The WL Rant Everyone Wants to Post

FIFA19 10 - The WL Rant Everyone Wants to Post

Consider this: in countless “tips and tricks” threads, one of the most common pieces of advice is to, “relax,” “take a break,” “don’t play immediately after losing.” In such a fluid sport and game, concrete advice is tougher to give than in your standard FPS or MOBA, but this is a telling sign that something is a bit off. Want to get better? Don’t play?

1. Player Control.

Ultimate Team chemistry mean players get better. While surely good players in real life, the likes of Rodrigo, Kondogbia, and your other favorites who inevitably dab on you, become prodigal footballing stars. This in essence is fine. However, (and this will find its way into the “Swings” section), what is not fine, and completely against any sort of logic, ruins the competitive nature of the game, and diminishes the will of the player to continue trying, is that sometimes players will essentially glitch out of a play when the AI decides that the opposing team’s player’s stats are more important than a user’s own control. Christiano should outpower and outmaneuver poor defenders more than not, but if the controlling player has done their job and is two feet away from the ball, while Ronaldo is eight feet away, the computer shouldn’t randomly decide to drastically slow down the defender, or worse and in many cases, defy the laws of physics and teleport them a few feet.

If anything, if the developers are aiming for that level of gameplay from star players, (though it doesn’t discriminate to stars, and may be a way to induce swings), it makes much more sense for players to only be given positive bonuses, rather than make a concerted effort to hinder players. Meaning, Ronaldo should be the one teleporting forward, (with the direction of the player), rather than the defender be pulled back. Obviously, there shouldn’t be any teleporting and I’m not advocating these boosts— but extrapolate this to other examples as well and the point is that yes, score bicycles, score power headers / chest bumps from outside the box, but don’t make VVD crumble to the ground or lose his ability to jump in completely stand-up 50-50 headers to Gabriel Jesus. Mistakes happen, Ander Herrera could have stopped a goal against Arsenal off of a shot De Gea tipped up had he acted sooner the other week, but he acted. If he is there near post don’t make him smell the ball as it is going by.

But wait, why do they need those boosts anyways? How do you determine when someone gets one of these boosts? Why are we even subjected to these?

This is Ultimate Team. Boot up regular online seasons, choose your favorite team, and play a game. I think you would be surprised by how the game feels different. Better players are better players, but they aren’t godly. You can finesse from outside the box with regularity—not all “issues” are gone. But the stats reflect the stats. It’s a sandbox, the way it should be, and feels great. Let the players play. Why do players feel different from one mode to another?

2. Swings.

A lot of people scoff at this. But there seems to be a general consensus among a great number of players that there is in fact some type of momentum in the game. As one person described, it feels like when your players are all being dragged back slowly. Running through water. Suddenly the passing lanes for the opposition are wide open and obvious, suddenly every goal kick is a perfect through ball on goal, suddenly your clearances are right to the opposition, (resulting in header through ball on goal), and suddenly kick-off is the most dangerous part of the game. Again, if you happened to watch the Arsenal-Manchester United game, ManU scored very quickly after a score and the announcers were astonished. It HAPPENS, but when it does, it’s incredibly rare—not commonplace and every other game.

This implementation of momentum is truly dumfounding—momentum is already created by users themselves. Momentum comes from players consistently making correct decisions, and those correct decisions fueling and encouraging their future decision making. For what reason would anyone think that they should implement artificial momentum? Forget about the criteria for triggering it, imagine this in any other type of competitive game. Imagine flashbangs triggering for a longer period of time in CS, or them changing their physics to explode in more opportune areas— randomly. This is an incredibly dangerous system that amounts to the game often feeling like it’s on rails. If a user concedes a goal early on a terrible mistake, they are already going to be potentially triggered. It is up to them to bear down and control their players better, or, it is their shortcoming if it seriously affects their emotions and they start to play worse. Instead, the AI can arbitrarily decide that their game is going to be on easy-mode the rest of the game. On the reverse, while scoring a goal early on a great piece of skill, it is up to the user to maintain their focus and not take the opponent lightly, or get complacent. Again, the game can decide if your game is going to be harder, or in some weird instances, easier.

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EA is potentially severely underestimating, (or taking advantage of), the emotional response it can cause when a system diminishes these decisions and the natural flow of momentum. At best, it destroys the hopefulness of the player and makes them question why they are playing if the game is against them, and also start to question literally hundreds of other things – is it because my team rating is too high? Is it because I just bought a player? Just sold a player? At worst, it results in broken controllers, and a potentially perverse reinforcement of illogical mechanics and anti-competitiveness that potentially impact user emotions outside of the game. Remember—don’t play.


