With FIFA 18 coming to an end, professional FIFA players are all summarizing their year in their own ways. FaZe Gorilla is a former FIFA World Champion and is commonly known as one of the best FIFA players ever. He took to Twitter to round up the year and every fellow pro is agreeing with him. I will go over his points and add my own opinions in this article.
Gorilla split his conclusion of FIFA 18 into three sections. The start of the explanation specifies that FIFA esports is not fulfilling its potential.
— Spencer (@Huge_Gorilla) August 24, 2018
Excluding the opening event in Barcelona, the events were well run and organized, according to Gorilla. EA Sports improved on their presentation and quality of the livestream, so viewers can enjoy the gameplay without any hiccups. As an avid viewer of Twitch streams, I feel that EA needs to employ people to moderate their chat, specifically for FIFA events. The chat becomes full of spam that makes it impossible to chat with fellow players about the game. Other than this, the new commentators in Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley make for an immersive experience when watching. Spencer Owen, Jimmy Conrad, and ChuBoi all do a fantastic job in analysis and interviews outside of the gameplay. Finally, the replay systems and setup of the main livestream are truly a pleasure to watch, and it allows the viewer to see all angles of the match-up.
FIFA 18 introduced the Swiss format. This is a format where each player battles against a player of a similar score or skill level. This format takes place after the randomly drawn group stages. The players go through knockout rounds until there are only two players left in the bracket. In the previous year of FIFA esports, EA had a loser’s bracket in place. A loser’s bracket is where players who are knocked out of the original Swiss bracket can play against fellow losers to try and reach the final, where they will play the winner of the original bracket to win the grand prize. This makes for a more entertaining story in my opinion. Gorilla mentions this as he enjoys the intensity and the upset that the losers bracket causes on the big stage.
Gameplay at events
The gameplay on FIFA has always been an issue for every player. This is often due to the connection and matchmaking issues caused by the lack of server power on EA’s end. This is why the “EA Servers” are so widely joked about, especially in the FIFA community. As a competitive player myself, I have noticed the difference in gameplay from week to week in the qualifying mode. Sometimes the game will play slower and sometimes faster than the previous session you had on the game. This is a major issue for FIFA professionals as they need to adapt to these changes. Gorilla says, “I imagine the console’s connection to the stream setup is to blame.” He then goes on to mention how many adapters and extensions are used. This may create lag or delay for the player. This is an extremely viable point.
— Spencer (@Huge_Gorilla) August 24, 2018
Qualification for events
To qualify for FIFA tournaments, players need to compete in the qualification mode. This game mode is split up into many tiers from Bronze to Top 100. Players are given certain months in which they need to perform in this online mode, also known as “Qualification Months.” The top 36 players from each platform are contacted to attend these events. However, Gorilla mentions that players who qualified for the tournament in Amsterdam got it easy. Some finished with thirty-nine wins and one loss in their forty-game weekend and managed to qualify. Bear in mind you usually must win all forty games to qualify. There are less players during this time. Therefore, it makes it easier to get into those top thirty-six places on your platform. This is truly unfair, and EA Sports need to think of a way to make the playing field fair, no matter the time of year.
Cheating is a huge part of every game at a competitive level. Whether it’s people using modified controllers on shooter games such as Call of Duty, or people using exploits to avoid losses in FIFA. This year was the worst in terms of cheating, especially in qualification. Players were using an exploit that allowed them to press a button and quit out of the game without them receiving the loss. This meant that players could play their games and quit out of the ones that they were losing and have another shot. EA quickly addressed this by adding a command that disconnected you from the game if you pressed the button. This frustrated players who did not use the exploit, as they did nothing wrong in the first place. Gorilla said in his summary that EA needs to be tougher on the players who use these exploits.
Finally, Gorilla discusses the issue with prize money and its distribution during the FIFA 18 season. With the introduction of huge prize pools in games such as Fortnite, FIFA professionals think that EA needs to step up. The prize pool for FIFA 18 was increased by $300,000 over its previous year; this is surely a good thing for FIFA professionals. However, the way in which the money was distributed in this year meant that the winner only received a fraction more in prize money than the other competitors. Gorilla and the rest of the FIFA community agree that the money should be given out in a fairer manner, to award high-placing finishes. On the other hand, more casual competitive players like myself would love to see smaller tournaments that players can play in outside of FUT Champions that offer cash prizes.
These points are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to competitive FIFA and the issues it holds. It would be great to see a lot of these features improved in the next iterations of the franchise. However, EA has most likely already planned and executed the events for the next season. We are more likely to see some changes in the season after next, in FIFA 20. If you have any points that you would like to raise, please comment them down below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.