If you haven't heard of Fortnite by now, then we are assuming you have been in a coma for the last two years, at least. Plus, since you are reading this, and the game has more than 200 million players, we are going to assume that you have given Fortnite a whirl. The game's premise is to land on its island with 99 other players and simply outlast them all as the storm closes in. It sounds easy, and maybe even a little monotonous after a while, but trust us, it's not.
Even if you are terrible at Fortnite, which you will be at first, the game is incredibly addictive. When we first started playing the game, we couldn't help ourselves. We'd follow the crowd, maybe harvest a few materials, and then face elimination by someone far more experienced than us. Honestly, nothing much has changed in that regard. Yes, we have improved, but so has everyone else.
While it is still addictive, improving slowly (or not at all) can also be incredibly frustrating. Some gamers handle that better than others. We'd hazard to guess that a large number of former Fortnite players have ended their time on the island never to return. Other players who have struggled in Fortnite and can't face not being the best anymore or refuse to give the game up for good may have resorted to other means.
What Is Boosting?
We are talking about a phenomenon called boosting. It isn't an issue confined to Fortnite alone, but the battle royale-based game is certainly where boosting is most prevalent. Boosting is a service being offered around the world that allows players who are better at Fortnite than you and I to log into our accounts, with our permission, of course, and play the game for us.
Players can resort to boosting for a number of reasons. There may be a few pesky Battle Pass challenges that you simply can't complete, you might want to level up and unlock all of the items available before a season ends, or perhaps you want your stats to reflect that you have eliminated a lot more opponents, or actually earned a few Victory Royales. Boosters can do that for you, but it will obviously come at a price.
Boosting for the reasons above isn't that much of a wider issue. Those Victory Royales will be incredibly hollow, but it won't affect other players in any sort of lasting fashion. When players start hiring boosters to help them qualify for tournaments and win money, that's a problem - a problem that reared its ugly head during the qualifying process of this past summer's first-ever Fortnite World Cup.
The Consequences Of Boosting
After the first week of qualifiers for the World Cup, Epic discovered that 1,200 of them had cheated. Even worse, more than 200 of those cheaters had won prize money. Forty-eight players were discovered to have shared accounts during the qualifiers. That could have meant a few friends playing the game using the same login details, but more likely meant that players had hired boosters to help them qualify for the World Cup finals in New York City.
Most of the World Cup cheaters received bans, with one player being banned for life for using cheat software. For players who landed themselves a cash prize, but boosted or cheated to do so, that money was naturally taken back. The final positions of everyone who attempted to qualify were recalculated, and the prize money redistributed. The problem was solved to an extent, but what a mess.
Fortnite booster Christopher Eldabh told VICE that he doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. "You're paying for a service, and you're not exploiting the game... you're not using any bugs or anything like that to get a win," Eldabh said. As touched upon previously, we would agree with that sentiment to an extent. However, when it comes to tournaments and winning money, there should be rules in place and consequences for breaking them. If someone else has won that prize money for you, then it isn't fair that you're taking it from someone who is a better player and deserves it more.
We would recommend that you steer clear of boosting, but there is an alternative if you or your child wants to be a better Fortnite player. Believe it or not, Fortnite tutors are a thing - and a very popular thing at that. It may seem crazy to pay someone to help your child become a better Fortnite player, but with the rise of esports and the money involved, it is almost no different than teaching them to play an instrument or coaching them at a sport. It is definitely a better alternative to boosting, won't result in a ban, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that all of the rewards you received were won via your own hard work.