FIFA Esports Pros Gorilla And Tom Talk World Cup, EA Sports FC, And Just Eat

FIFA Esports Pros Gorilla And Tom Talk World Cup, EA Sports FC, And Just Eat
Images via EXCEL Esports

Written by 

Harry Boulton


2nd Dec 2022 17:41

EXCEL Esports' Tom "Tom" Leese and Spencer "Gorilla" Ealing are two of the most successful FIFA esports pros, with number one rankings and FIFA eWorld Cup titles under their belts. To coincide with their recent appearance in the Just Eat Taste to Glory series, we spoke to both of them, getting their thoughts on this current FIFA, the World Cup so far, the future of EA Sports FC, and more.

Just to start with some rapid-fire questions - how would you rate this FIFA out of ten?

TOM: 8/10.

GORILLA: This FIFA I'd say 8/10 as well.

For comparison, what would you rate last year?

TOM: [laughs] Last year I'm gonna give a 5.5/10.

GORILLA: I'm not going to be as generous, I'm gonna give it a four.

What about the best player that you've used this year?

TOM: I'm gonna say, because he was a bit of a surprise, and at a level that I didn't expect him to be at, is the Yaya Touré Hero card in Ultimate Team. That's the one for me.

GORILLA: I'd say Marchisio or Yaya Touré. I'll go with Marchisio, I'll be different.

The most underrated player that you've used this year?

TOM: I'm just looking at my team right now and I'm gonna say Capdevilla, I feel like no one's talking about Capdevilla at left back, and he might be the best left back in the game.

GORILLA: That's a tough one. I'll go with Neymar believe it or not, because I feel like a lot of people this year have written him off because of the whole lengthy thing, but I still like him so I'll say Neymar. 

Who is one former player that you'd like to see added as an Icon or a Hero? Can be any player, doesn't have to be a world-beater, just any player that you like.

GORILLA: I'll go with Fabrizio Miccoli, whether he deserves an Icon I don't know, but back in the day on FIFA he was really good.

TOM: I've got one - Ledley King. 

He was rumoured to be a Hero this year, I don't know if they're going to bring him out.

TOM: But I'm not seeing him! I've been told from the start of FIFA, Ledley King is gonna be in but I haven't seen him. I'm a very biased Spurs fan, so I'm gonna say Ledley King deserves it.

A very basic question, but who is winning the World Cup? And is it coming home?

TOM: Heart says England, head says Brazil. So, I'll go with my heart, England.

GORILLA: For me, I've gotta say Brazil. England I don't think will go that far, semi-finals at best.

TOM: Booo.

GORILLA: We've had our chances.

Who is going to be the player of the tournament?

TOM: I am going to continue my heavily biased propaganda, and I'm gonna go Jude Bellingham. I think he's already on the way there to be honest.

GORILLA: I'm going to go with Richarlison. He's scored two goals, and I think Brazil are going to win it, and if he's starting then he'll get a few more goals. I'm surprised Tom didn't say that with the whole Spurs connection.

TOM: I'm full England mate.

To tie into the Just Eat Taste to Glory series, what is your favourite food delivery?

TOM: I had one last night, so I'm gonna go pizza.

What's your pizza of choice?

TOM: I don't know if I want you to publish this, but I'm gonna say I actually had Hawaiian, ham and pineapple, and I enjoyed it!

GORILLA: I'll probably say Subway, majority of the time it's a Subway for me.

What do you get in your Subway?

GORILLA: Spicy Italian, it's basically just pepperoni and salami.

The first episode of the Just Eat Taste to Glory went out with obviously yourself Tom and Shawrey. I had a watch of that and you had a bit of a mare guessing the food.

TOM: You're underselling it mate, an absolute nightmare!

I think my favourite bit was when you thought that Mexican beef nachos were fish from England.

TOM: I don't need the reminder!

Was it genuinely incredibly difficult guessing the food?

TOM: Yes, for two reasons. One, I don't think that we as humans realise that every bit of food that we eat is what we see. So, we just kind of get told what it is, and then you take it for face value. The first time I saw a sausage or something, someone told me it was a sausage, so I think that was very hard. And then secondly, I would argue that some of the answers were very out there, and difficult anyway. I look back at the answers and I think even if I knew what that was I still wouldn't get it. But yeah there were still a few howlers in there like the nachos, that was an absolute stinker.

Obviously no spoilers to any of the specifics, but did you do any better Spencer?

GORILLA: I don't think I had as bad of a howler as thinking nachos were fish, but to be fair I guessed chicken three times in a row. It's very hard, obviously when you're watching a video you know what it is, but when you have to put a blindfold on, sometimes it's a little bit harder than you'd think.

In the second part of the video you played with bronze cards as a forfeit for not getting any answers right - do you feel that FIFA is a very different game playing with bronze cards? Especially because you're both obviously used to the top meta players.

TOM: Yeah, definitely. I think you have to change your playstyle because when you have better players you can do more, and you can be a bit more fluid, but when you play with bronze cards you have to look after certain passes. There are certain through balls and shooting angles that won't work as well, and you have to create like a 100% chance to score a goal. So you definitely have to adapt your playstyle depending on what cards you're using.

Do you think there's a bigger skill gap with bronze players?

TOM: I've seen this debate before and my answer is no, because you feel that sometimes with the bronze cards it becomes out of the player's control. Because even when you play a five-yard pass, which to any player should fundamentally go there, with bronze cards there is that error or mistake in them that leads to the game being more random than ever. But I can see why the other side of the argument is that with bronze players you have to master absolutely everything and there's no room for mistakes, but I think that because they're so poor in-game, it leads to an element of randomness when you're playing. 

