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Lillywhite Dean

FMM19 observations

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After playing five seasons of FMM19, I thought I'd feedback my observations on the game. I play FMM on Android.

You won't be surprised to learn that I feel the game is as easy as ever. So here's my plea to SI for something to be done to make the game more challenging for us experienced players.

I started off as manager of Colchester United in League 2. My objective was a safe mid-table position. I ended the season in 2nd place with only a few points behind the league leaders.

I decided to crank up the difficulty by advising my board that I could reach a play-off spot at the beginning of my first season in League 1. The board only wanted to survive relegation. I ended the season in 1st place. I also reached the FA Cup Semi Final losing to the eventual winners.

Four games into my first Championship season and Nottm Forest approach me to take over the manager’s position. Let me place on record just how much I really enjoyed the fact that this happened. I don’t ever recall a club approaching me back in FMM18 – certainly not when my reputation was at the Regional level. It was always me applying for vacancies and I would only be offered jobs once my reputation was Continental and above. I decided to accept the Nottm Forest offer and my objective was to achieve a safe mid-table place. At the end of my first season with Nottm Forest, I finished 18th. It was probably my most satisfying season playing FMM. There were times during the season where news items would come up telling me that fans had started online petitions to have me sacked. I found it really fun to experience a season where I was under immense pressure. I thought “Finally! FMM has a layer of difficulty to it!” Maybe the higher up the divisions you go in FMM19, the harder it will be? I kept my job for the following season and looked forward to what could be a very challenging second season.

In my second Championship season, the board repeated their objective of mid-table safety. Given how difficult I found my first season with them, I decided to agree to this objective. I ended the season in 2nd place having only lost 1st place on the final game of the season, and losing the title on goal difference. I also reached the FA Cup Final losing to Manchester United who were the Premier League winners. I defeated four premier league teams on route to the final, which included Southampton, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal. The difference between this season and the season before was having the summer transfer window to sign players in key positions. It made a massive difference.

I am now into my fifth season on FMM19 and its my first Premier League season. The board’s objective was to achieve a mid-table place and cup success. Pretty bold of them given Nottm Forest are a newly promoted team but at least it would increase the pressure on me to do well. However, I’m almost at the halfway stage and I’m currently sitting in 6th place with only 3 points behind 4th spot. My two strikers are the league’s top scorers and my team of 2.5 star rated players are comfortably beating the likes of Man City. It could go all drastically wrong but I suspect that it won't.

I’m aware that I come across as a serial complainer about the game’s difficulty level and I accept that you can’t make the game too difficult otherwise people won’t buy it. But I do wish something more could be done to satisfy the experienced player because there are a number of us. It has gotten to the point where I don’t even need to tweak my tactics from game to game like I did in League One and League Two. In fact, it seems the higher up the leagues I go, the less I need to worry about my tactics. I wonder whether this is because the quality of player is substantially better and is therefore more able in performing his job. I only ever need to tweak my tactics depending on what happens during the match.

Maybe I just need to accept that FMM is not the game for me and that it’s designed to appeal to those who want to achieve success in a relatively short space of time. But I hope this is not the case.

Some things that I think make FMM unnecessarily easy.
•    Unrealistic player conditioning. My first choice XI is always match fit and available for every game. In reality you would need to rotate your squad to keep your key players fresh or face the threat of a major dip in form or the increased chance of burnout / injury. I note that some players from the FM Vibe site have said they do experience player conditioning but I can honestly say that I don’t. I recall seeing the term "Jaded" in a player's Personal profile page if and when player's experienced fatigue. Does this still happen?
•    The availability of quality free transfers. I’m amazed how many good players are available to sign on a free transfer at the beginning of every season. This had a big impact on my success in League Two and League One as I was able to sign young, quality players from abroad without having to dip into my meagre transfer budget. These players were actually good enough for the Championship which meant I had a ready-made Championship team competing in League Two and League One. I have found that this has always been possible in FMM.
•    Retaining your best players. Given how good my players were in the lower leagues, I didn’t have any problems with clubs trying to poach them. I recall one of my best players being the subject of a transfer bid but when I blocked the transfer, the player in question carried on given quality performances despite being frustrated at not being allowed to move clubs. His Personal page listed his happiness as being “frustrated at not being able to move clubs” for the remainder of the season but it had little effect on his overall performances for the team or on the squad’s morale. 
•    Forming a quality backroom team. I don’t know how much of an impact your backroom team has on the team’s performances (I’m assuming it will have a positive impact) but I’m always able to put together “one of the best backroom teams in the division”. If I compare my backroom teams with other teams in the division, I fail to understand why I can fill all my positions with Gold or Silver rated coaches but other teams have positions left unfilled and/or can only attract bronze rated staff.