3. Cards

Pros want to and need to play with the best players possible– but the way it feels is as if you aren't truly playing the game if you don't have those players. The above swing system makes it so that the biggest and most important decision a FUT player can make, is to forget about playing with players they like, and that it is necessary to have the players that can potentially play above the system. (And that's why you see posts stating the opposite, that you should just play with your favorites and accept failure because it can be liberating).

People like to say this game is Pay 2 Win—but even paying $500 might not get you anywhere, and really unless a team is completely full of Icons, even playing with an 89 Rating team doesn’t guarantee anything, even against a non-full chem team. One could argue that it only makes those “Easy Mode” moments easier. It only becomes Pay 2 Win with multiple icons.

Ratings don’t mean everything. But what is problematic when people are spending hundreds of dollars, is that sometimes those ratings are vastly different in game. Most the time that’s fine. You want to play with Mesut Ozil, you better learn to avoid contact and get rid of the ball right away because he is going to be pushed off of everything. He can be very bad in the wrong player’s hands, and amazing in others. But it is not fine, and a little shady when potentially arbitrary systems manipulate player control. Why is 86 Varane literally running between the poor ball dribbler and the ball and forgetting that he is playing football? Why are weak penalties going through De Gea’s legs? Why is Koulibaly one touch finessing a shot from outside the box with 26 Shooting and 15 Long Shots, and how can 99 Finishing strikers miss open goals or play a game to hit the post? Why, (favorite example), is VVD losing a 50-50 header against Gabriel Jesus? Of course there are glitches and no game is perfect, of course player control is huge, (though from many replays we can see that there was no input error or anything), and of course these things happen sometimes. But they don’t happen so consistently. What is the point of ratings, if they can mean so little even with “perfect” control? Can’t someone smarter analyze this as potentially a reason everyone can chargeback all their Fifa purchases? People spend real money to buy players that have indicated ratings and expected play levels, yet their ratings can be manipulated for no stated rhyme or reason. Users are rarely as good as they think they are, and the triggered people are always a louder voice than those that are not, but again- there seems to be a consensus. What other proof besides examining the code can people offer?

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4. Psychologically Damaging

Someone should do a study. Bet EA has. They have to know. Here is a list:

– Matchmaking ensures that the player never feels like they are progressing

– Momentum ruins your will to play

– Player control taken away makes the game feel like it’s on rails

– Announcers literally use the most triggering commentary—someone should compile a list. Does EA really think it is enjoyable, and good for the mental health of the player that the announcer is literally calling them awful? That they laugh at them? Calling for the ref to blow the whistle with 9 minutes left was my favorite so far. I was losing by four or five and that just made my night. It really is to the point where they are doing it on purpose- again another area worth looking into.

– Announcers repeating the same thing over and over—made me sell Pires and Moussa Dembele after hearing their lines over and over and over during the same game.

– Celebrations – They should be there but there should definitely be an option to skip when you are down four goals. You shouldn’t have to watch a player gyrating with glee on the ground when you are having the worst game of your life.

– Momentum makes players question literally everything outside of gameplay as making an impact

– For a continued list, sort by NEW

Sports games are different animal. There isn’t one correct way to play. It is laughable that there are so few concrete examples to improve your gameplay. Watch videos of pros with, “THESE FIVE TIPS WILL MAKE YOUR DEFENSE INVINCIBLE,” and it pretty much amounts to the pro saying, “defend better,” five different ways. (Oh and copying their settings — like really Cover Center and Stay Back while Attacking). EA obviously wants FUT to be a competitive game. Unfortunately, everything about it is designed with potentially nefarious reasons—it is impossible for EA to be ignorant here. Fifa 19 regular gameplay can potentially be competitive, even with some of the same glitches and mistakes.

EA needs to completely reevaluate how Chemistry works. At the very least, they need to publish exhaustive descriptions and details on how ratings and whatever other systems work- because the way it works now is detrimental to everyone, and the lack of knowledge is maddening. They should also do this because people are spending money on this game. There is something to be said that in a way it is similar to requiring pack probabilities— people at least deserve to know what they are getting for their money and how the system works. (Especially because the game’s lifespan is only one year or less).

TLDR: The game’s design is anti-competitive, and potentially detrimental to the mental health of its users.

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