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The Fortnite Battle Royale Beginners Guide

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Fornite has taken the gaming world by storm. Pun intended (you'll get that later). Everyone is playing this game because of the free beta modes and unique gameplay. Fortnite is super fun with a simple concept but does have a learning curve. From the 3rd person view to building structures, this isn't your average pick up and play shooter.

I just learned to play Fortnite over the past few weeks. Here are the things I'd wish I'd known before starting. Consider this a jumpstart to your Fortnite career that will otherwise start slower than Darko Milicic's. Yikes. This is written for beginners. So don't @ me with all the advanced stuff I missed.

Object Of The Game

Think of Fortnite as digital hunger games. Rather than getting the most kills to win, surviving is the object. You'll skydive out of a flying bus onto a large map. Where you go from there is completely up to you. There are 100 players in a standard game of Fortnite, but with such a large arena, you'll be able to carve out your own place to set up shop.

You're probably thinking: With such a large arena and so many players, don't games last forever? No, and this is where the game gets fun. The arena randomly generates a "storm eye" which players have to stay within or they'll quickly lose health and die. That means you can't just camp on the edge of the map and get a top 5 finish. The map will show you where the storm eye currently is, and where it will be going next. A timer displays when the storm eye will shrink again, and therefore when you'll need to make your way into the storm eye to stay alive.

eye of the fortnite storm

The purple section is the storm, stay out of it or you'll die quickly. If you are in the blue circle, you are good. That is the current storm eye. To help plan your moves, the game shows a white circle, which is where the storm eye will shrink to when the timer runs out. The map gets cut down to size pretty quickly, so be ready to move accordingly.

When the game starts, you'll be placed in a lobby waiting for the game to load, but it's not the actual game. It's a good time to get used to the controls and try out some dance moves.

Once the match starts you'll be in a flying bus headed toward the map. When the bus doors open, you can jump at any time. By looking toward the back of the bus, you can see how many players are jumping at that location. Usually, the longer you wait to jump the higher chance you'll be alone at the beginning, which is generally a good thing. After jumping, the idea is to pick a landing spot and get there as soon as you can. In the event other players drop in the same location, getting there first to loot the weapons will keep you alive. In order to fall faster, push up on the thumbstick to go into a dive. Eventually, you'll automatically open a glider that will slow you down. To get the most out of your dive, aim for a low point on the terrain. That will keep your glider from opening too early and give you a resource advantage right away. Hit the ground running and start collecting items and resources to defend yourself.

Finding Items

After dropping from the flying bus, your first mission is to find and gather weapons and items to defend yourself from other players. Items are usually found in buildings and structures. Small towns like the Tilted Towers and Pleasant Park will have a ton of items, but people tend to flock there. I'd recommend dropping in less populated regions and scrounging through houses and shacks until you find what you need. The towns are a bloodbath off the jump like the beginning of The Hunger Games. Which is a lot of fun, but you'll probably get rocked.

First thing's first, you'll want a weapon. You'll start with a melee weapon, but it's worthless against enemies with guns. It is mostly for gathering resources and breaking walls. In this video, I drop in the same place as another player. We both race to the chest, but he panics and starts whacking me with this ax. As you'll see, waiting and picking up a gun is the right move:

Weapons, ammo, and items can be found laying around on their own and in boxes. But most often, the good stuff is in chests. They tend to be in hidden locations, and you might even need to break through a wall or ceiling to reach it. Luckily, the game plays a sound when you are getting closer to a chest. It gets louder as you get closer, so they aren't hard to find. Here is an example of what you'll hear, the chests also give off a yellow glow so they're easier to spot.

That chest was in the loft without a staircase to get it, which is what building is for. Building is one of the most important skills in Fortnite, and what separates it from normal FPS games. Without it, winning is almost impossible. You'll use it to retrieve hard to reach items, build cover, and get the high ground over other players.

