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Bunkerossian

Should I just...quit FM?

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Svenc

If you are saying AI extremes either defend or attack cause many of the user frustrations, then I would agree. The downloads are merely a product arising from  Ai tactics.

I would much rather the AI develop styles of play rather than constant tactic change and extreme settings.

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8 minutes ago, knap said:

Svenc

If you are saying AI extremes either defend or attack cause many of the user frustrations, then I would agree. The downloads are merely a product arising from  Ai tactics.

I would much rather the AI develop styles of play rather than constant tactic change and extreme settings.

That is definitely a flaw of the A.I. They become almost predictable. Certain teams will ALWAYS change to an attacking 4-2-4 formation as soon as they concede, so you get to a point where you pause the game after scoring, and switch to a tactic to counter it as you know what they are going to do.

Rather than have new features, the biggest improvement for me would be an improvement to the A.I. 

Although if you think the a.i is bad here you should see the mobile version where the a.i all revert to the same formation during a match lol

Edited by OCD

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2 hours ago, knap said:

I would much rather the AI develop styles of play rather than constant tactic change and extreme settings.

Styles of play definitely need to be more pronounced... I think that is a huge next step and challenge, same as managers signing / developing the specific players for it, perhaps more so than any grand in-match decision tweaks. However whilst I think the extremes mentioned are oft still used too readily, as for general "changes", I can't see SI coding a) Ai managers to all play the same and b) not approaching different opponents in different ways, as that doesn't happen in fooball. At the end of the day, the game has always tried to simulate a football world which you may be are a part of if you chose to. And even if you aren't,  if you watch AI vs AI (at the start) Burnley going all out attack at Chelsea or Arsenal parking the bus at home to Sunderland outside of glitches won't happen (except if you edit the db), as such doesn't happen in football. It would make the game also look stupid. Even arcade sims such as Fifa have such covered, starting with teams playing different formations, strategies, different players with different traits. Limited use feeding through balls into the barely sprints of Luca Toni, as any Fifa/PES player learns quickly. As soon as you have that in any game, there won't be a tactic that is universally effective no matter what. Some formations may completely play into the holes you leave behind (in particular if you go crazy), good opponents sitting deep may soak up constant pressure better than others.

There's a second frustration, and that is a sub portion of downloads that only ever work temporarily, as they funnel into temporary defending issues (this year central ones, last year the flanks). Unfortunately they oft aren't recognized as such. There is still a rift in the community that's existed ever since Diablo/Kimz/MrHough. Otherwise you wouldn't have: The justified (!) paranoia that patches could destroy tactics, the impressions that the engine wouldn't reward basic football logics, that each engine would reward totally different things. Add to this the perception that a simple tactic could make the difference between the same poor side either finishing bottom third or qualifying for European top football -- or players quitting the multiplayer, as they find others awkward to near impossible to defend. Now the ME will never be football, but a flawed interpretation, which means there will be always viable creative solutions! I'd still prefer the game to introduce that "virtual Alan Hansen" and a virtual tactical assistant so that everybody was given a bit of a basic understanding out of the box, as no matter the preference, that tactic is and has always been a temporary solution. A short-term fix that won't make anybody progress anywhere long-term, even if they wanted to! In the meantime despite the issues depending on the tactic, downloads generally still help players enjoy the game, which is great.

FTR, I also think the  tactical UI is more opaque than it needed be. Whoever play tests this likely is used to it from years of experience, which runs the risk of it becoming all a bit mechanical/inbred, also in terms of how it would progress long-term. Arguably a few more recent overhauls have already shown that is the case, but that's me. Signs of this are all over the place, such as tactical mods coming out of Beta and announcing in the tactics forums that a few settings would have seen overhauls (which you then won't read much about all year depending on which -- and also SI themselves never saying much a word about it).

Edited by Svenc

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3 hours ago, knap said:

 

I would much rather the AI develop styles of play rather than constant tactic change and extreme settings.

I think that improved greatly in FM16. I'm wary of them upping the AI's strengths too much, because clearly there is a large section of the player base that is incapable of learning full stop, and an even larger group of players that are willing to learn but end up far too frustrated at things.

 

Personally, I think the best thing they've ever done was leaving sliders and moving to roles, but even here they haven't always been clear with attributes and roles and how they interact. There's still some dubious terms being used, still too much reliance on the forums to get information across, that should be in-game and more clear and concise. Like Assistant advice: "Let's cross more as we're winning headers" - when you've been defending for 15 minutes. :p

 

SI have a tough job getting things right, but also keeping things balanced so that the games remain fun first and foremost. I agree with a lot of the sentiment that if you play a balanced tactic you'll win more often than you lose. I roll out with a mundane 4-4-1-1, no instructions at all, and I get impressive returns with most of the team averaging 7.5+. That's nowhere near what the more tactical savvy people can do! A lot of the issues, outside of the above, are down to the player and their view of how things work, and an incapability to adapt to the information in front of them, or an unwillingness to accept that results don't always go how you want them to. 

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Re ranking based on reputation gives rise to a tactic performance drop, also leading to user frustration.

Same tactic same league, only difference is reputation

Low reputation

594976f94e40d_TFFsTacticTestingLeague_OverviewStages.thumb.png.40059c445ae2d34cf5f007e1ab81ef53.png

 

High reputation

 

594977bd1f096_FAVTFFsTacticTestingLeague_OverviewStages.thumb.png.ffa76dbaf59af208797874bb2686bea8.png

 

 

 

 

Edited by knap

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50 minutes ago, knap said:

Re ranking based on reputation gives rise to a tactic performance drop, also leading to user frustration.

Same tactic same league, only difference is reputation

Sorry, but thats just not true which has led to a flawed "Test"

The first question is are all the games fully simulated.

Even after that you have the issue of tactics, even if yours don't change the AI clubs will and you can't control that. 

Then you have so many other variables over 85 matches in terms of personnel, rotation, injuries, team talks, runs of wins & defeats which affect the mental settings of the players going into each match.

