Fortnite 3.5

Epic Games struck gold when it decided to make a version of Fortnite that utilized the Battle Royale game format, and if you’re just now giving in to the populist craze, then you’ll want to follow some of these essential tips for familiarizing yourself with the game.

Fortnite: Battle Royale originally came out as a free-to-play Early Access version on July 25, 2017, and gradually expanded out to different platforms, with the most recent being the iPhone. Like PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, or PUBG, the simplest way to explain the game format is that each match is like the Hunger Games. 100 players parachute onto an island with nothing except a pickaxe, and they have to scavenge for weapons and supplies until there’s only one player or team alive in the end. In every match, a storm continuously shrinks the viable playing area, forcing players into direct combat.

Unlike other games of this format, Fortnite also involves a mechanic that you might as well call “magical building.” Players can construct their own ladders or even ramps out of thin air after collecting resources.

So now that you’ve got the basics down, here are a few tips that can help you learn the ropes:


Pleasant Park is a decent starting location in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' if only because it tends to be just crowded enough.
Pleasant Park is a decent starting location in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' if only because it tends to be just crowded enough.

8. Try Landing at Pleasant Park for Your First Match

Your first few matches will probably be some of the most stressful video gaming experiences you’ve had in recent memory. Fortnite: Battle Royale is an unforgiving game that rewards extreme risks, but at the same time you can’t win if you’re dead. There are plenty of named locations strewn about the playable area, which is a roughly square island. Pleasant Park is in the northwest section and it rarely gets a lot of foot traffic, but it still has a lot of buildings with good loot. As far as landing locations go, you can consider it medium difficulty, making this a good way to ease into the experience.

This Tactical Shotgun in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is Epic.
This Tactical Shotgun in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is Epic.

7. Figure Out Which Guns to Prioritize

Fortnite has more than 50 different weapons across seven different weapon types, and you can only hold five items at once. Even within specific archetypes, the weapons can vary greatly. Some weapons are scoped, some have silencers, and some are burst fire (which are almost always bad). Everyone develops their own preferences, but you should start by memorizing item rarities as indicated by color, which applies to all items in the game:

Grey (Common) > Green (Uncommon) > Blue (Rare) > Purple (Epic) > Gold (Legendary)

Higher rarity translates to overall better quality and always higher damager. Here are the seven weapon types:

  • Assault Rifles are some of the best weapons in the game, even if you can only find a Common. But a SCAR is arguably the single best weapon for most occasions.
  • Submachine Guns have automatic fire best used at close range.
  • Pistols are surprisingly potent in Fortnite. Rapid-firing them delivers high damage per second.
  • Shotguns come in either Pump or Tactical, with the latter generally being preferable.
  • Sniper Rifles can be unforgiving because they’ll immediately give away your position and bullets drop at longer distances, but higher rarities can be a one-shot kill.
  • Rocket Launchers give players a real edge because you can just aim rockets directly at enemy structures, which will fall down quickly, and the explosions can do serious damage.
  • Grenade Launchers lob a grenade that bounces a few times before detonating. Just like with rockets, they’re great for smashing through walls of buildings and built structures, but a little more difficult to use.

6. Use Your Ears When Looting

Yes, your ears. Several objects in the game have audio cues associated with them, like the Hidden Gnomes, but more importantly, the Golden Chests scattered about the map that have the best look. There’s a shimmering sound that you can hear when you get close enough.

Plenty of loot is just scattered around the island, with guns usually sitting on the ground with some ammo. There’s always more loot inside structures. In many cases, the Chests might be partially hidden in attics or basements that you can only access if you break down walls with your pickaxe. Always be on the lookout — or hear-out? — for that sound and follow where it comes from.

The Chug Jug is one of several shield potions in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale'.
The Chug Jug is one of several shield potions in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale'.

