Yup it’s pretty frustrating when it happens. On the other hand, the unfairness is distributed amongst all players over time.
You could also buy some teleport or fuel when you see your placement at round buy time.
It’s more a problem of balanced settings IMO, a mod maker/server owner must make sure it’s not happening too often (by reducing map sizes, giving out teleports as start inventory, etc…).
If we start trying to calculate if the position of players is fair or not, where will we stop ? After all some placements (For instance, just above another player that have then a straight shoot to you) are also unfair.
Also note that calculating wether you can actually hit all other players would probably be quite complicated for the server : must think about blocking hills, roof, walls shots, special kind of weapons that can go further, etc…
So to sum up my opinion : Yes it’s unfair, randomness of placement gives a sort of impredictable “handicap” to some players at one round, and to another at next.
But it’s good, because if the only thing that would matter for success would be skill, the game would be boring (no point trying to defeat someone that I know is better than me if I know I have no possibility to succeed).
Version 40 added the ability to have power ups. If they are used in the game the tank can then purchase extra power. It wouldn’t be hard to add this. Would this feature help solve the problem? Each player too far away would need to have enough money to buy the power up at the beginning of the round. Several of the modders can make this feature and add it, I’d like to see it be part of the main game.
To answer the question of fairness, yes, it is fair if you play enough the same thing happens to everyone. Random = fair 😛 It isn’t much fun though.