8 essential Fortnite Battle Royale beginner's tips
How to get to grips with Fortnite's 100-man battle royale mode.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds isn't the only hot battle royale title getting some attention on PC and console. Epic Games' Fortnite didn't originally play this way, but the addition of a free-to-play battle royale mode has seen the game skyrocketing in popularity.
Over 40 million people have played Fortnite Battle Royale and the number continues to rise. It's a unique game in a number of ways and plays out a lot differently to something like PUBG.
So, if you're looking to get started, here are some tips to help you along the way.
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1. Loot hard, loot fast
The action in Fortnite Battle Royale is fast and if you want to survive the early part of the game you need to loot up as fast as you can. The easiest way to do this is to jump out of the bus at the first chance, skydive straight down at maximum speed and land in the first spot you can with signs of buildings.
The first priority is always to get a weapon in your hands. After that, you'll want either a shield or a healing item in case things go south. Don't skip anything in the early stages, any weapon is better than no weapon. A pistol will still execute a kill faster than hacking at someone with your default pickaxe (which only deals 10 points of damage per hit).
You'll really want the weapons with the colored hazes (green, purple, blue or gold), but only swap into these, never hold out thinking you'll find one soon. You may not get the chance.
2. Consider a 'long drop'
The map on Fortnite Battle Royale is pretty small considering there are 100 players on it at a time. The latest update added plenty more built-up areas to loot in, but these are also the hotspots. You'll find the best loot but also more players in the early stages, increasing your chances of elimination. Especially if they're under the flight path of the Battle Bus.
Your glider gives you the ability to reach almost anywhere on the map. You might consider floating over to the other side of the island before dropping down to loot up, especially while you're still learning the game. The only way to practice combat is to get involved in fights, but it can be disheartening to lose within seconds of landing time after time while you're a newcomer.
3. Always land on a roof
When you're looting your first building always start on the roof. Some buildings will have weapons up there, but in the case of houses, you'll often find chests hidden beneath the tiles. Drop onto the roof and use your pickaxe to break through.
Then break through to the next level down, loot and work your way to the ground floor. When you loot future buildings you can still reach the roof by building a ramp and repeating the process. When a chest is nearby you'll hear it, so always be listening. You want them, and a lot of the time they're in the attic.
4. Never. Stop. Moving
Camping might work in PUBG, it rarely does in Fortnite. If you stand still for even a second too long, you're dead. No exaggeration.
Whether you're reloading, healing or attacking someone, move as much as you can. Small movements on the spot while you're healing make you more difficult for snipers to hit. Jumping while you're in a gunfight will increase your chances of survival. A moving target is more difficult to hit than a stationary one.
Always be aware of your surroundings, including what's above you. Because Fortnite Battle Royale includes building mechanics, a popular tactic to get the edge on opponents is to build up above them, attacking from above.
It gives the element of surprise and often leaves you completely helpless. You also don't have a free-look in Fortnite as you do in PUBG, so you can't keep running forwards while looking all around you.
5. Build to win
One of Fortnite's most unique aspects is its building. And to master the game you have to get to grips with it. Harvesting materials is the first step, using your pickaxe on wood, stone, and metal. Be smart and go for larger trees or pallets of wood (found in the buildings in Tilted Towers) as these give you the most yield. Larger vehicles will do the same for metal.
Not only can building help you reach new heights and those hard to reach places, in the endgame, it's essential to try and get the edge. As you get down to the last few players in the late circles, you'll see structures start to fly up. You should do the same.
If someone is on the ground, you want to have the aerial advantage. You don't want the reverse of that. Towards the end the players left will likely have the best weapons, usually, a sniper included, and building yourself a little fort is an added line of defense. Bullets will hit that first giving you time to react.
If you need to practice, try a long drop to a quieter part of the map so you can harvest resources and practice your building with less risk of being annihilated.
6. Balance your inventory
You only have five slots to fill with combined weapons and healing items such as medkits, bandages, shield potions, the Chug Jug and Slurp Juice. When looting, do everything you can to keep a balance.
When you pick up your first couple of shield potions, consume it and free up the inventory slot. It means you can carry another one then for when it gets depleted. Prioritise medkits over bandages, and the Chug Jug is the holy grail since it will refill all your health and your shield at once.
Try to carry a range of weapons, too. You ideally need something for short-range engagements, such as a tactical shotgun. For mid-range engagements, an assault rifle is best, while for long-range try and get hold of a sniper or an assault rifle with a scope. Only these two types of weapon allow you to scope in, all others remain in third-person view at all times.
7. Timing your circle runs
The map isn't that massive but nevertheless, you can still get caught out when the storm circle shrinks. The map is broken up into a grid system, and each square will take you 45-seconds to run across as the crow flies. But that doesn't account for changes in terrain.
As soon as you're in the storm your health will drop. Shields don't protect you. Do a rough calculation as soon as the first circle drops on the map to figure out how long you think you need to get there.
Not only do you get a countdown of the time until the storm circle starts moving in, you then get a timer telling you how long before it has completely shrunk. Use both to make sure you don't get caught short.
8. Try playing with some friends
The solo queue is hard, and brutal. Playing by yourself against 99 other players is tough, so if you're learning the game you might benefit from playing with some friends in either duo or squad mode.
In these modes you get knocked down before being killed, giving your friends chance to revive you for another go. It's also nice to have more eyes on the surroundings and more guns in the battles.
You can play squads without friends by selecting the auto-fill option. This will pair you with three strangers, so you might not have as much success, but you may also not die so quickly.
If you have any tips of your own to share be sure to drop them into the comments below. Fortnite Battle Royale is free to play on Xbox One, PC, and PS4.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine