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UCLA Esports removes Fortnite from list of games due to competitive concerns

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Fortnite Battle Royale’s struggles with competitive play have had it stricken from at least one universities offered games.

Collegiate esports are rapidly becoming more important in the esports ecosystem. Over 60 American colleges have now implemented varsity programs for esports with scholarships.

Many more have partial support and operate as an official club team with varying ranges of financial support.

UCLA’s program is a club team, and one of the more interesting universities where esports is concerned. While their LA neighbor UC Irvine is actually the dominant esports program in the region, UCLA is still the largest university in LA. (They beat USC by 2,000 students.)

Considering LA is the epicenter of western esports, it stands to reason that the collegiate program at the largest university carries weight.

UCLA Esports calls Fortnite Uncompetitive from r/FortniteCompetitive

The issues with Fortnite’s competitive scene are starting to have more ramifications in the landscape. It also seems like Epic forgoing an official collegiate league like Riot or Blizzard have caused problems for collegiate clubs.

The game’s balance issues were also called out by two students who won an event, and announced they were quitting right after.

It is impossible to predict the future of competitive Fortnite but with plenty of viewers still tuning in to the World Cup qualifiers, Epic is safe until at least the end of July.

From that point, some significant changes will likely need to be made to competitive balance or structure if they don’t want players to quit and move to other games.

Who knows what internal discussions at Epic Games are like, but decisions like this are definitely not positive.

Editorial

Opinion: Ninja Battles is what we thought professional Fortnite would be

Ninja Battles has shown us that there’s a massive opportunity in invitational Fortnite tournaments.

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When competitive Fortnite was first announced, fans imagined Team Liquid going up against TSM and FaZe. Tfue and Cloakzy were battling Chap and 72hrs for the win. TSM boasted Myth, Daequan, and Hamlinz – three of the best players in the world at the time.

Those were the old days of competitive Fortnite, and they are way behind us. There’s been a massive changing of the guard, partially due to the open qualifiers for major tournaments.

These qualifiers were fantastic for unknown Fortnite players who have since grown their brand. Would people like UnknownxArmy or even Bugha have been invited to the World Cup if it was an invitational? We’re not sure.

IMG: Fortnite Twitter

From a viewership perspective, however, it can be difficult to keep track of the constant turnover in the competitive scene. The leaderboard might be filled with names you’ve never heard of in any given tournament. It’s a double-edged sword that leaves some longtime Fortnite viewers behind.

Now, we have Ninja Battles: an invitation-only tournament that also features some of the biggest names in the competitive scene. Sure, there were a few content creators thrown into the mix, but winning the tournament was no small feat. Many of the household names in competitive Fortnite took part in the event, and the prize pool was a large one for an online tournament.

Ninja Battles Week 1 was an unquestioned success. The best news coming out of the event is that we have five more weeks of competition. After one week, it’s already shown us the version of competitive Fortnite we expected to see, all along.

Of course, there was some controversy during the tournament. ZaxRow has been banned after his cuss-filled post-game interview, and Clix issued an apology after leaving early. On top of that, the lack of Arena Mode caused each game to end in a heal-off.

These pros have seen the error of their ways, however, and Ninja Battles will take place in Arena Mode going forward. Ninja stated that the tournament gave him “old competitive Fornite” vibes, and he was dead-on. This was what many of us wanted competitive Fortnite to be.

The participants, largely, loved their experience as well. Nearly every competitor praised the tournament on Twitter. There were no complaints, no in-game controversies, no accusations of teaming – nothing that’s been plaguing the mainstream competitive scene for over a year.

We have several more weeks of Ninja Battles to look forward to, but hopefully, it doesn’t end there. Ninja Battles has shown us that invitational tournaments might be the best format for Fortnite – at least from a viewership perspective.

The FNCS and all other Fortnite tournaments will have their place, but the true ceiling of competitive success may lie in private, invitational tournaments.

Let’s hope that organizers, teams, and companies take note of this success and support this version of the competitive scene going forward. If we get more of what we had last night, then competitive Fortnite has some massive potential.