Some quirks of the game that might not be bugs but don’t seem right.
•    I always manage to have the league’s top goal scorers. Is FMM biased towards your strikers? For some reason (and I don’t play with attacking tactics), I will have at least two strikers in the top 3 or 4 places in the goal scoring charts. One of my strikers will always win it and win it by a considerable margin. This was something that happened in FMM18.
•    My coaches will often rate players under 3 stars despite the player’s stats clearly suggesting otherwise. I don’t pay too much attention to what the coaches say as it never seems to correspond with what their attributes suggest.
•    You don’t see the AI changing their tactics often enough during matches. For example; I played Manchester United in the Premier League with Nottm Forest. They had a very balanced approach to their tactics. They stormed into a 2-0 lead so I adopted my tactics to Attacking, Fast, Wide, Expressive. I changed the roles of my FBs to WBs and I substituted a BWM for an AP. I managed to pull the match back to 2-2 and I was on top of Utd. At one point the commentary said “Nottm Forest are really taking the game to United” but not once did Utd adapt their tactics to cope with my attacks. It lost them 2 points.
•    That’s not to say the AI doesn’t ever change their tactics but it generally doesn’t seem reactive enough. When it is reactive, it can work really well. I just had a rare home defeat to Bournemouth. Before heading into the match, I was 5th and Bournemouth was 12th. They beat me 4-2 and they switched from Counter to Defensive to Contain at various stages of the match. When I played Man Utd and pulled the game back to 2-2, they just maintained their balanced style of play throughout.
•    The rate of direct free kicks scored is unusually high. It has got to the point where a direct free kick from 20+ yards out has the same feeling as a penalty in that a goal is highly likely. Matches also a have a high ratio of goals scored from outside the box. If I play with the “shoot on sight” tactic (which I always do), you seem to be rewarded with one or two long range goals just because law of averages states that if you attempt over 10 shots from outside the box in a single game, one of them will likely go in - regardless of whether the scorer is any good at shooting.
•    Some staff specialisms are really hard to find. A coach who specialises in Youth or a Physio who specialises in Rehabilitation.
•    Players whose preferred role suddenly changes e.g. a player who has been an Advanced Forward for two seasons but is now suddenly a Poacher. 

My biggest bug issue.
•    Match ratings.

And because I don’t want to come across as a complete whingebag.
•    The new transfer/contract negotiation feature is excellent. It has a few bugs but similar to when SI introduced the enhanced tactical options, I just can’t imagine playing FMM without it. It adds a layer of realism to transfer negotiations.
•    Having a club approach me to take over. I hope this isn’t a one-off but I was really impressed by the Nottm Forest job offer. I had previously made a point about how FMM should encourage more job offers and that these should happen when your win percentage is high even if your reputation is categorised as Regional or lower. It makes your career so much more interesting when you have to respond to potential career moves.
•    I really like the new training feature. I find this much more interesting and effective than the previous system and I really enjoy focusing a player to concentrate on enhancing a specific attribute. However, it does seem there are some attributes that won't change no matter how long you leave them to train on it for.
•    The new achievement and major news announcement screens are excellent. I like them much more than what we had before with the cartoony newspaper articles. In fact FMM just has a much slicker look and there are little nuances such as the league table showing who has won the title, qualified for Europe, relegated etc that give FMM a more polished feel.
•    The addition of the Russian and Chinese leagues are excellent choices. I hope the Chinese league is just how it is in real life – hefty transfer budgets to spend on famous players who are playing for the money.
•    The Board agreeing to requests which result in reducing your budgets.

FMM is still the best game of its kind.
 

Edited by Lillywhite Dean

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It is weird because I have the exact opposite experience with my game.

I holidayed a year, took over newly promoted Bishop's Stortford and started in VNN.

