Does Fortnite Have a Pay to Win Skin?
Fortnite’s latest skin is a fun suit made of recycled cardboard. To some, this is just another light-hearted Fortnite skin, possibly made up to resemble how kids would make use of cardboard, or a chance to show off your zero-waste credentials in-game. To others though, this looks like a poisonous case of play to win. Some players are a little worked up about this fairly innocent-looking skin, and there is actually good reason for that. This might be something of a pay to win skin in Fortnite if you manage to break it out in just the right situation.
The skin however, has been the subject of quite a bit of discussion in recent days. The argument really got big exposure when Muselk discussed it. He claims this is a clear pay to win skin, because of its camouflage potential. Muselk has shown off how he thinks this camouflage works in a video.
You can see that many players don’t quite spot him. The cardboard does a pretty job of blending in. However, there aren’t all that many stacks of cardboard boxes spread around the map. In these specific situations, you can see that this skin might be a problem. This isn’t even the first time a skin has had this problem.
Fortnite’s Previous Camouflage Skins
Fortnite has had similar camouflaging skins in the past, with some being significantly more broken than Boxer.
That skin quite offers a much bigger advantage than a bit of cardboard. It gives players the ability to blend into most rocks, much more useful than blending into cardboard. These skins help players stay undetected, but since one has been kicking around for quite a while without entirely destabilizing the metagame, it begs the question of if they make a big enough impact to be considered pay to win skins?
There was an entire content factory created over the Fortnite skins Toy Soldier and the Love Ranger. They could blend into the surroundings in certain areas prompting players to create “I am Stone” Challenges to try win a game by seamlessly blending it.
Do Skins Matter?
The skins in the game clearly give you an advantage when it comes to camouflage. Some skins have the opposite effect of making you much easier to spot. While Epic can insist the skins are purely cosmetics, the cosmetics do have an effect on how discoverable you are in-game. Some pros even use a default skin to play mind games on their opponents. Camouflage skins are different though. This isn’t an advantage gained through exploiting a player’s preconceptions of a skin, but through its interaction with the game.
However, the Fortnite map is big and movement is essential. Muselk’s entire argument rests on being able to blend into cardboard, which seems to ignore that there is a literal item to hide in a cardboard box already. If this item is accessible to absolutely everyone and offers more of a disguise than this skin does, is the skin all that bad?
Is This a Pay to Win Skin?
Situations can definitely exist where it will give a big advantage to one player. If rotation and storm placement line up just right it could help a pro player pick up extra kills or even a much better placement. However, all the variables that need to line up to make this happen makes it pretty rare. Even rare situations though are bound to happen. Like a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters writing Shakespeare, if Epic holds 2 Cash Cups, 2 Platform Cups, a FNCS, and a 7 Daily Duos tournaments each and every week, eventually a player is gonna win because of their skin’s camouflage.
The positive side though is that this isn’t going to be a long term problem. Like the grey skin from last year, players will get bored of fighting as a boxman and forget there was ever any advantage to it. These camouflage strategies are annoying, but it is difficult to actually get results. They don’t provide enough of a consistent advantage to really be considered pay to win. Just pay attention to moving cardboard, and you should survive games even with these skins.