Many aspects of this game are non-intuitive or are not explained very well in-game. These are a lot of topics I have seen come up repeatedly in global chat and in the fortnite subreddit.
Totally Starting Out:
When starting out do not throw Epic (purple) or Legendary (orange) items into collection book.
Collection book rewards are nice, but you permanently lose the schematics when you do this. Do not throw anything purple or orange into it until you understand how schematics actually work in this game (they are quite important!) and if certain schematics have “good rolls”
Weapons cannot be repaired.
You use them until they breaks and then you either craft a new one, find something usable in-zone, or get someone else to craft and give you something better than you can craft yourself. The entire game is based on this balance. Schematics are tied to your account, they define what you can craft. If you get a nice strong weapon you might want to hold onto it and only use it for tough missions, or you might want to use them until they break to conserve your small backpack size at start of the game.
“You do not have any gadgets selected” pop up message
In skill tree you will unlock gadget, these are neat abilities on fairly long cooldowns. At the start of the game you will not have gadgets unlocks and will get this message every single stage you load into. Just ignore it.
Your stormbase is persistent, all other stages are procedurally generated instances.
Feel free to spend some time building up your stormbase. Knock yourself out. There is no easy way to delete all and restart, anything you build and later want to remove will have to be pickaxed away.
Here is a guide (with screenshots) that aFrequ wrote a while back: A guide to menus and managing cards
Lots of things can be leveled, evolved, and upgraded.
• Account PL
Your account has a Powerlevel (PL) that goes up when you increase your 4 base stats. These stats can be increased by spending skill points, by spending research points, or by improving your survivor squads.
• Main Questline PL
Whenever you complete a main quest storyline stormshield defense stage it advances your main questline powerlevel. You will see more missions on the map, and will sometimes have more missions available to you on an event map if an event is going on.
• Hero level, evolution, and rarity
Your heroes can be leveled, evolved, and upgraded in rarity type. Leveling and evolving raises their stats and unlocks abilities and other perks. You can also use “Flux” to upgrade heroes from rare to epic, or from epic to legendary.
• Weapon level, evolution, and rarity
Weapons can be leveled and evolved. Evolving them changes what is needed to craft them. Evolving from 1* to 2* is safe to do, but when you evolve a weapon from 2* to 3* instead of copper and silver (pretty easy things to farm) it will require Malachite, a material that is hard to farm until you get to the end of the second map zone (Plankerton). So big tip, do not upgrade your favorite weapon to 3* evolution until you understand how easy or hard it is to farm Malachite.
• Trap level, evolution, and rarity
Evolving traps too soon is not as much of an issue as it is with weapons. But it can be a good idea to evolve your traps in such a way that they do not all demand the exact same kinds of mechanical parts and mineral powders.
For example, I keep my 2* Wall Launcher one evolution level behind my 3* Ceiling electrical Field so they are not competing for the same type of Powder. Once I get further into Canny Valley and 4* powder becomes more common I will evolve My Ceiling Electrical Field to 4* and Wall launchers to 3* so they will be stronger but will continue to not compete for the same kind of powder. Same goes for Retractable Floor Spikes and Wall Darts. They both use mechanical parts so I keep the ones I use most of the two (Retractable Floor Spikes) at 3* and the ones I use less often (Wall darts) one evolution level below them at 2* so they end up demanding 2 different types of mechanical parts. This is a pretty minor tip but can be good to make the most out of items that drop in the zones you farm most often.
• Survivor level, evolution, and rarity
Your survivors can be leveled and evolved. Survivor experience will be the most important experience to focus on in the midgame and lategame. You have 8 squads of 8, in other words 64 survivors that you will need to level and evolve to make yourself stronger. Leveling and evolving survivors is the biggest grind in the game.
It is hard to fully explain how important you Survivor Squads are right here without putting a huge wall of text, More can be read about them near bottom of post in section “More about Survivor Squads”
Do your daily quests
You get 50 vBucks and 100 daily coins for completing a daily. If it is something that sounds like a pain to do (like smash arcade machine) once per day you can click “abandon quest” to reroll a daily into something else. In loot tab, near the top, click on “Event” then scroll the right side down to the bottom. This is what you can buy with daily coins. for 700 coins (1 week’s worth) you can usually pick between 2 offered legendary schematics. This is huge for starting out, being able to choose one orange schematic a week totally independent of llama RNG is a key thing to take advantage of.