Building On Fortnite

Building starts with the B button (on Xbox), but that obviously varies by platform. If your character pulls out some blueprints and a pencil, that's where you want to be. You'll notice an outline of a wall comes up. Moving around changes where the wall would be built. When you are ready, pull the right trigger to execute the build. From the same action menu, you can build walls, floors, stairs, and roofs. Click the right & left bumpers to toggle between each structure. You'll want to get comfortable with quickly building walls and structures, it'll save your skin. When I get shot at and don't know where the other player is, I instantly build some walls or even a little fort. There's a pretty low chance I'd be able to return fire before I'm killed. By building cover, you can regain the advantage and buy time to heal or get the right weapon out for each situation.

When the match gets near its end, you'll probably see players building large defensive structures in the middle of the storm eye. They know other players need to come out of the storm right to them. By sitting in their building with a sniper or assault rifle, they will have a huge advantage. Building bases like these is a little advanced for this guide, but you'll get there. I'm not even good at building, but can still quickly throw up a little defensive structure.

But Wait... How Do I Get Resources To Build?

Building requires resources, either wood, stone, or metal. If you've heard of the 3 pigs than you probably know they are in ascending order of strength. Collecting a sufficient amount of resources is easy, but paramount to a top-10 finish in Battle Royale. While you might find a random brick or piece of wood laying around in houses, the best way to get resources quickly is by taking out your pickax and swinging it at trees, rocks, and buildings. The resource counter will display how many you are collecting. Pro-tip: aiming at the little target on resources you're smashing will get you more resources, and do it faster. Clearly I didn't know that in the below gif..just swinging my axe like Gimli on molly.

fortnite wood gif

Each thing you build takes 10 resources. So 100 wood is good for 10 structures. Math is fun. Although metal and stone are stronger than wood, they build slower. When you have time to build a strong base, use stone or metal, with metal being the best. If you need a quick place to hide in a pinch, wood is the go-to.

After dropping and finding a weapon, collecting some resources is a good thing to do. Don't spend all day on it, but get enough to build staircases and basic defensive structures right away. Then continue to look for better weapons and items throughout the map. Remember that breaking through floors and walls gives resources, so if you are in a safehouse feel free to destroy the joint. No one will make you repair the drywall like that time you were hucking footballs in the living room. Easy Uncle Rico.

What Weapons To Look For

As mentioned before, pick up any weapon you come across right away. You'll always be able to swap it for a better one later. There are 7 weapon classes, broken out in a familiar fashion to most FPS games. In order of importance for beginners, they are:

  1. Assult Rifles
  2. Shotguns
  3. Submachine Guns
  4. Sniper Rifles
  5. Rocket Launchers
  6. Grenade Launchers
  7. Pistols

Note that rocket and grenade launchers are very powerful and you'll definitely want to pick them up. I've literally found one once, which makes them less important on this list. They are great for blowing up structures, which is really important as the game wears on. But, based on effectiveness and availability for new players, here's what you need to know:

Assult Rifles

fortnite assult rifle

As in most games, assault rifles are the most flexible of all weapons. They can deal decent damage at almost any range and are the most common weapon used in Fortnite firefights. Get comfortable with assault rifles. Often times I'll keep multiple assault rifles in my inventory instead of pistols. You can swap between them in lieu of reloading. Not all assault rifles are created equally, however. On top of the weapon tiers (more on that below), each rifle has a unique fire rate and sight. Some will be burst, some will be scoped. Find what works best for you. The unscoped fully automatic assault rifles are the easiest to use accurately.


fortnite shotgun

Shottys are the most important short range weapon in the game, which isn't a surprise. Unshielded enemies can be taken out with 1 or 2 shots at close range. If you drop into a crowded area, be prepared to use a shotgun while looking for items in buildings. They'll give you the best chance at kills. There are 2 types, pump and tactical. Pump shotguns do more damage but fire slower. If you've got a decent aim, pumps are the way to go. As a beginner, I preferred the tactical because I'm a noob at 3rd person aiming, especially at close range.

