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Fortnite season 8: Everything you need to know

Season 8 has just begun, and there have been some big changes to your favorite battle royale island.

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Epic Games

Fortnite: Battle Royale season 8 is here and just like previous seasons of the online shooter, the game's map and gameplay have changed in a big way. Don't forget, the start of season 7 brought an entire snowy area along with the game's first flying vehicle, the X-4 Stormwing. Season 8 brings us a giant volcano, a new body of water with the Lazy Lagoon, pirate camps, volcano vents and more.

If you're looking for the season 8, week 1 challenges, read our guide here. But it appears the challenges interface has gotten a complete overhaul. It seems much more cleaned up and well organized -- kudos to Epic Games for the upgrade. 

The first thing to know about season 8, however, are the new locations on the map, which are mostly in the northeast quadrant:

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Jason Parker/CNET

Ping your teammates like in Apex Legends

One of the coolest ideas in Respawn's rival game Apex Legends is the ability to hit a button to ping your teammates. It didn't take long for Epic Games to get the message, and now you can do the same in Fortnite. Hit a button and you'll be able to call out an enemy's location, where good loot is located and other quick squad communications. It's a beloved feature in Apex Legends and it makes sense that Epic decided to add it to this game. 

The volcano arises

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A view from the bottom of the volcano.

Jason Parker/CNET

The volcano that had been heating up and cooking Wailing Woods toward the end of season 7 has erupted and risen high into the sky. It's given us a new set of mountains and hills over that entire section of the map, with new places to explore and numerous volcano vents you can use to shoot up into the air. You can land at any of the small loot locations on the actual volcano, or you can dive right into the mouth of the beast itself. 

Once inside the volcano, there's an automatic updraft so even if you're looting a chest on one of the platforms above the lava, you can jump up and go back into skydive mode to move around. If you open your glider, you can also use the updraft to drift up and out of the volcano completely. It's pretty crowded there now because it's new, but there are plenty of chests there making it a good drop location.

It's also important to know that lava won't kill you immediately. It's a bouncy surface that slightly injures you, so you can bounce across a lava stream, just don't stay in it. 

Lazy Lagoon: Thar be pirates

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Looking south at Lazy Lagoon.

Jason Parker/CNET

Lazy Links is no more, and Lazy Lagoon has taken its place. There's a new body of water, a pirate ship with chests and new buildings have emerged in the surrounding area where you can land and gear up.

In keeping with the piratical theme of season 8, there are pirate camps spread out all over the island. These are usually older buildings we've been to before, but they've been remodeled and they all have a black pirate flag on top. They're a lot like the Expedition Outposts of season 7 (which are still on the island) in that they give you a good place to land that's out of the way of the larger named locations.

New landing location: Sunny Steps

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There are tons of new pyramids and buildings to loot at Sunny Steps, northeast of the volcano.

Jason Parker/CNET

Brightly colored and filled with pyramids, the new Sunny Steps location is going to be crowded as people come check it out for the first time. As a coastal named location on the map it will make for a great starting spot as the season goes on. 

Become a cannon ball

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Epic Games

New pirate cannons have been added around the map, mostly at the camps, but they're useful in a couple ways. You can fire cannonballs at enemy structures for a powerful impact or you can climb in, aim the cannon, then fire yourself into the air. You can move them around, too, so expect to see people pushing them onto the battlefield.

Brand new season 8 battle pass

Like every season, season 8 has a new set of emotes, backpack animals, sprays and skins you can unlock using Fortnite's tiered system. It costs 950 V-Bucks (a pack of 1,000 costs $10, £8 or AU$15) and you can complete weekly challenges to level up through all the 100 tiers. It's no easy task to reach the end, but if you get started early -- and look at my challenges guides every week: here's season 8, week 1 -- you should be able to grind through them pretty easily.

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