Fortnite, an incredibly popular free-to-play PC game, is the latest title to capitalize on the battle royale craze.
Fortnite distinguishes itself with cartoon-style graphics and unique construction mechanics, but the premise is familiar. Your goal is to be the last person, squad, or team left alive in a round. That’s easier said than done, of course, since each match includes 99 other players, all of whom have the same goal. Although the four-person Squad or 50 vs. 50 team modes can dramatically reduce the number of enemy combatants, you still compete indirectly with your teammates to get the best score.
The best way to improve your Fortnite performance is to dive into the game for a few hours and get first-hand experience. Fortnite is more accessible than Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) ($29.99 at Amazon) , and you are likely to fare better without as much experience. Still, there’s no harm in familiarizing yourself with some basic mechanics and strategies beforehand. Although we can’t guarantee these tips will propel you to a first-place finish, following them will improve your chances. Luck, after all, determines many of the outcomes in these types of games.
If you have any secret paths to victory, feel free to leave a comment below. We always like to hear from our readers.
1. Check Fortnite’s System Requirements
Fortnite is available on a wide range of platforms, but you need to make sure all your devices meet the minimum requirements if you plan to play everywhere. Check out the requirements below for each platform.
PC and Mac Requirements for Fortnite:
For PCs and Macs, Epic Games requires at least an Intel HD 4000 or Iris Pro 5200 GPU, a Core i3 2.4GHz CPU, and 4GB of RAM. The recommended specs demand more powerful hardware: a Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 equivalent DX11 GPU with 2GB VRAM, a Core i5 2.8GHz CPU, and 8GB of RAM. Fortnite also requires your machine to run at least the Windows 7 or macOS X Sierra (10.12.6) operating systems. Note that your macOS device must also support the Metal API.
For reference, Fortnite takes up about 20GB of disk space. I tested Fortnite on my Dell Inspiron 5675 gaming PC running Windows 10. My system features a Ryzen 1700X CPU, Radeon 580 8GB GPU, and 32GB of RAM. At the highest settings and 1080p resolution, the game ran at around 70 frames per second according to the FRAPS tool.
iPhone and iPad Requirements for Fortnite:
If you want to play Fortnite on an iPhone, make sure your model is one of the following: SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, or X. If you want to play Fortnite on an iPad, you need one of the following models: mini 4, Air 2, 2017, or Pro. Interested players can download the game from the App Store or head over to the website for more information. Note that Fortnite does not work on the iPod touch.
Android Requirements for Fortnite:
Fortnite arrived on Android a while back, but you needed to sign up for the beta and be approved before getting access to the game. Epic Games has since removed that requirement and anyone with a compatible device can now download and play the game. Check out our hands-on preview of Fortnite on Android for our impressions.
Note that Fortnite is bypassing the Google Play Store and is instead available as a download from the developer’s site. Make sure that any app download you initiate comes from a legitimate source, since this workaround exposes your device to potential vulnerabilities. Take a look at our guide on how to install Fortnite on Android, if you have any issues.
Also check out Epic’s list of compatible Android devices before getting too excited about playing. The Essential PH-1, LG G6, OnePlus 6, and all Google Pixel models make the list.
Xbox and PlayStation Requirements for Fortnite:
Any of the latest Xbox One consoles can run Fortnite, including the Xbox One X ($799.00 at Amazon) . However, there’s a catch. Since the game is currently in early access, Xbox players need an Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to play the Battle Royale mode.
All models of the PlayStation 4 can run Fortnite. You don’t need to be a PS Plus member to play the game, either. Recently, Sony announced cross-play support for Fortnite on the PS4, after significant player backlash against Sony’s initial refusal to offer this capability. The feature is now in open beta, so players can now use the same account across all platforms.
Nintendo Switch Requirements for Fortnite:
Nintendo only makes one version of the Switch and Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode is one of the many Switch games you can download for the handheld console. Just head over to the Nintendo Game Store. Epic Games has no plans to launch the Save the World PvE mode on the platform.
