Fortnite Beginner Guide

Fortnite Beginner's Guide

How do I play Fortnite?

The Battle Royale genre was given an exclamation point when Fortnite gained traction. The game became the most popular game in the world hands down, and the room it gave Content Creators to make a name for themselves. The sheer amount of people that watch and play Fortnite far exceeds that of any other game, and while dipping our toes into the deep end may sound like a lot of fun, there’s a lot we should take note of before we can successfully go from thanking the bus driver to getting our first dub.

What is Spawn Island?

There is a little preliminary Island where we spawn into and everyone is ultimately allowed this window to connect to the lobby and do any last minute preparations they may need to before getting on the Battle Bus. This is known as Spawn Island, and while there are Mats and Equipment lying around that we can pick up and use, we can’t take any of it with us. That would give us an unfair advantage or put up into a disadvantageous situation should we land with anyone that managed to pick up a bunch of decent equipment before we landed.  It does, however, allow us some time before each match to warm up a little more and practice our aim and some quick building reactions.

It isn’t usually enough time to treat it as a warmup and you can’t actually kill anybody here, so even with the damage indicators it is hard to tell if you would actually be able to translate that performance to the game. The entire point of Spawn Island is to allot enough time for the 100 people in the lobby to connect to the match and prepare for a fight for survival.

Where should I land when I’m in the Battle Bus?

When jumping off the Battle Bus your character free falls until you equip your Glider or get low enough to the ground that the Glider comes out automatically. You can use the Glider early one to cover more distance and reach the further away places away from the Battle Bus line, or free fall as far down as you can to get to the ground faster. There are a few different ways to go about learning the game, some suggest you jump into the hot zones or places that tend to be more populated to start than others, and landing further away from the hot zones to allow proper time to learn left from right and blue from orange. I’ll go over the pros and cons to both here so that we can get as much in as soon as possible. Battle Royals are a different beast than other games we may play competitively, being third person for one, is something a lot of people may need to get used to.

When it comes to playing and trying to learn, jumping straight into the fray is going to end up causing you a lot more pain than pride. It’s easy to assume that everyone else around you is inherently better than yourself, but at the same time trial by fire may help the speed at which you do learn the game.

If this is something you want to do than there’s no real reason not to, learning the gunplay quickly is always a good idea and the only way to do that is to fight more frequently.

The biggest downside is that the unique aspect of building is not as prevalent in the beginning of the game, which makes it harder to learn that part of the game if we are dying quickly every game we play. It isn’t always the worst way to learn the game but you learn some skills more easily this way than the other way and vice versa.

When playing around the fringes of the map we can learn how to gain more materials and equipment without the pressure of constant fighting. This assists a lot with trying to learn how to quickly build and get into the habit of using all of your keys instead of just WASD left click. This isn’t the worst way to learn but offers less gunfighting and slower game progression.

Getting caught in the storm tends to be a rush of adrenaline when you realize it kills you, but it isn’t exactly that pressing of a matter and can be easily taken in the early stages of the game, being only one damage per second to your health.

The Storm is always everyone’s biggest fear, until they learn that it really isn’t all that harmful. Especially early one and is easily mitigated with a few Bandages. If you need that extra second to loot that last house, it may prove worth it even if you have to weather the storm.

What weapons are there in Fortnite?

There are a huge variety of weapons in the game from Pistols and Submachine Guns to Rocket Launchers and Gatling guns. One of the things that sets Fortnite apart from the rest of the Battle Royales is the way they factor in weapons. On top of the wide variety of weapons, a majority of the weapons have levels of rarity or power, being different colors weakest to strongest being: White, Green, Blue, Purple and Orange. Not all guns have Orange variants while some have only an Orange variant. While this works with some Equipment as well, it isn’t necessarily the correct indicator of power for those weapons or items, more so just rarity.

For beginners the best weapons to use are Assault Rifles and SMGs. THe fire rate and accuracy are easy to utilize and they are very abundant. Shotguns are also pretty simple to use but they can let you down if you aren’t used to how Fortnite and it’s gunplay works yet. Pistols and Sniper rifles are a little more tricky to use, as well as some of the other less common weapons. They are fun to use and can easily beat ARs and SMGs in the right hands, but are still more inconsistent and harder to learn right away.

Patches often change the power of some of the stuff and actually take away some of the weapons or equipment changing the Meta of what is useful and what is not, but anything can be used if the right person uses it to clinch that victory. Ammo tends to be fairly important when things start to get tense and fights break out repeatedly. Keep an eye on your ammo count and try not to take a fight that you won't be able to finish even if you wanted to. The ammo is categorized into small, medium and large bullets as well as rockets and shotgun shells. The guns in the game all use different ammo and while sometimes we like to stack guns that we like, stacking guns that share the same ammo type can be a drawback for a beginner.

