With the way Epic has developed the competitive scene in Fortnite, they have put a focus on making the top-tier events open for random qualifiers.
This has been a good thing for the scene in general as Fortnite has more random players trying to be professionals than just about every other esport.
With routes to make it to the top level and absurd amounts of money on the line, being a Fortnite pro feels like it might be attainable.
But those same qualifying systems that work well for new names, make the scene tougher on the pros who have already established themselves as the best of the best.
Remember when Tfue and Cloak didn’t qualify for the Winter Royale despite finishing in first place in the major Fortnite competition right before?
That just doesn’t really happen in other esports or even traditional sports. With the World Cup Qualifier information coming out, the attention has again moved to what players will need to do in order to get their chance at the massive $40 million in prizes.
Even though the Winter Royale Qualifier left some big names high-and-dry, Liquid’s Chap still thinks that system was better than what the Fortnite World Cup has.
Winter Royale had an infinitely superior qualifying system… IMO— Chap (@LiquidChap) March 25, 2019
So let’s break down the two qualifying systems and show how they differ for pro players:
Winter Royale Qualifiers:
In the announcement for the Winter Royale, Epic said outright that this qualifying system would be a trial run for the upcoming World Cup.
The Winter Royale Qualifier lasted just one weekend, November 24th and 25th. The Qualifier held different sessions during this weekend and players had each session to grind out as many points (combinations of wins and kills) for the session. The top 200 players for both NA and EU qualified for their region’s Winter Royale Finals.
The World Cup Qualifiers:
Compared to the Winter Royale Qualifiers, the World Cup is much, much more expansive. Ultimately just $2 million was on the line in Winter so a jump to $40 million requires a step up in what it takes to make it into the event.
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The World Cup Qualifiers begin with a new mode called “Arena Mode.”
Similar to a ranked ladder, Arena Mode seems like it will be a permanent fixture in Fortnite, but that isn’t clear from the announcement. It will be around at least until the start of the next round of World Cup Qualifiers on April 13th.
Arena Mode will have people progress through various ranks before reaching the highest rank: the “Champion League.”
Once you reach that rank, a new mode will be open up allowing you to enter Fortnite World Cup Online Open Tournaments.
Once there, the player will be placed into a semi-final. Each semi-final will give each player a three hour window of time in which they can compete in ten separate matches.
The top 3,000 players will move onto the Sunday Finals event. Once there, the scores will reset and the players will again have ten matches to rack up as many points as possible. The top finishers in that event will be invited to the actual World Cup in July.
The differences between the two qualifiers
The main difference – and the one that Chap is likely taking issue with – is shoehorning the qualifiers into one three-hour window.
This means that players who want to compete will have to plan their day around the event. The Winter Royale Qualifiers allowed people more freedom to choose what time they wanted to compete.
At the same time though, they rewarded players for grinding Fortnite all day on both Saturday and Sunday. The three-hour window is more rigid, but it also lets players get away from Fortnite if they so choose.
The other key difference is how many players get pushed through. In the Winter Royale it was fairly easy for a good player to get unlucky and never put together the kind of game necessary to reach the top 200.
Expanding the amount of people who move through each event will reduce some of the RNG and will help make sure the best players move through. Once they reach the finals though, they will have to go up against 2,999 other extremely talented Fortnite players making the chances of finishing in even the top 100 quite slim.