Friday, 27 February 2009

He's beginning to believe

I know it's a line from the Matrix but

It's very interesting watching some games. M'Villa has been pretty stunning at youth level and I've given him an extended run in the first team since Wendells woeful form has kicked in (no goals in 15 games so far this season!). He makes the runs, in the middle of the park he's not amazing but doesn't give the ball away.

Recently he's been played in with a through ball and faced with a potential 1v1 against the goalie only to see him to take the ball out wide, it's like he's nervous. However I can literally see him develop now, he's getting more involved showing signs of confidence, so much so that when Wendell found his touch again (5 goals in 3 games) it was Paulo Roberto (High Profile Striker) that made way for him not M'Villa.
I'm first to say that the Match Engine isn't perfect but there is a lot of depth in,m there so it's not perfect it doesn't stop it being brilliant!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wibble Wobble

I think I'd seen FM Live for a few days and thought 'oh it's fantasy football I was expecting more'. The game then has moved steadily from that module to more of FM09 / MMORPG type game.

Yet there seems some sort of indecision on SI's part to lend a firm hand on exactly what the game is all about. It's unfair on new users to expect to start in a five season old gameworld. Why? You start in an old gameworld poor you start in a new gameworld poor.

'Yeah but it's not fair on the n00bs competing with experienced managers in established gameworlds'. So it's fair for them to try and compete with experienced managers in new ones, if anything it's going to be a horrible experience for them!

New managers make mistakes, they spend too much on too little, the common mistake is 'my £20k Aq Fee striker isn't any good, so I'll buy another £20k Aq Fee striker, oh he's not too good either' so they end up with squads of 40 useless players. Of course the old pros delight in selling them another £20k Aq Fee striker who's been playing in a great team got a 7+ Av rating and has scored loads for £250k.

OK so that's a learning curve that they have to go through. In an old world the old pros have long since got rid of their £20k Aq Fee strikers and £250k isn't really worth the bother besides as they see their gameworlds slowly die their all the more happy to help the new players out. Their not actually competing with them yet anyway.

Coming back to a point as long as you've 100 or so new managers coming in a season then they really don't need to compete with anyone but 100 managers.

Of course after a season or so I think it's natural that they'd like to start again lessons learnt and maybe then would be ready for the rigors of a new gameworld.

SI now have a new subscriber only policy to new gameworlds, 'omg hold the phone' I bet there are a good few old pros literally salivating at the prospect. So it's not really going to be a newbie only gameworld, then the actual newbies who for quite genuine reasons would like to move to a new gameworld WON'T BE ABLE TO!

Good grief.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

About Turn

I was looking at the stadium and income is already pretty maxed out so the next purchase would have needed to have been a player. Could I land a Left Back for £500k?

We Suck

Well I knew a 19 year old left back was going to be risky and we now officially suck :) We seem to play well then it all goes wrong mostly with the left back being exposed.

I will buy again but can't do anything until upgrades to stadium are finished as my projected is so bad. By this time we'll be well through the season so would be pointless buying then so have decided to keep this season low key and just let it pass me by. I'll have to keep AI down below the 40% though.

In saying that I suppose by the second week of the season we should be relegated from Division 1 of the ladder league so might have some competitive games to play again. We being slapped about silly in the Premier League :)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

How Long to develop?

Another spreadsheet this is an extremely pessimistic view I think you could cut this figures a lot! The principle is the same though keep your wages tight early chuck the money into stadium and off you go!

The thinking behind this is that as stadium upgrades pay for themselves to an extent you need projected money to build not actual cash.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Spin and Thinking Outside the Box

Stadium Improvements are 60% CHEAPER than shown!

1.1.2 improves projected income to account for future Stadium upgrades and it got me thinking about something I haven't yet been able to work out. I find it best to work on headline figures so here is what we kind of know already:-

1) Investing any money in the stadium will generally take 100 days to pay off
2) For every £1million invested income will rise by £10k a day.

In the beta I was kind of in a dilemma as to spending £2m on corporate seating, the costs etc and how to pay for it. Then I thought I'd do some maths. Cost £2m over 8 weeks = 56 days £35,000 a day.

