What is Fortnite All About?
There’s no denying that Fortnite has taken over. Your little brother plays it, your cousin plays it, Drake plays it. Strangely, even your boss invited you for a few rounds after work the other day. It’s a cross-platform compatible (PS4, Xbox One & PC), so literally everywhere you turn, the displays are full of cartoonish characters gunning each other in rapid succession. What else can you do but join in on the fun, right?
The free-to-play Battle Royale mode is the centre of the craze. The basic premise is quite simple. 100 players parachute down onto a map, and the arms race for weapons, ammo, and items ensues. Just seconds after landing, the player count starts dwindling down quickly. Everybody is on the edge of their seats, fighting their way through in hopes of being the last ones to survive. The stakes are high, and everybody is having a blast. Literally.
Fortnite’s Battle Royale was built upon the premium early access Save the World PvE co-op story mode. It’s a fun survival experience where you team up with up to three other players or AI bots to fight through the seemingly endless onslaught of Husks and Mist Monsters, the once-human mutants who have been irretrievably lost to The Storm.
But, who are we kidding here? Nine out of ten times, you are smashing that Battle Royale mode as soon as the game loads up. That one time last week you clicked the campaign mode was purely an accident.
The ultimate, singular objective of every player is crystal clear. Everybody wants to win. You want to win. And then do it again. And again. And a few more times after that, until you hear birds chirping, welcoming the sunrise at 5 AM in the morning.
The point is, even if your life is in shambles, and your obsessive Fortnite addiction incurable, your Fortnite skills can and will blow through the roof if you change a few critical things about your playstyle. And that is exactly why you are here at this very moment.
Now, let’s get you up to speed.
The Basics Fortnite TIPS. If you’ve been playing for a while, feel free to skip this part and jump straight ahead into the Advanced section. However, if you are a newcomer, these tips will help you to avoid most common mistakes, and upgrade your skill level quickly. And you want to be in that top-5, right?
When you are just starting out, Solo is arguably the hardest mode to get a victory at. You’re entirely on your own, and there’s nobody to rely on or to help you out. Depending on your general shooter skills and prior experience, getting to top 10 is not that hard, but the last few opponents are going to give you a run for your money. Luckily, the math is pretty simple here. If you regularly end up in the top 10 or the top 5 out of 100 players, you’re in the top 10%, period. It only takes a bit more time and practice to reach the mythical 1%.
Duos are probably the best place to start if you’ve just downloaded the game, especially if you have a friend who knows it well enough. He/she can show you the ropes in the first couple of sessions. Also, coordinating with just one other person is ideal while adapting to the unique mix of third-person shooting, building mechanics and everything around you being utterly destructible.
Squads are not conducive to getting better at the game. Even if you queue up with randoms, chances are there will be at least one player much better than you. He or she will get all the kills and all the glory. You, on the other hand, will be there to fill up a squad body count. Still, squads can be a fun experience to let off some steam, so when your friends invite you, don’t miss the opportunity to get some co-op experience. Just imagine the wonders four players can do in a single game.
Most objects in the game are destructible and give resources when hit with a pickaxe. There are three types of resources, each capped at 999 per player.
- Wood is the most common, but also the weakest resource available. It’s the primary resource used in early stages as well as late game building battles. It’s very easy to accumulate a couple of hundred wood in just a minute or two, so start cutting down those trees and bushes ASAP. A good way to get a lot of wood very early on is by smashing the wooden furniture in the buildings you loot. Each sofa, chair, table, kitchen cabinet, and wardrobe gives 4-8 wood per hit, so make it a habit of destroying as many wooden objects as you can while traversing through the houses and apartments.
- Stone is less prevalent and easy to come by, but it is also stronger than wood and provides much better protection. Rooftops, walls, and floors give you stone when destroyed, but the fastest way to get a lot of stone are white stones (duh?!) you can find outside of towns and cities. Collecting stone can often feel like a grind, but due to its durability, this material is a staple building resource in the final stages of the game, and you simply must have it.
- Metal is the strongest, but also the sparsest resource. Cars, metal fences, office chairs and washing machines give metal when destroyed. With the Season 4 changes, the meteor shards lying around craters are another great source of metal. Still, if you opt to collect it all by yourself, get ready for a ton of smashing. Therefore, by far the easiest way to collect hundreds of metal is simply killing other players. Depending on the stage of the game, most players are running around with somewhere in between 20 to 200 metal. Kill a few, and you’re set for the late game.
You can often find some resources randomly spawned on the floor in towns and cities too, but the quantities are so low you shouldn’t rely on chance and luck to give you enough. Just how much enough is depends on the stage you’re at. If you manage to reach top 25 in Solos and don’t have at least in between 300-400 wood, 200-300 stone, and 100-200 metal, you’re at a severe disadvantage.
