Beginners Guide To Fortnite

With the festive season long gone there has been a sudden influx of new gamers who have made the jump to the eighth console generation. Naturally many people will know of the current gaming sensation – Fortnite, but how do newbies get into the swing of things when the world is full of keyboard pros? Well, this is where I come in. Welcome to my Beginners Guide to Fortnite!

So what is Fortnite? Well in short is a super stylish game in the Battle Royale genre, popularised by games like PUBG and H1Z1. Understanding Fortnite will require at least a passing knowledge of what a Battle Royale is, so lets get right into that then!

What Is A Battle Royale?

A Battle Royale is a 100 man free-for-all. That’s right, you are trapped on an island with 99 other players waiting to viciously murder you. Somewhat unique to the genre, the winner is not the person who gets the most kills – its the player who survives to the end. This means being stealthy, avoiding conflict and picking your fights carefully is just as viable as running in guns blazing and racking up 10+ kills.

A typical Battle Royale goes like this:

  • You hop onto a questionably aviatory vehicle and take a leisurely flight across the game map. The flight path is always a straight line, but where that line starts and ends is randomised. Worry not, with the power of your Glider, you can make it to almost any part of the map, it just might take longer. There is something to be said about being amongst the first players to touch the ground though, so bare that in mind!
  • When you hit the floor you have no weapons bar your paltry pickaxe. Hitting up buildings for weapons is going to be key to defending yourself, so you better shake a leg!
  • Successfully landing and nabbing a weapon might be important, but arguably the most important thing is the ever encroaching storm. After a few minutes this unstoppable wall of chip-damage will start engulfing the map. Circles will appear on your Minimap, and being inside these circles will keep you safe from the Storm.

So those are the bare basics when it come to the Battle Royale. Now we have to dig a bit deeper into Fortnite, and how you as a Level 1 newcomer can take your first steps to glory.

Touchdown and Beyond

You ain’t gonna do much warming up those seats now are you? In this section we look at the crucial step that is taking the plunge. Don’t forget to thank the driver on the way day.

  • Where you touchdown will have a massive impact on your early game. As a general rule, you will want to avoid hotspots like Titled Towers as these areas will result in your timely demise if you don’t know what you are doing. In fact, landing in any named location is a risky proposition until you have become more accustomed. Instead, aim for unmarked locations with buildings so you can have a safe early game and allow a smooth transition to the mid game.
  • Once you have some aptitude with the game, you might want to start landing in the aforementioned hotspots, although landing in lower population areas is still recommended. The reason for this is that you will eventually want to learn how to defend yourself and being in an early game warzone will help you improve. An interesting side benefit is that dying in the first 5 minutes is much less painful than dying after 15-20 minutes.
  • Regardless of what area you pick to touchdown, where you physically plonk your feet is just as important. Ideally you want to listen to Obiwan and always land on the high ground. In short, this means landing on a roof. This lets get you into the action faster as you spend less time floating around, and more time hacking your way through the architecture, letting you can nab that saucy loot. Finally, you can use the roof as cover for when people start firing at you if you’re landing a bit late. Remember, nobody wants to be Anakin…nobody.
  • Once you have touched down, nabbed your first few weapons and secured the immediate area you will want to check your map. Have a look to see where the Storm is going, and plan your route to your next location.

The Joys of Loot

So you’ve landed, you’ve picked up a few pieces of equipment…but what does it all mean? I mean you have a miniature rainbow at the bottom of your screen, it must have some significance. You would be right in your assumption.

