What We Wish We Knew
When you first pop into the free, competitive multiplayer Battle Royale version of Fortnite: Battle Royale--without first buying its cooperative counterpart--you'll find a lot that doesn't get explained. Fortnite: Battle Royale offers no tutorial to guide you through its essential mechanics, so it's up to players to discover its nuances, mostly through rigorous trial and error, spectating other players, and dying. The Battle Royale mode also features a whole bunch of guns, materials, structures, and items to learn about and understand, as well as how they interact with each other and the game's systems.
Fortnite is full of little tricks and idiosyncrasies that aren't immediately obvious, especially with its emphasis on gathering resources and building structures as part of its combat. Once you know them, however, they'll make you a much more effective player. Here are the 12 things we wish we knew about Fortnite: Battle Royale before we started playing.
Got any tips you don't see here? Let us know in the comments below. And if you're new to Fornite: Battle Royale, check out our beginner's tips guide and the six biggest mistakes that beginners make, but if you're more advanced, be sure to read our advanced tips guide. You can also check out our guide on how to build more effectively.
Aiming Matters When Gathering Resources
Whenever you start hammering away at a wall, tree, or pile of rocks to gather resources, you'll notice that a weird blue icon appears on the thing you're smacking. That little marker turns gathering resources into something more active than just holding a button down for a few seconds. You want to move your crosshair over each new blue icon with every swing of your pickaxe. This earns you the most resources you can get with each hit, and increases your harvesting efficiency--which means you'll grab more building materials and leave yourself less vulnerable.
The Shotgun Is Highly Effective
It shouldn't always be your main weapon, but it's a pretty good idea for you to have a shotgun on-hand whenever possible--even a weak one. Fortnite's shotguns have decent range and a big spread (at least for the time being), which means they're great catch-all guns for dropping already-injured targets. Time and again, we've seen players use shotguns as the clean-up hitter of their arsenal; they might fire a rocket in the vicinity of an enemy to knock out their shield, or hit them with a rifle as they close the gap, but the shotgun is often the weapon that closes the deal. Don't be afraid to use it at close- to mid-range. And aim high, because headshots can be very painful.
Crouch And Shoot
A lot of the guns in Fortnite aren't quite as accurate as in some other shooters, and that can make for tough fights, especially when you engage players at long-range. It's possible to increase your guns' accuracy in a lot of cases, though. Whenever possible to do so safely, keep still and crouch--it'll increase your accuracy, helping you take down other players more quickly. That doesn't mean you should stop dodging and stand still in the open during a heated battle... but if you spot someone on the move and are thinking about opening fire on them, you'll have an advantage if you get low and keep still.
Build To Save Yourself From Falling
Fall damage is a big deal in Fortnite. High locations are good places to set up and watch for other players, and when you get good at building, going vertical and taking the high ground is a very effective strategy. Falling off those places can be deadly, though, since shields don't absorb fall damage. Always remember that you can save yourself by using the build menu to quickly drop structures beneath you as you fall; so long as you're close enough to the wall of a tower or a cliff, you can instantly build a floor or ramp beneath you that can stop your descent and save you from certain doom. Use this trick to quickly make your escape from fortifications when someone starts shooting at you with rockets, or when you need to descend a cliff in a hurry. It's a lot easier than trying to find items to heal yourself.
Shield Potions Are Essential
Finding good guns is one thing... but really, the best way to make it through any given fight is to find shield potions. Fortnite doesn't effectively explain how its health system works, but the handiest thing to know is that blue shield potions make you more resilient to incoming fire, and they make a world of difference in any given firefight. As you loot in Fortnite, always drink shield potions right away to fire up a shield immediately, and stockpile the potions that you can't use immediately. They're worth carrying around; your character can drink a small shield potion in about two seconds, which is just fast enough to get you back on your feet as you duck around a corner or build a few quick walls to escape from an enemy.
You Have An Inventory Screen
It's not immediately apparent if you haven't played Fortnite's Save the World mode, but you have more than just the small inventory rundown at the bottom of your screen. You can access a much bigger, more detailed inventory menu--find it by pressing Up on the directional pad if you're playing with a controller, or "I" on a keyboard--and it shows everything you're carrying, including how much ammo of each type you have. The inventory menu gives you rundowns of your guns' statistics, including effective range and damage per second, which can help you decide what to hold onto and what to toss. That's the other handy thing about the inventory menu: It offers you the option to drop weapons onto the ground. Use that to hand off guns, items, or ammo to your teammates, or just to organize your inventory so that you always play with guns and items of specific types in the same slots. The repetition of knowing where you keep heals or certain guns can make it a lot easier for you to switch in a hurry.
