Fortnite 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Fortnite Battle Royale – Everything To Know
Fortnite Battle Royale can seem like a lot to take in when you first start playing the game. The game does little in terms of telling you what you need to do and instead throws you straight into the deep end. This can seem intimidating to a new player. To help make your time with the game better, I’ve thrown together this beginner’s guide to Fortnite Battle Royale. Below I will cover all major aspects of the game for beginner players. Note: If you’re an elite player, this guide won’t be useful to you.
What are Battle Royale Games?
Battle royale is a genre of video games which blends elements of survival, exploration and scavenging, with last man standing gameplay. A typical match in a battle royale game involves players starting undergeared and gradually improving gear through finding or fighting for better loot. Once a match is complete, the next match resets you back to that undergeared state.
Currently there are a number of battle royale games on the market. What differs between games is how they approach the genre. Below is a brief list of some of the more popular battle royale games:
- Fortnite Battle Royale
- PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds
- H1Z1 Battle Royale
- Ark: Survival of the Fittest
- Arma III Battle Royale Mods
What makes battle royale games popular is their competitive pvp, sandbox elements, ease of access, and short match times. This recipe of gameplay elements has proven to be a major hit with gamers.
What is Fortnite Battle Royale?
Back in July of 2017, Epic Games released an Early Access title called Fortnite. Fortnite launched as a 3rd person cooperative base-builder with emphasis on surviving wave after wave of enemies. While Fortnite’s original design brought in a modest audience, the game was nowhere near the level of popularity it currently has. The major explosion in audience size and popularity occured with the release of Fortnite Battle Royale.
In September of 2017, Epic announced a somewhat surprising standalone mode under the Fortnite umbrella called Fortnite Battle Royale. Fortnite Battle Royale took the battle royale genre (I’ll explain more below) and added a Fortnite twist to it with the addition of building mechanics. Epic’s decision to create a battle royale variant of Fortnite has proved to be a good one. Fortnite Battle Royale is now one of the most popular and widely played games on the video game market currently.
Where to Download Fortnite Battle Royale?
One of the nice things about Fortnite Battle Royale is that it’s free to play on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and mobile (soon). This means the game is easy to acquire and involves no financial investment on the player’s part. The only requirement is to have access to an internet connection. You have internet and you can get Fortnite Battle Royal. Below are links to help you find Fortnite Battle Royale downloads on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Mobile.
- PC – https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/buy-now/battle-royale
- Xbox One – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/fortnite-battle-royale/bt5p2x999vh2
- PS4 – https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/fortnite-ps4/
- Mobile –Early Access on iOS with Android coming later in 2018.
Fortnite Battle Royale Basics – Point of Game, Hud, Controls, Free To Play Economy, Combat, and Building
Before we look at a typical match, let me introduce you to the basics of Fortnite Battle Royale. This section will focus on the point of the game, the HUD, controls, and building. If you aren’t interested in these sections, jump to the how to play Fortnite section below, where we walk through a typical game.
Point of Fortnite Battle Royale?
The point of Fortnite Battle Royale is to (first) have fun and survive long enough to take the #1 spot. A typical match of Fortnite Battle Royale takes place between you and 99 other players on an island. When you start the game, you and your opponents will have no resources, weapons or shields. Upon landing, you want to collect resources, weapons and shields in order to survive a match. As time passes, a static storm encircles the island, gradually limiting the play area, forcing players to engage one another in combat. Once there is a single player/duo/group left standing, the match ends. Completing matches earns you xp which unlocks new cosmetic items like skins, pickaxes, emotes and more.
Fortnite Battle Royale HUD
Now that we’ve talked about the goal of Fortnite Battle Royale, let’s take a look at the screen you will be spending most of your time looking at – the HUD (head-up display). The HUD in Fortnite is where you receive valuable information that can help you survive a match. This information is displayed on your screen and can be helpful to understand. Let’s take a look at each HUD element of Fortnite Battle Royale.
- In this area you see the gamertag, shield/health, and mic activity of anyone in your party. This can be useful in Duos and Groups as you can see how your teammates are doing and also see who is talking.
- This is your characters health and shield. Health is in green and shield is in blue. Max you can have in both is 100, for a total of 200 hit points.
- Ammo loaded and ammo reserve. The left number is how many bullets are currently loaded in the gun that’s out, while the right number is how many bullets you have available to load.
- This section is where you see current inventory. As you can see, I have a pickaxe and pump shotgun of the grey variety in my inventory. You can have up to 6 items in your inventory which includes health (bandages/first aid), shield potions (small/big/slurp), camo (bush), and weapons. Certain items stack, meaning you can have multiples of healing supplies & shields in your inventory.
- Since Fortnite Battle Royale features a building mode, this portion of the HUD highlights that mode. You need to switch to the mode (by pressing Q/equivalent button) and then select what you want to build. The build options are wall, floor, stairs, or roof. The fifth spot (empty spot) is for prebuilt items you will find while scavenging including traps, campfires, and launch pads.
- Shows the amount of resources you have collected. The three resources you can collect in Fortnite Battle Royale are wood, stone, and metal.
