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The beginner’s guide to Fortnite for PUBG players

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Ready to see how the other half lives?

Fortnite: Battle Royale - 50 on 50 Epic Games

Fortnite: Battle Royale is a free, 100-person game mode found inside the Fortnite client on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, and it’s more than a little reminiscent of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, its stated inspiration.

It’s more than just a copy of a record-setting game, however. Fortnite: Battle Royale introduces some interesting ideas to the mix, while speeding up and simplifying the core battle royale mechanics without feeling like a hacked-down version of the original.

If you’re a PUBG player who is curious about what it would be like to jump over, we have some pointers for you.

Why should I play Fortnite?

The long answer is because Fortnite starts with so much of what you probably like from PUBG, and then takes those concepts in interesting new directions. The building mechanics mean that you’re way more empowered to turn a bad situation around if you’re caught out in the open, and the different visual style and adjusted sense of scale completely change the feel of the game. The plane is now a flying bus and the circle is now the eye of a storm, but the bigger changes to the game’s formula can be found in how you play.

The short answer is because it’s free, so you don’t have much to lose except your time. Just keep in mind that when we’re saying it’s free, we mean the battle royale mode that’s modeled after PUBG.

For the sake of simplicity, we’re just going to refer to that as “Fortnite” for the rest of the article.

But I hate Fortnite!

I also fell into this trap as a longtime PUBG player who tried to jump into Fortnite, and felt both instantly comfortable because of the similar mechanics and also frustrated by the differences.

I died often because I wasn’t using the weapons correctly. I ignored strategies that allow you to survive longer in Fortnite, because they weren’t immediately obvious to me as a PUBG player. Everything just felt … off.

Fortnite: Battle Royale key art Epic Games

It took some time before I saw Fortnite for the game it is instead of the game I wanted it to be. You have to play for a good amount of time before you understand the differences in how the games work and why they’re both so successful among their own audiences.

And yeah, every PUBG player I’ve introduced to Fortnite hates it for the first few hours. But they warm up a bit with time.

And some don’t! It’s perfectly OK to like one and not the other. Just be sure to keep your mind open when you start out.

I can’t handle another glitchy early access game, though

The good news is that Fortnite tends to run a lot smoother than PUBG, at least on my experience playing it on a gaming PC with a GeForce GTX 970. The game doesn’t require a beast of a system to run, in general. Here are the recommended system specs:

  • Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 equivalent DX11 GPU
  • 2 GB VRAM
  • Core i5 2.8 GHz
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Windows 7/8/10 64-bit

OK, so I can build. How does that change things?

Building changes everything, and you don’t understand Fortnite until you understand building.

You can pick up materials just like you pick up weapons, items and ammo, or you can collect them hitting buildings and objects with your pickax. And you’re going to want crafting materials early in each round.

You can build stairs to climb up the side of steep inclines, and you can build walls to block bullets. The interesting thing is that your character doesn’t build these items themselves; you can move on the moment after you begin the building process.

This means that you can turn around quickly and retreat behind a series of walls if you find yourself out in the open under fire. It also means that you can reach just about anywhere you see if you have enough materials to build a series of staircases.

Get good at building, and it can begin to feel like you’re fighting in the Matrix. The biggest change from PUBG is that you’re no longer at the mercy of the map. You can create whatever you need, from cover to high ground, but you also need to remember that the enemy can destroy it just as easily.

The building menu is very simple but very powerful. You have to select which structure you’re going to build, along with the material you’re going to use. Then you have to place it accurately without slowing down, while also planning your next move. Slowing down to build puts you at a huge disadvantage against players who know how to build at full speed.

Construction is also loud, so enemies will hear it, and structures you build will stand out like a sore thumb against the rest of the buildings on the map. They make you a target, but you can sometimes use that to your advantage as well.

The sooner you master your building skills, the better.

How does Fortnite handle inventory?

You have five inventory slots, and that’s it. You can’t increase the number of items you carry by finding a backpack. That means you’ll need to do a lot of inventory management, but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

While PUBG has a wide variety of weapons that can be kind of tricky to figure out until you know your play style, Fortnite makes things much easier for beginners. You likely know the difference between a shotgun and a sniper rifle, but weapons in the game are color-coded for rarity. The gray items are the most common, and then the order of rarity goes from green to blue to purple to orange.

So you may have a shotgun, but you’ll want to get rid of it if you find a purple shotgun, and you’re going to get outclassed if you go after someone with a more powerful version of the same weapon you’re packing. The color coding means that gunfights often look like fireworks displays as the fallen soldiers drop their equipment.

You want to get whatever you can find when you first land, but after that you’ll want to constantly be upgrading to the rarer versions of each gun, while also saving inventory space for healing items or shields.

Fewer slots mean fewer things to keep track of, but you want to be constantly cycling your inventory from your starting items to better, more rare weapons and items as the round progresses.

Where do you find the vehicles in Fortnite?

You don’t. The scale of the map in Fortnite makes it easier to travel from place to place than you’re used to in PUBG, so you don’t have to worry as much about circle management quite as much once you get a sense for your running speed.

You don’t have to listen for vehicles, you don’t have to find them and rounds in general don’t take as long to play as they do in PUBG.

Is this the end?

Hell no, but this wasn’t meant to be an in-depth guide. Each of these sections could be filled out nearly indefinitely, but this should at least get you started and moving in the right direction.

I do hope this piece helped all you PUBG players find the fun in Fortnite a bit quicker, because my first few rounds were spent wondering why everyone else had guns that worked and thinking the game was a bit too much like PUBG — before a higher-level player schooled me on how to use the building mechanic effectively.

I haven’t looked back since ... even if I do continue to play PUBG on the weekends.