5. Always Max Out Your Shield ASAP

As soon as you pick up any kind of shield-boosting item, use it. Learn the difference between the Small Shield Potion, Shield Potion, Chug Jug, and Slurp Juice. You want to keep your health and shield as high as possible at all times.

Here are all the various shield potions from most common to least:

  • Small Shield Potion — Increases your shield by 25 points, but it caps at 50, which means to get it higher, you have to use one of the following other items. (These are best for quick healing, as they only take 2 seconds to drink, which is faster than any other item.)
  • Shield Potion — Increases your shield by 50 points and caps at 100, so this will be the most common way you can max out your shield. Always use your Small Shield Potions before these.
  • Slurp Juice — Grants you 1 unit of health and shield every second for 25 seconds, which translates to +25 shield and health gradually. This one seems best-suited for chugging right before a firefight, but you should use it whenever you can.
  • Chug Jug — Gives you full health and shield but it takes 15 seconds to gulp down. In almost every case, you should just chug this right away.
Tilted Towers is a city-like named location towards the center of the 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' map. As such, it's a popular landing destination.
Tilted Towers is a city-like named location towards the center of the 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' map. As such, it's a popular landing destination.

4. Land at Tilted Towers to Get Used to Combat

You might’ve already heard about Tilted Towers’ harshly negative reputation because it’s an absolute bloodbath every single match. It’s a dense city with lots of loot and tall buildings, and because it’s towards the center of the map, it’s usually safe from the storm for most of every match. As such, many players land there every single match, which means that new players will get a baptism by fire and die very quickly.

Heading here is a great way to get used to the Battle Bus flight patterns and skydiving mechanics, and you’ll have to learn how to think fast and contend with other players at the start of the game. Focus on landing on top of structures and picking up all the items you can find. Get a gun ASAP because you’ll need it.

Right around that red arrow is a tall wooden house that's a great landing point for easygoing 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' players.
Right around that red arrow is a tall wooden house that's a great landing point for easygoing 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' players.

## 3. For a More Casual Approach, Head to the Architect’s House

There are plenty of unofficially named locations throughout the map, with this author’s favorite being dubbed “The Architect’s House.” Tucked away in the northeast corner of the may, east of what’s now Risky Reels, is a tall wooden house on the coast. It’s known for being an unpopular landing destination — if you head there you probably won’t get much competition early on, and you might find up to two chests in the house itself. Then you can head in one of three directions: north to a few houses and an ice cream truck that can have up to two chests, south through a mountain pass to Wailing Woods with its hedge maze full of loot, or south along the coast to a giant wooden fox. From there just follow where the storm pushes you.

Building might be the hardest part of 'Fortnite: Battle Royale'.
Building might be the hardest part of 'Fortnite: Battle Royale'.

2. Devote a Lot of Time to Learning How to Reflexively Build

You might be having a great game when suddenly someone blindsides you with gunfire from the east. You spin around frantically trying to see where it’s coming from, but before you figure it out, you’re dead. Most Fortnite players learn how to reflexively just throw up a vertical wall to shield them from gunfire. Train yourself to do the same, throwing up three vertical walls in the direction of the gunfire with a ramp leading up, that way you can peek out from the cover and try to shoot your enemy. (But watch out for those pesky “dick bullets!”)

Ramps will be the most common thing you build to access rooftops or to climb mountains and gain the high ground, so test out building these in sequence.

That's the symbol for the Premium Battle Pass in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale'.
That's the symbol for the Premium Battle Pass in 'Fortnite: Battle Royale'.

1. Buy a Premium Battle Pass and Do the Challenges

Even if you’re on the fence about whether or not spending the roughly $10 on a Premium Battle Pass is worth it, then take it at my recommendation that you totally should buy it. Fortnite is totally free to download, and even though all of the rewards are purely cosmetic and don’t help you whatsoever in the game, getting a Premium Battle Pass and focusing on the Challenges is going to inevitably get you really well-versed in all aspects of the game. Just do it and never look back.

Photos via Epic Games (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)