- Open map or inventory prompts.
- How long you have until the static storm begins to move.
- The amount of players still alive in your game.
- How many kills you have gotten in game.
- Compass with degrees which is especially good for calling out enemy player’s locations in Duo and Group modes.
Fortnite Battle Royale Controls
Fortnite Battle Royale can be played on a number of different systems including the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. With so many available platforms, it means there are a number of different control input schemes. Above you will find the Standard controller profiles for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers. There are a two other profiles you can use for controllers, Combat Pro (PS4, Xbox One) and Quick Builder (PS4, Xbox One). I omitted Keyboard & Mouse as that control scheme can be binded to your input needs. Regardless of which control scheme you use, I recommend experimenting until you find the one you like.
Fortnite Battle Royale Free To Play Elements
Fortnite Battle Royale is free to play, which may have you wondering what the free to play elements of the game are. Like other battle royale games, everything purchasable in Fortnite Battle Royale is strictly cosmetic in nature, meaning there is no gameplay ‘edge’ from buying items. If you want to spend real world money, there are a couple of avenues for you to do that.
The first purchase avenue is through the Fortnite Battle Royale item store which features a number of single cosmetic items for sale. By converting your real world dollars into the game’s V-Bucks (via the Store tab), you can purchase various cosmetics items from a selection which refreshes both daily (called Daily Items) and weekly (Featured Items).
If the idea of buying individual items doesn’t appeal to you, there is also each season’s Battle Pass (currently on Season 3), which features unlockable rewards for a limited time. The Battle Pass serves as a sort of meta game by introducing a number of boosts and challenges for you to complete to unlock cosmetic items as you level up. In the current Battle Pass there are 100 levels to unlock and 100 cosmetic items to earn.
Combat in Fortnite Battle Royale is third-person with both melee and guns being the primary means of inflicting damage. Melee combat involves using the starting pickaxe to deal damage, while guns come in a number of different forms and shapes.
There are a number of weapons available to use in the competitive mode, but not all of them are created equally. Let’s take a look at the weapon classes at your disposal and highlight each weapon you will find within.
- Suppressed Pistol
- Hand Cannon
- Assault Rifles
- Submachine Guns
- Heavy Shotgun
- Sniper Rifles
- Hunting Rifle
- Grenade Launchers
- Rocket Launchers
- Guided Missile
- Boogie Bomb
Building Materials and Building in General
Unlike other battle royale games on the market, Fortnite Battle Royale features an interesting building mode that changes how combat is approached. Players with the necessary resources are able to build various structures on the battlefield in an effort to gain tactical advantages over their competition. To really utilize this system, you will want to gather resources throughout a match. Here’s what resources are available to gather and what they do:
- Wood: Weakest and most abundant resource in Fornite Battle Royale. Can be gathered by using your pickaxe on any sort of ‘wood’ looking objects, or found inside bundles in chests.
- Stone: Stone is middle of the road in terms of strength. It is slightly stronger than wood, but still not quite as strong as metal. Can be acquired by using your pickaxe on any sort of ‘stone’ looking objects, or found inside bundles in chests.
- Metal: The strongest resource available (currently) in Fortnite Battle Royale. Building with metal offers the maximum protection in a building piece. This material is acquired by mining metal objects which fairly rare, or found inside bundles in chests.
Once you’ve acquired materials, you can begin to build things. There are four types of building pieces you can make: walls, floors, stairs, and roofs. Each build piece offers its own benefit, but you will more than likely find yourself building stairs and walls most often.
- Wall: Build a wall piece in front of the player. Use this to mitigate attack damage from head on. Good form of mobile cover.
- Floor: Build a floor piece under the player. Use this when building up, or building structures like towers, etc.
- Stairs: Probably the most used piece. Builds a set of stairs in front of players. This piece has a ton of usage including accessing higher areas, avoiding direct damage, or allowing for quick verticality midfight. Good form of mobile cover.
- Roof: Not really used all that often. This piece builds a roof. Can be used to hunker down in endgame build scenarios if you need to safely heal with campfire etc.
How to Play Fortnite Battle Royale?
Once you have your copy of Fortnite Battle Royale, you’re probably interested in learning how to play it. Fear not, as I will layout how to play Epic’s popular battle royale below.
A Typical Game
When you begin Fortnite Battle Royale, you will have a choice of game modes: Solo, Duo, Squad, and Special Event.
- Solo = 100 solo players in a battle royale.
- Duo = 50 teams of 2 face off in a battle royale.
- Squad = 25 teams of 4 face off in battle royale.
- Special Event = Timed events released periodically by Epic Games (Previous – 50v50; Teams of 20; Blitz!)
Depending on which game mode you feel like playing will determine which game mode you select. Modes like Solo are fun if you just want to dive right into a game alone, while Duo and Squad can be fun with your friends.
After you’ve selected the game mode you wish to play, you will queue up and join the pregame island. Here you are able to briefly run around with other players in your match, try out different weapons lying about, gather materials and even build things. The pregame island is a good place to get comfortable with weapons and building, but the time frame you have there is usually pretty short. Once the the match is full, you will be moved to the Battle Bus.
