Fortnite Xbox One beginner's guide: Five tips and tricks for fortress bliss

At a basic level, Fortnite is all about building forts and defending them, but the game has so much additional content, menus, and systems that it can be a little overwhelming. There's also a few hidden features and tricks that might help you get ahead, even if you're a veteran fortress builder.

So here we are, with 10 tips and tricks for Fortnite beginners and beyond.

See Fortnite at Xbox Store

1. Learn the gameplay cycle

For absolute beginners, it's important to learn exactly how Fortnite is structured, and what you'll do after you finish the main tutorial.

On the left side of the screen is the "Play" button, this will take you to the next campaign mission. The objectives for your mission are shown on the right, and they'll appear dynamically in the event the game sets up for you.

There are several mission types in Fortnite, but they all boil down to the same sort of gameplay (except the Stormshield defense, we'll get to that in a minute):

  1. Gather materials and loot the area.
  2. Find the objective.
  3. Fortify and defend the objective.
  4. ???
  5. Profit.

If you're playing solo, you'll be dropped into a procedurally generated map with random players on Xbox Live. Take your time, survey the surroundings, play your objectives as listed on the right side of the UI, then complete the map. You can press up on the d-pad to get an overview of the area and points of interest.

Once you're done, you can move on to the next mission, head back to your Stormshield home base to do some upgrades, or unlock one of the game's several rewards chests (if you've earned one). Obviously, the gameplay rotation will change as Fortnite moves through development, but this is pretty much the basis of play right now.

2. Tips for looting Fortnite maps

Fortnite's gameplay is almost patronizingly easy until higher levels, so don't worry too much about perfecting every map or blowing all your resources building the most extravagant base defenses possible. Through to higher levels, you can defend most objectives using the most rudimentary bases possible.

In Fortnite, you get a big pick axe for chopping and smashing things into materials. You should absolutely use the axe on rocks, trees, vehicles, and other machines, breaking them down for the fundamental wood/metal/stone materials and other crafting components. However, all too often do I see players running around just smashing everything. Sometimes, it's better to simply loot.

Throughout Fortnite's impressive procedurally generated maps, you will find piles of useful materials, unique crafting items, and sometimes, rare blueprints. They're often hidden inside objects, such as fridges, cupboards, boxes, and special chests that are especially hard to find. It's these more exotic crafting materials that you'll use to build more powerful weapons, traps, and defenses.

Chests can be hidden in all sorts of obscure places. Sometimes they can be hidden behind walls in basements, or in attics in buildings, that are inaccessible without smashing down barriers or building stairwells. They're often at the top of towers, or hidden below churches. Sometimes they can simply be on top of roofs or hidden in the corner — they glow too, making them easy to find in darker areas.

So don't simply run around smashing everything, check to see if the object you're targeting can be searched for more valuable loot.

3. How to get Fortnite loot crates faster

Fortnite is intended to be a "free to play" game when it launches properly in early 2018, as such, it uses various types of random loot crates to drive its progression systems.

Some of the loot you can get in Fortnite are as follows:

  • Llama crates contain blueprints for new weapons and traps, new heroes to use, and sometimes XP boosters and other items.
  • You purchase these using V-bucks, purchased either using real money or by completing in-game tasks and challenges.
  • You also get loot from completing missions, which usually contain random crafting materials.
  • You can view available challenges from the main menu's "Quests" section.

Early on, one of the fastest ways to progress is to fill out the Collection Book, found under the Armory section.

Slotting unwanted blueprints, heroes, and survivors will generate Collection Book EXP, which can grant access to extra Llama pinatas to build up your loot and power more quickly.

4. Learn how to progress your characters and gear in Fortnite

The most important thing to pay attention to in Fortnite's progression systems is your deck of Heroes, Survivors, and Blueprints.

Heroes are playable characters that come in all sorts of tiers and varieties. They each have unique abilities and attributes and building up their power forms the basis of Fortnite's progression besides acquiring loot.

Gear, such as weapons and traps, can also be leveled up, in addition to Survivors, who can be slotted into various squads to provide additional stat boosts to your main hero in the field. We have a comprehensive guide to how Survivors work right here.

In the Armory section, you can view your Heroes, Schematics, and Survivors, and upgrade and retire them at will. Retiring outdated Blueprints, Heroes, and Survivors will give you EXP to spend on items you do want to progress, but completing missions will also reward you with EXP to spend on different things.