Think about it — if you stumble upon an opponent with a lot more resources than you, he or she will be able to get into a position to kill you just by a war of attrition. In Duos and Squads you can kind of get by with less at times, because you can rely on your teammate/s to take care of the building part. Still, try to have all three resources in the triple digits at all times.
Now, in case you haven’t noticed yet when you hit destructible objects in the game with your pickaxe, the blue “targets” pop up. pop up. Hitting these targets doubles the damage you deal with any given object, thus enabling you to collect resources two times faster than at a normal rate. Make sure you hit these targets often — you don’t want to waste too much time smashing stuff when you could be out eliminating your opponents and stealing their resources.
Weapons and Loot
Weapons in Fortnite are divided by type and rarity. Assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles, etc. all come in different colors. From common all the way to legendary, the weapons can either be white, green, blue, purple or orange. The rarer the weapon, the better its stats are (damage and reload speed).
Now, Fortnite rewards headshots in a similar way most other shooters do. Depending on the weapon type, landing a headshot on an enemy will do from 2 to 2.5 times more damage than a bodyshot. This is why you sometimes see those Pump Shotguns dealing more than 200 damage per shot.
Therefore, it is imperative to have your settings and sensitivities set up in such a way you don’t over-aim or under-aim when quickly flicking your mouse or controller. Higher frame-rates and lower sensitivities solve aiming problems for most players out there. Invest some time and fine-tune your settings to fit your playstyle.
Regarding quality and usability, shotguns rule close-quarters combat. SCAR is by far the best Assault Rifle of all. Most pistols are useless for a large majority of players, except Suppressed Pistol, which is quiet, very precise and deals decent damage both down the range and in close-quarters.
Bolt-Action Sniper is great if you can land headshots, as you would expect from a hard-hitting weapon like that. Submachine guns are a decent alternative to shotguns if you tend to panic and start spraying around. Minigun and Light Machine Gun will make you feel like Rambo or Terminator, whichever you prefer more. Finally, a good ol’ Rocket Launcher can disintegrate even the most durable metal forts.
Weapons and ammo won’t get you far without additional loot. Shield Potions are an absolute must. The glass containers with blue liquid inside provide up to 100 additional Shield hit points on top of your regular 100. It’s always good to have a few spare Small Shield Potions when recovering from a fight.
If your base HP gets low, Bandages can get you back up to 75, while Medkits provide 100% healing. Slurp Juice is insanely useful if you find yourself running in the Storm, as it provides healing over time, mitigating the Storm damage slowly chipping away at your health.
Impulse Grenades have gained popularity lately due to their ability to quickly bounce you in and out of combat. Port-a-Forts provide an instant metal fort you can use in a pinch during late game. Bush enables you to camouflage as…well, a bush, and strike unsuspecting players passing by.
As you can see, there’s enough weapon and loot variety to suit most tastes and playstyles. The question is, how can you use all of these fancy tools at your disposal to win games and brag about how cool you are to your friends? This next section will give you a few pointers you can use to fight for that top spot.
Building and Cover
Becoming a master architect is a must to pull off victories royale consistently. There are a ton of guides, tutorials and videos specifically about building in Fortnite all over the YouTube and Internet. It boils down to understanding the system, developing the muscle memory and then abusing it to the maximum.
There are a few things to always keep in mind though. First, if you’re on a PC, change your default building key bindings for structures and traps. Do it right now. The time it takes for your fingers to move from WASD to F1<->F5 and then back to WASD is the time you can’t afford to lose. Some pros have the walls, floors, and stairs bound to their mouse side buttons and wheels. Others like to keep these around the WASD buttons. Whatever you choose, just make sure you can swap between the building elements and traps as fast as possible.
Second, never let your opponent outdo you in a building battle. Fight for that high ground position where you can dunk down on your enemy while he/she helplessly tries to shoot you down from your sky fort. Sure, you’ll fumble and fail a lot in the beginning as your brain struggles to keep up with the seemingly endless sequence of newly built walls and stairs. However, as you play more, the muscle memory will kick in, and you will instinctively know what button to press at what point. So, with sufficient resources, don’t wait for your opponent to build around you, take the initiative and build your pathway to the next kill.
Third, when under fire, build both the wall and the stairs in front of you. Building just the wall or the stairs makes it easier for your opponent to see you through the unfinished blocks. With the combo, you’re putting a double barrier in front of you. Also, building two sets of wall and stairs right next to each other provides more space to move around and hide behind as well, so keep those resources coming as your opponent tries to shred through your defenses.
Last, but not least, editing existing structures will often make a difference between life and death. Learn how and when to modify the walls, floors, and stairs to open up new pathways in a maze of yours and your enemies’ structures. Doing this quickly and instinctively will require a bit more practice as well, but once you become sufficiently good at it, you can go toe to toe with the best players in any given game.
