Surviving in the eye of the storm
There are a growing number of battle royale-style games on the market, and Epic's free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale is second in popularity only to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Both games feature a survival death match among 100 players on a map with a shrinking play zone and collectable equipment. But even if you're a PUBG vet, you shouldn't expect to play Fortnite without facing any learning curve.
Whether you're new to Fortnite Battle Royale or just hoping to up your game, you'll want to check out these tips to help you survive longer and keep the edge in a firefight.
Credit: Epic Games
Land away from named locations (at first)
Just like in PUBG, there's no training mode in which to learn the game's mechanics, and the pre-match lobby lasts only a short while. You'll need to do most of your learning during a live match. To start, try landing in secluded areas, where you can get comfortable with the controls before facing a fight. If you're itching for an early combat encounter, go ahead and land at Tilted Towers.
If you're playing on a PC, rebind a few keys (take your inventory off of the "I" key, for example) and get familiar with the crafting mechanics. This will also ensure that you don't run into someone and get sent back to the lobby in the first minute of the match.
Hit the ground faster
During freefall, try to keep your character oriented at a slight angle downward rather than straight down, and wait until your glider deploys automatically. The goal is to come at your landing zone from a shallow angle, rather than straight at it. There should be a good distance between you and your desired location once your glider is open, so that you drift horizontally toward it. If you try to descend downward with your glider instead, you'll slow to a crawl and let faster players get to the guns before you.
The absolute quickest way to the ground, however, is to jump out over the ocean. Your glider deploys much later and much closer to the ground if you keep your character just next to the island while over the water. You can then go from glider to the ground in a couple of seconds once you get the hang of it, but you'll be on the edge of the map and potentially far outside of the safe zone.
Scope out a good place to land by opening your glider early
Alternatively, you can take a moment to glide above a location and determine how many other players are landing there. If you're trying to avoid an early fight, this strategy will keep you from being sent back to the lobby prematurely. You may just get lucky and land in a dense town that no one else picked;opening your glider a little early will make it easy to determine that. You can always close it and open it again later if you want to land somewhere else.
Pick your battles
If you only have a pistol and you spot someone nearby with a sniper or a rocket launcher, don’t start picking a fight you can’t win. Lay low when you’re out-gunned or when you’re outnumbered in a team match. Even if you think you have the jump on the other player, you’re still playing against the odds when someone has full armor and a powerful weapon and you’re just swinging a pickax.
Reload only when necessary
This tip is good for any shooter. It’s a bad
Listen for footsteps
The sound of footsteps will be your first line
Remember that it works both ways, other
Don't immediately kill downed enemies
While playing in Duo or Squads, players won’t immediately die when losing all of their life, and instead go into a downed state where they can’t fire back and must wait to be revived by a teammate. Many players will opt to finish the job and score the kill on downed players -- don’t. That person is out of the fight and their teammates are likely aware of your location. Fire on a standing player or simply keep an eye out for other players.
Downed players can attract teammates who want to revive that person, potentially getting them out of cover or revealing their location. This goes double for you if your teammate is downed; try not to rush immediately to their aid. Look for greedy players focused on getting the kill or wait to confirm your teammate is in a safe spot before running over.
Change your playstyle for Solo, Duo and Squads
In Solo, you can afford to be more aggressive
Duos requires more patience since each player
Squads are very different as teams are often
Look for chests for better loot
Unlike in some other games in the genre, there's a definitive way to get the best items in Fortnite. Guns and equipment are scattered inside buildings, but the real prizes are the treasure chests often located in buildings' basements or attics. You'll know one of these containers is nearby if you hear a faint angelic-choir sound. That's when you need to take the pickax you landed with and bust down walls to find the loot.
Chests will drop weapons and items in groups of about three or four, which is better than finding things one at a time and increases your odds of locating higher-quality weapons.
Know your loot colors
The weapons in Fortnite Battle Royale are color-coded by quality level. The scale, from worst to best, goes in the order of grey, green, blue, purple and golden. Each tier increases the damage stat of the weapon by a differing amount depending on the weapon. Sniper rifles see the biggest damage increase, at 10 points from tier to tier, but other guns, like pistols, will gain as little as 1 point. Magazine size and firing rates do not change between loot tiers.
Keep your inventory free of junk
It can be tempting to just pick up every gun you come across, but the last thing you want to do during a busy firefight is stumble through a clogged inventory of guns that have no ammo left and no traps you want to use. Keep two or three loaded guns of the highest quality you can find, a trap if you have one and one slot for healing items. And unless your shield is already completely full, you should never hang on to any shield potions. Drink 'em up!
Get familiar with crafting
Take time to familiarize yourself with the crafting system, because you'll need to place walls or ramps in a hurry and sometimes while taking fire. Pressing Q on PC (B on Xbox, Circle on PS4) opens the crafting menu and shows an outline in front of you of what you can build. You can make walls, windowed walls, walls with doorways, ramps and ceilings. The scroll wheel cycles through the structures you can build and right-click lets you select from the materials you have (wood, brick or metal).