Go to Quests, expand what you have available. If you select a quest and click “Pin quest” that will keep the quest info on the right side of the screen and help you track killing X stuff or finding X things. During event click Play tab and then in bottom left click “View Event” box to bring up the event questline progression menu. This will help you understand what missions are REALLY needed to advance to the end of the event questline.
Rush through the first zone.
Beating Stonewood opens up the second skill tree. There you can get the “Upgrade Research Point Collection Rate” node. This will double the rate you get research points. Research nodes are time gated so doubling research point generation asap is good.
If you have a gun equipped you can hold the “R” key to autocraft bullets that gun uses without opening menu
People Points versus Survivors
When you rescue a survivor in-zone you will get a “people point”. These are actually different from the survivor “cards” you get from llamas. People points are used for sending out expeditions and transforming survivors/defenders/heroes.
In zone, if there is a weapon or trap in your backpack you don’t need you can recycle it. You might gets some planks or screws or other stackable crafting materials, thus freeing up backpack space.
Outsize of gamezones you can recycle/retire survivors, defenders, schematics, and heroes. Feel free to recycle anything rare or lower, but in general keep your epic and legendary stuff.
Save backpack space by pre-making and stacking traps
Regular crafting materials stack up to 99 (and let you keep multiple stacks). Guns stack only 1x, even if they are the exact same gun with the exact same durability value (which is why it is a good idea to recycle weapons and traps you find and do not plan on using).
But with the traps you make yourself, if you are a material hoarder, it can be a good idea to premake 20-stacks of them. For instance, legendary 3* Ceiling Electrical Field takes 10 Nuts&Bolt, 3 Ore, 2 batteries, and 2 Fine-grain Mineral Powder to craft. So 20 of these traps (that take up 1 backpack slot) costs 200 N&B, 60 Ore, 40 Batteries, and 40 Fine-grain Powder. Legendary 2* Wall Pusher costs 7 Planks, 7 ore, 2 simple mineral powder to craft. A stack of 20 Wall Launchers costs 140 Planks, 140 Ore, and 40 Simple Powders.
I like to be overstocked so I try to run around with three 20-stacks of Wall Launchers, three 20-stacks of Ceiling electrical Fields, two 20-stacks of Retractable Floor Spikes, and two 20-stacks of Wall Darts. This is 10 backpack slots total that I consider my full trap loadout. But these 10 backpack slots are made up of: 1080 N&B, 610 ore, 570 planks, 120 batteries, 120 finegrain powder, 120 simple powders, 200 sturdy mechanical parts, 120 sturdy twine. Those items, if not crafted into traps, would take up about 35 backpack slots. I know my play method is a bit of an extreme case but it shows that crafted 20-stacks of traps can be backpack storage efficient at a rate of about 3:1 compared to keeping the uncrafted materials in 99-stacks.
Material Farming Tips
In game-zone stages you find lots of weapons and crafting materials. These are different from your schematics and things you see outside of the game zone. Go around and break stuff, but try not to ignore the map objective. If you want to stock up on things you can set your game privacy mode to private and drop into a city zone all by yourself and harvest the heck out of it. But you will be limited by your backpack size when it comes to carrying around tons of crafting materials as well as your weapons.
Some items that you can farm at the start of the game that will be useful forever are planks, nuts&bolts, ore, (all used to make a variety of traps), quartz (used for floor freeze traps and wall lights traps), coal (used to make blast powder), bacon (used to make energy ammo and ceiling gas traps and healing pads) and fibrous herbs (used to make ceiling gas traps, healing pads, and duct tape). If you want to overfarm some of these you might be able to trade them in global chat to a higher level player who would appreciate the stacks and can easily make you some strong weapons.