2. Keep Watching the Match
If you’re just starting out with Fortnite, it’s useful to watch the rest of the match after you are eliminated. When you die, the game automatically switches to the perspective of whoever killed you. And when that player dies, it changes to the new killer’s view. You can continue to hop between players up until the end of each match. It’s tempting to launch into a new match immediately after you die, but the more time you dedicate to learning how to play Fortnite correctly, the more time (in the long run) you will spend actually in-game. Besides, if you leave a match early, especially any squad- or team-based modes, then there’s no way find out how your compadres fared. A bit of moral support can go a long way. Check out the map at any time for an overview of the match and to locate teammates.
One benefit of staying with a match is that it forces you to pause and review the circumstances that led to your death. If you notice a trend in how you die in Fortnite, it’s wise to change your strategy. For example, I carelessly wandered into the open a few times, which made me an easy target for enemy players. You need to be overly cautious when moving between areas of cover, even if you feel like you are alone. Also, if you see someone else land on top of or near a building, it’s worth looking for a new place to start foraging for materials and weapons. Avoid confrontation, unless absolutely necessary.
Another advantage to sticking around until the end is that you can see how increasingly skilled players play the game. While many players may in fact just move around aimlessly hoping to avoid detection, others actually employ useful strategies. For example, after dying early on in one of my first matches, I realized the potential of Fortnite’s construction mechanic. The player I followed repeatedly built structures around himself both for protection and to gain a better vantage point. Other times, he used existing structures and buildings as the foundation for larger-scale fortresses. This is a common strategy in team-based matches, as well; by the end of the game, the map is littered with impressive structures, some of which tower high into the sky.
3. Collect and Construct
Fortnite’s construction system is one of the game’s strongest aspects. Each player goes into battle with an ax (or similar tool) that he or she uses to chop down and collect objects. Most of the environment is destructible, and hacking down everything from houses to vehicles to trees and rocks is endlessly satisfying. You don’t ever run out stamina while scavenging, which is great, as is the fact that the game automatically adds the material to your inventory once you break them down. It’s a very quick and effective system. Another small detail I appreciate is the sound design; you hear an increasingly higher-pitched tone with each ax swing as you get closer to destroying an object.
Objects break down into three main materials: wood, bricks, and metal. You have five slots for building objects, including a fence, square floor, pyramid, campfire, and stairs. You can construct items with any of the materials (with the exception of the campfire). Metal is the strongest material, followed by brick, and then wood.
Keep in mind that the stronger the material, the longer it takes to build. So, if you are in a tight spot and need immediate cover, building wooden barriers is your best bet. It’s surprisingly simple to construct a building or makeshift shelter. Everything snaps together nicely, and it’s easy to customize individual components should you need to add a window or door. You can also break down or move barriers if you accidentally start building in the wrong location.
Construction is one of the keys to advancing far into a match. Foremost, you can build ramps and steps to access areas you couldn’t before. For example, if you see a weapon or health pack on top of a roof, this mechanic lets you reach it. If you are under fire, you can immediately build a shelter and try to wait out the threat. During later parts of the match, you can create a lookout post and watch for enemy movements. In team modes, constructing is even more important. If you are skilled enough to reach the center of the map with most of your team intact, building massive, protective shelters can greatly increase your chance of survival.
As with the rest of the environment, however, anything you construct can be destroyed by combatants with any sort of weapon. Take caution when another player fires a rocket or throws a grenade towards your base; either can cause everything to come tumbling down.
4. Find Multiple Weapons
Let’s face it, Fortnite’s shooting and combat mechanics are hit-or-miss. As in, it’s a matter of luck whether you hit or miss your target. That said, you are even less likely to survive a confrontation if you are unarmed. So, your priority when you land should be to find at least one gun. You can fight off other players with your ax, but that only deals a small amount of damage.
I also recommend collecting as many guns as you can (your character has five item slots). First and foremost, it provides you with a range of attack options when you come across another player. A shotgun, for example, is much more effective in close quarters than a sniper rifle. Further, since it is difficult to actually hit targets in the game, you are likely to run out of ammo quickly. Why find more bullets, when you can just as easily switch to another weapon? Also, if you pick up an extra gun and end up not using it, that’s still one less gun in the hands of your enemy.
Be sure to stay up to date with Fortnite’s latest developer updates. Sometimes, new weapons are added to the game, such as the new heavy shotgun. You don’t want to be caught off guard if another player fires an unfamiliar weapon in your direction, since any hesitation can result in your death. The best way to get familiar with a new weapon is to use it. Pick up any new and menacing gear as you scavenge and test its power against unsuspecting trees and houses.