Once you have leveled up an item or Hero to their maximum level (in increments of ten), they can be "evolved" using Training Manuals and other rare loot items, often found in the field or obtained via quests. "Pure Drops of Rain" and "Lightning in a Bottle" are two super rare items that you'll find yourself needing in abundance if you want to get any specific Hero to level 30, where all the fun and most powerful abilities live. Evolutions are also locked via the Skill Tree, so make sure you've purchased the relevant nodes there too.

The game doesn't do a great job of introducing these systems to you, but if you ignore them, you'll find yourself struggling with Stormshield defense missions — which represents your very own personal base.

4. Understand Fortnite's map and the Stormshield

In Fortnite, a strange mystical storm has appeared and turned everyone into husks (think zombies, but blue). You'll be killing these angry chaps in abundance throughout the game, and in order to retake the planet from the apocalypse, you'll need to understand what the map is, and what the Stormshield is.

The Stormshield is your personal base. Every player has one, and it's best thought of as your very own tower defense playground. As you improve your home base (viewable on Fortnite's map screen), the area covered in purple storm clouds will disperse, revealing new missions to be played at will. You can jump into these with random players at any time, or simply queue from the "Play" menu to undertake a mission at the same time.

The Stormshield defense missions pop up now and then as part of the "Play" menu campaign, and they can actually be fairly challenging to pull off solo. This is why saving materials from your missions to take back home can be a good policy as you grow your defenses with traps and fortifications. You can also deposit materials into your Stormshield console to keep for later.

As the Stormshield grows with subsequent story missions, higher level content will also become available, as well as new maps altogether. Progressing through to the end of the campaign will take a rather long amount of time, and can be a little repetitive solo, so make sure you bring a friend — that's how the game is meant to be played!

5. Random tips and tricks

Fortnite is overly complex, and there are lots of little tricks you can use to improve the experience that aren't readily obvious from the game's tutorials or UI. Here are a few that I use.

  • Holding "B" on your Xbox controller while placing floors, walls, stairs, or pyramids will let you eliminate sections to create new types of structures. Some of these include arch ways, doors, chest-high walls, circular stair wells, and corners, perfect for building unique forts and really unleashing your creativity.

  • If you're searching for the materials for a particular weapon or trap, you can actually pin the recipe to your screen to help remind you what loot you need. Simply highlight the recipe in the inventory and press down the right joystick to pin the materials required to the UI.
  • If you're building a fort, don't think of your traps as a "last ditch effort," by building walls in front of them. They are there to be used! Make sure that enemies can actually walk into your traps for maximum maiming and minimum material wastage. Zombies are dumb, but they're not that dumb. They tend to take the path of lowest resistance to destroy your objective; use this knowledge to your advantage when creating traps. You can quite easily create gauntlets of death and destruction using this method.

  • Always check the Loot page periodically to see if you have enough V-bucks to buy a Llama crate, or even just to see if you have any you forgot to open as part of a daily reward, or a reward from socketing items into your collection.
  • Don't forget to level up your favorite traps, weapons, and heroes through the Armory menu, and evolve them too!
  • Don't neglect the skill and research trees either. Prioritize stats that compliment your playstyle, but try and target the nodes that increase your storage capacity — there's a lot of them hidden in there.

  • Don't forget to retire unneeded Schematics, Heroes, and Survivors, if they're not useful to slot into the Collection Book. You can do this by pressing "X" on them from the Armory menu. This is the fastest way to get EXP and training manuals that let you level up and evolve your favorite Heroes and Schematics.
  • Check the Quests tab every day for new missions. These specific challenges often come with V-bucks rewards which allow you buy Llama packs without spending real money.
  • Explore the game's menus and systems, for there are many more features I haven't been able to squeeze into this lengthy overview!
  • Every toilet in the game has bacon in it. For some reason. I have no idea why.

Fortnite fun

The most important tip is to have fun! Fortnite is a work in progress but it already has piles of content and a vibrant online community to keep you going.

Fortnite is intended to be free to play, as such, the game is basically a huge grind. If you're playing with friends, though, it can be a lot of fun, and Epic Games are on task with plans to add all sorts of fresh content to keep the game rewarding. It's early days for Fortnite.

If you have any other questions about Fortnite, let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, I'll see you in Stonewood!

See Fortnite at Xbox Store

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!