Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Shearer Serason 2: A Dreadful Start

Well Season 2 has started and we're on a desperate run in the league, as memory serves just four points from the first five, it looks very much like we'll be doing well to stay up. I've decided to just play a few matches a day as previously I've charged through games and the end of season has felt very flat.

Coming back to the performance we've actually played quite well in games but conceeded late on after failing to convert many chances, I think it's a case of trying to keep a cool head and as the performance is there the rtesults will come. It is worrying that in other competitions form is A1 but in the SFA Premier League (the only that really matters) it's poor. I've abandoned a few games in other competitions to try and correct this, I don't actually know if this does more harm than good but it really can't get much worse.

Meanwhile so far the youths have started well with victories in every FA game played although it's not top of priorities it's nice to see. There is a manager in Shearer who managed to sign a 15 year old on 40k a day and a fine player this £40k 15 year old looks, I did show him M'Vila and he told me that he was 'nothing special', only time will tell but here is M'Vila today:-

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Ze Podcast or Not............

I do have in mind a subject for the podcast but despite several dry runs I'm yet to hit form :) I suppose it is something I should just do and get it over with but soon maybe.......

Shearer Serason 2 Squad

GK - Iraizoz was a £150k Aq Fee Keeper with high stats in the commanding area etc. Well Known Rep and 27 ish. Has risen to £200+k Aq Fee and will be locked next season, great goalie.
DL - De Cler a spot buy Well Known Rep 30 years old. A dutch international and picked him up in auction for his Aq Fee £220k, too good to miss despite his age.
DC - Diakhate £275k 25 Year Old Well Known, had bid on loads of players like him in wage auction and a semi reasonable £20k a day.
DC - Torrejohn £100k+ was in starting squad 24 years old and will be locked to the team very safe and solid.
DR - Rodriguez £90k Aq Fee, currently weakest point in the team seriously considering a young 16 year old DR here. This is odd for me as U21 defenders I'm not keen on but Tetteh, the kid in question, certainly gets it done. For now we'll stick with this. Aggressive player but clearly wants to win.
ML - Gimenez Went all out for him early on (had to pay by installments) and went to High Profile in no time, really tricky winger that can also play up front. 29 so not long term but has impressed.
MC - Dudu has actually played for Brazil in real life and is pretty tasty very technical player.
MC - Parker another starter in Season 1 will hit 29 this season captain of team.
MR - Ashkan awesome footballer can also play up front and AMC. Can open it all up, £275k and already high profile at 22!
FC - Grafitie if we have a star this is him, powerful, quick, and likes to place shots. 30 this coming season and will go in £1 auction once season is over. A great early buy that I used every penny I had at the time to sign.
FC - Wendell, big season for Wendell, this one hopefully will go £200k+ and High Profile. A lot of his game is about pace and flair but I know from GW6 he becomes strong when this happens he turns from a nice young player into a goal machine.
Other players of note
Sub - M'Villa it's odd how you talk about kids with other managers and they can't see further than 3 stats. 16 years old was pleased when i bagged him on £300 a day (silly managers missed this one) quick, strong, aggressive, technical and determined. At 16 without an extended run in first team is £65k Aq Fee, if he carries on improving going to be HUGE!
Sub - Paulo Roberto Right Wing / Striker seriously considered starting with him and not Wendell as I can easily slot Ashkan into the striker role. In some ways Paulo is a better winger, will have to think about this.
Sub - Mutumbo At 17 still too young but an outstanding young DM.
Sub - Fidel Martinez AMC, whilst Dudu is predictable Fidel isn't, very random but sometimes puts on a show. At 19 some way off first team but will feature here and there.

The wage bill is under control at £140k area, have nice group of youth players right down to 15 year olds. The first thing on the agenda is going to be securing our spot in the Premier league if we hit form we could challenge for a UFFA spot.
My plan was to be fielding a team where every player could get into most premiership teams and this squad has that. I think other managers have the strategy that they'll get one superstar and a competitive team behind them. We've no £1m + Aq Fee players but a very solid and quite a mature squad.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Friday, 19 December 2008

1.1 Boring - But in a Good Way

We can now talk about 1.1, I won't get into great detail for that see FM Blog - A Moderators Life or Your FML both A1 blogs. Instead I thought I'd give me impressions from a playing point of view.

If you were to summarise 1.1 into a few words it would stadiums introduced and massive changes to finance system. My previous plan for starting in a Gameworld has always been sign a couple of decent players in a youth team, watch them play and replace the youngsters that can least cope with seniors. It means I don't need to sell anyone as I'd likely sign a youth team anyway.

