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FIFA 19 pros react to the new online qualifier squad restrictions

19:58 EAT 11/03/2019
FIFA 19 Ultimate Team
EA Sports has brought in measures to stop Ultimate Team tournaments being pay to win but a lot of esport stars weren't happy.

EA Sports has taken huge strides in building up the esports infrastructure for the FIFA franchise this year with a large increase in live events which has been popular with both players and fans. However, with this new format has come new criticism that the esport has become "pay to win" as those who can afford to spend on FIFA points have an advantage with their superior Ultimate Team squads.

This feedback has been taken on board and EA recently sent out an email to pro players informing them that the final two online qualifiers of the FIFA 19 esports season will feature squad restrictions. From now on, pro players will be limited to a maximum of two Icons, one 95+ rated non-Icon player, two 90-94 rated non-Icon players and the rest of the players must be 89-rated or lower.

While this was exactly the kind of thing pro players have been asking for, the timing of this change left many players frustrated. Hashtag United's Ryan Pessoa was left bewildered, taking to Twitter to say: "We start the year complaining that pay to win players get an advantage in qualifiers, which was very evident at the start of the year.

"Players who didn’t heavily invest spent a lot of time grinding to earn many coins to get a team good enough to compete. Some players now have managed to achieve those players after grafting for months only for you to put a restriction on the last 2 LQE’s (Licensed Qualifier Events)?!

"We’ve had a long gap between qualifiers so players may have now decided to invest some money to bolster their squad are you going to give them the money they spent back? You throw this curveball when we are in March it’s useless."

Former FIFA Interactive World Cup champion Spencer 'Gorilla' Ealing echoed Ryan's sentiments saying: "Would love to know the thought process of this, didn’t even ask the pros what they think about implementing this. At the start of a new FIFA, I’m down but you can’t introduce this for the last two qualifiers."

It seems that most players are happy with the restrictions but considering the amount of time and money invested, their frustrations are understandable. However, some players still decided to look at the positive side of things, such as Rebel FCs Tom Painter who exclaimed "It must be Christmas! Better late than never but at least it’s some sort of progress, hopefully, something that they will take into future FIFAs.

"Don’t get me wrong it is a kick in the teeth but there are two LQE qualifiers left, hardly anything major. There are guys who have qualified for multiple events and gained a lot of pro points/money due to out-teaming people so the investment has still paid off. 

"I hope they bring this type of thing into events in the future. It's boring seeing the same players all the time, it would actually bring some thought into the game. I preferred the BPL-only teams already in ePremier League, that way people can’t just hoof it back post to 99 TOTY CR7."

While some were of the opinion that this was a good thing as it gives EA a chance to trial it, others argued that this is the most important time of the season, including Fnatic Roma manager Colin 'CoJo' Johnson who said: "Not even midway through, like 75 per cent of the way through the season where players' jobs could easily be on the line for making/not making playoffs/worlds. The timing is insanity for how late into the season we are."

The general consensus is that these restrictions will be healthy for the future of the FIFA's esports scene but players should have had the decision communicated to them sooner and the frustrations are certainly understandable.