TLDR Summary at the bottom
One of the main attractions of Fortnite has always been its skins. Epic has done a big deal of them: They have created whole seasons and events surrounding them and even brought external IPs to the lore with the sole purpose of selling skins and promoting the game. From a commercial point of view this is an extraordinarily smart move which, as we have learned, brings Epic earnings of more than 5 billion dollars annually.
Knowing that skins are the main monetary income and market value for Fortnite, one would assume that the company would give these products a special treatment: at the end of the day, it is what the game sells.
However, from time to time we can see how certain skins get broken. Nothing to complain here: Any product you buy can malfunction from time to time, but you would expect the provider to fix the issue as quickly as possible. Specially when we are talking about something you have BOUGHT.
Unfortunately, Epic's approach to skin maintenance does not follow this logic: They will prioritize (and I dare to say, only fix) those cosmetics that will still provide some revenue in the short/medium term.
Keep reading and you will understand how this could DIRECTLY affect you as a customer.
How does Epic Maintenance work?
Before explaining the tricks Epic plays on us as consumers, I must first explain how Epic Maintentance is meant to work. Epic gives us two main channels for bug reporting: Reddit and Discord. According to the Epic Games bug reporting instructions:
These reports are routed to an internal team here at Epic Games. If you were asked to send an in-game bug report, respond to the Epic Games employee with confirmation you submitted the report and your Epic Games Account ID.
This means that reports are manually approved or rejected by members of the Maintenance team. Even the Discord server talks about a Flair system that will indicate the status of your report once it has been manually reviewed:
From this information we would assume some fortnite employees in the maintenance team will be following up the reports, analyzing them and passing them to the team while providing feedback to the community. Unfortunately, the flair system seems to have been abandoned and the reddit Bug posts are only attended by an Auto Moderator. This is the first error: Personal feedback to the community is totally null.
The only way of knowing what the Fortnite maintenance team is working on is accessing their Community Issues Trello, where we can see what issues they are prioritizing right now. This is, as Anakin woud say, where the fun begins.
Magic Trello, tell me my future!
For whoever that does not know, Trello provides a board where developers can easily show the different tasks the team is working on.
As for today, most of the issues seem to be gameplay related... But one calls our attention:
The top issue for Battle Royale... IS RELATED TO A COSMETIC! And it is, ironically, the only issue regarding a cosmetic in the whole board. But its existance implies that if a cosmetic bug appears, it should be in the board too! This must mean there are no other cosmetic bugs in the game!
He!... If only that was true...
Here again there is a problem communicating with the player: As for today we know that there is a higher priority problem regarding the newly released Dragon Rune Lance, but it does not appear anywhere around the trello board. We can then assume the board does not accurately reflect Epic's work!
The interesting part here is that they are focusing the attention in the Obi-Wan's emote... A Third-party cosmetic that has been rigorously promoted for months... Draw whatever conclusions seem appropiate to you from this.
What we can all conclude from the last two sections is that epic does not have an efficient method of communicating to the player what bugs they are working on.
My skin is broken: Help me Epic, you are my only hope!
Now that we are clear that the transparency of epic in its maintenance work is scarce, it is time to air the dirty laundry.
First of all, it is important to say that Fortnite does not have MANY broken cosmetics. When trouble appears it usually implies some kind of VFX not working correctly or an abnormal functionality of the skin producing unexpected results. Having said this, we must remember every single skin is important, every single skin can be somebody's favourite and ALL of them are PRODUCTS that require maintenance.
As for today I have collected 5 examples that will shed some light over the problem I really want to talk about. These 5 skins are currently:
- Kylo Ren - The first report of this bug was made at the beginning of this season.
- Toona Fish - The first report of the bug was made in May, where the Bushranger style appears as Peely.
- Thor- Its built-in emote has been broken for over 3 months!
- Noir- The first report of this bug was made over 967 days ago!
- Spire Assassin- Its built in emote has been broken for over 8 months!
Kylo Ren, you will be (probably) fine!
This is a REALLY recent bug, but I can assure you it will be solved before any other of the bugs stated in the previous list. Why you ask? Because it is a PROFITABLE skin. The Star Wars sets gave Epic more than 50 million dollars in 2020, and considering it is a Shop Item (being the Shop the biggest revenue income of Fortnite) they will solve it quite quickly so they can sell the product again.
The pattern we can infer from the previous list is that most skins that suffer some kind of malfunction have had it for a long time and are usually BATTLE PASS related.
My dear Battle pass... WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOU?
Past Battle Pass skins are doomed. There is no other way to put it. In Fortnite's priority list, a Battle Pass skin is the last to be fixed. We have seen it with Menace before and now we see it with Toona Fish, Thor and Spire Assassin. They will not produce further revenue or impact in the future marketing campaigns... They are just not 'trendy' anymore! They fulfilled their purpose at the time and they are now but relics that will be maintained only if there is nothing else to fix.
As someone working in the industry I can assure you bugs as the ones found in Toona Fish or Spire Assassin should not be extremely difficult to solve, but months come and go, patches keep releasing and there is no fix for them.
Some would say that maybe Epic is not conscious of this bugs, which would mean again a communication problem between the company and the users. But trust me, this is quite probably not the case, as there are multiple users reporting these same bugs every month, spreading awareness of the problem.
The value of Battle Pass skins for Epic goes down once the season is over, so pray that none of your favorite skins belong in a pass, or it might just sit broken for months. The most serious thing about this matter is that some of the skins mentioned are not even a year old, so they are relatively recent skins that are being totally ignored. In any other industry, a problem like this left untreated in the first year would result in a refund or replacement of the product.
Noir: You didn't see anything!
Noir is an item whose release in the shop has been slowed down since the bug concerning him first appeared. He went from releases every 30~40 days to releases every 200~ days.Although it is true many more items have been added to the shop in the last years, it is interesting how they have reduced the appereance of this skin so much... turning it into a "rare" apparition in the shop.
If something is not usually seen, it is not usually commented. The owners of noir are a minority begging for the bug to be solved, but until that happens, Epic has been releasing this skin in really specific situations (Even celebrating with it the release of impostors) and overlooked the bug.
Conclusion: Maintenance is a serious matter
As customers we MUST demand fair treatment. We are the ones providing revenue to this company , buying their products and using their SERVICES. Cause after all, Fortnite is a service. If you rented a movie from a Streaming service and when it is time to watch it the rendering is wrong, you would want the company to refund your money or do something to solve it. Same thing should happen here. As customer we should actively ask Epic for proper and efficient maintenance of the services we have bought (in this case skins) and a respectful and transparent communication if there are issues with them.
I have seen how invested the community is reporting these bugs and it is really hearthbreaking noticing how Epic does not even fulfill their part of the bargain (the one that they state in their instructions) of flairing and sharing the state of the reported issues.
The only thing we ask for is transparency and responsability over the products we have bought!
Epic has proven itself ineffective reporting the state of cosmetics' bugs and its fixing to the community. Affected skins are ignored for months and even made invisible so nobody talks about them. The reporting system does not meet the standards that are promised and appears useless for bugs affecting "non-trendy" cosmetics.
As a community we should enforce that the cosmetics we have bought are in optimal conditions and, in the case they are not, we receive information about their fix.External link →