Oct 23

The Head-Vs-Head Dilemma: Keeping A Balance


Firstly, for the record, I do prefer playing human vs human (HvH) games over playing human vs offline teams in Football Manager Live. Though the new match plans are much better than playing offline teams before v1.3, but nothing beats the in-game banter. I’m not a GLM8-GGWP robot.

I like to have between three and five games per day to play, on average, to keep me busy when online. I log on fairly regularly to set up & enter enough competitions over the course of a season. Some days I’ll be on “catch up” with red games and sometimes I’ll have a bit more time to dedicate to other tasks. On average, it’s about right.

I search through the FA comps and Super FA comps in the pre-season and enter everything that takes my fancy without questioning anything. Which ones are more advantageous for rank and reputation? It doesn’t matter. If I am still struggling to get the games I want, I’ll look through the friendly comps to find a few that are almost full and are not going to take over my online time. I may even create or restart one or two competitions myself.

It is very easy to enter too many comps and overcommit yourself. The myth is still present that the more games a player plays, the more they will progress – so you’ll often see competitions that have 40 teams in a league where you play each other four times over two days (78 games/day!). Crazy stuff. Some enter these by accident, others use this to play back to back games for every minute they are online.

We’re all entering competitions to keep busy, so it should mean that you play loads of HvH matches. Not necessarily the case. Many of the friendly or Super FA comps are set up to appeal to all members of the game world – anyone can enter from any FA regardless of playtimes. This means you’re not assured that your opposition will be online at the same time as you. So offline rights come into play.

Ethical moment: Do you play the game as soon as you get the offline rights or do you see if you can negotiate a time to suit?

I try to wait until the last moment to play the match in hope that the opposition comes on to avoid it going to auto-resolve, but if I’m short of games then I’ll play the match. It’s one lost HvH experience but I’d rather do that than leave it to auto-resolve. This may affect my prize money plus I think I can do better than my respective match plan. Also, what if I leave it for too long and in the case of us both getting offline rights, I come back to find the match played?

When I play a match against an offline team, I am obviously unable to play versus a live online opponent. This is why I tend to prioritise my games so that it’s in the following sequence:

  • Red game; scheduled to auto-resolve from yesterday.
  • Red game; opponent is currently online.
  • Red game; opponent is offline.
  • Green game; opponent is currently online.
  • White game; opponent is currently online.

Introduce a two day span when I’m away from Football Manager Live – I find myself with easily 10 or more matches with offline rights. Going along with my system, I find that just when I get to the end of playing all my red games – I win more offline rights since I’ve been available during the respective playtimes. This perpetual catching up means that I always have red games, whether online or offline. Sure, I’m occupying my time well, but the concept of head-vs-head is totally forgotten in an attempt to keep up with my fixture list.

If you are only coming on casually then this effect will be even more exaggerated, except for the fact you will lose more offline rights to active teams while you are away. There is however still more pressure placed on catching up on these red games than playing a friendly match against a live opponent.

One thing that was discussed a while back in beta was competition intensity. Essentially, each competition places a load on your fixture list. If this is significantly higher than your games played per day then you get a warning that you’re about to subject yourself to more teams playing offline. Maybe this needs to be brought up again. It’s not to prevent managers from overloading themselves, but to help people manage their online time better. This way they’re available for friendlies, quickplays, super FA comps, etc. and therefore increasing the percentage of HvH matches for everyone.

Does this sound like a good idea? How do you determine what games you play in what order? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Written By Rik Stewart
A long-standing beta tester for FM Live, Rik is a moderator on GW Hoddle and responsible for their game world blog at hoddlelegends.blogspot.com.
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  • sherifflee

    nicw write up, AI FTW!

  • Mike O'Connor

    I am actually in the CFA, so am not going to get many fewer games than at present.

    In which I have league campaign and a few cup comps.

    I am sure I am an exception to the rule, in terms of my approach to playing style, but i personally would prefer fewer games.

  • Mike O'Connor

    I try to prioritise league games above anythign else, due to the higher prize money. This leads me to the approach that I try to play my cup games before anything else in order to fine tune as much as possible, before reaching a league game.

    Obviously this approach doesnt always work but largely I play cup games mostly first with the odd league game. Problem I have is my playing style, I like to play very few games (only my offical fa comps) and absorb everything about them (preparing, studying opposition past games etc) and I find sometimes the amount of games is too much for me.

    My subsription comes up for renewal soon and i have started to question whether my playing style would be better suited to the offline game of FM 2010, as the only way around it would be to withdraw from cup comps or to alter my playing style.

    So to summarise for me, there is a need to address this kind of issue, in order to satisfy my own playing style. Albeit that I am probably one of those odd people who play extremely to a micro level of detail, in order for the game to satisfy "Play it your way", it would be great if there were enough people like me that something was worth looking into being done.

    FC Ballaghkeen

  • Rik

    Which FA are you in and how many cups are you entered into on top of your FA League games? :)

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