If you do manage to kill another player, be sure to pick up all the loot they drop. You shouldn’t hesitate to take a better weapon or a much-needed health pack. However, if you deliberate too long on which items to collect, you become an easy target for anyone else in the area. And then the person who kills you gets double the loot. Don’t make it too easy for your enemies.
5. Keep an Eye on the Storm
As with PUBG, Fortnite’s pace is controlled by an ever-constricting play area. In Fortnite, you must remain within the eye of a storm; if you don’t, you take damage.
At set intervals, this area gets smaller and you need to do your best to stay within its boundaries. If you get caught behind the wall, it is difficult to get back inside, since the barrier moves very quickly. If you sprint from one fallen player to the next, continuously stealing their health packs, it’s possible to make it back, but I was not so lucky. Each time I fell behind the pace, I was not able to recover, since I could not find any nearby resources. Another time, I found myself trapped at the bottom of a cavern and unable to advance in the direction of safety.
Although staying within the playable area is a priority, sometimes there’s some strategy in timing your entry. For example, if you are running for your life to reach the center of the storm, you become an easy target. Other players can easily detect and eliminate you, especially if the storm itself knocks down your health levels. Instead, plan to arrive at the barrier as it closes or right beforehand. Once safely inside, you can take a position with a good vantage point and return the favor.
6. Don’t Look Down
Fall damage exists in Fortnite, so try to avoid falling from a great height (and don’t jump to your doom, either). The game doesn’t restrict the island boundaries, so you can fall off the side if you aren’t careful. I had to test this at least once, and indeed, the game let me run off the side of a cliff. If you must, feel free to confirm this independently.
In any case, the structures you create probably pose a much greater threat, since you can ascend to dizzying heights in no time at all. It’s all fun and games until you accidentally walk off the edge. I died at least twice by trying to walk up a set of stairs before I had finished building them. Also, other players can destroy any part of your structures, which can expose you to incoming fire or cause you to just drop out of the sky. Always make sure to reinforce shelters or at least have an exit strategy should your foundation fall out from under you.
Getting knocked out (either by another player or by being outside the eye of the storm) will also likely lead to death. You fall to your knees and can only slowly move by crawling. You can’t use your weapons or construct a barrier. By pure luck, I evaded an armed enemy who had just knocked me out by crawling underneath the stairs. Thankfully, a teammate came in and eliminated my tormentor before he found my hiding place. Still, I wouldn’t take that chance again.
7. Master Mobile Controls
Fortnite’s beta is now available on iOS and Android. As with any mobile port, Epic Games made some concessions for the sake of performance and the form factor, some of which affect gameplay.
For example, it’s more difficult to control your character without a keyboard or controller. The touch controls work fine, but more advanced mechanics like constructing can feel tedious. At the very least, make sure to actually read the tutorial screens, so you aren’t left fumbling with the controls at critical moments.
Also, Fortnite’s mobile version doesn’t translate well to a smaller screen size. Despite the more pixel-dense resolutions of phones and tablets, textures look dull and objects clearly lack detail. Adjusting the graphics presets in the options menu helps only somewhat. The other problem with a smaller screen size is that in-game menus are much more difficult to read and navigate.
8. Find a Vehicle
In keeping with its off-kilter, creative theme, Fortnite’s vehicles are similarly outlandish. Take, for example, the first vehicle Epic Games added to the game, the trusty shopping cart. This masterful metallic contraption comfortably sits two people; one in control of movement and the other in charge of protection. The shopping carts aren’t invincible, though. If you hit a landing too hard, that’s the end of your joy ride. Enemy players can also shoot you down as you glide past.
Fortnite also recently deployed All Terrain Karts (ATKs) across the map. These larger vehicles seat up to four players, so your entire squad can travel as a group. You still need to stay vigilant, though, as the ATK’s minimal body frame leaves you exposed to enemy combatants. Like most other in-game objects, ATKs are destructible; an ax or gunfire can make quick work of these vehicles.
But there are plenty of good reasons to risk getting behind the wheel. Both the shopping cart and the ATX are faster (and more fun) than sprinting to a destination. This increased traveling speed can come in handy whenever you need to escape danger, overtake the pace of the closing storm, or travel quickly between locales to collect resources between stages.
