Tips for playing Fortnite Battle Royale

I can’t stop playing Fortnite Battle Royale. Its fast pace is the perfect accompaniment to the more methodical PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, another battle royale game I love. The similarities between the two games helped ease me into Epic’s arcade shooter, but I was still hopeless early on, only occasionally making it to the final ten. 

Now I can consistently make it to the late game and score at least two or three kills every outing. Here’s a list of what I’ve learnt, and what I wish I’d known when I deployed my first glider.

Resist the urge to shoot until you’re close

Early on in my Battle Royale career I was trigger-happy. If I spotted an enemy at any range and I had the drop on them I’d usually take a pot shot. But that gave away my location, and then it was just down to who had the better aim (usually them). 

A much better idea is to tail an enemy you spot. Unlike PUBG, you can't swivel your head independently in your body in Fortnite, which makes it harder to spot threats behind you. You’ll catch up to most people because they’ll stop to loot shacks or houses. Wait until you’ve got a good shot and some nearby cover before pulling the trigger—you’re more likely to get a kill. 

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If you have a Sniper then you can naturally afford to shoot from farther away, and a headshot is normally a one-hit kill. But remember that sniper rifles are affected by bullet drop. Be more patient than you would be in PUBG armed with a Kar-98: because of Fortnite’s small map, it’s more likely there’s an enemy loitering nearby that will hear you fire. Plus, the sniper’s zoom isn’t as powerful as the 8x scopes in PUBG, so lining your shots up can prove more tricky, and ammo is more scarce. 

Throw down cover if you get shot

Building is not essential in Fortnite, but it’s useful to have some blueprints up your sleeve to whip out if somebody is taking shots at you. A simple three-walls-and-stairs combo can do wonders when you’re under fire. First, identify where the shots are coming from, and chuck down a wall facing the fire, then pop a ramp down connecting to it. Then, spin around to build walls on the remaining exposed sides to cover your flanks. If you perch just below the lip you can see over the top without putting yourself in danger. Once you locate your attacker, you can try to peek them. Ideally, use stone rather than flimsy wood when you build by right-clicking straight after you enter the build menu, just don't waste it if you can help it.  

You can get creative, too: if you’re on a mountain and hear shots from above, find a safe slope and drop down, placing floor tiles above your head to block any shots. If you’re out in the open and you don’t fancy taking on your assailant, place lots of walls immediately to break line of sight and retreat to a safer spot. You can sometimes sneak off and circle back around to catch your attacker unawares.

Oh, and make sure you place down walls in all directions if you’re trying to revive a teammate and you’re under fire—it could just save both of your lives.

Elevate in the late game

The person with the high ground in late game normally wins. Battle Royale’s plentiful hills are your friend, but you should really just build your own base from scratch. Or combine both by building a fortification on top of a hill. A small tower with staircases jutting out on the top will give you a good view of your surroundings while granting decent protection. Again, try to use stone or metal rather than wood.

Most people will build every single time late on, but I like to hold off if I haven’t been spotted. Building a base lets everyone know where you are (which will likely lead to rockets flying your way), and if the circle moves again then you might have to abandon it anyway, so play it by ear. 

If you’re playing with teammates and you decide to build a complex structure, divide up the roles. Have one person concentrate on suring up a base or building stairs to reach a good vantage point, while another flanks and scouts for enemies. Trade resources, if necessary.

Shoot wood cover

Wood is fragile. If you’re in a gunfight and somebody starts spamming wooden walls, just chew through them. Aim the most vulnerable part of the structure. If they're hiding out in a tall recon tower, take out the supports. If they're in a small box trying to heal, keep the pressure on. Topple them by any means necessary. 

I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re short of ammo (in case they carry on spamming walls), or if the other player hasn’t spotted you yet. If they don’t know you’re there, sneak closer to them in cover until they leave that spot, or until you’ve got a good angle. But always keep a weapon with a massive clip or high fire rate in your inventory if you can. Dedicate it to destruction, and you'll do just fine. 

Know the best guns for any situation

A weapon’s rarity is indicated by color: in escalating order it’s grey, green, blue, purple, and orange. Assault rifles are the best starter weapons because they’re versatile, and you should pick the automatic version over the burst fire variant unless you’ve got impeccable aim. 

But if you’re down to the last 30 or so players you’ll want something more powerful, as well as a balanced arsenal. The ideal combination is a sniper rifle, an assault rifle, and a combat shotgun or SMG. You want to be ready for a shootout at any distance. 

For the ARs, I tend to steer clear of the scoped rifle because it's weaker and its scope isn’t very good. A SCAR is what you really want. For snipers, you have a choice between a bolt action (one shot per reload) or a semi-automatic. I usually reach for the bolt action because it deals more damage per shot, though the semi-auto will let lay down more shots per minute, increasing your chances of connecting. Hunting rifles take time to master, but they're lethal in the hands of a player with excellent aim and timing. 

If you see a grenade or rocket launcher, grab it. Explosives are invaluable in the late game for blowing up buildings, and the rocket launcher in particular spits out tons of splash damage. Don't use them with taking out players in mind. Focus explosive fire on buildings to bewilder your opponent, and switch to more accurate weapons to finish the job. 

Look under stairs for ammo crates 

Peek under the stairs of every house you enter. I’ve found a ton of untouched ammo crates in houses that have already been looted, and it’s a great way to avoid running dry in the late game.

Memorize a few loot spots 

On that note, Fortnite loot is less random that in PUBG. Most of the good stuff is found in chests, which have a chance to spawn in set locations around the map. If you land in a named location (i.e., one of the big towns) then you’re almost guaranteed one, but you’re going to have to deal with a lot of enemies that are similarly geared up. Luckily there’s some good spots on the peripheries of the map.

It pays to commit a few of them to memory, and in some areas you’ve got a chance of getting four or five in a tight cluster. Make sure you land on a chest in these situations so that you can immediately grab a gun and smoke anyone who’s had the same idea. And don’t worry about being far from the action: the map is small enough that you can make it to almost any circle. 

If you insist on dropping in a main town, then make sure you land on a roof and immediately break through, because chests often spawn in attics.

Go quiet when you hear another player

Footsteps are loud in Battle Royale, and you can almost always tell when an enemy is close. But your own footsteps (and other game sounds) can sometimes make it difficult to know if someone is nearby. Use this to your advantage. If you happen to be making little sound and you hear another player clattering around, make sure you move around quietly in a crouch, because the chances are they haven’t heard you. If they’re in a house, set up an ambush to catch them on the way out.

Avoid damage by building while freefalling

Fortnite's fall damage is a bit wonky—sometimes it feels like you’ll glide down a steep hill smoothly without taking damage, sometimes you’ll just go splat. But you can get down pretty much any mountain by simply building platforms or floors on the way down. Just dive off, wait a second, and build into the rock under your feet as you’re falling, which will bring you to a halt.  

Aim for the blue target when collecting resources

I’m sure it’s obvious to most people, but it took me an embarrassing number of games until a realised that aiming for the blue circle that pops up when you're harvesting will speed up resource gathering no end (it’s just left of my head in the picture below). So, yeah, don’t be like me—do it from the off. 

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.