Two items, Blast Powder and Duct Tape, are actually crafted in-zone by opening backpack, going to crafting materials, clicking on them in the top left, and then crafting them (assuming you have the materials)
In city zones parking meters are great. They only take 1 swing and are guaranteed to give you either Nuts&Bolts or a mechanical part, as well as a couple Iron. Even if your Iron is at 999 it can be worthwhile to run down the sidewalk and crack all the parking meters you see.
If you need N&B and Bacon (for trap or energy ammo crafting) as well as ore and planks then the edge of most zones is nice. Behind corner rock formations you will often find a tin can (N&B) or a spam can (Bacon) and all around you will be rocks (Ore) and trees (Planks).
If you just need Ore/Planks/N&B and do not need the powders, mechanical parts, and strings that often come with them try and Industrial zone. You will see pallets of Boards, Iron Pipes, and Brick all over the zone and those will 100% of the time give you Wood+Planks, Iron+N&B, and Brick+Ore without ever getting the mechanical parts, Powders, and Strings.
Sometimes running destroy encampments can give you a great materials (and weapons you can recycle). When first starting out you might be doing rescue survivors often as an easy farming mission, but once you have a decent hero leveled a bit with a couple of decent schematics leveled a bit try doing some encampment missions. You will get combat/communication experience and will get some good reward materials.
Once you get to end of Stonewood/start of Plankerton:
••• As explained above, do not over-evolve your best weapon to 3* until you have a supply of Malachite to craft them! •••
Transform things up to rare before you recycle/retire them
Once you get to Research Tier2 you can unlock the ability to transform things up to rare. 4 commons make an uncommon, then 5 uncommons make a rare. Do this from now on. When you retire rares (or better) you get corresponding exp as well as designs/manuals that are needed to evolve heroes, survivors, weapons and traps.
Also, hold onto lots of Epic (purple) items because you will occasionally get one time Legendary (orange) transformation keys. 5 purples of same-ish type will convert into one legendary. When you get a legendary key do not use it right away. First close your game out and reopen it before you use a legendary key. Or else it will bug out and basically waste it.
Understand your daily mission alerts and the map in general
The map you see in front of you is the same for all players. The event map, if one is active, is also the same for all players (but might show more missions depending on your Main Questline PL).
You can see what mission alerts are active by going to the site https://www.stormshield.one/pve
Missions with the purple storm have extra storm rewards, missions with the white clock but no purple storm have extra alert rewards.
Go to https://www.stormshield.one/pve/stats/[name] only replace [name] with your character name. Note “Storm cooldowns” and “Alert cooldowns” This shows you how many more missions you can get those extra storm or alert bonus rewards from.
Prioritize Rain drops
you need rain to evolve things from 1* to 2, then to level things from 2 to 3* and so on forever. Drops of rain are quite the bottleneck in the game. When you are given the reward option between Raindrops, Lightning in a Bottle, or Eye of Storms, you should usually stock up on rain. For your Alert missions and Storm reward missions you should quite often run missions that give you rain rewards. At he end of stonewood and early Plankerton you can find missions that give you 6 bonus raindrops on top of their normal rewards. At the end of Pankerton and start of Canny Valley you start finding bonus rewards of 12 raindrops. Each day you should try to spend most of your daily cooldown bonus rewards on getting as many drops of rain as you can. You will always need them.
Run Other peoples’ Storm Shield Defenses
Watch global chat, when someone types something about needing help with SSD you can reply “inv SSD” and they can rightclick on your name and invite you to help. Running an SSD mission is pretty fast, gives you great hero experience rewards, and Gives you 2-4 mini llamas (which in turn give you a tiny bit of everything). Mini llamas do not seem like much but when you remember to transform your commons into uncommons and uncommons into rares before you retire them then you end up getting your designs and manuals needed to upgrade your good heroes, survivors, and scematics.
The most in demand experience in the game is survivor experience, then hero experience and schematic experience demand is almost tied. But you will get a TON of hero experience from running SSD missions. So that means you should primarily be searching for survivor experience when selecting what mission to run, then schematic experience, and lastly hero experience.
So First look for the missions with the best alert cooldown rewards (Raindrops best of all), then once you have used all your alert cooldowns the best use of your game time might be to help other players with their SSD missions. While doing all this, try to advance your main storyline and try to focus on grabbing survivor exp above the other two type (hero and schematic)
Why do people just build pyramids?
