Fortnite Battle Royale is taking over. Released on September 26, 2017, it has already dethroned League of Legends as the most viewed game on Twitch and YouTube. Such growth might seem staggering, but it makes sense once you realize that Fortnite combines colorful graphics and thrilling gameplay. The game is a fresh take on the popular battle royale genre, and it’s available on a multitude of platforms, including Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and iOS.
In this review, we’ll cover everything from the game’s history and basic gameplay to advanced tips and tricks as well as Fortnite tournaments.
Fortnite started as a third-person co-op survival game. It was marketed as a blend of Left 4 Dead and Minecraft with the title of Fortnite Save the World. The game initially focused on a PvE campaign, allowing its players to explore surrounding areas, scavenge for materials, build forts, and fight hordes of zombie-like husks.
Things took a major turn when a Fortnite update added the standalone battle royale mode in September 2017. It introduced a new Fortnite map that locked 100 players in an epic winner-takes-all battle against each other. At the end, only one player would remain standing. Or, well, one team if you’re playing with your friends.
The unique aesthetics and gameplay elements made the title a smash hit, but its biggest selling point is that you don’t have to buy anything at all! The game is free-to-play. And installing it was as simple as typing “Fortnite download” in Google and clicking on the Epic Games website.
Fortnite Battle Royale ticks all the boxes that made the genre successful. The game kicks off on a flying bus, and players must decide exactly when they want to parachute out and where they want to land. Then, the scavenging stage begins. Players scour the map, looking for items, weapons, and materials.
This isn’t as seamless as it sounds. The map is relatively small, and you’re likely to meet enemies while hunting for resources. Oh, and there’s one more thing. The mechanic called the Storm Eye constantly shrinks the playable area. If you go outside of it, you start taking damage, so sooner or later, even the most cautious players have to get up close and personal.
The concept is easy to understand, but it’s hard to master—which is exactly what a successful esports title needs. Not only that but Fortnite Battle Royale puts a unique spin on it by allowing players to destroy terrain and build their own structures. As a result, being a capable architect is almost as important as having good aim, and winning a game of Fortnite requires a mixture of strategic planning and split-second decision-making.
If you want to conquer the Fortnite map, you have to know your items. Gathering loot is nothing new to the battle royale genre, but Epic Games made things more complex by adding item quality. The items are split into color-coded classes: grey (common), green (uncommon), blue (rare), purple (epic), and orange (legendary). This system is all-too-familiar to any MMO player. As a rule of thumb, you always want to pick an item of the higher quality, provided they’re both of the same types.
Of course, there’s also a matter of playstyle. A rare SMG won’t magically turn into a common sniper rifle, so you might want to hold on to the latter if you prefer to take out enemies from a long distance. As for the items themselves, you can often find them lying around the map. Still, you’ll have a better shot at discovering good loot if you hunt for treasure chests, supply drops, and the rare supply llamas. Hell, you can even stumble upon vending machines that exchange materials for items.
Fortnite presents a wide range of weaponry. Its arsenal includes pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, shotguns, and explosive weapons. On top of that, there are pickaxes (starting weapons used to gather materials), crossbows, bombs, grenades, and remote explosives.
Some of these are more valuable than others. Scoped weapons are king since most Fortnite battles happen at mid/long range, but having a shotgun for close quarters combat is also a pretty good idea. Finally, explosive weapons are great for demolishing player-made terrain and forcing your enemies out of their cover.
Make sure to stock up on ammo—you don’t want your weapons turning into glorified chunks of metal. And while this isn’t a requirement, equip a kick-ass Fortnite skin to kill your enemies in style!
In addition to weapons, the Fortnite map is home to a variety of items and consumables. Things like bandages and medkits can be used to restore health, and shield potions provide additional defenses and protect you from dying too easily. The slurp juice and the chug jug combine the best of both worlds by replenishing health and shields at the same time.
But your options don’t end here! You can set up spike traps on walls, floors, or even ceilings to blindside overly aggressive players. A launch pad will throw you up into the air where you can use your glider to escape your pursuers, and a cozy campfire will heal all teammates in its vicinity. You can even equip a camouflage to become a walking brush, although you might have to crouch if you want to actually fool someone. Finally, port-a-fort is Fortnite’s version of a panic button since it allows you to erect a massive fortress in a matter of seconds.
As we’ve mentioned before, player-made structures are a huge part of Fortnite Battle Royale’s appeal. Being able to construct walls and ramps on the fly grants huge advantages, as it’s much easier to aim from a high ground. Your enemies will try to do the same, so Fortnite skirmishes often turn into players hastily assembling their forts to get a better shot at the other party.
To actually build something, you’ll need to use your starting weapon—Pickaxe—to gather materials. There are three things to look for: wood, stone, and metal. Wood is the most common one, and it’s the material you’ll usually use to raise your fort. Still, if you want to create something sturdier, stone and metal are better suited for the job.
Keep in mind that structures take increased damage while you’re building them. Also, you might want to bind actions like building walls and ramps to easily accessible hotkeys. This way, you can raise your fort as fast as possible when you come under fire.
Fortnite Tracker, Esports, and Tournaments
Fortnite esports scene is still in its infancy. Still, it’s clear there’s going to be a fair share of obstacles in its path. For one, the whole battle royale genre makes it hard to create a compelling viewer experience, as there’s simply too much action to follow. The building mechanic is another possible hurdle. Pros are already quite skilled at staying alive, and the ability to construct their own terrains makes them even more durable. In short, firefights can drag out for a while.
Even, so it’s clear the game is immensely popular. The Fortnite Twitter account has 3.22 million followers, and competitive juggernauts like FaZe and TSM have already created their own professional lineups. A single glance at the game’s viewership would let you know that this isn’t just a random coincidence, as it’s consistently sitting at the top of Twitch.
There’s also a thriving community at Fortnite Tracker that lets you follow leaderboards, analyze weaponry, and assemble teams. Even if you aren’t playing on PC, there are plenty of players across the platforms to make, say, a Fortnite PS4 team. And while the current tournaments resemble show matches, it’s reasonable to expect this game to have a very bright esports future.
This title went a long way from the Fortnite Save the World days to its current battle royale iteration. During this time, the game acquired a massive following on Twitch, Twitter, and Fortnite Tracker. Its fans are incredibly passionate, and they have the numbers to make this game into the next big esport. And until someone else can challenge it, Fortnite will certainly stay at the top.
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