Now that the world is getting back to normal, or trying to, I am looking forward to my gaming life to get back to normal. The particular demands of work and life in my case are such that for the past few weeks I’ve had no time or energy at all for 5 days out of 7 for anything but work, food, telly, bed. Which is a new and unprecedented state of affairs for me.
I actually spent a large chunk of my limited gaming time this week playing Football Manager 2019. Had to get to the end of my 5th season as a manager, and my first in England, with Carlisle United – often called just ‘Carlisle’, as in the screenshot here. Aldershot and other teams get their ‘Town’ so why can’t we have our ‘United’? There is a way to fix this. On the PC gaming platform, if you can think of it, there’s a way to do it – but as with FIFA, and before it PES, I always find myself just wanting to start the game and get playing.
Brief recap: this is a ‘Start Unemployed’ save in FM2019. The idea is to startout as an unemployed 30-something former park football player. No qualifications at all and no reputation. See where fate takes you. I spent 4 seasons at BK Avarta in Denmark, and really got to know the club and Danish football in weird depth (it’s not all Brondby over there). I got them into their equivalent of the Championship and left because I simply could not see how I could take them any further.
I applied for and got the job at Carlisle when it became vacant following their relegation from the Football League into the Vanarama at the end of season 2021-2022. A bad start, when I tried to be too accommodating for unhappy players (get rid of ’em is the way). Then I recovered and qualified for the playoffs. Which we won. I stayed up until 4.30am playing FM2019 on Sunday night. At the moment it starts getting light at about 2.45 and it’s broad daylight before 4.00. The birds’ dawn chorus is bloody loud when you’re still buzzing with euphoria and trying to get to sleep. I’ve never really been any good at Football Manager, so this is huge for me.
Awkward segue: my star player for Carlisle is a lad who in real life bagged a move to Leeds – Liam McCarron. I haven’t got him in FIFA, but I might need him.
It’s not going too well with Leeds for me in that other footy gaming universe:
Somehow that chummy ‘Greg’ part gets my back up. I’ve got a side-save ready just in case the worst happens, which it might, as my form is atrocious. I had to move back to World Class as it’s just too easy on Professional.
I played 4 more league matches and the 4th Round FA Cup tie. Won 1, lost 3 in the league. And lost the Cup match too.No spectacular goals to show off, which is officially annoying now. I believe that a patch or two ago, the possibility for special long-range goals was reduced from ‘one every 5-match session, almost guaranteed’ to ‘one every week or two, if you’re lucky’.
For the thousandth time I must complain about what is so self-evident. ONLINE MULTIPLAYER IS RUINING FOOTBALL GAMING.
Every football game developer on the planet is singing from the same hymn sheet. We all know that for commercial reasons they require two things of their footy games: flow, and balance.
The fouls had to go, for the sake of flow.
And the long-rangers have to go, for the sake of balance.
And I don’t really blame them. If an average player like me can score one long-ranger per session in single-player, you can bet there are savants playing online who were bagging a 30-yarder in every match, or even a couple of them in every match.
Which creates imbalance.
Analytics would tell EA it needed nerfing, so they nerfed it.
It’s terrible for us single-players to get lumped in with the onliners, but put yourself in a suit, put yourself in the EA boardroom, and remember what your long-term strategy is. Single-players must become online multiplayers. Single-players must eventually be a thing of the past, a quaint holdover like those people who still have black and white tellies (still in 6000 homes across the UK according to last year’s figures).
I can confidently say it’ll never happen to me. You’ll never click on here one day to find me saying single-player is done for me and everything is about online now.
I’ll quit completely before I play online. When it comes right down to it, I just don’t like the presence of other people in gaming. I need to be able to pause the game and scratch my nose. I get anxious if I can’t. People ruin everything.
I’ve played online a couple of times in recent years and not hated it. PES2018’s myClub was actually very enjoyable, but I ended up mostly playing offline there too and enjoying the pseudo-ML qualities it offered.
Ultimately, there’s only one football game in town and it’s a single-player one. And FIFA20 ‘s Career Mode still hasn’t dipped below a 9/10 per session experience.
Back to the coalface of my crumbling Leeds save in FIFA20. I think I’m one defeat from the sack. More Friday.