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Thread: January drop off

  1. #1
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    Angry January drop off

    Ive started a few saves over the past weeks and no matter what tactic i use as soon as january hit all form drops out the window. Ive tried using the same tact, switching between 2 and even rotating 3, but the same happens every season.

    Is this crap built into the game? if so why would they do that and if not, what the hell am i doing wrong?

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    If you have overperformed in the first half of the season the opposition will see you as more of a threat 2nd time round and play more defensive against you.

    Weather conditions are also usually worse at that time of year which can have an affect on your style of play.

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    I have just posted an identical thread.

    I won 16 games in a row, morale was through the roof. January came, morale dropped throughout the squad for no reason, went on to lose the next four games.

    Total BS.

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    It has a much greater effect when you've massively outperformed pre-season underdog status, for me the swing is far too great, for every Hull in the Premier League there is a Colchester United in the Championship or maybe Newcastle would be a better example.

    That said there is normally a dip in results for overachieving sides although it tends to be less obvious than what you see in FM.

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    This is probably one of my biggest gripes with the game right now. I understand the typical response is, it's re-ranking, and the opposition changes the way they play against you, and you need to adapt your tactics to reflect this along with the changing weather conditions.

    I've used tactics with very short passing all season in all weather conditions with nothing but success, so I don't agree with the weather argument. I've never seen any proof that weather affects the game enough to require you to altar your tactics. Re-ranking exists in the game. It's not realistic. Clubs don't collectively decide on an arbitrary date to change the way they're going to play against you. But it's just a game so I'll digress.

    Try a more attacking/controlling tactic if the opposition is parking the bus against you. Whenever I hit a rough stretch of games I have a team meeting to boost morale. If that doesn't work, then a tactic change is usually required. That's all I can recommend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    It has a much greater effect when you've massively outperformed pre-season underdog status, for me the swing is far too great, for every Hull in the Premier League there is a Colchester United in the Championship or maybe Newcastle would be a better example.

    That said there is normally a dip in results for overachieving sides although it tends to be less obvious than what you see in FM.

    The biggest problem is that some users (like the OP) fail to spot the signs early enough, fail to adapt their tactics to the opposition/conditions and fail to adapt their teamtalks.

    Instead of minimising the bad spell that the team is having their actions tend to extend it and make it worse.

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    There were no signs to spot. before Jan 1st won all matches apart from 2 (1 loss 1 draw) 1st match in 2012 is a draw then i lost 8 won 1 and drew 6. This has happened every season on each save. and as ive said in the OP ive tried several pre-emptive moves to avoid this. so its not from the lack of trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar2010 View Post
    The biggest problem is that some users (like the OP) fail to spot the signs early enough, fail to adapt their tactics to the opposition/conditions and fail to adapt their teamtalks.

    Instead of minimising the bad spell that the team is having their actions tend to extend it and make it worse.
    The issue isn't a failure to spot the signs, as Macphisto has eluded to quite often there are no signs & the fact it generally only happens to underdog teams is central to the issue.

    You'll end the year in 3rd place with a 16-2-1 record & then all of a sudden you cannot buy a point, I know what is happening & why as I see it all too often in the early part of my saves but that does not mean that the system used by the ME is in anyway right.

    For me it is lazy & simplistic reasoning to have nearly every team play much more defensively right after the halfway point (it's the closest thing to rubber-banding in FM), irl some will twig much earlier, others will not learn their lesson & play the same way or go for a more attacking approach the second time round & others will know about your threats but still be unable to do anything about it.
    Last edited by Barside; 25-04-2012 at 23:35. Reason: grammar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    The issue isn't a failure to spot the signs, as Macphisto has eluded to quite often there are no signs & the fact it generally only happens to underdog teams is central to the issue.
    So why don't we see hundreds of threads in GD about it then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar2010 View Post
    So why don't we see hundreds of threads in GD about it then?
    We do get threads about it but you have to remember that the vast majority of FM'ers will play with high rep clubs & the root cause of this problem is low rep clubs overachieving, just because you don't read about it every day doesn't mean the problem is not there, don't be so naive.

    Currently I am creaming the league in my save & have been for a few years but before my club rep increased my season followed a fairly basic structure, good start with regular upsets against higher ranked opponent followed by a post winter break slump & inevitable disappointment.

    In the LLM clan games I have taken some very small clubs on surging runs up the league only to see it all go wrong after the Christmas party, then the following year with a rep boost I suffer no such problems.

    Edit: I'm not saying that this is the sole reason for failure but the fact that you even acknowledge that the AI is simply going defensive is cause enough for concern, it should not be the norm yet somehow that is what has happened.
    Last edited by Barside; 25-04-2012 at 23:48.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    We do get threads about it but you have to remember that the vast majority of FM'ers will play with high rep clubs & the root cause of this problem is low rep clubs overachieving, just because you don't read about it every day doesn't mean the problem is not there, don't be so naive.

