This guide is for aspiring competitive Fortnite players who would like to improve their ability to communicate with their teammates.
The purpose of this guide is to convey the importance of communication as a skill and how you can use it to elevate your gameplay.
The skill level of a player in Fortnite is often classified in three categories, Mechanics, Game Knowledge (often known as game sense), and Communication. View skills as a toolbox, the mechanics would be the tools, game knowledge would be how you use them. How does communication come into play? When describing the skill level of a player the majority of the fortnite community will heavily value MECHANICS and GAME KNOWLEDGE over communication, even to go as far as never talking about it. Since communication is rarely talked about, not many aspiring competitive players seem to care about it.
What is communication?
Communication is the ability to send or receive information. In Fortnite specifically it is how accurately you are able to convey your perspective to your teammate and vice versa. Only you are able to see your own screen exactly the way you do. Communication is a completely different skill that is harder to learn than mechanics and game knowledge. No two people think the same, being able to meticulously describe one’s perspective so that the other person understands is an extremely difficult skill. If mechanics and game knowledge are tools, communication is being able to get key ideas across as fast and accurately as possible.
When do you use communication?
Communication is used during every single stage in the game, early to late. If at any point you stop communicating for an extended period of time, that is time wasted. Nothing is too insignificant in the game to call out.
What do I communicate?
The general “guide” to effective communication is to call the three “D”s:
- Damage | Ex. (50 white)
- Direction | Ex. (220)
- Distance | Ex. (two blocks away)
Other scenarios that might require communication is possible threats, if you notice that your teammate is shooting while exposed to angles, tell him to cover himself. No amount of potential damage is insignificant enough to not communicate about.
Communication is a two way street, one person can not possibly call everything. Fortnite is a game in a 3d space which has 360 degrees worth of vision. Two players are able to cover the entire 360 degrees between the two of them, however they can not cover the same things. Your job as a duo is to make sure that your partner is able to see that missing 180 degrees without having to turn.
Another vital information piece that you should consistently be communicating is loadouts. Loadouts should always be called throughout every stage of the game periodically, as they can change often. I would recommend after each zone ends that you call a quick inventory and mat check. Also, a big factor that not a lot of people call is enemy loadouts. Knowing the weapons that enemies have allows you to better formulate a plan. Call out significant tools such as RPG’s and Deagle.
Common things to communicate:
- Calling out ALL enemy positions
- Calling out YOUR loadout
- Calling out ENEMY loadouts
- Calling out YOUR possible rotations
- Calling out DAMAGE tags
How to communicate
Just like any skill, communication has various levels, extremely good communication often times is what seperates good duos from great duos. Try to follow the philosophy of speak less, say more. How am I supposed to know my skill level? The skill level of communication is the direct correlation of what is happening on your screen and the words that are coming out of your mouth. For example in a build fight:
- A beginner would only say a few words or not even talk at all.
- An average player would convey simple damage tags.
- An intermediate player would convey enemy position calls and all of the above. Ex. (He’s height, hit 30 shield)
- An experienced player would convey more accurate calls such as direction and all of the above. Ex. (He’s ABOVE ME toward S)
- An advanced player would convey even more accurate calls such as distance, specific locations, and all of the above. Ex. (He’s below me two layers to MY SW in the wood)
- An expert player would convey the actions of the enemy, as brief as possible, directional callouts relative to your teammates position, as well as all of the above. Ex. (Below, two blocks, YOUR South, medding)
Never assume that your teammate knows something that you do. Your perspective may be drastically different than theirs as you may be focusing on different aspects of the game.
Clear communication is a big factor in judging the quality of communication. If people are talking over each other then the comms aren’t ideal as it is hard to understand each other. Cluttered communication is not only too many voices at once, but also unnecessary dialogue. You should not be talking about Sunday plans in a scrim game, 100% of your attention should be towards the scrim.
