Working customer support for Fortnite Battle Royale, the biggest game in the world, means sorting through a lot of salt.
“It’s always the shotguns,” said Randi, a customer support specialist for Fortnite who asked that we not use their real name. Randi has received countless tickets from Fortnite players complaining that the game’s shotgun is criminally overpowered—at least one a day slips into their queue. “As a gamer myself, when someone sends in an angrily-written ticket, I’m like, ‘Well, that person just died,’” Randi laughed over the phone.
Randi spoke to Kotaku under the condition of anonymity about their job processing about a hundred customer support tickets a day for Fortnite players. Employees at Fortnite developer Epic Games are dissuaded from speaking with reporters without the company’s consent. Randi didn’t agree to an interview because they hate their job; Randi says they love working on Fortnite and taking care of customers. Yet Randi also says they felt degraded from reading months worth of forum threads on Reddit and Epic’s own message boards, all dumping on Fortnite’s customer service team. Transparency, Randi said, might be what players need to feel a little empathy for Fortnite’s thankless team of troubleshooters.
“It’s difficult for the team that we’re all trying our hardest to get everybody what they need and get them back in the game,” Randi said. Over the last few months, Fortnite’s customer support team has ballooned to deal with the game’s huge player base. Randi says that, since a lot of the support team is new, they’re still getting the hang of things. “We even get tickets in the system like, ‘You guys suck.’ You can input any expletive you like there. Threats all the time, threats like, ‘I’m gonna sue you if you don’t re-enable my account’. . . ‘Kill yourself.’ We receive that and we wish we’d know why they’re angry. We’d try to solve their problem.”
What sort of problems do Fortnite’s customer support team deal with? A lot of them come from apparent kids who get themselves in gnarly situations, according to Randi, who said that many of Fortnite’s younger players go on scam websites that promise free in-game currency in exchange for login info. Then, of course, their accounts get hacked. Other times, Randi said, kids will download cheating software that doesn’t pass Fortnite anticheat’s sniff test. After they get banned, they might try to contend that it was a mistake. “‘I got banned for having Discord open,’” Randi joked, mocking players who argue that Fortnite’s anticheat software misconstrued the harmless chat program as a cheat. “That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. If people were banned for having Discord open, all the PC players would be banned,” Randi said.
“A lot of the time, we get people who have been banned and waste our time,” Randi said. “We have to respond to them until they stop.” Banned players will often demand refunds for money they spent on Fortnite’s premium currency, V-bucks, using obscenities and other choice words, Randi added.
Other times, Randi says their colleagues have to process support tickets from idiosyncratic players who make things very difficult. “We get people all the time who just type gibberish—slam their keyboard and send it away.” There are also the conspiracy theories. “There are people who claim Fortnite is pay-to-win,” Randi said. Some people think players who buy expensive skins get more damage from their guns. (Fortnite’s microtransactions are cosmetic-only and do not affect gameplay.)
There’s the complaint that the rocket-propelled grenade exacted 300 damage in one fell swoop—it can actually do up to 110. There are the complaints, which Randi says they see all the time, from young girls who say their boyfriends are spending too much time playing Fortnite.
For the most part, Randi says they respond to tickets with macros—pre-packaged response fragments meant to deal with common problems, like “##locked account,” which, according to him, advises players locked out of their accounts to log onto Epic’s website with their e-mail and password and change their information there. Processing about a hundred tickets a day means automating a lot of the process. “The personalized ones are where we have something where somebody isn’t understanding, younger people,” Randi said. “They don’t understand or know how to look them up.”
All in all, Randi describes working customer support for Fortnite as “fabulous,” even as the salt rains down. They’ve got an upbeat attitude. Working behind the scenes on a game they love and helping more people enjoy it, they said, is a dream come true. “We want to make the customer happy and get them playing the game.”