The history of pay-to-win skins in Fortnite, explained
Fortnite skins are not supposed to help players in a competitive manner, but sometimes, they do. Such skins are called pay-to-win and the community hates them for obvious reasons.
Even though pay-to-win skins are never released intentionally, players have time and again witnessed them in the Battle Pass or the Item Shop. While some skins were quickly fixed by the developers, others are infamous to this date.
Here's a brief history of pay-to-win cosmetics in Epic Games' Battle Royale title.
The most controversial pay to win skins in Fortnite
The term pay-to-win became popular among Fortnite players with the arrival of Boundless (Superhero) skins. These skins have countless customization features that can be used to make pitch black/pitch white character models.
Epic Games tried to fix the Boundless skin by banning the all-black and all-white styles. Regardless, the cosmetics are still broken because users can mix the white and gray layer to make a character model that looks completely white.
Superhero skins are easily the most obvious pay-to-win cosmetics ever. From pros to casuals, everyone bought them to create characters that were hard to spot and shoot at during box fights.
However, there are several other skins that provide their owners with an unfair advantage without offering any customization features. These include Toy Soldier, Frozen Love Ranger, and Shadow Legends, among many others.
These skins have solid color schemes and can be used to hide in certain areas of the map. For instance, the Toy Soldier is a 100% green and is perfect for hiding in the grass or bushes. Frozen Love Ranger can be placed on top of a Reboot Van and no one would care to notice.
Lastly, the Shadow Legends skin is pitch black, which makes it easier to hide in dark places.
Is Fortnite pay to win?
To be fair, Epic Games has always tried to make the desired amends when players dub a skin as pay-to-win. The aforementioned Toy Soldier skin was nerfed with an update and the superhero skins were banned from competitive temporarily.
Surprisingly, free rewards from Winterfest like Lt. Evergreen also become broken during the festive season. The map is covered with Christmas trees during the time and Lt. Evergreen is ideal to hide in that setting.
These examples prove that calling a Fortnite skin pay-to-win largely depends on the situation. A character like Groot might help players in posing themselves as trees, but in a city-based POI like Tilted Towers, it is easier to spot Groot than several other characters owing to its size and color.
All in all, Fortnite is still a free-to-play title that doesn't compel its users to purchase skins. Having said that, notorious and sweaty players leave no opportunity to exploit even the most overlooked elements of cosmetics.