Fortnite: Battle Royale Guide - 13 Tips For Beginners Jumping Into Season 5
By GameSpot Staff on
Tips To Build Your Chances Of Survival
Nearly ten months after its release, Fortnite: Battle Royale continues to be a massive success. With the debut of Season 5 on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and mobile, it seems that players can't get enough of its vibrant take on the battle royale genre. But if you're reading this, chances are you're a newcomer who has taken interest in the game and wants to know what it takes to do well. The Season 5 update revamps the game's map and introduces some new mechanics, such as Rifts that teleport you high up into the air, but the core mechanics of the game remain unchanged.
While you might be familiar with the battle royale games, Fortnite is a bit different. The game continues with the last-player standing format, but adds its own twist that changes everything: you can instantly build walls and stairs, allowing you create fortifications to protect yourself.
Fortnite drops you onto an island with 99 other players, and the last player (or team) left alive wins. Though it's similar to games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, plenty of small differences make Fortnite into a very distinct experience. Knowing what to carry, when to shoot, and what to build are essential if you're going to be the last person alive on the island.
You won't find a tutorial in Fortnite: Battle Royale, so when you drop onto its island, all you have are your wits and whatever you can find along the way. Here's everything you need to know to get a strong start--and maybe survive long enough to find yourself a rocket launcher.
After a slew of mysterious teases that pre-empted the event, the Fortnite Season 5 update is finally active. With it comes a slew of fresh new content including map changes, new skins, and a new Battle Pass. Here's what you need to know about everything offered in the Season 5 update, as well as a look at the game's current weekly challenges.
If you're already a Fornite: Battle Royale veteran, check out our advanced tips guide, the six biggest mistakes that beginners make, and our guide covering all the things that we wish we knew before playing the game. Got any tips you don't see here? Let us know in the comments. And for more on our Fortnite Season 5 coverage, check from the links below.
Fortnite Season 5 Coverage:
- Fortnite Season 5 Is Live
- Fortnite Season 5 Update Adds Nintendo Switch Motion Controls
- Fortnite Season 5 Patch Notes Include New Vehicle, Map Areas, Rifts
- Fortnite Season 5: All The Skins, Back Bling, Contrails, Gliders
- Fortnite Season 5 Battle Pass: Every Reward
- Fortnite Season 5 Battle Pass: Skins, Price, Free V-Bucks, And How It Works
- Fortnite Season 5 Update Adds Nintendo Switch Motion Controls
- Fortnite Challenge Guide: Where To Search Floating Lightning Bolts
- Fortnite Challenge Guide: Where To Find Risky Reels Treasure Map
- Fortnite Offering $8 Million In Big Esports Event
Pick Your Landing Zone And Avoid Other Players
Fortnite: Battle Royale starts with 100 players dropping out of a vehicle (in this case, a flying bus) onto an island below that's littered with weapons. Check your map at the outset and watch the flight path carefully--where you land is your first big decision in Fortnite, and it can help you get off to a fighting start.
Your first order of business is weapons, and if you're new to the game, you'll also want to try to avoid other players. Weapons are mostly found inside buildings, so pick a drop location with a few structures, but try to avoid major settlements or towns along the flight path early on. Those places have great gear, but also attract a ton of players; you'll want to avoid a fight straight off until you've gotten a little more comfortable with the game. Usually, it's best to hold off jumping for a few seconds to pick your spot and stay away from the largest pack, which usually jumps as soon as the doors open. You can also set waypoints on your map screen, making it easier to locate any structures or settlements you've got in mind for looting.
You'll start your jump by skydiving, but at any time, you can follow the onscreen prompt to deploy your glider. Flipping to your glider early will make you fall slower, allowing you to cover much more distance. Use this to get away from other likely drop points that other players might be headed to, but don't take too long--the faster you hit the ground and gear up, the better. Be sure to keep an eye out for other players dropping nearby as you head down, to avoid getting ambushed or falling into a fight. Your goal is to survive, so as you're learning the ropes, it's best to let other players take each other out, rather than go looking for a battle.