 

You can perhaps say it shows a general trend that the tactic you used in that test was more effective when the club was the underdog meaning that the opposition teams left more space to exploit at the back but thats about the limit.

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The variables are controlled and tests not only repeatable but have been repeated.

This single test is 190 games, so perhaps it is now over 1000 games of test data.

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22 minutes ago, knap said:

The variables are controlled and tests not only repeatable but have been repeated.

This single test is 190 games, so perhaps it is now over 1000 games of test data.

You don't control every variable in every match though.

Even if you use some sort of editor to reset all the hundreds of inputs in every match you still can't control what happens on the field.  The difference between an early shot from distance flying over the bar to hitting the underside & dropping in which then affects every calculation from that moment on.

 

EDIT

You can see the above simply by looking at say Man Utd for example.  In your first pic they are 3rd, best of the AI clubs and yet in the second pic they are 5th out of the AI clubs.

Edited by Cougar2010

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test results inc above over 3040 games

 

Low Rep              High Rep

339                          291

320                         275

302                       265

312                      291

314                    278

316                    265

339                   290

 

Edited by knap

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58 minutes ago, Cougar2010 said:

The first question is are all the games fully simulated.

@knap how exactly is the testing carried out?

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Herne

If you wish to know the detail behind the set up, and testing process then I can PM you a link as otherwise it will be a wall of words.

The test league itself is not mine and I avoid posting without permission, however it is available to the public if you want to test it yourself, together with another program FM Fitness coach which you also need.

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46 minutes ago, knap said:

Herne

If you wish to know the detail behind the set up, and testing process then I can PM you a link as otherwise it will be a wall of words.

The test league itself is not mine and I avoid posting without permission, however it is available to the public if you want to test it yourself, together with another program FM Fitness coach which you also need.

Ahh I understand, it's Mr L's bespoke front end software that automatically tests tactics by somehow avoiding the use of instant result, simulate match and the ass. manager.  Unfortunately he doesn't say how it plays each match.

I reckon Luigi is actually a robot programmed to play FM 24/7 :D.

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Interesting post knap! I agree, looks a source of possible frustration. :) A few musings:

- The tactic tested. In the end this shows how a specific tactic tested performs against the attacking/defensive AI in the test
- As the screenshot reveals TFF/ Total Football Fan to be the tester, we may assume it is a test of an "exploit tactic", at which he excels*. If it is one targeting the temporary central ME issues, this is better plugged when AI a) sit deep and pack that centre, an additional cb can  already add a bit more stability, as when one is drawn out due to the overload, there is a spare man. I have tested one, whilst I got Darmstadt competing for EL spots 1st season  (no transfers, no subs), curiously the first friendly against the 2nd team involved some of the harder defense to crack, as the staff mirrors the formation of the 1st team in those intra-squad friendlies, and that meant the only time I faced an opponent playing 3 cbs (that spare man covering when one cb steps up after the central overload). However what this AI picked is guessing. In the original db formations packing the back oft tend to be listed as "prefered defensive formation" in the managers' profile, top heavy ones for attack
- The teams involved. That's big teams against a "testing team". How good is that testing team? Could be equal, worse, better
- Defensive AI can lead to a few curious things on FM 2017, as both full backs no advancing channels play through the middle, where that imo current ME defensive issue is (on 2016 it was the flanks)

The general scenario "simulated" is not unheard of in football, it's that point when sides are taken seriously and they have to work for their space. A few struggle with it. In the AI that translates to lesser mentalities, dropping deep, less attack duties, more defend duties. In the match play it can mean up to half the teams sitting back as on the last page (I agree the extremes are too readily taken). Still: Does the team have the manpower to unlock Barcelona just packing it? That's not Burnley, that's world class defenders. However it's also flawed as "testing tactics" is trying to fit square pegs into round holes. The entire point of having a tactics engine is that you may need to think about a slightly different approach from time to time (further trying that battle-ram, when all you may need is a bloody key). If one tactic would bring universally results in such fundamentally opposed ME/AI scenarios, that too would be a major concern. To conclude that defensive AI would perform better is also tempting, and I agree that FM 2017 produces some awkward stuff time to time when coupled with defensive AI (see link). However, it could equally mean that the tactic/s tested simply aren't as good at unlocking massed defenses, or in TFF's cases, the temporary ME flaws are better plugged by defensive AI.

* These great guys find and highlight minor and major flaws every year!

Edited by Svenc

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Also has to take exams so not 24/7 atm.

It is another test league (TFF) which used the reputation split, but with attention to detail.

Screenshots are one of my tactics.

Both test teams in both tests are worst in League.

As the tactic is set up with Spurs, it in theory should work better with high rep rather than low, as it has to unlock a few massed defences. 

 

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Sorry to intrude into the thread, but may I ask a related question?

Usually when your team is leading 3-0 to 4-0, and the opposition snatches one back, what do you do to stop conceding further goals?

- Go to Counter/Defensive mentality to reduce the space?

- Push higher/lower defensive line (depending on the goal scored) to reduce chances?

- Retain possession TI?

- Push a midfielder into the DM strata etc?

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37 minutes ago, inthisspace said:

Sorry to intrude into the thread, but may I ask a related question?

Usually when your team is leading 3-0 to 4-0, and the opposition snatches one back, what do you do to stop conceding further goals?

- Go to Counter/Defensive mentality to reduce the space?

- Push higher/lower defensive line (depending on the goal scored) to reduce chances?

- Retain possession TI?

- Push a midfielder into the DM strata etc?

It really depends on how the match is playing out, and what the a.i has done with their tactics. I'f I'm dominating it and they've just been lucky (without making changes) I personally keep things as they are normally end up scoring even more goals so in your example it might go from 3-0 to 6-2 keeping things as they are.

If I've noticed that the A.I have switched formation and changed to an attacking mentality I might to switch to one of my preset "counter tactics" that invites them to attack me.