    We get very few threads about it in truth and those that we get tend to have a common themes:

    A) Very aggressive, direct attacking tactics that border on exploiting the ME rather than following solid footballing theory.
    B) Teamtalks that are aggressive and demanding rather than encouraging/sympathetic with no consideration given to the personalities of the squad/players - In fact this can be expanded to include lack of thought given to personality/strengths/weaknesses/hidden attributes when signing players.
    C) User refuses to believe they are doling anything wrong and is resistant to change which hinders recovery and stretches the bad form over a longer period.

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    I have been in a similar situation but in bizarre runs of form, especially after January. I'll be unbeaten in 5 then lose two, unbeaten in another five then lose another two,. No rhyme or reason to it. I'm second in the Championship, batter unbeaten at that point Southampton, easily beat third placed Reading, then I lose 4-0 at Hull who are lower table and lose 3-2 after being 2-0 up, to Watford who are practically bottom. Then February comes and my previously tight defence keeps going to sleep and no matter what I do I keep losing 2 goal leads.

    People will say it's complacency but you say "Don't get complacent" players switch off, you say "I expect a win" they get stressed and you say "do it for the fans" they ignore you!!

    Most frustrating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    We do get threads about it but you have to remember that the vast majority of FM'ers will play with high rep clubs & the root cause of this problem is low rep clubs overachieving, just because you don't read about it every day doesn't mean the problem is not there, don't be so naive.

    Currently I am creaming the league in my save & have been for a few years but before my club rep increased my season followed a fairly basic structure, good start with regular upsets against higher ranked opponent followed by a post winter break slump & inevitable disappointment.

    In the LLM clan games I have taken some very small clubs on surging runs up the league only to see it all go wrong after the Christmas party, then the following year with a rep boost I suffer no such problems.
    Edit: I'm not saying that this is the sole reason for failure but the fact that you even acknowledge that the AI is simply going defensive is cause enough for concern, it should not be the norm yet somehow that is what has happened.
    Just out of interest, are most of the opposition still reverting to the 4-1-4-1 formation as part of their new strategy? (still playing FM10)

    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar2010 View Post
    The biggest problem is that some users (like the OP) fail to spot the signs early enough, fail to adapt their tactics to the opposition/conditions and fail to adapt their teamtalks.

    Instead of minimising the bad spell that the team is having their actions tend to extend it and make it worse.
    That's the whole point the OP and myself are trying to make, there are no signs.

    I was winning every game (16 match winning streak), confidence was sky high, suddenly January comes round, and for no reason my entire squads morale drops to mostly very poor, with the odd poor and abysmal for absolutely no reason. I then go on a 4 game losing streak.

    This has happened every season to me.

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    I understand the points that cougar2010 is making and i don't play my games in a irresponsible manner i take my time play to my strengths and use the data im provided to choose which tactic i use and be sure to direct my team talks HT & FT comments carefully.

    But i feel that you are missing the point of the post completely. the question i am raising is why is it this happens in January on almost all my saves and from the sound of it other players saves as well. Also to say that this issue hasn't been brought up in GD maybe correct but if you look in the T&TD section you will see that it is a problem that is widely spoken about.

    So again, the question isnt why this happens but why does it happen with such frequency in JANUARY?

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    Because January is when re-ranking occurs. My understanding is that there is no such thing as the AI cracking or learning to play against your tactic, just re-ranking.

    In other words, if you have started the season performing above expectations then the AI will recognize this and will play against you slightly differently. They may stand off and counter where before they may have attacked for example.

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    The way I would say this, is that the only problem is the fact that the AI struggles to realise when low-reputation teams are far more dangerous, and thus early results can be inflated because the AI is leaving themselves open, when they should play a more cautious counter-attacking style. In a lot of situations this gets corrected in January :P

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    I am having no problems at all in fact the below pictures shows how well my Blue Sq Boys are doing in January..


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar2010 View Post
    We get very few threads about it in truth and those that we get tend to have a common themes:

    A) Very aggressive, direct attacking tactics that border on exploiting the ME rather than following solid footballing theory.
    B) Teamtalks that are aggressive and demanding rather than encouraging/sympathetic with no consideration given to the personalities of the squad/players - In fact this can be expanded to include lack of thought given to personality/strengths/weaknesses/hidden attributes when signing players.
    C) User refuses to believe they are doling anything wrong and is resistant to change which hinders recovery and stretches the bad form over a longer period.
    Spot on, the conclusion to 99% of these threads is one or more of the three things above.

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    @Martin Gregory
    Have a look at the team Liverpool put out, chances are they played a bunch of 16 year old players with the odd has been 35 year old.

