Fortnite didn't really ban pick-axe swinging and jumping - here's what the competitive changes mean

(Image credit: Epic Games)

You may have heard that swinging your pick-axe can get you in trouble in Fortnite now, but the truth is a bit less funny. Epic Games put out an update on Fortnite's official site this week that explains a new way it will "competitive integrity" in 2020. The competitive Fortnite guidelines already rule out unofficially teaming up with players on opposing sides, planning your movement with them, or intentionally dropping items for opposing players to collect, and now it's offered some additional explanation about why and how it bans "communication."

The competitive Fortnite collusion rules define communication as "sending or receiving signals (both verbal and non-verbal) to communicate with opposing players." Seems clear, but it was still pretty common for competitive players to send each other little signals across all levels of play through all kinds of in-game means. Epic isn't cool with that, and as of this week it will start taking disciplinary action for communication including but not limited to:

  • Pick-axe swinging
  • Emoting
  • Toy tossing
  • Jumping

So yes, swinging your pick-axe could get you in trouble, if it seems like you're trying to communicate with your enemies in a competitive match. If Epic catches you, you'll be given a teaming/collusion penalty, and repeat offenders could get worse penalties over time. These new rulings don't mean you always have to shoot all enemies on sight - "pacifism-style gameplay is still allowed" - but don't try and rebuild society with them or anything.

Seems pretty clear. Still, the Fortnite community's got jokes. Can you jump or even hit things with your pick-axe without Uncle Epic slapping a ban on your account now? Nobody knows.

Like all things Fortnite, Epic will likely revisit this policy in the future if it needs to add any more clarity or change things entirely. Until then, reserve your pick-axe semaphore technique for casual play.

See where the game is headed next with our look at when Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 2 will start.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.