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How to make the game more challenging


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I use the editor to make the game more challenging.  Here are a few of my ideas.  Hoping to get others.  Are there custom databases that make it harder to win?

Things I've tried to increase the challenge (mostly, I don't like to tinker with player abilities):

  1. Increase the abilities of every competing manager in my division.  Mostly, I've increased the tactical knowledge of every manager by 3-5, man management by 3-5, Current Ability by however much is required, and Potential Ability by 15-25, depending upon how high they started before my intervention.  Sometimes, I'll also improve other coaches and physios but this takes a bit of work.
  2. Add $$ to my competitors' bank accounts and transfer budgets.  Improve their scouts, if I have the patience.
  3. "Heal" my competitors' important players if they suffer long-term injuries.  I think that one big weakness in the AI is that it does not rotate players enough.
  4. Improve the condition of my upcoming opponents' players.  Same reason.
  5. Improve my league-competitors' facilities.

Other ideas????

A few things I edit to make the game flow better (i.e. get rid of annoying tasks):

  1. extend staff contracts:  I hate wasting time on this
  2. fill open staff slots: especially when taking over a team in a lower division, it takes too long to wade through potential signees, who then reject you, and on and on, so I just move staff to my team and edit them to approximately the attribute levels that I think I can get, or just edit existing staff
  3. add small amounts of revenue:  saves me the time of scheduling and playing boring  mid-season friendlies
  4. improve the condition and sharpness of backup players:  same reason
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Set your manager’s player and youth knowledge 1. You’ll have to scout players extensively before you get all attributes and pros/cons, etc.

It doesn’t make games and tactics harder, but it becomes a really PITA if you need a replacement player in a pinch and you don’t have anyone scouted.

Don’t use the global player search, and only go to the Scouted Players page in the scouting/transfer center.

Edited by Harper
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50 minutes ago, Harper said:

Set your manager’s player and youth knowledge 1. You’ll have to scout players extensively before you get all attributes and pros/cons, etc.

It doesn’t make games and tactics harder, but it becomes a really PITA if you need a replacement player in a pinch and you don’t have anyone scouted.

I like it

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Use a skin with no attributes like this maybe?

https://www.fmscout.com/c-fm21-skins.html?id=7210

To be honest though I wouldn't look to make the game harder exactly, maybe just look to play more realistically and a certain level of difficulty will come naturally

There's a great thread on this forum that could give you some ideas

 

Edited by Brother Ben
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I can reccomend you the following mod:

It  covers all you mention in 1. It makes AI managers better and more reactive in game (you will notice more AM hints about the AI making changes instead of waiting until the last stages of the game so much), and with the full staff version also adresses the last thing you mentioned point about improving other staff.

 

This same creator also has a realistic injuries mod that makes squad management harder. You have to be more careful with rotations and training.

8 hours ago, Brother Ben said:

Use a skin with no attributes like this maybe?

https://www.fmscout.com/c-fm21-skins.html?id=7210

 

How does that one work? I honestly don't like or reccomend this kind of attribtue hiding skins, as they feel even less realistic than having the numbers.

I mean, I agree they definitely make the game harder, but they tend to work by giving a colour/star to a range often 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and 16-20 and it feels ridiculous given the usual spreads. 

A 11 is vastly different from a 15. This happens in all ranges arguably but this one in the middle is the most likely to show the issue. 15 would signify a good attribute for that player almost at all levels. At non top levels is likely to be a top attribute even. While 11 is decent/medicore even below the top levels, and at top levels it can easily be the weakness of the player. In non top teams you can easily have all your squad fall in this range for some attributes like passing and technique. Sometimes even for the same player most of his attributes will fall on this range.

While I can understand the "full precision feels wrong" sentiment (though the game already hides decimals so its not like ful full precision) not been able to distinguish the worst and best passers of your team or differentiate the strognest and weakest departments of a given player is equally absurd.