Main reason is for smashers. If you are defending a box a smasher will break in and hit target. If you are defending a pyramid a smasher runs right over it. There are other considerations like how traps “aren’t really worth it” compared to just standing on top a pyramid and gunning things down
What are some good traps
Wall pushers and floor spikes are considered good because they offer CC (crowd control). Anywhere you find a cliff or you can demolish a house to make a basement/pit you can abuse wall pushers. If a hush is pushed into a pit they cannot escape from they poof. And since most husks run at objective and melee it surrounding your main base with pushers can drastically reduce the melee damage husks do to your main walls. Floor spikes are considered good becasue they slow husks on them, not because of their damage
One trap-related strategy that is considered pretty good right now is using arch walls to support ceiling tiles over spawnpoints (and then an AoE trap like Ceiling Electrical Fields or Ceiling Gas Traps). The spawn kills floors and full walls but usually does not kill arch walls and does nothing to ceiling tiles. So the AoE traps insta-hit waves as they spawn. Also since traps do not trigger exploders this can be a great strategy. This can be useful for SSD stages since the build limit (about 4000 items) means roof traps over spawn points is more efficient and often more effective than kill tunnels. A kill tunnel might use 8 items per square (floor, floor trap, wall, wall trap, ceiling, ceiling trap, some partial barricades, etc) while roof over spawn uses about 2 items per square (ceiling and trap, and then a few arch supports per spawn zone). If you want to ceiling trap SSD spawn zones you can start a SSD solo and then while the shield is down and wave1 is happening run off to a different spawn zone that is not active and roof it. Then quit out of the SSD, go back in, repair any damage that was done, and repeat. Of course many if not most will tell you this is totally unnecessary but it is very effective.
Some more info on how to trap things up so you can solo midgame missions check this thread: how to get through Canny’s filler quests by wubbbalubbadubdub
What makes a weapon roll good? Why do people care so much about if it has an element?
Elemental husks (first encountered around mid-plakerton) take half damage from any non-elemental weapon. Elemental smashers can tear you up.
• Fire deals 100% damage against nature (yellow) and 50% damage to water (blue) and 67% damage to its own element
• Nature deals 100% damage against water (blue) and 50% damage to fire (red) and 67% damage to its own element
• Water deals 100% damage against Fire (red) and 50% damage to nature (yellow) and 67% damage to its own element
• Energy deals 67% damage to all elemental types
An elemental weapon with an orange perk also causes 6 seconds of affliction damage ticks.
More info on elemetal dps can be found in Whitesushii’s Elemental Damage Analysis
So in addition to an orange elemental damage perk the following perks are also considered good:
• Flat +% damage
• +% Crit chance if also combined with +% Crit Damage
• +% damage to afflicted targets if weapon has an orange elemental perk to cause affliction on target
• + reload speed can be good increase to DPS if weapon has slow reload animation
An ideal weapon might be + damage, + crit chance, + crit damage, one more good one (+ damage or + reload speed or + damage to afflicted target) and then an orange elemental perk.
More info on ideal weapon perks can be found in Whitesushii’s best perks guide
What to spend my vBucks on?
The normal 100 vBuck upgrade llamas are generally considered a waste, as are the 3 pack, 7 pack, 10 pack and any other grouping pack of normal upgrade llamas.
Best llamas are considered:
Legendary Troll Loot Truck… Llama (sale price 1500) save your vbucks so when you see this you can buy both of them (3000 vbucks total)
The most expensive llama but it gives you the best bang for your buck. You get a ton of stuff, about 4 legendaries. The only downside is I can imagine getting to a gamestate where most of what you could pull from this llama would be dupe cards and at that point you might as well stop spending vbucks I guess…
Super People Llama (sale price 1000) save your vbucks so when you see this you can buy both of them (2000 vbucks total)
This llama gives you the best chance of pulling legendary and mythic lead survivors that you need to boost your PL. You can also get heroes as well. That can be seen as a good thing when you are starting out but many consider it a bad thing later game when you really are just trying to get legendary and mythic lead survivors.
