If there is one feature that SI has continually negelected since the dawn of Champ Man, it is tactical documentation. By that I mean an explanation of the tactical options at your disposal.
I find it takes away a whole lot of fun and sense of achievement in the game when you start fiddling with Mentality sliders et al, and evetnually stumble accross a winning formation, with no real knowledge of why your team has suddenly 'clicked'. At the moment, we're all playing a guessing game with tactics. No one really knows what each slider does, and any success is based on very primitive trial and error methods. What we need is either (or prefrably both):
a) a proper explanation of the sliders, particularly mentality
b) a tactical overhaul
Do managers go to each and player and say "I want you to be 35% more attacking than normal", or "I want you to be 10% more defensive." It is impossible to refine such details to such a broad range of numbers. Perhaps Ray Houghton could come in here and actually provide a proper tactical insight into what managers instruct players to do. Having not worked in professional football, I can only theorise how tactics work in real life. I would imagine, however, that they are based around your first XI and the opposition XI.
Great strides have been made by implementing the 'Opposition instructions' feature. Now all SI need to do is had some
inter-team instructions. By this I mean the option for a player to feed a certain team mate, for a full back to support/overlap this own winger, for a central midfielder to cover for a centre back should he wish to drive forward with the ball. These things, in my opinion, seem key to tactics. Too often you see on the match engine an indecisive full back not knowing if he should storm past his winger, or simply wait in support. What ends up happening is they both end up doing the same thing, leaving your extremely vulnerable to a counter attack, or woefully short up front.
These instances could be down to a failue on my part in interpreting 'player instructions'. But that in itself is a failure of SI in not providing a detailed explantion of what each slider does. I realise that implementing any sort of major tactical improvements is too late for Fm 2008, but it should be the priority for FM 2009. What is not too late for FM 2008 is the detailed description of what each player, team and opposition instruction does as well as a proper description of the arrows. Some examples of each wouldn't go amiss either
The most confusing instruction, and the one I have the bggest gripe with is Mentality. Users on here have theorised that the mentality affects player positioning, a player's passing, a player's shooting, a player's crossing etc. etc. Basically it seems to effect everything. Not to mention the confusion surrounding Team V Individual Mentality. The whole things seems like a mess and a complete over complication of tactics. Of course, these theories could well be wrong, but at the moment there is no way of knowing one way or the other.
So please SI, clarify tactical instructions when FM 2008 comes round for release, instead of re-hashing the same documentation that has been shipped with every CM and FM.