Changes to the Capcom Pro Tour a mixed bag

Street Fighter V pro Saul "MenaRD" Segundo shows off his trophy following his grand finals victory at the Capcom Cup 2017 in Anaheim, California. Sean Morrison for ESPN

The 2018 Capcom Pro Tour is almost here, and it will feature a restructured point system and new open tournaments for more ways to qualify for the upcoming season.

The tour will consist of 14 premier events, 32 ranking events, four regional finals, and the Evolution Fighting Game Championships in Las Vegas this summer, Capcom announced in February. In addition, a last-chance qualifier will return to award one worthy player a spot in the Capcom Cup, and guarantee viewers another entertaining (and top-heavy) tournament to finish the year. Like last year, the winner of the regional finals will also qualify for the Capcom Cup.

As for the changes, the most controversial adjustment is the point system. Last year, the top eight finishers of a ranking event earned meaningful points -- first place got 160 points, second place was a robust 100 points, third netted 70 points, fourth got 40 points, fifth earned 20 points and seventh place grabbed 10. This year, first place will still earn a respectable 150 points, but second place will win 70, third will take 40, fourth nabs 20, fifth will be at 10, and seventh place wins a measly point.

Capcom Cup 2017 champion and Rise Nation's Saul "MenaRD" Segundo is not a fan of the reduction in value to ranking events.

"Ranking events are less important, but when every region has more ranking events for points, it's unfair to us [Latin American players]," MenaRD said. "I'm just waiting to see if Capcom at least provides a cash prize for the regional finals. We've shown that we have talented players and can make good events, but we're still treated as less than other regions."

MenaRD is thankful that the Dominican Republic will have an increase in tournament exposure (12 ranking events on the list), but the decrease in value will still prevent many of his domestic training partners from getting close to Capcom Cup consideration. He said the new point system is a step back because "it seems unfair to every player not in North America." (There will be seven premier events in North America, not including the regional finals.)

MenaRD's point expands to other countries as well. With North America will be the site for a majority of the premier events, players without sponsorship or consistent means of travel will suffer as a result. It's not enough to accumulate points via the ranking events anymore or to notch multiple top finishes, it's almost to the point of win a premier event or go home.

On the other side of the coin, Razer's Kun "Xian" Ho is optimistic for the new changes. He thinks the increased emphasis on premier events will decrease the burnout of top players due to previous nonstop traveling. As a player local to the Singapore community, Xian needs to travel to many countries to compete and qualify for the Capcom Cup, but his world-class ability may ensure that one or two trips will be enough to satisfy his qualification this year.

"Last year, ranking and premier events were so similar that traveling to all events for secured point totals was important," Xian said. "Now that premier events provide more points, people will travel less and there will be less of an overdose to the traveling schedule. For me, it's a plus."

To add further optimism, Xian praises the new system's potential effect in bringing along new faces (such as MenaRD) to the community spotlight by giving more players a chance to qualify after some of the international players are done with their respective traveling. He said that this year there may be more new faces qualifying.

The other new addition to the upcoming tour is the open tournament at each regional final. The official rules state that the regional finals will include an open tournament, allowing a player from any region to compete for global leaderboard points, prizing and regional leaderboard points (only for players in that region).

It will be exciting to see what kind of international presence will be at each of the four regional finals.

If the idea of capturing the frenzy from the last-chance qualifier is the backdrop for the new open tournament, this season's action may be Capcom's best yet.