Competitive Fortnite players express frustration with RNG and custom servers
In advance of an upcoming $30 million Fortnite World Cup, players have expressed frustration at the game’s limited capacity for practice and the continued reliance on RNG in the games. Poach from Team Liquid has recently called for Epic to make adjustments to Fortnite to make it more suitable for competitive events. These calls echo with similar requests from competitive players. It all comes down to a common problem in Esports, the presence of RNG generation in games and the role that luck plays.
There's way too many deaths in this game caused by stuff you cannot control and it removes all competitive integrity.
— POACH (@LiquidPoach) February 11, 2019
A major area of the game that RNG effects is the availability of weapons. The loot that players have access to can seriously effect their play in Fortnite. Leaving these items down to RNG causes some problems, as does Epic’s fairly constant vaulting and adding of items. A recent case study was the shield shortage. This was an almost disappearance of shields in the game thanks to a minor adjustment to the RNG. This affected the metagame on a deep level but for a short period of time. Having these unpredictable changes makes it difficult for competitive players to practise between events.
Players have previously expressed frustration with the lack of private servers available. The ability to create custom servers for practice would give competitive players much more freedom to hone their skills without the ebb and flow of normal games getting in the way.
Invite only custom servers
The absence of private servers is really a result of the way Epic approaches the game’s competitive play. They have added little to the game to accommodate the growth in the Esport community. Despite this, they’ve been aggressively pursuing a bigger Esports presence and making this a central part of their model of the game. Epic has yet to demonstrate any willingness to let this level of play actually influence the game. Instead, the competitive players react to the updates and changes rather than the other way around. This is visible through their approach to updates, which routinely throw the balance of the game of course just prior to major events.
Even worse is that apparently there -are- custom servers, but only for players in Epic's Winter Royale discord (200 people), and it seems it's a laggy mess. Certainly not the open, fair to all players approach that Epic wants.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) March 5, 2019
However, it has now become apparent that Epic has been providing some custom servers for the purposes of practising but only to a select few. The 200 players who qualified for their Winter Royale Finals have had access to private custom servers which let them practise under specific conditions. These type of qualification for their servers are a bit outdated. Players who showed great promise in the recent Fortnite Katowice and Secret Skirmish events will be excluded from this.
This gives a select group of players a major advantage over others. It will be interesting to see if those players with access to custom servers perform universally better than others at the Fortnite World Cup. Epic’s approach to catering for the Esports community has improved other time. RNG is likely to always remain part of Fortnite. It is a key ingredient in gameplay and unlikely to be removed. However, continued improvements in facilitating all competitive players would really help. Some players shouldn’t be given such important tools as custom servers if all competitive players don’t have access to them.