How difficult is it dealing with Title Updates as a pro player? Especially this year so far where we've seen quite dramatic changes like the nerfs to trivela shots and lengthy players.

GORILLA: We literally had a Title Update today that dealt with the lobbed through passes, so it's one of those where it obviously needs to happen because they're very overpowered in the game, like we had two tournaments where that was still in the game. Some people will be good on some patches, and as soon as their main thing goes they won't be as good anymore. As a pro player, you've just got to adapt to it because things settle down in January time, and because FIFA is a yearly cycle you don't really have a polished version of the game until about five months in. It is tough, but everyone's got to do it, you've just got to adapt to it.

TOM: I think my experience is similar, I think it takes a lot of your mental strength to notice that just because you've been playing good on the last patch, doesn't mean you're entitled to play well on the next patch, because they're gonna change things that might work really well. I'm someone who has been using the first time through balls, so I've now got to acknowledge that I won't be able to use them at the same strength or frequency. The game doesn't completely change, I think if you're good at the game then you will be good at the game throughout the year. 

There are a couple of players it happens to where they completely drop off but for me, I'm always concerned about mastering the fundamentals because I don't want to be reliant on one patch. For example, if all I'm going to do is trivela the ball, you can imagine that after one month you'd be a bit lost. It depends on your playstyle, but like Spencer said it is just an adaptation period that can be complicated at times if you become too over-reliant on one thing, but it's part and parcel of it. I think me and Spencer have been competing for maybe five years plus now, so we've kinda got used to it as the years have gone on.

Building on what Spencer said about it being a yearly title, would you prefer it as a pro player if FIFA became a live service game of sorts and moved away from the yearly release format?

TOM: Yeah I personally believe the yearly format charging £60-70 a year is a bit outdated. I think the way that gaming's moved on, I think Fortnite were the ones that really championed it a few years ago. Gaming seems to have moved on in a sense that these yearly releases are probably feeling outdated. I also believe it would help gameplay, help development. I think what we see with EA a lot of the time is that from about March in the game cycle, they kind of just not forget about the game, but stop working on that gameplay, and then they go onto the next year's version which I don't think is very beneficial. 

I would love to see a new system in place, and when they become EA Sports FC they'll probably have a bit more flexibility with that. I would be very surprised if we come back to this interview in five years and EA is still selling the game at £60 every year, I personally believe that's not going to happen for much longer.

Continuing from the discussion about EA Sports FC, is there anything in particular outside of moving away from yearly releases that you'd like see EA focus on or implement into the game?

GORILLA: I think we need a drastic change. I feel like the past few years, everything has been a bit stale. We've gone from FUT Champs 40 games with the best rewards possible to now 20 games with probably the worst rewards possible. I could maybe excuse it this year because it's the final year, maybe they want to concentrate on their own game EA Sports FC, only time will tell.

I think from the competitive scene it looks like they're trying to push 2v2, which I think is a good push. So with that, you need to then have the relationship in-game with 2v2 which we don't really have at the moment. For me, I would love to have FUT Champs with 2v2. Some type of 2v2 rewarding game mode, FUT Champs or not, I think is important. And just a fresh up of everything, I feel like Ultimate Team's been the same for so many years now. It's a good game mode but the possibilities are endless with the mode itself.

TOM: I think that the first thing I might change is the visualisation. I think that the last couple of years have looked very similar on the screen, it feels like copy and paste. I think maybe they could revamp the interface as a start, just to signal that they're now EA Sports FC instead of FIFA. If they could change the way the whole menus look, it would freshen it up for everyone. 

In the game I echo what Spencer says, I do believe that we should be rewarded for playing the game a bit more. I think these days the rewards for playing, be it Rivals, Champs, isn't quite the level that they set a few years back. I think a lot of the hardcore community are sitting there saying 'hold on, we used to get 40 games - which was a bit too much, but we used to get really good rewards. 

I think I'd like to see some kind of divisions or daily tournaments come back again, we haven't had that in a few years. I think sometimes Division Rivals can be a little bit too sweaty for the casual player, I think the old Divisions system worked pretty nicely and led to a lot more fun. Daily knockout tournaments would also be ideal, because sometimes people find it a bit stale in the week just playing rivals. Also related to the World Cup, which they obviously can't do every year, I think if they could just react sometimes a little bit quicker to live games, that would be good. I think that's the only thing that's been missing in the World Cup mode.

Speaking of the World Cup mode, how well do you think EA has done it so far?

TOM: I think it's OK, there's a lot that could be better. I think that EA is also very unlucky in that it has come out so early in the game, because that limits how much they can do. They can't bring out these crazy, overpowered cards that are going to dominate Ultimate Team for the rest of the year.

I think more live-based content, more SBCs, more showdown cards, more MOTM cards, I'd like to see players rewarded for how they've performed in the group stages. I will say I like the token system, it gives us something to do and good rewards. I like the Vieira at the end of it and the 84x20 packs, but more SBC and live content would have been a win in my opinion.

GORILLA: I think Tom's right, I think the timing of it isn't great. We'll have Team of the Year before we know it and that's normally the big splash of cards, but I don't expect them to give us some crazy cards just because it's the World Cup. On the other side of the coin, it's a bit underwhelming this World Cup mode -  it comes around once every four years, it's the last FIFA as well, I just feel like the players they're releasing aren't the best.

I think there's a lot to do, but I don't think it's the right content in my opinion. There's just nothing in the game at the moment that's engaging for me.

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