Use Bushes And Trees For Concealment
Fortnite's cartoonish art style means that player silhouettes are pretty obvious at a distance--especially when you add in the dust trails left by sprinting across open ground. But you can find a few good places to hide, especially if you're smart about it. While many bushes are solid, you can slip inside some of them, which mostly conceals your character and make you tough to spot at a distance. The same is true of many pine trees, which you can generally duck beneath; these offer decent concealment, especially from above. Stealth can take you a long way if you're patient and don't move too much when sneaking up on people. By the same token, don't ignore those light green bushes around you. Smart players treat them like they might always be concealing someone, especially in the endgame of a match. Putting a shot or two into a bush will quickly reveal if anyone is hiding in it: Watch for the blue flash of their shield taking damage.
Throw Up Some Walls To Protect Downed Teammates
Once you hear it, it seems like a no-brainer, but this is one of those things that's easy to forget if you're used to playing other Battle Royale games. In Fortnite, you want to try to think about how you can solve problems by building--and creating a few quick fortifications can buy you precious extra seconds while you heal a teammate who has been knocked down by gunfire. Just remember to use wood if you're currently under fire; it'll build the fastest, and it can take the most punishment from other players immediately after being deployed. If you're in a rough battle situation, though, you might need multiple layers (or you might just need to leave your friend hanging while you take out the attackers).
Open Doors (Usually) Mean A Place Has Been Looted
Savvy players know that doors can tell you a lot. An open door on a building might mean someone's inside; more often, it means that someone has at least been through that building and taken all the good stuff already. By the same token, closing doors behind you is a good way to throw off other players, or to catch the unwary in ambshes. In our experience, not only are the outer doors of untouched buildings always closed in Fortnite, but so are the inner ones. If you step into a structure that you think is full of loot and start seeing open doors between rooms, it should put you on guard--it might mean someone is lying in wait ahead. Open doors are also a good indicator of buildings that you can skip altogether, to avoid wasting time searching places that have little to offer.
Traps Are A Thing
Traps are a holdover from the cooperative campaign version of Fortnite, and they pop up in Battle Royale to change some situations significantly. You'll find them occasionally in loot drops or certain locations (like mines), and you can deploy them on structures. They don't have a ton of uses, since so much of the Battle Royale experience consists of quickly hurrying from one building to the next, looting as fast as you can--but they do come up every now and then. Traps are great for leaving behind in a seemingly unlooted building in order to ruin the day of someone following you, or to place on your towers to dissuade anyone sneaking up below you. When heading into buildings, it's good practice to stand beside the front door and look inside to check for an ambush; when you do that, take a glance upward too, to ensure you're not about to stumble into somebody else's devilish plan.
The Boogie Bomb Is The Best
If you find the elusive grenade known as the Boogie Bomb, grab it. This thing is the goofiest weapon you can add to your arsenal in Fortnite right now, and it's hilarious as well as useful. When it explodes, everyone caught in its radius is forced to start dancing for five seconds, leaving them completely vulnerable to you cruising up and taking them out. It's especially handy for when you find a couple of other players already battling it out--with one bomb and a quick trigger finger, you can humiliate your opponents, eliminate them, and steal all their stuff.
Getting Good At Building Is How You Win
Grappling with all of Fortnite's systems can be tough--especially if you're using a controller. Between switching guns and building structures, the game has a lot of buttons to keep track of, and a lot of items to switch through with the shoulder buttons. But no matter what platform they're using, the best Fortnite players are expert builders. They've trained themselves through repetition to quickly construct walls, towers, bridges, and ramps in order to save their lives in the heat of battle, or give themselves a ridiculous advantage using height and cover. Though Fortnite has a lot in common with other Battle Royale games like PUBG, building is what sets it apart. If you come to this game expecting to play it like PUBG, you're going to get shut down over and over again by players who've learned to love carpentry. Get good at farming resources quickly and erecting structures even faster, if you want to be competitive!