However the upgrade would improve income by £20k so the 'cost' was £15k a day. Hey this is money I haven't got yet, so £15k a day isn't too bad! There you go proof that keeping your wages low gives you a disposable income that you easily spend on a 'soft upgrade'.

Just to recap on the £2m upgrade will cost me £15k a day for 56 Days, the actual cost is £840K.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Taking my own Medicine

This the Jakswans in beta in which I made a couple of rather large errors.

1) Took my wages right up to £100k within weeks
2) Built and paid for seats prior to SI halfing the costs of them.
3) Built seats on the small stands provided by default

I've since taken my wages down to £90k which has improved things and also have almost finished paying for those early seats. I have two X two tier stands which will be ok until I get to 3.5 star then I'm going to have to knock down a stand with expensive seating in. So I'm going to have to build and pay for those seats twice :(

As you can see I was in catch 22, I sold a player on £16k wages so my projected was much worse. I can afford to buy a world class player by the end of this season but then I won't be able to progress.

So I have to improve the stadium first, a corporate box £2m jobby will increase my daily income by £20k a day, then I can get the player and sustain a healthy profit to improve the stadium to imrpove the daily income to buy a better a player and so on.

I could have been where I am now a season ago but taking my wages to £100k so early just slows everything down dramitcally.

So what have I learnt.... Stadiums add a lot of depth to the game, prior to them coming in it was 'get squad win games' whilst that remains the bottom line managing your progression is a game in itself.

Fastest progression is going to be the cheapest squad you can put together for a 3 star rep (stadium improvements under this don't help an awful lot) build stadium to max daily income, buy player to increase rep, build stadium to max daily income, buy player to increase rep.

Eventually you'll have a stadium generating £299k a day plus daily income you will be a HUGE club how fast you get there is how good you play the progression game.

If I started again I'd go for a budget of £60k a day, with a little luck I think you could get to 3star in two seasons more likely to take you 3.

It's not horrible the squad isn't too bad :) You might wonder that low rep kid is playing:-

Of course SI will reset the servers any day now I'm sure :(

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Right of Passage

One of my workmates who lost his team in the great GW crash of late 08 :) Finally got back into the beta, I have nagged him to buy the game but he won't budge.

Anyway I watched him get back in to a beta server and minutes later on his way to his first win he was bouncing round the office. A few minutes more he was telling me how much the game sucked and he didn't like it (he lost a few games).

I saw in him how I was when I first played the game and how I play it now, I have a calm detachment from the game. The Roberto Martinez pose I call it, arms folded cooly judging the game :)

Jokes aside I do think it's kind of like a 'right of passage' you can get too emotionally involved, fine enjoy the good times but don't get all upset about the bad ones. The end of the day it is just a game. Sometimes I think a lot of managers get really sucked in and when their dreams die get too emotional and miss out on a fantastic game.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Shearer Season Three End

We ended up finishing 3rd in the Premier League, we were never really in the hunt nor did I expect us to be with all the players moving around and the horrific timing of the injury to Dudu. I mean I sell Scott Parker and the day he leaves Dudu is out for eight days, yikes :(

I think only two teams have managed to stay in Division 1 of the active league throughout us and Unathletic Madrid. Although we were never in with a shout of winning it we did manage a runners up spot in Division 1.1.

Runners Up again in SFAU21, won SFAU19 and SFAU17, losing just one player from the U21 squad this season so we might be getting scary soon. In fact I think almost the entire squad is U19 so we've a few seasons of fun to be had yet!

The stadium is set to deliver £165k a day and with wages of £120k we should be doing well. I think it's pointless having a youth set-up and then buying in talent so I'm going to start bringing them through.

I've two world famous and seven High Profiles in the squad now and I'm pretty confident few teams could compete with that on those wages. I keep playing U21's for a lot of senior games as I think playing at this level can help, our rank suffers but that is purely cosmetic now anyway.

