In December during its big Fortnite X Star Wars crossover, Epic released an item called the Riot Control Baton, which is a pickaxe styled after the riot control baton from Star Wars. The item returned briefly during the May 4th sale, bringing attention back to the pickaxe. As a result of the renewed interest, players noticed a bug that is a big deal during competitive gameplay.
As demonstrated in the video below, use of the Riot Control Baton would cause the player to no longer have audible footsteps; other players couldn’t hear the footsteps as the baton-wielding player approached, giving them a competitive advantage over opponents. Some players have criticized this as being “pay to win,” though the advantage was obviously the result of a bug, not intentional.
As expected, Epic was fairly quick to get on this issue and announced that it was making the Riot Control Baton show up as a default pickaxe in all game modes. It seems the company is working on fixing this bug in the meantime, meaning players will eventually get to use the baton again, but only once the footsteps sound issue is fixed.
This isn’t the first time players have complained about some in-game item giving certain players an advantage, though in some cases it was due to the nature of the item rather than a bug. There was the issue with the Infinity Blade, which was used in a competitive game to slaughter helpless opponents. Epic removed that weapon soon after.
Another item recently removed was the Deep Dab emote, which was found to give players a competitive advantage by enabling them to duck under a window, after which they could pop up and catch their opponent by surprise. Because the emote was offered for sale, players likewise accused it of being a “pay to win” item.