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Rob

Discussion: Real versus fake player and teams


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(thanks to @Foxy for the graphic)

This is the first of what I plan to be semi-regular discussion articles where I kick off a discussion for the forum. If you think it’s a turd idea then do say and I will stop, otherwise I hope you enjoy and comment. 

Introduction - The current state of ‘real resources’

Real players, leagues, teams, and the like (let’s call them ‘real resources’ for the purpose of this article) are integral parts of Football Manager, whether it be versions for PC, mobile devices, or video games consoles. Yet how weird did it feel to play this year and see Juventus labelled as Zebra Turin? 

This article is about the importance, or lack thereof, of real resources towards a satisfying gameplay experience, where I will write upon a few discussion points and actively encourage all to join in.  If I miss anything please do raise it and let’s get the conversation going. 

In this article please assume that I am discussing FMM in particular and the game engine will always remain the same - it is just the resources themselves that real or not. I am not specifically talking about enabling ‘use fake players’ either.

Affinity to clubs
 
The most obvious benefit to using real resources in the game is your affinity to that resource. Say you are a huge Liverpool fan then the thought of loading the game and demolishing all ahead of you, much like the current team, has a massive appeal. The same applies if you are the fan of a smaller club, where your dream may be to march them up through the leagues and conquer Europe. You also may have a favourite player, or indeed a friend, in the game and want to sign them and maximise their potential. Yet you may also want to do the opposite and ruin a club...if that’s in your nature. 

In a way FMM allows you to play a computerised replica of all the times you pretended to be a footballer or a team in the playground, down the field, or in the street with your friends or family.

Not using real resources would dispose of this affinity but perhaps build new ones. One of my favourite joys of the game is finding a player (Zarzana) that I had not heard of and then growing him in to a beast. Funnily enough Woody is having exactly the same experience with the exact same player (Zarzana) this year. Not knowing this player meant I felt like they were a secret that I found - a golden trinket lost amongst a pile of rubbish. Imagine if you found, say, Frank Jefferson in your non-real game and you sign him for a bargain. Then you grow him and he becomes top scorer, playing 1,000+ games for you, and leading you to managerial riches. No one else will ever have that experience and it will be all yours. 

Regens, or evogens, could fulfil this role, but, whilst I don’t know about others, I find  myself unconsciously figuring out who they are. An amazing young Swedish striker you find? That’s usually a Zlatan or Isak replica. Whereas a database with randomised player names, attributes, club structures, and the like would generate a fresh experience every time.

Tactic Fulfilment

One of the supposed benefits of real resources is the ability to build a tactic and then buy players you know can fill the roles. It’s the same as when you select a club: you may have a style of play and pick a club that suits it. I’m guilty of picking Man City in a lot of challenge as they have an abundance of quality players in the roles I want. 

Having non-real resources means, however, would make you think about the game more and what attributes suit what role. If you wanted to play a right winger then you would pick a lesser known player with good crossing, dribbling, movement, and pace... whereas if you knew the players you may be tempted to go for a more familiar name who would not be suited to a role. I’ve lost count, for example, of the amount of people who shoe-horn Anthony Martial in as a right winger and then wonder why he is not assisting enough for their main striker. 

This all ties in to my next topic...

Easy Scouting

You know a player; you can find them. Want a top class left winger? Douglas Costa is your man. Want a decent younger left-wing prospect? Dilrosun, Lainez, and Lemar come to mind. On the right? Let’s all bellow it together: PAVON! Most of us know the traditional beats that play the best music, but finding the instruments that make the freshest of tunes is what really gets the mind dancing.

If you were playing the game ‘properly’ then searching by name wouldn’t be possible. Hands up if you often just type a name in the search box and don’t even bother with attributes? Yep, most of us can be guilty of this crime; our sentence at Vibe’s prison yet to be decided. But searching by name... it’s just too easy.

Tangential to this, the wonderkids list is a wonderful resource, especially for new forummers who want to make their first steps in to completing challenges which is to be applauded and encouraged, but it also breeds laziness amongst more seasoned members. What’s more interesting: a 1kc with Fabio Silva or Geoff Smith from FC Dudley? More importantly, what would feel more of an achievement to you: success with someone everyone else has had success with or success with someone unheard of? Non-real resources would fulfil the latter. I liken it to music. It feels so exciting to find a new band and hear all their ‘choons’, but when they go mainstream and over-saturate all streams of media the novelty soon dissipates and you doff your thinking-cap and begin your search for your next fresh music fix. 

