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What hiring Nate Nanzer means for Fortnite esports

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With the announcement of Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer being hired by Epic Games, we have to wonder what that could mean for Fortnite esports.

The Overwatch League is one of the most ambitious esports undertakings ever.

Expansion slots for the second season went for upwards of $40 million as a host of new teams joined.

The OWL is unique because it is operating under a city-based structure where teams are run by organizations but are ultimately separate entitles.

By 2020, the goal is to have all OWL teams play in their home stadiums.

Nate has been leading the charge on a lot of that. On Friday, May 24th it was announced he has been hired by Epic Games.

His official role hasn’t been announced, but if Epic offered him enough money to leave his spot in the OWL, he has to be entering a senior leadership role for Fortnite esports.

Quick note, it has been speculated that Nanzer has been brought on to help with Rocket League, but in the official announcement he specifically says Fortnite. As the flagship title for Epic, most popular game with a disorganized esports scene, it makes more sense for him to be working on Fortnite anyway.

Who is Nate Nanzer?

He’s an executive who has been working in market research firms in the games sector since the 90s. He spent eight years apiece at two different firms before joining Blizzard in 2014.

He was put in charge of Overwatch Esports before the league began, and then was named commissioner of the league before the first season.

Besides Jeff Kaplan, he has been the Blizzard executive most associated with Overwatch esports. His work developed the Overwatch League and brought in those huge investments from traditional sports owners like Robert Kraft, Stan Kroenke and Jeff Wilpon.

The future of Fortnite esports | Credit: Esports Observer

He’s been focused on the gaming world for a long time and has proven he is able to build up an esports ecosystem, basically from scratch.

What can Nate Nanzer do for Fortnite?

Consistency.

Right now that is the main thing missing from Fortnite esports. Epic has experimented with a wide variety of events in the ten months since they began the Summer Skirmish.

Each one looked a bit different, used different scoring systems and formats, had different ways to qualify.

What Nanzer can do is create a formal structure for Fortnite esports. He will have two months as they are fully committed to the World Cup, then whatever his plans are will be announced.

If you look at the biggest esports in the world they have set times for flagship events. League of Legends Worlds happens in the early fall, Overwatch League finals happen in the summer, Dota 2’s The International is every august and CS:GO’s IEM Katowice is at the beginning of march.

League of Legends Worlds is one of the best scenes in esports | Credit: Dot Esports

Fortnite needs that structure. They need clear ways to qualify for events and a solid scoring structure that makes sense and is easy to follow.

Battle royales have a lot of issues for esports that games like Overwatch do not. Head to head games are simple while Fortnite needs to use some combination of kills and placement to determine the best players.

Nanzer will have two months to figure out the best way to cement Fortnite esports for the future.

What Fortnite esports could look like under Nate Nanzer

Now we are going to try to figure out some ways Nanzer could accomplish a formalized Fortnite league.

To start, they need to separate competitive and casual playlists. This has been the case for a long time, and it isn’t immediately clear why it hasn’t happened already.

Have one team balance the competitive game and have one team work on making the main mode the most fun it can be. That provides the solutions Fortnite needs, but for some reason it hasn’t happened.

Regardless of that, let’s look at possible league structures.

The best example of a battle royale league is in PUBG. While not as popular as Fortnite in America, PUBG is still the battle royale of choice in Asia.

They structure of “PUBG Global Esports” resembles League of Legends in many ways.

Could this be the model Fortnite esports are headed towards?

They hold regional competitions in America, Europe, Korea, Japan, China and Chinese Taipei. Teams compete amongst themselves, getting together for global events after each of the three phases.

Scoring is tracked on a cumulative leaderboard, if you are familiar with racing events it is similar to that. Each week, all 16 teams drop in together, and the points earned through kills and placement go towards the overall leaderboard.

Top teams after each phase get invited to the global events and the bottom teams have to fight to not get relegated.

PUBG wasn’t the first to use this type of league, that was actually the now-defunct H1Z1 Pro League. They pioneered the use of the cumulative leaderboard taking place over an extended period of time.

