The first topic in the Football Manager Live “Developers Forum” is a good one, and pleasantly it has received a lot of constructive input from a large number of people. Whilst there are certainly some dissenters (there always will be), the majority of respondents are definitely in favour of the idea in principle. Although there are a number of concerns around how a change like this may be achieved and what game play aspects may be lost along the way.
The biggest justification for moving to preselected squads is that it should totally remove the perception that being first into a game world is a big benefit. The current situation places too much emphasis on the early signings, not purely from the point of player ability, but also in terms of player values. It is definitely an advantage to get in early and sign the best youth players with an intention to sell them for large profit later on.
Step one then would be too ensure that every team has a similar level of ability on their first day, regardless of the age of the gameworld or the time you first sign in. Preselected squads offer a greater scope to achieve this, especially if it’s done from a separate or isolated section of the player database.
If all new teams draw their initial players from a more controlled player pool, in terms of player quality, then it should be easier to ensure there is suitable quality in this pool at any stage of a gameworlds life (particularly for the newgen worlds).
Step two would appear much harder to balance, ensuring every team has a similar level of value (both current and future) whenever they sign up. To a large degree this is a part of what the ‘Returning Stars’ gameworlds are about, bringing back previously retired known players adds a level of value to any new team joining these worlds in later seasons.
But that doesn’t help the person who signs up on day three, or midway through season two, and it only partially helps those joining much later. The easiest option here would be to start by limiting the value of initial teams from day one.
To a degree this is already done through the 500k cap allowed for initial squads, what that doesn’t take into account though is the future value of players, and a large part of the problem with the current system is teams signing the best youth from day one.
A couple of simple options present here, first would be to remove all youth players from the initial teams database. This would lessen the impact of the discrepancy of a player’s value from day one through to what they are worth several seasons in.
The second option may be to include a player’s potential in establishing their initial acquisition fee, so it closer reflects the value of that player once they are fully developed. The problem with that option is that it highlights the best youth players even more surely than the current JP system does.
On the surface it sounds like a step backward to remove the option on all youth players from the initial database, but if you consider how youth players arrive after the first season then clearly having a mass of youth players available to pick from on day one is completely different to later seasons, and therefore an imbalance in it’s own right.
An Improved Database
Perhaps not so easy in the returning stars gameworlds, but certainly for the completely newgen gameworlds there is room for some improvements in the basic player database to start with. The current database used has a lot of players that will simply never get signed; too low a quality even for the struggling sides there seems little point including these players at all.
A player with a total ability (CA) of 25 or so is not going to get signed by anyone, so why bother including them. One benefit of the newgen worlds in particular is the ability to boost the ability of the ‘worst’ players, and by doing so you improve the quality of the ‘worst’ teams no matter how late they sign up to a gameworld.
One of the main objections to setting pre-selected squads is people wanting to play a specific formation from day one, and therefore wanting the option to choose suitable players. Obviously the more options they begin to build into the initial squad selection the more risk of it being exploited, or at the least less balanced.
The solution here would be to assign a pre-selected pool of players big enough to cover players with enough positional options to allow any formation to be played. Ov Collyer has provided some examples of how this might look, with initial player pools of around 50 players it should provide significant options on who you might sign (or release) but still enable a good balance of players spread amongst all clubs.
A Youth Team
As mentioned above starting with youth players is an obvious advantage financially after the first season or two and has become a popular option for people in there initial squads. Allowing full or specific youth squad options though adds to the initial imbalance of teams, and the suggestion offered in the thread is for youth players to be allocated throughout the initial player pools.
Teams that want to focus on youth would then have to pick what they can from their pool and the rest after confirming there squad by building an academy or signing from the free transfer pool. With the introduction of youth academies into the game it makes sense to tie in there existence as a necessity for any dedicated youth club and how they may evolve between now and the restart will be important for this area.
There is a bit of discussion around whether or not limits should be placed on teams after confirmation, in terms of player trading or playing. My initial reaction to this is definitely not, the experience of the first days in game for new people will be an important factor in determining how active they are, and the more limits imposed on them in this time the less likely they are to enjoy it. The other side of the debate though is newcomers being ripped off by experienced players, and this certainly requires some careful thought.
As mentioned a discussion on the economy and relevant controls will be a later topic of discussion for this forum, and I think that’s the main area where a level of protectionism can be offered to newer users. This is particularly an issue for those joining in later seasons, when some teams have a lot of cash to tempt them, but also from day one it will be important to control the cash flow in game worlds a lot more.
The removal of cash from friendly competitions is an important element in this, and other changes regarding wage caps, daily income, prize pools, etc will be worth discussing in depth.
Overall the thread has been very good, and a lot of input from a variety of people means more ideas are looked at and considered. If you’re not up to date with what’s been discussed so far you can check out the summary of the main points updated in the original post.
Have you had your say yet?
|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.