With the first week of Fortnite World Cup Qualifiers in the rear-view, Epic Games has addressed the competitive integrity of Fortnite, detailing exactly how many players were caught cheating, their methods, and their respective punishments.
206 total players will forfeit their winnings for cheating, though not strictly with cheating software. With $1 million doled out for each week of qualifiers, some players might be out a couple thousand bucks.
A total of 1163 accounts were banned for two weeks for side-stepping region locks in order to have multiple attempts at qualifying for the World Cup. 196 of these players had to give up their prize money, though it's not clear how much money or whether any of those players managed to qualify.
48 players were banned for seven days for account sharing, which means they handed their account to someone with a better shot at nabbing some prize money. But only nine account sharing fiends managed to secure some cash, which will now be shared back to Epic.
Eight accounts were banned (no length provided) for teaming, the most infuriating battle royale cheat there is. Teaming is when two players manage to get into the same match and coordinate, effectively working as a duo against a lobby of solo players.
Epic also stated that its detection algorithm is in play during the qualifiers even though it was turned off for non-competitive modes with patch v8.40. The goal is to return the algorithm to all game modes while allowing for goofy, impromptu interactions with other players that don't get improperly flagged.
Only one cheater was permanently banned for using actual cheat software, though their account had less than five minutes of total playtime before the ban. It's a clearly failed experiment, though I'm a bit surprised only one person was curious enough to try. Assuming this is the same guy, here's a twist: the cheater was outed by the creator of the cheating software. It's the incident that prompted Epic to put out an integrity blog in the first place.
The final cheater is out for 72 hours for disconnecting during a live match to avoid giving points to another player. Eliminations count towards qualifier point totals, and dipping out before someone can finish you when you're cornered is a cruel tactic.
The worrisome bit here: "This is currently a manual process based off of user reports, but we will be detecting this more widely in the future." The World Cup Qualifiers are held remotely, so relying on user reports to plug holes in the leaderboards isn't enough for me.
A few points can make the difference between qualifying or not. I expect the community to be particularly diligent here, it just shouldn't land on players to make sure every point has been accounted for.
Week two of the Fortnite World Cup Qualifiers start this weekend, so it's nice to hear Epic isn't shying away from such a tricky, persistent problem. There's a $100 million prize pool at stake, after all (though $3 million of that is going to a new Fortnite Creative Mode competition).
Catching cheaters won't make ballers fun or the competitive endgame exciting, but it's certainly reassuring to know that everyone is just about on the same equally frustrating ground.