I've always liked to sign players with a long term view so pretty much they should be Premiership standard, these players commonly costs £150k + so with the finance system I could maybe get one or two pre season and then maybe a couple more when the season started. Hopefully the youth can cover the rest of the positions and we move forward from there.

Although the income stream isn't that much different in 1.1 the signing of players has one important difference, you pay a one off 10x contract wage signing on fee to the player. So your £150k Aq Fee players with a £8k wage demand is going to cost you £220k, quite a chunk of cash! In fact it almost half's the rate at which you can bring more players in.

In 1.01 I'd start, get to know, the team identify a weakness find a target and bid, you'd then do the same process again. The games pace wasn't too bad.... In 1.1 you start, identify a weakness find a target and wait for money, and then wait some more.... It's much slower.

The real exciting stuff in 1.1 is stadiums, how exactly these will 'play' I have no idea. I don't think you need to focus on this area until you have a bigger team, really start of season two, the beta servers get reset so I've not yet got the point where their needed.

The result of these changes is that at the start of a Gameworld 1.1 is really slow and well.... boring. However is this such a bad thing? Moving Gameworlds and having to start again becomes as chore, nice desirable result!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Player Centric Tactics

Jordan and the gang have another podcast out, essential listening as usual.

The Jakswans are looking good for promotion to the premiership having risen to 2nd spot, it's possible that we could even secure the title although that looks unlikely. Currently we're half way through the SFA Non Premiership Cup Semi Final (first leg away drew 2-2), and oddly the various youth squads have been over performing, in the FA's competitions we could literally walk away with every single youth trophy.

I decided to run all these youth comps after reading that FA games help youths progress more so regardless of the result the SFA should have strong youth players coming through.

Had an interesting chat with a few managers who read my blog and stated it's like tactics don't matter..... My tactics are very simple, pretty much standard 4-4-2 my outlook on tactics as a whole has been 'player centric'. I like to play 4-4-2, I think it's nice to watch, is balanced and can be adapted easily into something else. Having watched now literally hundreds of games I came to the conclusion that in this formation the most critical position is the DM/MC.

When something breaks down it's more often the DM that is picking up the peices, if a ball is played to a winger and there is nothing on he turns and lays it back to the DM. He then looks to set something else up and move from there. Having a player that is weak in any area in this position is a recipe for disaster and this is this reason why we spent the bulk of our early cash on a mature Scott Parker.

Another example of 'player centric' tactics is the choice of subs or maybe switching players positions currently I have a young 19 year old striker Paulo Roberto who can play right wing and then I have the wonder boy Ashkan Dejagah who can play up front or right wing. Which player to play where is the cause of much pondering, the opposition, their formation, the scoreline, all factor.

Another player in my line up is a young AMC Fidel Martinez, too young for senior football and makes a lot of mistakes but has lots of flair and can occasionally open up a defence like no other, if we're chasing a game he'll often get to see action.

Oddly I seem to enjoy not so much getting it right but sometimes getting it wrong, there just seems to be endless depths in the match engine.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Mods Day out & Random Stuff

Well the mod meet went great, Sega / SI looked after us for a meeting in Kick Bar London. The theme was Sega wanting to drive the community aspect part of the game and to outline some plans. The 1.1 release notes are fairly comprehensive so no shocks there.

The big surprise is just how heavy the marketing campaign will be and the demographic they'll be after, Sega are doing both barrels so I'd expect around 100 new worlds, yes, 100, wow.

Some changes to how Gameworlds get released but full steam ahead otherwise and some news on how 1.1 will be applied to 1.01 not sure what we can reveal or not so best leave it there.

Everyone was pretty much as I expected the day did pass in a blur and didn't have chance to chat to everyone I wanted to but this isn't a moan just how good it was to meet so many. No sooner I had got there it felt like I was looking at my watch and thinking 'omg must get train'.

Podcast - I'm thinking of doing a podcast I have started one a few times but can't quite get on roll with it.

We still putting points on the board in SFAQ2 and currently pro rata lead all the youth comps (not sure how long this will last though). The best manager in FM Live has to be Paul Wallace, this is his squad in a Gameworld that isn't three weeks old:-Wow that takes some doing!

Friday, 12 December 2008

New Podcast by the Martin White

Martin Pearson & Martin White, mods with great community skills have a site that I've not come across before and another Football Manager Live Podcast.

On the Bounce

A few real life dramas have taken time over the last few weeks but hopefully will have more time now to bring back updates as fast as before.