Ironically sometimes switching to a more defensive mentality when the a.i goes all out actually results in even more goals against you lol.

In scenarios that you describe though I find the best thing to do is switch to more comprehensive highlights (if you're not already using them). By doing this it gives you more chance to make worthwhile changes.  You get to see the difference in build up play etc so you can decide the best way to deal with it.

If you're watching key highlights then you will probably find that all you'll get to see are the a.i scoring against you, and clear cut chances, and most of the game time elapsed.

Edited by OCD

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2 minutes ago, OCD said:

It really depends on how the match is playing out, and what the a.i has done with their tactics. I'f I'm dominating it and they've just been lucky (without making changes) I personally keep things as they are normally end up scoring even more goals so in your example it might go from 3-0 to 6-2 keeping things as they are.

If I've noticed that the A.I have switch formation and changed to an attacking mentality I might to switch to one of my preset "counter tactics" that invites them to attack me.

Ironically sometimes switching to a more defensive mentality when the a.i goes all out actually results in even more goals against you lol.

Yes, exactly! 

The problem is, I usually choose to go counter and warn my team to "Concentrate". But the AI ends up scoring one or two more goals. I was just wondering how did the more season players end up countering the switches and record an even bigger win.

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11 minutes ago, inthisspace said:

Yes, exactly! 

The problem is, I usually choose to go counter and warn my team to "Concentrate". But the AI ends up scoring one or two more goals. I was just wondering how did the more season players end up countering the switches and record an even bigger win.

I think the reflex is to lower the mentality (and risk your players take), when you could still take risks but just make the attacking mentalities "safer". Things like pushing your defensive line back , playing narrower, shortening passing etc. Of course if you play narrow in an attacking mentality it will still be wider than playing narrow in a counter mentality but it just helps tighten things up.

The other thing you can do is switch formations. I've noticed (and you probably have too) that generally when teams suddenly go for broke they tend to change their formation. So for example if I come across a team switching to a 4-2-4 attacking I'll change my formation to something that overpowers them in midfield, and completely kills any chance of them building any attacks.

The most subtle change you could make if you don't already is perhaps just a change in duties. That can often be enough. Change your fullbacks to defend duties, change a few attack duties to support, perhaps make your deep lying playmaker defend instead of support etc.

Sometimes all the A.I does is an increase in mentality and increase in the number of attack duties. Which is why there's no real hard and fast rule as to what you should do.

Edited by OCD

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1 hour ago, inthisspace said:

Sorry to intrude into the thread, but may I ask a related question?

Usually when your team is leading 3-0 to 4-0, and the opposition snatches one back, what do you do to stop conceding further goals?

- Go to Counter/Defensive mentality to reduce the space?

- Push higher/lower defensive line (depending on the goal scored) to reduce chances?

- Retain possession TI?

- Push a midfielder into the DM strata etc?

OCD has it right.

It depends on the match.  If the opposition were lucky to score or it was a counter/set piece and your team is basically still playing well I would stick more or less how you are, maybe add retain possession or something.  If you feel under pressure and the opposition are creating chances then you need to change, the question is how.

Go more defensive and you invite pressure but you might hold out if you give up possession and keep men behind the ball.  Push forward and you might keep the ball better making the opposition defend but you might get caught out with a counter.

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On 20/06/2017 at 11:10, OCD said:

I think the conspiracy theory that Football Manager is rigged and there's nothing you can do to win is laughable.

Me too. I just won the Premier League unbeaten (with Liverpool) and hammered a good PSG team 8-1 at home to put me into the Champions League final. If anything, I'd say its a bit too easy.

Edited by mbabbs

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10 minutes ago, mbabbs said:

Me too. I just won the Premier League unbeaten and hammered a good PSG team 8-1 at home to put me into the Champions League final. If anything, I'd say its a bit too easy.

Yeah I'd agree with that. The only thing that makes me start a new save is because I get to a point each time where the game becomes too easy.

There are ways you can make it artificially harder by imposing restrictions on what you do, but you shouldn't have to.

I'd love a massive improvement on the a.i. in terms of what they do during a match, and their squad management. Most games are so focused on online play that a.i in games hasn't really progressed that much, but in a predominantly single player game like football manager it would make such a big difference.

I'd honestly be happy to have no new features in fm 2018 if it meant we could have more intelligent a.i, and more unique interactions with press and players, perhaps some sort of  procedural generation for the text used.

I know it's not as easy as that to make those improvements, but I do wonder how much focus there even is on the a.i, when they develop each game every year.

Edited by OCD

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There's always the fact that for every notch the AI rises in the intelligence stakes, more and more people will turn away from the game.  Double-edged sword - of course it needs to be more sophisticated, but it's a difficult balancing act.  People already struggle to beat a fairly rigid and static AI that doesn't have access to the same tips and tricks that a human user does. 

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5 minutes ago, forameuss said:

There's always the fact that for every notch the AI rises in the intelligence stakes, more and more people will turn away from the game.  Double-edged sword - of course it needs to be more sophisticated, but it's a difficult balancing act.  People already struggle to beat a fairly rigid and static AI that doesn't have access to the same tips and tricks that a human user does. 

Absolutely.

The only way around that would be to implement a difficulty level that could be chosen when creating a new save.

Again I have no idea at all how difficult what I've suggested would really be to implement but I'd really like it to happen.

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Just now, OCD said:

Absolutely.

The only way around that would be to implement a difficulty level that could be chosen when creating a new save.

Again I have no idea at all how difficult what I've suggested would really be to implement but I'd really like it to happen.

I can see the point in difficulty levels purely in theory, but I doubt we'll ever see it.  How would it be implemented anyway?  Do you just handicap the AI at lower levels or give the user boosts?  How does that play with the already fragile coding in the ME?  Personally I'd like something more in the middle.  Give the AI context and slightly more contextual intelligence around situations.  Don't make them these omnipotent beings that can churn through outcomes and always pick a winning one.  Just make them more "real".

