Epic removes the item rarity system from Fortnite but some fans ain't happy, and think it's 'trying to gouge players'

 Peely from Fortnite with banana-fied Wolverine claws.
Peely from Fortnite with banana-fied Wolverine claws.
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Fortnite's latest v29.20 patch has added Aang and the gang from Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as five new tracks for Fortnite Rocket Racing: Neon Rush, but many players seem to be hung up on one update concerning how the locker works.

Epic Games is removing tiers and rarities from its locker, meaning that cosmetic items will no longer fall into the categories of rare, epic, legendary, and mythic. The blog post says: "The Shop has evolved significantly to support multiple types of cosmetics and items across games, so we’re retiring the old Battle Royale-inspired system of colors and tags for cosmetic quality. Different Series of cosmetics—such as the Icon Series or Gaming Legends Series—will still be there to help you find your favorite stuff!"

Locker rarities were a day one feature, so its removal has sparked some confusion as players are now trying to navigate the locker for skins without the help of colour coding and just relying on alphabetical order. A few players have also spoken out against this change, saying that the rarity system was a good way of keeping skin prices down.

Dragon Ball characters flying through the sky
Dragon Ball characters flying through the sky

"I hate this locker UI change, and I think it's in an effort to disassociate rarity and price to make more money from players," SnazzyBlocks says in a Twitter post. "Fortnite is trying to gouge players more and more! With SCUMMY marketing tactics," they continue in a subsequent post.

Other players have also been discussing this update, with many agreeing that removing locker rarities makes it easier for Epic Games to price skins however it sees fit: "[I] expect Epic to become more aggressive with how they price cosmetics going forward, now that they’re no longer forced to play by established rules for how to price cosmetics," FortNiteBR says in a Reddit thread.

We've already seen a rise in skin prices over the last few collaborations, and the latest Avatar: The Last Airbender skins are no different. You can buy Zuko or Katara's pack for 2,000 v-bucks each or purchase a combined bundle for 3,200. Compare this to the Goku and Beerus bundle, which also came with four styles and a pickaxe and cost 2,700, or the Frieza and Cell bundle, which was 2,300 v-bucks, and it's clear there's been some kind of price hike. In a Reddit discussion, one user explains that "the new avatar skins are at a price much higher than they should be. [We used to have] a skin for 1,200 v-bucks without a back bling! money and v-bucks don't fall from the sky; value your players epic."

The rising prices for skins and cosmetics also follow a change in the in-game currency's value. Back in September 2023, Epic announced in a statement that it would be making v-bucks more expensive: "We are adjusting the price of V-Bucks, and our real money content Pack offers in Czech Republic, Denmark, Eurozone countries, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States (including all storefronts where the United States Dollar is used) on October 27, 2023. These adjustments are based on economic factors such as inflation and currency fluctuations, and follow similar pricing alignments recently completed in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico." 1,000 v-bucks increased in price from $7.99 to $8.99, which isn't much but will make a dent if you spend enough in-game cash.

Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 2 key art
Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 2 key art

However, there are a few people who have pointed out that Epic could already price skins however it wanted to, and rarity did nothing to actively stop this. "When people cite the rarity status as justification for the price, they somehow overlook the fact that the very same company decides the rarity... thereby deciding the price. This change, while making sorting more difficult, is ultimately a more transparent pricing model. The skins cost whatever Epic charges for them," one Reddit user explains in the thread.

Who knows how Epic will continue to price skins and cosmetics after this update but, regardless of pricing, players are still asking for the locker's UI to be updated. "The UI is missing very core features like allowing wraps and other categories like lobby items to be synced with your character presets," ScyanYT explains in a tweet. "The UI doesn’t even work well and is beyond buggy; it's so frustrating to go through."

In a reply that Epic tweeted back in December 2023, it said that players can "expect to see more improvements and design evolution rolled out over the next few updates," yet there hasn't been much change other than the rarities rework. And with no further mention of it in the recent blog post, players will still have to wait to see what's in store for them and their precious loot.