Bugha’s swatting shows the competitive Fortnite community has a problem
Bugha’s inspiration victory at the Fortnite World Cup provoked a lot of people outside of Esports to sit up and take notice. Unfortunately, that has been followed by a fresh ordeal for the player every single week. Far from showing a positive community reacting to an impressive change, it has shown the Fortnite community at its worst. Petty attacks that begin to border on harassment are showing the game’s followers in a really bad light, and this might impact players in the future.
Immediately after the World Cup, Bugha had his social media accounts hacked. This isn’t really a major problem, but it is hard to pretend it wouldn’t have happened if he had not had an explosion of interest. Quite a few other players have been hit by similar hacks since like Shroud. This is a minor event, but it was just the start of a lengthy campaign against the young player.
Bugha has been quite public about the negative effect all this has had on him. It is nearly impossible for him to actually play Fortnite anymore. Getting hit by stream-snipers in most games doesn’t encourage high-level play. Almost every player who finds themselves in a lobby with him wants a piece of the best Fortnite player. Having pros compete in open games is fun, but if this is the community’s reaction to a skilled new player then how often are we going to get to see major upsets like this?
Stream sniping is all fun and games, but there’s a line where the fun stops. It would be objectively fair to say that the line is swatting.
Swatting is a bid sign for the health of competitive Fortnite
A recent stream with players Ghost Bizzle and FaZe Dubs resulted in Bugha being swatted. This situation was resolved relatively quickly when one of the officers who turned up knew who Bugha was and quickly figured out he had been swatting. Swatting is often portrayed as something harmless, but it can go really wrong. Someone has already been killed in a swatting stunt gone wrong. As well this, it wastes a lot of valuable resources for police pretty much everywhere. It is petty and dangerous. There is something wrong with the culture of attacking streamers just for being notable when swatting has become this commonplace.
The wider question is why is all of this happening to Bugha? It’s his recent growth in profile. He has become a massive name in Fortnite pretty much overnight. The community has reacted to this with hacks, stream snipes, and swatting. The hype and interplay between players is half of the fun of following Esports, but this sort of stuff is where those emotions become a problem. A player shouldn’t be subjected to all of this just because they won a tournament.
This kind of behavior just tears down those with ability and makes pro Fortnite more of a closed shop. We saw recently some allegations about the clubhouses major organization are running. With players and their families facing this kind of harassment for playing Fortnite, is it any wonder organizations pretty much have safe houses? This kind of reaction only serves to make players less likely to perform as well as they can. Who wants all of that hassle? Fortnite has an awful lot of young talent, this kind of harassment is going to taint the game for them.
The Fortnite community should be building up players and rooting for their favorite players and teams in a healthy way. Once the reaction to a player reaches this level, it becomes something quite toxic. If this is how the Fortnite community reacts to a new name in the top tier, the scene doesn’t have too great of a shelf life ahead of it.