In line with the constant development model of Football Manager Live, work on the 1.4 update began even before the release of the 1.3 version to live game worlds. Utilising the three beta worlds currently available for FML testing, one game world (Miller) is used to constantly progress the newest future developments, and the other two (Horton and Coppell) are used to test any required interim updates to fix minor issues revealed once the current update code is released to live worlds.
Often though, a number of the bigger changes are discussed in depth in the beta forums before any code is written, and 1.4 has a number of game defining changes that have gone through this process.
Not necessarily what some people would consider a major feature, but the proposed changes to the way club reputation will be calculated in 1.4 will have a big impact on clubs and the way we play. The new system has some dramatic differences, first up the financial element is removed completely. The portion allotted from players reputation and ability is unchanged, so it remains valuable to sign players of both high reputation and high ability.
The big change comes in the element determined through competition matches, under the new system only a limited number of competitions will impact on your reputation. The new system utilises a larger range (1-20, instead of 5 stars) and each of the major competitions in your FA (your main league and two cups), and major UFFA competitions are given a range of values dependant on finishing position.
Individual match results are no longer relevant in their own right, it’s the final position you achieve in a competition that will determine your reputation and on a weighted scale these results over the previous three seasons will determine the bulk of your clubs reputation.
One of the most requested changes, and one that almost made into 1.3, is the removal of injuries from friendly competitions. 1.4 will finally deliver a new injury system that focuses more on getting people to play more matches, rather than rewarding match avoidance.
The new injury system works in tandem with the above reputation changes, it’s only from matches in the major competitions in your FA that injuries will stick, all other matches will still have the same level of “in match” injuries but they won’t stick after the match. In addition to this it’s only those major competitions that are unavailable to injured players, so if your star player is injured he can still play in other competitions or friendly matches.
Training injuries have been ramped up though; one of those areas of the game that hasn’t been working as it should of to date, some new changes here will see more injuries developed in training. This is still being tweaked in beta at present but the aim is to approach similar levels to real life training injuries, again though these injuries are only relevant to players when it comes to the major reputation based competitions.
Physiotherapy skills have an added bonus coming too, each level of skill will reduce the chances of injuries sticking or developing in the first place, along with continuing their impact in reducing the length of injuries.
Youth academies are the big feature many have been waiting for and the changes proposed here will make a huge difference to all teams. Important to note though that academies will not come as a completed feature into 1.4. This area of the game is likely to receive ongoing adjustment over a few upgrades, but the basic elements of it are likely to appear in the 1.4 upgrade.
Not much to see of this in beta at present, the basic outline has had a lot of discussion though. In essence the new system will offer you the opportunity to utilise both your scouting skills (for location) as well as an opportunity to throw cash (money sink). Based on those elements the large proportion of new regen players (70 %+) will appear directly into the academy of a particular club, where you will have time to decide whether to keep the player or release them to the free agent list. Other players will still appear as free agents and the coming changes to how potential is judged will impact how these players are picked up.
The judging potential skill points will be refunded!
A major change to this skill, possibly including a renaming or even a splitting into more skills will see any points (time) spent on this to date will be refunded, and the option to regain or not as the player chooses.
From 1.4 onwards it will now take time to assess players potential, the time required (7-28 days) will be based on the level of skill you have, along with the degree of accuracy of that assessment. After 2 days you will receive a preliminary assessment based on 25% of your skill level
The addition of an assessment list for players not at your squad an important element of the assessment list is the more players you have on it (once you go over 10) the longer it will take to assess any of them, so if you list 30 players it will take three times as long to assess them.
Players at your own club do not need to be added to the list though, but will be assessed at the flat rate as long as they are training. You will now be able to train an additional 10 players at your club, taking the number of training places to 60.
-change it so that players now age at the end of the season rather than the start of the season, and adjusted competition eligibility rules to be based on the age of a player when the competition was started, not his current age. - 1.4 Change List
A big discussion on some suggested changes to the match plans, nothing determined as yet but much of the discussion focuses on substitutions and the addition of at least being able to preset the condition level at which substitutions are made. Some of the other areas discussed for further improvement are pitch dimensions and options to set plans based on opponents opening formation.
Good news for those sensible enough to recognise the importance of a progression system in the football association structures. The addition of the option to add CPU teams to the league structure in FA’s should enable a more stable deep tiered structure to these competitions without the frustration of constantly moving clubs up and down tiers because of changes in the number of active clubs.
No more friendly money comps! Another big change that’s well overdue, the removal of prize money from all friendly competitions will see the end of DYM’s and other types of competitions designed to exploit newer users. Not a huge addition for older worlds, some may even see it as a negative, but for any new worlds in the future this is a major change toward levelling the playing field between experienced and inexperienced users.
In it’s place matches, achievements and missions now bring reward points (tokens), that can be used to purchase items that won’t have an affect on the actual match play or squad strength. Whilst still in it’s early phase the Rewards Shop offers a range of ‘fluff’ elements that can be purchased, new shirt options, new pitch designs, mascots, etc.
A good addition in this system will see only “live” matches rewarded, that is you need to be online when the match is played to earn your share of the reward points. That is also tempered by weighting the value of rewards per match over the course of a week, which will prevent the ‘hardcore’ from amassing huge amounts of points each week.
Following on from the introduction of CPU Teams in 1.3, the addition of Challenges (missions) sees an expansion in the ways you can test your squad against these teams. Another area of the game that will see additions over time, the initial range is quite comprehensive though. A solid range of challenges that see your team gradually progress to harder and harder competitions against the CPU teams. This looks a good addition for those who find the game worlds quiet and seek more to do, a good step forward in amalgamating PvsE elements into Football Manager Live.
Each of the challenges has a value in terms of reward points and this makes them valuable for all users to have a go at, one area still under discussion is whether failing a challenge should also receive a penalty in terms of reward points which would increase the risk/reward element of play.
These represent the primary additions being discussed for introduction in the 1.4 update, as they are still very much in beta testing there is always the option that changes will be made to them or they may not be ready in time for the update. When each is confirmed for 1.4 I’ll provide a more detailed overview, but for now you have some idea on what is coming.
Release date for 1.4 – Still to early for any definite dates on this, but considering the intended rate of upgrades we should be looking somewhere around mid January for this.
If we align that with an expectation of more publicity for Football Manager Live in the new year (after FM2010 has it’s turn), then the changes will have an important effect on the future of the game. The more opinions generated through the official forums on all of these issues, the better for everyone.
|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.