  • Loot comes in rarities, and as a rule of thumb, the better the rarity, the better the loot. Grey is Common, green is Uncommon, blue is Rare, purple is Epic and orange/gold is Legendary.
  • Knowing your rarities is one thing, knowing what you should be lugging around is another. Typically you will want an automatic weapon for mid range combat, a sniper rifle for long range encounters, a shotgun or SMG for those close range shoot outs and maybe some healing supplies and explosives for fun. Remember you only have 5 inventory slots, so carrying a good variety of weapons and support gear is pivotal to your long-term success.
  • Speaking of support gear, Fortnite is jam packed with them. Memorising what everything does might take a little while, but here is a brief run down of the important ones:
    • Bandages (Common) – heals 15 health after 4 seconds.
    • Medkit (Uncommon) – Heals 100 health after 10 seconds
    • Small Heal Potion (Uncommon) – Heals 25 shields after 2 seconds to a maximum of 50.
    • Shield Potion (Rare) – Heals 50 shields after 5 seconds to a maximum of 100.
    • Slurp Juice (Epic) – Heals 75 Health and 75 Shields. It takes 2 seconds to drink the juice, but it will take 37.5 seconds to fully take effect.
    • Chug Jug (Legendary) – Heals 100 Health and 100 Shields after 15 seconds.
  • Not all loot comes in the form of weapons, or support items. Some loot are hidden away in your build menu. It is important to pick these up whenever you find them as they can mean the difference between life and death. Campfires will slowly increase your health, bounce and launch pads will give you some much needed mobility options in a pinch and placing traps might even nab you a couple sneaky kills.
  • Knowing all of this is well and good, but where do you actually get loot? Well you can find loot just lying around the world, but these are typically lower quality items. The best loot comes from Chests, and these are hidden all over the place. A good bet would be in buildings, specifically in lofts. You can hear a chest by the distinct wooshing sound they make when you are near.

Navigating The Map

Navigation is an art in and of it self. Luckily we already have our map, and a vague sense of direction. If only we had a compass to locate all those chests…

  • Running around in the open will get you killed fairly quickly. Your best bet is to try and keep away from large, open spaces. Keeping near trees or buildings will give you valuable cover when moving, and also limit how visible you are to enemies.
  • If moving in an open area is unavoidable, then try and keep some sort of terrain feature near by. For example keeping a mountain to one side of you almost negates an entire direction someone could attack you from.
  • Getting the high ground is never a bad idea. If you see a mountain, it might be worth scaling it and getting a good view of your surroundings. Whilst you’re planning your next move keep an eye out for snipers.
  • Remember that you have multiple ways to move. Sprinting will increase your movement speed and give you a leg up when you are trying to outrun the storm.
  • Jumping around will make it much harder for snipers to get a bead on your head.
  • Running and jumping makes a lot of noise. If you want to remain undetected, then crouch. Unlike most other games you can actually sprint when crouching, giving you a slight movement speed boost.
  • Want to get somewhere fast? Well Fortnite has vehicles that will give you a much needed speed boost. Hop on a quad for some nippy land movement. Jump in a plane to get an aerial advantage. Leap into a trolley for…reasons? Regardless of what you are using, be wary as enemies will be able to see, and hear you much easier. Those vehicles are not indestructible.

Combat And You

You’ve gotten the hand of picking up weapons, drinking juice and walking around the map. Surely you have mastered the game now right? Hmmm…not quite. There is still the tricky issue of combat.

  • The best way to come out alive is using the right tool for the job. There is no point shooting your pump shotgun and aiming for a long range kill. Whip out your sniper and land those juicey domes.
  • If you don’t need to fight, then don’t. Drawing attention to yourself will likely get you killed if you are not prepared for the aftermath. If you spot someone, they have not seen you and you don’t have an effective weapon to take them out, then often times it is best to just let them go. If you take that shot, and they happen to have a gun more suited to the encounter you will quickly find yourself booted to the lobby.
  • Shooting your gun is one thing, actually hitting the enemy is another. You are going to want to aim down your sights when you fire most weapons as this tightens up your aim, shrinks your cross-hairs and even gives you a slight magnification. Be warned however, doing this will slow your movement drastically, so sometimes it is better to drop your sights and get fancy with your mobility.
  • The above tip should not be listened to for shotguns. In general, shotgun fights will be a series of jump shots at a target who is also jumping. You want maximum mobility in these instances. However try and aim down your sights just before you fire as this will tighten your spread and greatly increase your DPS.
  • If you are fighting a long range firefight you need to consider bullet drop, and travel time. This basically means aim slightly above your opponent and firing where they are going, not where they are. Sniping in any game takes a lot of practice, so unless you are Bradley Cooper, it might take you a bit of time to master the art.
  • Whilst somewhat unwieldy in Fortnite, grenades and explosives in general are not to be ignored. They do immense damage, destroy cover and will flush the enemy out putting them in a more compromising position. Try not to blow yourself up though.
  • If you see a plane flying about, it is best to just stay low and avoid it. If you have to fight it, they can be downed with most guns if you focus fire. Just remember they have their own weapons and if they crash into you, you are in for a world of hurt.