Collect resources from just about any freestanding object in the game, be it a tree or a rock, a brick wall, or a parked car. Then, when stuff gets crazy, try dropping a wall or a ramp right in front of you to block bullets. Stronger materials last longer before breaking.
Know what to build and when
Plopping down a wall during a firefight can throw off your opponent's aim and block a few bullets, but it won't keep you safe. Take the split second you've earned to either reload or toss a grenade. And if you're planning on making a fortress with all that metal you've collected, you should think again. Player-made structures make for obvious targets, and even metal walls break eventually. If want to hide (hey, I'm not judging you), it's best to seek safe haven in pre-existing buildings and to close doors behind you.
Gain a height advantage
The first step to winning more shootouts is to gain the high ground over your opponent. That way, you'll have an easier time scoring headshots, while your opponent will have a harder time hitting you at all. If you don't already have the high ground, then you need to make it by building ramps. This will disguise your position, provide cover and give you a height advantage.
You shouldn't fight out in the open too often, especially at a distance. Practice dropping walls and ramps, and building towers and bridges quickly, so you're able to take these actions naturally while in combat. And don't forget to collect enough resources along the way.
Learn to build towers quickly and effectively
Since gaining the high ground is so important,
Use your camera to peek around corners
Fortnite Battle Royale is a third person game, so take full advantage of your camera’s abilities to peek around a corner without exposing yourself to other players. When placing down defensive walls or ramps during a firefight, make liberal use of the camera to spot your opponents. Try poking your head out briefly in one place to draw fire then moving to another while keeping them in view with your camera.
By the same token, take caution when approaching blind corners, especially when indoors and spaces you suspect to find other players. Someone could be watching and you’d never know.
Target a building's weak spot to destroy it faster
An easy mechanic to overlook in Fortnite Battle Royale is the targeting system that pops up when you're demolishing buildings or resources. Once you swing your pickax at something breakable, a blue circle will pop up. Aim your next strike at that circle, and whatever you're swinging at will break apart more quickly. It'll usually take three or four swings when done this way, but the task could take double that if you ignore the weak points.
Breaking objects is noisy and causes the thing you're hitting to wobble around and potentially draw attention to your location. So, you'll want to get this activity over with as soon as possible.
Don't ignore traps
In a constantly moving death-match shooter, a static floor-trap might not seem very useful, but it shouldn't go ignored. Clever placement can net you some kills and the loot that comes with them. If a trap is placed on the other side of a closed door, at the top of stairs or behind a wall you've built yourself, it can be easier than you'd expect to catch a careless player unawares.
Just don't walk on top of your own traps. That would be embarrassing.
Check out the vending machines
Scattered across the map are approximately 40 vending machines, which will cycle through different rewards. Each machine will requestwood, stone or metal as payment, and each machine will cycle through one of three things to buy, as displayed on the front. What's on offer are three random guns, which could be from any of the game's five quality tiers. The cost is 100 materials for gray, 200 for green, 300 for blue, 400 for purple and 500 for orange, with no hard limit on how many gunsyou can buy from a single machine. Guns drop with ammo.
To get a machine to cycle through its offerings faster, just hit it with your pickax once. Although a vending machine's location is static, the machine is not guaranteed to show up in every match, nor will it dispense the same items every time.
Use launch pads to re-activate your glider
One of the floor "traps" you can pick up is a launch pad that, once placed, will send you high into the air and allow you to re-open your glider. This has many applications, from simply getting to a high location, to using the glider to cover horizontal distance quickly. A launch pad can be used by anyone, an infinite number of times, and can't be picked back up once placed. So be careful about where you plop it down.
Re-opening your glider lets you move much faster than running, and is useful for suddenly closing the distance on an opponent and gaining a height advantage. It's also good for outrunning the storm if you've fallen behind.Credit: Epic Games
Use pulse grenades to jump farther
Pulse grenades are good for disorienting your opponents. Throwing one at their feet causes them to fly into the air, potentially taking lethal fall damage on the way back down. But they're also useful when thrown at your own feet to propel you across short gaps, or to gain access to high places very quickly.
A pulse grenade is also good for quickly and aggressively closing the distance on another player while gaining a slight height advantage. However, getting flung by one of these grenades won't trigger your glider to reopen, so don't fling yourself too far.
Credit: Epic Games
If you're feeling bold, try riding a rocket
For the ultimate stylish form of transport in Fortnite, you can ride rockets fired from a rocket launcher. This can help you cover large distances quickly, or just surprise your foes. This tip might be more about style over substance, but it's still good knowledge to have in a hectic situation.
The easiest way to do this is to have someone else fire a rocket horizontally in your direction, then just try to hop on top of it as it flies by. You can also ride remote-controlled rockets, and it's entirely possible to ride your own rockets by turning them around, then canceling control as it gets near you. Then, you can jump on top of it at the last second. Just be aware that rockets don't fly forever; they eventually explode.
Credit: Epic Games
Andrew Melcon is a freelance writer who specializes in covering games and gaming hardware. He's tackled everything from PC game controllers to Pokémon and PUBG and his work has appeared on sites including Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, Laptop Mag, and more.