Ok, so considering the fact that there's a new FIFA coming out soon, I wanted to talk a little bit about how passing works in FIFA after FIFA 17 and in 18 and 19, and how I think passing should work in future iterations of the game. Mostly because I've heard the passing mechanics have changed quite a bit in the upcoming game, and seemingly – the beta community is in some form of uproar about it.
I dont know how it works in FIFA 20, as I havent been invited to the beta, and I never will be – but from what I've heard, its gotten a little bit harder, but exactly how? I wanted to talk in short about how it works in FIFA as of now and how I think it should work.
The most important thing to know about passing in FIFA 17, 18 and 19, is that it is heavily, HEAVILY assisted. I mean, no surprise there as the setting that is default for the game, and default in every mode, including competitive games and professional online tournaments, is assisted passing.
Have a look at this picture to see how that is described in the game menus: https://imgur.com/a/vBwb1jb
The most important part here is the last three words: "Avoids opponent players".
That is basically the jist of it. When you have the ball and pass it around in FIFA, the game will deliberately alter your passes to avoid opponent players if you are passing in their direction. It will even go so far as to pass the ball to a different player than you originally intended in the first place, to prevent you from losing the ball. It does not matter if you were aware of the opponent player that could block your pass or not, the game is going to do that anyway.
Another thing that passing will do of course, is allow you to pass THROUGH opponent players, or over their feet with a dinked pass (to EA's credit, this is apparently fixed by making the dinked pass an executable action and not something that happens on its own), just to again – avoid you from losing the ball in most situations where you are under pressure. Even in situations where your opponent is blocking certain angles on purpose to avoid you to pass that way, the chances are very high that you can pass right through him anyway. In fact, that is most likely to happen.
Now, this mechanic have a few SERIOUS implication for the game, in my opinion.
First of all, it ruins the skill gap in the sense that as a passer, you do not really have to consider your passes at all. You dont really have to be careful passing the ball to players who are covered or have opponent players near the passing trajectory. And just as the example above, even if a player is deliberately, and obviously blocking that specific angle for you, you dont have to care – you can pass through him anway. So it takes away A LOT of the importance in regards to decision making when it comes to passing, in this game. A LOT.
Second, the other implication it has, is that it almost completely removes and negates the skill of reading an opponents passing. It does not matter if you read an opponents every pass, if you are blocking his angles perfectly – as I have already explained – as the game will do its best to AVOID you anyway, even if the opponent player isnt aware of what you are doing. He does not have to spend a calorie thinking about you, as the game will avoid you for him.
This also has major implications on defending as well, as while you are defending against someone, you might think that you are covering his most dangerous passing lanes, you might think you are in a perfect position to intercept. But no. The game assists the ball through you, or around you anyway, making defending in those instances pointless and you might as well not even be there.
So in my opinion, this passing mechanic completely negates two incredibly important footballing skills, to remove huge chunks of the skill gap, and a lot of the feeling of actual playing football when you play the game. Decision making while passing the ball, is INCREDIBLY important in football, and so is reading the opponents passing, but in this football sim – they just do not matter very much.
And bare in mind. These are the settings that are being used in professional FIFA matches as well. This is basically how the game works.
In my opinion, this feature needs to be COMPLETELY removed from the game to restore some of the skill gap of the passing in this game, and bring back the ability people have of reading their opponents passing and actually be rewarded for it, as ever since FIFA 17, this game has rewarded terrible passers, and punished people who are good at reading them. Thats the opposite of how a skill gap should be. As far as I'm concerned, this mechanic of FIFA 17, 18 and 19 – is completely broken, and takes actual football out of the game.
Ok, so I have covered the most important passing mechanic – but I have a few more mechanics that I want to mention before I finish:
There should be a punishment to using driven passes in the wrong places. Back in FIFA 16, if people used a driven pass while being too close to their target, the target would receive the ball with a little bounce up into the air, thus taking a few moments to gain control of the ball. This does not really happen at all anymore, but I think it needs to be reintroduced to bring a bit more skill gap into passing. Sure, we're playing with world class players, but even if we play with world class players, there should be some difficulty to everything anyway. This bounce could be a little bit less impactful the higher the ball control of the receiving player, and his angle towards the ball when receiving it, and of course his distance. If the ball is at top speed when it reaches him, it should almost always be a bounce. There should also be a large punishment from passing a driven pass to a player with his back to you. Even normal passes should be somewhat challenging to receive in those cases.
180 degree passes should almost never reach its target. I think the best option to do a 180 degree pass should be to attempt a heel pass (fancy passing), which should be L1 and pass. And that pass should also be inaccurate and have less power, depending on the skill of the player. If someone still attempts a 180 regular pass in any way shape or form, with his back to his target, it should just not hit the target its aiming for, atleast incredibly rare.
How the AI is programmed also needs to be looked at, as very often while a player is passing, the target AI player will move accordingly, or run onto the ball, etc. etc., while the defending players AI does not react at all. For example, you could have a person passing a ball to a player that is being covered, and is behind an opponent player, and when the pass is executed, the target AI player will move OUT of cover away from his marker, while the marker will just stand rooted to the ground, not reacting to the pass whatsoever. Its only fair that both AI players react to the situation accordingly.
Also, there should be a few criteria that needs to be in place for a pass to be successful, or at the very least increase its chances for success. These criteria should be, for example that you have to have full control of the ball (like not have it bounce at your feet, etc), you should face the person you want to pass it to, you should use your strong foot or risk inaccuracy and the more pressure you are under, the more inaccurate your pass will be. There could be more, but those are the ones of the top of my head.
I'm sorry, but this text got a lot longer than I wanted it to, and if you got through it, thank you. So, at the end of it all, I'd like to know your opinion about it, and for those that play the beta, how does this match up with how it works in the FIFA 20 beta as of now?
Thank you for your attention.
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