Tonight was day one of Fortnite’s second attempt at its own esports event
Its Summer Skirmish which is giving out $8 million in prizes over the course of the next two months or so. Last week, trying to get all invited players from all over the world onto one server for last man standing matches resulted in A) very boring gameplay and B) so much lag the event had to be prematurely ended after four games.
This week, things were wildly different. Instead of all the players playing together, Epic took a page out of Friday Fortnite’s book (as well as their timeslot) and had all invited players try to perform their best in 10 public games, where Victory Royales and kills gave them points that fed into an overall leader board. The goal was to avoid lag with the public servers and to increase the action by forcing players to try to rack up kills (five kills is worth one Victory Royale, and 20 kills in a game is a 10 point bonus).
The result was…interesting, I suppose, but still kind of weird and bad overall
Like last week, you could watch one official Epic stream, or you could follow along with streamers of your choice on their personal streams. This week, Fortnite legend Ninja was actually playing, and his stream had more viewers itself than Epic’s stream, but that was to be expected. All in all I saw more than 800,000 viewers across Fortnite Twitch streams tonight, well over average.
The experience was an odd one. The Epic stream had to constantly just spend five minutes checking in on random streamers during games. There’s still the problem over the commentary team not being great and constantly talking over the players themselves. And those five featured minutes could be fun, or they could be dull, it was hard to tell which you were going to get coin master hack spins.
Instead, the best way to watch was probably just to pick a streamer or two and follow them for the duration of their games. The official stream was just too chaotic to follow, trying to check in with dozens of players, although focusing mainly on the top 10-20 most the most well-known faces, understandably.
This scoring system did create more action. These players were playing like they do on stream or in Friday Fortnite. You have to be aggressive or you’ll be left in the dust by other players racking up tons of kills. It’s a delicate balance between aggression and not going out early, as you can land somewhere populated like Tilted, but while that could get you tons of kills, it could also get you killed in the first minute of the match.
I mostly switched between Ninja, Lupo, Courage, Cloakzy and TimtheTatman, occasionally checking in with Tfue and Myth. Almost all were playing as well as I’ve ever seen them, which means that at least the “good entertainment value” portion of this event was up over last week significantly.
But this set-up created a lot of other issues as well. At the time of this writing, I’m not even sure what the final winner’s list will be. A player named idropz_bodies has been accused by viewers of using mouse and keyboard on PS4 which would give him a significant advantage there, and would allow him to rack up huge kill totals. He claims this was not the case and that he was using a controller, but presumably this will be looked into, as he won by a significant margin over some of the best players in the world.
(Update: Epic has cleared idropz_bodies of any wrongdoing. See the longer update below). This was not a great look for the event, and with a million dollars in prizes this weekend, it seems like there needs to be better oversight to prevent things like cheating, feeding and all other manner of potential trickery, regardless of whatever happens with this particular situation. And I think a more general debate needs to be had about console vs
PC play, as it does seem like console players are at an advantage more generally a lot of the time (in Summer Showdown, nearly all of the top players globally were playing on console). At the time of this writing, regardless of these accusations, idropz_bodies and NickMercs were #1 and #3, both PS4 players. It also seems like everyone should be required to stream their gameplay so everyone can see exactly what their set-up is and what their games look like. This is pretty basic stuff.
So again, while overall this event improved leaps and bounds over last week, it was still an extremely disjointed, chaotic affair with dozens of streams to keep track on, a somewhat pointless central stream, hard to keep track of scores and issues like potential cheating tainting the proceedings (even if it turns out no cheating was taking place). Not ideal.
I am curious to see the final ranking list, and how much controversy will erupt from that. There is a serious amount of money on the line and Epic has to be extremely careful how they handle this. Tomorrow is day two of this solos event with a new group, and hopefully they can iron out some kinks then. Next week will be yet another different format complete as Epic keeps experimenting until something sticks. So far I don’t think we’re seeing anything that’s going to work for the “World Cup of Fortnite” or whatever their grand prize event ends up being. There’s a long, long road ahead here, and a lot of work to be done.