And also I dont like that this extra difficulty basically comes from having have less agency. Not directly but in the sense that you are taking blind decisions. A reasonable approach would be showing a certain number but with a potential +-1 error. 

 

Been realist I can recommend though. Specially relying on your scouts to get players and not sniping gems you know nothing about its a notable step. As they work by default in game you can already be mislead notably. Terrible blunders are unlikely but you will often end buying players that dont really get as good as you hoped. I have seen them given lower potential values to a CA170 than a CA 130-140.

Edited by Jervaj
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1 hour ago, Jervaj said:

I can reccomend you the following mod:

It  covers all you mention in 1. It makes AI managers better and more reactive in game (you will notice more AM hints about the AI making changes instead of waiting until the last stages of the game so much), and with the full staff version also adresses the last thing you mentioned point about improving other staff.

 

This same creator also has a realistic injuries mod that makes squad management harder. You have to be more careful with rotations and training.

How does that one work? I honestly don't like or reccomend this kind of attribtue hiding skins, as they feel even less realistic than having the numbers.

I mean, I agree they definitely make the game harder, but they tend to work by giving a colour/star to a range often 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and 16-20 and it feels ridiculous given the usual spreads. 

A 11 is vastly different from a 15. This happens in all ranges arguably but this one in the middle is the most likely to show the issue. 15 would signify a good attribute for that player almost at all levels. At non top levels is likely to be a top attribute even. While 11 is decent/medicore even below the top levels, and at top levels it can easily be the weakness of the player. In non top teams you can easily have all your squad fall in this range for some attributes like passing and technique. Sometimes even for the same player most of his attributes will fall on this range.

While I can understand the "full precision feels wrong" sentiment (though the game already hides decimals so its not like ful full precision) not been able to distinguish the worst and best passers of your team or differentiate the strognest and weakest departments of a given player is equally absurd.

And also I dont like that this extra difficulty basically comes from having have less agency. Not directly but in the sense that you are taking blind decisions. A reasonable approach would be showing a certain number but with a potential +-1 error. 

 

Been realist I can recommend though. Specially relying on your scouts to get players and not sniping gems you know nothing about its a notable step. As they work by default in game you can already be mislead notably. Terrible blunders are unlikely but you will often end buying players that dont really get as good as you hoped. I have seen them given lower potential values to a CA170 than a CA 130-140.

You can change the range I would only use 3. Highlighting where they are outstanding and where they are lacking.

If I start at a non league club for example I would have the top range at 12/13 (red) and 1-5 (blue) everything in between would be Grey.  You then adjust the top and bottom ends depending on what level you are at.  Imagine big Dave my assistant manager running me through the team, "Leon he's quick but he lacks determination, Smithy the keeper has the reflexes of a cat but he'd have a job rushing out of his house if it were on fire".  You can then fill in the blanks by watching games and making notes and observations

Of course you could just make it the same colour all round and go from scout reports and your own eyes.  Not sure how you can say either of these things is unrealistic really.

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1 hour ago, Brother Ben said:

You can change the range I would only use 3. Highlighting where they are outstanding and where they are lacking.

If I start at a non league club for example I would have the top range at 12/13 (red) and 1-5 (blue) everything in between would be Grey.  You then adjust the top and bottom ends depending on what level you are at.  Imagine big Dave my assistant manager running me through the team, "Leon he's quick but he lacks determination, Smithy the keeper has the reflexes of a cat but he'd have a job rushing out of his house if it were on fire".  You can then fill in the blanks by watching games and making notes and observations

Ah, ok if the ranges are modfiable like that then yeah. it could be adjusted to account for the level you play in and have more reasonable ranges.

1 hour ago, Brother Ben said:

Of course you could just make it the same colour all round and go from scout reports and your own eyes.  Not sure how you can say either of these things is unrealistic really.