Obviously that is just easy-for-you-to-say guff.  The reality is that it's one of the hardest things to code in any game.

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It's not just a case of making the AI more intelligent, although that would be a massive step in the right direction.

Making it tougher on the user is also important & also equally difficult to do right without alienating a chunk of the user base.

Making transfers riskier but having less accurate assessment of player attributes, mental traits & tendencies would be a welcome step, having owners be less willing to sit by as the user overspends on budgets only to be bailed out with a cash injection while seeing owners take money out of the club when cash rich & meeting targets would be interesting, after all it is their club & their money.

 

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The game is tough, because subtle differences in roles are somewhat unclear in their description.  Maybe an intuitive graphical way of seeing what the role will do would help? Currently I'm wondering how would a Trequartista and a Defensive Forward affect each other. One presses the defense- the other one roams, but the result is hard to imagine, for me.

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33 minutes ago, Bunkerossian said:

The game is tough, because subtle differences in roles are somewhat unclear in their description.  Maybe an intuitive graphical way of seeing what the role will do would help? Currently I'm wondering how would a Trequartista and a Defensive Forward affect each other. One presses the defense- the other one roams, but the result is hard to imagine, for me.

The game is designed for the user to observe the effects by watching the match or analysing the statistical data, for me that's a perfect reflection on real life management & should remain the case in FM.

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20 hours ago, OCD said:

Absolutely.

The only way around that would be to implement a difficulty level that could be chosen when creating a new save.

Again I have no idea at all how difficult what I've suggested would really be to implement but I'd really like it to happen.

Tbh there is some kind of difficulty level inherent in the game already, pick a really hard challenge for yourself, allow yourself no transfers and force yourself to play with a team that is about to get relegated. 

Applying difficulty levels in other ways will just be too complicated. Would we expect the AI to hold back? The game is already very easy as it is at the moment, at least for some of the players. And it's like most other games.  You don't often find the majority being able to play it at such a level. The highest level of difficulty is a level of play achievable only by a small minority. If this game was made harder then we'd see a flurry of posts complaining about how hard it is to defend or to score. I've seen this cycle repeated in every iteration of the game. We start with the first build, and the majority complain its too hard, and you have like 2 guys going its not. The majority wins and the game is tweaked, the defending gets easier or it gets easier to score. I remember FM12 being like the and even FM15. When FM15 was first released there were loads of people complaining it was too hard, then there was the small minority screaming that it was still easy. The game got tweaked and FM15 became the easiest game I have ever played. Set a tactic to control/fluid go to sleep ,wake up and Bobby Mimms has won you the title.

Prior to FM12, the game was notoriously involved, you'd need to spend hours setting and testing each notch of a slider to get the perfect mentality settings for players. And we had a lot of different sliders for EACH player.  Funny thing was, this level of micromanagement was also the real reason why super tactics were so easy to develop. For each version of the game, I'd release a super tactic within 2 weeks of release. A super tactic was so good that all you really needed in those days was a team with good acceleration, and Bob's your uncle. Any side could overachieve. After I got Wolves to beat Real Madrid 8-0 as a championship side, I sent SI complete details on the steps needed to reproduce the tactic. And you could achieve success with any team all the time. That's the thing about match engine exploitation that people don't seem to understand. For any tactic to purportedly exploit a match engine weakness, that tactic needs to do it ALL the time with any side, so long as it meets a simple criteria thats not too hard to meet Acceleration and half decent player selection. Diablo and Scramjet the two biggest super tactics the game has ever seen, both utilised acceleration and Moses with his stick to part the defence.

And, I keep hearing that there are match engine exploits in the game, that wide area defending is impossible. Now if that were the case then every narrow tactic I create should win all the time, because it will exploit a match engine flaw. I have yet to see any sign that that is true. We are not talking about 1 match or even a sequence of matches. I am talking about an experience that lasts at least 2 seasons. People were using Diablo and Scramjet for seasons on end. 

So what happened? SI decided the user experience needed to replicate real life football decisions. You don't see coaches telling two different strikers:

"John I want you to go out there and play on 18 attacking mentality but only 2 Creative freedom, and Louis, you're on 8 attacking mentality and 20 Creative Freedom"

It just doesn't make any sense. So the game became one about making conscious decisions that involved events happening on the pitch, ideally within an experience that reflected "real time" decision making as much as possible, so the tactical creator was born. In its early days it was still notoriously easy to manipulate, just ask the FMLive community from that era. Over time, it became progressively harder. The AI stopped making ludicrous decisions like hopping to Overload/Very Fluid 424s whenever it went a goal down. By 2017, the AI was capable of making minor changes that affected any of these factors: Mentality, Shape. Roles and Duties. Sometimes even all of them. Now the AI was playing differently. In the past whenever it went Overload, Very fluid it was like X'mas and Santa had come with a 1+10 offer. 

In 2015 some of the player base  challenged SI to make the engine even harder. We wanted an experience where the AI would copy our success and replicate it themselves. If we had a transfer strategy centred on recruiting only the best players, and developing them into a powerhouse, then we wanted some of the clubs to copy that too.  We wanted the Ai to take our tactics and throw them back at us. We even wanted some form of countering by the AI, where they would counter each attempt we made at exploiting specific spaces. If that day ever comes, then the only person who can beat the AI is Neo, you will need to become a Ghost in the Machine to take it on. And I doubt that will ever happen, because that will alienate the player base and make this game almost impossible to play for those who want to experience the fantasy that is Mike Bassett (lol).