It is much easier to not worry about inventory management when we know we have ammo for all of our weapons rather than carry a bunch of ammo for weapons we don't have and split very little ammo between two of them.

What equipment is there in Fortnite?

There are a lot of different types of equipment as well, they all do different things and have varying levels of both rarity and power. From the old Boogie Bomb to the very confusing Storm Flip, Equipment is very prevalent and should be learned. There are Healing, Utility, and Explosive Equipment and every single one of them should be played with and tried out as they can change any situation quickly. For now let's focus on what beginners should stock up on more than anything when they’re looting.

Healing items are arguably the second most important items in the game (cause like, gun beats juice box) and especially when playing solo, should be given two slots in your inventory. Shield take less damage than health so having the extra two slots for refilling your shield bar is a great strategy, but Health is what keeps us alive, so that third inventory slot is important for bandages or medkits. There are varying levels of healing items and the bigger it is the more time it takes to finish applying to your character.  For the first couple of days you take to learning the basics, just try to keep the smaller ones so that you can work on quickly using what you need and can continue on with your game.

There are also environmental items that you just use as you pick them up that give you small amounts of either Health or Shield.Utility items come and go, but the Classic Boogie Bomb has been around for awhile. Utility items make it easier for you to catch your opponent off guard in a fight, or help keep you alive for just that extra second it may take to find a moment to turn around.

Usually you don’t want to hold on to the Utility items for too long, they help in a pinch but are more useful in a fight than on the run. Having only 5 inventory slots make it hard to dedicate one to Utility, but something like a Storm Flip or Boogie Bomb can help keep you alive. Utility items like Shadow Bomb, Shockwave Grenades or the Bush are more than likely either better off not being used or used right away. Shadow Bomb makes moving a lot faster for a short time while Bush offers very little concealment. Shockwave grenades are much better off being used to get into and out of builds quickly, they help movement as well.

Grenades that do damage are the other thing that you would have in that same slot if you didn’t have a Storm Flip or some extra heals. They help in fights a lot but if you find an Airstrike or Stink bomb, it may make the endgame a little easier for you to win if you hold on to them.

As far as most people are concerned, Storm Flips are the most important Equipment. Everything else would be more useful during a fight and not worth hanging onto as much. However, to each their own and finding what you like to use is going to make your life easier than trying to learn what others prefer to play with.

What is building in Fortnite?

Here is the definitive thing that sets Fortnite apart from every other BR game that has come out thus far. The ability to create your own cover and even build your own vantage points and hiding places. There are a lot of things to go over here and this will be the hardest part for newcomers to learn. So take all this with a grain of salt and we will mention it in even more detail in another guide so if you don’t take this to heart, it will show up again and make it easier to focus on when we are better with gunplay and more comfortable with the normal controls. There are various different materials, ways to use them, and even some easier hotkeys to setup that we will talk about here to make that transition simple.

Wood, Brick, and Steel are the three materials you can farm in Fortnite. Wood builds the fastest but is easier to take down while Steel is the slowest to finish building but hardest to take down. Hardest isn’t really all that accurate but it withstands more punishment than Wood and should be used in the more dire situations rather than for a quick healing post.

Between Looting and Running to the next circle many players take the time to use their pickaxe and farm Materials (Mats) so that when the fight gets intense, they have the ability to build up, which is one end game strategy for victory, be above your opponent.

A lot of the time when players need a second to regroup and finish looting the enemies they just killed or to take some time to heal, it is often more dangerous to do so in the open. Unlike other BRs, in Fortnite you are able to put up a little box around yourself that protects you long enough to know that another challenger is on the way. Along with putting up a safety wall that can help get that last second heal off in time before you’re face to face, the Mats can be used to build intricate towers and ramps that allow for more versatile movement in the circle, in a specific area. When you can use the walls and ramps as cover and height advantage points, you have an edge over anyone below you without any cover that has to focus on running away from you or breaking your cover while you’re shooting at them.

There are a lot of different ways to use the Mats but the most basic have already been touched on. The real Meta in the Endgame is always more so related to the players’ abilities to outbuild and trick their opponents.Of course whoever is last alive wins, but building is a huge part of what makes that possible and watching the best of the best players makes that very apparent.

If you have a mouse with extra Macro buttons, it would probably be pretty smart to rebind those Macro keys to your building buttons to allow for the most fluid building movements while playing. If you don’t however than rebind the hotkeys to ones that are a little easier for your keyboard hand to find. For console players, I can’t help you but I would have to assume that to a certain extent it’s a little easier for y'all to use in the first place. The biggest trick is getting into the habit of utilizing the building part of the game. A lot of people that come from other BR games have never experienced the building aspect, they can loot aim and shoot all while running from the storm, but you add in materials and quick pop up cover, it becomes a bit harder to learn.

