Epic let players upgrade weapons in the first Fortnite Chapter 2 patch. But the new v11.40 update includes an option for players to “sidegrade” their assault rifle, turning it into a Heavy Assault Rifle instead — but only in non-competitive playlists.
Sidegrading is just like upgrading in that you can only do so at certain designated upgrade stations around the map, and it costs resources to perform. As of this patch, it seems like the standard Assault Rifle is the only weapon players can sidegrade.
The Heavy Assault Rifle had been removed from Fortnite for quite a while, and was only reintroduced in patch v11.40. The weapon fires slower than a standard Assault Rifle, but does more damage with each hit, which is why this doesn’t count as a straight upgrade. It’s possible that Epic could also reintroduce other heavy weapons in future patches, like the Heavy Sniper Rifle, that would give players other sidegrade options.
Sidegrading isn’t the only change to come to Fortnite in patch v11.40, but it is the one Epic is most focused on. iPad Pro players can now play at 120 FPS — as long as they’re on a 2018 model of the hardware— and the thumbsticks on controllers are now clickable for iOS players, effectively adding two more buttons. There may be more changes in the patch, but that’s all Epic is letting players know for now.