9. Group Up With Teammates
Also, check out the 50 vs. 50 game type or whatever other modes Fortnite introduces, such as Teams of 20. In these massive team-based skirmishes, your first goal should be to find other people on your team. The more people you have watching your back, the better your chances of survival. Make sure any group you approach is actually on your side; running headfirst into a swarm of enemies is a quick path to death.
Building in team-based modes is also more chaotic, since you and your comrades can build sprawling protective shelters in no time at all. A large group of players can quickly break down and collect resources from even the most massive in-game structures.
Before your crew concocts a sure-fire victory strategy, make sure all of your teammates’ devices are cross-play compatible.
10. Take a Break With Playground Mode
Fortnite’s new Playground mode lets you and your friends roam Fortnite’s map without having to worry about rival players. As part of many of its updates, Fortnite adds new locales to explore. For example, you can now visit the relaxing Lazy Links golf course, ancient Viking Outpost, and expanded Dirt Race Track. This sandbox game mode is also a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with the recently added vehicles.
That’s not all this mode offers, though. Players can also search for and test out new weapons, experiment with construction strategies, and stake out the best starting places for each round. The options really are endless here and the freedom opens up a ton of creative options for Twitch streamers, for better or worse. Don’t stray for too long, though, especially if you are on your own, as the map can feel lonely and lifeless without other players.
If nothing else, Fortnite is a graphically compelling game with a vibrant color palette and insanely varied landscapes and landmarks. With that in mind, you could treat Playground mode as a walking simulator or wallpaper generator game if you are so inclined. Don’t expect to get results as picturesque as you would with No Man’s Sky, especially with its No Man’s Sky Next update.
11. Don’t Waste Your Money
Fortnite unapologetically embraces the best and worst aspects of free-to-play games. On one hand, Epic Games does not charge you to play Fortnite, the single most-viewed game on Twitch. It’s free to upgrade your character’s skills or abilities; paid items are purely cosmetic. How far you advance in a match largely depends on your luck, and to a lesser extent, your skills.
The flip side of the free-to-play equation is the presence of microtransactions. Although many gamers rightfully criticized titles such as Star Wars Battlefront II’s launch for its reckless pay mechanics, free-to-play games with purchasable items tend to cause less uproar. I still hate the idea of microtransactions regardless of how much I paid for the game. Fortnite’s V-Bucks currency system doesn’t help matters either, since its pay tiers are organized so that you almost always pay for more credits than you need for any one item. I maintain that spending actual money on digital cosmetics in a free game seems absurd. But then again, I’m not Fortnite’s target audience.
I recommend that you really stop and think about your decision before you put down any cash. Also, know that whatever outfit or item you purchase in Fortnite will not magically transform you into a better player. Instead, you will just look more ridiculous when you exit a round early. And whenever the Fortnite fad ends, you won’t get back any of that money you spent on such frivolities.
Parents, it should go without saying that hiring a Fortnite coach for your child is a waste of money. I honestly didn’t think I could be surprised any more by ridiculous Fortnite news, but here we are. I fully expect to see a live-action Netflix series before the year is over.
12. Know When to Quit
After a particularly early exit from a match, you may be tempted to just quit and never come back to the game. Don’t ignore your instincts. If you don’t really care about Fortnite all that much, I fully encourage you to find something else to occupy your time. There’s no sense in continuing to play a game you don’t enjoy just because it’s popular.
Read a book instead or go outside and exercise. Fitness trackers can recognize all sorts of physical activities, including biking, running, swimming, and walking. Although it’s important not to get unhealthily obsessed, you should also check out devices that encourage competition with friends.
For those who remain steadfast in their goals to obtain a Fortnite victory, the only way to improve your chances is to play consistently. The more matches you join, the more likely you are to develop a coherent strategy and outrank opponents. After all, as the game matures and the growth of the player base slows, the players you encounter will also likely improve over time.
Still, even hundreds of hours of playtime, incredible luck, and a battle-tested strategy don’t guarantee a victory. You may need to spend significantly more time than you originally anticipated with the game, waiting for the perfect opportunity. If playing Fortnite ever becomes tedious, take a break. Unless you plan to play video games professionally or compete at some level, games should be a source of entertainment, not a daily commitment.
Editors’ Note: This story was updated on Oct. 12 after Epic removed the need to request an invite on Android.