Fortnite Survival Guide

Curious about the hottest new survival game and not sure where to start? We have the primer you need.

Fortnite: Battle Royale bears quite a few similarities another popular, 100-player shooter making the rounds lately. But it’s still chock full of its own quirks and mechanics-such as the Lego-like on-the-fly building which dominates high-level play. So we’ve put together some tips and tricks to carry new Fortnite fighters past the first tense few minutes of every match.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

Tilted Towers is a Slaughterhouse

The first thing anyone does in Fortnite: Battle Royale is pick a place to land. Luckily, the in-game map is splattered with helpful landmarks to select from and congregate around. These named areas, like Loot Lake and the Flush Factory, usually have more preset structures full of weapons, ammo, and assorted loot than anonymous buildings.

The one place you should absolutely be at least wary of, however, is Tilted Towers. This block of skyscrapers is every moth’s favorite flame. In nearly every match, players congregate here in droves right at the start. The dense collection of buildings means there’s a greater chance of finding rare gear. You’ll almost certainly have to fight for it, though-sometimes without a gun of your own.

Loot is Hiding in Plain Sight

Once you do find a place you’d like to scavenge for weapons, you should know what you’re looking for. Fortnite uses the class color scheme to denote weapon rarity: white, green, blue, purple, and orange, in that order. Higher rarities equal more body and headshot damage. So keep an eye out for those coveted orange assault rifles.

As was mentioned before, weapons and ammo tend to spawn inside of buildings. But while named locales have better odds of sporting finer arms, know that unnamed buildings (also visible on the map) often also have supplies. Look to these areas if you’re not comfortable fighting for scraps just yet.

It’s also useful to remember that Fortnite hides many of its goodies. Loot can be found inside glowing chests, as well as on the ground, although these aren’t usually visible to the naked eye. You’ll need to listen for a sort of angelic humming. This indicates that a chest is likely behind a destructible wall, floor, or ceiling that you need to break into with your trusty pickaxe. However, there’s no guarantee any given chest will contain what you need. So learn to get comfortable with a variety of weapons.

The Hows of Healing

There are essentially two “kinds” of health-hit points and shields-that react to different kinds of damage differently. They can also only be raised by certain kinds of items up to certain values. On top of that, every item requires you to stand still while using it, but for different amounts of time depending on the item, and…

Well, to simplify it, here’s a list of what heals you and how:

Bandages: These heal you for 15 hit points a pop, but only up to 75 total. They take four seconds to use.

Medkit: This is your basic, although slightly rare, full healing item. It takes 10 seconds to use, but will heal you to 100 hit points no matter how low you are.

Small Shield Potion: Shields are a kind of second health bar over your hit points. They absorb damage just the same as regular health, but won’t protect you from fall damage or if you step outside the eye of the storm. Small potions will give you 25 shields, up to a maximum of 50, and take two seconds to drink.

Shield Potion: These grant 50 shields up to the maximum of 100. They take five seconds to drink.

Slurp Juice: This takes two seconds to drink, but grants both 25 health and shields over 25 seconds, up to both maximums of 100.

Chug Jug: This sucker is exceedingly rare and takes a full 15 seconds to, uh, chug. The upside is that it will give you maximum health and shields.

Cozy Campfire: You deploy the Cozy Campfire from the building menu. It heals 50 hit points over 25 seconds to anyone nearby. Which means it’ll effect your teammates, too.

Crafting Materials

Fortnite isn’t just about destroying, however. Part of what makes it so different from other “battle royale” games is its building system. You can create your own walls, floors, stairs, and ceilings from wood, stone, and metal gathered using your pickaxe.

Just like weapons, different materials are more powerful than others. Metal is sturdier than stone, which is sturdier than wood. That said, barriers made out of chintzy materials will reach their full strength faster than sturdier ones. It’s also easier to find wood in greater quantities than, say, metal.

Once you have a healthy arsenal (and feel safe enough) you should gather at least some building materials. Fortnite doesn’t have any traditional vehicles, so walking on foot to keep inside its ever-shrinking eye of the storm-outside of which you’ll take endless damage-can be a lengthy process without much cover. Building walls at a moment’s notice is sometimes the only way to protect yourself from sudden sniper fire in open fields.

The Basics of Building

Building complex structures on the fly in Fortnite: Battle Royale is typically what separates the high-level players from everyone else. As such, this guide won’t go into all of the most incredible things you can (and might need to) do with walls and ceilings. But we will explain some otherwise unexplained quirks of the game’s system. To that end, we also recommend at least checking out the game’s cooperative “Save the World” mode for a more hands-on building tutorial.

Weaker structures build faster than strong ones. When you set down a tile of wood, stone, or metal you’ll see it start to fill in around a transparent outline. That’s not just cosmetic. It actually indicates that the fortification is gathering hit points over time. Only when the outline is all the way filled out does the tile have its maximum health-meaning it’s that much more vulnerable to enemy fire before it’s finished. But while stronger materials have more maximum health, weaker ones tend to build faster. That means that, in a pinch, wooden walls may actual provide better protection than stone ones.

You can walk through your own structures. That is, if you’re already standing in them when you start building. This is especially useful when laying down stairs. You can build them at your own feet to create a rising barrier, then jump up and out of the transparent outline, landing back down on it to make it solid.

You can edit your own structures after they’re built. Nothing you create is completely set in stone (even the stuff literally made from stone). Walls and floors especially benefit from adding peep holes to shoot or throw grenades through. You can even instantly alter the floors you set down to suddenly drop an unsuspecting enemy to their death without needing to slowly break it. Good luck catching them off-guard, though.

Destroying the base of a structure topples the whole damn thing. It’s not uncommon for players to build bridges to cross between hills, or towers to buy time and distance so they can heal. The major problem with this is that all structures must have at least one piece which connects them to the ground. If they lose that strut, the whole thing starts to unravel from the bottom up. This is a very effective way to ruin a poorly prepared player’s day-and potentially win games-without facing your foes head-on.

Bonus Tips

Damaged structures have visible health bars and may indicate nearby players.

Firearms-particularly the minigun-damage buildings faster than your pickaxe.

Spike traps can be applied to any flat, constructed surface. They also do 125 damage-enough to instantly kill anyone without shields.

You pick up ammo, traps, and materials automatically just by walking over them.

Build stairs going downwards to get down from high places to avoid fall damage.

Rooftops are another sneaky place to find hidden supplies. Try landing on them at the start of a match, then drill your way down to save on materials.

Good luck, and happy building!

Disclosure: Fortnite developer Epic Games is partially owned by Tencent, which also owns ZAM Network. Epic Games had no input into the creation of this guide.