Fortnite Battle Royale: Everything You Need to Know

The battle royale genre is growing fast thanks to last year's break-out success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Fortnite Battle Royale has slowly but surely become the most popular game in the genre.

This title is based on Fortnite (now renamed Fortnite Save the World), a third-person cooperative, base-defense game. In 2017, developer Epic Games took this concept and spun it out into a separate, free-to-play battle royale game for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

It has gone on to eclipse the success of PUBG and other battle royale games like it, boasting a record-breaking 3.4 million concurrent players across all platforms.

So while you're waiting for the game to download, you'll want to read up on exactly how Fortnite Battle Royale sets itself apart, and what you can expect on your first time out.

What Is Fortnite Battle Royale?

Like other battle royale games, Fortnite Battle Royale is a competitive shooter between 100 players as they air-drop out of a moving plane (or “battle bus”, in this case), then fight to survive as the play space slowly shrinks to force people into combat. True to the battle royale formula, you need to find all of your weapons and equipment on the map — you don’t land with anything other than a pickaxe.

While you could try attacking someone with your pick, it’s best used to harvest building materials from trees, cars and other free-standing objects so you can make your own walls, ramps and platforms.This is a carry-over from the base-defence game Fortnite Battle Royale sprang from, but this mechanic adds a new ingredient to the battle royale recipe that makes it stand apart.

Where can I play Fortnite: Battle Royale?

Fortnite: Battle Royale is currently free to download on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. There's also a mobile version of Battle Royale, which consists of the same core game and even supports cross-platform play with PC and console. Fortnite for mobile is currently in beta on iOS and coming to Android soon.

While Battle Royale is free-to-play, there are various paid packages that you can purchase in order to get more cosmetic items right out of the gate. For more on these options, check out our guide to Fortnite's free and paid versions.

What does Early Access mean for Fortnite Battle Royale?

Early Access in this case means some features are still being added into the game. New experimental game modes will come and go, like Teams of 20 mode, and balancing changes will be made often in preparation for the full release. You can also expect major additions to be announced regularly, such as new maps and additional cosmetic items. The developers plan to exit Early Access by the end of 2018.

Despite its Early Access status, servers have been very stable and game performance has a high degree of polish.

Will Fortnite Battle Royale be free forever?

The developers of Fornite Battle Royale have said the game will remain free-to-play permanently. Fortnite Save the World currently costs $39.99 to play, but once both modes leave Early Access later this year, Save the World will also become free-to-play.

If you’re playing on Xbox One, you will need an Xbox Live Gold account, however PS4 players won’t need a PlayStation Plus account.

Will Fortnite Battle Royale be on Steam?

Fortnite Battle Royale and Fortnite Save the World are both played on PC exclusively through Epic Games’ own launcher, which you can download here. There are currently no plans for a Steam release.

Will Fortnite Battle Royale come to Switch?

There are no official plans, though Epic Games creative director Donald Mustard has expressed interest in the idea on Twitter.

Is there cross-platform play between PC, Xbox One or PS4 players?

Fortnite does offer cross-platform play between several different platforms, though it seems that some corporate red tape has restricted play between Xbox and PlayStation players for the time being. While PC, mobile and Xbox players can be matched up together, and PC, mobile and PlayStation players can be matched up together, Sony seems to have issues allowing cross-platform play with other consoles.

MORE: Fortnite Cross-Platform Guide: Who You Can (And Can't) Play

What are V-Bucks?

V-Bucks are the premium currency of Fortnite that are used to buy cosmetic items in the shop. Cosmetics include character skins, dances, glider skins and pickax skins. What’s on offer can change from day to day, so check back often for the skins you’ve been looking for. One V-buck is about equal to a penny, and the fewest you can buy at once is 500 which is listed at $4.99.

I see other players using cool skins and costumes, like the raven skin, how do I get these?

Player costumes can be bought with V-Bucks at any time, and some skins are earned through the Battle Pass or the Free Pass as you complete challenges. However, the same skins are not always available to earn or to buy. Every day the store cycles through new inventory that can be bought with V-Bucks, so check back frequently for skins you want. Battle Pass skins change out with every content season, which usually lasts two or three months.

Occasionally, very special skins are offered for a premium price. The raven skin is a very detailed skin sold in early April for a short time for a hefty $20, and is no longer for sale. Epic may sell it again in the future, so keep your eyes peeled if you missed it.

What is the Free Pass and Battle Pass?

Fortnite Battle Royale offers a few different progression systems to give you something to work toward as you play the game and it can be a little intimidating to figure out what all of it means. The Free Pass is a tiered system that unlocks some cool freebies, like account icons and emotes every once in awhile as you complete certain challenges. The Battle Pass is a premium version that unlocks rewards more often, including more cosmetic rewards and experience boosters that will help you rank up more quickly. Access to the Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks which is $9.50 and lasts throughout the season.

What are battle stars?

