UPDATE: Live Operations Epic employee JShredz has explained why the Playground LTM had to be disabled for now. He commented the following on Reddit:
I’ll see what I can do about a more complete answer once everything is fixed, but here’s a (slightly) condensed version.
When you make matches for every 1-4 people, it requires between 25x and 100x as many matches as normal per 100 people depending on their party size.
Playground LTM launch was VERY popular and the poor matchmaker was trying to create and allocate matches faster than it could keep up with, so a backlog built up. This strained the system, which affected matchmaking times for regular game modes too. In order to preserve the base play experience, we took Playgrounds offline while we made improvements to the matchmaking system.
We’ve been working on major matchmaking improvements over the last 24 hours, and we’ve also isolated Playground matchmaking to its own cluster so if it gets backed up, the worst that happens is longer Playground matchmaking times while the regular modes are unaffected.
We’re testing all of this now, and we’re working hard to get Playgrounds live again as soon as we think it’s ready.
Additional Comment: There is a very good chance based on the data I saw that matchmaker was creating online game lobbies faster than any game in history has ever done. We’ve got world-class engineers, but even we are sometimes blown away by how popular this game is. Just wanted to throw a public shoutout to those awesome people working to make Matchmaker even more the best 🙂
On Private Hosting: Had a few questions about this, but server capacity is not an issue and Fortnite code does not work without client/server interactions (for a whole bunch of reasons), so hosting games on your own would not work. The fundamental issue of creating and tracking matches at this pace was the issue, not the availability of servers to host them.
Epic were not expecting so many players to be playing the Playground LTM and so the matchmaking service failed to cater so many lobbies. There have been major improvements made to handle the amount of players playing the Playground LTM. They are currently being tested but they hope to make the Limited Time Mode available again later today.
Epic have separated the Playground matchmaker from the default mode and there have been major improvements made to accommodate for the sheer number of players.
What to expect from the Playground LTM:
- There can be upto 4 players per match
- One game will last an hour
- Friendly fire is on
- Players are instantly respawned, unless they are killed by the storm
- The storm starts closing in at the 55 minute mark and will take 5 minutes to close in
- Players will be able to gather resources at 10 times the normal rate
- All Treasure Chests and Ammo Boxes will be spawned at all possible spawn spots
- There will be 100 Llamas in every game