How to start playing Garena Free Fire

Free Fire is a mobile battle royale that's different from what you're used to.

Image via Garena

Free Fire is a bigger mobile battle royale game than PUBG Mobile and Fortnite‘s mobile version combined. It’s amassed over 450 million downloads since its release in December 2017 and grossed more than $90 million in revenue. It also won the title of the most downloaded game on iOS and Android in 2019.

The most surprising thing is that in a highly competitive industry such as mobile video games, it wasn’t published by a high-profile company already famous around the world. It was released by Garena, a Singaporean developer that’s mainly focused on the South Asian market.

With its ever-growing player base, more beginners begin climbing the ladder each year. Here’s a guide to help you get started in this battle royale game.

Game modes

You can play in solo mode, duos, or in a three-player squad. The classic mode is the battle royale game, which can be played on two maps at the start of 2020. The first map that’s available to new players is Bermuda, which was the first map introduced to the game. Ranked games are only available in battle royale. Unlike in PUBG Mobile, you can’t choose the map of your ranked games—they’re randomly chosen.

Screengrab via Garena

The other game modes rotate often and many of them are only available one day of the week, like Rush Hour on Mondays, Spray and Pray on Thursdays, and Fully Charged on Wednesdays. This means that you can log in and see a different offer of game modes every day.

The other important thing to remember is that there are custom games and a training mode. If you want to test some weapons and their attachments without being afraid of dying before getting the loot, this is the way to go.

Characters and pets

Unlike Call of Duty: Mobile, weapon skins and all other customization items don’t give any bonuses that will help you win. But there are still means to get little advantages in the games with items: characters and pets.

You get free characters at the start of the game, but they don’t grant any bonuses. There are several characters that you can loot in crates or buy with diamonds to get little buffs, however. Ford, for example, can reduce damage taken outside of the safe zone up to 10 percent and Andrew can reduce vest durability loss up to 12 percent.

Screengrab via Garena

Pets can help you in different ways. The Spirit Fox, for example, allows you to restore more health when using a health pack and Shiba will help you notice the mushrooms around you that grant time-limited bonuses. Some pets must be purchased with diamonds, but others can also be earned by farming events, like the Night Panther.

Related: How to watch Free Fire India Championship 2020

It’s fine to land far and camp

Contrary to some aggressive-style battle royale games, Free Fire rewards players more for surviving until the end of the game, even if that means avoiding fights. The maps are generally vast and the zone begins to shrink later in the game. The first safe zone is revealed over two minutes after the beginning of the game and it slowly shrinks. The pace of the game will get faster after the first completed circle.

In Free Fire, not getting the best loot possible isn’t that detrimental. The important thing is to stay alert and react faster than the enemy. But it’s especially hard to run away from a fight when you’re targeted because aim assist will give the enemy the opportunity to easily follow your movement and kill you. You should face the fight when taken by surprise.

Look at the mini-map

This won’t surprise you if you’re used to battle royale games on mobile. Since the mobile phone screens are small compared to TV and PC screens, a supplementary mechanic helps players notice the enemies around them by spotting them on the mini-map in the corner of the screen.

Screengrab via Garena

When enemies enter a battle near the player or run close to them, red targets appear on the mini-map. Don’t be taken by surprise. Remember that you’re visible in the same way to your enemies, so as soon as you shoot, you’ll be noticed by everyone. Thanks to this mechanic, it isn’t absolutely essential to play Free Fire with sound enabled or with headphones.

Eat mushrooms

They may not appear beneficial, but they are. Depending on their colors, these mushrooms grant EP points, which are consumed to restore health points. When you’re at full health, they add up as a supplementary heal bar that will help you recover after a fight. There are several colors of mushrooms and they all grant EP points by a certain amount, with the maximum being 200 points.

Content is regularly added to the game and its popularity is still growing, so you can expect to see more stuff added in the future. Free Fire has an active community that also participates in official leagues in South Asia and all over the world.