    Quote Originally Posted by milnerpoint View Post
    Spot on, the conclusion to 99% of these threads is one or more of the three things above.
    The points are indeed correct in terms of how FM works but the question is whether that system is realistic & accurately implemented.

    Is it right that club rep & pre-season expectation should have such a large bearing on how teams approach matches in the first half of the season & then radically change in the second half?

    Why is it that if a club retains a low reputation for the following season a similar pattern of events happens again?
    Last edited by Barside; 26-04-2012 at 12:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar2010 View Post
    We get very few threads about it in truth and those that we get tend to have a common themes:

    A) Very aggressive, direct attacking tactics that border on exploiting the ME rather than following solid footballing theory.
    B) Teamtalks that are aggressive and demanding rather than encouraging/sympathetic with no consideration given to the personalities of the squad/players - In fact this can be expanded to include lack of thought given to personality/strengths/weaknesses/hidden attributes when signing players.
    C) User refuses to believe they are doling anything wrong and is resistant to change which hinders recovery and stretches the bad form over a longer period.
    A) I had default tackling. With standard philosophy and fluid.

    B) Team talks have nothing to do with my case as the morale drop happened BEFORE a game took place.

    C) I do indeed believe I have not done anything wrong.

    Good day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    @Martin Gregory
    Have a look at the team Liverpool put out, chances are they played a bunch of 16 year old players with the odd has been 35 year old.


    The points are indeed correct in terms of how FM works but the question is whether that system is realistic & accurately implemented.

    Is it right that club rep & pre-season expectation should have such a large bearing on how teams approach matches in the first half of the season & then radically change in the second half?

    Why is it that if a club retains a low reputation for the following season a similar pattern of events happens again?
    Nothing dramatic changes at xmas. It really doesnt. Rep doesnt suddenly go through the roof, and teams dont suddenly start parking the bus in fear of your new promoted side. Things are gradual, but the biggest mistake people make are one of those three.

    1 - People EXPECT if they have a good start, that this will coninue indefinately, and dont do enough to maintain the good form, both tactically and in the motivational sense. They get angry when close games go against them and before long they have ruined the moral they have built up.

    2 - Some of these people also utilise tactics that rely on one or two key players being in constant top form, when one or both of these players drop, the team stops performing and things fall apart, and it can only take one or two poor games before things unravel very quickly. Also when moral begins to drop, these attacking formations begin to get pulled apart worse than they would have before, the keeper is not making the wonder saves he was earlier in the year, the centre back loses that half second of concentration and the striker is not burying every half chance that comes his way.

    3 - lastly when that happens the user refuses point blank to believe they have done anything wrong, because like i said in point one, they expect to continue their good form indefinately and dont take any of point 2 into consideration because as i have read before, "it worked before the drop in form, it should still work", which in a footballing sense is nonsense.


    This isnt ment as a go at anyone in this thread btw, just pointing out i agree with Cougar.

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    Interesting to note that there's little to no mention of weather and pitch conditions. These can have quite a bearing during the winter months, especially on teams who like to play pretty football in the lower leagues, who will suffer unless they can adapt and play a more direct game.

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    Games usually come thick and fast around that time of year/you've just gone through the biggest spell of games. Try resting your players and prioritising competitions to keep players fresh, or rotate players if you have a sqaud that can cope. Fitness is key around this time of the year and it can make or break you, especially as a couple of losses can lead to a dip in morale in turn leading to worse results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heathxxx View Post
    Interesting to note that there's little to no mention of weather and pitch conditions. These can have quite a bearing during the winter months, especially on teams who like to play pretty football in the lower leagues, who will suffer unless they can adapt and play a more direct game.
    Other than frozen pitches producing what appears to be a faster ball bounce I am yet to be convinced that the weather conditions & overall pitch conditions have any significant bearing on how the ME plays out, I've still seen sides play wonderfully paced & accurate short passing games on cabbage patches in a gale force winds.

    Quote Originally Posted by hursty2 View Post
    Games usually come thick and fast around that time of year/you've just gone through the biggest spell of games. Try resting your players and prioritising competitions to keep players fresh, or rotate players if you have a sqaud that can cope. Fitness is key around this time of the year and it can make or break you, especially as a couple of losses can lead to a dip in morale in turn leading to worse results.
    Winter fixture congestion might be a key factor if it wasn't for the fact that the last time I encountered this issue I was managing in 2.Bundesliga.
    Last edited by Barside; 26-04-2012 at 15:36.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellisio View Post
    A) I had default tackling. With standard philosophy and fluid.
    Thats only part of your tactics, what about shape/formation, roles, duties, player instructions, team instructions.

    How do you watch the matches?

    Do you make changes to anything tactical during a match based on what you see happening on the pitch?



