|From Ultimate Team to career mode, this is what you want from next season’s title challenger
While not yet official, FIFA 19’s inevitable September release date is the worst kept secret in virtual sports – and with half the FIFA community declaring the current edition broken beyond repair (it’s a March tradition), features for next season are being hotly debated. Which is where GR comes in. Much like our recent preview of Madden 19, below I’ve pooled the best community ideas for FIFA 19 from official forums, third-party sites and social media.
One guarantee: whatever developer EA Canada does, this time next year 50% of FIFA 19's audience will have already have declared the game obsolete, despite still playing it daily…
1. Fine-tune the basics
The most common constructive criticism of FIFA 18 is that it’s not as fun as previous editions thanks to retooled fundamentals, which by their nature undergo tweaking every year. For instance, EA forumite Green 7Arrow argues the lofted through ball is no longer a viable offensive weapon: “Whilst watching a game of football there are so many diagonal cross-field [passes] and lofted through balls, but in FIFA they never come off to any satisfaction. Either the defender recovers because the ball is in the air too long, or on the bounce it takes forever to control.” A return to its productiveness from past seasons would be welcome.
Speed and strength are also pinpointed as areas which need work. “I would like to see more emphasis on these stats,” continues Green7Arrow. “A speedy player should run past a slow player with relative ease.” This is a hard balancing act for EA given that so many online players build ‘sweaty’ squads focussed on pace alone, but it’s definitely an issue offline. Particularly with regard to hold-up play: “There are times when someone on your team with a lot of strength is shielding the ball, and a weak player just walks up and barges him out of the way with absolute ease.” That’s a major frustration which must be addressed.
2. Tweak chemistry and positional changes
Chemistry has underpinned Ultimate Team since the mode’s 2010 inception – yet many devoted players want it scrapped, arguing that they shouldn’t be punished for playing, say, Gareth Bale at left-back given he started his career there. One solution proposed by MostlyFifa on Reddit would be a baby step towards resolving that. “There should be a progressive chemistry system, where players [improve] for playing on MY team. [Forget] what league or nation they’re from, they’re playing for me – the guy who bought them. Then it’d really be possible to build YOUR Ultimate Team.” Perhaps Bale could start off with 7 chemistry in the ‘wrong’ position, but gradually build towards 10 after playing a specific number of games?
Tf 17 suggests borrowing from an EA stablemate who ironically adopted Ultimate Team after it had proven a success in FIFA. “Madden has a pretty good chemistry system,” he writes. “Sure, it is only one league, but you could abandon leagues and nation points in FUT and [instead] implement specific chems – where once you hit a certain threshold, players get boosted in certain stats by +1, +2 or whatever. This would make chemistry styles obsolete, and [attributes] more transparent than they are now.
3. Proper training modes
4. Rebuild career mode from the ground up
Career mode gets a modest makeover every year but longevity-wise still tends to become a grind after a couple of seasons’ play. MaldinisHeir, on the official EA forums, proposes some strong ideas to help combat the issue – starting with more expansive managerial options. “I should be able to hire coaches and physios and they should actually make a difference to player development, fitness and injuries,” he writes. “[Complement that with] basic training that allows you to set team and individual [exercises], rather than faffing about in drills that we did when we were 12.”
Those user-specific elements should then be supplemented by more believable AI off-field behaviour, he argues: “Transfers wise, is it really too much to ask for the first season’s transfers to be somewhat realistic? Or that computer teams actually transfer players? There's about 2,500 transfers in each of the top leagues. Each team should be transferring 10 players per window. As for manager changes, now that they’re licensed it's going to be even more annoying playing 15 seasons with Mourinho never leaving Man Utd.” Indeed, implementing the mid-season managerial merry-go-round would hugely add to the realism. On which note…
5 … and/or deliver scenario-based career mode play
Very few real managers take on the reins over the summer; instead, they’re usually drafted in mid-season to oversee a play-off push or relegation battle. The next stage in making FIFA more authentic is to encompass that type of occurrence in FIFA 19, argues Futhead. “A scenario mode, where you pick-up a team mid-season crisis, would add much-needed depth to career mode. Not only would it mirror 99% of the situations new managers find themselves in, but it would also give us as players that challenge and reason to play over and above creating dream teams.”
“You don’t need to look too far around Europe’s top leagues to find inspiration for this idea. In England, Southampton are in the relegation zone [and recently sacked Manuel Pellegrini]. In Spain, Real Madrid are fourth. And in Germany just a few weeks ago Cologne had no wins in sixteen. Any of these scenarios would be great to get involved with during the mid-to-late season.” A great idea, co-signed by GR.
6. No more squad numbers bug
Intricate details bring the believability factor to games such as MLB The Show and NBA 2K18, so one particular bug in Ultimate Team has grated throughout the FIFA 18 season. Basically, any squad number changes you make get scrambled randomly, meaning my two most-used goalkeepers – Gigi Buffon and Petr Cech – often line up wearing outfield digits such as 8 and 11.
Despite an eight-page thread at EA Answers HQ, and repeated complaints across the official FIFA forums and social media, it took until mid-March for EA to announce it was being patched. Hopefully that ends the issue, but it’s unacceptable for such a key detail to go untouched for so long. A lesson learned for FIFA 19, you’d hope.
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