For now I'd like to suggest this for anyone who is struggling. I know it difficult, but you need to stop looking for specific exploits. There are obvious weaknesses still. I don't deny it. I even have a pet hate list:

  • - Halfback who isn't really a halfback
  • - The Ball Playing defender who isn't a ball playing defender when he sees an imaginary wall
  • - The mysterious indirect free kicks which almost feel like a chance for the AI to score
  • - Those pesky throw ins that seem to lead to a goal

Some of these lil annoyances happen both ways, so these can be fixed, but other than that, where are the exploits? Wide area defending, it is possible, but bloody hard to pull off. You just need to react to in game events and make changes that seek to throw the timing of the defensive line traps off when they AI changes mentality.  Am I defending the game, in a way I guess I am, but believe me when I say this : It was a helluva lot worse before, and as long as we have people like @Barside, @herne79, @El Payaso, and many others who submit pages and pages of suggestions, there is still hope. I do get frustrated at times, and I am sure many will feel the same way, but its still very manageable. And for those struggling there are also quite a few I know who have been where you are smashing monitors, and now smashing their own FM records. 

So what can those who are struggling do? Ooh a 3 step process is coming up :-)

Step 1

Begin by understanding that the game is fundamentally all about creating something that makes some sense. Decide from your team who has the responsibility to attack and score goals, and who has the responsibility to support them and the defence. Now you can't have every candy in the store. So make a conscious decision based on your available players on what kind of system you can play. Just because Mr super tactic man, says the narrow 4231 is a phenomenal tactic, don't go out there and blindly copy him.  Look at your players and give them the once over, if you want your players to drop back and support, then make sure they first possess the DESIRE to do so, check their mentals, then check and see if they are physically capable of doing so...check their stamina, work rate and acceleration. Finally check and see if they have  the skill to do so. Many people create tactics stick in players who can't tackle or even have the desire to tackle (determination) and then complain the flanks are being overrun.  Once you've done that you've covered your spine. 

Step 2

Figure out how you are going to defend. Yes, sort this one out first. Know your own tactic and its inherent weakness. If its narrow then you need to protect at least one flank with a solid defensively minded fullback. If you are playing wide then shore up the middle with the right kind of players. Now play your tactic in preseason.  Teams can't get past you, thats good, you are on the way to securing one point for most matches. Now lets try and get all 3.

Step 3

Understand your own tactics attacking patterns. Try out different role combinations and duty combinations. You'll be surprised that a tactic with NO attacking duty can sometimes be more powerful than one that has 4. This is where Step 1 becomes vital, how good is your spine. If you want your spine to get involved in attacking or defensive play then start considering shape, cos that affects your transitions. I could go on and on and on. And this is already a long post and I deserve an infraction. I will always try and help anyone who needs it, as much as I can, so long as I can. So if any of you need help, there is a wealth of information in the tactics forum and a whole bunch of people eager to help.

I apologise for this essay, this could be the prologue for my 3rd FM book.

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I wonder if a souped up assistant manager option for new players or those who want more help could work. Something that points out flaws in your planned tactics and how players fit together. Something that clears up a few of the mysterious interactions that can make tactics fall apart. 

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12 minutes ago, KingCanary said:

I wonder if a souped up assistant manager option for new players or those who want more help could work. Something that points out flaws in your planned tactics and how players fit together. Something that clears up a few of the mysterious interactions that can make tactics fall apart. 

I can see S.I are trying that approach already in a way, with the emails that suggest changes on your tactics, and give hints as to how many support, defend and attack roles are suitable etc Obviously it's nowhere near as helpful as it could be, or indepth as somethings you suggest, but it shows that they're kinda trying I guess.

@Rashidi I enjoyed reading that post. 

While I do criticise FM 2017, it's defintely the best FM there has been in some while for me personally. 

The thing you mention with regards to the changes the A.I make during a match is very true. While some teams do tend to change formation as well as the mentality, they don't all do it. Some as you say make ever so subtle changes, such as changing duties. You can often see that if you have a split screen view with the formations showing, subtle things like the wide players in a 4-2-3-1 moving forward slightly in the formation screen which generally points to the duty changing to attacking for example.

I think subtle changes work both ways too, sometimes you don't need to change to a more defensive mentality, something subtle like changing the duties can be all that it takes to deal with an attacking a.i.

I also find more than any previous football manager, there are actual tangible benefits to "micro-managing" which is what I want. I'm glad the days of super tactics that would never stop working are a distant memory.

Also like you mention I tend to make the game more difficult for me by imposing artificial restrictions or challenges, such as perhaps only signing players under 21 for the first team, or not signing anyone at all and relying on the original squad and only youth prospects that come internally etc

Edited by OCD

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Rashidi, as a matter of interest, did you play FM 2014? And do you still have it installed?

What can you tell me are the faults of the 3.1 patch? In what ways do the ME lag behind this particular one, in your opinion? (Note that I'm not talking about the entire game. Just the ME).

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I wish @Cleon were also around to add his 2 cents.. 

Coz I honestly believe that the ME has gone backwards in some respects from the high of that 3.1 patch. 

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ignore! Posted incorrectly.

Edited by OCD
Incorrect. Can't delete post.

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19 minutes ago, samuelawachie said:

Rashidi, as a matter of interest, did you play FM 2014? And do you still have it installed?

What can you tell me are the faults of the 3.1 patch? In what ways do the ME lag behind this particular one, in your opinion? (Note that I'm not talking about the entire game. Just the ME).

I wasn't playing 14 nearly as much as I would have liked, there was no time in my life for FM back then, what I can remember from my limited playtime was this. There were plenty of flaws back in the day from overpowered dribbling and ineffective marking, and a simplistic AI. It made the game way too easy. I remember one of the reasons why I stopped playing after FM12 was because even my 8 year old son could achieve consecutive promotions, plus I had too much to do at work at that time. And don't forget each version of the game had minor improvements in the me, I think 14 was the first to introduce collision detection, and distance based calculations.

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1 minute ago, Rashidi said:

I wasn't playing 14 nearly as much as I would have liked, there was no time in my life for FM back then. 

Fair enough. If you have access to a friend who has it, I encourage you to try it out. You'd be impressed, I guarantee that. 

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On 21.6.2017 at 03:00, knap said:

Both test teams in both tests are worst in League.