    B) Team talks have nothing to do with my case as the morale drop happened BEFORE a game took place.
    Morale drops before a match, so what do you do to improve it before the match? at halftime? after the match?

    Do you change your team talk depending on your opponents, form and player personalities. Do you give individual talks where needed?



    C) I do indeed believe I have not done anything wrong.
    The ME doesn't know if a team is human or ai controlled and as it has no feelings it doesn't care. It simply takes the inputs and calculates what happens based on those inputs.

    The fact you didn't win and had a bad spell of form suggests you did something wrong as every match, taken as a one off is winnable. As users/managers what we try to do is select the inputs that give us the best chance of winning a match. We aren't perfect though so we all get it wrong, how often depends on many factors.

    When a bad spell happens (Which it does in every season for every user at some stage) you need to be able to identify a bad run of form and change your approach so you regain good form - The users that tend to have problems are those that take longer to identify a bad run of form and are resistant to changing their approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heathxxx View Post
    Interesting to note that there's little to no mention of weather and pitch conditions. These can have quite a bearing during the winter months, especially on teams who like to play pretty football in the lower leagues, who will suffer unless they can adapt and play a more direct game.
    This would make sense just based on real-life football and how we know weather conditions can affect a real game of outdoors football, but within this game I have to agree with Barside. I don't think weather conditions have much of an affect, at least in this version of the game. The tactic I'm currently using has very short passing and has performed just the same if not better in poor weather conditions. I haven't seen any changes in possession % or pass completion % based on changing weather conditions, and I'm playing as a crappy BSS side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar2010 View Post
    Thats only part of your tactics, what about shape/formation, roles, duties, player instructions, team instructions.

    How do you watch the matches?

    Do you make changes to anything tactical during a match based on what you see happening on the pitch?





    Morale drops before a match, so what do you do to improve it before the match? at halftime? after the match?

    Do you change your team talk depending on your opponents, form and player personalities. Do you give individual talks where needed?





    The ME doesn't know if a team is human or ai controlled and as it has no feelings it doesn't care. It simply takes the inputs and calculates what happens based on those inputs.

    The fact you didn't win and had a bad spell of form suggests you did something wrong as every match, taken as a one off is winnable. As users/managers what we try to do is select the inputs that give us the best chance of winning a match. We aren't perfect though so we all get it wrong, how often depends on many factors.

    When a bad spell happens (Which it does in every season for every user at some stage) you need to be able to identify a bad run of form and change your approach so you regain good form - The users that tend to have problems are those that take longer to identify a bad run of form and are resistant to changing their approach.
    Sorry but this just doesn't make sense to me. You can come up with as many reasons for it as you like.

    Simple fact is, there's no way morale should drop to poor, very poor and abysmal from pretty much every single player being "superb" after a 16 game winning streak. Nothing came up on the news, no team talks, press conferences, injuries, players leaving, players wanting to leave, nothing.

    This morale drop happened in the space for FOUR days between December and January and has not occurred in any other months. Also, as previously mentioned, this has happened every single season to me so far.

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    Maybe they got **** all for christmas then?

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    Wow, I find it hard to believe that morale for all of your players dropped suddenly for absolutely no reason. I'm not saying you're lying, I've just never seen morale drop that severely and quickly for no reason. Clearly an issue if that's happening with regularity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hursty2 View Post
    Maybe they got **** all for christmas then?
    That's my thinking too.
    Last edited by Kriss; 27-04-2012 at 15:45. Reason: Bound to be taken the wrong way by someone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by core10 View Post
    Wow, I find it hard to believe that morale for all of your players dropped suddenly for absolutely no reason. I'm not saying you're lying, I've just never seen morale drop that severely and quickly for no reason. Clearly an issue if that's happening with regularity.
    Like i've said, and the OP. It's never an issue at any other point in the year, just January. Very strange indeed.

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    It can happen to the AI too, not a single league win after 1st January & they just avoided relegation.

    Last edited by Barside; 27-04-2012 at 16:06.

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    Another thing that can impact morale in January is a hectic transfer window - as you make comments/declarations of intent/bids for players you would like to buy, your existing squad's morale is impacted. By itself it's probably not enough to utterly wreck squad morale, but I've seen some indication that my generally high number of transfer interactions tends to suppress squad morale a bit. It also seems like often a single defeat will have a much bigger impact on morale after a long spell of good performances than it would otherwise have if your players weren't strangers to losing games now and then. I can't quantify the impact, but I do believe that it is a real and non-zero one.

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    I'm dealing with it at present, kind of. Hampton and Richmond, 20 game league unbeaten run. We have lost in the cup and we do drop points with draws.

