We started our look at the major changes coming in 1.4 with the Reputation System because it is the key to several other featured changes, the new system for player injuries is certainly one of them. If you haven’t read the article about the reputation changes then do so, even the current system is unclear to many who have played football manager live for a year. The new system will hopefully be easier to understand and represented clearer in game, but it is a major shift from what is in play now and getting to understand it will be important.
So how are injuries changing?
There were two key areas looked at when it came to changing the way injuries are treated within the game, the sheer amount of injuries a team would receive and the effect that having players out for several days could have on a club.
The first of these (amount of injuries) had always been intrinsically linked to the activity level of the manager involved, unfortunately that often meant the newer and more casual managers got hit the hardest and that certainly didn’t encourage either of those groups to keep playing. A manager’s activity will no longer be a factor in a player’s risk of injury, although the fitness levels of a player are still a small factor and as such keeping your team playing enough to maintain fitness is still important.
The other big turn off for many was that injury length was determined in elements of real time and this often led to people just not playing for a number of days while waiting for their star players to heal, of course that meant less activity and therefore more injuries. Under the new system injury length will be reflected in terms of matches, and you will need to play through those matches to heal the injury. So logging off for a day or two won’t help, but playing several matches in a day can be enough to get a player back on the pitch.
This is the key to the new system, whilst injuries may still occur during any match it is only injuries that occur in major competitions that can stick. That means you can play as many friendly matches and comps as you like without fear of a star player getting injured. You can play any of your “official” extra matches (Super FA, extra FA comps, etc) without having to worry about players being knocked out of action for a more important fixture.
The only match day injuries that can stick are those from matches in major competitions, the only matches that an injured player cannot play in are those in major competitions. The only way to heal injuries is through playing matches in major competitions, well almost.
Yes it was all looking a bit too good to be true, 1.4 also introduces (or more correctly fixes) training injuries. Training injuries have been present in FMLive since the beginning, but to date they have been extremely rare at best. Although there is no option to ‘train’ players in FML like you would in football manager there is still a simulated training program that runs for each player in your squad. Under the new system each major competition match you have on your schedule will simulate 5 days of training for your players, other matches do not count.
You will be notified via mail of any injuries that your players acquire through training, and importantly these will be minor injuries only. Any training injuries are treated the same as match day injuries that stick, that is they only affect players for major competition matches and can be healed through playing those matches.
No Matches Scheduled ~ the Off-Season
Earlier I mentioned “The only way to heal injuries is through playing matches in major competitions, well almost.” So what happens when you have no major competition matches to play? Well that’s where the “almost” comes into play.
All injuries are initially worked out in terms of days, that is then translated to matches using a ratio of 1 match = 7 days. FML uses the premise that 28 days of real time (a season) equals 365 days (a year) of FML time, so 24hrs of real time is roughly 13 days in your game world. Any injuries that are in effect during the off-season (anytime you have no major competition matches scheduled) will heal at that rate, so almost 2 matches worth per day.
It’s important to note though that this only applies when you have no major competition matches on your schedule, disappearing for a few days mid season will not have any benefit on healing injuries.
Why have injuries at all?
Jordan Cooper raised the issue in Injuries: Will FML v1.4 Increase the Importance of Squad Depth? That’s precisely why injuries are required at some level, as a management simulation dealing with necessities of squad depth is a key area of football and without injuries it would be all to easy to keep your best squad on the pitch match after match. So we need injuries to be a factor when it comes to the important matches, we don’t need them when it comes to having a bit of fun and playing your mates though and that’s the big change in this new system.
The skills tree in FML has been lacking in worthwhile choices for some time, aside from the financial skills which can have a real impact on a clubs growth and the coaching skills which boost player progression, the other skills have been lacking in overall strength. Alongside the move to the new injury system a push to re-evaluate some of the skills has been a partial focus of 1.4. Youth Academies and the new player assessment system will refocus the scouting skill tree, but physiotherapy skills are the real big winner of the new injury changes.
The first big change is for the main physiotherapy branch, from now on each level of physiotherapy skill will reduce the chance of an injury sticking post match or from training by 10% per level. This is a dramatic shift in policy for the skill branch and effectively means you can sign an otherwise injury prone player and dramatically reduce the number of injuries such a player might otherwise receive. But the real change comes in the rate of healing; currently each level of each of the physio skills reduces the length of the injury by 5%. Under the new system this changes to 10%, but to see how it works let’s look at how the length of an injury is determined to start with.
Each specific type of injury has a set maximum and minimum number of “days” (FML time) it can affect a player for (the most serious of injuries can last around 210 days). When a player receives an injury the length of that injury is randomly selected between those two extremes. Now the skills come into play, each level of relevant physio skill (the main branch and the specific sub branch) will reduce the length of that injury between what is randomly selected and the minimum length by 10% per level. So if you have a 70 day injury, with a minimum length of 7 days then the skills will come into play on the 63 days between the minimum and the length assigned (level 1 physio would reduce such an injury by 6.3 days).
You can never go below the minimum length for an injury, your players will always be out for that (remember though that physio skills can reduce the initial chance of injury by up to 50%), but by maxing out the skills for a particular type of injury you can insure your players never get anything above the minimum length for that injury. Max out all skills and your players will miss a lot less matches than they otherwise would. As mentioned above the days a player is injured for are translated into matches at the rate of 7 days = 1 match, if you have major competition matches scheduled.
While much of this area is now a settled system, and appears to be popular amongst those testing it, there are still a few issues. The overall number of injuries is always something that raises debate, and this is being closely watched. The general view is to keep it relevant or slightly less than a real life club’s experience, in the view of Paul Collyer (creator of the match engine) it should be around 5% of total players signed that are injured at any one time.
The maximum length of any specific injury is also under review, the latest focus here is to look at somewhere in the order of 30 matches as the worst possible injury (season ending). This is a big reduction on the current levels and hopefully it will be close to that figure once testing has been completed.
Player insurance is the biggest unknown under this system, not something that I’ve ever bothered with in live anyway but for those with players on high wages it can be worthwhile. Because the new system now allows a player to recover from an otherwise lengthy injury on the same day (if the club plays through several matches), the whole reasoning behind player insurance needs a review. Do we keep it? Does it become a match based cost/payment?
This new injury system introduces a number of good changes which will add to several areas of the game.
- It no longer encourages people to log off when their star player is injured, keep playing and you’ll get them back before you know it ~ log off and they will still be injured when you return.
- It makes squad depth more important than ever, again you can’t just put off playing for a few days to get through the injury you have to play the scheduled matches in major competitions, so you need more players.
- Physio skills go from one of the least useful to one of the most important skill groups in the game, by giving them a major influence not just on the rate of healing but also on the chance of injury they become a very worthwhile skill path.
- The removal of the focus on activity rates means injuries will have the same effect on every club, instead of inflating the rates for those new to the game or with less time to play.
- Injured players can keep playing, by making injuries only relevant to major competition matches it means friendly matches can be played risk free and even with a player otherwise injured you can still chase that friendly comp silverware with your best squad on the pitch.
Overall a good change for all manager types, beginner, casual and hardcore. By encouraging everyone to continue to play through injuries general activity rates should improve. By forcing more importance on squad depth the transfer market should benefit, and by increasing the value of one of the skill groups it should provide for more diversity amongst managerial styles.
A dramatic change it gets a big thumbs up from me, what’s your opinion?
|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.