The Storm Is Your Greatest Enemy
Like PUBG, Fortnite matches are dictated by "the circle"--or, in this case, "the storm." Near the start of each match, a large circle will appear on the map in a random position, dictating the eye of the storm. Outside of this circle, the approaching clouds will damage and kill you. A timer in the corner of your screen notes when the storm will contract, creating a new, tighter circle. Over the course of the match, the storm will close in more and more, shrinking the play area on the island and forcing everyone closer together until only one (or one team) remains.
This means that paying attention to the circle's location and the timer are your top priorities. You can't just run to the center of the first circle that appears in a match and stay there, because smaller circles won't always have the same center point. Often, the movement of the circle means you'll have to make a run for it to escape the storm, leaving you vulnerable to attack. Always keep the circle in mind, and know where you need to be. The best practice is to get there quickly and carefully.
Gather Resources First
When you first land on the island in Fortnite: Battle Royale, you'll be armed only with your melee pickaxe. You can fight people with it... but that's not especially effective, and will get you killed against pretty much any other weapon. The pickaxe's main use is for bashing through structures and gathering resources, the latter of which is one of the first things you want to do--provided you're far enough from other people that it won't immediately draw attention. Breaking up anything causes a commotion; for instance, you might destroy some vehicles to get a decent bounty of metal, but you risk triggering its alarm and broadcasting your location to other players.
To start: Smash walls, structures, and (especially) trees, and gather yourself at least 300 units of wood. This will supply you with key materials that can keep you alive. If you switch to the building menu, you'll see that you can cycle through a few structures, like floors, roofs, walls, and stairs. You'll need resources to build those things, so gather materials quickly before taking off toward the circle. It's much safer taking time to gather materials in the early game than it will be later on, and you can smash just about anything to get the wood, brick, and metal necessary to make stuff.
Practice Building (Especially Under Fire)
With your resources in-hand, you'll want to spend your first few matches learning the ways that buildings can help you. Building structures is Fortnite's claim to fame--and using structures creatively will get you out of trouble, help you traverse the map, and provide cover in a firefight. You don't want to be building constantly, but you need to get comfortable with the system, so that you can make whatever you want as fast as possible when things get hairy.
The build menu lets you choose a structure, its material, and its location very quickly. Once you click the button to start building something, it constructs itself automatically. This means that even under fire, building is a viable option: If you start to take fire, you can lay down a wall ahead of you to absorb some of the incoming bullets while you use it as cover and shoot back. Ramps get you over otherwise impassable terrain and can help you create instant high ground that give you an advantage over other players. It's a system that you definitely shouldn't sleep on, because it can give you serious advantages.
Just note that structures make noise as you're constructing them, and messing around in the build menu can leave you vulnerable. Player structures are also visually very conspicuous. The various materials have their pros and cons, too; brick and metal sound like the stronger materials at first blush, but using them in construction takes longer than wood, and they can be tougher to find. In touch-and-go battle situations when you need immediate cover, wood is usually the right call, while brick and metal are better saved for endgame fortifications when you expect to be in tougher fights.
As soon as you hit the ground, it's time to hunt for weapons, so head into a building and grab whatever's there. All your usable items go into one of five inventory slots, located on the bottom of your screen (that goes for guns, as well as health and support items). You'll want to get armed with whatever you can find straight away--but don't be afraid to drop things in favor of better weapons.
Weapons come in several varieties. You'll find close-range shotguns and long-range assault and sniper rifles, as well as pistols, SMGs, and occasionally rocket launchers and more. Weapons also have rarity classifications: Weapons with white auras around them and white icons in your inventory are the most common and also the weakest; green are uncommon and a little better; blue are rare and better still; purple are epic; orange are legendary; and gold are mythic. As a general rule, the higher the tier of the gun--and the better it is. Rarer weapons are often more accurate and more powerful, and come with add-ons like silencers or scopes. Swap out more common guns for rarer ones during the course of the match to increase your firepower.