    I first noticed the changes in January, where before it was often a 50-50 possession game and my basic default FM tactics (so, go away those who want to use any 'exploits' comments at me) was enough. Now though I'm racking up 60% possession, a near 80% pass completion rate and we're doing well. I have identified one problem though. Now we're on a run where we're conceding goals first and faltering. Morale drops for key players to absymal. Regardless of telling them I want a win, or the pressure is off, the wheels are coming off.

    In my case I think I have a good idea as to what I've done wrong. I basically "no commented" in Press meetings about the winners of the league, in January about 25 points ahead of 2nd place, I said we'd win the league. That's when performances started cracking and players didn't pull their weight. I clearly should have kept my gob shut. It's fine though, I can damage control it and play more reservedly until the next time of asking and I'll know not to do it again next year.

    So anyway, check if it's something you've said in the media. If it's not, perhaps the team talks have started to weaken somewhat. Maybe it's useful to let the players underperform and then give them a complete rollocking. I've had two games in a row of poor performances but the 'run of the green', I'm going to smack the players silly until they snap back into having an interest ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by heathxxx View Post
    Interesting to note that there's little to no mention of weather and pitch conditions. These can have quite a bearing during the winter months, especially on teams who like to play pretty football in the lower leagues, who will suffer unless they can adapt and play a more direct game.
    In my personally experience, I've definitely had to adapt to conditions on order to find success in particular matches.

    I remember a match against Aston Villa where my players had issues keeping the ball on a pitch that resembled more of a mud pit that anything. With Agbonlahor up to for them, they would win the ball and the immediately send the ball up his way; it was working and working a lot more that I would have liked.

    Usually I'm very stubborn about how my players move the ball around but not too stubborn not to change things when I notice the weather affecting things. In this match, I told my players to play more direct, to focus on the wings, told my defenders to drop deeper and be more cautious, and it worked. Scored 2 on the break and won the match 2-1.

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    After last season's January calamity (again) the team recovered in February and went on to win the Champions League and Premiership title.

    This season I have started really well. Played around 12 games and won them all.

    January isn't far off so i'll report on what happens.

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    The problem isnt that re-ranking exists, it the fact that it only happens in january. If it happened every week the signs would be possible to read and interpret before you start losing the matches-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellisio View Post

    January isn't far off so i'll report on what happens.
    Also make sure you report what you have done to make sure your team stays consistant and doesnt get cocky or complacent, and what you did when the bubble burst so to speak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milnerpoint View Post
    Also make sure you report what you have done to make sure your team stays consistant and doesnt get cocky or complacent, and what you did when the bubble burst so to speak.
    I will do. Or will try at least. The confusing thing about it all is that I didn't do anything at all in previous seasons to warrant the rapid decline in morale and performances on the pitch so it's rather difficult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vlobben View Post
    The problem isnt that re-ranking exists, it the fact that it only happens in january. If it happened every week the signs would be possible to read and interpret before you start losing the matches-
    I agree. There were no signs at all for me, and absolutely no reason for it happening that's what annoys me. I take real care with my team talks etc to make sure that morale stays as high as possible, it just seems ridiculously bugged in January!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellisio View Post
    I will do. Or will try at least. The confusing thing about it all is that I didn't do anything at all in previous seasons to warrant the rapid decline in morale and performances on the pitch so it's rather difficult.
    But did you do anything to make sure it didnt happen? How did you react after the first loss? In January, were a few of your players speculated on transfer wise? Were there comings and goings at your club, both in players and staff? How are you handling press conferences, specifically questions on form both team and player?

    BTW i dont expect you to answer all of these, more points you should be considering at that time of year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milnerpoint View Post
    But did you do anything to make sure it didnt happen? How did you react after the first loss? In January, were a few of your players speculated on transfer wise? Were there comings and goings at your club, both in players and staff? How are you handling press conferences, specifically questions on form both team and player?

    BTW i dont expect you to answer all of these, more points you should be considering at that time of year.
    See my previous replies earlier in the thread.

    This huge morale drop occurred in around four days between December and January, before a game took place. My team was on a 16 game winning streak, morale throughout the squad was pretty much perfect. Before my next game i'm about to pick my team when I realise my squad morale has taken a massive hit!

    There were no press conferences, no players in/out, no transfer rumours, no player fallouts. Nothing that I could think of that warranted it, that's the confusing thing. After our first defeat I said we were unlucky, which we were, we battered the opposition but could not score and they won 1-0. All players responded brilliantly to the team talk.

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    in the 2nd half of the season I always change my motivation approach, I become very sympathetic, play down our chances in press conferences, always applauding good form for my players - it just keeps everyone happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aderow View Post
    In my personally experience, I've definitely had to adapt to conditions on order to find success in particular matches.

