Fortnite Survivors guide: How to find Survivors and build Survivor Squads

Long in the making, Fortnite is a multiplayer action-building game from Epic Games. One of your objectives in Fortnite is to rescue human survivors from the hordes of monsters that plague the world. Rescuing as many survivors as possible is important, as is knowing what to do once you've got them. We're here to help.

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Why you need survivors

Fortnite Survivors guide

Early on in the game, Survivors don't serve much of a function. You'll collect them as you play through missions and by opening llamas, amassing an array of survivors of various rarities and skills. But they kind of sit there collecting dust, so why bother?

For starters, you'll need to rescue survivors for various quests, starting with the Gimme Three quest. You also get bonus people (a type of resource) for each survivor you find upon completing a mission.

Fortnite Survivors guide

Later on, they serve two additional purposes. First, you'll unlock the ability to equip squads of survivors that grant passive bonuses to your team. Survivor personalities and rarities affect the level of bonuses you'll receive. Second, survivors also allow you to transform heroes and other squad members. Transforming a hero grants them new abilities, making them much stronger.

Suffice it to say, you'll want to stock up on survivors so that you'll be ready to beef up your team when the time comes.

How to find survivors

Fortnite Survivors guide

Sometimes you'll be lucky enough to run into a survivor during routine mission progression, at which point you'll need to fend off enemies until the survivor has been rescued. But finding every possible survivor in a mission takes a lot more work, so keep these strategies in mind.

Check the map!

Fortnite Survivors guide

The map is one of your most useful tools for finding survivors. They show up on the mini-map and full map as a blue person-shaped icon. Normally you'll need to be within a certain proximity for the icon to show up, but you can also complete radar buildings to reveal survivors within a greater radius.

Having detected a survivor icon on the map, just scour the area thoroughly until you find the person in need of rescue. Sometimes they might be on an upper or lower level, so be prepared to look up and down as well.

Listen for clues

Fortnite Survivors guide

Survivors want to be rescued, so they also call out for help. When you hear one of their yells, that lets you know that you're getting close. But voice and party chat might make it hard to hear in-game sounds. Luckily, turning on subtitles will also cause survivors' dialog to appear on-screen. If you hear someone very close by but still can't find them, try breaking walls, floors, or ceilings to aid in your search.

Check supply rooms

Fortnite Survivors guide

Quite often, survivors will be found in areas filled with canned foods and other supplies. If you know a survivor is close and see a room full of survival goods and shelves, that's a good indication that someone might be living nearby. Supply rooms, as you'd expect, are generally found inside of buildings.

Survivor squads

Fortnite Survivors guide

The main purpose of survivors is equipping them in survivor squads. It takes a while before you can fully unlock these, and (at closed beta launch) the game doesn't explain them very well.

Survivor squads are unlocked via the skill tree, so don't stop earning those skill points! Fortnite has eight different survivor squads at present, each of which must be unlocked individually. After that, you can start equipping survivors into them.

Survivor squads add passive stat bonuses to your active hero. They affect these stats:

  • Fortitude: Health and health regeneration go up by one percent for each point.
  • Offense: Damage (melee and ranged) goes up by one percent for each point.
  • Resistance: Hero shield and shield regen rate goes up by one percent for each point.
  • Tech: Efficiency of traps, gadgets, abilities, and healing pads goes up by 1 one percent for each point.

The amount of stat bonus you receive from a survivor depends on his or her level, rarity, and evolution star rating.

Although you can unlock several different types of survivor squads via the skill tree (such as EMT Squad and Fire Team Alpha), each one does the same thing: boost your stats. Setting up multiple squads simply provides greater stat boosts while putting more of your arsenal of survivors to work.

Each squad has eight total slots for survivors: one leader and seven members. The leader and member slots must be unlocked individually, so your squads might start out with leaderless for a while. You'll want to unlock the leader slot as soon as possible, as it has a major effect on the effectiveness of the squad.

Fortnite Survivors guide

Once you have a leader slot, equip the survivor of the highest rarity that also matches the job of the squad. Each squad has a symbol next to its name that represents its job. EMT Squad has a medical cross, Fire Team Alpha has a crosshair, etc. Choosing a leader whose job icon (the lower-right icon on a lead survivor's card) will enable the Job Match bonus for the squad, giving your hero a significant stat boost.

As for the seven regular squad members, personality is what matters, not job. The left icon on the bottom of the survivor's card indicates his or her personality. There are seven personalities:

  • Adventurous.
  • Analytical.
  • Competitive.
  • Cooperative.
  • Curious.
  • Dependable.
  • Dreamer.

You want to select survivors whose personalities match that of the squad leader. If all of a squad's members match the leader's personality, the squad provides a greater bonus.

Having slotted a leader with the right job and seven members with matching personalities, your survivor squad will now run liked a well-oiled machine. You can continue to improve it by replacing members with survivors of higher rarity. A squad full of Epic (or even Legendary) members is not to be trifled with!

What to do with extra survivors

Your survivor squads have all their slots unlocked and each one is full. What do you do with the rest of the survivors you acquire? The two main options are evolving retiring or evolving them.

Retiring a survivor will convert him or her into survivor XP. This can then be used to level up other survivors. In general, you'll only want to retire common or possibly uncommon survivors because they have the farthest way to go before becoming epic survivors.

Evolving a survivor increases their rarity, improving the bonus they provide to the squad. Before you can evolve someone, you'll need to level him or her up to level ten. Evolving a survivor also requires several ingredients and that you've unlocked the evolution option. Turning your existing survivors into better ones will definitely improve your squads, so be sure to keep leveling them up and stockpiling evolution materials.

Surviving the Fortnite

Fortnite Survivors guide

Fortnite is an action-building game for up to four players. The gameplay combines Epic-style third-person shooting along with exploration and fast and intuitive building. Players build temporary and permanent bases strategically and are then forced to repair and change them during the heat of battle. You'll need to switch between combat and building on the fly.

As a paid early access title, you'll need to buy a founder's pack in order to play Fortnite. The Standard Founder's Pack costs $39.99 and includes seven loot packs. For $59.99 you can get the Deluxe Founder's Pack, the Super Deluxe costs $89.99, and the Limited Edition one goes for $149.99 – each with more exclusive items and boosts.

Want to know more about Fortnite? Check out our first impressions.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!