I see where you are going with that. its not unrealistic in the sense that in reality there is no "numbers" and the knowledge about skill is gathered from watching matches, training, analyzing statistics etc. 

But the thing is that in real life people and specially proffesionals that make their living out of football now what skills a player has. There may be errors but Im sure they know to differentiate a messi like dribbler, from a just good dribbler and from a bad one. And the way the game tells you this is by precisely showing you numbers. With more and more precision the more knowledge the source of this data has about the player and their skill.

If you remove that then you actually know less that in real life. Sure there is the player reports as you mention, but for that to substitute the attribute number ranges you would need it to be much more detailed, as usually they just mention 2-4 attributes of the plethora we have.

You still have statistics and watching matches. I give you that, but relying only on your personal research as a manager I doubt is realistic. And also means it limits the way you can play for a lot of people as it automatically makes it much more time consuming, which I would agree is realistic but this is still a gmae not a full time job.

Besides, there is the fact that you can't really watch training and Im not sure even if the match 3D simulation is  good enough to fully study players from it (though some things can be seen as I do wtach matches and learn some stuff from it even without hiding stats).

 

So to sum it up, my point is that harder is not neccesarilly more realistic. And while the method the game uses to show you this data/knoweldge is not realistic ,the knowledge itself exists and I feel, this been a game, is more important to bridge that gap and have a more realistic conclusions and behaviour in the game than having the player make the "realistic" work that it would normally entail. After all, no matter how much realism we want, we are playing a game, not performing a full ltime job. I doubt many seek the later when asking for realism. You could say I value more the realism of the results and the agency/ability of the player to influence those been reasonable, than of the method to achieve such realism.

I feel like without attributes I would be like "Umm, the report tells me that this player is pacey but has no jumping reach. Will he be good at dribbling? I guess I will put him in the wing and ask him to dribble more to find out" Which feels ridiculous that a manager would do that for a player he or someone in his staff has already studied. And if I dont want to watch full matches then it just means I picking players blindly.

 

Its just an opinion though. Everyone is of course free (and encouraged) to play the game in the way they enjoy it more. Is just that this kind of skins seems to be brought up every time in the "realism" topic and, even if I know the reasoning behind it, I feel the average player would actually have a less realistic experience with them.

 

Thanks for the info though. Im gonna actually save the link yo ushared knowing what you mentioned in case I fancy using that in the future.

 

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All really good points.  I suppose it boils down to what the user feels is realistic.  One thing is for sure though, the OP asked for a challenge and with no attributes I definitely would be

19 minutes ago, Jervaj said:

I feel like without attributes I would be like "Umm, the report tells me that this player is pacey but has no jumping reach. Will he be good at dribbling? I guess I will put him in the wing and ask him to dribble more to find out" 

I laughed out loud at this as it's literally what I would do :D

I will say though I don't use all attributes turned off for exactly the reason you state, I don't have time to watch matches in full.

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2 minutes ago, Brother Ben said:

All really good points.  I suppose it boils down to what the user feels is realistic.  One thing is for sure though, the OP asked for a challenge and with no attributes I definitely would be

Oh, certainly. I didn't disagree there. I may have went a bit off topic but its something I really kept on mulling about myself and wanted to seize the chance to ask and discuss given you brought it up hehe.

As I said each one has to find what suits himself. I just felt in this case that this kind of thing (attribute masking) is usually brought up for the sake of realism, yet it could actually make the game less realistic for many players. I know it would at least be the case for me.

2 minutes ago, Brother Ben said:

I laughed out loud at this as it's literally what I would do :D

I will say though I don't use all attributes turned off for exactly the reason you state, I don't have time to watch matches in full.

Indeed, I found it funny too when I first thought about it, and couldn't resist posting it. :D 

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Restrict your transfers and tactics.

Only sign players the scout recommends (the same restriction the AI operates under, which means fewer players to choose from and ignoring some bargains), or for a bigger challenge still, rely on the DoF for transfers like a real club. If you like a long game, youth only challenges work too.