    I remember a match against Aston Villa where my players had issues keeping the ball on a pitch that resembled more of a mud pit that anything. With Agbonlahor up to for them, they would win the ball and the immediately send the ball up his way; it was working and working a lot more that I would have liked.

    Usually I'm very stubborn about how my players move the ball around but not too stubborn not to change things when I notice the weather affecting things. In this match, I told my players to play more direct, to focus on the wings, told my defenders to drop deeper and be more cautious, and it worked. Scored 2 on the break and won the match 2-1.
    Good stuff

    Consideration of weather and pitch conditions, certainly around the times where I see a lot of people suffer dips in form of their teams, can be very important to take note of.

    Whilst I prefer my teams to have a "mixed" range of passing as default, making it (in my opinion) easier to switch to shorter or more direct if required, it's useful to understand how different pitch conditions can influence how successful or not certain typed of passing and general play may be.

    Having recently taken BSN side Altrincham past Wolves and Coventry in the 4th & 5th rounds of the FA Cup (via home replays), I can certainly say that pitch and weather conditions played a strong part. First match was in snow on an icy pitch, second in torrential rain on a boggy pitch. Both played to my advantage, as I knew what approaches to take for each. Meanwhile, my opponents didn't deviate much from their base approaches to begin with. When they did however, they were trying to do something they weren't accustomed to, whereas my team was accustomed to doing what I asked of them.

    Essentially, if we're observant and use the tools available to us in the game, we always have the upper hand on the AI teams and managers. Dare I say, too much so perhaps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heathxxx View Post
    Having recently taken BSN side Altrincham past Wolves and Coventry in the 4th & 5th rounds of the FA Cup (via home replays), I can certainly say that pitch and weather conditions played a strong part. First match was in snow on an icy pitch, second in torrential rain on a boggy pitch. Both played to my advantage, as I knew what approaches to take for each. Meanwhile, my opponents didn't deviate much from their base approaches to begin with. When they did however, they were trying to do something they weren't accustomed to, whereas my team was accustomed to doing what I asked of them.
    How strong were the teams that both clubs fielded? Also, how overly powerful is your Altrincham side in comparison to other BSN sides & your national reputation?

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    Both clubs fielded their best sides available, so far as I could tell whilst assessing their teams prior to and during the matches.

    That said, as you'll have gathered already, the team I've assembled is very powerful for the BSN. The core of my "United Nations" squad is probably somewhere between League 2 (for my "average" players) and League 1 standard (for my best two or three players). Not hardcore LLM style I know, but fun, nonetheless.

    My manager reputation is former professional, which will obviously help somewhat with motivation, plus I have dual English/Spanish nationality. The latter is near to the truth, as I'm English with Spanish residency, but will be eligible for citizenship shortly. On the plus side with FM, a second nationality is rather helpful when it comes to recruiting staff and players, given more appear in standard searches.

    The weather conditions and tactical options I chose for my encounters, certainly made the difference in both games though. Both games my team managed to reach half-time on level terms. As the opponents started pushing forward more, it became easier for me to exploit the spaces they left with suitable shouts and passing instructions.

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    I meant your club rep, if you're still ranked as a lowly BSN side but have the talent of a mid/low L1 side with the added morale boost then the chances are you will be much stronger than the AI judge you to be, in essence it will fall for the same trick a lot of users do & go out all guns blazing when the situation required a more measured approach.

    It's a tough call & purely speculative on my part but I'd suggest that the way you approach the game in terms of your recruitment causes an imbalance that heavily favours your teams & as a consequences the data your game generates is difficult to quantify in terms of its usefulness.

    It might be interesting in respect the this thread though: http://community.sigames.com/showthr...00#post7781600
    Last edited by Barside; 30-04-2012 at 13:10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    I meant your club rep, if you're still ranked as a lowly BSN side but have the talent of a mid/low L1 side with the added morale boost then the chances are you will be much stronger than the AI judge you to be, in essence it will fall for the same trick a lot of users do & go out all guns blazing when the situation required a more measured approach.

    It's a tough call & purely speculative on my part but I'd suggest that the way you approach the game in terms of your recruitment causes an imbalance that heavily favours your teams & as a consequences the data your game generates is difficult to quantify in terms of its usefulness.

    It might be interesting in respect the this thread though: http://community.sigames.com/showthr...00#post7781600
    Club rep with Altrincham, as far as I can remember, is probably the highest of the BSN teams at the start of the game. Obviously this will have grown during the course of the season and have been boosted by the cup runs. Continually high morale, better than average players for the league I'm playing in, then I think it's safe to assume that the AI will certainly misjudge the merits of my team.

    Whilst in terms of attribute quality my players are what I would consider, better than those of clubs at my level and certainly ideally suited for the positions and roles within my tactical preferences (which is how I build my teams), they are low reputation. Hence how I'm able to attract them to BSN side Altrincham in the first place.

