If you want to get off on the right foot in the battle royale, you'd better make sure you nail your Fortnite landing strategy. Head to the wrong location or pull out your glider too early, and you could be checking out before you've even had time to pull off your favourite dance emote. Every game of Fortnite begins with a skydive, and how you start a match can hugely influence how successfully (or otherwise) the rest of it plays out for you. Getting the right Fortnite landing is a complex mix of physics, geometry, and psychology, and you need to factor all of this in to make some quick calculations as you hurtle towards the ground at terminal velocity with only your trusty pickaxe to hand.
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It only takes up the first two minutes of the game, but your Fortnite landing strategy in every match can be the deciding factor between life and death. Here’s what you need to know about skydiving, gliding, and landing in Fortnite, and how you can utilise all three to make sure you’re hitting the ground running every time you start the battle royale.
Aim for low terrain
This should be common knowledge to any frequented Fortnite player by now, but here’s rule 101 when it comes to the art of landing, in case you’d forgotten. Your parachute will automatically open once your character reaches a defined distance from the ground, regardless of topography. For example, a player who is skydiving above a mountain will have their parachute forced open much earlier than someone who is falling above a ravine, allowing the latter to reach the ground before the former.
So if you want to get to the floor as fast as possible, avoid any high rise obstacles, including trees, buildings, and hills, and aim for low dips in the terrain instead. If you are desperate to land at a mountain, at least aim for a nearby shallow point first and wait until your parachute is deployed, as this will reduce your fly time while still giving you plenty of opportunity to reach your desired destination.
Always land next to a weapon
The faster you’re on the ground in Fortnite, the faster you can grab yourself a weapon, which - unless you’re a serious pro with the pickaxe - is the best way to stay alive in those crucial early moments of each match. With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled for a floor weapon wherever you’re landing, and aim straight for it with the intention of picking it up right away. Even if it’s just an common pistol, it’s better than nothing, and immediately gives you a way to defend yourself against any nearby challengers.
Chests are also an option, but they’re less ideal than a floor weapon, since you could waste precious seconds opening one up, during which enemies will have a better chance to arm themselves and rush you. The first thirty seconds in any busy landing spot always entails a mad dash for weaponry, so if you do manage to grab a firearm as soon as you’ve hit the floor, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to take out any unarmed scrabblers while they’re still vulnerable.
Some landing spots are definitely better than others
As for where exactly you want to land in Fortnite, that’s where things start to get… subjective. Everyone has their own favourite spots, but if we’re speaking in terms of pure competitive efficacy, some locales are absolutely better choices than others. The updated island no longer has a Tilted Towers area to focus everyone's firepower, but the larger named locations are still going to be places where opponents congregate.
If you want a good balance between loot drops and threat level, try a less popular but geographically dense point of interest like Craggy Cliffs, Dirty Docks, or Holly Hedges. You don’t even have to land at a named location to get plenty of loot; the northeast corner of the map, for instance, has dozens of potential chests scattered around its various Fortnite landmarks, but the amount of people dropping alongside you is usually nice and minimal.
Get away from the battle bus to avoid early fights
People are lazy, not to mention impatient. Out of the 99 other Fortnite players you’ll be competing against in each match, only a baker’s dozen will typically have the willpower to glide all the way to the far corners of the map, instead choosing to hit points of interest closer to the Battle Bus’ randomly designated route.
So if you’re a Fortnite player who prefers seclusion during the early stages of a round, hop out and deploy your parachute almost straight away to reach a more receded destination. It might mean spending a little longer time in the sky, but the lack of action is worth it if you want to start off slow and build yourself up to a fight, rather than land directly in the thick of it.
Anticipate your gliding times
Because of the mandatory glide times imposed by the powers that be (i.e. Epic), it’s a good idea to time your drop carefully so as to ensure you hit your target as quickly as possible.
Don’t wait until the battle bus is flying right over your chosen location before jumping out, but instead leave about 10 seconds before it gets there, skydiving and then gliding at a directed angle towards it. That way, you won’t be left hovering above your landing point forever like a helpless Mary Poppins, but will have used every airborne second to time your impact perfectly, without a single moment wasted in the sky.
Don’t believe the myths
Best to clear up any confusion around this. No, different gliders don’t provide any gameplay advantages. They’re cosmetic only, even if some boast distinct sound effects that might provide cues for who’s nearby. Umbrellas and gliders are, therefore, completely the same from a gameplay perspective, even if they look so distinctly different from each other.
There’s no secret life hacks to falling faster than anyone else either - other than aiming your camera straight down, of course - since Epic has been sure to iron out any potential exploits that could imbalance the competition. And lastly, though this should really go without saying, you can’t glide your way over to Spawn Island, and I’m not sure why you’d want to anyway, as it’s the surest way to get yourself killed by the storm. So ignore the myth makers; it’s hard, cold facts that’ll pave your way to a solid landing in Fortnite Battle Royale.