Overall pretty healthy state of affairs and we should be able to sustain Top 6 of the Premier League for the foreseeable future.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Random Ranting Again

There is, in my view, a misconception that the decline in active members in gameworlds is due to the introduction of stadiums. There is increasing unrest on the forums and in the Shearer gameworld over the number of managers around. A lack of managers is a lack of options, lack of players to buy, lack of managers to sell to. Anyone reading this blog will know that I went on AT LENGTH about a deeper pyramid which is exactly what stadiums introduces.

Numerous times on this blog I've expressed concern on the life of gameworlds and stadiums or not, they were always going to become inactive.

In the podcast with Jordan he said the PvP (player V player) is an issue if you have different teams at different levels, I mean who wants to join a gameworld that's 10 seasons old with some mega rich clubs in it. Again just to labour the same point, AGAIN this isn't an issue if say the new members are competing with one another or with clubs that maybe only a season in themselves.

Why are they leaving? Thats the big question isn't it, I think a lot of the problem is one of making the game work on a massive level. Managers don't get form and how it works, it's fine in say FM09, 50 games a season and a user gets that for the first ten or some games the team just wasn't clicking it's part of football. However in FM Live users can be playing a thousand games a season and be playing anything from a conference team to a Premier League standard team, it's hardly surprising it's a bit random.

In my opinion there is another misconception, AI, I hear this phrase a lot 'I hate playing AI', dig a little deeper though and I think you'll find it fairly easy to get the manager to rephrase the statement to 'I hate playing the AI as I perceive I lose more to it'.

Even though I'm a mod of the game I'm still a manager, I'm totally convinced it's easier to progress in an old gameworld. Would I like to join an old gameworld? Not really as I'd be forced to play well established teams, now if I could join a gameworld the same time as say 200 other managers and only have to play them heck no problem!

If I was confident that the gameworld would still exist in five seasons and another 200 managers would be joining every season so having a long term strategy would pay off, well I'd move tomorrow.

Play, win rub it in, heck who came up with that, from minnows to giants that's the game they want to play, every single FM09 player I've met have ALL played the 'Torquay to Premiership game'. It's just a hunch I haven't got access to all the marketing data but that's what customers want to play if you ask me.

So what am I suggesting, stop opening so many worlds and change the FA's from the 20 team Leagues one month seasons to a phased eight team league approach ala SFA Active Leagues.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Gameworld Starting Strategy

I've kind of come to the conclusion that £60k would be the optimum wage bill for a new gameworld. Couple of reasons:-

1) The short term target is 3 star Rep it would take around £60k to get to this.
2) Under 3 star stadium upgrades are not really that worthwhile

60k a day still delivers £80 - £90k profit (including Media Money & FA Prize Money).

A full blown fully done 3 star stadium is around £5.2million. 5.2million divided by £80k is 65 days. 2.32 Seasons.

So 2.1/2 seasons to get to 3 star. I think you could rise to 3.1/2 or 4 a season after.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Can't buy a win

Mmmmm I had one player unhappy, Dudu, he had lost confidence in me and did read Marc Duffy say that a natural leader would not suffer from this. He was my captain so I changed captains.

Since then we've been useless, lol. After watching five games of dreadful results I decided to call it a night. I have no idea what is wrong and I think sometimes it's just a case of a phase passing, so rather than fiddle around make things worse I'm going on light duty for a few weeks.

The season is over for us now anyway and I could do with a break.

On a Budget - 3rd season Squad

I don't think that's half bad for the money!

Monday, 9 February 2009

SFA Active / Ladder League - High Drama

Of all the things I've tried this series of comps is the best. With two games left I was sitting in a relegation spot a win over Pinkys made sure of our safety, but left Macduff having to get three points from his last two to save his bacon. He duly made it happen and condemned Nick's Inter to Division 2.

It's a really competitive league and the current Premiership leaders also went down!

Hopefully my injuries woes will start to ease tomorrow as Dudu is finally back and hopefully De Cler shortly after. I've always maintained that the DM in a 4-4-2 is vital and playing with a 19 year old (who has benefited from the experience) always meant we were going to have an erratic time. The young left back did a good job and even though the 32 year old De Cler costs £16k a day I might attempt to extend his contract.

