Fornite‘s Battle Royale game mode is the latest in the genre to garner massive buzz. It borrows heavily from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but it differentiates itself in a few meaningful ways. It’s also free, and available on pretty much every gaming platform: PC, PS4, XBOX One, smartphones, and now the Nintendo Switch — heck, it’s one of the best free-to-play games online right now.
The objective is straightforward. Outlive 99 other players, all trapped on a battlefield that gets increasingly smaller. Naturally, that’s not easy. We don’t have the special ingredient that will lead you to win matches left and right — although we do recommend tweaking your PC for ultimate performance — but we do have some tips that should help you outlast the majority of your competitors on a consistent basis. Read on, and make your foes weep.
Decide where to drop
Like PUBG, Fortnite: Battle Royale starts with a jump. Rather than out of a cargo plane, it’s a school bus attached to a hot air balloon. Once the doors open, it’s time to skydive toward the island. Technically, you have about 50 seconds to survey the ground below before hopping into the open air, but we recommend making your descent within the first 10 seconds or so. Not only will you get to the ground quicker, but you can still cover a lot of horizontal ground by deploying your glider early. This way you can freely navigate towards your intended target.
While some players like to immediately converge on urban areas with the most structures — Retail Row, Tilted Towers, Greasy Groves, Dusty Depot, Tomato Town — those tend to be the most dangerous and chaotic parts of the map in the early going. If you don’t see other gliders around you, though, making a break for a commercialized zone can pay off thanks to the plethora of gear available in these spots. If you’re feeling bold, Retail Row, located southeast of the lake, always seems to have a large stockpile.
If you see more than a few players converging on these spots, shoot for areas with lone buildings or areas with lots of natural cover. We’ve found success gliding down just outside of structural hubs. From there, you can scope things out and see if you can make a break for buildings once the coast is clear.
Grab a gun (quickly!)
It may be obvious, but you won’t last very long in a gun fight if you just have your starting pickaxe. Your main objective when you first hit the ground should be securing a deadlier weapon. Weapons are usually found in buildings and particularly in treasure chests, but sometimes found in the open, either on top of buildings or near objects like tents or cars.
All gear in Fortnite glows so you can spot it from a distance. Any firearm gives you a fighting chance, but not all weapon classes are created equal.
- Pistols: The least effective weapon class, but they are easy to use and get the job done in close-range combat.
- SMGs: More effective than pistols, but not as easy to use.
- Assault Rifles: An all-around solid weapon class that excels in close/mid-range combat. If you grab one with a scope, assault rifles also work well in long-range combat.
- Shotguns: When camping, the shotgun is your best friend for close-quarters combat.
- Snipers: Hard to find, but snipers will make you one of the deadliest players on the map if you’re a good shot.
- Explosives: Rocket and grenade launchers can penetrate your opponent’s structures with devastating force, but make sure you have a contingency plan, since they elicit a lot of attention. Frag grenades can accomplish the same job in close-range situations, but make sure you have a capable weapon before giving away your position.
Not all weapons in a class are created equal, though. You can determine the rarity of a weapon by its color:
- Gray (common)
- Green (uncommon)
- Blue (rare)
- Purple (epic)
- Orange (legendary)
Generally, the higher up the rarity scale, the more powerful and effective the gun. Yes, you’re more likely to see a bunch of gray weapons than orange, but if you see a higher tier weapon in the early going, it’s definitely worth snagging it before things get dicey.
If you don’t find a gun immediately, be careful. Other players will certainly take advantage of that. Move quietly, avoid open areas, and stick to close quarters where you might actually stand a chance if someone with a weapon finds you.
Now that you’re armed, plan your next move.
After securing a gun or two, perhaps a few shield potions and band-aids, and surveying your surroundings, it’s time to make a plan. How can you ensure that you won’t be knocked out before the first instance of the storm barrels in?
At first, we recommend minding your own business to an extent. That means collecting resources with your ax — wood, stone, and metal. Not only does collecting resources give you the ability to create cover on-the-fly, but you’ll need a hefty supply of materials as the player count dwindles.
Seeing as the name of the game is survival, you don’t need to go out of your way to engage other users. If the player count is halved to 50 but you still haven’t eliminated anyone: hey, that’s just fine. That means you’ve done a good job of remaining inconspicuous.
Keep in mind that player built structures stick out like sore thumb compared to the pre-existing buildings. So if you find yourself near a cozy home, go ahead and pop inside, huddle in a corner, and keep your trigger finger ready.
Before the first instance of the storm, we don’t recommend trying to cover too much ground. Instead, try to carve out your own little pocket on the map where you can gather resources. There are simply too many players on the map in the early going for you to safely move about open stretches of terrain. Stay safe, and as concealed as possible, for now.