One of my favourite 1kcs of recent times is Foxy’s with Mitrovic. Mitrovic wouldn’t land on any recommended players list but Foxy scouted him and decided his attributes would be interesting for fulfilling Vibe’s most famous challenge. I loved this! Not only did he get his 1kc but he also joined the 100 Club. I can only imagine how satisfying that must be. I’ve not seen a Mitrovic career since.

Having non-real resources would enforce proper scouting and proper strategy. Proper strategy would inspire people to think about the game more and, perhaps, grasp more enjoyment from the jaws of the boredom of FMM’s ‘rinse repeat’ familiarity.

The influence on Vibe

Vibe’s challenges are split wonderfully by the main admin team, but for the purposes of this articles let’s split them in to two: specific players and number targets. Liverpool Front Three is an example of the prior, whereas the 1kc is the latter. Any switch to non-real resources would render a good proportion of our fantastic player-specific challenges null and void.

HOWEVER, the offset of this is that a lot of the number target challenges would, perhaps, become a lot more appealing. We have no idea how the player(s) or club will develop, whereas real resources would be a lot more predictable. They were be fantastic and unpredictable.

Final Opinion

So there are my offerings. I’ve thrown a few pros and cons in. What does everybody else think?

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@Rob Cracking article mate and I really like having the idea of articles that will create discussion and debate so good Idea 🙂

I've never been one to ever use the fake player option it's never really interested me to be honest and who says in real life managers or staff don't Google players , just look at Dennis Wise who signed 2 players in Xisco and Gonzalez to Newcastle on the back of person in South America think it was an agent telling him to search him on YouTube 😂

All seriousness though , for challenges on Vibe it would make some very interesting scenarios as EVERYONES saves would be different and I agree no one could buy the same players as the next person taking the challenge and therefore it would promote more intelligent thinking which would help you in the game 

Regens for me create this type of way of playing but you've got to play at least 20 years into the game for 80 percent or so of players in the game to be 'fake'

I'd never use fake players while playing a a normal save as it wouldn't interest me but for challenges and competitions on Vibe it definitely would bring a new dynamic to playing the game which possibly would interest me 

Once again enjoyable read! 

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1 hour ago, AdamNufc said:

All seriousness though , for challenges on Vibe it would make some very interesting scenarios as EVERYONES saves would be different and I agree no one could buy the same players as the next person taking the challenge and therefore it would promote more intelligent thinking which would help you in the game 

I'd never use fake players while playing a a normal save as it wouldn't interest me but for challenges and competitions on Vibe it definitely would bring a new dynamic to playing the game which possibly would interest me 

The thing is the Fake Players option doesn’t really hide the best players in the game because it essentially just changes the players names to regen ones and although it scrambles the attributes a little bit it is pretty obvious who everyone is and which teams the best players play for.

It doesn’t take much thought to work out who these players have been created over for example.

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1 minute ago, Foxy said:

The thing is the Fake Players option doesn’t really hide the best players in the game because it essentially just changes the players names to regen ones and although it scrambles the attributes a little bit it is pretty obvious who everyone is and which teams the best players play for.

It doesn’t take much thought to work out who these players have been created over for example.

55D8FC03-CAD0-4DE3-A780-D49539911B13.thumb.png.e379b42e8bc66ed604c2e3e7e9e1354b.png75BCB45C-D134-441C-BC8C-C9AB3133F1E0.thumb.png.53d74d1579ab4049635624fa2c4af5bd.png7288D843-C334-469F-A089-AF6F1058FD3A.thumb.png.cb2e292e4bd98dac28589db27e947a5a.png80874D70-F1B0-4EB3-AFA2-5C3F7DF1BCCB.thumb.png.08082b9003cd4f9d212a221a51f441a0.png

That's a Valid point that @Foxy

Mane

De Bruyne

Bernardo Silva

Laporte 

Basically has no use then , never ever really noticed that as I've never selected the fake players option , would have a use if the fake players were actually totally randomised but then if that happened you could potentially have teams like city and arsenal relegated in first season if the players they randomised with aren't the quality that they are in real life 

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3 minutes ago, AdamNufc said:

 Basically has no use then , never ever really noticed that as I've never selected the fake players option , would have a use if the fake players were actually totally randomised but then if that happened you could potentially have teams like city and arsenal relegated in first season if the players they randomised with aren't the quality that they are in real life 

But imagine if those clubs weren’t City, or Arsenal, or Liverpool, United, or Chelsea. Imagine if there were an entirely new generated club. 