Another aspect of communication is the tone of your voice, there is a place and time for both calmness and urgency. The difference between the same call in different tones would signal different levels of danger. For example, a simple call like “he’s on me” with a calm tone would signal not as much danger as “HE’S ON ME”. In general, calmness in tone is often used when not actively engaged in combat and urgent tones are used during combat. Some people have problems with having a permanent calm tone, to help fix that I would suggest using words that animate urgency such as “HELP” or “NOW”.
Establishing a unique way of communicating with your duo would dramatically increase the effectiveness of your calls. For example, some people only say numbers on blue tags and add “white” to the call when they’re white. Make a communication system that works for YOU.
How to communicate in a fight
Communication during encounters with other players is often the time where people fall silent.
Encounters where you are the aggressor often occur in this order:
- Directional call out and Damage tags. | Ex. (220, 50 blue)
- Engagement decision. | Ex. (Push, hes low)
- Initial encounter | Ex. (Taking high)
- Encounter | Ex. (Im height, one directly under me two layers)
Specifically in duo scrims, people tend to have set roles, such as the aggressor (often known as the build fighter) and the support. The support is known to have the most communication heavy role, often times being the only one talking as they are in the back of the fight spraying down builds. If you are the aggressor, do not be silent. Not communicating in high stress scenarios is understandable, but not acceptable. The support’s job is to make your job easier, help him help you. The support can not see the fight from your perspective. For example, if you are height, say that you are height, if you are going to jump into someone like a psycho, communicate it. Every action you do or plan should be communicated. The same goes for the support, if your job is to make the aggressor’s job easier, communicate how you are going to make it easier. If you are spraying down enemy builds as your bud builds up, tell him. You can not expect your partner to read your mind. Simple actions such as jumping on people, or spraying out builds are not communicated often, a simple “im jumping on him” or “im spraying his builds” adds a world of difference in understanding from both parties.
Encounters where you are the one being aggressed often occur in this order:
- Directional and Damage tags | Ex. (from 220, I got hit 100 shield)
- Enemy’s engagement decision. | Ex. (They’re pushing)
- Initial encounter. | Ex. (He’s taking high)
- Encounter. | Ex. (He’s high, above two layers)
When pressured into a box or on the low ground, people tend to panic and not communicate. These situations are where calls tend to get messy and lose detail. If you are turtled in a box, both of your jobs are to note the position and action of both parties, especially when you are separated. Instead of a frantic “HE’S ON ME” call, be as specific as you can, change it to a “He’s outside my box, aggroing, to my South” or a “He’s IN my box, HELP”. In addition to enemy positions and actions, you have to keep note of your own. People tend to get lost during fights due to the high intensity, a simple “Where are you?” call will bring attention to your positions. Also, people tend to fight their own separate 1v1s without saying anything, update your situational status as often as possible. Communicate whether you are turtled, fighting, or healing, as your teammate can not see your actions through walls.
In both of these situations, communication should never fall silent.
How to improve communication
Imagine that your teammate is a blind kindergartener who only knows basic numbers, shapes, and colour. Kindergarteners don’t know how to form or understand coherent sentences. Keep key words, leave out the rest.
One method of getting better at communication as a duo is to turn off game volume. With no game volume you ride or die on your calls as a duo. This method forces you to rely exclusively on your communication to raise awareness and the ability to acknowledge every aspect of a match you’re in. Also, this method will build trust between you and your teammate.
Another method is to vod review. Normally, people vod review their mechanics and game sense, but they should also be vod reviewing their comms as well. If you notice your lack of communication firsthand you will be incentivized to communicate more. For example, when I vod review myself and other players, I always pay attention to what they AREN’T saying. If the person I am reviewing does not communicate information that I deem important then I will take note of that. Also, I will think of ways to improve on decent comms, such as removing unnecessary words to make calls shorter.
Final thoughts on Fortnite communication
Communication is one of the three most important aspects of Fortnite and does not earn enough credit. Effective communication is what separates the good duos from the great duos. With this guide I hope to inspire Fortnite players to use communication more often, and try to learn how to effectively communicate.