9 things I wish I knew before playing Fortnite

Fortnite is finally here, sort of. It’s released into a paid Early Access period after years of closed alphas, and after spending a good 20 hours with it, I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s a creative, playful co-op base defense shooter with intuitive base-building and a bright personality. But my progress in those 20 hours could’ve been cut down by a quarter if I knew where to avoid unnecessary resource grinding and how all the confusing, overlapping loot and experience systems worked from the get-go. Enter PC Gamer, a website where you can find helpful information about videogames. Here’s what to keep in mind when getting started in Fortnite.  

Don’t waste your traps in the early game 

One of my biggest beefs with Fortnite is its achingly slow difficulty curve. It teaches you to build forts, but doesn’t throw enough baddies at them to pose the slightest threat until a few hours in. While you’re repeatedly told the horde is coming and to outfit your base with every capable defense, they’re completely unnecessary in the early game. And once you use a trap, those resources are gone. With a full team and a simple spiked floor here and there, hordes will fall before they get close enough to say hello. 

Don’t waste your time building elaborate forts early on either 

It's going to be a long time before a literal castle is necessary.

Most of the same reasons for saving your traps apply here. Your resources persist between missions and it takes a long time for husks to become a real threat, so start with the bare minimum, unless you just like to build. My favorite flourish is a ‘hangout’ tower made by stacking stairs on top of one another until you reach the sky. Then I build a platform exclusively for dancing and chatting. I’m always alone up there.  

But don’t hoard your resources 

Stone, metal, and wood counts are persistent between matches, so you’ll need to be careful not to use them all up at once, but get a few hours in and you’ll unlock Expedition Squads, which passively restock your supplies over time. Pick a hero with a decent success rate, send them out, and return after a few hours for a helpful bulk order of supplies. As you work through the web of skill trees, you’ll be able to send out more squads at once, and for bigger loads. Don’t quit chopping down trees during missions entirely, but do relax a bit more. You’ll have what you need to build what you want in time. 

Look for mines to keep your trap and weapon supply high 

If you want a nice hall of minerals, treasure chests, and who knows what else, look for mines. I’ve found they’re typically near the edge of woodland maps, and they’ve all had something I’m looking for. Since your traps and the resources to build them quickly run dry, you’ll want to dedicate some time topping off your supply. Smash all the rocks to find hidden doors, mineral deposits, and machinery you can break down to make sure no wall goes un-spiked. 

Chests make a distinct noise when they're near.

Smash through ceilings and floors to find treasure 

If you’re in a residential map, house basements and attics often give way to hidden passages full of treasure chests. The thing is, there won’t always be a stairway leading you there. Smash ceilings and floors just to be sure nothing valuable misses your eye. Wreck homes to make them.

Cut down anything blocking your line of sight 

Sometimes the procedurally generated levels will procedurally generate junk that blocks your view of the incoming hordes. Before starting the assault stage, clear your sightlines, taking down trees, boulders, and whatever else is blocking your vision. Most husks spawn far away and pistols are extremely accurate, making it easy to pick off enemies before they even get close. At the very least, it’s helpful to chip away at their health and let traps finish them off if you’re too busy trying to figure out how to make a staircase. 

Base defenders are a massive waste 

A few missions in and you’ll get the ability to build a panel that spawns in a base defender, an AI hero that does exactly what you think. But they have a fatal flaw: you need to provide them with a weapon and ammunition. Your personal ammo reserves aren’t easy to top off on a whim, and if you do hand over some precious bullets, these jerks chew through them like a pack of cheap bubblegum. There’s no flavor to savor apparently, because even after a fragile wave, they’ll use up 600 rounds in no time. Invite a few co-op partners in. Let them waste their resources on you instead. 

Sharing is bad, actually.

Don’t sweat spending XP willy-nilly 

XP takes the form of loot you can pump into heroes and defenders and weapons and—well, just about every object. Since you’ll be showered in loot and people, choosing what to dump your rewards into is a tough cookie. But don’t worry, pick a hero you like and put your XP into them. 

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Keep playing and you’ll get enough of the stuff to progress your heroes and traps slowly, but surely. Upgrades are pretty small and unnecessary at the start anyway. That, and once you get the ability to recycle items and retire heroes, you’ll get back a good chunk of the XP you invested in the first place. On that note...

Recycle weapons right before they bust 

Once weapons break, they’re gone and you’ll need to find the resources to build them all over again. Keep an eye on their durability meter and once you get the ability to recycle them, do so just before they cross over into gun hell. (Can guns even go to heaven?) You’ll get a few components to kickstart the rebuilding process and some XP back if you invested any. 

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.