I quickly found some good players on Free and all though I was limited by wage budget, I had enough quality to EASILY win the league. Season stats: 42 matches - 28w-6d-7l, 122-56 with 93 points. I took 1st place.
VNL was as easy as VNN. I just found some good players on Free - players that was too good to my team and I breezed through. Season stats: 46 matches - 33w-7d-6l, 136-61 with 106 points.  I took 1st place. I also won the FAT.
I thought L2 would be difficult but same scenario as VNL. Find the right players and breeze through. Season stats: 46 matches - 32w-7d-7l, 159-67 with 103 points. I took 1st place. I also won the Checkatrade Trophy.

In all these 3 seasons, I never changed my tactics. Actually it is the same tactic I've been using in the last 4 FMM versions without changing anything except team mentality.

L1 here we come. It would be a breeze, right? Nope not at all. For the first time I really struggled. The tactic was not working and I saw myself getting a lot of draws and losses. I never really found a rhythm and I had to change tactics a lot. Season stats: 46 matches - 17w-16d-13l, 101-82 with 67 points. I ended on 11th place.

I didn't change much for the season to come. I secured some better players and stuck with 2-3 tactics. I struggled a lot with getting the goals, however I did have a solid defense. Season stats: 46 matches - 27w-13d-6l, 95-48 with 94 points. I took 1st place.

Now I am in CH and I am really, really struggling. I lost a lot of important first team players and I haven't been able to secure good enough replacements. At the moment I have played 10 matches  - 3w-3d-4l, 24-25 with 12 points and sitting in 18th place.

All through the seasons, I have played it safe towards the board. I was never overconfident but kept it perhaps 1 level above their initial expectations. I never found them to be overdoing the expectations. It has always been "stay clear" except for the 2nd season in L1 with a "safe mid-table".

I haven't had trouble finding staff, except lacking the funds for it in the lowest leagues.

I've bought the "purchase a son" 3 times and so far one is now at Montpellier, another is at RB Leipzig and the 3rd is still with me. It was impossible to keep them at the club with so many offers and discontent players.

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1 hour ago, MikaelS said:

It is weird because I have the exact opposite experience with my game.

So your campaigns from VNN to League 2 seem to correspond with my experiences of managing in League 2.

But your League 1 campaign was not as successful as mine. You finished 11th whereas I finished 1st.

But it seems your first season in the Championship (so far) is similar to my first season in the Championship.

They don’t seem to be that wildly different. The only key difference is where we both finished in our first League 1 season. I have to say that the free transfers I picked up at the start of my League 2 campaign really set me up well for both League 2 and League 1. And then four games into my first Championship season, the results were looking positive. It was only until I took over at Nottm Forest, who had been struggling in the Championship previously, that I finally found things tricky. This was largely down to the fact that I joined them after the summer transfer window and was therefore unable to bring in players to strengthen the key positions of the tactics I use. But finishing 18th was great. I really, really enjoyed it.

How has player conditioning impacted on your game?

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46 minutes ago, Lillywhite Dean said:

How has player conditioning impacted on your game?

 

Player conditioning for me is a joke. I'd have 11 players play 120 minutes and still have 100% conditioning for the next match in 3 days time.

It was better last year

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2 hours ago, Lillywhite Dean said:

So your campaigns from VNN to League 2 seem to correspond with my experiences of managing in League 2.

But your League 1 campaign was not as successful as mine. You finished 11th whereas I finished 1st.

But it seems your first season in the Championship (so far) is similar to my first season in the Championship.

They don’t seem to be that wildly different. The only key difference is where we both finished in our first League 1 season. I have to say that the free transfers I picked up at the start of my League 2 campaign really set me up well for both League 2 and League 1. And then four games into my first Championship season, the results were looking positive. It was only until I took over at Nottm Forest, who had been struggling in the Championship previously, that I finally found things tricky. This was largely down to the fact that I joined them after the summer transfer window and was therefore unable to bring in players to strengthen the key positions of the tactics I use. But finishing 18th was great. I really, really enjoyed it.

How has player conditioning impacted on your game?

In the lower leagues none. But now in CH I see it more often that players have poor condition and also get injured more.

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@MikaelSand @DarJ - any comments on the top scorer quirk?

I am not exaggerating when I say that in FMM18 and FMM19, one of my strikers will, 9 times out of 10, be the league's top scorer.

The only time this doesn't happen is if I rotate my strikers (so I will have 3+ strikers in the top five) or if my main striker picks up an injury.