With that said, don’t play it too safe. Make sure that you have a couple good guns and some bandages or shield potion. Look for these if you don’t have them. You’ll be risking combat, but you won’t stand a chance if you show up to later battles with nothing but a pistol.
Make your move
The storm has come and gone once, maybe twice, and you don’t have nearly as much room to play it cool any longer.
Think of the storm as a secondary opponent. You must respect that it can and will kill you if you don’t get out of its wake in time. Don’t panic, though, because even if the safe area is on the opposite end of the map, you have time to reach it. As the safe area shrinks, we recommend holing up just outside of the circle until the storm touches down.
We’ve found that many players concentrate their scopes inside of the circle to pick off incoming players. If you give off the appearance that you are a straggler, you can sometimes avoid an all-out firefight. Still, you should look in all directions and listen closely when the storm touches down, especially when the safe area is small. You’re much more likely to encounter other players when the habitable area has been reduced.
You need to be on the look out when on the move. As mentioned earlier, the name of the game is survival. That means you don’t need to shoot at everyone you see. Sometimes you are better off letting them go on their merry way (hopefully to get picked off by another player or disintegrated by the storm). Don’t get trigger-happy if you see another player, especially if they are going in the opposite direction or if you aren’t in the best hiding spot. Bullets leave tracers in the air so it’s not too hard for someone — and not necessarily the person you were aiming for — to see where the shots came from. Only reveal yourself to the world if you know that you will come out victorious in the firefight. Remember, the goal is to stay alive, not to rack up kills.
Of course, confrontations happen, and you will have to use your guns. It’s always a thrill to take out an opponent, but when you do, make sure to look around before looting their corpse for weapons and resources. There’s a good chance the firefight was witnessed by another player. You definitely want to grab all of the slain opponent’s gear, but be prepared for vultures looking to pick you off while you’re distracted.
When on the move, it’s best to have a strategy. Sure, you can always throw up a wall if you get caught in a hairy situation, but blending in with the environment — hiding behind trees, boulders, weaving along the sides of buildings, etc. — is always preferable over creating a beacon by constructing a makeshift cover system. Naturally, you will have to make your own cover at times, but it should be your last resort.
In making your move, your objective should be avoiding the storm and finding a good place to set up a new area to camp in. Don’t try to be a hero, strive to survive.
Prepare for the end
After a few instances of the storm, the player count will likely be well below 50. Each game differs depending on how aggressive people are, but if you’ve survived long enough to avoid the storm and other players for more than a few minutes, you’re in good shape. Now, with the endgame approaching, you want to concentrate your efforts on securing additional materials and checking out your surroundings. At this point, you will probably start to notice a fair number of manmade structures. Players who have survived this long start to put their resources to work, in hopes that they can have the best chance of coming out on top. If you haven’t been diligent in collecting resources throughout the match, now’s the time to get to work.
This is it. The end is here
Fortnite‘s endgame, for the most part, revolves around building. Players who build tall, elaborate structures typically have the upper hand. It’s as simple as that. When the player count dips into the single digits, it’s really a contest of who is the best prepared for the homestretch. We recommend building high and equipping long range weapons like snipers and rocket launchers. If you don’t have a long range weapon, you will probably want to remain concealed in your tower and wait for your opponents to engage you. Otherwise, now’s the time to go on the offensive. Keep an eye out for developing structures. They will be easy to see now that the play area is strong.
Only one person or team can win, so that means there’s a bunch more losers. You can’t expect to win every match, of course, but if you have a sturdy structure, resources to improvise, and a couple of powerful weapons, you have a good chance of making it to the very end.
For additional building tips, check out our building guide.
Tires: If you find a stack of tires, you can run into them to get airborne to reach rooftops. Height gives you a better vantage point.
Shield potions: Although rare, shield potions should be consumed immediately. The blue potion found in chests gives you a 50 percent buff and you can stack two of them for double health throughout the whole match. There are three types of rare health items: Regular shield potions, small shield potions, and slurp juice. Regular shield potions add 50 shield points, small shield potions add 25, and slurp juice restores 25 health and gives you 25 shield points.
Bandages: Restore 15 health points apiece. You can use up to five bandages.
Close doors: Get in the habit of closing doors behind you when you enter buildings to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Of course, you can also purposely leave doors open to draw other players in on your location and ambush them. But generally, closing doors is a good policy to keep.
Inventory management: You can only hold five gear items (weapons, potions) at a time. You will likely have to make some executive decisions when it comes to weapons. Be wise, don’t keep two of the same class of weapon. Diversify your options.
Be wary of traps: Mind the ground below you, especially when entering buildings or approaching loot. Although uncommon, damage traps can kill you instantly if you haven’t consumed any shield potions. They resemble spikes on the ground. Likewise, if you come across one of these useful items, place it in a spot that helps keep your hunkered position secure.