Avoid Getting Baited
Seeing a pile of shiny loot out in the open is an instant draw to newbies and veterans alike. A purple SCAR is undoubtedly much better than a white M4. Picking up a few hundred resources from a dead player is a much faster way of obtaining building resources than smacking trees with your pickaxe.
Getting baited is one of the most common mistakes in Fortnite. Veterans usually know better, but new and casual players often succumb to their inexperience. In a game where every little edge over the competition matters, giving another player an easy kill is almost inexcusable.
Therefore, if you ever find yourself dying due to greed, ignorance or poorly thought out combat tactics, don’t worry. It happens to everyone. However, it’s important to realize your mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future.
Does the enemy enters the house and sets up a trap? Don’t run straight inside – check the walls and ceilings for traps first. Do you see a supply drops in the middle of the valley? The chances are high that somebody is watching and waiting for an easy kill from the high ground. Your teammate has been knocked out but still hasn’t been finished? The enemy is likely trying to bait you into coming over to revive your buddy, patiently waiting for another easy kill.
These kinds of situations require you to think ahead and resist the initial urges and impulses. Getting outplayed by a more skilled opponent is a matter of practice and hours you put in the game. However, getting outwitted is easily avoidable if you pay attention to and analyze the situation at hand. Don’t get carried away and let somebody else dictate the combat flow. Act unpredictably. Be disruptive. Engage on your terms. Adapt. Improvise. Survive.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
This one is a no-brainer, but so many players ignore it. Being aware of where and how far your enemies are based on movement, building, looting and gunfight sounds is an advantage you can often exploit to a significant degree. So, turn your volume up and listen to any and every sound close by.
Now, as much as hearing your enemies before they can hear you can sometimes work in your favor, it can also be detrimental if you find yourself on the opposite end. In towns and cities where a lot of players congregate (looking at you, Tilted Towers), engaging in a fight with another player provides an instant advantage to everybody else not taking part in your current shootout. They know roughly where you are, but you have no idea where and how close or far away they are.
Therefore, once you’re (hopefully) done dispatching your opponent into the next game, don’t run straight for the loot, especially if you’re low on health. Instead, find the nearest cover or build one yourself, and listen if anybody else is closing in. Even if the air is clear, stay vigilant, don’t ever drop your guard and be ready to go at all times.
Don’t forget about the visuals either. If you’re running out in the open, develop a habit of hopping and turning to the sides and behind you every now and then. You might look like an autistic bunny doing it, but it’s a tactic many pros use to minimize the chances of getting hit and ambushed from outside their normal field of view. If you want to die less, this is the tactic that will save you from many dumb deaths in the future.
If there’s a tactic that can still be legitimately characterized as broken, it would be the so-called “double pumping.” The term refers to a type of loadout where a player carries 2 Pump Shotguns and quickly switches between them in close-quarters combat. The result is roughly two times faster fire rate than with a single Pump Shotgun, resulting in crazy damage output.
When it was first discovered, it was just ridiculously overpowered. The developer Epic has since patched it up, but it’s still a viable tactic for winning most, if not all close-quarters encounters.
The downside, however, is obvious. Out of 5 slots you have at your disposal, two are dedicated to the same type of weapon. That leaves you with only 3 to place everything else. By the time you reach late game, you will have to pick and choose amongst the purple SCARs, Sniper Rifles, Medkits, Shield Potions and Rocket Launchers. Many would argue that the lack of loadout versatility is well compensated by the fact you can unload so much DPS in close-quarters. Try it out and decide for yourself.
Diving Without Dying
Gauging when to jump out of the Battle Bus and at what angle is one of the first things you should master. You will quickly notice that, as you approach your desired destination, some players are much closer to the ground than you. In all likelihood, they either jumped a bit before you, thus gaining that initial advantage. Otherwise, you jumped way before you should, thus having to glide for a long period, while the rest of the players dived down quickly in a vertical line.
This is that initial edge you want to have for yourself and, at the same time, avoid giving out to other players. As a rule of thumb, if your desired landing destination is near the path of the Battle Bus, wait until the Battle Bus comes within proximity and jump out at a vertical angle, straight towards the ground. Otherwise, you can glide towards a bit more distant location, but still, turn around yourself briefly to see if and how many other players are aiming for the same spot.
Now, when it comes to the actual landing, try to avoid buildings picked by other players. The best case scenario is you landing alone on a building, picking up all or at least most of the loot for yourself, collecting a few resources and only then engaging in fights with other people.
Otherwise, competing for loot with somebody else right from the get-go will provoke unnecessary and overly risky early fights, leaving you with little loot, low HP or even worse, sending you back in the Lobby screen. And nobody wants to be the first person to die, right?