 


The bolded part (depending how much worse) typically points to a tactic that fuels into any temporary ME issues. The one I tried (Darmstadt EL spots, Freiburg 2nd in Bundesliga, without doing anything really), were of the 3 strikerless variant, extremely narrow, narrowed wingbacks, which currently completely fuels into how SI have overhauled defensive positioning -- it's how wide players behave in defending, making central areas a bit of a "weak" target. Only a few AI formations can plug that a bit, plus if they sit deep rather than push up, it's also not as easy to quickly overrun them completely on the break -- naturally with 3 strikerless those tend to sit right in the hole if there is no DM involved too, which is devastatingly effective. Out of interest, did TFF create these underdog/favorite testing leagues on older versions? Because I think there may still be bits to it as of FM2017 (defensive AI performing better than it should). As illustrated in the thread I linked to earlier, FM2017's ME sometimes tends to lead to a central overload with defensive AI, whereas in prior versions most of their open play attacks were (mostly) easily intercepted, as realistically they should. This is all to do with defending works on FM 2017. Good luck with the exams, boy! :)


As for reading the ME / making basically logically decisions (when required).

This may sound curious, but playing PES/Fifa and fiddling with their tactic settings isn't all that bad to getting accustomed to some logics here. In parts as, whilst they are arcade sims, in my opinion there is parts in the defensive phase of teams that are more realistic as in FM. It's been a while, but in my last PES game on the standard and up levels of difficulty, it could be a real challenge / tricky to outmaneuvre defenses, in paricular if you didn't have on of the super dribblers in your squad (online everybody picking Real and Barca, snooze). Even the smallest sides in this had the basics of zonal marking covered, you absolutely needed to play one-twos, trigger overlapping runs via button combos etc. to create some space, as no matter where you passed the ball to, the guy was closed down quickly. If you went narrow, it was significanly harder to stretch the defense, as that is typically a measure of cautious. Going wider meant you could lose the ball as players spread out more easily, but you'd also get a feel what that meant in an attacking sense, as the defensive team naturally has far more space to cover. That's all totally basics, naturally. That's stuff teams had sussed for decades. Still the basics can do you a lot of good if you aren't familiar with them.

Naturally on FM you don't control players. I'd focus on the simpler things, how attacks shape up. Starting out with the roles/duty, which govern forward runs (or lack thereof). Speaks to reason that passes can only be played where players are. Even by focusing on such simple, you could already get a small edge over AI. It's measures may stretch areas of the pitch, depending on whether it's trying to score or defend what it has. But unless this becomes Skynet from The Terminator it likely won't go, "The opponent drops deep as soon as he ball approaches the half way line, so every attack comes to this with both my attacking wide midfielders pushing forward easily marked. Maybe I could make one of them drop deeper and see how it works out, plus push one of the full backs forward so that there is a wide player high up who can be passed to" (spoiler: would massively increase the chance to score here). It's risk reward, pushing the fb up may lead to a counter. But don't do that, you'd risk the 0-0 (which this match ended as). The defensive phase starts every time the ball is dropped, which means whoever made a run has to get back again. Therefore having lots of guys running forward is an attacking risk, keeping players behind the ball is vice versa.  You can later try to time these runs a bit toying wih mentality, shape and stuff. Small steps. Unless somebody has struggles with pheripheral vision, should be doable.

Also, as a general overview if there may be issues: Only getting long shots or mainly set piece attempts in the analysis means there may be one (or the opposite keeps your players not good enough at bay), vice versa on your end. Be realistic in expectations. Don't look for magic combos that decisively beat the computer. There's your management. Sorry for the long post, but that's the kind of stuff that if ever comes in in the form of a tactics assistan  could be reasonably covered. edit: As others have pointed out, it's perfectly possible to have success without going much in-depth tactically at all. Reasonably balanced base core, reasonably improve the squad and keep them motivated, improve the results...
 

Edited by Svenc

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On 2017-06-22 at 13:51, Rashidi said:

Step 1

Begin by understanding that the game is fundamentally all about creating something that makes some sense. Decide from your team who has the responsibility to attack and score goals, and who has the responsibility to support them and the defence. Now you can't have every candy in the store. So make a conscious decision based on your available players on what kind of system you can play. Just because Mr super tactic man, says the narrow 4231 is a phenomenal tactic, don't go out there and blindly copy him.  Look at your players and give them the once over, if you want your players to drop back and support, then make sure they first possess the DESIRE to do so, check their mentals, then check and see if they are physically capable of doing so...check their stamina, work rate and acceleration. Finally check and see if they have  the skill to do so. Many people create tactics stick in players who can't tackle or even have the desire to tackle (determination) and then complain the flanks are being overrun.  Once you've done that you've covered your spine. 

Step 2

Figure out how you are going to defend. Yes, sort this one out first. Know your own tactic and its inherent weakness. If its narrow then you need to protect at least one flank with a solid defensively minded fullback. If you are playing wide then shore up the middle with the right kind of players. Now play your tactic in preseason.  Teams can't get past you, thats good, you are on the way to securing one point for most matches. Now lets try and get all 3.

Step 3

Understand your own tactics attacking patterns. Try out different role combinations and duty combinations. You'll be surprised that a tactic with NO attacking duty can sometimes be more powerful than one that has 4. This is where Step 1 becomes vital, how good is your spine. If you want your spine to get involved in attacking or defensive play then start considering shape, cos that affects your transitions. I could go on and on and on. And this is already a long post and I deserve an infraction. I will always try and help anyone who needs it, as much as I can, so long as I can. So if any of you need help, there is a wealth of information in the tactics forum and a whole bunch of people eager to help.

From someone who is depressingly bad at this game: The tips in this post, together with the revelation that you shouldn't change player roles in tactics to fit the players, that someone posted somewere, are the most helpful things I've read on these forums so far.


