Jul 27



162x90genlogo CartelsOften instantly decried as a group for cheats, is there a place for them in FML ?

What is a cartel? In its simplest form it is a group of people working together for the betterment of one or all. As such it is a base factor in any community and will prevail in some way whether we want it or not.

I here represent the prohibited but existing Russian Cartel of Toms GW. Yes we do exist and we do exploit every possibility to tweak the game for our needs and goals. In order to achieve our needs and goals we need some changes if not in the game, then in Toms Pro-GW.

The above was taken from a short-lived but explosive thread in the SI fora. It’s an issue that raises some passionate responses. But it is also worthy of a closer look. Cartels have infiltrated FML since early days of beta testing and for the most part have helped develop the range of rules and tools that are used today to prevent or control exploits within the game.

Yet if we look behind the veneer of distasteful activity often carried out within these groups we can see some good points. And in fact much of what they attempt to do lies at the very heart of what FML and any other MMO is about – communities working together.

By now I’m sure some of you will be shouting “No! Never! Cheats aren’t wanted!” or words to that effect. But if we look at some of the ideals of cartels I think we’ll see much of it is already prevalent within the game worlds – and much of it is necessary.

Player Progression

A vital area in FML: without good players coming through, the life of any game world will be susceptible to deteriorating player stocks and therefore a lack lustre experience for all. But a quick look through some previous articles on player progression will show it’s a complicated process to get the very best out of a youth players early seasons.

Far too many players are wasted now, with the current trend of just pumping a huge number of games into them (resulting in lower averages). For a player to develop to the best of his potential requires managers with the skills, knowledge and time to dedicate to them. Because of this many managers set themselves up as ‘youth’ managers.

Taking on the role of developing players for other managers is a vital role within any world, whether through long term loans or transfers with sell-on percentages attached, it’s a role that requires people to work together not just for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of the game world as a whole.


Take a close look at your game interface and you’ll see a greyed out ‘scouting’ button, an extra feature planned since beta but as yet not implemented. The intention for it is/was to allow managers with higher scouting skills to find (at a cost) players for other clubs. Amongst other skills it was always the intention of FML to implement skill sharing, and as this area develops we will see more people working together. And yes, they will do so amongst their ‘mates’.

Physiotherapy Skills

Another area of skill sharing that has already been implemented. Players with long term injuries can be loaned out to another club (with higher physio skills) to decrease the time lost to injury. At present, this is a messy process due to limits on length of loans, and with the whole process of injuries being reviewed it may disappear altogether. But the intention has always been there to allow managers work together.


Either within your FA or through friendly competitions, you will see competitions designed for a set portion of the community only. Whether that’s under 17 youth competitions, reserve competitions, an FA designed around a specific style of play (SFA), reputation or rank limited competitions, or just a simple friendly competition between the a select group of teams (by invite). FML allows and encourages all of these, but each is there to allow set groups of individuals to work together for the improvement of their team or even to increase the experience of playing.

User created FAs

Long touted as a future addition to FML, these will be additional to your domestic FA but set up by individual to enable more complex competitions and additional chat areas for their friends.


Yes, we all make them in FML, and with the recent focus on this area we have more tools now to keep in touch with and share information between those we choose as friends. Whether it’s a heads up on players for sale, a potential youth that appears, competition invites, or tactical sharing. It all adds to the tools we have for people working together.

People working together, whether in big groups or small, is what MMOs are about. It’s what FML is about, and it will continue in some form regardless of the rules. Where it all falls down is the specific areas of the game that people work together on. When it begins to affect the experience of others adversely it becomes a problem, whether this is through the ability to raise excessive amounts of cash, lock up players for life, or rig the results of matches and competitions. These are the issues which need to be addressed before cartels can be seen as a “good” thing; it is these negative aspects of cartels that are the focus of rule changes and moderation tools.

Cartels (or whatever else you want to call them) are something most people playing MMO’s will be involved with at some point. If we can remove their potential for negative impact then I think all will be happy to be associated with one. For now they are seen in a bad light in FML, but if we work together we can come up with many ways that allow them to grow into a respected role within all game worlds.

The thread can be viewed here – Russian Cartel Petition

Before you jump in and cry foul, or cheat, give some thought to how you already work with the friends you have made in FML, and how that may be added to create the type of Cartels that we would all like to join.
Mark Burton

Written By Mark Burton
A moderator since May 2008 in a number of beta worlds and now GW Fowler, he strives to highlight the community aspects of FML and inform new & experienced users about future game development.
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  • Cartels are a difficult subject and one that has been discussed to death lately in Keane with the "Greek Gang." I have no problem with the concept of groups or cartels in general but there does need to be something put into place to prevent gaining too much of an advantage.

    The problem I have noticed (which you touched upon) is that some players are never really put out into the market, and they tend to stay within the group.

    Just to clarify, this isn't an attack on anyone :P The Greek Gang are great for the GW and some are amongst the best and most friendly managers in Keane.

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