Use a defensive mentality base tactic,. This can work and play nice football too, but the most straightforward way humans overachieve is to start games with positive/attacking tactics designed to create lots of chances even against bigger teams where the AI would play for a draw. Tone down pressing too...

Edited by enigmatic
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6 hours ago, Jervaj said:

A reasonable approach would be showing a certain number but with a potential +-1 error. 

Please show your support for this feature in this thread I made in the feature requests forum:

 

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I believe the skin suggested also hides all CA/PA stars from the game too. Playing without knowing a players current ability and potential is a really good challenge. Especially without numerical attributes too. 

Not sure if the suggested skin removes coach reputation stars, but I’m currently building my own skin, based off the Base Skin, that removes ALL stars from the game. Even getting training right will be a challenge! 

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7 minutes ago, Tyburn said:

I believe the skin suggested also hides all CA/PA stars from the game too. Playing without knowing a players current ability and potential is a really good challenge. Especially without numerical attributes too. 

Not sure if the suggested skin removes coach reputation stars, but I’m currently building my own skin, based off the Base Skin, that removes ALL stars from the game. Even getting training right will be a challenge! 

Love the sound of that

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Thanks for all of the good suggestions.  The discussion did make me better think through what I really want. 

10 hours ago, Jervaj said:

Oh, certainly. I didn't disagree there. I may have went a bit off topic but its something I really kept on mulling about myself and wanted to seize the chance to ask and discuss given you brought it up hehe.

As I said each one has to find what suits himself. I just felt in this case that this kind of thing (attribute masking) is usually brought up for the sake of realism, yet it could actually make the game less realistic for many players. I know it would at least be the case for me.

Indeed, I found it funny too when I first thought about it, and couldn't resist posting it. :D 

Yeah, realism sounds nice but here's the real realism:  I have a job and a girlfriend and other interests.  I can't sit and watch FM21 match films for hours to self-evaluate players.  I want to get through each season in a small fraction of real time.  And scouts do use numbers to evaluate skills.  The "reality" is that those numbers are not accurate, to varying degrees.

I'm going to try the skins and challenges and other suggestions and see how much fun they are.  Because for me fun includes a real challenge, but also game flow and speed of play and not wasting time on boring tasks (that's why I use the editor to get rid of some of those tasks).

Don't get me wrong.  The game is great and I truly thank the developers for putting it together.  So impressive that they've put this franchise together.

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9 hours ago, enigmatic said:

Restrict your transfers and tactics.

Only sign players the scout recommends (the same restriction the AI operates under, which means fewer players to choose from and ignoring some bargains), or for a bigger challenge still, rely on the DoF for transfers like a real club. If you like a long game, youth only challenges work too.

Use a defensive mentality base tactic,. This can work and play nice football too, but the most straightforward way humans overachieve is to start games with positive/attacking tactics designed to create lots of chances even against bigger teams where the AI would play for a draw. Tone down pressing too...

Thanks.  Good ideas.

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I did the attribute masking thing last year, and I agree with the other comments. It doesn't even really make things that much harder.

This year I am trying this:

image.png.1ef9009327e41a428b4a59befb4db421.png

From here(i just removed the attributes panel: https://fm-base.co.uk/resources/dd2021rm-v2-0-realism-mod-now-1920x1080.1532/

So the player screen shows NO attributes at all, only the analyser.

This means for other players, I know nothing about their attributes, it's blank.

For scouted players, I gradually know more and more. This means I have to scout the players if I want to know about them.

For my own players, it means I do have "exact" info, but it's more a guide, rather than knowing if he has 15 pace and 15 agility, but knowing he is very mobile/speedy/etc.

 

For me, it's amazing. It removes the thought of no attributes at all, and having to watch the players in games, and as @glengarry224 said, take way too much time and create boredom. 

