Ali ‘SypherPK’ Hassan has one of the more interesting takes on the Fortnite Champion Series cheating scandal, pointing the finger at Epic Games.
Most Fortnite fans know all about the FNCS cheating scandal, by now. In short, the top two duo teams in NA-East landed in Slurpy Swamp and used the free shields to trade Storm Surge tags without following up for the elimination.
The clips of the teams doing this were the opposite of subtle. They tagged one another for Storm Surge in nearly all of the FNCS warmup games and again in FNCS week 1.
As Chap put it, they were indirectly teaming up as a squad to kill another team. They got free Storm Surge tags, meaning another duo was going to die to storm surge.
Most of the biggest names in Fortnite weighed in on the topic. Ninja gave his opinion on the young pro scene in regards to cheating, Tfue spoke up, and xQc sub-tweeted Fortnite pros who were defending the dous in question.
Most of the responses to the scandal were similar. Friends of the players involved leaned towards defending them, while the rest of the community agreed with a 60-day ban.
Streamer SypherPK had one of the most unique and insightful takes on the whole situation, however. He agreed that these players should have been banned for what they did, but added that the problem goes deeper than a couple of teams colluding in Slurpy Swamp.
Sypher went in on the current state of competitive Fortnite, and the fact that this kind of thing happens all of the time. These players are constantly playing scrimmages against one another. They know where other teams land and often agree to split landing spots with opposing teams.
He also said that, while this example is egregious, these Storm Surge tags happen constantly. Players know that it’s not a good idea to take an early-game fight, but they also know it’s smart to get a few tags for Storm Surge.
“So many pro teams share drop spots,” Sypher told his chat. “Naturally, if both teams play extremely smart, they’re going to come to an agreement without even speaking to each other … ‘hey, it might not be a bad idea for both of us to tag up each other,’ especially in Slurpy Swamp.”
Sypher admitted that the players involved in this controversy probably had an off-stream conversation about splitting Slurpy and tagging one another for Stor Surge. His point was that this happens all of the time, even when the teams don’t coordinate off-stream.
The problem, in his opinion, is a result of the Storm Surge mechanic. “The mechanic itself is dumb. It’s only in the game because the servers can’t handle that many people, so it’s already a band-aid fix to a problem.”
Sypher agreed that the players made their coordination too obvious and that they desired to be punished, but stated that this kind of thing happens without this level of collusion.
“Let’s say there’s two teams that land Slurpy Swamp all the time,” Sypher explained. “One team takes the north side, one team takes the south side every time. Both teams know each other, both teams respect each other and they don’t fight each other because they know it’s not smart to take that fight.
“I feel like that’s already messed up from a competitive perspective.” Sypher then went on to explain what happens when a third team enters the mix. Someone new to the area would often be focused by the other two teams if they encroached on the already-split drop spot.
“It’s stupid to think that those teams haven’t already agreed beforehand that they’re not gonna fight,” Sypher told his chat. “And if a third team shows up, they’re gonna … stick out like a sore thumb and both teams will probably team up on that third team because it’s not part of the system that they have in place.”
Sypher’s take on this whole situation might be the most insightful one yet. He agrees that these teams should be punished, but pointed the finger at Epic for their flawed competitive system. There is inherent collusion for Storm Surge and drop spots in Fortnite. These players just took it to another level.
If Epic really wants to eradicate this kind of behavior, they probably need to increase the elimination incentive in their games. If kills were worth more than placements, spawn fights would be far more common.
Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen. We may have to deal with the Storm Surge tag meta and split drop spots for the duration of competitive Fortnite.