When you are starting out it is ok to pull on any of the Super Llamas (except maybe don’t buy super Melee, you should be able to get whatever melee weapons you “need” from the Troll Loot Truck Llamas) but once you have a few good legendary Heroes and some legendary elemental weapons then the above two “best llamas” are probably the only ones you should be saving for and buying. Especially now that we have the weekly coins store that lets us earn and pick one legendary schematic a week, you can finally buy ideal equipment (like wall pushers and ceiling electrical field traps) and that makes patiently saving up your vbucks much easier.
More about Survivor Squads
Here is a thread explaining some basics of Survivor Squads (as well as Hero Squad Bonus Slots) done by Bazaritchie
Leveling, Evolving, and slotting your Survivor Squads gives you a huge bonus to your account Power Level (PL) shown at the top left corner of the screen.
The most important Squads to focus on are the ones that give Offense and Tech, but all the stats are important for raising your account PL
Focus on leveling and evolving any Mythics/Legendary Lead Survivors, as well as any Legendary Survivors, as well as any epic Survivors if they have a personality type that matches your strongest Leads and/or if they have the best Set Bonuses (mainly Ranged Damage Bonus)
Different set bonuses:
Very good: Ranged Damage Bonus, Ability Damage Bonus
Pretty good:Trap Damage, Melee Damage, Health Bonus, Shield Bonus
Meh: Trap Durability, Shield Regen bonus
Ranged is of course best one to trigger. It requires 3 matches to activate. You should eventually try to get this activated in as many squads as possible since each 5% bonus is cumulative. Ability damage is also great for most playstyles, but since it also takes 3 matches to activate it can be hard to fit into multiple squads.
Trap Damage and Melee Damage can be good depending on your playstyle, but since they both take 3 matches to activate it can be hard to proc them in multiple squads. Health bonus and Shield bonus are less exciting, but since their bonuses trigger with only 2 matches they end up being pretty decent.
Trap Durability and Shield Regen I feel are the worst. Epic Survivors with these set bonus I usually end up retiring, using them for single user legendary transform keys, or slotting them into the collection book.
The Set Bonuses are nice but I would not slot an underleveled or bad rarity survivor just to trigger a set bonus. First prioritize high rarity and high leveled survivors with personality types that match the squad lead, then try to get as many set bonuses as possible.
Once you get to the final zone (Twine Peaks) and get your Squads fully unlocked via the final page of the Skills Tree you will have 1 Leader and 7 Survivors for each squad. so if you somehow get a perfect spread of personalities and set bonuses this would allow you to activate one 3-item match (like Ranged Damage or Ability Damage) as well as two 2-item matches (like Shield Bonus or Health bonus).
Mythic/Legendary Leads and Legendary Survivors can safely be leveled and evolved as high as you can get them. If you have a Mythic Lead then focus on Legendary and Epic Survivors that match its personality type.
When you you spend exp and Drops of Rain leveling and evolving Epic Survivors? It is safe to take any Epic survivors to 10/10 and if they have a good set bonus (Ranged Dam) or if they match one of your Mythic/Legendary Leads it is safe to evolve them to 2* and level them to level20. This only costs you a pile of exp you will mostly get back as well as 8 raindrops. If an Epic Survivor has a great set bonus AND matched one of your legendary/mythic leads you are pretty safe to evolve them and level them even further than the midgame suggested 2* level20 point.
According to Whitesushii’s math behind survivors There are two more interesting notes. At level 26 a Legendary Survivor with personality type that DOES NOT match with the Lead Survivor end up being stronger than an Epic Survivor of same level with personality type that matches the Lead. so if you choose to upgrade some Epic Survivors to 3* level30 you are doing so because they have a really good set bonus you want to activate (Ranged Dam) or because you might be in general short on that personality type.
Secondly, you actually trigger a penalty if you slot a non-matched personality with a Mythic Lead Survivor. So with Legendary Leads a Survivor with non-matched personality is ok as long as level is high enough, but when you get Mythic Lead Survivors be sure that you use them with matching personality Survivors .