The Battle Bus is where you start every round of Fortnite Battle Royale. It will start in a random spot and cross the entire island. From the time the “doors open”, you have 36 seconds to choose when to jump. Failing to do so results in being forced out at the very edge of the island. When you do jump, you will start free falling towards the Island. During the freefall you can deploy your Slipstream (aka a glider) to glide towards a landmark you want to land at. Triggering your Slipstream when you are high up is usually a bad idea as most of the other players will beat you to the ground.
When riding in the Battle Bus, you want to use your map to map out where you want to land. Depending on how you play the game will determine your approach to landing. If you want to engage with others immediately upon landing, select landmarks that are popular landing spots among players.
On The Island – Scavenging/Gearing Phase
Once you make it to the island, the real game begins. How you choose to play Fortnite Battle Royale is a largely up to you (trying to kill everyone, hiding, etc.), but I will highlight the two main portions of a typical match: scavenging/gearing and endgame below.
The scavenging portion of Fortnite Battle Royale mainly takes place at the beginning of the match. Since all players are equally weak upon landing, the goal here is to gather enough supplies to begin killing opponents. Here are some tips for this stage:
- Guns, Guns, More Guns: Upon landing, your primary focus should be on getting a weapon. Having a weapon when others around you do not, gives you a major tactical advantage. This is especially relevant, since the Pickaxe (which everyone starts with), does a mere 10 dmg per hit.
- Shields: Getting a gun should be top priority, but close behind that is collecting shields. Look for blue vials in the area you land, so you can take more damage.
- Resources: While collecting the above items, be on the lookout for resources. Having a lot of resources on hand will help you in the endgame portion of a Fortnite Battle Royale match, as this is when building really comes into play (since the play area is usually small).
Fortnite Battle Royale feature as item rarity system which impacts the rarity and usefulness of items you scavenge. There are a total of five rarities of items you can scavenge/find in FBR. These rarities are:
- Common – Grey
- Uncommon – Green
- Rare – Blue
- Epic – Purple
- Legendary – Orange
The items you can find in each tier of rarity range from weapons and building materials (such as traps), to consumables and disguises. When dealing with the Item Rarity system in Fortnite Battle Royale, always keep in mind that the more rare an item, the better its inherent properties. For example, a grey Assault Rifle does far less DPS than an orange Special Combat Assault Rifle.
To acquire rarer items, you want to do a couple of things. The first is to look for chests in areas. Chests in Fortnite Battle Royale are a primary means of acquiring higher level loot. To find chests, listen for the distinct audio cue the give off. You can also consult a secondary resource, such as http://fortnitechests.info/ to see where chests typically spawn in each biome.
The second way you can acquire rarer items is by engaging and defeating other plays. Since most of the first half of a typical Fortnite Battle Royale match is spent scavenging/gearing, many people are running around with good gear on their characters. Defeating an enemy player results in a loot explosion which can be beneficial to you to scavenge from.
Static Storm – Movement
During the initial phase of a Fortnite Battle Royale match, you want to scavenge items and gear up. While this major gameplay element is occuring, you want to keep an eye on the movement of the Static Storm. Since the Static Storm restricts the the available geography of the island, you want to watch where it moves to (being caught in the storm results in you taking damage until you die). The key is to move in towards the safe areas of the island to avoid the storm.
On The Island – Endgame
As you survive and enter the “endgame” section of a Fortnite Battle Royale match, you will begin to notice a shift in how the game plays. During the Gearing phase you will be much more mobile and constantly on the move (as will your opponents). Once Endgame is reached (when the Storm circle is small and there are a few players left alive) players will begin to utilize building much more often. In this phase you want to be far more strategic, utilizing the resources you’ve collected in the Gearing phase to your advantage. For example, if you have a sniper rifle and are good with it, you may want to stay towards the edge of the circle or hole up in areas of highest elevation.
Tips & Tricks
- Practice: Like anything, Fortnite Battle Royale is all about practicing to get better. Spend time playing the game and you will learn the nuances of it.
- Buddy Up: While play FBR solo is fine, the game itself benefits from being played with friends. This is especially true if you have friends who are good at the game and can teach you about it.
- Stay Up to Date: Fortnite Battle Royale gets updated constantly. Make sure you stay up to date on what has dropped in the newest patch notes.
- Let me know of more tips to add here.
Our beginner’s guide to Fortnite Battle Royale is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. However, there are a number of outside sources which can be beneficial to you if you want more resources to learn about Fortnite. These sources can be found below and should be viewed for there value. Things like videos and streams are especially beneficial, as you can see high level players in action.
- Streams on Twitch and YouTube.
- thatdenverguys’s 9 common mistakes new players make.
- fnbr.co if you want to see all skins/pickaxes/store updates/emotes/etc.
- Fortnite Tracker for weapon stats/loot chances/challenges.
- Fortnite Twitter Account
- Let me know other resources to put here in The Pit below.