Different Class

World Class difficulty is here and looks like staying. The decision was cemented in classic fashion. I paused the game to go and do something that ended up taking several hours. When I returned I forgot I’d changed the difficulty from Professional to World Class, and found myself wondering why the matches suddenly seemed so tough and midfield-y. I played two of the most amazing matches I’ve ever played on FIFA20 (or on any football game) before I remembered I’d changed it to World Class.

It’s probably too soon to go up just in terms of how strong (or not) my squad is (see below). But I need that extra layer of toughness. Professional was still giving me a good game but nearly every match was too comfortable, and too open by comparison to World Class. A rolling end-to-end procession of chances for both sides. World Class is much tighter. I can never go back to Professional now. Unless World Class proves too difficult as the season unfolds, in which case I will shriek like a girl and run back to Professional for a bit.

I will be heading into Season 4 without the exact kind of squad I wanted. Yet again I have annoyed and aggravated a broad swathe of the world’s top managers, players and agents with my completely reasonable offers. I just won’t break the wage structure at the club. No way am I paying a bench-warmer £40,000 a week when my star striker is on £30,000 a week. Not happening.

There is still a week or so of August to run at the time of typing, and I am still looking for that one extra player to slot in, but it’s just as likely that this is the squad I will play most of the coming season with.

Here, for I believe the first time in this Career, is a complete picture showing my First XI, my subs’ bench, and the rest of the squad – every player at my disposal:

Picture was assembled after a tough match, so excuse fatigue.

As can be seen at a glance, I have a decent First XI but no real quality outside it – not even on the bench. I will do well to improve on Season 3’s 7th position finish for Season 4.

The First XI is the team I want to take on all big matches. The rest of the squad will take on the Carabaos and the lesser matches of all kinds. Being in the Europa League this season has great disruptive potential to my cosy plan. We shall see.

I’m firmly immersed in the fate of this squad. As much as with any Master League.

Look at Ward (LW, 69) on the bench. He is my star Youth who has really surged up the reckoning. He started many matches last season, but after I noticed that Deulofeu is an accomplished LM/LW himself, Ward has dropped down to the bench. Nevertheless his appearances from the bench, and his still-frequent starts (because of stamina) show me that here is a virtual player whose name and destiny I might well remember for the rest of my football gaming life. See today’s Miscellany clips below for a decent goal of his.

Bello at LB is one of three (3) LBs now at the club, thanks to my cack-handedness in the negotiations market. (It’s a long and boring story.) Anyway, Bello was the one I really wanted, and got, because of his insane SPEED. It really is a joy to watch him overtake and tackle a sprinting AI winger, à la peak Michael Owen. Ayling on the RB side isn’t as pacey so when the AI attacks down that wing I still find myself in trouble.

I don’t like having two players named Torres who are so similar, and one of them will be sent out on Loan or sold before the end of August.

A word about Roberts, my young 61-rated CB. He had to play in a league match against Leicester in which I got thumped 4-0 (the World Class factor coming into play there), but his performance was a bright spot, with a saving tackle at the end preventing a truly humiliating 5th goal for Leicester. Arguably I wouldn’t have lost 4-0 if I hadn’t had to play Roberts and other squad players, and even more arguably this result does not bode well for my World Class future, but I’m thoroughly relishing the pressure and the challenge and the squad juggling, and that is what counts in a football game. These are the factors that I’ve been looking for and missing for so long.

A little clips Miscellany to end with – the key goals from the 1st leg of my Europa League qualifiying round match against Aalborg of Denamrk, who I know very well from Football Manager 2019. Also featured is a lovely 20-yard curler from young Ward, with his wrong foot, against Wolves in the Premier League – the winning goal in that match.

Also featured is a goal from my 4th-choice striker, Zlatanovic, a ferocious first-timer to the near post when I was in a spot of bother in the (World Class) return leg vs Aalborg. I went on to win that leg as well, and then faced another qualifying round vs Rosenborg, which I squeaked through (on World Class!). And am now in the Europa League group stage proper. Phew.

Onward and upward. FIFA20 is taking up a great deal of time that I would usually spend playing my other key games (the XCOMs and the like). I am addicted to progressing this club and this squad and cannot wait to find out what my young players will do in the matches to come.