The Art Of Building

Building is Fortnite’s unique mechanic. You can build elaborate structures, endless ramps or just a simple wall. Whatever you choose to build, you are going to want to get some aptitude with the system because you will find yourself at a massive disadvantage otherwise.

  • If an enemy is shooting you, throw down a wall. This will give you a few seconds to adjust to the barrage of bullets and plan your next move.
  • Once you have mastered the wall placement, start thinking vertical. Throw down a wall, then put a ramp behind it. This gives the enemy 2 layers to blast through, plus you get the height advantage. The tables have been turned!
  • Practice building faster. The quicker you can build, the more of an advantage you have when things get hairy. If the enemy is building up and you can’t keep up, you might end up with a double barrel rammed up your butt…and that is not nice.
  • If you see a mountain, start building ramps. You can get to the top of any structure of terrain piece this way. Just keep building up!
  • As a warning to you vertical builders, if someone destroys a piece of your structure and it is no longer attached to the ground you will quickly find your self plummeting to your death. Either have multiple structure points linked to the ground or get ready to slap down a launch pad for a quick exit.
  • Fall damage is a very real thing in Fortnite, so getting down from high places can lead to death if you are not careful. Luckily you can build even when falling. The caveat is, you need to be near something to build onto. The best, and most common time this will come into play is when getting down from a mountain. Jump off, build a platform below you and then repeat. A quick, easy way to descend back into the fray!
  • When you’ve taken some damage you will want to heal up as quickly as possible. Doing this in the open will probably leave you with a nice bullet shaped hole in your noggin. So you probably want to build a small box to hide in whilst you slap on some bandages or chug on your potions.
  • This is all well and good, but to build you need materials. Structures are made from Wood, Brick and Metal. You can use your handy-dandy pickaxe to break up various objects to gain these materials. Everything from trees, to cars, to entire houses can be harvested. Keeping a healthy supply of these materials is recommended.
  • Durability and build time is also a factor. Wood is the weakest material, however it builds the fastest. Metal is strongest but builds the slowest. Plan your builds accordingly. If you are in a heated gunfight then slapping down some wooden barricades will be your best bet. If you are setting up shop somewhere, then you should probably use some brick or metal.

General Tips and Tricks

  • Storm on your tail? Build a ramp high, slap down a launch pad and glide to safety. The storm moves faster than you can run, so you will often find yourself getting surrounded by blue death-y stuff if you hoof it on foot.
  • Just because you are out of the storm doesn’t mean everyone else is. Watch your back for stragglers. If you spot them, you will get an easy kill. If they get the jump on you…well lets just remember to watch our backs ok?
  • The Storm is universally bad for your health. Luckily it only does a small amount of damage. Whilst it will eventually kill you, and as the game goes on its damage does increase, you have plenty of time to plan your escape. It is rarely game-over if you get trapped.
  • If you land and someone has a gun and you have nothing but magnum ammo, it is probably wise to back off, hide, and try and locate a gun instead of going ham and swinging your pickaxe.
  • Contrary to my previous tips, if you want the best loot you are going to want to go to the hotspots. Tilted Towers is loaded with chests and random guns. If you are feeling confident, drop in and get that loot. Be prepared to fight for it though.
  • Don’t be afraid to get stuck in. Whilst hiding is very valid tactic, you are going to need to pick up some combat experience at some point.
  • If you are low on health and shields keep an eye out for apples and mushrooms. Apples restore a bit of heath and mushrooms will restore your shields. Warning: Eating wild mushrooms in real life is unlikely to provide you with shields.
  • Don’t be intimidated by people with funky skins. Anyone can wear a skin, only you can show them who is boss.
  • Mess around with your settings. Fortnite has a robust set of control options for you to play around with. Some people find aiming a bit finicky with the default settings, so playing around and finding the right balance will take your game to the next level.
  • Speaking of settings, jump on in to Playground or Creative mode to get to grips with you controls. These are safe areas that will give you plenty of wiggle room to practice movement, building and map awareness.

And that should just about wrap it up I think. My last tip would be to keep playing. Fortnite has been out for a while now and there are some seriously good players running around. But if you keep practicing you will eventually ‘git gud’ and land that sweet, sweet Victory Royale.

For more Fortnite content, keep an eye on my blog as I will be posting all sorts over the coming weeks. Let me know in the comments below what tips and tricks you would give a new Fortnite-er.

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