Edited by Lillywhite Dean

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My striker is always the top scorer also but I think It would be hard to adjust because we as human managers have the advantage of adjusting or tactic for it to play in a specific way while the AI in my opinion just change their width and mentality which isn't enough 

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1 hour ago, DarJ said:

My striker is always the top scorer also but I think It would be hard to adjust because we as human managers have the advantage of adjusting or tactic for it to play in a specific way while the AI in my opinion just change their width and mentality which isn't enough 

I'm glad it isn't just me then. The problem with this top goal scorer quirk is that it means you will always have an advantage over the AI if one or two of your players are always able to score over 25 goals. Obviously the more goals you score, the more likely it is you will win matches.

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I am as always looking to improve and tune things - however as this thread shows some people will always find the game too challenging and some too easy, the trick is to keep it feeling realistic overall while trying to ensure that most people are happy with the difficulty level ... just one of the impossible tasks for me to do before breakfast ;)

(sorry if anyone feels this is taking too long, but generally we fix clear cut issues as quickly as possible - I've got a lot of more involved gameplay tweaks inhouse, but we like to do a LOT of QA on them before letting them into the wild just in case there is anything awful hiding in there)

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19 hours ago, Lillywhite Dean said:

@MikaelSand @DarJ - any comments on the top scorer quirk?

I am not exaggerating when I say that in FMM18 and FMM19, one of my strikers will, 9 times out of 10, be the league's top scorer.

The only time this doesn't happen is if I rotate my strikers (so I will have 3+ strikers in the top five) or if my main striker picks up an injury.

Lower leagues yes, without a doubt. I will post a screenshot of my 2 top strikers.

In L1 I didn't succeed with scoring many goals, so that's a no.

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Dean and Mikael, feel free to PM me with your tactics ...  Would be great to have some success in this game for once! 

I'm probably too impatient, but really, all those player roles and team instructions is doing my head in. And it all seems so random; my team can play brilliant in one game and then be utterly useless in the next. Don't know why I keep buying this game year after year, I never learn it anyway and every year there's more stuff to learn! :lol: 

The only thing I've noticed being "easy" is maintaining my players fitness. I can select the same 11 for nearly every game unless someone is out injured. This seems like a bug though, and I raised it in the bug forums.

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1 hour ago, Footix said:

Dean and Mikael, feel free to PM me with your tactics ...  Would be great to have some success in this game for once! 

I'm probably too impatient, but really, all those player roles and team instructions is doing my head in. And it all seems so random; my team can play brilliant in one game and then be utterly useless in the next. Don't know why I keep buying this game year after year, I never learn it anyway and every year there's more stuff to learn! :lol: 

The only thing I've noticed being "easy" is maintaining my players fitness. I can select the same 11 for nearly every game unless someone is out injured. This seems like a bug though, and I raised it in the bug forums.

I've never been a tactical wizkid, which clearly shows as soon as I start to struggle. Then it is all downhill. I never really look at players stats, except perhaps pace for strikers and wingers/midfielders because it is such an important stat in lower leagues.

I will show you how the 2 strikers look - they are not that impressive :)

Sure, I can PM you ;)

 

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This is how they look now, all though they haven’t really changed that much.

60145425-E466-4B6A-B8FD-5B70F40C90B4.png

586D6C94-8924-4E5D-829A-A57E4FECE7DE.png

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2 hours ago, Footix said:

Dean and Mikael, feel free to PM me with your tactics ...  Would be great to have some success in this game for once! 

I'm probably too impatient, but really, all those player roles and team instructions is doing my head in. And it all seems so random; my team can play brilliant in one game and then be utterly useless in the next. Don't know why I keep buying this game year after year, I never learn it anyway and every year there's more stuff to learn! :lol: 

The only thing I've noticed being "easy" is maintaining my players fitness. I can select the same 11 for nearly every game unless someone is out injured. This seems like a bug though, and I raised it in the bug forums.

What I've noticed this year is that you would probably struggle with average players. You need the best players you can get that fit your tactic and keep an eye on moral...

I have a save with Hamburger SV where the moral of the squad is down because of contracts etc. and I refused to improve my squad every year and I'm finding it tougher and tougher, I almost got the sack so I decided to spend some money, fix the moral and the squad is performing very well now

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4 hours ago, Footix said:

Dean and Mikael, feel free to PM me with your tactics ...  Would be great to have some success in this game for once! 

