Fortnite: Battle Royale professional player Ali ‘Myth’ Kabbani of Team Solo Mid (TSM) has been publicly pushing for a unionization among Fortnite pro players like him to protect their interests from the questionable esports policies of Fortnite developer Epic Games.
I'm really really really considering starting some sort of Fortnite pro union. I don't think I wanna sit idle while letting shit progressively get worse when it comes to player treatment and competitive integrity.
I love this pro community. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Bf32rgXwRi
— Myth (@TSM_Myth) December 31, 2018
In his post on Twitter, Myth referenced his issues with Epic Games’ scheduling of tournaments and game updates, which he found to be very inconsiderate of pro players.
In November last year, announced the Winter Royale will take place on the weekend of Thanksgiving in the United States. It was Fortnite’s first open tournament and also served as qualification for the $100 million Fortnite World Cup in 2019.
However, Epic made the announcement on Tuesday, November 20, which gave players only a few days to prepare for a tournament they could not afford to miss even if they already had plans for Thanksgiving with their families.
Myth was frustrated and took to Twitter to air out his grievances, questioning Epic’s planning of the event “during one of the biggest American holidays.”
Welp, dinner with my family so I have to stop trying to qualify for a 1 million dollar tournament.
Ohh I wonder the thought it would be the brightest idea to plan this shit on one of the biggest American holidays.
As @TSM_Daequan would say… THIS GAME TRAAAAAAASH.
— Myth (@TSM_Myth) November 25, 2018
Myth was even forced to order a computer so he can play in the tournament from his family’s home, but it failed to arrive on time.
Another issue was Epic’s decision to add gamebreaking items to the game in the middle of tournaments, which has caused a lot of problems with Fortnite’s competitive balance and integrity.
The first instance of that was the sudden addition of the ‘Infinity Blade’ item in the midst of the Winter Royale semifinals. The Infinity Blade was an item that gave a player extra damage, health, and shields, as well as letting them tear through structures with ease.
That last bit was the biggest issue among pros, as the utilization of Fortnite’s build feature alongside their shooting ability was what often separated them from casual players. Having an item that nullified all that essentially gave whoever wielded the blade an unfair advantage.
While Epic pulled out the item soon after it received much criticism, the developer did the same thing again by adding the ‘Boom Box’ mere hours before the start of the recently concluded WSOE 3 tournament.
The Boom Box is a throwable item which absolutely destroys any nearby builds, essentially giving players the same advantage that the Infinity Blade did.
Several pro players were frustrated with the addition yet again, including Sam “WishYaLuckk” Salcedo of CLG and free agent “WhosDixon” who aired out their grievances on Twitter.
I’m about to go play for 100K in a completely unaffiliated tournament to epic games, and epic games still added a game breaking item hours before it.
I’m. So. Sad. LMAOOO 👿
— CLG Wish (@WishYaLuckk) December 30, 2018
I don't think Epic realizes what they're doing to the comp scene. You're making everything SUPER unpredictable at this point. This is already an issue due to last minute events/not many going on as it is. Also adding some INSANE item last minute, you're screwing over the players.
— Dixon 🌻 (@WhosDixon) December 30, 2018
Myth, who was competing in WSOE 3, went up on stage to voice his concerns.
And @TSM_Myth tells us how everyone is feeling about the new Fortnite update
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) December 30, 2018
Myth’s criticisms of Epic Games and subsequent calls for unionization have been met with overwhelming support from the community, especially from pros like himself who have been struggling to stay competitive due to the developer’s decision making.
Many have also pointed out that Epic’s sudden release of new items during the aforementioned tournaments were business-driven. Epic essentially used those events as backdrops for advertisements aimed at the game’s casual audience, which makes up the vast majority of the developer’s profits.
Even so, Myth thinks it’s time for players to take control of their own futures in the game even if they are a minority in the community.
“Our egos, salaries, or prize pools should never get in the way of seeing that we are all in the same wagon,” he said.