Fortnite and its latest big-name competitor, Apex Legends, are locked in something of a duel for battle royale supremacy. Apex roared onto the scene with features like a robust "ping" communication system. Fortnite answered back by rolling out a system of its own. Apex launched a subscription-like battle pass that's pretty much exactly like Fortnite's monetization model. And now Fortnite's latest update has patched in another signature Apex idea: the Respawn Beacon that allows you to revive dead teammates in the middle of a battle.
In Fortnite, these new respawn items are called Reboot Vans, and they're scattered around the map in certain team-based game modes. Both Reboot Vans and Respawn Beacons offer one game-changing ability: if a member of your squad is eliminated from a match (rather than just taking enough damage to be "knocked down," at which point a teammate can revive them), you have a chance to save them if you're quick and daring. In both games, your dead teammate drops an item–in Apex, it's their banner card; in Fortnite, their reboot card.
You've got 90 seconds to collect that card in both games. Once you have it, take it to either a Respawn Beacon or Reboot Van, and you can give your dead teammate a second chance at life. They come back to the game in pretty rough shape, but having your full squad back is a huge step toward recovering from a lost fight and being the last team standing.
The similarities between the two systems don't end there. In Apex Legends, a person on your squad needs to physically visit the death box of your dead teammate in order to collect their banner, but once it's been collected, either of the remaining two squadmates can activate the Respawn Beacon. That means that one person can go running for the beacon while the other person goes to recover the card, drastically shortening the time it takes to bring your third squadmate back. You don't have to physically carry the card itself back to the Respawn Beacon. Fortnite's Reboot Vans work the same way; once one teammate has the card, it's available to any teammate to use at the Reboot Van.
In both games, you're also pretty vulnerable while saving someone's life. It takes time to activate both a Respawn Beacon and a Reboot Van, although in Fortnite, the danger is a lot less than in Apex. In the latter game, the beacon summons a new drop ship to bring your teammate back to the battlefield, which is highly visible to everybody around and requires your dead squaddie to jump from the ship back to the ground. They're vulnerable that whole time, and the arrival of the ship is effectively a giant "come kill me" sign to other teams. Meanwhile, in Fortnite, the player is reconstituted right on the Reboot Van, and there's seemingly a lot less visual flare to alert other players of what's going on.
The other major difference between the systems is how often you can use them. There are a limited number of Respawn Beacons on the Apex Legends map, and they're single-use–so once any player uses a beacon to respawn a teammate, that beacon no longer works for anyone else. Reboot Vans are a lot more forgiving; use one, and it becomes unavailable for 120 seconds before recharging. You can't revive your whole squad immediately at a Reboot Van, but you could potentially hang out near one to get multiple players back in the middle of match, if you can stay alive that long.
The last big difference between Respawn Beacons and Reboot Vans is what happens to the player revived. In Apex Legends, you get a second chance at life, but it's a pretty big bummer: Any loot you found along the way before you were killed is gone, unless your teammates grabbed it and brought it back for you. When you respawn, you return to the game with nothing, which means that you're highly vulnerable until you're able to loot new weapons and armor to protect yourself with. Using a Respawn Beacon helps you get your team up to full strength, but you still have to work very hard to deal with the disadvantage of having lost a member of your team.
Fortnite's respawns are a bit more forgiving. Return from a Reboot Van and you won't be completely empty-handed. You'll reenter the match with 100 health, a Common Pistol with 36 rounds, and 100 wood to let you build. You won't be too formidable right after a respawn, but you'll at least be able to fight if you have to.
There are some slight differences, but both mechanics are close to identical. That means the strategies for using them are pretty much the same: Coordinate with your teammates on revives, avoid leaving yourself too vulnerable while respawning, and help your newly revived teammate get some weapons together so they can survive fighting the next group of enemies who show up.
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