Four players are under fire due to cheating accusations in the latest iteration of the Fortnite Champion Series.
Cheating in Fortnite is not new to the three-year-old Battle Royale title, especially from a competitive standpoint. Professional players XXiF and Ronaldo received punishments for collusion during the Fortnite World Cup qualifying period. Epic Games dropped a two-week ban on both players. Although, they did allow them to compete at the Fortnite World Cup event in New York City. Since then, other professional players stood accused of teaming in Solo Cash Cups and signaling to ensure safe rotation in tournaments. With the Duos Fortnite Champion Series officially underway, pro players Kreo, Bucke, Keys and Slackes are under duress after some cheating allegations came out after week one of the FNCS.
Video Evidence of Alleged Cheating
lil free storm surge lmao pic.twitter.com/tCZP4mYAHC
— droxide (@DROXlDE) March 23, 2020
Twitter user DROXIDE compiled some clips of the four accused players inflicting damage to cover their Storm Surge damage for later in each game. As you can see in the video, this alleged collusion began during the Fortnite Champion Series Warmup tournament last weekend. Both duos land on the Slurpy Swamp point of interest (POI) and proceed to trade shots to ready themselves for the inevitable Storm Surge activation that takes place when a certain amount of players are still alive in a given match. Storm Surge forces the player or players with the lowest amount of damage output to suffer 25 damage every five seconds until the server levels off.
The video evidence speaks volumes for the accusations, considering that each player fires upon the opposing duo, continues to farm materials and neither pair pushes the other. There is no clear intent from neither Bucke and Kreo nor Keys and Slackes to actually engage in a fight. These soft engagements occurred in almost every match beginning in the FNCS Warmup until round three of week one. Keys and Slackes went on to finish in first-place and Kreo and Bucke took second to secure themselves a spot in heats.
Bucke Responds to the Accusations
— Envy Bucke (@BuckeFPS) March 23, 2020
Bucke of Team Envy's Fortnite roster released a Twitlonger in response to the accusations shortly after the video came out. Thus far, he's the only player of the four to address the situation.
"Everyone has their own storm surge routes/techniques. We know where people land due to maps that are made by third parties. If we have unlimited shield, the impact on our game that taking a bloom battle with another team is very minimal. Our loot route directs us to that one truck with the chest at it. By the time that they are done with their loot route, they end up at the slurp truck and we end up shooting each other since we cross paths. Even when other teams land at slurpy swamp, we bloom battle them because there's unlimited shield. There have been multiple times in scrims/tournaments where we kill each other because we'll get triple dinked or naded."
The explanation here is pretty clear, in that, Bucke and Kreo's loot path almost always forces them to cross paths with Slackes and Keys. Considering Slurpy Swamp's over-abundance of healing items, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Bucke and Kreo would challenge any other teams that would drop at that POI. As it stands, we have a two-minute video of evidence against Kreo, Bucke, Slackes and Keys. This video does not take into account pro scrims, where all four players likely utilize the same drop spot. Nevertheless, we now have documented evidence of 12 separate tournament matches where the two duos tag each other and do not pursue eliminations and instead back off. Bucke's stance is somewhat fair considering the small sample size, but the video itself is telling in its own right.
Before the Duos Fortnite Champion Series announcement, Epic Games reinforced their stance on cheating. They published a blog post which indicated that strict punishments would come down on players who signal, team or collude in any fashion. In the case of Kreo, Bucke, Slackes and Keys, this situation could fall under teaming and possibly even planned movement. If both duos are fully aware of each other's loot paths, it will ensure that neither team would cross paths directly. Thus, they would not see them engage in a fight. The previously mentioned blog post from January did not explicitly state the punishments for players who violated these rules. However, the blog post does state that,
"Any cases of signaling like those listed above will now result in a teaming/collusion penalty. We want to be explicitly clear that pacifism-style gameplay is still allowed, but if signaling is involved, we will review and take appropriate action for the teaming/collusion penalty. Repeat offenders may be subject to increased penalties."
Professional Players React
i stand by this https://t.co/96WEiaO4mR
— Chap (@LiquidChap) March 23, 2020
Ryan "Chap" Chaplo of Team Liquid's Fortnite team was one of the first personalities to react openly to the accusations. He quoted a Tweet of his from August of 2019, stating, "cheating is cheating regardless of the prize pool." Chap also went off on Kreo, Bucke, Slackes and Keys during his NA West FNCS viewing party with his view on how tournament organizers should handle cheating. He first pointed out that it's a rash decision on both team's parts because of the potential repercussions and believes that a lifetime ban should not be out of the realm of possibility. Even top European player Benjy "benjyfishy" Fish chimed in with a snarky comment:
guys they were not teaming it was just a coincidence!
— benjyfishy (@benjyfishy) March 23, 2020
The two top NA East duos from week one are clearly under some hot water. In addition, the punishments are firmly in the hands of Epic Games. Ultimately, we can expect the competitive Fortnite team to address this in the coming weeks. Especially so, considering the amount of attention that this is drawing on social media.
Update: Bans and Leaderboard Removal
After this article was published, more news arose on the situation. It was revealed that all four players were removed from the Fortnite Champion Series leaderboards. That's not all though, as they reportedly received 60-day bans as well. A ban of this nature means that they cannot compete in any tournaments including the FNCS, scrim or queue into arena mode. The Fortnite team definitely didn't take long to take action on this one.
holy shit they actually took slackes/keys and kreo/bucke off of the leaderboard pic.twitter.com/zQxxeyqd0F
— Chap (@LiquidChap) March 23, 2020
Stay tuned to ESTNN for more coverage of this developing story and all of your up to date competitive Fortnite news.