Sunday, 31 May 2020

Four Pro Fortnite Players Banned After FNCS Cheating Controversy

Cheating in esports is not new, and if there is money to be made, people will look for a way to game the system. This is especially true in Fortnite with Epic Games offering a constant stream of tournaments with cash on the line, and now four players have received bans for engaging in behavior that goes against the spirit of the game.

In the NA-East region, duo Slackes and Keys and duo Kreo and Bucke have been spotted trading shots in order to avoid the Storm Surge mechanic meant to prevent camping and passive play. Each player has been banned for 60 days, at which point they will be eligible to continue playing in competitive events.

The act of trading shots to bypass the Storm Surge mechanic falls within a recent set of rules implemented by Epic Games meant to eliminate any cooperation between opponents, which sounds like an unnecessary set of rules, but here we are. The rules describe that any kind of signaling to opponents can be met with a ban, even something as simple as swinging a harvesting tool or jumping, depending on the context of the situation.

Following the ban, Kreo expressed his disappointment at the process.

While Kreo describes his desire to see some form of investigation, others have already done so, and their finding do not look good for the banned players. ESTNN describes that they have two minutes of compiled replay footage documenting a total of 12 separate tournament matches where all four players engage in trading shots to avoid the Storm Surge mechanic and never once move in to continue pushing against each other.

If this had only happened once or twice the argument could be made that it was unintentional, but twelve separate matches cannot be described in such a way.

Epic Games has been perfectly clear on how they will treat this kind of behavior, stating, “Any cases of signaling like those listed above will now result in a teaming/collusion penalty. We want to be explicitly clear that pacifism-style gameplay is still allowed, but if signaling is involved, we will review and take appropriate action for the teaming/collusion penalty. Repeat offenders may be subject to increased penalties.”

Regardless of how one feels about this type of behavior among professional players, no one following competitive Fortnite should be surprised to see Epic Games tightening the rules. Last year Epic banned players for cheating during Week 3 of the Fortnite World Cup Online Open for two weeks, and they were still allowed to compete in later competitions, which left other competitors shocked and frustrated.

Now Epic is likely trying to catch and punish anyone who steps out of line to deter this kind of behavior. There is likely no World Cup this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is plenty of money on the line, and Epic is right to have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.

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