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Fortnite fans now hate players who wear soccer skins

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The stigma of wearing the wrong threads

Photo: Polygon / Austen Goslin

What you wear on Murder Island says a lot about you. Decked out in the Fish Food gear, for example? You might just be a weirdo. For a while, sporting a John Wick cosmetic communicated that you were either a try hard or a dunce — but these days, that stigma belongs to those championing the most beautiful game in the world.

Released to celebrate the 2018 World Cup, Fortnite’s soccer skins are special in that they allow you to change the design and number on your jersey, making them one of the most customizable skins available. The skins have been sold a few times in the shop since release, meaning they’re not the rarest clothes around — but they still carry a distinction for players who wear them. According to player gossip, soccer skins were once popularized by streamers and top players — influential Fortnite players. This preference trickled down to average players, who want to emulate their heroes. “Try hards,” basically. This, in turn, has pushed the soccer skins into undesirable territory: If you see a player wearing it, chances are good that they’ll kill you swiftly, and probably in a kinda sucky way, too. Soccer skins aren’t known for sportsmanship, ironically.

The general assumption made by salty players who get steamrolled is that soccer skins are probably teenagers who have enough free time to become that good. Other times, though, triumphant players can’t help but laugh at how easily they dispose of soccer skins — after all, anyone wearing it must know what it means, right?

Regardless on where you stand on the dreaded soccer skins (or “sweats,” as some fans call them), one thing is for sure: Social media is full of posts denouncing them. The implication is clear, nobody wants to be a soccer skin, because they probably try so hard that they get sweaty while playing Fortnite.

Of course, not everyone wearing a soccer skin can be good. Some players wear sweats with aspiration, meaning that you get a mix of skilled try hards with complete novices. It used to be that wearing no skin often marked you as an inexperienced player. These days, though, a soccer skin might betray your noobishness. Still, though, some critics swear they’re just sick of seeing the soccer skin over and over again. Personally, I don’t see soccer skins any more than I see other cosmetics: Usually my matches are a sea of different costumes that will happily murder me on sight. But, as always, Fortnite’s culture is largely defined by its skin economy — no wonder Epic Games makes millions selling these things.