Every thing I know about Fortnite is from my son, Owen. But I see a lot of, ahem, older people now talking about it so I asked him to write an overview for our readers on playing it and some of its strategies–and to keep him from playing for a few hours. As he told me, he “wrecks old people,” and he wins about 10% of the solo games he plays, and usually advances pretty far. In the five solo games I watched to “research,” he did not win but came in 2nd twice, in some exciting closing moments.
Fortnite Battle Royale has taken the gaming world by storm. This free-to-play game has many teens, children, and adults hooked with players constantly seeking out how they can play more and better. Battle Royale is a recently developed style of video game, and games implementing this style have tended to be among the most popular FPS’s (First Person Shooters) in recent years. Now, old people are starting to play it (ed. note: people over 25 count as old) and so I’ll try to explain how to look not quite as bad at it, like this guy.
In battle royale, only one team or player can come out on top, so unless you are one of the top players worldwide you are winning less than 8-10% of your matches. You can play in solo matches (everyone for themselves), duos, or squads (teams of 3-4). One of my personal favorite things about playing Fortnite is just playing with some friends in squad matches.
Sometimes updates will contain LTM’s or Limited Time Modes where the game is altered to provide a unique experience such as: explosives only, snipers only, or 50 v. 50 matches. These LTM’s are fun experiences for when you are just trying to relax and play with a group of friends.
A typical Fortnite match will last around 18-20 minutes, if you make it all the way to the end, but the time you’re actual fighting just depends on your playstyle.
In a battle royale, you typically start out in a lobby with around 100 other online players. You start with nothing and your first job is to decide a landing spot for you or your team, so you can gear up and prepare to progress further into the match. There are so many unique paths to take to get a win, and different playing styles.
Some players tend to hide and only take the engagements that are necessary to stay alive, not risking more for a small weapon upgrade. Others may land in “hot drops” where you have the potential of a higher concentration of gear and can kill 3-4 other players within the first 2 minutes of the match, but you could also be eliminated quickly.
The most popular “hot zones” on the map include Tilted Towers, Retail Row, and Pleasant Park. Personally, I only really land in these hot zones in squads or duos, because it can be very chaotic at the start. If you are new to the game, it can be overwhelming for you. I mix it up for variety, but one of my favorite starting strategy for solos, and one I recommend if you are a newer player, is take a “low risk, high reward” strategy where you gear up away from the heaviest action.
How I usually go about my game when trying to execute this strategy is I land in Lonely Lodge, a weaker drop spot located on the northeast corner of the map. Then, I take my time looting there and fighting off the maybe 2-3 other players landing there, and by the time I leave I have all the guns I need, and over 500 in wood for building.
Usually by that time, about half the lobby has been eliminated. Now this is where the high reward comes into play. Retail Row, one of the hot spots I talked about earlier, is located just southwest of Lonely Lodge and by the time I work my way there only about 1-2 players remain, and then I can have all the weapons and supplies in Retail while only having to kill 1-2 people (when you get a kill, you can take all the supplies from your victim).
One thing you have to be prepared for is that a circle boundary tightens and pushes players together as the game progresses, and players remaining outside the zone will gradually take damage until they die. The specific edges of the boundary change for each game. When you employ the strategy landing further away from the center of the map, you have to be prepared to move.
Building is one of the most important aspects of the game, only second to positioning. If you can’t build quickly and effectively you greatly decrease your odds of winning your matches. When I start shooting someone and they immediately run for cover instead of sticking up a few walls and a ramp, I get so happy because it makes it about 3x easier to kill that player. Most of the time if you have good aim and can hit those medium-long range headshots you can pick the player off before they even reach cover. If not, they are usually weak and you can rush them and finish them with one shotgun shot.
If there was one major tip I could give newer players who are familiar with shooting games but new to Fortnite, it is to drop in the middle of nowhere with a lot of trees and just practice building a 1×1 box with a ramp inside as fast as possible ,and develop your building skills. You’ll need that expertise if you want to win showdowns as the game progresses. When you put ramps down to “push” someone and get the height advantage on them, you also want to place a wall in front of your ramp so they can’t destroy your ramps as easily.
Fortnite constantly stays fresh and new because the creators of the game add new items each week like weapons, grenades, cosmetics, landing spots and more, leaving players feeling like the developers really care about the game and will continue to provide new content. Every single game in Fortnite provides a new sequence of events to traverse to try and win the game, which makes you as the player feel like you have options such as what to carry in your inventory or what path to take to the circle.
Since Fortnite Battle Royale is a free-to-play game they have to make their money somehow on a game with this much popularity, so the game has in-app purchases. This in-game currency allows players to purchase things like skins and emotes that provide no tactical advantage, but can give your gameplay some style. If the developers aren’t dropping a new update usually they will have a new cosmetic item for the week.
The best “bang for your buck” is the battle pass, costing about $10, and a new one is released at the start of every season, typically lasts for 2-3 months, and allows you to rank up and includes 10-15 cosmetic items give-or-take a few.
Season 4 starts today and it will be exciting to see all the details. The biggest change to the map is that a comet has destroyed Dusty Depot, right in the center of the map (between those hot zones of Retail Row and Tilted Towers). Looks like this game is staying on top so you haven’t already grabbed your controller, keyboard, or even mobile phone go ahead and try to go for that Victory Royale.