It means my scouts and scouting center are now vital, instead of "well if I want to use it..." I need the best scouts, the quickest scouts, the most scouts, etc. 

It means player stats are important now too. Are they in poor or good form? A left defender with alot of goals, known by media as a wing-back? he's probably not defensive enough...etc.

It has made signings WAY more exciting, as I don't scout to 100% knowledge, and don't know fully what I'll get. 

In short, for me, just my own opinion, it's AMAZING!

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4 minutes ago, majesticeternity said:

I did the attribute masking thing last year, and I agree with the other comments. It doesn't even really make things that much harder.

This year I am trying this:

image.png.1ef9009327e41a428b4a59befb4db421.png

From here(i just removed the attributes panel: https://fm-base.co.uk/resources/dd2021rm-v2-0-realism-mod-now-1920x1080.1532/

So the player screen shows NO attributes at all, only the analyser.

This means for other players, I know nothing about their attributes, it's blank.

For scouted players, I gradually know more and more. This means I have to scout the players if I want to know about them.

For my own players, it means I do have "exact" info, but it's more a guide, rather than knowing if he has 15 pace and 15 agility, but knowing he is very mobile/speedy/etc.

 

For me, it's amazing. It removes the thought of no attributes at all, and having to watch the players in games, and as @glengarry224 said, take way too much time and create boredom. 

It means my scouts and scouting center are now vital, instead of "well if I want to use it..." I need the best scouts, the quickest scouts, the most scouts, etc. 

It means player stats are important now too. Are they in poor or good form? A left defender with alot of goals, known by media as a wing-back? he's probably not defensive enough...etc.

It has made signings WAY more exciting, as I don't scout to 100% knowledge, and don't know fully what I'll get. 

In short, for me, just my own opinion, it's AMAZING!

Very cool.  I love your description.  I've never used trials but this approach makes trials seem more important.

I do think that in "reality", if that even matters, a manager/club do gain more exact knowledge of attributes to varying degrees after they get to know their own players.  For example, coaches can objectively measure pace, jumping reach and strength to an extremely high level of confidence (p<.05).  Agility and other physical attributes are pretty close.  Staffs form a good consensus (or tightly bounded ranges) of technical attributes, like dribbling, passing and corners, and even some mental attributes, like aggression, bravery and work rate, but sometimes that consensus is wrong and the product of groupthink (this is where superior evaluators gain competitive advantage).  It's harder to form consensus of mental attributes like flair and composure but not impossible.

I think that clubs have a good idea of the physical and technical attributes of potential signees.  It's rare that a club will say of a new transfer:  "wow, he's a lot faster/slower than we thought," or "ugh, this defender is incapable of making an accurate medium or long range pass."  But more common that they'll say:  "boy, this guy really has trouble following tactical changes in match," or "under pressure, this guy completely forgets his role and duties."

I'd like to see attributes vary more over the course of a season, especially as footballers play through injuries.  They play through swollen ankles and bad knees, but their jumping reach, agility and off the ball will decrease until they get healthy...which might be next season.

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28 minutes ago, majesticeternity said:

I did the attribute masking thing last year, and I agree with the other comments. It doesn't even really make things that much harder.

This year I am trying this:

image.png.1ef9009327e41a428b4a59befb4db421.png

From here(i just removed the attributes panel: https://fm-base.co.uk/resources/dd2021rm-v2-0-realism-mod-now-1920x1080.1532/

So the player screen shows NO attributes at all, only the analyser.

This means for other players, I know nothing about their attributes, it's blank.

For scouted players, I gradually know more and more. This means I have to scout the players if I want to know about them.

For my own players, it means I do have "exact" info, but it's more a guide, rather than knowing if he has 15 pace and 15 agility, but knowing he is very mobile/speedy/etc.

 

For me, it's amazing. It removes the thought of no attributes at all, and having to watch the players in games, and as @glengarry224 said, take way too much time and create boredom. 