I know the match engine has it's critics but playing an 18 year old and 19 year in defensive positions things pretty much went as expected, erratic! This combined with numerous transfer activity (not something I normally do mid season) has left us limping in terms of form.

Paul Wallace despite having assembled an amazing team and a steady top 3 in the rankings continues his tirade in the lobby against the match engine.

Some of his points I agree with, against teams that are underranked I get the impression it's a case of luck going against you and get a feeling of 'loaded dice'. I've always found it a little odd that the opponents goalie would have a great game, perhaps odd isn't the word..... twisted. Luckily in the SFA most are active so everyone is where they should be so we have a more 'pure' version of the game.

Whilst the match engine isn't perfect I still see some things that feel right, e.g. my recent form although this was me losing a lot of games I really couldn't say it wasn't fair.

From my own view I get the frustration but I think the match engine simulates football with all it's wonderful inconsistencies pretty well.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Stadiums Again

Clearly the effect of stadiums hasn't quite sunk in, the effects on the game are massive!

Prior to stadiums it was a race to sign the superstars and as your income would rise to suit it was an easy decision to buy these types of players (provided their wages were decent). Having played the beta I can see if you move too early for this calibre of player it can end up really holding you back.

So in a new gameworld now the strategy should be assemble a team of 3star players (wages c. £60 - £70k a day) and leave your rep catch up, upgrade stadium (plenty of profit with wages at this level) secure better player to further increase rep, the profit from stadium improvements now support this type of player and still result in profit which in turn is pumped into the stadium. Repeat at 2.1/2 , 3 star etc.

I think a four star club with a four star stadium could be achieved in three or four months. Not every manager will see this though or even want to play this sort of game. I can see that some managers will peak early enjoy a short spell of dominance only to fade away, off to the next gameworld with them!

The upshot of this is that in of weird twist, starting a new gameworld could be a total nightmare. A thousand managers all chasing the same players where in an old gameworld it's going to quite easy. I suppose one downside is that you won't be able to compete for a few seasons but that can be said of a new gameworld as there will definitely be managers playing a short term game.

Although this is a broad strategy I'm sure traders will still be able to cut the time it takes and maybe getting a good few youth players will help matters.

Overall a fantastic addition to the game there are grumbles though, putting an update on existing servers has caught some managers off guard they've not seen the changes coming and have not prepared for it. I'd call it bad management they'd throw their toys of the pram and call me names:)

Actually I'm being harsh and some will have been caught just at the wrong time, maybe a four star club but no funds to build a stadium to suit. Their path is still open, all they'd have to do is put the brakes on drop a few players go back to 3.1/2 star and move forward from there. Some won't see this though and maybe it's fair enough that SI open gameworlds to allow them to bail.

The next test is how SI are going to keep old gameworlds active, even though I feel that joining an old gameworld is easier than joining a new one this view is held by many yet.

Keeping gameworlds not just going but very active is the big test, if they fail to do it then the game is doomed.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Stop Killing my Team!

Wow we've had some real corkers for injuries this season the real blow was Dudu for 8 days, the kids I can normally cover but first teamers hurt. Tim De Clar is the latest out for 3/4 days, in a rasther odd fashion this could be a perfect injury!

It's was my intention to find out how good Ramiarez is going to be at senior level without worrying Tim De Clar with him out injured it forces me to evaluate this now :-

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Fine Tuning

There were a lot of very decent players one an 18yo kid that I did fancy but my bid £2m was just over what I wanted to pay. I always use this strategy as if you miss out you know you had gone as high as you were prepared. A striker I looked at had gone to £2.7m and I wasn't paying that full stop so looked at a pretty boring AMC (28 years old) he had rep low wage and I knew it was the sensible choice and was the right player.

M'Villa is coming on great guns, at 18 I fancy he's still a little too young for senior football so with Misi bought we're back to a flat 4-4-2 with Roberto or Ashkan swapping striker / right winger roles.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


I've been looking for another High Rep since I sold Scott Parker I've £4m projected and with the stadium pretty much covered was looking to spend £2m on a big name. A few world famous strikers have passed under the radar and I was minutes away from being £1.7m lighter for Giuseppe Rossi. It's odd how fast things change, no sooner had Scott Parker packed his bags that Dudu was out with a long term injury forcing me to bring in a young DM, the flat 4-4-2 was still working with Fidel Martinez as the attacking midfielder but soon Martinez is out as well.

