Epic Games have been incredibly quiet in 2020 regarding their competitive “roadmap” for the rest of the year. Monday, the developer finally announced the return of the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS).
Calling all Agents!
— Fortnite Competitive (@FNCompetitive) March 9, 2020
The last Champion Series took place in Series X, and was open to trios on PC only. The coming season will see a big change, as Epic Games announced a format change to Duos, and a separate Champion Series for mobile and console players. Duo partners must be in the same platform group, so PC players may not partner with console or mobile players. This is incredibly good news for the console and mobile group, especially as the prize pool is identical to that of PC at $793,000 for Europe alone.
Just like in 2019, to gain access to compete in the FNCS each week, both you and your duos partner must be Champion League rank (Division I, II or III).
During each week’s event, duos will have a three hour window to play 10 matches, aiming to amass as many points as possible. The highest scoring duo of each server region will then qualify themselves for the Season Finals, where they will be joined by the highest ranked Duos on the overall Series Leaderboard. In other words, high ranking duos who stumble during the weekly events, can still grind to qualify.
The FNCS action is set to begin on March 20th and run until April 19th. “Training simulation” will take place March 13th – 15th.
The schedule will be set as follows:
Warm-up: March 13th-15th
Week 1: March 20th-22nd
Week 2: March 27th-29th
Week 3: April 3rd-5th
Week 4: April 10th-12th
Champion Series Finals: April 17th-19th
There are a handful of noticeable changes buried in the rules that were not mentioned in the official announcement. Most notably, the scoring system is much less top heavy. In the previous Champion Series in Season X, a Victory Royale was worth 15 Points. That has now been reduced to 10 Points. 2nd-4th place is also worth less, most likely to make it harder for competitors to quickly rack up a huge points advantage, like we saw at the Fortnite World Cup last summer. Eliminations are still worth one point, so the new system for this coming season may hopefully encourage less box camping and more combat.
Victory Royale: 15 Points
2nd: 12 Points
3rd – 4th: 9 Points
5th – 8th: 6 Points
9th – 12th: 3 Points
Victory Royale: 10 Points
2nd – 5th: 7 Points
6th – 10th: 5 Points
11th – 15th: 3 Points
Prize money reduction and redistribution
In terms of prize money there are also substantial changes. Last year a first place finish in the European Finals of the Fortnite Champion Series on PC was worth $480,000 – $160,000 for each of the three players. For the coming season, first place in Europe is $70,000 – $35,500 for each player. Prize money for each week is also greatly reduced. Winning the weekly event in NA East next season is worth $4,500 – down from $60,000.
For mobile and console players however, these numbers are still incredibly exciting, with the Finals prize money in Europe going from $70,000 for first, down to $1,800 for 200th place. Fortnite has a much younger player base on console and mobile, and with the age requirement for competing still 13 years old, we could well see a surge in professional teenagers. There is, of course, also the very real possibility that some PC players may switch to console, especially given the identical prize pool.
Even factoring in the introduction of a mobile and console group, the drop in prize money for PC is staggering, perhaps the reason why the total prize pool was not included in the official announcement. Epic Games did say in their announcement to expect news soon of their “evolving 2020 competitive roadmap”, so to the return of the FNCS could just be the first step in a bigger plan.