Sometimes though, it may be harder for Newcomers to learn as they’ve never played a BR before so they’re trying to learn everything else at the same time. Whichever category you fall into, you will have to learn building sooner or later, so just choose when you want to focus on that rather than the other stuff. Right now we should be playing more for fun than for bragging rights in the first place.All that being said, it is very impressive regardless of how you feel about the building aspect, when you watch people play competitively. It becomes a true measure of skill and game sense when people are able to blindly build over their opponent and still kill them. The major thing is the practice it takes to get to that point, which is our next topic.

How should I practice?

Competitive video games aren’t all that new, they’re just rising in popularity as of late. Just like with traditional sports Esports professionals have to practice almost every day. One of the things that separates the two is that there is a good chance that Esports Pros end up practicing even when they don’t mean to be. We are gamers and that means we play the games we love to play. This isn’t to say that Pro gamers don’t take a step away from their game from time to time to work on mentale, which we will get into later, but it does mean that on any given day on their time off they can probably still be found playing their game. They just may take it a little less seriously at that point.

A lot of my examples ultimately come back to pro gamers that also stream when they’re playing. They have scrim blocks and set times for practicing with their team, or squad in Fortnite’s case. When they aren’t practicing though, they can still practice just by queuing up for another game after practice or scrims.They all are playing a game they enjoy playing and that means when they are done with the standard form of their practice they will come right back to the game at some point to just play for fun which ends up being more practice.

When we are trying to learn the game we tend to play over and over the main game mode until we figure it out, and if we want to get  to the point of understanding the game on the metaphysical level the pros do, we kinda need to do that.

Keep playing the game, que into solos if you’re playing alone or try to get into squad matches with your friends and if they’re a little better than you ask them questions and take the time to learn some of the extra stuff you wouldn't have thought about otherwise.

Within reason, there is no reason you shouldn’t be playing whenever you want to and trying to learn everything you can, especially if it’s a game that you enjoy thoroughly. It actually is why we like games, we learn how they work and what we can do in them, so we play more and more.

There are other ways to practice and hone our skills however that can teach us some aspects of the game that would be arguably a little harder to just figure out by playing the main game mode more. There are plenty of secondary game modes that rotate in and out of the main menu for us to try. Some of these modes offer quick thinking and decision making, others offer dexterity and more open minded gameplay styles which translate to the Battle Royale mode pretty well.

Some of the game modes are just an even bigger Battle Royale with 50vs50 or other different takes on the game. These game modes are good to remember when we need a break from getting stomped in the BR mode.

Avoiding Tilt in Fortnite.

It’s not as prevalent when we are just starting out, but tilt is a real thing that we learn in video games. After a period of time trying to learn the game and figuring out a majority of the game and how it’s played, or at least how we like to play it. Ends up meaning that we can now get mad about the things we don’t understand. We will go into more detail in future guides on this point, but when you think you know everything, try to remember that nobody knows everything.

Keep an open mind about how things are going to go, some say confidence is key but in a Battle Royale where it’s everyone’s back against the wall at all times, it can be disastrous to walk in face first. We lose when our brains get splattered so why not try and use them at least before we lose. AIf things don’t workout in your favor, then you know for next time not to try it that way, or how to improve upon the way you tried.

Take frequent breaks, especially when it comes to shooter games. Fortnite offers a lot of ways to taunt your opponents without actively communicating with them, which is nice enough but still humiliatingly irritating. 

When the going gets tough, get going to eat some dinner or play a less tilting game. We have the power to not let anger consume us, we have every right to get upset at video games despite what our parents may have told us, at the same time, we don’t have to succumb to it and break things or even let it get to us enough that it ruins our day.

There are going to be a lot of games where we get stuffed by the RNG that comes with the BR genre. Try to remember that there’s always a next time and if we make smarter drop decisions then we can come out on top instead of getting a medkit while the other guy in our building got a pump.

Repetition is key, and so it is with getting angry. The more we allow ourselves to get mad the more mad we are going to get when we reach those worst case scenarios. Try to help keep your friends from tilting while controlling your own tilt if you are running with a squad. Just gg and go next, it is after all, just a game.

What comes next?

Fortnite is the current center of attention when it comes to Esports and there is a reason for it. It’s target audience is anybody that enjoys a good game and has 15 minutes to spare for a match. So if we want to get a little edge over our opponents remember they probably didn’t read this, and when you’re ready to take on a more serious tone and look for more wins than early deaths, make sure to check out our other guides.

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Cameron Carr

12 November 2019

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