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Is Fortnite’s record-setting griefer a hero or villain?

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That’s a record that’s going to be hard to beat

Epic Games

One day, you’re a fairly normal Fortnite player. The next, you hold the record for the most kills in a solo game of Fortnite after wiping out 48 players. The only problem is you had to become a supervillain to do it. Or maybe you became a hero?

The Fortnite community can’t seem to make up its mind either way, and the conversation around this shows why Fortnite is such a special, but bizarre, game.

Here’s what happened: The game’s client said that a special event would take place on Saturday, June 30, at 1:30 p.m. EST. We all knew it was going to be the launch of a rocket that had been the subject of much discussion since it appeared on the map.

Word spread through in-game chat, social media, subreddits and various forums around the internet. A truce was called: People wanted to see what would happen, and they didn’t want to worry about being killed while the event was taking place. As Epic Games announced ahead of time, this was only going to happen once.

The stakes were pretty low, however. You could still spectate the event through the eyes of another player if you were killed, and if that wasn’t enough, the replay was automatically saved to your PC or console so you could view the rocket launch from just about any angle after the event had concluded. If you were playing on the Switch or an iOS device and missed it, you could always pull up any number of replays from YouTube almost instantly. There’s was never any risk of missing the momentous occasion.

I showed up in-game, found a good seat in the bleachers that some other players had constructed, and promptly died when I walked backward to get a better view and fell off the side of a cliff. Even though I died due to my own stupidity, I was still able to witness everything. It was a fine experience. Other players reported more violence on their servers, but even that’s hard to get upset about; there was never any binding decision not to kill other people, and the game itself didn’t discourage normal, violent play. For most of the Fortnite community, however, they were trying to do what they often do best: Be nice.

Except for the one player who destroyed the structure upon which 48 players were watching the event, causing them all to die. That player also perished in the needless act of griefery, but not before they became an instant legend.

It’s kind of an asshole move, right? I think so. Kinda. But it’s also awesome. Kinda. That player is certainly going to have a price on their head moving forward.

What happens next?

I’ve heard people say that Fortnite’s next live events will be ruined by other people trying to break this player’s record, and I’ve heard people say that there’s no reason for players to abide by a ceasefire anyway.

I’d say that both things are true; a larger number of players are going to set up a mass murder like this to gain the notoriety, and most players are still going to act peacefully during these special events. In general, people will be much more aware of where they’re standing and how vulnerable they are to a surprise attack. It’s going to be very, very hard to beat this solo kills record.

My favorite part has been watching people argue about whether seeing 48 players knocked out at once was funny or horrible. I wrestled with whether to even call the player a griefer, because no one was hurt in any appreciable way, and no rules were broken. The incident happened once; this wasn’t someone doing something over and over to upset their targets and others around them. Someone saw their chance to knock out a bunch of people at once, and they took it.

Twitter via Polygon

“Somebody broke the kill record in Fortnite,” a player tweeted. “During the rocket launch. What a dick.. honestly 48 kills. Kinda funny but wtf lmao.”

That about sums it up.

What’s great about this debate about how the events played out is that it couldn’t have happened in any other game. It’s a great example of why Fortnite is so popular.

What other Battle Royale games have one-time, in-game events that people want to gather just to see? What other video game in general would have a player base that peacefully comes together in such huge numbers without every server devolving back into violence? And what other game could allow for a situation where a huge record is broken, and fans are split between whether the act was amazing, or horrendous?

For now, I salute you, record-setting supervillain. You played the game by the rules and became famous in one afternoon. And I hope it eats at you the same way it’s eating at the rest of the community.