You'll find a lot of these rarer guns in treasure chests, which are hidden in buildings. These are indicated by a glowing gold light and a humming sound, but they're usually hidden behind walls that you might have to destroy (or attics that you'll need to build stairs to reach). Always try to seek out chests, as they have valuable gear--such as bandages and shield potions--as well as guns. You'll definitely need all the supplies you can get if you want to be a contender in a match's late game.
The large scope of Fortnite: Battle Royale's island means that players can spread out quite a bit. Finding other people and avoiding detection are two of your main concerns in a given match, because it's easy to get ambushed or taken out from afar. Especially as matches go on and the play area contracts, you'll be closer to players--and they'll be able to hear you moving around, building, and shooting. Sound and silence are essential tools to victory, and good speakers or headphones is highly recommended to help you get a bead on what's happening around you and locating the source of sounds.
Running is a noisy way to move around, and sprinting is even louder, and even kicks up some dust behind you. You can reduce your movement sounds by crouching and moving more slowly, but note that even rotating your character creates the sound of footsteps. Doors also make a ton of racket, but in Fortnite, you'll often find it's possible to jump through a window and avoid doors entirely. You'll also want to avoid shooting unless absolutely necessary, as the sound is like raising a flag on your location--although silenced weapons help with that issue a great deal.
Finally, gathering resources with your pickaxe and building stuff makes a lot of noise, often for an extended period of time. These are essential to survival at Fortnite, but always be aware that when you smash or build things, you might be giving away your location.
Don't Fight Unless You're (Pretty) Sure You Can Win
Firefights in Fortnite, as in other Battle Royale games, can start out looking like clear victories and quickly become disasters. Your greatest advantage at all times is surprise, but you only have one life to live. This crucial fact means that often, it's better to ignore another player and stay hidden (if you can’t get the jump on them), rather than attack them and risk losing it all, even when you have great weapons.
Aiming in Fortnite is a little harrowing as well, which can make actually hitting other players tough at any kind of range. First off, you'll want to pick the right gun for the job: Up close, even a fairly common-level shotgun can be devastating with a headshot, while further away, assault rifles and sniper rifles can take people out before they know what hit them. Take your time, line up your shots, and make sure your opponent is within range so that you take them down before they can react. Survival is your most important goal, so use discretion: If you're not confident you'll be able to take down whoever's in your sights quickly and cleanly, you're probably better off letting them go.
Be Careful In The Open
Players used to PUBG know that the game often consists of sprinting across open ground, trying to get to a closing circle. In Fortnite, moving into the open is just as harrowing, because the cartoonish art style makes you more visible at a distance--and you can't get any lower to the ground than a crouch. This means picking your path when you move in the open is an essential skill to learn, and the players who live the longest typically minimize their time in the open or move smartly to different positions to avoid getting caught.
First, use structures and cover like cliffs and boulders to your advantage, to protect your back or sides and limit the areas you have to keep an eye on. Next, move quickly while in the open, and carefully and slowly when you're in cover. The human eye is built to detect movement, so you're safest when you're not in motion. You can occasionally hide among pine trees or in bushes to make yourself even tougher to spot. You'll also want to make use of Fortnite's third-person perspective to position your character to peek around corners and through doorways before you enter them, and avoid walking into an ambush (or right into someone hiding in a corner, out of your line of sight).
Another quick tip: Close doors behind you. It's an easy way to make it less obvious that you're in a building, and this makes it tougher for other players to track you.
Drink Shield Potions As Soon As You Find Them
Health in Fortnite: Battle Royale is divided into two types: your player health, which is a green bar on the bottom of your screen, and your shield, which is a blue bar--each topping out at 100 points. Shield depletes before health, and when your health is gone, you're dead. You won't start the match with a shield, however, so you'll have to find one.
Treasure chests are the places where you'll often find health items--and in particular, blue shield potions. These take up a space in your limited inventory, and since you won't start the match with a shield, it's usually best to drink these as soon as you find them, as your shield lasts until it takes damage. Shield potions come in two types. Larger shield potions give you 50 shield points, and can be stacked twice to double your health; smaller shield potions give you 25 shield. Only the larger potions can push you up to 100, though: If you use two small shield potions, you'll top out at 50 shield points.
