Pros, viewers and org owners have come together to condemn the mentally draining Grand Royale setup.
This weekend, top teams in each region will battle it out to become champions in the biggest tournament of 2021. But before we look ahead to the FNCS Grand Royale Finals, let’s take a moment to reflect on what was an almost unanimously unpopular qualification format.
To compete in the Grand Royale, all you needed was one person in your Trio to have reached a Round 4, Semis, or Finals lobby at some point in FNCS this year. This meant a lot of teams, which first needed to be whittled down with the “Loading Session”, which worked similarly to a standard Cash Cup.
Though many would argue that entry requirements should have been stricter off the bat, it was the next stage that really ruffled feathers. The number one concern was the sheer amount of games people had to play across just two days.
Whether they made it into the “Victory Path” or were left to fight in the “Reload Path”, players had to keep grinding until they qualified. For some, this meant struggling through up to 32 matches. And let’s not forget, these are intense, high tier, competitive lobbies, with a lot on the line.
Time wise, this equates to 8 hours with just a short 1-hour break in the middle for food, on both Saturday and Sunday. That’s without factoring in warming up, VOD reviewing afterwards or anything else. This sort of stress isn’t healthy for anyone, let alone kids in their early to mid-teens.
What made it doubly brutal was the fact that you needed to secure a Victory Royale to move forward. You could perform amazingly all weekend and miss out on a place in Finals simply because you didn’t get a win.
UK-based Trio “Michael”, “AstroSMZ” and “Verox” almost experienced exactly that. They put on a display that in any other tournament would have had them close to the top of the leaderboard, but despite coming second on multiple occasions, failed to pick up that all important victory.
Fortunately, they did enough to qualify through the one consistency spot available. Before discovering that his team had made it, Astro tweeted “32 games for nothing. Lowest point I’ve been mentally and physically I can’t do this”.
There’s no reason that an event should be making players feel like this. It’s understandable that Epic is pressed for time and had to find a way to squeeze the Grand Royale in, however it could at least have been spread across more days.
Fortnite fans loved the “Reboot Round” concept when it was first introduced. The winner takes all style produces some incredibly hyped moments and goes back to the roots of Battle Royale, with survival being king.
This effect is diminished though when it’s there every game. While a “match point” setup, in which teams must reach a certain points threshold and then get a win to end the tournament would be an interesting idea for Finals, this latest experiment has been met with overwhelming criticism.
The community has been very vocal about its qualms with the Grand Royale Qualifiers format, and hopefully we won’t see anything too similar again. Anyway, on to the Finals!