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Fortnite's Illegal Restarts just became a big deal in competitive play

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Where did that come from? An "illegal restart" might sound like something you'd hear about during an NFL football game, and yet following Fortnite's version 15.30 update on Tuesday, numerous players encountered an illegal restart "behavior warning" out of nowhere.

"Due to your recent actions, you have been issued a competitive warning for: Illegal Restart," the in-game pop-up tells startled Fortnite players. "Please refrain from repeat offenses or you may receive an account ban." This is particularly frightful because an account ban would essentially erase every bit of player progress and cosmetics: XP, pickaxes, and even skins.

So why is Epic Games suddenly threatening players with this message? And how do players avoid getting their account banned as a result? Here's what you need to know about that illegal restart warning in Fortnite.

What is an "illegal restart" in Fortnite?

This angry warning is ominous, but thankfully it seems like it is mostly harmless.Epic Games

Strangely enough, the threatening warning message doesn't explain what the infraction is. By Tuesday night, the official Fortnite Status Twitter account tweeted out a clarification:

"A wave of warnings for ‘Illegal Restarts’ was issued to players based on their competitive activity in recent events and not in your games played today," the tweet reads. "Some may have received this in error. If you have not entered the same event multiple times please disregard the warning."

Essentially, Epic Games does not allow competitive players to participate in the same event more than once, as it's considered a form of cheating under Epic's terms and conditions. (You know, that long document that nobody reads but everybody signs?) So it's deemed an "Illegal Restart" if someone loses in a competitive tournament and then re-enters it in any way.

In some cases, that can reportedly happen if you lose and then re-enter as part of a different team. But it's also possible to enter the same tournament in different regions by logging onto the corresponding servers. Yet another way is to merely log into an alternate Epic Games account to re-enter into the same competition.

A community coordinator responded to a Reddit thread with yet another clarification:

"It is for changing teammates mid-tournament," TheStevieT wrote. "We only sent warnings because we did not communicate the change effectively. There were some players that got it by mistake but this warning covers events from December 2020 - present." TheStevieT also referenced the same Fortnite Status tweet indicating that some players did receive this warning in error.

Other redditors offered further clarification that Epic had referenced illegal restarts previously in the rules, but had not made a specific announcement. They also point out that nuances at play here have more to do with players changing teams during a tournament than other shenanigans. In some cases, players reported receiving a warning if they lost and then replaced a teammate during a competition.

How to avoid an "Illegal Restart" warning in Fortnite

The short answer here is to only play in competitive tournaments a single time, never switch teammates, and abide by all of Epic's rules. Some competitive players have probably tried to find ways to work around the rules so they can potentially win money playing competitive Fortnite. But the prevalence of this new rule has more to do with the sudden rule change than it does any kind of error.

If anyone is totally confused by the error message because they have not engaged in this sort of behavior, a bug may have caused it. Either way, as long as you never change your teammates, region, or account while participating in a tournament, you should be fine.

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