As expected form bounced quite strongly and we played a couple of FA games both 1-0 wins against FC Couch Potato, I felt sorry for their manager as although I could see he had assembled a very strong squad I could sense from the last few games our luck had turned. This was really underlined in the dying minutes of the second game with it at 0-0, the game was getting stretched and there were three clear cut chances in injury time, eventually though Paulo Roberto broke on the right chucked a dangerous looking cross in for Grafite under considerable pressure to power in.

We dropped a few points here and there (noticeably to Macduff FC who must be favourites for the title), the best result so far has been against Hurtlocker FC who pro-rata were in 2nd spot. With us in 3rd spot it was a little bit of a six pointer I felt a win would dictate the seasons theme i.e. chasing Premiership or Championship football for next season. We were coasting at 2-0 and despite a 89th minute consolation goal never looked like losing.

Although the various youth leagues are way down my list of priorities I managed to win back to back games against Inter, M'Villa was the star of the show throughout!

Monday, 8 December 2008

An End to Football Trader Live.

Back in October I posted Football Trader Live rant, if you read the SI forums it seems that Si are taking steps to move the game away from being so focused on this part of the game. It's a tricky one to call as although the beta servers get used their really quiet and you have to really play the game for a few seasons to get a feel for the changes. It's balance between curbing this path to success or killing it stone dead, it needs to be a viable strategy but not to the degree it is now.

When being a mod I've tried where possible to be proactive to new users helping them out as much as possible but you continue to see chats that start with 'This game sucks', only to look at the posters squad and see 40 very ordinary senior players. Some of them bought with cash that could have secured a few superstars. I've even private chatted with some and shortlisted players for them some really appreciate the help others 'don't tell me what to do'.

Grafite the most expensive signing thus far is having a ball with the gameworlds defences he really is a class apart and we're starting to dominate a lot of games. Experience says as long as the performance is there ignore the result, luck will turn and when it does a long good run will start, a clam head is needed.

Out of the SFA Cup, through to the next round of Non Premiership Cup and the Gameworld Cup. Form in the SFA Qualifying is still limping a bit. Once again Inter came away with 3 points despite us battering them for best part of 90 mins, two corner goals this time the difference between the teams. The corner exploit is frustrating but we'd have probably lost it anyway, you get those games where your dominant and just can't seem to score.

The burning question I still have is Gameworld longevity and become more convinced that I'm right with my solution of not allowing new subscribers into new gameworlds. New users find the game very hard and it's not a nice game to be losing in, a form of apprenticeship served in an established world ensures they don't go making mistakes in new ones.

If the current batch of gameworlds don't stay active for more than a few months the game is in the smelly stuff and I don't see any other viable solutions been touted.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Phew, Shearer Economy starts to Heat Up

The race has hotted up in Shearer for the £100k + Aq Fee players, it doesn't take long, the first few days you can secure players for their wage demand then the wages start climbing. Timing your move into this market and out of this market can be stressful. There still remains a good few of these players but clearly their going to go fast now. and often they'll be above wage demand.

A couple of days ago I went in for Augusto Fernadez (22 year old AMC / MR) wage demand £2k went for £10k, actually I know he rises sharply and was worth c.£8k a day. I watched a few more games and feel the Fidel Martinez a young 19yo is able to offer something at senior level, despite still having a young squad I have maturity throughout the team apart from up front. So my search switched to a striker, ideal would have been targetman type with a touch of pace high profile / high Aq Fee (so he has ability) and a bit of a handful. There wasn't anyone one the free agent list so I checked auctions, perfect, Meet Grafite!

The League campaign has fizzled rather than exploded we were unbeaten until we went down 3-0 to Inter at Home, mind we had more chances / possession and Nick uses the corner hack so I didn't think it suggested something inherently wrong in the team just one of those results.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Another Podcast

Another good FM Live podcast from the guys at FM Britian this time they got Sega's Rob aka FullMetalRacket. Jordan put him on the spot with regard to changing gameworlds or gameworlds dieing, 'well see how it goes' seems to be the response. Other than that Rob seemed really keen and I'm sure with guys like this in the background SI will have a massive hit on their hands.

The changes for 1.1 which are very public now do seem to make the start less exciting but when you think about you only see the advanced features of the game much later on so I think SI had an eye on the Gameworld dying issue in the design.

It's a bit of a grind testing it as it's being reset quite often (totally understandable) so you scout / secure a player and it's hardly exciting as he'll be a goner in less than a month.I don't think we're allowed to got into depth about 1.1 so best leave it there.

I have man flu so I'm not gonna say anymore, sleep!