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2 minutes ago, AdamNufc said:

would have a use if the fake players were actually totally randomised but then if that happened you could potentially have teams like city and arsenal relegated in first season if the players they randomised with aren't the quality that they are in real life 

I don’t see that as a problem.

Instead or it being a fake players option it should be a randomised players option where everything is mixed up and you don’t know what you get as that would at least create a whole new game experience. 

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9 minutes ago, Rob said:

But imagine if those clubs weren’t City, or Arsenal, or Liverpool, United, or Chelsea. Imagine if there were an entirely new generated club. 

 

9 minutes ago, Foxy said:

I don’t see that as a problem.

Instead or it being a fake players option it should be a randomised players option where everything is mixed up and you don’t know what you get as that would at least create a whole new game experience. 

For challenges with people on Vibe I think I'd probably enjoy this but for my own saves that I do and stuff I probably wouldn't select the option , the entirely generated club idea might actually be alright if the whole League set up was randomised too , I just like the more structured realism of starting with real players in my opinion but both valid points 

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I personally think that real players make it a more realistic experience isn’t that what playing FMM is about? What I think would be interesting would be changing how regens work. As you said Rob whenever regens pop up you always have a rough idea on who the player is. Would it not be better if young players were just random players from random countries? To make it more realistic they could appear at certain clubs with a record of producing great youngsters perhaps. That’s my thoughts.

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Brilliant article, thoroughly enjoyable read.

I’m guilty of the whole scouting by name thing as I’ve been using the same old faces on a lot of my recent careers. You get caught up in it as you know they’ll do a good job but yet there’ll be loads of other players that’d also do well if given the chance. I do like to change things up and go to other leagues every so often and usually lesser quality leagues which means I’m forced to try a few different players. I picked up Palacios for Benfica recently and he turned out to be an utterly brilliant BBM which I was chuffed with as he was totally new to me. Of course I posted him up on my update and practically everybody else knew and had used him. Still though to me he’s my find and always will be.

The wonderkid list is great for the site but it’s not something I overly like in some ways tbh. Mainly because half of the players on the list I’ve never actually heard of so it’d be nice to find them myself. I know I could avoid looking at it but that never works out in practice as you always end up checking. The worst for me is when you’re trying to find a unique youngster for a goalscoring challenge so you load the game up, search through the players to then find a nice looking player and of course you want him to be unique so you look at the wonderkid list and of course he’s sat there on the list to your annoyance. It sounds like I hate the wonderkid list but I don’t really and it’s just my problem with it as it’s great for many viewing the site I’m sure of that.

I’ll back later with another comment as I’m beginning to waffle on now.

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Great article Rob. I don’t really have any more to add other than what’s already been said.

Looking forward to the next one!

ps don’t thank @Foxy for the graphics, it “turns him on” apparently.

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10 hours ago, Rob said:

But imagine if those clubs weren’t City, or Arsenal, or Liverpool, United, or Chelsea. Imagine if there were an entirely new generated club. 

I wouldn’t like that at all. I can cope with regens as I just blank out of my mind who they might have been in there previous life but fake club names would make it feel like playing a game from the 90s that didn’t have the licenses.

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On 21/07/2020 at 22:31, LTFC said:

I personally think that real players make it a more realistic experience isn’t that what playing FMM is about? What I think would be interesting would be changing how regens work. As you said Rob whenever regens pop up you always have a rough idea on who the player is. Would it not be better if young players were just random players from random countries? To make it more realistic they could appear at certain clubs with a record of producing great youngsters perhaps. That’s my thoughts.

Agree, I'd prefer a bit more variety with the regens - it's just silly to say Wales will always have a world-class left-winger, Czech Rep will always have a great keeper, etc.