Updated: 19th May 2020 — 12:02

15 Comments

  1. NG – enjoy WC.

    I will be finishing midtable in season 6 after a dreadful 12 game run without a win from October. Got 5 games left and 9th will be the best I can get. I have Rashford coming in on a free transfer for next season and Liverpool paid Brereton’s £82 million release clause so he will slot straight in.

  2. Great goal from Ward, the commentators even commenting on how it’s supposed to be his weaker foot, pure class! And a very tidy finish right at the end from Zlatanovic, love the way he hit it outside the post and it curled inside.

    The game really does come alive on World Class doesn’t it, I thought it played superbly on professional but on WC, the midfield battles are so tight and intense, you really have to work hard for that extra bit of space to create a chance and as a result any goals are so much more rewarding, even the bread and butter ones.

    I know I keep saying it, but FREE TRANSFERS IN JANUARY. adjust your transfer budget to be wage top heavy, scout players inside the last year of their contracts, that are first team quality, around Oct/Nov, add them to your transfer shortlist, then come January, pick them up on free’s and just pay the wages.
    Looking at your squad, you just need some quality in the full back and CM areas, to really start challenging.

    9 matches into season 6, top of the league by 2 points, top of my Europa league group after 2 wins from 2 matches, and through to the 4th round of the Carabao after knocking out last season’s double winners, Man utd at Old Trafford.

    Every session is a 10/10.

  3. Lloyd – I’ve seen enough of WC already to be sure that it’ll be epic – the perfect storm of difficulty versus a realitvely weak squad, against a great AI. So addicted to it already.

    Paul – I’ve semi-deliberately not gone for the free transfers as I don’t want to break the wage structure, and I want that whole Default-ish like experience in CM, which is so rewarding. Roberts and Ward and one of my Torres twins are going to be up there with Schwarz and Shimizu and co. by the time this is done. In fact, that’s exactly who Ward reminds me of — Shimizu. I’ve got a striker in my Youth squad who I’m keeping an eye on as well. Currently just 16 so a bit too early for him but he is going to be a 30-goal man a few seasons down the line. Have I had a sub-9/10 session on the game ever? I don’t think so. And World Class is so good that I will risk it. I’ve made a side-save to fall back to if need be. Not exactly Purity, but I still class myself as a Learner.

  4. Thats fair enough, whatever you seek from your game is the right way forward for you, you will have to rely on old fashioned development of players, and your own ability then to get better results and meddle through with your existing players, if you insist on operating a strict Arsenal style wage cap.

    Going for the old school ML approach, nice, would be much more rewarding long term, and look forward to reading about your progress each week.

  5. Oh lummy, I’m about to start my season on world class with a 67 and a 70 rated striker combo. Could be tough.

    Btw anyone see the madden online tournament outcome? The guy who won gamed the thing by playing a kicker at qb and running every single play with the huge lineup he’d bought by saving money on the qb position. The developers must have gone white seeing such a public dismantling of the careful build and manage idea. I presume there’s no equivalent in the FIFA online stuff.

  6. Finished 10th. Big push for Europe this season. Reserves and youths in the cups.

  7. good to see World Class going well for you not-Greg. This may be a little extreme for an enjoyment-first moderate but one day you could even try turning off the sprint-clamp ‘legacy’ defending!!

    one thing I do like about FIFA is the challenge of juggling a squad and managing young players, it can have a huge impact if you get it wrong. 2nd in the league behind Man City and heading into the busy Christmas period last night I was 3-1 up at Brighton with 15 mins to go and absolutely cruising so subbed on my mid-60s rated young CB & RB. Cue complete defensive collapse and a 3-3 draw. Exactly the same thing happened earlier in the season at Stoke – an immediate aerial bombardment of my young defenders and capitulation of two goal lead. I was doing the post-match press conference in my head as I went to bed, blaming myself for tactical complacency but also warning young Fernandes and Morgan that Exeter City are now a major European force and cannot carry passengers who crumble under pressure like that. They are now both available for loan and will play no further part my first team plans this season.