    As I'm sure you'll already know and appreciate, the biggest cause of this will be the reputation system. Integral to the game of course, but also arguably its biggest flaw too. Just as you have correctly suggested, the much higher reputation AI controlled team, will more often than not play with a more attacking oriented approach. I instruct my team to counter-attack and exploit the spaces they leave open at the back. Essentially, the reverse that a lot of human players complain about, when they "dominate" games with percentages of possession and shots, yet lose to a side who has a couple of chances and much less possession.

    People often wonder how I can take the lowest Liga BBVA side (Granada CF), sign three or four players on top of the original squad, then vastly over-achieve. It's actually very easy if you understand 1) how to utilise key player attributes with suitable positions and roles in a tactic, along with 2) how the reputation system works and how relatively simple it is to predict how opponents will play against you because of it.

    We can do plenty of analysis, but effectively, we'll always come back to the reputation system. It's actually much easier to over-achieve than many people realise, by being aware how of how the reputation system works. How it influences the game at every level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    How strong were the teams that both clubs fielded? Also, how overly powerful is your Altrincham side in comparison to other BSN sides & your national reputation?
    I've already mentioned that Wolves and Coventry fielded what looked to be their strongest sides, but I'm sure you'll find this interesting, whilst somewhat reinforcing some of your suspicions, when it comes to high reputation teams perhaps under-estimating lower reputation teams.





    Man Utd fielded a very weakened side. Several of their starting players were either from the reserves, or the U18 team. Phil Jones and Fábio the best two performing players from their first team squad, whilst I successfully managed (for the most part) to contain Antonio Valencia and Park Ji-Sung.

    As you would expect, they were very attacking. I set my team to sit deep and counter attack, mainly from the wings, so as to exploit the spaces left by their full-backs pushing forward. Of our solitary two chances, the goal came from a headed corner, whilst the missed chance was a break on the counter. That said, though they had more efforts on goal, they were pretty much all from range, the only one of which was on target, was the goal from Fábio. My game plan worked and their two youth strikers were probably no better than my defenders would face (in terms of attributes and CA), in a regular BSN match.

    Will certainly be interesting to see what side they play in the replay and if the AI fields a stronger side, having miscalculated my side in the first instance. I suspect they won't, as they also have important league games a couple of days either side of the replay.
    Last edited by heathxxx; 30-04-2012 at 15:15.

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    Hunch says that the AI will have learnt nothing from your first encounter, the English cup competitions are horribly broken & this is made even more obvious as the AI finds it very difficult to simulate squad rotation,
    Last edited by Barside; 30-04-2012 at 15:29.

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    As well as squad rotation, we also come back to the situation with reputation again. Difficult to believe (unbelievable though Altrincham facing Man Utd in the Q/F of the cup is), it's highly unlikely that in reality, United would field so many untried youngsters.

    That said, anything we do versus the AI teams is =/= unreality. AI vs. AI is perhaps more balanced?

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    As an outsider looking in reputation is IMHO at the heart of many problems currently hampering FM.

    Many iterations ago the system provided balance to the game but as more layers have been added the system has become the dominating aspect of the game & appears to be the key value in any calculation regardless of whether it is intended to be, the AI is simply incapable of looking beyond reputation whereas we can, sometimes this is a distinct advantage & other times it goes against us despite logic saying it shouldn't

    The key aspect of this thread is how the AI appears to use reputation to determine its tactical approach & that it creates an unrealistic, almost instant universal shift in playing style the moment the game recognises that a team is performing far beyond their initial expectations & reputation.
    Last edited by Barside; 30-04-2012 at 15:47.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    The key aspect of this thread is how the AI uses reputation to determine its tactical approach & that it creates an unrealistic, almost instant universal shift in playing style the moment the game recognises that a team is performing far beyond their initial expectations & reputation.
    But it doesnt, you make it sound like the AI uses two options A and B, A being attacking, B defensive and as soon as jan hits and you have played well it instantly switches to B against you from that point onwards, its not like that at all. I very rarely suffere from any second half of the season problems. The AI does not suddenly change everything it is doing against you in January if your plaing well, it really doesnt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milnerpoint View Post
    But it doesnt, you make it sound like the AI uses two options A and B, A being attacking, B defensive and as soon as jan hits and you have played well it instantly switches to B against you from that point onwards, its not like that at all. I very rarely suffere from any second half of the season problems. The AI does not suddenly change everything it is doing against you in January if your plaing well, it really doesnt.
    Stop trying to claim that I am stating anything as fact, the use of 'appears' should indicate that my statement is a hypothesis rather than any all knowing statement confirming the existence of a pre-determined January slump & stop with the counter argument as being fact (unless you're actively involved in the coding of the AI), the thread exists because there is a perception that this is happening & it is worth investigating purely on that basis alone.

