We’ve known for a while now that EA were planning to make changes to the FIFA Competitive Scene. Many thought that Division Rivals, the new mid-week online tournament, would be the extent of it. A papering over the cracks rather than a tearing down and starting new. However, after today’s announcement, it looks like FIFA’s competitive scene is set for the biggest change in its history.
How It Was
This all harks back to the fiasco we had last year when with time running out and not enough players qualified for the Global Series. EA Sports decided to host a Last Chance Weekend League Qualification. The problem with this is the Weekend League system can be gamed. You can back out of matches, you can play at certain times of the day and you don’t have to play any top players to get the 40 wins and that’s before you even get to the issue of it negating Pro’s performances in live events earlier in the year.
This meant players who were far bigger names and had more pedigree missed out on the biggest tournaments.
There are two big points to take away from the changes.
First, players will no longer have to complete 40 games every Weekend League. Players will now need to win 27 games in one Weekend League, once! And then they will become FUT Champions verified. Allowing them to enter online competitions with other verified players.
This has been a huge sticking point for Pro players. It had become a tedious grind to get the 40 games on Weekend League that made you eligible for tournaments. This also means players from less competitive regions, like South America or Asia won’t have the perceived advantage in the Weekend League. It is assumed to be easier to get the 40 wins in these locales.
Second, players will now earn Pro Points throughout the season. These Pro Points put you on console specific leaderboards – each Weekend League, online tournament and live event all will earn you Pro Points. However, the Live events will win you far more Pro Points than the Weekend League will. At the end of the season, the top 60 players from both Playstation and Xbox will be invited to the Global Series Playoffs where they will fight it out for a place in the FIFA eWorld Cup.
But take note – The Global Series Playoffs will not solely determine who goes but there will be a huge amount of Pro Points to be earned based on placement. Ultimately the leaderboard will determine who goes to the eWorld Cup with the top 16 players from each console earning their place at the final.
This will more heavily incentive players performances at the live events. Rather than relying on the Weekend League, which can only be a good thing for the health of the sport.
EA Sports full statement can be read here.
The March To Paris
The first event in the FIFA season will the Continental Cup 2018. Taking place at Paris Games Week between the 26th-28th of October. A PlayStation only event – 32 players will descend on Paris for the chance to be crowned the champions of the Continental Cup. As this is a licensed event and part of the Global Series this will be the first opportunity for players to win Pro Points at a live event and get their name up on the leaderboard. Expect the best Playstation players to be there as they aim to get their season off to a flyer.
Hosted by ESL, the online qualification process opens this weekend for most regions. You will not have to be FUT Champions verified to take part but you will have to have registered with the ESL If you are interested in playing you can check your regions qualifying process here.
Details for an equivalent Xbox tournament have not yet been released.
These changes have been long overdue. By rewarding players performances in the Live Events, we will no longer have the situation of a player playing well throughout the year and then missing out with one bad performance in the FUT Champions Cup. Crucially FIFA will need to make sure more events official or not or hosted, otherwise this system won’t be much of an improvement.
And finally, esport organizations are going to have more confidence in the FIFA ecosystem. No organization wants to sign and fund a player through a season to see him miss out on what is essentially a crap shoot for the years biggest tournaments. And ultimately more investment means more pro players and greater live events.
More information is set to be released on the 5/10/2018. Our sources indicate it will include a calendar of the year’s events.
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So what do you think of the latest changes? Will it support the growth of the sport? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.