Fortnite Beginners Guide (2021) – Learn How to Play!

If you are just starting out in Fortnite our beginner's guide will get you up to speed on all of the most important things you need to know to slay your enemies!

Our Fortnite Beginners Guide will get you started in this popular f2p game. This guide includes beginner's information on gun rarity, guns, healing, building, and finding loot. We also go through each phase of the game so you will know how to approach the early, mid, and late game stages of Battle Royale!

Fortnite can be a tough game to fully grasp early on when you are just starting out. You have to adapt to the gunplay, but the biggest thing you'll need to wrap your head around is the building. If you have just picked up the game, I would focus more on learning how to shoot straight and then slowly start integrating building into the game. If you want to work on getting a grasp on building, there's a mode called "Playground" where you can jump into a game by yourself and get a feel for the controls.

If you have any technical questions, Fortnite has a pretty large help database which you can find on their site!

What is Fortnite?

If you aren't even really familiar with the concept of Fortnite then let me break it down a bit for you. Fortnite is a Battle Royale game. You might be familiar with this concept even if you've never played games before due to it borrowing heavily from The Hunger Games books/movies. The idea is that you are let loose on an island with a bunch of other players, your task is to survive and come out on top. This isn't going to be easy, because not only do you have all of the other people on the map trying to eliminate you, you also have a circle of death approaching you from all sides. This circle, called "the storm" in Fortnite, will deal damage to you if you stand in it. It continues to periodically close in on you until one player is left standing.

That sounds fairly daunting, but there's things you'll find on the map to help you. Weapons are scattered everywhere and you can equip yourself with them to defend yourself, you can find bandage and shields to protect you from damage!

Item Rarity

If you've ever played Diablo or World of Warcraft you'll be fairly familiar to rarity colors. Each color denotes the rarity of the particular item, and the more rare means the better it is. This is no different in Fortnite, each gun has a rarity assigned to it, however, one of the unique things about Fortnite is that some guns start in the middle of the rarity tier or don't make it to the end of it. Here's a list of the rarities available, as well as how they stack up against each from Weakest to Strongest:

Common (Gray) > Uncommon (Green) > Rare (Blue) > Epic (Purple) > Legendary (Orange)

When it comes to guns, if it's a higher rarity it does more damage for that particular type of gun.

Keep in mind that all items have a rarity assigned to them. This includes items that heal you (Bandages, Medkits) as well as traps and grenades. These types of items only come in one rarity, so there's no version that is better than another.

Gun Information

Most guns are pretty self-explanatory but I will briefly go over some of the strengths and weaknesses of each type.


If you have to grab one in the early game it's better than no gun, but generally you want to get rid of these asap. The Suppressed Pistol is a pretty good weapon, but ultimately just about every pistol is outclassed by shotguns or assault rifles.


Shotguns have just about always been the top tier weapon to have in the game. As long as you had one, you were in an okay spot. That's largely due to the fact that you can close ground on opponent's by building your way towards them. If you can get good with the Shotguns, you'll find that the game gets a whole lot easier.


You can use these to rapidly deal damage to structures, and they are great for following up shotgun shots and finishing off an enemy.

Assault Rifles

One of the best all-purpose guns but can be a bit random. The spread can be somewhat problematic at longer ranges, but try to shoot in controlled bursts for the best accuracy. The SCAR is one of the best guns in the game, and can be accurate while dealing a good amount of damage.

Sniper Rifles

These take a bit of practice to get used to, but once you get the hang of it can be devastating for long distance shooting. Sniper Rifle's have "Bullet Drop", which means the shot does not instantly hit the target and will drop downwards the further the shot travels. If you're trying to hit a moving target at range you'll want to aim higher and in-front of them.

Explosive Weaponry

Very effective at destroying forts, but can also just be used to take out an opponent that's close by. The Rocket Launcher takes time to get to its target so take that into account.

Other Weapons

There are a few other options available to you if you are looking for advanced ways to destroy your enemies.


You can't throw these very far, but they make for good ways to destroy your opponent's walls/base. You can hold the throw button to get a path for where your grenade is going to land, this is very useful if you are trying to toss them inside a house or fort. You can't "cook" a grenade, so you can hold the throw button as long as you want.


Traps used to kind of be items that were hard to use and you'd just put them around and hope to get an elimination. Now, however, they can be an integral part of your arsenal. If you box someone in with one of your builds, you can place a trap on the wall and possibly get an elimination. If you are just starting out, I wouldn't worry too much about using them, but as you grow as a player you should definitely fit them into your play.

The other important aspect of traps is listening for them and being aware of the possibility of them. Traps are loud when they are placed, if you don't know what it sounds like then head to Playground and try one out. They have a distinct sound, so if you hear it you know to be extra careful when running around. The other part is running around the map, if you enter an area that has been looted (doors are open, structures are built) then there's a high possibility someone has placed a trap. You'll need to always check every ceiling and area you enter for traps so you don't get caught.

