Let's call a spade a spade and be completely honest: FIFA esports is in need of a serious revamp. The current system isn't fair on anyone; pro players need to spend loads to get an early advantage over the more casual players, whilst the casual players have less chance to push higher because they can't justify dropping thousands on FIFA points in the opening day.
This all boils down to the fundamental point that FIFA Ultimate Team simply isn't made to be a competitive gamemode. It's a great money spinner for Electronic Arts (go figure) but relies almost entirely on luck to get the best team available. But how can you fix that?
Establish tournament settings
This may be the optimal and most simple solution to FIFA esports' settings and could help bring it a slightly better reputation than what it currently has in the esports world. By establishing specific tournament settings, acknowledging the issues that could be borne of the current format, FIFA can negate certain aspects of RNG and allow players to thrive without spending thousands.
The best idea would be to allow players entering tournaments â€“ possibly as low as in Weekend League â€“ to pick any player they want to be in their squad. Give them access to the entire bank of players in FUT and allow them to pick their starting eleven, the players that will sit on their bench and even their reserves: give the player complete control over their team. Doing so means it comes entirely down to a player's playstyle, their selection and more often than not, the better player will come out on top. Virgil Van Dijk is clearly overpowered? Fine, anybody can use him, even if you haven't spent a penny.
This would especially help players who can't afford to spend Â£3000 on FIFA points to open packs and make the first few months easier on themselves. If a player gets into Weekend League purely on merit, then give him his perfect team, you would be guaranteed to see some young stars come through and shine. Plus, leaving the standard game as is means EA can still make millions!
More defined season layout
I'll give them credit: EA does do well to make clear how certain tournaments feed into each other to culminate in the FIFA eWorld Cup. But what I found last year in particular that there was a number of LAN events that seemed to have come out of nowhere and no schedule (that I could find) accounted for them. Is it possible that those looking for a path to pro don't know that these events are occurring, either? Aspiring pros will want to know every event that is going on, the qualifying routes, and most importantly they'll want to see every piece of footage they can from the best in the world so that they can learn from them. Not only that, but as a fan, if I don't know a tournament is on, how am I supposed to tune in? It's no secret that FIFA struggles for viewership, but a little more clarity and a refined seasonal layout would definitely help.
Fundamentally, EA needs to lower the barrier of entry for everyone, from the players to the fans, to create a more efficient ecosystem and community environment. There are so many glaring issues with FIFA as an esport, but I really don't think it needs to stay that way. There's so much potential for one of the biggest games in the world to become a high-tier esport â€“ perhaps not alongside CS:GO or League of Legends, but it's definitely a possibility that it could become a well-received spectacle.
If EA just take more time to consider how they can adapt FUT to its optimal competitive experience, FIFA 20 could be a huge turning point for FIFA esports.