This now literally forced me to play Ashkan (who is now world famous whoop) in the AMC role and drop the DM to a proper DM position. Ashkan I think has earnt his rep in this role (free role seems to work well with him) and he has been stunning at times, I moved Paulo Roberto to the wing and brought M'Villa into the starting 11. So we're now playing a Diamond 4-4-2!

With this season being an interim season for us, i.e. rebuilding, this seems to work well but I have to have my eye on next season and still look to secure a big name to really drive the teams reputation on. Tim De Cler is 32 and I'm not sure about extending his contract (I've a superb 18 year old Left Back) so with this in mind the defence needs work and the head on the chopping block is Torrejohn.

Torrejohn has been great for three seasons but he's still quite young, I'd be quite happy to pull in an old pro around 30 / 31 for a couple of season, again it's the price that is going to be key. Then I have to be mindful that Gimenez is 30, I'm sure he'll go well until 32 but he's also gone world famous.

I also have to consider that £1m is worth 10k a day if pumped into the stadium and buying a superstar for £2m ish who's going to be on £20k is going to effectively cost a lot over time.

So now not only do I have to be looking at our needs on the pitch short term and long term but also be mindful of the clubs progression. Hopefully making decisions that will result in us getting to 4 star as quickly as possible and ensuring that progression can be sustained once we get there.

It's very tempting to splash the cash on a big name for short term gain. Adding to my confusion is that during a recent youth game I spotted a player that had me drooling. I've been here before though and kids at senior level can cause much joy and much frustration.

Dam you SI for making something that is so dam time consuming!

On the pitch we're patchy two world famous players normally results in a moment of greatness or two but with Dudu out we do look flimsy at the back, so results have been a little erratic.

The SFA Active Leagues are fantastic and you've always something to play for, see earlier blog.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The SFA Active Leagues or Ladder

I think it was Nik Reeves who came up with the ladder idea but the game at the time didn't support it. Now there seems to be a few new features that make it much easier.

With both myself and Nick Megarity pretty committed to the SFA I thought we'd try to get a ladder like series of comps going. I'm doing this for mods and orgs so they can see how easy it could be.....

(Sorry for quality of pics)

It looks a nightmare doesn't it, so we have Eight Divisions running for six days, first one of the season is Division 1.1, 2.1, 3.1 etc. Top 3 go up Bottom 3 go down (only active SFA members are entered into this structure so over FA's AI% they don't get entered).

With a simple filter you can get a nice clean view of the leagues though.

Which then gives you this:-

So with Phase .1 over I go into the competition reset it list in order of last seasons finishing position and go through the members easily transferring them where they to be:-

The game asks why their being moved (promotion / transfer / relegation) and a nice clear mail is sent out.

Had it all done in no time!

Stadiums - Quite a Fuss

As soon as I saw stadiums I realised it was a game changer. Lets be honest prior to this the game was 'here is £200k a day GO GO GO', a mad rush to sign as many of the top players as possible. It was more fantasy football than MMORPG or FM09, actually the short route to success was to trade.

The quick route is still open although you'll only be getting £160k a day, you have to choose do I take that path and peak early or take a long term view.... The ones that take a long term view will eventually have such financial might that they'll overtake the short termers by quite some way.

Prior to stadiums owning five or six world class players was simply a race to trade up now you'll first have to make sure the club can support that type of player. To Qualify for this what is required? Time, quite simply put the time in and you'll get there.

I suspect it's a dam sight easier to get there in an old gameworld rather than a brand new one of course there is no telling that to any managers.

The main issue now remains is keeping the old gameworlds active, rumours are starting to wash through that Si are planning to make them more attractive makes me a little nervous in that it's already a cushy ride to the top compared to starting in a new gameworld.

A minor criticism of SI would be that they when faced with managers saying it's not fair seem to try to make it fairer, ala lets give everyone £250k a day :)