That said, I still think the game is crazy hard. I've tried to read up on player roles, tactics and other tips here. Just for ”fun” I started a new save with Rangers, really trying to get the tactis right. Still, I lose most games. Occasionally I win, but I never feel it's because of anything I do, rather lucky penalties, own goals or red cards. And even if I manage to score a goal and get a lead, the opposite team most often get a goal literary one minute later. And as always, I drop in the league table, everyone is unhappy, the board wants me dead. It's a farse. So I do what I've done for the last five (?) years of FM: I start to cheat. After a while I play the matches on the highest speed in the background while I do other stuff. Then I delete the save, because whats the point? Why would I want to play this? Why waste time and energy on something thats essentially a defeat simulator, or fifty shades of humiliation?


Anyone who says this game is ”too easy” are trolls or playing as Man C. Either way they should be hanged from their toes and get flogged.


If you want to keep us moron few who can't play this game for the life of us as customers, I suggest you give us a little more help. The hints and tips during the processing flashes away too fast on my high end computer. ”If it rains ...” something something, ”Make sure your players... ”something something. The guides on these forums may be brilliant, but they are written in a language that are not native to some people. And there's a lot to read. The assistant manager never provides me with anything useful. Before the match he suggests a tactic that my players have no familliarity with. During the match he bombs me with confusing and often contradictional tips that doesn't seem to make any difference. And after the match he tells me we should tell the players they are disappointing, which I really don't need his help to understand. I pay good money to get some data analysist to provide me with statistic, but heat maps and dots with arrows really doesn't tell me anything. So most players was on the right hand side of the pitch? Okay. And what do I do with this information? What is going on on the pitch during the match doesn't help me either. When a player, for example, stumbles on the ball and then stand still watching something far in the distance while the opposite player steals the ball, is that supposed to tell me something? In that case, what? Is he tired? Does he have low concentration? Did he get a stroke? Did he just remember he promised his girlfried to buy cheese? Or is it limitations in the 3D animations? I don't know.

And while the forum is ever so helpful and super competent I don't want to post my tactics and ask for help here, because I know it only will make me feel like an idiot when I don't understand anything despite people taking the discussion down to something a three year old would get. 

Give us a proper tutorial, SI. Use one of the managers of your affiliate clubs and let him hold our hand during one season. Let his face pop up in the corner like the Office Helper every time we do something stupid. ”As you notice it is raining, which makes the pitch soggy. Therefore you should [something]”. ”The players ignores everything you say because they hate you. You should start a new save”. ”The opposite team is using counter attack. You should [something]”. ”Player X is unfamiliar with this tactic/player role. I whould replace him with player Y if I was in charge”.

 

Sorry if I sound angry and bitter. I still love this game.

Edited by Viking

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The assistant advice is tricky indeed! :kriss:


Some may hang those who argue this to be easy, but from experiences, I take "game's way too hard" posts with a pinch of salt too (if somebody really goes DLLLLLL with decent teams, sympathy though -- no sympathy though if you've never posted your stuff, as you could be sorted out in like a SECOND :brock:). In a lot of cases it's  that players expect to do better than they do. Oft connected to experience from older games, which allowed effortless fantasy overachievements with ridiculous runs and no much contribution except hitting the space bar. (If you want, there's still tactics for that). Yet you can still 1:1 copy like the role/duty stuff in the basic comm guides and come out decent. You can let the assistants take over match days and come out good. You can then focus on squad development, what have you. What you won't do is big fat time overachieving with no effort put in.... or not being at least decent on any part of the job (there's more than tactics). Still wholly agree with that assistant part. The key isn't merely difficulty, it's getting a feel for cause and effect. Still overall this game is simple if you let it be. Key being that you let it be. Perhaps too simple though, which is also a problem. You can be successful in this without having no proper clue as to why, which is also due to feedback.

Personally I've made my own "checklists" of "performance indicators" over time. Not literally sitting there with lists, more in my head. Things to watch out for. Some of which are always the same no matter how I play, and they should be reasonably enough, the shot spreads on the match analysis screen. There is absolutely nothing that tells you whether your players/ attacks are actually stretching defenses than a) having shots from reasonably ranges and positions and b) the majority of those being from open play. It's so simple. However the assistant yelling you should retain possession when you don't give a hoot about retaining is not going to help, but rather confuse. In particular if a minute later he would advice the opposite, based on a few simple in-game stats, but no context. Conversely, he doesn't notice the aforementioned lack of open play shots happening, which would be a shitton more useful. It's hard in parts tough as there's not meant to be that one way to go about things. The engine isn't coded that way. The universally logics meant to be rewarded have been basic football logics however.

A question above possibly UI issues SI may ask themselves whether they take it for granted that players know for instance that: throwing bodies forward may completely compress the attacking space. Or how a slow possession based game would completely stall in front of the opponent's box if there's not enough movement involved. And so on. That's all basics arguably inherent to any team sports, rather than some football masterstroke, which may be why it's treated that way. Not having them covered can cause any side to underperform. The other is that there's a limit as to what a documentation / assistant could cover. Teaching people football is a bit of a tough task. But as your assistant taking over match days would have that covered for sure (see above, he can do you decent), introducing a tactical assistant going into basics doesn't sound unreasonable. It's also not unrealistic, as real managers have shared that part of the job with assistants in real football.

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Throwing bodies forward is routine, and when a team needs a goal- it happens in late stages of the game. So, players of FM don't know it has this unexpected drawback you mention. I never think of congested space as a risk when going with 3+ attack duties. I only think of possibly conceding.

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Firstly, I think this thread is great.

Everyone that struggles is articulating exactly how I feel.

And the posts in response from the stronger players are considered and helpful.

I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent person but it amazes me how these players consistently overachieve.

I think the recent versions of FM expose the flaws in my personality. I like answers. I like black and white. But there is no 'do this and you will do well' in FM anymore. The sheer number of variables means that it is now firmly in the grey.

I think half the reason I log on to the forums everyday is I'm hoping someone is going to post a 'step by step guide' or a 'how to' that I can follow and overachieve. But the reality is that can't exist in today's FM.

On 17/06/2017 at 17:19, dafuge said:

I don't really agree with this, I've played with the same tactics for years now without changing them!

