Epic irks Fortnite pros with late rule change for World Cup

Steven R. April 6, 2019

Pro players are mad at Epic Games for its handling of Fortnite’s esports events once again.

Just 10 days out from the start of qualifiers for the Fortnite World Cup, the game’s publisher has issued a new ruling on screen resolutions. In competitive play, players will be required to use a 16:9 resolution. The move comes despite the growing popularity of 4:3 resolutions amongst competitors.

“In the near future, we will be updating how we handle custom resolutions on PC. When using a custom resolution, vertical FOV will be locked,” Epic said in a statement. “Horizontal FOV will be unlocked in all modes, but in competitive playlists (e.g. Arena and in-game tournaments) we will be locking the aspect ratio to 16:9.”

In recent months, Fortnite pros have begun using 4:3 resolutions more frequently in competitive play. Though testimonials are mixed and there is a lack of quantitative data on on its effects, 4:3 is perceived to have two key benefits.

In certain games, 4:3 resolutions have an effect of stretching characters on-screen horizontally. According to some players, this makes them easier to see and might give them a wider hitbox, making them a larger target for shots fired. Though there is debate about whether those benefits actually translate to Fortnite, the resolution absolutely gives players a longer vertical field of view. That is a major benefit in Fortnite, where the game’s building mechanics turn most firefights into vertical affairs.

Worth noting is that Fortnite does not inherently support 4:3 resolutions, with players having to achieve the ratio by manually modifying user files or altering the settings of either their monitors or graphics cards. This has raised questions about the competitive fairness of using the 4:3 ratio resolutions.

Epic has traditionally allowed players to use any screen resolution they desire in competition. The publisher teased players that custom resolutions would be banned in February just a few days ahead of the Secret Skirmish event, resulting in a resoundingly negative response. While it is unclear whether this move was due to competitive, logistical, or security concerns, Epic reversed the decision ahead of the event and allowed competitors to play in 4:3.

Similarly, this latest move has irked pros who have just a week and a half to relearn the game before competition for the $30 million tournament begins. They made that clear in their reactions on social media.

“The revert back to season 1 settings, adding arena increasing queue times in the later sections, and now removing stretch res from competitions. All of this somehow better be paying off,” Tyler “Ninja” Blevins said on Twitter. “Because if this is somehow not benefitting Epic, I don’t know what they are doing.”

“If everyone is forced to native it's whatever to me but just seems super backwards from where we were at during Secret Skirmish,” Thomas "72hrs" Mulligan stated.

Timothy "Bizzle" Miller simply asked, “But like why?”

Regardless, the qualifiers for the World Cup officially begin on April 13 and run through June 16. Though Epic had a change of heart on screen resolution ahead of the Secret Skirmish, another reversal seems unlikely.

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