semiautomatic espresso machines. I excluded super-automatic espresso makers as well, sold by Krups, Philips, Miele and others. Those models are a breed apart, costing many times more ($2,000 to $3,000). I update this list periodically, and you’ll find my testing methodology below. Still with me? Keep going, delicious espresso will soon be yours!
You can’t beat the Breville Barista Express and its combination of performance, features and price point. For $700, the machine’s formidable grinder pulverizes espresso beans, smart technology doses grounds directly into its portafilter basket, plus its sturdy frother steams milk well and makes thick foam. It also consistently pulled the best tasting shots of espresso in my test group. The control panel may be a little intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of things, a delicious shot (or double shot) of espresso, latte or other coffee-based drink of choice will be your reward. Made from stainless steel, the Barista Express is a cinch to clean as well. And to seal the deal, Breville includes premium metal tools such as a handy dose trimmer and tamper.I will note, though, that this machine does not offer a compact design. If counter space is at a premium in your kitchen, you may want to look at the next machine on the list to make your cup of coffee.
For those who crave great espresso at home but are nervous about getting the technique down, the Breville Bambino Plus is the perfect choice. It’s dead simple to use and to keep clean. It’s also compact yet pulled delicious shots of espresso second only to Breville’s Barista Express. I especially appreciate how easy it is to froth milk with the Bambino. Just insert the steam wand into the Bambino’s stainless steel milk pitcher (included), then press one button. Less than a minute later, you’ll have expertly steamed milk foam ready for lattes and cappuccinos.
While it lacks its own coffee grinder, making an espresso, cappuccino or latte from the Cuisinart EM-100 has plenty going for it. This espresso machine has a compact design but is powerful enough to brew from fine coffee grounds. It also pulled flavorful espresso shots, second only to the Breville Barista Express in terms of quality, taste and strength. The machine features a long stainless steel frother for steaming milk and a built-in cup warmer heating element too. A solid espresso machine at about a third the price of the Breville.
How we test espresso machines My evaluation process for espresso machines is similar to how I test standard drip coffee makers. First, I hand wash and dry all removable parts and accessories. For most espresso products, that includes the portafilter basket, metal portafilter inserts, water tank and so on. Next, I run one brewing cycle with just hot water to flush away any residual material from manufacturing. Most espresso machines, save for fancy super automatic models, lack an integrated coffee grinder and I prefer to test with freshly ground coffee. So I supply my own grinder — the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. I chose this grinder for two reasons. First, it’s calibrated more for espresso and less for drip or other brewing styles. That means it produces a grind that’s quite fine. Second, its grind size is also consistently uniform. Both factors are critical for a proper espresso brewing process. To pull shots, I start with the suggested method outlined in a given machine’s product manual. Usually that covers the amount of coffee grounds expected per shot, along with any guidelines regarding coarseness level. Likewise, I follow tamping instructions (light, medium or hard tamp) if the manual provides them. Whenever possible, I brew double shots of espresso for all my test runs. I make sure to record the weight of the grounds I use, plus the weight of espresso for each shot I pull. This data, along with readings from a portable refractometer, allows me to calculate two important percentages: total dissolved solids and extraction percentage. And just like any coffee brew, the ideal extraction percentage for espresso is a range between 18% and 22%. This yields a balanced cup, assuming you perform an even and efficient extraction of coffee compounds from your grounds (both flavor and caffeine). Not many home espresso machines can brew quality shots. This one was pulled from the Breville Barista Express.
If you over-extract, you run the risk of leaching out unpleasant flavors (bitterness) after the good. On the opposite end of the scale, under extracted brews tend to have undeveloped flavors. Lacking sugars and other caramelized organic chemicals, these shots will taste sour, weak and watery. Unlike making a cup of drip coffee, espresso should be concentrated. While excellent drip typically has a TDS percentage of 1.3 or 1.4, great espresso has a much higher percentage. The Breville Barista Express, for example, produced shots with TDS percentages as high as 12.4. These shots I pulled were balanced though, with an extraction of 18.6%. The test beans I use are the same variety I employ for standard coffee makers — Costco Kirkland Colombian. It’s a medium dark roast, suitable for brewing espresso as well. Many espresso machines have steaming wands for frothing milk. The Breville Bambino makes steaming milk especially easy.
Lastly, I try my hand at frothing milk with each coffee machine equipped with a steam wand. I record the overall experience with the steam wand, whether the process is a snap, a tricky chore or somewhere in between. Steam milk to create cafe-style espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
Want more options for your cup of coffee? Check out this list of espresso machines I’ve tested in addition to the ones above. More coffee advice from CNET and Chowhound