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Ambiguities in Individual Mentality and Creative Freedom


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I originally intended on making this post in the big feedback thread in the general section, but I wanted input from the regulars here, as this is a tricky topic. 

My main issue with the Tactics Creator in FM19 and 20 is that it's ambiguous about individual player mentality and creative freedom, and seems to give us fewer options to change them than older FMs did. To illustrate this, here are the possible mentalities a Central Midfielder can have on four different team mentalities:

Balanced: Defensive/Balanced/Attacking
Positive: Cautious/Positive/Very Attacking
Attacking: Balanced/Positive/Very Attacking
Very Attacking: Balanced/Positive/Very Attacking

What is the difference between a Central Midfielder (S) on a Positive team mentality and one on an Attacking team mentality? If we go by the in-game label, there is none at all. Both play with a Positive individual mentality. However, as we can observe the role behaving differently when we change the team mentality, we can assume there must be a difference between the two. 

On older FMs, it was possible to discern this difference. While the old mentality bar wasn't the most intuitive tool, it did show us how the role differed when we changed team mentality. A CM(s) in an old Control/Flexible scheme had an individual mentality of 11, while in an Attacking/Flexible scheme, his mentality was 13 - marginally more offensive, but demonstrable all the same. 

With the removal of Team Shape, it's now difficult to work out what these old values correlate to in the new Tactics Creator. Between Standard and Overload, a CM(s) could range anywhere between 10 and 16 in FM18, but in FM20, the highest mentality he can have is "Positive", which seems too low for a 16. To muddy this further, a CM(a) in FM18 (again, between Standard-Overload team mentalities) ranged between 14 and 20, whereas in FM20 the lowest he can be is "Attacking", which seems too high for a 14. 

So, we're left wondering if Very Attacking on a Positive team metanlity is, in actuality, different to Very Attacking on an Attacking team mentality, despite using the exact same label. 

To make this even more confusing to me, we now have a Team Fluidity label, which uses the old Team Shape range of Very Structured to Very Fluid. This, according to the game, "reflects the shape and structure of the team according to their roles and duties". Well, in what way does it "reflect" those things? If I was playing on Very Fluid on an older FM, my team would be playing more as a unit as their individual mentalities were closer together. In FM20, though, the only way to achieve Very Fluid is to not play with any attack duties on the lower mentalities, and only one or two on the higher mentalities. The label is telling me that my team is closer together due to the even spread of duties, which makes sense, until I look at the individual mentalities for Balanced-Attacking:

CD(d) - Defensive/Cautious/Balanced
CF(a) - Attacking/Very Attacking/Very Attacking

Looking at that, the team doesn't seem very close together at all, does it? In the older FMs, Very Fluid on Standard mentality put players in a range of 6-14 - but as I asked earlier, a 14 back then surely doesn't correlate to "Attacking" now, does it? That just doesn't seem right.

Then we get to Creative Freedom. In the past, Team Shape would influence how much Creative Freedom your team had. With Team Shape no longer in the game, we can only influence it with the following:

  • Team Mentality - Higher mentalities involve more creative freedom
  • Roles and duties - Some roles are inherently more creative than others; attacking players have more creative freedom than support/defensive ones
  • Be More Expressive/Be More Disciplined TIs

But these have knock-on effects which could be undesirable:

  • Changing team mentality may make us more conservative or aggressive when I don't want us to be
  • Changing roles and duties can upset the balance the team, and stray from the style of football I want to play
  • Be More Expressive/Disciplined is a team-wide instruction, and are vague as to how much of a difference they actually make

A lot of this will read like I'm advocating the return of Team Shape, but I want to be clear: that's not what I'm doing here. Rather, what I wanted to show was how ambiguous things are in the current Tactics Creator, and how crafting specific styles of play has become more challenging because our options are now more limited than before. I basically have to re-think my entire approach to mentality, but the game itself doesn't present this new system clearly.

What do you think? Am I overthinking this or missing something obvious? 

Edited by JEinchy
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20 hours ago, JEinchy said:

Then we get to Creative Freedom. In the past, Team Shape would influence how much Creative Freedom your team had. 

If you take a closer look at Tactical Familiarity Levels screen you can notice Creative Freedom changes when Team Fluidity changes.

20 hours ago, JEinchy said:

With Team Shape no longer in the game, we can only influence it with the following:

  • Team Mentality - Higher mentalities involve more creative freedom
  • Roles and duties - Some roles are inherently more creative than others; attacking players have more creative freedom than support/defensive ones

Creative Freedom in Tactical Familiarity Levels screen are not affected by the above.

Edited by Mitja
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Perfect. This topic needs to be developed onto the Feature Request section.

That's the next step that Football Manager needs to become more realistic.

Edited by renato.
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The inside forward is a very attack-minded role. I think it's only natural that on a positive team mentality, that guy will be on a very high individual mentality, because that's what inside forwards do. Their job is to score goals, even on a support duty. Change it to an inverted winger for example, and that one will be on positive. Furthermore, if you choose overlap, the inside forward will drop to attacking. It is still possible to influence individual mentalities without changing team mentality. But if you go with an inside forward (basically a striker on the flanks) AND elect to attack your opponent (positive mentality), don't expect your guy to hold back.

The real confusion, I think, stems from the fact that if you change your IF to attack, his mentality is still very attacking. While there must be a difference between him on support and attack, the interface will show that it's the same. So instead of labels, we need scales or at least more categories than we have now.

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26 minutes ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

The inside forward is a very attack-minded role. I think it's only natural that on a positive team mentality, that guy will be on a very high individual mentality, because that's what inside forwards do. Their job is to score goals, even on a support duty. Change it to an inverted winger for example, and that one will be on positive. Furthermore, if you choose overlap, the inside forward will drop to attacking. It is still possible to influence individual mentalities without changing team mentality. But if you go with an inside forward (basically a striker on the flanks) AND elect to attack your opponent (positive mentality), don't expect your guy to hold back.

The real confusion, I think, stems from the fact that if you change your IF to attack, his mentality is still very attacking. While there must be a difference between him on support and attack, the interface will show that it's the same. So instead of labels, we need scales or at least more categories than we have now.


Ah, interesting. Thank you for pointing that out. I hadn't noticed that roles are now influencing individual mentality as well :thup: Now my obsessive brain is going to go and mess around with every possible combination :lol:

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  • 3 months later...

We need an example for each instruction/mentality to see what they represent in terms of implementation on the match engine. Not everyone has the same perception of a text description, however, visual representations are universal in any descriptive form of language. Whether that be viewing training sessions in positional movement, with and without the ball. Or sample screens, much like the tactical blueprints in tactic creator. 

My other suggestion is that you have a role like the central midfielder, were any instruction can be applied but for every position that a player can be placed. Total control, so we can pick one instruction and monitor what it does. I understand that this may open the gap for tactical exploits to the engine, but, with every patch someone will find an exploit of some sort with the roles as is. So, no need to restrict the obsessed tactical masters out there that wanna create something to the tee.

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