Please have a look at this short clip. (might not work on mobile).
What the clip shows is my opponent being AFK, while his players chase me around the pitch, and at one point even makes a tackle and steals the ball when he gets the opportunity. All while not controlling any of his players. Shortly after this clip finishes, he disconnects due to inactivity which of course means that he hasn't pressed any buttons for some time.
I think what this clip shows is how assisted and automated the game can be. Players not even controlled by your opponent, chasing you around – even taking the ball off you if it gets the chance to. Of course, it goes even deeper than that – as you'll have AI players make clearances, tackles, shadowing your opponent – even make finishes for you down the other end, without you ever having to press a button.
All simply based on assistance and automated actions.
And how deep does this even go? Will the game make assisted tackles for you even while controlling players? Will it make assisted tackles when using the contain button? Second man press? While doing nothing? Is it related to game plan tactics like constant pressure, etc? Will the game even sometimes make your AI defenders MISS tackles and blocks on purpose? I think all of the above is actually true, but I think those are questions that needs to be answered by the developer.
I need to mention here that this is often coupled with low depth. defensive tactics. The reason for that is that using AI assisted defending is most effective and usable if you have more players behind the ball. Basically, it becomes even more effective when coupled with such defensive tactics.
This is of course not something new, but I think there needs to be a proper, in depth discussion as to how this affects the skill gap of the game – or even the game in general and peoples enjoyment while playing.
As of now, I dont think there is no denying that relying on AI assisted defending is a major part of the meta, and actually has been for several years. Even at extremely high skill ratings. People either learn to do so naturally out of necessity, because it is obviously more effective and reliable than to actually attempt to defend yourself – for most people, and we have a community which in general advocates not controlling your defenders at all – and of course, for a very good reason.
So how does this affect the skill gap? Well, as far as defending is concerned (or anywhere on the pitch as the clip shows), when you get to the level where this is a widespread, common tactic, if not even the only defensive tactic people use – everyone is equally good at defending and plays pretty much the same way defensively. If everyone's good at defending, no one's good at defending. When AI assisted defending is as effective as it currently is – there is much less possibility for those that are actually really good at defending to separate themselves off of mechanics. Because everyone gets it for free.
And of course, that is incredibly destructive to the skill gap – but also the games actual relation to real life football. Defending is a skill, and should not be so assisted that you can literally just let the AI do it, and you'll be mostly fine.
At the same time, it also affects attacking, because facing someone who only, or mostly rely on assisted defending, leave people with much less options to apply their attacking skill to the game.
Take dribbling for example. This mechanic literally murders dribbling. Using dribbling in this game successfully is all about outplaying your human opponent, like tricking him to go one way then go the other. However, the way AI assisted defending work – if the opponent is able to use it in any situation – it will not allow you to outplay it, shadowing your every move, and as evident in the clip – even steal the ball if it has an opportunity to do so, probably based on RNG and stats.
This does not only affect the skill gap – it also impacts the general entertainment value of playing the game. I just dont think anyone find it entertaining trying to break someone down, trying to make something happen and you are prevented by a wall of AI controlled defenders, while playing online. You're not really playing a person, you are actually playing the AI. In a multiplayer, online, alledgedly competitive game.
If you play online – you expect to play a person, not a robot that shadows your every move when you go forward. Something has got to give!
Now – what needs to be done here, is probably very obvious – but is it ever going to be addressed? This has, as far as I'm concerned, been a major problem since the release of FIFA 17. THIS is what needs to be taken care of to improve the skill gap – NOT introduce some bogus finishing mechanic that doesnt even work properly and fails to actually improve the skill gap any, arguably make it even worse. And why even focus on improving the skill gap in that area, while other areas of the game desperately needs the skill gap unlocked? Was it because you couldnt balance low drivens properly?
This is what needs to be taken care of – among other things of course, like passing assistance – which arguably works quite similarly.
Please let us know if you are aware of this, and working towards ACTUALLY improving it in your next release (ugh). This stuff is broken, and it obviously ruins the enjoyment of the game across the board, and its competitive viability of the game – immensely. And especially if you want this game to become a viable, accepted esport – this stuff cannot, I repeat CAN NOT be in the game. If you are wondering why SOOO many people complain about this game, THIS is one of the MAJOR reasons – along with broken finishing and a few other broken mechanics.
This stuff is literally like playing CS:GO and the game automatically throws out grenades, killing people for you, or shoot your gun for you. Its like aim assistance in FPS games. Its just not acceptable as a competitive feature, and especially not for ANY esport. And that should be quite obvious!
Thank you for your attention.
Assisted defending is too good, and needs to be fixed as not only does it make the game feel like a boring offline experience while playing online, it also goes very far to ruining the skill gap. And this game desperately needs a bigger skill gap.
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© Post "On assisted defending and tackling" for game FIFA 19.
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