So the announcement about the announcement on FM13 and details of what we can expect was premature. The announcement (the second one) has been put back but, unless something unprecedented occurs, then we can expect the usual release in early November. There have been a few rumours of a completely revamped match engine but nothing concrete from SI and plenty of guesswork from the Football Manager community. Every FM forum has it’s own thread detailing what various site members want in the latest release, ranging from minor tweaks based on specific complaints to wholesale changes such as allowing the human manager to dictate ticket prices, design new stadiums and negotiate sponsorship deals. The latter is definitely not for me, if you’re after this then dig out an old copy of Ultimate Soccer Manager or, better yet, Theme Park. It’s just not want I want in FM. So what do I want? Well it’s a little late for SI to satisfy my whims but, if you’re reading Mr SI, then these would be my humble requests.
The Match Engine
Pretty crucial this one as the match engine is essentially the very essence of the game. Unlike many, however, I don’t think that a complete overhaul of the match engine is required. I think the current engine is actually fairly decent although there are always those massive glaring errors that infuriate FMers new and old. It’s these errors that need cut out and my fear is that an entirely new match engine would mean a return to the days of FM07 where the engine was incredibly weak, full of bugs and easily exploited. Instead, what I’d like to see is a concerted effort to cut out stuff like this:
That goal is indicative of the main improvement that I would like to see in FM13 – decision making. We all understand that what we see on the screen is simply the game trying to show us an interpretation of what has already been calculated by the AI. So, in the case above, the game has calculated that my ‘keeper will make two mistakes – first in battering it against a defender along his intended pass route and secondly in deciding to allow a striker that hasn’t yet entered the 18 yard box license to collect a ball that is no more than 3 yards from his feet. So yeah… decision making. No-one is that stupid.
Talking of stupidity, that’s the stuff that everyone wants to see cut out of FM. We hate it when our winger hits the byline but, instead of cutting it back to the unmarked striker, he batters it into the side netting. We hate it when our fullback collects a short pass from the ‘keeper and, despite the closest opposition player being 30 yards away, smacking it into Row Z and being congratulated by the commentary for “not taking any chances”. We hate it when a pass is deflected from it’s original path and our central midfielder takes a good 15 seconds to realise that he’s he’s standing right beside the ball. I’m no programmer and I can only imagine the complexity that is involved in creating a game which even attempts to recreate the infinite possibilities of a sport like football. SI have done a pretty good job, let’s be fair to them, but it’s stuff like that which drives us all crazy. Get rid of that and you can forget the rest of this list!
I’d also like to see improved goalkeeper’s graphics. The percentage of saves, goals, etc seems about right but the realisation of these within the game itself is very poor and largely unrealistic. ‘Keepers rarely save with their legs in FM, for example, and I’ve never seen a ‘keeper spread himself properly whilst narrowing the angle. Whilst their at it, they can also reduce the number of rebounds which go to straight to the opposition striker.
I’d also like to see a proper set piece creator. I think we were all massively disappointed by the so-called creator that was introduced with much fanfare by SI for FM10. It was purely a simply a new interface and was not what any of us had anticipated. It doesn’t even have to be that complicated. It could be an addition to the current interface, allowing the human manager to indicate where he would like each player to run so, for example, I could set my centre half to start at the back post but move out towards the penalty spot whilst the striker drops off from his position in front of the ‘keeper towards a newly vacated area at the back post.
More crucially, though, I’d like to have the option to vary the delivery. I know we already have that option but it’s very restrictive and I’d like to be able to assign percentages to how often each delivery is made. Play it short 10% of the time, back post 40%, edge of the 6 yard box the remaining 50%.
I appreciate that this is in conflict to my earlier argument on a new match engine because it would be open to exploitation but that possibility already exists, as we all know from the various “corner exploits” that are mooted across the forums.
The last thing that I think needs desperately changed in the match engine is to tone down the impact of teamtalks. I think the impact of morale outwith the match situations is really well done as players react to runs of form, team meetings, interactions, press releases, etc. However, I think the devastating impact of an incorrect teamtalk is far too destructive to your team’s performance. We’ve all had those games where you’re 3 up at half time but choose what FM decides is the “wrong” teamtalk whilst the AI picks the “right” one and all of a sudden, FC Nobody comes firing out of the blocks, scoring with their first 3 shots on target then your ‘keeper throws in an own goal to help them out and, despite a dominating first half performance and a 37 game unbeaten run, you’ve just lost to a team who have picked up 1 point all season. Teamtalks have far too much impact in the game and it needs to be toned down.
I first suggested this back on 30th January 2009 and I’m still waiting!!
Key for me would be an indication of where you think you can take the club in the next two years. Ambitious chairmen would tell you they want the title and it would give the human manager a warning of what to expect. You could also make yourself more attractive to a chairman with high domestic bias by promising to utilise homegrown players. I don’t see it being a massive game changer but it’d be a nice little addition.
Improved Match Analysis
I love tactics and I love dissecting the current match analysis after each game to see where I’ve gone wrong. Whilst the current match analysis screen is a huge improvement on previous versions of the game it’s still rather limited really. I could go on and on about this but, to be honest, someone has already done a far better job of it than I ever could so I will simply point you in the direction of The Boy Done Good’s fantastic article on this subject.
More intelligent AI transfers
The AI managers really aren’t great at developing a well-rounded squad and they’re absolutely horrible at developing newgens. The AI bias towards older high-reputation players isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be but it still exists. Whether this is a result of poor AI management or a by-product of an issue with newgens’ reputations is difficult to say. What is obvious, however, is that the AI struggles to implement any sort of youth development system, with clubs varying wildly between the two extremes of stockpiling higher reputation newgens or simply not bothering at all.
A quick example? It’s 2021 in my game and Man City currently have one right back – a 32 year old Micah Richards. The situation is slightly better at right mid, they have one back up – 35 year old James Milner. Enough said.
More tactical variation
I’m truly sick of playing against 4-4-2. How many teams really play 4-4-2 these days anyway? Unless you play in Italy then it’s highly likely that you’ll play against the same general formation (albeit with individual variations) 3 games out of every 4.
Loan backs and first option deals
Not sure why the purchase of first options were removed but I’d like them back. As far as I know, they are still part of real-life football so why not FM?
Loan-backs are something else I’ve wanted for years. It is not that uncommon that big club will invest in a youth player but agree to loan him back to the selling club for the remainder of the season or another 18 months. I know that you can implement a version of this by changing the move date to the end of the season but it’s not the same thing. For starters, the selling club don’t get the fee until the end of the year; secondly, the player in question will remain on his low wages until the move has been completed. As it stands, there really is very little incentive for the selling club to agree to the deal as it is currently available in FM. There’s no immediate financial benefit and, if the player continues to perform well prior to the move, his value may increase in the intervening period.
Keep classic tactics
I’ve started using the Tactic Creator and shouts recently but please do NOT remove the option to use the classic tactics.
So that’s about it for me. What about you? What do you want to see in FM13?