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Fortnite’s 50 v 50 mode is a great, safe place to practice your building skills

As good an opportunity as any for newcomers to try Fortnite

Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 as editor-at-large and is now editor-in-chief. He also created and occasionally teaches NYU’s Introduction to Games Journalism course.

Fortnite: Battle Royale’s limited-time 50v50 mode is a rare opportunity to learn the game’s building skills. Seriously. Don’t be fooled by the promise of humongous, end-game battles. The best reason to try the mode is the abundance of resources and safe space to practice construction.

Here’s how the 50v50 mode works: To start each round, two teams of 50 players fly over the game’s island in two separate buses from opposite sides of the map. Between the paths of the buses sits the small end-game circle, clearly marked from the start. Players from both teams can rush to the circle, which gets between three and six supply drops every two minutes — a solid choice for players who specialize in combat.

Or, players can drop elsewhere in the map and harvest resources at a 75 percent increased rate. The mode gives the player 10 minutes to get into the final circle — plenty of time to collect materials and experiment with fort building before you make your way to the final showdown. Because teams drop onto opposite sides of the map, building can be done relatively in peace.

Construction tutorials have become popular on YouTube, but this is the first mode that feels like a natural fit for constructing in-game while watching a guide on your laptop or phone. As matches become increasingly decided by building skills, having a more permanent place to practice could help produce greater skill parity between newcomers, novices and experts.

Fittingly, the end of 50v50 matches are a showcase for high-level construction, incentivizing mastering building by providing plenty of examples of what can be made. In a match that ended on flat ground, my team constructed dozens of tiny forts, concealing our position from the other team.

Once the storm reaches the circle, the match continues for five minutes, then the circle slowly shrinks for five minutes until no space is left on the map. In one match, my team established itself on a mountainside on the edge of the circle, while the other team fabricated their own mountain from steel, brick and wood. And so, as the circle made its final closure, the fake mountain and real mountain gradually merged into a single, humongous tower, climbing toward the sky in the heart of the circle. Entire pieces of the structure gave out as teammates and enemies alike hammered the base with grenades and rockets.

Fornite’s 50v50 mode is spectacular — when it works. In two matches, my character froze in place for a few seconds. In another match, I was booted because of a connection error. It’s incredible, I suppose, the mode works at all with so many players, explosions and buildings smashed into the tiny space. But I still hope Epic is able to stabilize the mode during its availability.

Even if they don’t get the mode to run with predictability this time around, I’ll still favor 50v50 if only for the early minutes of the game. I have a lot to learn about Fortnite, and this is the place to do it.

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