See the power of the shotgun headshot:

Submachine Guns

fortnite SMG

Submachine guns used to be terrible, but have been buffed recently and are now a great alternative to shotguns. They are good in close range combat, and decent at mid-range. Weapon variants are the SMG, suppressor, tactical, and minigun. Tactical SMGs have the best all-around stats, they fire decently fast & are accurate. I'd recommend running with an SMG in close combat if you are a poor shotgunner like myself.

Sniper Rifles

fortnite sniper rifle

As you might have guessed, snipers are the most powerful, but difficult weapons to use. Taking out enemies at extreme range is a huge advantage. Imagine sitting high up in your fort raining death from above as the other players try to return fire with their measly assault rifles. It's fun.

There are 2 types of sniper rifles, the bolt action, and semi-automatic...well technically there are 3 but the other one is an unscoped hunting rifle which is mostly useless. Bolt action deals higher damage but sacrifices fire rate. While the semi-auto can shot faster, you can burn through precious ammo pretty quickly. Using a bolt-action makes you take your time and pick the perfect shot. On top of saving ammo and getting precise shots, it'll make you less conspicuous than spamming shots from the semi-auto.

One thing to keep in mind is bullet drop. Because the map is so huge, sniper bullets drop after a certain distance. When taking really long shots, make sure to account for the drop and aim above the target. It'll take some practice, but mastering the sniper will make you a powerful player. You can mess around with the other weapon classes, but these are the 4 you'll need to get familiar with right away.

On top of classes, there are also tiers of each weapon, which basically just tell you how good it is compared to other weapons in the same class. There are 5 tiers of weapons which let you know how powerful the weapon is:

  • Gray: Common
  • Green: Uncommon
  • Blue: Rare
  • Purple: Epic
  • Orange: Legendary

Generally speaking, the better the color, the better the gun. But the difference isn't that huge. For example, one of the best weapons in the game is the SCAR. This assault rifle only comes in Epic and Legendary and is fairly rare. The legendary version delivers 7% more damage. While 7% is better than 0%, it isn't that big of a jump. The moral of the story is, keep weapons that fit your playstyle over fancy colored weapons that don't. If you prefer full auto assault rifles, don't switch an uncommon M16 for a Rare burst rifle. It's more important to hit the target than to have a higher damage per second.

What Do I Do With Items?

Along with all the different classes, variants, and tiers of weapons, finding the right items is a big part of Fortnite success. Here are the most basic items you'll need to know from the jump. They focus on restoring and protecting your health. Everyone has 100 HPs, no more and no less. If you take damage, using a bandage or medkit will heal you. Always have a place in your inventory for health-restoring items. They are way more important than having that 2nd shotgun or a worthless pistol. Healing is useful after a battle, or even during a firefight if you can find or build cover.

Protect your limited health with shields. Using shield potions will increase the blue bar over the health bar. Having a shield is a huge advantage, and will lead to way more success in 1 on 1 battles. Unlike bandages and medkits, you'll want to drink shield potions as soon so you find them. They often come in stacks, so you might find 3 small shield potions, which can get you up to 50 shield each.

fortnite shield potions

The best item to find is a Chug Jug. They take 15 seconds to drink but will give you full health and 100 shield. There are a bunch of other useful items you'll come across, but for starters just know how to use bandages and shields.

Basic Tactics

While the 3rd person view can be annoying at times, it enables you to look around corners and over ledges without exposing yourself. Use the right stick to pan the camera and get the 411. Once you find a house or base you like, keep your head down and look for enemies coming. It's a huge advantage to get the first shot off in a firefight, and ambushing other players is the key to winning. So get to the eye of the storm, crouch by clicking in the right stick and chill in your fort waiting to eliminate other players as they run around uncovered.

fortnite tactics

If you came from playing COD WW2 or Overwatch, it'll be hard to get out of the run n' gun mentality. Have patience! If you drop in a good location and are in the eye of the storm, it's okay to hang out for a few minutes and get a beer while everyone else kills each other. Once you get into the top 10 you can start making money moves like Cardi B and try to get that 1st place finish.

After reading this guide you should have a good idea of how to play and what it takes to be successful as a Fortnite beginner. If you have any questions feel free to comment below. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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