  8. abbeyhill – that’s next on the great mountain of FIFA20 for me – Tactical Defending. World Class gameplay is so bloody good and there’s no way I’d be able to play it without Legacy defending. Now that you and Uncle Turf are more casual players too I’m sure you both fully appreciate that as well, the need to play something you can actually enjoy!

    Uncle Turf – I just got Madden 20 as part of my Origin subscription, not played it yet – is there a fully manager mode, I.e. one where you just pick the plays and watch the action a la Football Manager?

  9. I have to confess not-Greg that the introduction of Legend difficulty on PES was a bit of a blow. Every edition since PES3, including the superbly tough PSP & GBA versions, has seen me put the difficulty up to max on day one, grit my teeth and battle on through until the game was beaten. Some PESs almost defeated me such as PES3 itself (14 seasons in Div 2), PES12 and PES6 PSP (sacked >10 times) but ultimately none did and some of my all time favourite gaming memories were forged. Even PES2019 on Super Star challenge mode (sacked >15 times) deserves a mention. However the introduction of a difficulty mode that was literally impossible (not sure if our best players like Cook or Jay ever mastered it?) put an end to this memorable gaming timeline

    Obviously however, as Turf has already pointed out, the practice of sliding difficulty settings up and down DURING a Career Mode or Master League to maximise ‘enjoyment’ remains the refuge of absolute wasters

  10. I never mastered Legendary on PES and I understand FIFA has an equally difficult Ultimate setting which I won’t go near. I have to admit to fiddling with sliders and assist settings until I find a difficulty which is in that perfect Goldilocks zone of just right. It’ all a charade anyway.

    I’m top of the Championship in October of Season 5 and there should be promotion this season. I’m a bit disappointed with the amount of cash I have sloshing around, finances are no problem at all. PES2019 is unrivalled in modern football games for turning the screw in this regard, although probably by accident rather than design.

  11. Never understand this neeed to ‘beat’ a game on the highst difficulty, it reeks of the online kids that just need to win at all costs.
    If you are paying £40+ for a video game then surely the ROI is purely enjoying the game and getting satisfaction and fun out of it, regardless of whatever difficulty level its on.

    Cook, how much money do you have in the Championship? Are you using the FIFER realism mod?

  12. Paul, a profit of £45m so far this season. Gate receipts are £2m per match and wages £255k per week. I do have the Fifer career realism mod installed. It could be that I’m in the transition phase because I don’t have any players rated higher than 80 at the moment but in real life Championship clubs are just financial black holes but I’ve never had to look at the budget and think, hmmm maybe I have to sell my best player to balance the books. I currently have a spare transfer budget of £20m and wage budget of £100k.

    Only a minor issue, the game is fantastic.

  13. The Profit figure is irrelevant Cook, as you have seen only a portion of any profit gets reassigned into your Transfer kitty, £20m to spend on new players will get you nowehere, not in terms of mounting a Premier legaue ready side, you’ll obviously get another lump sum injected for winning the Championship, or being promoted, but even take that up to 40 mil, that will get you one player of any decent rating, or maybe 2 squad players, it’s not as cash flow easy as you might think.

  14. Cook – I’ve had a transfer budget of about £70m and a similar wage budget to yours for two seasons in the Premier and my squad looks like the one you see above. I would have been able to get 1 more star player with that budget but my squad would have been about 18 players. I needed to spend as I did to get a full squad, albeit a quality-light one. I am choosing not to wheeler-deal in the January frees to preserve my wage budget and the fantastic nurturing experiment I’m running. A sprinkle of stars and the rest all Youths and journeymen, and see what happens.

  15. NG – you know, I don’t think so but I couldn’t swear to it. I’ve seen mention of people just simming games having done the general manager trading etc but with such a short season anyway it must fly through. I don’t think there is the halfway house of picking plays from the sideline and watching them unfold, which begs the question why not when I was doing that on games on the spectrum and it’s sufficiently deep to support it.

    Having just been asked to take part in a Zoom webinar that is now up on you tube I can confidently say I will never be a social media face. I felt like an old, slightly camp (with my ever lengthening hair) work Geordie who over relies on the word ‘well…’. Ban it all.

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