Update: Here’s the full winner’s list. As of now, idropz_bodies is being declared first, and he also got a bonus prize for the most kills in a game (24)
This is going to be controversial to say the least. His total prize pool between winning and kill bonuses is $130,000, all from a player that wasn’t even streaming the entire time. Even if he won fair and square, that itself is its own kind of event problem.
Update 2: A lengthy thread has gone up on reddit detailing a wide variety of accusations against idropz_bodies, none of which actually have to do with mouse and keyboard. Accusations include:
- The fact that his performance and K/D skyrocketed right when the tournament started, as he doesn’t normally do as well as he did in those games
- Allegations that he was being fed kills by players queuing up at the same time using newly created accounts
- The notion that he kept leaving matches in the starting island because he “didn’t like the drops,” but some are suggesting this was to get other players he knew into the game with him
- The fact that his Twitch has been suspended so no videos of his gameplay can be seen anymore (supposedly it was suspended for saying the n-word in a video, Bodies himself is black)
Idropz claimed on Twitter last night that there would be no investigation by Epic into this, but players are screaming for one this morning, as idropz walked away with $130,000 between first place and kill bonus rewards. I am hesitant about all this, as this could either be A) foul play or B) a solid player who put on the performance of his life and is now being witch hunted. There are some questions that need to be answered, but I think this guy shouldn’t be crucified before the facts are known.
We really need some leadership from Epic on this right now, but so far have heard nothing. I have asked them for comment.
Update 3: Epic has issued a statement essentially clearing idropz_bodies of all charges. They did investigate, and the fan theories appear to have been proved false. Here’s the statement in full:
We wanted to drop in with information regarding Friday’s Summer Skirmish and the performance of the winner iDropz_Bodies in an effort of clarify some assumptions held by the community.
iDroPz_BoDiEs was unable to stream the event due to a Summer Skirmish rules requirement of a 2-minute stream delay for participants which wish to broadcast. This delay cannot be set on the console capture software and is not possible for non-Affiliates on Twitch. Following the event, he broadcasted replays of his Summer Skirmish matches.
Our rules do not stipulate that a participant must stream the event, as we do not wish to exclude players who were invited based on their own merit because they cannot stream – iDroPz_BoDiEs was invited to Summer Skirmish based off his performance in prior Showdown LTMs.
Now to address some concerns around that performance:
- Our internal Summer Skirmish analytics kept track of all opponents which participants eliminated. iDroPz_BoDiEs had 129 eliminations during the event and every single elimination was on a different opponent. This is not indicative of him having been intentionally fed eliminations and/or collusion with other players.
- Our analytics events also noted when players left the match prior to the bus deploying, and recorded those matches. iDroPz_BoDiEs did not join more than the specified 10 matches for the event, the narrative that he was leaving if the server wasn’t full or the bus wasn’t on a favorable path is false.
- Stat tracking sites are unreliable for recording historic performance, as they only update when the website requests stats for a user from the API. This makes any ‘Most Eliminations in a Single Match’ records on an account unlikely to be correct, as multiple matches in a time period are combined into one update. iDroPz_BoDiEs has achieved more than 20 eliminations in a match multiple times across his Fortnite career.
- In previous Showdown LTM’s which followed a similar scoring format on public servers, there has been no discernible difference in final score between top performers on PC and Console platforms. During this event we saw 11 matches break the 20 elimination mark, with 8 of them on PC and 3 on Console.
- There is no evidence that would suggest to us that iDroPz_BoDiEs played the competition using a mouse and keyboard. Furthermore, we do not restrict input device for players on our platforms in an effort to promote accessibility for our entire audience.
We appreciate the community’s concern around the integrity of the competition, but questioning the results of an individual participant without evidence unfairly tears apart at what should be a crowning moment of achievement for an individual who earned their way there and performed when it counted.
Our primary goal is to support competition that is fun, inclusive, and in line with the overall spirit of Fortnite. Unsportsmanlike conduct from participants is not within that spirit, and will not be tolerated in Fortnite competition.