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Clix apologizes for leaving Ninja Battles for a Fortnite Cash Cup

Clix apologizes for choosing the Fortnite Cash Cup over the in-progress Ninja Battles tournament.

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Ninja Battles showed us that invitational Fortnite tournaments might be more entertaining to watch than those with open qualifiers. It also proved that they can be just as toxic.

The professional Fortnite community is notoriously young, with the densest number of competitors in their teens. After Ninja Battles Week 1, we saw two high-profile pros issue apologies for their actions during the tournament.

The first to apologize was ZexRow, who has since been banned from future events due to his cuss-filled rant on Ninja’s stream. You can read more about that situation in our full article here.

Clix followed with an apology of his own. Was it for calling Ninja – the tournament organizer who put up his own money to host an event – “literally f**king dogs**t”? Not exactly.

Clix issued an apology for leaving the event early and leaving his teammates, BrookeAB and Furious, high and dry. He stated that he talked to the duo before the tournament and warned them that he’d be leaving. In his apology, Clix admitted that he “could’ve handled things better.”

Clix, whose team finished in 17th place, left before his final match to play the Duo Cash Cup with FaZe Sway. The pro made it seem like a no-brainer as to why he was leaving.

Clix released this apology a few hours after the event concluded, but it remains to be seen if he’ll receive an invite in the future. BrookeAB was the one who was invited from the squad, so Ninja could very well tell her not to invite him again.

There’s a lot of drama in the competitive Fortnite scene, even in a wholesome event like Ninja Battles. One thing’s for sure: this was one of the most entertaining Fortnite tournaments in recent memory.

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Ninja bans ZexRow from Ninja Battles following cuss-filled rant

ZexRow banned from Ninja Battles Fortnite and replaced with Stretch.

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Ninja Battles Week 1 took place on May 28 and saw Mackwood, ZexRow, and Yung Calc take home first place and $25,000. The reigning FNCS Trios champions were set to take their dominance into Week 2 until MonsterDFace and BallaTW conducted a post-game interviewed ZexRow.

In the interview, the Fortnite pro threw shots at his teammate, Yung Calc, before embarking on a now-viral cuss-filled rant against everyone who placed outside of the top-ten in the past Solo FNCS competition.

“Everyone that didn’t place in top 10 can suck my d***,” he said after a slight hesitation. “They’re f***ing s****ers. I don’t know why they talk s***, they’re actually also dogs*** and braindead. That’s all I’m gonna say.”

Nearly everyone who saw this outburst had a facepalm moment – none more so than ZexRow’s teammates Yung Calc and Mackwood. Soon after his interview was cut off, Mackwood tweeted that he and Calc were looking for a new third for Ninja Battles Week 2.

Following the interview, ZexRow issued a short apology on Twitter, saying, “Aww s**t forgot parents watch I’m sorry.” This wasn’t enough for Ninja, the tournament organizer, who was understandably frustrated with ZexRow’s level of disrespect.

“Congrats on your first and last Ninja Battles placement!” he wrote in return, leaving the situation at that.

This triggered a series of longer apologies from ZexRow, the first if which stated, “I am actually really sorry about that, it was a really bad lapse in judgment and I didn’t think in the moment and forgot that there was kids watching, and even so it was too far. Thank you to @Ninja for hosting the tournament and im sorry I ended it on that sour note.”

ZexRow later issued a longer apology via TwitLonger, addressing TSM, the fans, Ninja, and anyone else he offended.

Fortnite fans appeared to be calling for TSM to drop ZexRow after his rant, but that’s probably a bit too far. He made a mistake and was incredibly disrespectful to Ninja, but didn’t say anything unforgivable. A ban from the rest of the tournament seems like a punishment that fits the crime.

On May 29, Mackwood told his fans that he and Yung Calc will be replacing ZexRow with Stretch for the rest of the Ninja Battles tournament series. The next tournament takes place on June 4. We’re only one week in and the storylines are already getting juicy.

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