The benefit of that is that as more weeks are held, the more skilled players rise to the top of the pack.

H1Z1 also had a unique scoring system, and one I really enjoyed.

Instead of having placements give a set amount of points, they became a multiplier for kills.

In Fortnite terms, that means someone in a Baller all game who finishes in fifth place receives no points if they don’t get a kill.

On the other hand, a squad that goes aggro and gets 20 kills total but finishes in eleventh would get no multiplier but still have 20 points.

In the H1Z1 Pro League, first place got 2x their kills, 2nd through 5th got 1.5x, 6th through tenth got 1.25x and 11th through 16th got no multiplier.

This model would have to be adapted for Fortnite, but provides an interesting mix of strategy and aggression.

The other interesting detail between the H1Z1 Pro League, PUBG Global Esports, and Fortnite is that the first two are squad based.

Fortnite on the other hand has focused on duo and solo competitions almost exclusively.

It would be interesting to see if that changes under Nate Nanzer and Fortnite pushes towards a model more similar to those other battle royale titles. The consistency of it makes a lot of sense, and having slots in the league makes organizations more willing to invest in their Fortnite players.

Esports

Waffles unbanned from Fortnite under threat of legal action

Epic Games unbanned pro player, Waffles, after the CarterPulse agency stepped in.

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Earlier this week, we covered the story of Fortnite pro player, Waffles, who had been banned from Fortnite after encountering a bug in the FNCS. Waffles killed a player who had used the infinite item glitch to receive an unlimited number of Crash Pads.

After the elimination, Waffles noticed massive stack of Crash Pads on the ground. As anyone would, he began to pick them up to investigate. To his dismay, he was unable to drop them and had to finish the game with no weapons or healing items – only an inventory full of Crash Pads.

Despite everything working against him, Waffles managed to finish third in the game. When he went back to the lobby, however, he saw that he was disqualified from the tournament and banned from competitive Fortnite for 30 days.

Despite all of the evidence showing that Waffles didn’t do this on purpose, Epic support told him that they were upholding his ban. That’s where the CarterPulse agency came in. They responded to one of Waffles’ tweets, telling him to reach out to them.

After that, they went to work contacting Epic Games and outlining the fact that Waffles never intentionally broke any of the rules – a condition for a fair ban. What’s more, the Fortnite competitive rules state that any player must play-out a game in which they encounter a bug, giving Waffles no choice in the situation.

A little over a day after CarterPulse got involved, Epic appeared to reverse their decision to ban Waffles. The pro tweeted, “I AM UNBANNED! THANK YOU @CarterPulse.”

According to other tweets by the agency, they stepped into the situation free of charge. “Anything for the community.” they wrote on Twitter.

CarterPulse also clarified that this was a small mistake within a great company. “Just would like everyone to realize that Epic is a great company who makes mistakes like all of us. Happy to have helped @WafflesFN in getting unbanned!” they wrote.

The unbanning comes just in time for the second week of FNCS qualifiers. Waffles will be able to compete in the next qualifying event and, with any luck, will move onto the grand finals.

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Fortnite pro banned for encountering a bug in FNCS

Fortnite pro, Waffles, has been banned from Fortnite after encountering an exploit triggered by another player.

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Earlier today, we covered a bug that led to Epic disabling the Motorboat in all Fortnite modes. This bug allowed players to create an infinite number of items in their inventory by following a few simple steps.

YouTuber, OrangeGuy, offered a tutorial on the issue, but it was already known by a large chunk of the competitive community. Players were using it to obtain an unlimited number of Floppers, ensuring that they’d out-heal any player who wasn’t using the bug.

The problem is that you could complete this exploit by accident. What’s more, you could eliminate someone who used the exploit and gain yourself an unlimited number of items. This is what happened to Fortnite pro player, Waffles, during the Season 3 FNCS.

Waffles eliminated a player during one of his matches. When he looked at the ground, he saw a stack of Crash Pads with 100,000 in them. As anyone would do, Waffles started picking them up and investigating – laughing with his friends.