In order to reach another reward tier in either the Free Pass or Battle Pass, you’ll need to earn battle stars which are handed out for various accomplishments. At any point in the lobby you can view a list of challenges, both the Battle Pass and Free Pass have their own sets of challenges that you can work through to earn battle stars. Every 10 battle stars increases your tier in both the Free Pass and Battle Pass, so if you buy a Battle Pass at tier 3, you’ll retroactively unlock any rewards you’ve already earned.

If you’re still following all that, there’s also a player account level and experience points you can earn after each match and occasionally as a reward from the Battle Pass. Increasing your player account level hands out 2 battle stars per level, 5 stars for every 5th level and 10 stars for every 10th. If all of this sounds confusing (and it kind of is), you don’t have to engage with any of it if you don’t want to. All of these unlocks are purely cosmetic and just exist to gives players a little something extra to strive for.

What are Fortnite Battle Royale’s PC system requirements?

Epic Games lists the recommended and minimum PC requirements as follows:

Recommended System Requirements:

●       Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 equivalent DX11 GPU

●       2 GByte VRAM

●       Core i5 2.8 Ghz

●       8 GB RAM

●       Windows 7/8/10 64-bit

Minimum System Requirements:

●       Intel HD 4000

●       Core i3 2.4 Ghz

●       4 GB RAM

●       Windows 7/8/10 64-bit + Mac OSX Sierra (10.12.6+)

This means even a gaming PC that hasn’t been upgraded in over 5 years can still approach the recommended settings, while most other players can still get by on just a CPU’s own integrated graphics.

MORE: The Best PCs for Playing Fortnite

How do weapons and equipment work in Fortnite Battle Royale?

Weapons work off a color-coded rarity system commonly found in games like Borderlands or Destiny. Gray-colored items will have lower stats, while purple- and orange-colored items will have better stats. This keeps you looking for equipment, even if you already have a solid loadout. The standard array of assault rifles, pistols, revolvers, shotguns and sniper rifles can be found. If you're lucky, you'll find a rocket launcher that's ideal for busting up buildings full of sneaky players.

Health is recovered from bandages and med kits that take time to apply, but you can further defend yourself by finding a shield potion to double your hit points. Once found, make sure to actually use the potion to apply the shield.

What should I know about building structures?

Once you've collected enough resources with your pickaxe to build something, you can begin assembling walls, ramps and platforms. These can work for making cover when there is none to be found, accessing high places and repairing damaged walls in buildings.

Structures take a few seconds to finish assembling, but they'll work to stop bullets or act as a ramp right away. Essentially, they're building up their hit points to max while assembling, and if that process is interrupted by an attack, the structure will be easily destroyed.

You can further modify specific parts of walls or floors to add doors, windows and other openings. Take time in the beginning to familiarize yourself with how it all works so you can throw up a defensive wall in a pinch.

Know that most free-standing objects in Fortnite can be destroyed, either with your pickaxe or by firing at them with a weapon. This includes pre-existing buildings, trees, cars, fences, almost everything can be leveled.

MORE: How to Build Like a Pro in Fortnite: Battle Royale

What should I know if I'm very familiar with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds?

If you're coming at this as a seasoned PUBG player, then you'll want to be sure of just what actions you can still do and which ones no longer work, as well as some general differences in Fortnite Battle Royale.

  • Going prone isn't an option, but you can still crouch.
  • There is no first person mode and Epic has stated no plans for including this in the future.]
  • All cover is destructible. Whether you use your pickaxe or you use a gun, all prebuilt and player-made structures can be destroyed. Firing from inside a building could go tragically wrong if your opponent pumps enough lead into the walls, leaving you out in the open.
  • You can't free-look with the camera. Looking behind you while running ahead doesn't work in Fortnite Battle Royale; you'll need to turn your body to look in a given direction.
  • It's much easier to find an attacker, thanks to bullet tracers and a damage icon that lights up in the direction you've been hit. Sound still plays a big role when you're listening for player footsteps, but it's not as difficult to find someone who's shooting at you from a distance.
  • There are no vehicles, specific body armor parts or weapon attachments. Some of these might be added into the game later on, but weapon attachments and body armor likely won't be making an appearance.
  •  There is no designation of primary weapon, secondary weapon and sidearm. You simply have five equipment slots. If you find five pistols, you can take all five if you like. Potions and bandages also take up those five slots. Ammo and crafting resources, however, do not take up space, but do have maximum amounts that can be carried.
  • The overall map size is much more compact, but you're still playing with 100 other people. This means it should only take a couple minutes before you run into another player, even if you land in some place that looks secluded. Get armed, and do it fast!

Credit: Epic Games

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  • inthecoconut
    This should help a lot of players so thanks for that! I just wanted to point out a few corrections:
    Battle Royale allows a team of 4-not 5-players.
    Duo is live and available for US and EU players. They also added supply drops.
    Scoping is a thing on snipers.
    Grenades exist in the game.