I'm probably too impatient, but really, all those player roles and team instructions is doing my head in. And it all seems so random; my team can play brilliant in one game and then be utterly useless in the next. Don't know why I keep buying this game year after year, I never learn it anyway and every year there's more stuff to learn! :lol: 

The only thing I've noticed being "easy" is maintaining my players fitness. I can select the same 11 for nearly every game unless someone is out injured. This seems like a bug though, and I raised it in the bug forums.

I can give you a couple of pointers. First of all whenever you buy a new edition of FMM, you should just use the first season to become familiar with the game. Things won't necessarily click first time.

These are the things I do when I first start out in a new career:
•    Assess your backroom team. How good are your Coaches, Scouts, and Physios. Aim to employ the best that you can (minimum Silver + Natural if possible). Your training facilities will dictate how members of staff you can employ but I tend to employ coaches that specialise in Fitness, Attack, Defence and General. Obviously don’t employ someone who has the same specialism as you.
•    Look at your Team Summary from the Team Report. What does it list as your weaknesses? If it says things like poor passing, uncomfortable on the ball, makes decisions at the wrong moments; don’t use tactics that would require your players making difficult passes i.e. Through Balls or Work into Box, or tactics that would involve your players using an expressive creative freedom. The Team Summary is a useful resource for providing clues on what to do and what not to do.
•    Select a formation based on your squad strengths. If your squad has great defensive players but poor offensive players, pick a formation that uses more defensive players than attacking players – at least until you’ve used your transfer budget to improve the attacking areas. If your squad has strength in midfield but weaknesses out on the wings, don’t pick a formation that will require wing play i.e. wingers and inside forwards playing in a formation such as 4-2-4 or 4-2-3-1. If in doubt, use a balanced formation that doesn't lean one way or the other i.e. 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1.
•    Look at your Squad Depth from the Team Report. How many positions are green and how many are yellow, orange and red? Your transfer policy should be based on what formation you decide to use and how many positions within that formation are not green. Also look at the Suggested XI. This is only a suggestion based on who your coaches think are the best players to use in that formation but it will give you a star rating for each position. Anything under 3 stars should be avoided.
•    If you’re struggling with tactics, start off with a balanced approach and only make tweaks during the course of the match depending on what the score is.
•    Tactical instruction will only be effective if it has the right group of players to carry it out e.g. the expressive creative freedom will require players to be have high creative attributes and high decision making attributes. Selecting Fast play will require your players to have high stamina and high pace. A high defensive line will require your defenders to have high pace, stamina and decision making. The offside trap will require your defenders to be good at positioning and decision making. Choose shoot on sight if your attacking player has high shooting attributes. Look for overlap should be used if you play with FBs or WBs. Work into Box / Through Balls should be used if your players have good passing stats. Your passing focus should be based on which formation you play with OR the formation of the opposition (a decision for you to make). If your opponent is playing a formation that uses no wing play i.e. 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2, consider using a passing focus of Both Flanks to expose them on the channels. Alternatively, if your best players are in the middle of the pitch or out wide, use a passing focus that looks to involve those players as much as possible.
•    Player Roles should complement the tactics you use. If in doubt, keep it simple and just assign each player a role based on their preferred (or suggested) role. However, look at your tactics and in particular, your formation, and think about the type of player it will need. I play a 4-3-1-2 formation. I used this formation because I didn’t have any wingers or inside forwards in my squad so rather than spending my transfer budget on bringing those players in, I opted to utilise the depth I had in central midfield. Because this formation has no wingers, I play with FB who will run down the vacant channels. I play with two standard CD. I have at least one BWM (to ensure my midfield is not left exposed) and I play with a DLP to give cover to the defence but to also offer some creativity in attack. I use two AP because I have plenty of creative players and the more chances you create, the more chances of scoring there are. I play with two AF which admittedly I don’t usually do (I only usually play with one AF and either a TM, P, DLF). But both AF have been scoring goals for fun. If I had wingers or if I played with a long ball tactic, I would use a TM.

And yes, morale is important. Remember to praise your players when they play well. Don't over do it or they will become complacent. A happy player is a high performing player.

Edited by Lillywhite Dean

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