Healing and Shields

With healing and shields, it's very important to know each of the strengths and weaknesses of each item.


Bandages are the most basic of ways to heal yourself back up. Each Bandage restores 15 health and you can only heal yourself up to 75 with them. You can only hold 15 bandages in a single item slot.

Med Kit

A Med Kit will restore you back to full health. If you find one of these, it's usually best to just replace your bandages with it. Med Kits are slow and take a full 10 seconds to use, so be sure you are in a safe spot if you are going to use them.

Bandage Bazooka

You can shoot your friend or yourself with this gun to regain health. It has unlimited ammo, but it will require a cooldown period so that it can recharge.

Mini Shield Potion

Mini Shields are for quickly shielding yourself. You get 25 shield for each one and can only use them up to 50 shield. If you have these and a full Shield Potion then it's important to pop these first so you can go to the full 100 shield. These are more available than the standard Shield Potion, and they only take 2 seconds to consume!

Shield Potion

A Shield Potion gives you 50 shield, you can use two of these to get to the max 100 shield. These take 5 seconds to drink, so don't try guzzling one of these if you are in a firefight. You can hold up to three of these now, so if you find a health stack they are worth holding over a couple of Mini Shield Potions.

Environmental Consumables

You can find apples, mushrooms, or coconuts lying around the map in certain areas. Eat these to gain health, shield, or both!


A new addition to the game is the ability to fish around the map! This is worthwhile because you can obtain fish that will give you health and/or shield. The speed in which you can consume these is a lot faster than any of the other healing options.

Slurp Barrels & Areas

In Chapter 2: Season 1 of the game there are Slurp Kegs (Barrels) that can be broken that will splash you with some healing. You can also walk around in water that is glowing blue, this will slowly heal you and give you shields.

Building Basics

One of the biggest differences between Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (besides it being F2P) is the ability to build. On the surface, it might seem like this is only somewhat useful, but you'd be very mistaken. Building might be the most crucial element to success in Fortnite. You use it to get on top of mountains, make cover, reach chests, slow your drop rate from high places, and then usually to build yourself a nice fort at the end of the game.

If you're playing on PC the first thing you do is bind your building hotkeys to better keys (check this post for the most popular ones). You will want to have wall, floor, and ramp easily accessible, because you will be using these ALL THE TIME. Practice building as much as possible to get better, because of any skill this is the most invaluable in Fortnite. If you are taking any type of gunfire that isn't right in your face your first instinct should be to build a wall or a ramp.

The Ramp Box

One of the most useful things you can learn how to build quickly is what I'm calling "The Ramp Box". It is literally just four walls and a ramp, but being able to throw this together in a few seconds is extremely helpful in a lot of situations. It gives you cover from all sides, and allows you to peak out and throw shots at your enemy. You can also continue to stack on top of it and grow it higher using the same exact design.

Finding the Best Loot

You can find loot out in the open, but one of the best options for finding loot is in chests. The absolute best items can more reliably come out of Supply Drops.


You will find these throughout the world and they make a signature alluring sing-songy sound when you are near one. They also glow yellow when they haven't been looted yet. When you go to open a chest it takes a second to open it, so it's not a good idea to try to open one when there's another person around.

Chest Locations

  • In houses you can find them most often in the Attic, Basement, or Garage. Not all houses have these areas.
  • Chest locations are fixed and will spawn in the same spot each game.
  • Check dog houses for spawns. It's usually just easier to break the dog house because it's sometimes hard to access the chest.
  • You can now break whatever the chest is resting on which will open up the chest instantly.

Supply Drops

Supply drops are harder to get because they will drop in random spots all over the map! However, these have some of the best loot you can come across.

  • Before a Supply Drop is dropped you will hear a plane followed by a beeping sound.
  • You will be able to see it in the sky slowly dropping, it's a balloon with a box attached to it.
  • There will be a target and blue smoke on the ground exactly where it is going to drop.

It's usually best not to just rush towards the area where it's going to drop. If it's early in the game, however, then you are more likely to get one without being spotted. The later in the game, however, more players will be keeping an eye on where they fall. If you don't want to wait and scope out the area, it's usually a good idea to wall around the area where it's going to drop so you are protected from gunfire.

Hot Spots (Not in the Game Currently)

When you're flying into the island on the Battle Bus, take a look at the map. You should see some locations that have had their name color changed to yellow. These denote a Hot Spot. If you go to this location, you'll see floating drones called Loot Carriers. Shoot these down and they will drop a Rare or higher quality weapon with two stacks of ammo!

General Tips

I'm going to try and cover some of the smaller things that will help improve your game or are good to know if you are just starting out.

