Fortnite $130,000 winner cleared by Epic after Reddit's cheating allegations debunked

Out of the dozens of streamers and pros invited to compete in week two of Epic's official competitive series, the Fortnite Summer Skirmish, the previously unknown iDropz_Bodies surprised dozens of established figures in the competitive scene by securing the first place spot and $130,000 in winnings. 

Almost immediately, he was accused of cheating his way to victory.

Some skepticism was warranted. iDropz_Bodies was a mystery man—he did not stream his performance live due to the inability to meet the two-minute delay prerequisite only available to Twitch affiliates and partners on PS4. But Epic had no rule stating participants had to stream their performance. 

Following the announcement of the final standings for Friday’s competition, Reddit user Sora26 made several false claims identifying iDropz_Bodies as a cheater that burglarized their way to victory. In a 2,000-word post, the Redditor cited a third-party stat-tracking website, claiming that iDropz_Bodies' KD (kill to death) ratio ballooned from 4.5 to 7 the moment their participation in week two of Summer Skirmish began. 

Above: iDropz_Bodies in action during the competition.

They assigned iDropz_Bodies’ high kill count matches to coordinated kill-feeding, in which players were suspected of creating new accounts and syncing up matchmaking queues to throw themselves at Bodies’ feet, and selective drops, in which Bodies’ purportedly exited matches before players were able to drop in order to find optimal bus routes. Commenters also accused iDropz_Bodies of using mouse and keyboard inputs on a PS4 in order to gain an advantage, though Epic allows for alternate input methods on all platforms in the name of accessibility. 

It’s a screed that rivals the doomsaying of amateur analysts quoting weekly player numbers and SteamSpy like they are an accord etched into a stone tablet by forces from on high, another example of internet mobs collecting momentum before factual evidence. None of the claims were true, but that didn’t prevent major Fortnite mouthpieces from taking the bait and spreading the rumor without waiting for the word from Epic, including top players like Ninja and Tfue.

Epic responded with their own Reddit post shortly after the mob-mentality ballooned to the point of overtaking all conversation around the Summer Skirmish, referring to their in-house analytics to verify iDropz_Bodies performance as 100% legitimate. Sora26 has since apologized.

On kill-feeding: 

“Our internal Summer Skirmish analytics kept track of all opponents which participants eliminated. iDroPz_BoDiEs had 129 eliminations during the event and every single elimination was on a different opponent. This is not indicative of him having been intentionally fed eliminations and/or collusion with other players.”

On selective drops:

“Our analytics events also noted when players left the match prior to the bus deploying, and recorded those matches. iDroPz_BoDiEs did not join more than the specified 10 matches for the event, the narrative that he was leaving if the server wasn't full or the bus wasn't on a favorable path is false.”

On citing third-party stat-tracking websites:

“Stat tracking sites are unreliable for recording historic performance, as they only update when the website requests stats for a user from the API. This makes any 'Most Eliminations in a Single Match' records on an account unlikely to be correct, as multiple matches in a time period are combined into one update. iDroPz_BoDiEs has achieved more than 20 eliminations in a match multiple times across his Fortnite career.”

On using a mouse and keyboard on PS4:

“In previous Showdown LTM's which followed a similar scoring format on public servers, there has been no discernible difference in final score between top performers on PC and Console platforms. During this event we saw 11 matches break the 20 elimination mark, with 8 of them on PC and 3 on Console.

There is no evidence that would suggest to us that iDroPz_BoDiEs played the competition using a mouse and keyboard. Furthermore, we do not restrict input device for players on our platforms in an effort to promote accessibility for our entire audience.”

You can watch Bodies’ replays and note the camera movement for yourself. It is jerky and rigid in comparison to typical mouse movement, displaying obvious characteristics of gamepad control. Though, as Epic has stated, alternate input methods are not restricted on all platforms. I have a feeling that won’t always be the case in the competitive scene. 

While toxic, misinformed internet dog-piling is most at fault, iDrop_Bodies’ swift oscillation from ‘criminal’ to legitimate Fortnite competitor could have been avoided with better communication from Epic. I follow the scene as closely as my can—it’s my job, after all—and it was never made clear to the general audience that competitors didn’t have to stream. Why broadcast and comment live at all, if that’s the case? Why not bottle, collect, vet, and rebroadcast the event in a tight, dramatic format? 

I’m not sure it would matter at all if so much money wasn’t on the line. $8 million is a huge payout for a remote-held tournament where Epic is still publicly grappling with logistical and technical issues. The integrity of the competition and the well-being of the competitors should have been assured long before money was in play, especially with so many new competitors without experience in the public eye rising up through LTM Showdown performance. Fortnite is the biggest game in the world, so it’s a strange feeling when Epic forgets the world is watching.