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Fortnite for Total Beginners

The island is notoriously unforgiving. Tap for 5 tips to survive.

So its your first time playing Fortnite, and you have no clue what to do. You’ve leaped off the floating bus and soared toward the island. Now the fighting has started. Instinctively, you cower behind a wall.

Gulp.

Donald Mustard is here to help. The creative director of Fortnite at game developer Epic has tips for how you can avoid swift defeat at the hands of your fellow players—gamers who’ve spent all year mastering the island, and who love nothing more than preying on a newbie.

Your adventure awaits. Ready to dive in?

Skydive, then survive

Fortnite is what’s known as a battle-royale game: an online competition where you try to outlast a whole bunch of other players until only you remain. Constraints are few and far between here—which means there’s no right answer to “What’s the best thing for me to be doing right now?”

So know this first, Mustard says: “Where you land is probably one of the most important things in the game.” If you’re new, try not to follow packs of other skydivers into a crowded combat zone. Find somewhere quiet and isolated to give yourself a moment to get settled. “Go to more of the outskirts where there’ll be less players but there might be less loot.”

To avoid an early exit, gear up as soon as you hit the ground.

Load up on loot

So you’ve landed. Congrats. You’ll notice you have nothing but a pickaxe. You can do a lot with it: chop down trees for wood, smash holes in houses to escape pursuing foes, crack apart rocks to gain valuable resources for building. While the tool is important, it can’t do everything.

“The next thing you need to do is find some items that will help you become the last person standing,” Mustard says. “It’s scavenging through different buildings or areas to find treasure chests that will give you different guns, different health packs.”

Dominating the race for resources is almost as critical as combat skill, because in a battle between equally skilled players, the one with the fanciest toys (usually) wins.

The forecast calls for frantic action.

Sprint to safety

In a melee this chaotic, you might wish you could hide until everyone else defeats one another. But that tactic won’t work.

“There’s a storm circle closing in that’s going to be pushing you toward a different spot on the map each round,” Mustard says. “So get moving.”

Regardless of where you start, this storm will force all remaining players into smaller and smaller areas of the map to hasten a match’s conclusion. If you manage to last until this point, it’s critical to have enough items and materials to build defensive structures.

In this game, you’re part warrior, part builder.

Build like it’s your job

Remember all that lumber you collected from felled trees? Use it. How you do that is part of the fun, because Fortnite’s building system is surprisingly versatile.

“Start learning how to build different structures so you can utilize the building not just to be defensive or offensive against other players, but as a tool to navigate the map,” says Mustard. When you’re skilled enough, you’ll be able to swiftly create ramps leading to high ground, bridges that span lakes, or buildings to provide cover from sudden attacks.

Fortnite, like golf, can be fun even if you’re not playing to win.

Or just enjoy the scenery

Yes, Fortnite is an intensely competitive experience, but it’s about more than combat. If you forget the fighting for a bit, there’s a lot to do. You can drive a golf cart down a fairway, climb mountains, build artful sculptures, or just explore.

“The island is your friend,” Mustard says. “There’s lots of amazing things for you to discover and to use. You can pretty much build or destroy anything. Your imagination is the limit.”

Getting a better sense of how the island is laid out can be key to success later. The more you do to make this mysterious battleground feel like home turf, the better.

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