Things took a turn when the Crash Pads took over Waffle’s inventory. He couldn’t drop them and, therefore, wasn’t able to carry any guns. Astoundingly, Waffles came in third place with an inventory full of only Crash Pads. It wasn’t ideal, but he had to use what was available to him.

When Waffles went back to the lobby, however, he found that he had been disqualified from the FNCS competition. A few moments later, Waffles saw that he was banned from Fortnite for nearly 30 days.

This is especially significant because new competitive Fortnite rules state that players who are banned from an FNCS won’t be able to compete in the next season’s tournament. This means that – if everything stands – Waffles won’t be able to play in Trios next season.

Waffles was the player on the other side of the FaZe Dubs situation from last season. This would be his second FNCS ban under questionable circumstances.

Since the ban, Waffles has been posting some of his correspondents with Epic support to his Twitter page. So far, they’ve told him that the ban stands. Waffles even posted an image of him attempting to raise the issue to a manager. He then went from talking with Delta Mike to talking with Echo Mike.

We reached out to Waffles to see if anything else has transpired, and he said that he’s shared everything, so far. He gave his side of what happened, saying, “I killed a guy that had the glitch. I am assuming that guy did the glitch on purpose but I don’t exactly know. All I know is that I picked them up on his body not knowing that I wouldn’t be able to drop them or pick up any guns.”‘

While we were talking, Waffles received an email that confirmed his ban. “I had our Competitive and Anti-Cheat teams manually review the ban and we will not lift your competitive ban,” the email read. We clarified that this ban was only for the exploit, to which he responded, “Yes. Never in my life have I ever downloaded or even tried cheats for Fortnite of any sort.”

This sounds true to us. After all, if Waffles was found to have been using hacks, his account would be banned for longer than 30 days.

We’re hoping that the attention to this situation will push Epic to look deeper into their ruling. Some of the biggest pros in the community have come to Waffle’s defense. The Fortnite Guy’s video on the topic is nearing 300,000 views at the time of writing.

If everything in this situation is as it seems, you can’t help but feel bad for Waffles. He was put in a terrible in-game situation due to someone else’s exploit. Despite not having any weapons, he managed to finish third in the game. Now, he’s banned, disqualified, and unable to play the Season 3 and 4 FNCS – all for a bug that was triggered by another player and actually put him at a disadvantage in-game. We’ll update you with any developments in this story.

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Epic Games

What does the $250 million Sony investment mean for Fortnite?

The implications of a massive investment on the biggest game in the world, Fortnite.

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On July 9, it was announced that Sony invested $250 million in Fortnite developer, Epic Games, making them a minority investor in the company. This brings Epic’s total investment capital to $1.58 billion.

Epic has been a major player in video games for a long time but made their biggest mark on the space with Fortnite, the game that we all came here to talk about.

Although Fortnite is Epic’s biggest product, at the moment, the company has their hands in several different titles and sources of income The Epic Games store, for instance, is looking to rival Steam by purchasing some massive games as exclusive content.

According to multiple reports, Sony’s investment in Epic will not affect the release of future titles. It’s not like Epic are going to make Fortnite a PlayStation exclusive. It might work in reverse, however. There’s a chance that Sony could bring some of their PlayStation exclusives to the Epic Games store on PC.

What does this mean for Fortnite? Well, in the words of Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau, “Fortnite will never die.” This is a tad hyperbolic, but it’s clear that the gaming industry, as a whole, is ready for Fortnite to stick around for another ten years, or so. It wouldn’t be the first game to have a massive lifespan.

Apart from some additional money to work with, the biggest thing this means for Fortnite is probably in the cosmetic department. Now that Sony is a major investor in Epic, we can expect the developer to scratch their back with some exclusive skins.

Don’t worry, though. PlayStation players probably won’t get any priority when it comes to using new features or anything like that. What does the $250 million Sony investment mean for Fortnite? Ten more years of our favorite battle royale.

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