I mean this post from @dafuge is incomprehensible to me. I follow his threads and know how well he does. To overachieve like that with same tactic baffles me.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what the point of this post is. Just that I'll continue to try and get better at this game.

 

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Not sure how many look in the download section, but there is a very good thread by Lovesleeper that uses tactic sets and styles. Even playing a simple Home Away and SUS tactics can bring rewards. May be worth downloading a set and experimenting.

 

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1 hour ago, Leccy said:

I mean this post from @dafuge is incomprehensible to me. I follow his threads and know how well he does. To overachieve like that with same tactic baffles me.

I like to keep it simple. I spend a while designing a tactic that I'm happy with and then spend all my time managing my squad to fit it.

Most importantly, I'm patient. My success is usually long term, I'd be useless at challenging for the Premier League in the first season.

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On 6/22/2017 at 14:50, samuelawachie said:

I wish @Cleon were also around to add his 2 cents.. 

Coz I honestly believe that the ME has gone backwards in some respects from the high of that 3.1 patch. 

Is Cleon the former mod who went off and launched his own site?

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On 17/06/2017 at 16:46, Tony Wright 747 said:

You can't have a one tactic fits all any more, you have to micro- manage your tactics and react to changes within the game

You can.

I use a default in game 4-4-2 and dont change a thing no matter who i am playing, home or away.

I dont use any instructions etc, just pick an 11 and play.

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56 minutes ago, bestbrother said:

You can.

I use a default in game 4-4-2 and dont change a thing no matter who i am playing, home or away.

I dont use any instructions etc, just pick an 11 and play.

Who are you managing, and what is your win percentage

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2 hours ago, dafuge said:

I like to keep it simple. I spend a while designing a tactic that I'm happy with and then spend all my time managing my squad to fit it.

Most importantly, I'm patient. My success is usually long term, I'd be useless at challenging for the Premier League in the first season.


This is perhaps fueled by the generally success stories you read everywhere, I mean everywhere -- how that comes about is another matter in the specific cases. However patience is a virtue oft in short demand. If you'd get a bit more in the tactical / match management side as well, you may achieve your goals "quicker" in terms of seasons played. You may also find it fun to grind out draws out of matches that look you're destined to lose, and turn a few draws into wins. However, in terms of "time spend" (patience...) reckon there's barely anybody who finishes seasons as quickly as you out of the FM "regulars".

On occasion I too start saves where I just put a somewhat "balanced tactic" in (if you've done those once, you can do them again and again in half a minute), holiday btween match days, have it all max speed and just let it run most of the time. It's not hard to at least get results that are expected depending on the players you have more often than not -- and then you could overachieve via different means (transfer strategies / scouting, for a start). Again though, that's where stories of miracle overachievements may kick in, so if everybody does that, you may be determined to accept no less. The realistic benchmark as to the game's difficulty really is, take a look how the AI finishes your club taking over. That is your competition, not the guy who reload downloads some winwin tactic created by others.

As an aside, simple things that from my experience are oft misunderstood, and can impact performances to a HUGE degree:

- automatic duties. Arguably still not well explained what they do. You may even ask if they are necessary
- specific man marking in the player instructions, useful if used wisely, as for explanaion or impact, ditto.
- Target Man role

Both of the former impact the positioning of players (the first one mainly in the attacking phase, the latter in the defending), and can draw holes everyhwere if you don't know what they effectively do. And the Target Man big time influences the attacking phase likewise, as players will tend to get the ball to his back to fron, "overriding" any other encouragements to an extent. Never had the slightest bits of a visual cue as to this, and as such oft misunderstood/misapplied. To an extent, that also goes for a few team instructions. If you go crazy wíth TIs and PIs (no need for any conundrum of those at all to at least perform), and have no idea about their impact, it's easy to wreak havoc. The way the game is set up... those are meant to be tweaks. The game gives you a certain level of reasonable without ever much going into such details. However, a lot of them are also not particularly well documented, and sometimes even changed without much further ado except a note pinned by tactical mods.
 

Edited by Svenc

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9 hours ago, rooneymagic88 said:

Is Cleon the former mod who went off and launched his own site?

Mhm. Did he really go off? I thought you could usually spot him at the back of the Tactics forum, keeping an eye on everyone and making sure they're all in line with the facts. He's really good though, and if he's gone off then we've lost a resourceful friend I believe.

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12 hours ago, Tony Wright 747 said:

Who are you managing, and what is your win percentage

Various teams, most recently its Livingston... straight promotions to the SPL then 4th, 8th, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 1st... plus 5 cup wins and runs to the last 16 in the Champions League iirc. Ill load up the game later to look at the win percentage, but the game (full fat mode) is not dependent on a fancy tactic to win. I just use a default and thats it, sometimes it fails, sometimes it works.

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On 19/6/2017 at 00:55, Scrench said:

Side note: If you set up a very basic, balanced tactic and change almost nothing most of the time you will overachive based on my experience

Ok, probably 2 things helped me a lot this year, first of all, what Scrench said and that I quote above.
The second move that I did was (continuosly...) suggested by my assistant that repeatedly asked me to use control instead attack, probably (i can only figure out...) because my 4231 formation was similar at a 451 and an attacking mentality could have not sense.

Well, it's only a starting point, but now thing starts to have sense, I won my Serie B but things are so far from to be balanced. Still concede many goals and still there are many games that from 2-0 cpu reach to turn on 2-2.

 

Schermata 2017-06-26 alle 00.11.40.png

Schermata 2017-06-26 alle 00.11.48.png

Schermata 2017-06-26 alle 00.19.44.png

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5 minutes ago, Daniele77 said:

Well, it's only a starting point, but now thing starts to have sense, I won my Serie B but things are so far from to be balanced. Still concede many goals and still there are many games that from 2-0 cpu reach to turn on 2-2.

You will never have a tight defence with that formation.

Simply put the formation is far too attacking and your defence has next to no protection. 

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