It means my scouts and scouting center are now vital, instead of "well if I want to use it..." I need the best scouts, the quickest scouts, the most scouts, etc. 

It means player stats are important now too. Are they in poor or good form? A left defender with alot of goals, known by media as a wing-back? he's probably not defensive enough...etc.

It has made signings WAY more exciting, as I don't scout to 100% knowledge, and don't know fully what I'll get. 

In short, for me, just my own opinion, it's AMAZING!

Do you play without CA/PA stars too?

Edit: Ignore me. Just seen you use the realism skin. Does that remove ALL stars from the game?

Edited by Tyburn
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4 minutes ago, Tyburn said:

Do you play without CA/PA stars too?

Edit: Ignore me. Just seen you use the realism skin. Does that remove ALL stars from the game?

skin says " no absolute attributes and no stars to guide us on player assessment"

I can help you with skin edits too.

Edited by majesticeternity
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9 minutes ago, majesticeternity said:

  

skin says " no absolute attributes and no stars to guide us on player assessment"

I can help you with skin edits too.

I really should check this skin out! Ha.

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21 minutes ago, majesticeternity said:

  

skin says " no absolute attributes and no stars to guide us on player assessment"

I can help you with skin edits too.

Stars are only the assman or scouts opinion of the player. Doesn't mean it's showing correct actual or potential numbers. 

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29 minutes ago, majesticeternity said:

yes. I can help you with any skin you like.

Or you can take the skin you're using and drop the analyser in there in place of the attributes.

Apologies in advance, this is my problem not yours.  I have trouble making any custom skins work where I can see them (the base looks just fine on my computer windowed or full screen).  The only way that I can see the analyzer and attributes on your skin is if I zoom way out, then the font is painfully small for me.  Any suggestions?

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5 minutes ago, glengarry224 said:

Apologies in advance, this is my problem not yours.  I have trouble making any custom skins work where I can see them (the base looks just fine on my computer windowed or full screen).  The only way that I can see the analyzer and attributes on your skin is if I zoom way out, then the font is painfully small for me.  Any suggestions?

message me with your screen dimensions

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3 hours ago, glengarry224 said:

Thanks for all of the good suggestions.  The discussion did make me better think through what I really want. 

Yeah, realism sounds nice but here's the real realism:  I have a job and a girlfriend and other interests.  I can't sit and watch FM21 match films for hours to self-evaluate players.  I want to get through each season in a small fraction of real time.  And scouts do use numbers to evaluate skills.  The "reality" is that those numbers are not accurate, to varying degrees.

I'm going to try the skins and challenges and other suggestions and see how much fun they are.  Because for me fun includes a real challenge, but also game flow and speed of play and not wasting time on boring tasks (that's why I use the editor to get rid of some of those tasks).

Don't get me wrong.  The game is great and I truly thank the developers for putting it together.  So impressive that they've put this franchise together.

I think what you need is the youth academy challenge.  The game flies by when you don't have to sign players

 

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7 hours ago, glengarry224 said:

Thanks for all of the good suggestions.  The discussion did make me better think through what I really want. 

Yeah, realism sounds nice but here's the real realism:  I have a job and a girlfriend and other interests.  I can't sit and watch FM21 match films for hours to self-evaluate players.  I want to get through each season in a small fraction of real time.  And scouts do use numbers to evaluate skills.  The "reality" is that those numbers are not accurate, to varying degrees.

I'm going to try the skins and challenges and other suggestions and see how much fun they are.  Because for me fun includes a real challenge, but also game flow and speed of play and not wasting time on boring tasks (that's why I use the editor to get rid of some of those tasks).

Don't get me wrong.  The game is great and I truly thank the developers for putting it together.  So impressive that they've put this franchise together.

Yeah, it can be much of a chore and in a case like yours would probably make it less realistic aa you would play without knowledge your normally have as I mentioned.

 

There is other good suggestion though, so I hope you can find something to your liking :)

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