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10 minutes ago, Mr Tree said:

Agree, I'd prefer a bit more variety with the regens - it's just silly to say Wales will always have a world-class left-winger, Czech Rep will always have a great keeper, etc.

Reminds me of Premier Manager on the Mega Drive and PS1 in the mid 90’s although on those games no player would ever improve so it was just a matter of gradually building a decent high star team. When your 4 star Robbie Fowler would retire you’d just get a total clone as a youngster but with a different name. Once you’d built a great team it was literally just a case of pushing the button and winning forever without any transfers or anything. Still enjoyed the game though at the time but you’d think they could come up with a slightly better more random regen system on FMM by now.

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1 minute ago, Ian said:

Reminds me of Premier Manager on the Mega Drive and PS1 in the mid 90’s although on those games no player would ever improve so it was just a matter of gradually building a decent high star team. When your 4 star Robbie Fowler would retire you’d just get a total clone as a youngster but with a different name. Once you’d built a great team it was literally just a case of pushing the button and winning forever without any transfers or anything. Still enjoyed the game though at the time but you’d think they could come up with a slightly better more random regen system on FMM by now.

They Key words there being 'you'd think '

Regen system is poor but so is the whole AI of the game , just look at managerial appointments , Newcastle for instance in a save I had , sacked a manager and instead of going for someone with some modest top league experience , go for Cosmin Olariou a manager from CSL whose most ever experience is managing Saudi Arabia! Or look at transfers , every save you do it's all the similar transfers , AI clubs sign players of reputation , a player with a high reputation could have an awful season but will still go for big bucks or teams going for champions League will sign a player whose been out of contract for 2 years and is about 36 , it can be very very random , and just look at the AI grasp of tactics , shocking 

Not to mention the amount of times clubs often table offers for your players that aren't even half their value

I won't go on too much though as while writing that I've had an idea that I could write an article on FMMs Artificial Intelligence in the near future 

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Its a great article Rob and brings up interesting conversation.

Like @Foxy said the randomize option would be brilliant and add an extra slice of difficulty to game as each save would be different.

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Fantastic work mate, I've sat on it a few days hoping to add to the discussion but I think everything has been covered already! 

Looking forward to this series! 

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I definitely wouldn't want the clubs randomized, The game would lose a lot of it's character. Whether I'm managing Newcastle, or LA, or Macclesfield, or Bognor Regis, I'm going to identify with that club. If it was some random club, I wouldn't give a toss about them, but for a real club, big or small, I can find something in their identity that gives the game more purpose for me.

Also, it's not just the club you are managing. When you're managing Macclesfield and you get a cup tie against Liverpool, that really adds to things. If it's just a game against generic big club... Nah, not for me.

For players, it'd be more okay, because there's a large element of that anyway with regens once you get a few seasons in. But even then, I think I'd want real players for most saves. I can go find players I've never used if I want to and I do enjoy that, but I also enjoy using some old favourites. 

So yeah, I guess for me, a big part of FMM is the 'magic of football', and to me that comes from the clubs, team colours, players, grounds, the team situations (Bolton, in L2!) and everything else and if you take that out of it, I may as well go play any generic strategy game (well maybe that's a bit extreme).

But yeah, totally agree that the regen system should be reworked so there is no hint of the original player remaining.

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It’s funny as when writing this I never really considered how important real clubs would be to people. I always assumed you’d want everything real or everything fake, not a mixture. 

Now I am fairly deep in my Warrior save I have found with regens this year that they are a bit more randomised. There are a few lads in my England team who are superb and I couldn’t figure out who they were based on when I looked yesterday. Maybe it’s been improved a little bit. 

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1 hour ago, Rob said:

It’s funny as when writing this I never really considered how important real clubs would be to people. I always assumed you’d want everything real or everything fake, not a mixture. 

Now I am fairly deep in my Warrior save I have found with regens this year that they are a bit more randomised. There are a few lads in my England team who are superb and I couldn’t figure out who they were based on when I looked yesterday. Maybe it’s been improved a little bit. 

I think a mix can work, but everything fake means I have no connection with it...

And yeah, regens are much harder to pick this year because the positions won't be the same (apart from one bright green position). In most cases that makes it almost impossible to tell, but there are still some where it's obvious (such as Zlatan because there aren't many Swedes in the game and he stands out).

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