Basic Tips

  • Wear headphones and don't play music. Listening for footsteps and which direction shots came from is extremely important.
    • This is only if you are serious about the game, if not just do what you want and have fun!
  • If you're on a slower computer make sure to drop your video quality down. The more frames you get per second the better off you are going to be.
    • In the Video Settings: Turn off Anti-Aliasing and put Textures, Effects, and Post Processing down to low. Turn off Vsync and Motion Blur, you can also Show FPS to see what other settings might help increase your frames.
  • Change key-binds so you can build faster. I mentioned this in the building section, but this is really important! You need Walls, Ramps, and Floors at a moments notice.

The Party Bus

  • It's pretty hard to avoid crowds of people when you drop out of the party bus. The map is actually pretty small and there's 99 other players dropping. Watch the path of the bus and look for a spot that requires a bit of time to reach to reduce how many people you encounter initially. Unfortunately, some spots just attract a lot of people regardless of distance.
    • Look for spots around the edge of the map, it doesn't even have to have a name. These are generally always less populated, also consider any spot that's far away from the bus path.
      • Spots like these are usually quieter because they are far off the path or are somewhat difficult to navigate.
  • Once you've engaged your glider and are approaching your final destination, you will need to start looking around you to see where other people are going to land and make note of it.
  • When nearing your destination look to land as quickly as possible! Landing on a roof and breaking through is usually a good strategy. Most houses have an attic space that isn't always accessible to the house below. This area usually has items/guns and maybe even a chest.

Early Game

  • If you get a good gun immediately, you should go take out anyone that is close to you as fast as possible. This is why it's important to know where people landed, because you can go try to eliminate them before they get a gun.
  • Don't just use your eyes, use your ears! Chests make an unmistakable angelic sound that you will undoubtedly recognize when you hear it. Chests are the best things to find when looking for early loot, so always make sure you open any you come across.
    • If you're indoors then chests are usually in the attic area.
    • If you and an enemy are next to each other let them open the chest (while beating them with your pickaxe!). You can sometimes grab the gun before they can and take them out for their troubles.
  • Be on the look out for small green boxes. These contain ammunition, and a lack of ammo can be a common problem early and later in the game.
    • If you go into a garage there can be an Ammo Box on the shelves that are usually inside of it.
    • There are different types of ammo boxes. One is larger and contains a lot of ammo and sometimes healing supplies.
  • Harvest resources within buildings and houses. You'll see various furniture and items around you, hack it with your pickaxe and get some early material. Just one ramp could be enough to protect you and give you an advantage. Opening a chest gives you a small amount of resources.
  • If you get a shield potion  be sure to drink it right away if possible if there's other players around. There's no real reason to save it (unless you are maxed on shield & health), and it clears your inventory for more weaponry. Your shield maxes out at 100, which is two shield potions. Mini shields can only get you up to the first 50 shield, so if you have these then use them first.
  • Get resources as quickly as possible! I can't stress this one enough, but if you are starting to run towards a new circle try hacking down trees along the way. You will be surprised how often you need more resources.
    • This is also why being aggressive and eliminating people is important, you can collect their resources which makes it easier for you in the late game.
  • The storm doesn't do that much damage in the early game, so while you need to pay attention to when the circle is going to close you shouldn't be panicked about it.

Mid Game

  • Be very aware of where the next circle is going to be. You don't want to be caught out in the storm, but you also don't want to rush and overexpose yourself.
  • At this point there will likely be supply drops happening, this is a good chance to get really good loot. However, it's best to scope it out from afar and let anyone nearby make the first move. If your luck holds you'll be able to take them out and get the loot.
    • If you do intend on grabbing the drop then make sure you wall around it. There's a blue target on the ground exactly where it's going to land so build a box around that spot.
    • If there's a tree or anything in the path of the drop it will land on it.
    • If you have a lot of ammo and just want to hurry the drop along you can shoot the balloon to make it drop faster.
  • It might be tempting to camp, but this is rarely a winning play. If you don't have a good amount of ammo and resources you are going to struggle in the late game.
  • The storm in the mid-and-late game starts to do quite a bit more damage so don't find yourself caught out by it.

Late Game

  • This is where you will want to start looking for a way to get well into the circle and build a fort if this is your style of play.
    • Build the fort tall so you can get a good look at your surroundings. Use brick or metal as your resource option, this will protect you from being knocked down better.
    • Try not to peak your head out of the fort if you don't have to. You can usually look around without peaking and in the late game some players might have a Sniper Rifle.
  • Try to make note as much as possible of where each person is, you can tell how many people are left in the game under the mini-map (this number includes you, so subtract by 1!).
  • If you've got one then this is where Rocket and Grenade Launchers are extremely powerful. Take out your opponent's structures, and if you have enough ammo use them to blast your opponent. You don't need that great of aim to 'splode someone.
    • Grenades are also good, just be careful not to get caught out in the open trying to chuck them.
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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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  1. As of Ch2 S1, the chests spawn 100% of the time

    1. Fixed, thanks.

  2. Maybe update this w. Season 9 info and locations

    1. Updated, thanks.

  3. Very Helpful no more placing #80