Capcom Pro Tour Online Plagued by Connection Issues
The onset of COVID-19 has had massive implications for the esports ecosystem as a whole, but no scene has been harder hit by the virus than the fighting game community. The effects of this have caused not only entire tournaments to be canceled but also events to attempt to host qualifiers online despite poor netcode.
The effects of this continued this past weekend when both defending Capcom Cup champion Derek “iDom” Ruffin and Chakotay “ElChakotay” Andrich dropped out of Top 8 matches in their qualifier. They did so after being matched up with Vega player MetroM, who both claimed was playing on a laggy connection.
iDom and ElChakotay DQ in Capcom Pro Tour Online
In Capcom Pro Tour Online, both competitors were moving through the bracket swimmingly, as expected of two players of their caliber. However, when they met up with MetroM, something strange happened. Both matches saw the players disconnect mismatch from the commentators, as a result of the match lagging. They refused to reconnect to the match as MetroM was able to get off four command grabs against iDom in particular in a row. This would be unusual in normal circumstances for the Capcom Cup champion. Still, with the lag it let MetroM do what he wanted.
This can been seen in the footage here.
Shortly after this match, MetroM went on to play against ElChakotay, who reported similar issues and dropped it from the tournament. He also called on Capcom to unban The Grid. This training stage traditionally has allowed for the best netplay experience possible in Street Fighter V due to its lack of graphical complexity and less for the game to have to keep in sync.
This call for the unbanning of The Grid was echoed by players like former Capcom Cup champion Du “Nuckledu” Dang.
Keeping the stage banned seems to be viewer experience and carries over from offline Capcom Pro Tour events. However, with online play already being an unideal experience, the powers that be at Capcom should likely reconsider their stance.
Netcode Can’t Solve Everything
While Street Fighter V’s netcode is indeed not ideal for competitive play, it’s worth noting that it can’t account for every single bad connection. Part of the reason for this is to enter, speedtest upload and download scores are used to verify whether a player has a good connection, and not so much pingtests. A pingtest would show how stable a player’s connection is, and whether or not the connection has an acceptable amount of jitter or packet loss.
It’s unclear exactly what about MetroM’s connection was suffering, or if he was downloading large files at the time of playing. Still, it’s clear that his connection was unstable and caused issues to the tournament’s integrity. It should have fallen to tournament administrators to check on his connection status and disqualify him from the competition.
However, all of this just goes on to demonstrate that fighting games, and especially fighting game competitions, aren’t ready for prime time. This is all going to put one rather large asterisk on whoever wins Capcom Cup this year, as most players have had issues qualifying this way in the first place. It may be a good opportunity for players that don’t get to travel to strut their stuff, but it ultimately might come at the cost of having some of the game’s biggest talent not in attendance.