What's the deal with... Fortnite: Battle Royale?

Tips and tricks to the PUBG-like

Fortnite’s Battle Royale game mode went free for everyone, not just owners of the game, earlier this week. Since then, Epic Games have said that more than a million players have jumped into their cartoony battle to the death. But just what is driving all these people to fight and build their way to the last player standing? If you’re looking to find out some tips for Fortnite Battle Royale then we’ve got the game’s basics covered for you here.

It’s not PUBG

While Brendan Greene and Bluehole Studio may contest as much, this entry into the ‘airdrop onto a map to pick up weapons and kill everyone while a lethal circle closes in around you’ genre isn’t PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Of course, it contains almost all the same notes and beats as its wildly successful predecessor, but with the important addition of its base game’s DNA.

Fortnite is a sort of survival sandbox, with the ability to build structures after scavenging for resources and weapons. In the Battle Royale game mode, this gives you the ability not just to create your own cover – or if the circles favour you long enough, construct bases – but also destroy existing cover.

Dropping in

Every player begins the game skydiving out of the battle bus, a school bus attached to a hot air balloon powered by the game universe’s favorite fuel BlueGlo. After gliding to the ground (which can take you in much greater horizontal distances from the flight path than PUBG’s parachutes) you then start with just a pickaxe.

Using this pickaxe you can destroy anything, pretty much, for resources. It also gives you the ability to make entrances to buildings where there previously were none. This makes the sort of positional standoffs that result from a battle royale situation a lot more fluid. Enemy holed up with your only exit route in their sights? Knock through a wall. Want to surprise someone cooped up in a building? Smash the roof. The simple impermanence of the map turns the feel of the game on its head.

Gunning for it

The weapons are your standard mix of shotguns, assault rifles and snipers with each accompanying ammo type to match. Looting buildings or other players who you’ve killed is the best means of accruing your arsenal. You can carry more than just two primary weapons but can only equip two at any time, and messing with your inventory requires you to stand still for a moment, so hotswapping in the heat of battle isn’t advised.

Weapon behaviour is also pretty different from a lot of other games with gunplay. Snipers have insane bullet velocities, as in the travel times are extremely long. There’s also a lot of drop, so be prepared to lead far-off targets as if you’re firing a grenade launcher. Shotguns are still good up-close one-shotters but assault rifles have pretty wild spray patterns and may not be suited for any further than close-mid-range encounters.

Another thing to note about weapons is that they come in different rarities, from common to legendary up the scale from gray, green, blue, purple and orange. If you’ve ever played a Blizzard game you know how this works. Weapons have their corresponding rarity as a glowing outline, so if you come across a higher rarity then grab it, they’re always better.

Rarity affects the sorts of mods a weapon has. Rarer weapons will have scopes, and are very hard to come by. Scopes are unbelievably useful in a game about keeping engagement distance advantages over your opponents.

Health and armor

Alongside weapons and ammo to scavenge, there are also bandages, medkits and shield potions. Bandages are your basic HP regen item, restoring 15 points of health each and dropping in stacks of five. You can’t heal all the way with these though, but they’re good for top ups if you have nothing else.

Medkits will heal you for 100hp, but you can only carry a maximum of three at a time. Shield potions are Fortnite’s answer to armor. They’ll add another 50hp on top of your existing health bar as shields. Once they’re shredded through they’re gone, but if you find more shield potions you can keep yourself harder to kill.

Extra goodies

On top of all those usual basics to be looted from buildings or corpses, there are some special items to help with the base-building aspect. Resources can be found by knocking down anything with your pickaxe, really. Wood, stone or metal in an ascending order of strength popularised by fables of the big bad wolf.

But as well as that, rarely you might find traps such as shockers or activated-spikes which you can place above or below doorways. These will either be rarely lying around on the floor of buildings you loot, or inside chests. Chests are usually hidden somewhere in the map and require you to listen out for the faint aura of glittering gold. Sometimes they may be hidden in the attic or crawlspace of a building and you’ll need to destroy walls or ceilings and build ramps to get to them.

Careful while treasure hunting though, that all makes an awful racket and someone could easily find and kill you. Or you might lose track of time and the Storm Eye might close without you.

So what is it?

Fortnite Battle Royale appears to be...a battle royale game. It’s a shock, and we can wait for you to come to terms with this information, but it’s true. What’s more important than that, though, is that it is a free battle royale game, on consoles, right now. PUBG is a little while off arriving on the Xbox so if you want your fix then this is an absolutely acceptable alternative.

If you’re really looking for the cracks, though, this is definitely its own game. The way the inventory system, shield system and weapon gunplay work are all very different, and that’s before taking into account the base-building. It’s abusable at times but never an absolute advantage thanks to destructibility in the world. So that’s Fortnite Battle Royale: a game about killing everyone until you are the last person in a game.


Chris is the captain of the good ship AllGamers, which would explain everything you're seeing here. Get in touch to talk about work or the $6 million Echo Slam by emailing chris.higgins@allgamers.com or finding him on Twitter. 

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