FIWC regionals
Courtesy FIWC

As the curtain dropped on the final day of proceedings in Munich, players relaxed, production crews packed up, and viewers went back to playing the game. The last week held many big talking points at the FIWC Regionals in Munich. Here is our top 10 things that we learned from the event

The players going to London from the FIWC Regionals

This is what the whole event was for. 10 spots were up for grabs for the finals in London. As we get to the end, players who progressed are as follow:

Xbox

Codyderfinisher, AFC Ajax Dani, Thee Bullock, XL_Ryan, Hashtag Tass

PS4

Mo_Aubameyang, Deto, Prinsipe, Gambit Timon, TonyKOKNL

The players not going to London

Some big names dropped out of running to compete at the FIWC Finals in London. Lets take a look at a selected few.

PSG eSports – Not a good outing for the big eSports association. Both their representatives, Agge and Daxe were heavy favourites going into the regionals. They will undoubtedly be disappointed, and will recoup and set a new game plan for whats coming in FIFA 18. They now have only RAFIFA as their sole representative in London.

S04 eSports – In the same boat as PSG, they had 2 competitors in Munich. Both were in action on the first day, and both lost in the division finals for the day.

Hashtag United – Sending 3 players to the event, Hashtag united showed their strength in competitive FIFA. Only one managed to make it thru, Hashtag Tass, as both Harry and Boras bowed out later on in the event.

Other big names, such as Drerhano, Salz0r, Kurt0411, and Rayziaah also failed to make it thru.

See our pre-event rankings for more.

FIWC Regionals – Commentators DO make a difference

While this list in not in any particular order, if it was, this section would be at the top. On Friday, the first day of the FIWC Regionals in Munich, masses of online viewers rushed to Facebook (more on that later) to eagerly watch the matches broadcasted. They were shocked to be treated to the sounds of “Booof” “Booof” “Booof”, punctuated by the occasional OOOHS and AAAHS of the crowd. This was when the stream actually worked. It was a disaster.

Enter the knights in shining armour. Young casters Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley, fresh off their cameo at the FUT Champions finals in Berlin, were tasked with the full commentary on the remaining broadcasts (days 2-5). If you tuned in, you wouldn’t have known that it was their first full FIFA event broadcasting on their own. They showcased immense game and player knowledge, combined with accurate, entertaining commentary throughout.

Future FIFA events take note: If you are broadcasting games you absolutely need great commentary, and these guys are the best in the business at the moment.

ALL of FIFA eSports is growing, its a learning process

FIWC regionals
Courtesy FIWC

While it was easy for online keyboard warriors to flame EA Sports and FIWC themselves for the many hiccups the event had, many failed to see the bigger picture. The production, communication, and overall experience on day 5 were miles apart from the first day.

We lean towards the theory that the production team had planned to stream the whole event without commentators. After seeing the backlash after the first day, they scrambled to get the two boys on the mics to Munich.

Information early on was very scarce, only coming from the players themselves or select production team personnel’s social media accounts. As the event progressed, viewers saw information trickle in a more timely manner.

While the prize pool for the grand finals has increased ten fold, we can assume that the demand for live matches has increased by at least the same amount. FIFA the game, has potential to outgrow both League of Legends and DotA in popularity as it spans the big divide, eSports, and traditional sports. Its an eSport of an actual sport. FIFA will never reach its true potential until the production value is on the same level of the other eSports games mentioned, and until its LIVE.

The FUT Champions series, while having problems of its own, took big strides towards the ultimate goal. The FIWC production seems to be lagging behind, but the signs are positive to improve for the Finals in London.

EASPORTS development is key to the FIFA eSports scene

One interesting tidbit that viewers might not know, is that competitive FIFA is played on a different build of the game that everyone has in their homes. This allows the organisers to gift the competitors all the current players in the game, among other things. This is all well and good, until you reach the actual game.

Dubbed as a “LAN” event, it is not actually played over LAN. The competitors connect to each other by way of online invite. This means that while physically sitting next to each other, the match is still played over the internet. The nature of the internet means a typhoon in Hong Kong, or a power outage in Oklahoma, can effect the actual gameplay.

To highlight this point, a game restarted because both competitors complained about “lag”. The abandoned match already had a 1-0 scoreline. This is unacceptable. Competitive FIFA needs to be about two competitors, going head to head, with little or no variables that affect gameplay. The game should play the same at events held in Munich, London, Toyko, in June, July, or August, on a Monday, Wednesday or Sunday, anytime, anywhere.

A spectator mode coming for these events is heavily talked about. Having the broadcast as a copy of a player’s screen, in whatever language he has set it to, just wont cut it. A player could gain an unfair advantage by receiving information about the opponent’s tactics.

The effect of “Lag”

This was one of the major talking points among the competitors at the FIWC Regionals in Munich. Many complained about “Lag”, or button delay. Competitors quickly labelled the gameplay as the worst they have played on in a while. A player in his post-loss interview, stated that it wasn’t the better player that won, it was the player who adjusted quicker.

While not taking anything away from the 10 that have qualified from the event, would they still be the ones going to London if the event wasn’t “laggy”? We will never know.

Last takeaway: Ronaldo can stay 5 extra hours per day, practicing taking freekicks from every angle so that come a real game, he is best prepared. How would a professional FIFA player, who’s sole source of income and livelihood is based on their performance at these events, prepare for a “laggy” match?

Ditch the bronze bench, subs are key

FIWC regionals
Courtesy FIWC

A long standing superstition in the FIFA community is that if your overall team rating is lower, your team will perform better. Without any official statement, or empirical data, this cannot be confirmed. Subs played a key role in at this event, this we can confirm.

What we did see, is that competitors in Munich would make key substitutions, tactic changes, or formation changes around the 60th minute mark if chasing a game, or looking to close one out. We saw a lot of 99 PAC Aubameyang’s come thru, terrorising the tired legs of defenders. Messi’s and Neymar’s were also popular choices. Many of these substitutions scored or assisted many goals for their team.

If you want to play and perform like a pro, make sure you have subs on your bench for any occasion late on in the game.

The FIWC regionals format needs to change

The format of the FIWC regionals in Munich was announced to much confusion. There were 5 groups of 5 players for each division. Each day saw a round-robin format where the last player was eliminated. The other 4 would then face off in a playoff knockout mini-tournament to crown the daily division champion.

It may be that the thinking was to hype up each individual day, but in truth, it did the exact opposite. The last division final on day 5 barely broke 200 concurrent viewers. Compare this to the over 3000 who viewed the first finals on day 3 (which had a perfect storm of commentators, working stream, and popular competitors).

The event needed a crescendo of exciting matches to finish strong, instead of a whimper and a sigh of relief.

The FIWC reigning champion is not invited to compete this year

A yearly tournament not inviting, or giving automatic qualification, to it’s reigning champion sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it?

Facebook is not (yet) a proper streaming platform

To those who tried to watch the FIWC Regionals in Munich, this one is a no brainer. Constant failure, poor quality, and lack of chat moderation meant that the matches were more of a chore than a joy to watch.

Twitch and Youtube are more than capable alternatives.

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Gil Erez
Gli is a gamer of 25+ years experience. Before web browsers were invented, he dabbled in MMO text-based games on a BBS. That involved into MUDs. That evolved into console and PC gaming. He is an expert in anything FIFA, having played the game since it's initial inception. Gil left his position as CEO of an online financial trading firm in early 2017 to found Esportsranks.com, and hasn't looked back since.