Epic Games has outlined plans to crack down on competitive Fortnite players who collude with opposing team members.
In an update to its “competitive integrity” guidance document, Epic clarified its standing Collusion Rule which already prohibits opposing players from working together on mutually beneficial strategies that contravene the spirit of team-based gameplay. These include teaming up, pre-planning map location landing points, and intentionally dropping loot for one another.
Its rules also include a prohibition against “signaling” to opposing players. In many online games, opposing players will often signal to one another in various situations. For example, when two players come across one another, one might crouch up and down to signal that they would rather not risk a fight. This might result in an unspoken agreement that the players prefer to stay alive, and so wish to avoid a risky gunfight.
Although the practice is largely uncontroversial in normal play, it’s clearly a problem in tournament matches. Epic is addressing a situation in which competitive players have clearly developed signals for sending in-game messages.
The new guidelines state that players must not communicate via pick-axe swinging, emoting, toy tossing, or jumping. According to Epic, punishments will include “a teaming/collusion penalty,” which will merit “appropriate action … repeat offenders may be subject to increased penalties.” In the past, Epic has banned players it found to be breaking the rules.
Given that the specified movements are all common enough in Fortnite, it’s clearly going to take a practiced eye to recognize the difference between goofing around and colluding with opposition players. Epic is turning to players for help. The update reads: “If you see something, say something. Remember, if you do have a competitive integrity issue that you’d like to report please contact us through our player support team. They’ll help to make sure that your inquiry will end up in the right place.”