Note that shields won't protect you from falling damage, so take care of yourself. If you can find health items like bandages and medkits, you'll likely want to hang onto them for later use (bandages give you 15 health to a max of 75, while medkits will heal you fully). A rarer healing item called Slurp Juice--which comes in a purple bottle--replenishes your shield and gives you back health over time at a rate of one point per second for 25 seconds, making it more versatile in a sticky situation. Even rarer Chug Jugs are also extremely useful, fully restoring your health and shield, but requiring 15 seconds of your time to use.
Watch For Player Buildings
As matches wear on, you're likely to start seeing player fortifications. The good news is that player buildings are usually square, blank, obvious towers... so you'll usually see them from a distance. They're great indicators of where players are staked out, so if you ever spot a tower or other fortification, you should absolutely approach it with caution--it usually means someone's waiting with a scoped rifle, hoping to take down passersby.
Often, when you’re on the ground and spot a tower, it's best to keep clear of it. Usually, fortifications suggest that players are well-stocked and ready for a fight from a distance--and if they're up high, they typically have a line-of-sight advantage. If you're looking to fight someone in a tower or other structure, you're going to want strong weapons. The newly added minigun can chew up materials like wood and brick pretty well, and tough-to-find rocket launchers can absolutely devastate fortifications. You should always try to bring the right tools for the job.
Fall damage can play a big part in some of these fights. If you can destroy the bottom of stairs or the supports of a tower, you might be able to collapse it altogether, so pay attention to how you can use the environment and the construction to your advantage.
Never Trust Cover
No cover in Fortnite is foolproof. Just about everything in the game is destructible--not just player-constructed fortifications. Even buildings on the map can all be wrecked with the right weapons; locations that feel safe generally aren't, and every wall can be destroyed in the middle of battle.
This means that even when you're hiding out or grabbing cover in a firefight, you should always be prepared to move, strafe, run, and otherwise do your best to avoid fire. Walls won't save you--and especially late in the game, the likelihood of someone bringing along a rocket launcher or minigun to a battle increases tremendously. Those things annihilate cover pretty easily, so learn not to rely on it. Mobility is often your greatest ally, so jump and build to give yourself additional advantages in battle.
Be Careful When Looting Defeated Players
Fights in Battle Royale games are almost always close calls that fill you with adrenaline, and taking down another player always comes with a rush of relief. Don't let your guard down, though; every time you fire your gun, you announce yourself, and the loot that players drop when they die makes those locations targets for other players. Immediately after winning a fight is when you need to be extra-careful.
Instead of rushing up to a dead player and going through all their gear (which can leave you very vulnerable), it's often better to take a beat, grab cover, and survey the situation. Other players might be attracted to the gunfire or spot the loot as you're on your way to grab it, allowing them to get the drop on you. Similarly, you might be able to use the dead player's loot to get the drop on them. Being careful is key to survival in Fortnite: Battle Royale--so play smart, and always expect another player lurking nearby. The same goes for the supply drops, which occasionally get ejected into the sky by the party bus as it flies overhead. The drops have great loot, but almost always attract a lot of attention, so approach them carefully.
Use This Time To Learn
Most of these tips are geared toward teaching you how to keep yourself alive in Fortnite, and it can be tempting at the start to hole up inside a building deep in the circle with the first gun you find, trying to outlast everyone else. You might even find yourself getting into the top 10 players in a match without firing a shot. It's worth it to experiment in Fortnite: Battle Royale, especially early on. Learn your capabilities and get a handle on how other people play the game. In other words: Go get yourself killed.
Finding good weapon locations, discovering how to use buildings effectively, and getting used to how guns handle in firefights is all part of what it takes to win in Battle Royale games. Fortnite matches pit you against 99 other players, so the likelihood that you're going to lose is extremely high. Embrace it, and use your first matches to build skills rather than hide out in an attempt to win. You'll do better in the long run when you start to learn the ins and outs of the game, as well as what you're comfortable with and how you can best succeed. You can also spectate other players once you're dead, which can clue you in on how more experienced players approach the game--it's a highly useful learning tool.