Photo Credit: Epic Games
Epic Games announced the Fortnite World Cup qualification system last week detailing a 10 week online based qualifier leading up to the finals in New York. With pro players from FaZe Clan and Team Liquid already criticizing the format publicly, what exactly are the solutions and how can Epic make this one of the most memorable events in esports history?
1) Inconsistent Lobbies
Photo Credit: HotspawnWith the qualifiers leaning towards an online format rather than LAN qualifiers, there are numerous areas of concerns with the favored format. First off, you have the Fortnite servers itself, with multiple streamers and professional players raising concerns over the latency issues from time to time. There is also the concern of the Fortnite servers potentially going down during the qualifiers, as Fortnite has had issues with their servers in the past. One upside of the online qualifiers is the region breakdown for each specific qualifier in aims to reduce the latency between the players and servers, but in an instance where a player might experience internet issues or latency issues is where we can look at the format and question why this was not held on LAN to prevent these issues.
Another scenario that could be a deciding factor in the qualifiers, is that not every professional player has stellar internet. Some players may be in an area unable to get high-speed internet compared to other players in their respective regions. This could lead to player A having lesser latency compared to player B, which would favor player A if they would encounter each other during a match. Over the duration of the ten-week online qualifiers, any of these servers or latency issues could persist through multiple weeks, potentially risking a players' qualification if they were affected by such an issue.
2) Collusion and the not so Easy Anti-Cheat
Photo Credit: Julia AlexanderOne of the most prominent issues that have plagued Fortnite since its popularity skyrocketed is the sheer amount of cheaters still playing in the game. Although Fortnite has an anti-cheat system in place, being the Easy Anti-Cheat system, cheaters have still avoided the system and wreaked havoc on the servers. A clear issue with the online qualifiers is the fear of one of these cheaters being able to compete throughout the qualifiers all while not being detected and banned by the system.
Another issue in relation to cheating is the act of "teaming" in solos or ghosting in duos. During last years Fall Skirmish, professional players NateHill and Funkbomb were competing in the duo portion of the event, Funkbomb fell during the match and pulled up the official Fortnite stream and communicate to NateHill where the remaining enemies were.
This is a very relevant issue, as assuming the online qualifiers will be streamed and some players may opt to not stream their POV of the matches, so there would be no evidence to whether or not a duo is ghosting by watching other players or the official stream. Along with ghosting in duos, there have been instances of players "teaming" in the recent solo gauntlet competitions. There was a recent clip that emerged of two solo players interacting with each other towards the endgame of a gauntlet match and boxing up next to each other and teaming for the duration of the match.
Professional players have cited these two issues as perhaps the biggest areas of concern going into the qualifiers. FaZe Clan Fortnite player Brendan "Jaomock" O’Brien had this to say regarding the qualifiers.
To be honest all I really have to say is that qualifying is gonna be extremely hard. On top of that these are open qualifiers so cheaters and teamers is a definite possibility. Hopefully all goes well!" - @Jaomock
3) Stacked Lobbies
Photo Credit: Eric Ananmalay/ESPAT MediaAs with any online mode, it is unknown who will end up in your server upon loading up the game, such randomization can lead to one qualified lobby filled with top tier professional players versus another lobby which could have very few if any pro players making one lobby vastly easier than the other. FaZe Clan team captain Dennis "Cloak" Lepore tweeted this area of concern out yesterday stating;
Online qualifiers are dumb. Me and @TTfue had 6/10 lobbies with 0 pro players in them. Yet I watched @72hrs and @VividFN played 10 games with almost full lobby of pros each game." - @cloakzy
Luck will be a factor in these qualifying matches, depending on who is in your lobby could decide the fate of many aspiring players who aim to qualify for the World Cup.
With all these underlying issues with Epic opting to have the qualifiers online, what are the solutions to these issues?
Photo Credit: Epic GamesThe most obvious solution to the aforementioned problems is to have an online qualifier portion, where they could carry out the first few days of each qualifier to get the top 3000 players for a certain region. Then out of those 3000 players, the further top 100 players in the online portion of that week would qualify for a LAN final to determine the players to qualify for the World Cup. Doing this over 10 consecutive weeks would be a giant task for Epic to run but this is a $40,000,000 tournament which has attracted global attention and to have a flawed qualification system could hinder the competitiveness of the event and the scene for the future.
Regarding the "teaming" and "ghosting" issues, Epic should instill custom lobbies for the final 3000 players on the cusp of qualifying. Doing so would allow Fortnite to monitor each lobby with referees to enforce and disqualify any players violating any of the rules.
Whether Epic changes the qualification format or not, the competition will be fierce for a portion of the life-changing $40 million available for the taking.