    So long as people do not assume that because something is being discussed it must exist then anything that people have to say on the subject can be of value & help identify inherent weaknesses in the game.

    Without questions or discussion we do not advance knowledge or ability.
    Last edited by Barside; 30-04-2012 at 16:06.

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    I feel that the post-Chritmas slump is indeed an occurence in FM, particularly, as Barside says, in those that exceed expectations pre-Christmas. Looking back at my 7 seasons this time out, and producing some facts (looking purely at League Games) we get:

    2011/2012: Lledia Esportieu, Spanish B3.
    Predicted 5th
    Position after 19 games (half the season): 6th
    Final Position: 9th
    Pre Jan 1st: 9W, 4D, 6L Pts 31, Points-per-game: 1.63
    Post Jan 1st: 8W ,3D, 8L Pts 27, PPG: 1.42
    Jan/Feb Form: 3W 3D 2L PPG: 1.5

    2012/2013: Lleida Esportiu, Spanish B2
    Predicted 12th
    Position After 19 games: 5th
    Final Position: 3rd
    Pre Jan 1: 11W 0D 7L Pts 33, PPG: 1.83
    Post Jan 1: 10W 7D 3L Pts 37, PPG: 1.85 (2 more games)
    Jan/Feb form: 3W 2D 3L PPG: 1.38

    2013/2014: Lleida Esportiu, Spanish B2
    Predicted 4th
    Position after 19 games: 2nd
    Final Position: 1st
    Pre Jan 1: 11W 5D 1L Pts 38, PPG: 2.24
    Post Jan 1:12W 6D 3L Pts 42, PPG: 2.00 (4 more games)
    Jan/Feb form: 4W 3D L2 PPG: 1.67

    [b]Looking at Lleida, we get a slight difference in performance between the start ad end of a season, played predominantly using the same tactics for each match (yes yes, I know. In the season we overachieved the most versus our expectations (2012/13, 7 places above media prediction at halfway), we achieved 2.3 pts more (weighted) in the second half than the first half.

    Ignoring 2014/15, as I moved clubs, we now get:

    2015/16: Morton, Scottish D1
    Predicted 9th
    Position after 18 games: 3rd
    Final Position: 1st
    Pre jan 1: 11W 2D 8L Pts 35, PPG: 1.67
    Post Jan 1: 8W 5D 2L Pts 29, PG: 1.93 (6 less games)
    Jan/Feb Form: 3W 3D 1L PPG: 1.71

    Here we see a total reversal, with me picking up many more points after January.

    The final season analysis will be again 2 years later, as I once more moved clubs:

    2017/2018, Sheffield Wedsnesday, English Championship:
    Prediction 14th
    Position After 23 Games: 8th
    Final Position: 2nd
    Pre Jan 1: 11W 8D 5L Pts 41, PPG: 1.71
    Post Jan 1: 15W 4D 3L Pts 49, PPG: 2.23 (2 less games)
    Jan/Feb Form: 5W 2D 2L PPG: 1.89

    Once again, we see that where I most overachieve, I pick up more points in the second half of the season than the first. All three times where I've been predicted middle to bottom, with all three clubs and finished in the top 3 (Lleida 12/13, Morton 14/15 and Wednesday 17/18) we have achieved significantly better, despite playing above expectations. In the Championship, I can put this down to my position (8th) relative to my predicted position, meaning teams will continue to play the same against me. The others I'm unsure as to how to explain.

    However, in all bar the final season (where my expectations match my position), we see either a drop or a statistically irrelevant (0.05PTS in 15/16) rise (essentially remaining steady) in the January/February months. This is particularly relevant if we look at a newly promoted side, such as Morton in 16/17, or Wednesday in 18/19:

    Morton, SPL, 2016/17:
    Pre Jan1: 5W, 4D, 11L PPG: 0.95
    Post Jan1: 3W 1D 12L PPG: 0.63
    Jan/Feb: 1W 0D 7L PPG: 0.38

    Wednesday, EPL, 2018/19:
    Pre Jan 1: 7W, 3D, 10L [b]PPG: 1.20
    Jan/Feb Form (up to 17th Feb, now): 0W, 1D, 4L PPG: 0.20

    There may be a case...

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    I'm stunned. For the first time in 5 seasons morale has NOT dropped and I'm actually doing well. Won the World Club Cup and form has continued in the league. I have not done anything different to previous seasons which makes me think that reputation does play a HUGE part in this.

    In previous seasons I was not expected to win the league, yet was consistently in 1st or 2nd spot come January. The difference now is, last year I won the Champions League, League Cup and Premiership and therefore now am EXPECTED to challenge this year. Plus, at the end of last season the club was taken over by a very ambitious businessman who demanded we win the league this year!

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