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crlarsen

FUT addict since FUT 12. A master of economic science and data analysis professional. @c_r_larsen

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220 Comments

  1. 1

    Joshua Parker

    It happens. I’ve seen tots players play like bronze players when facing weaker teams. I know others have too

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Crlarsen

      And I have seen bad players with TOTS squads play so badly that they made their TOTS squad look like a bronze squad.

      It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

      Reply
      1. 1.1.1

        Jakob

        You cant actually know, if they played badly – or just experienced a lot of handicapping! Unless u know the persons of course 🙂

        Reply
  2. 2

    Emilio

    It indeed happens. If someone was to ask me: Well how do you feel the handicap then, where is it? The answer is simple. It’s in the players reaction time. I use to say that it feels like the batteries in your controller are running out. When you push the buttons on your controller the players doesn’t react. Sometimes they even just stand still like dumb frozen zombies. This is clearly the AI that gets affected. I tested this with a full inform/tott/tots team and a full PSG team with non rare digne, marquinhos, verratti and aurier. The difference between the players’ reaction time in the two teams is huge. The PSG team acts totally different then the full inform team. The players do things by them self, they are much “smarter”, in other words the AI feels completely different. With the full inform team you have to force everything with every player.

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      Crlarsen

      I would recommend Jaimie Kennedy’s piece on the alleged handicap on inform players. He actually proves that two out of the three informs in his survey perform better than their non-inform counterparts by comparing their goal scoring and assist records.

      I don’t think you can prove anything just by comparing your subjective experiences when you play with PSG regular versus when you play with PSG inform.

      First and foremost, the opponent has a huge impact on your own performance. Playing with a higher rated team (informs usually are) does increase the chance of drawing an opponent who is more skilled than you are. Although your squad is upgraded, your own skill level remains status quo.

      So, even though it may seem counter intuitive, upgrading your squad may decrease your winning chances.

      Reply
      1. 2.1.1

        Emilio

        What i’m talking about is things you can actually see and feel. Obvious things. I loved this survey and took a part of it myself, but I think it looks too deep into psychological things. When we have to look at handicap we have to stop focusing on the psychological aspects of the game. We have to look at what is actually going on at the pitch. How the players react. First touches, players that won’t react when you push the buttons, players that looks like they are having stones around their legs when you want them to change direction. Especially the last one is a thing I know many have experienced. How do you explain a tots messi suddenly making turns like chiellini just because you put him in a team with a bunch of other inform/tots players. I think this is what people are experiencing. I know many people who have experienced these things when they are playing with a team with too many inform/tots players. People who have played a decent amount of fifa knows exactly when a player looks and feels sloppy.

        To prove handicap it would require recording these things, in my opinion.

        Reply
        1. 2.1.1.1

          James

          Emilio- Let me first say I feel what youre saying, and agree to some degree…. but lets go a bit further- in the “Messi/Chiellini” example, the person using TOTS/Y Messi, along with other 89+ overalls on the team, almost ALWAYS reports feeling “sluggish” (like u describe) SOME MATCHES, but feeling very Messi-ish in plenty of other matches…. Right now im using this redonkulous squad- http://www.futhead.com/14/squads/16558524/ and sometimes they play unreal and sometimes sluggish. But theres no rhyme or reason when…. a few things I KNOW for sure- the best FIFA players I know (no matter the team theyre using) win 70-85% of the time. AND- ppl (like myself) that only build 1 strong squad at a time (and really never “train” with average players) get used to that level of play and effectiveness, and it sometimes evens out with the player who only use lesser rated squads (as they need to be better players to compensate for lack of squad skill). This needs to be tested- best way (IMO) is by using FULL TOTY squads and its parallel “non-IF” squad against the same level of play and analyze the stats more thoroughly, which I failed to do last time. But, one thing id BET MY LIFE ON- no matter who does what, to any degree, to show one way or another whats happening, ppl are NEVER gonna agree on the conclusion 🙂
          Jamie

          Reply
          1. 2.1.1.1.1

            Emilio

            The best fifa players just compensate and put more effort and concentration into the moment if they feel the game is harder. Just like you and I would. They don’t rage quit. They care about their record and are very competitive. You can still win a game when you are being handicapped. I understand what your saying, and you got some good ideas. And as your saying sometimes your team is playing unreal and sometimes they are sluggish. It shouldn’t be this way 🙂

          2. 2.1.1.1.2

            FIFAer

            I get exactly what your trying to say. There’s no doubting it…but i have maintained 2nd and 1st division status for some time now….and its from playing the “handicap”…I never have more than 3 informs in my starting 11…i never have an overall team rating higher than 84 (which still allows for tons of star power) and i make SURE i have a great silver card and 2 or 3 great regular gold cards and then whatever gold rare cards appeal to my formation.

          3. Crlarsen

            If FUT seasons selects opponents based on star rating just like regular seasons, it makes perfectly good sense that playing with a 84-rated squad will make life easier for you than when you play with a 90-rated full TOTS squad.

            Why? Because everyone can buy an 84-rated squad, whereas a 90-rated squad requires millions of coins.

          4. Emilio

            I can’t get my head on this you are saying here. What do you mean? So if I play with a 90 rated squad life is harder because I get paired with 84 rated squads and therefore gets handicapped? So now you do believe handicap exists? You are confusing. I don’t think you understand what FIFA’er is saying in his post and what he means with the team rating and the handicap system.

          5. Crlarsen

            No, not quite.

            What I’m saying is that if FUT seasons works like regular seasons, the game will attempt to match you with an opponent with a similar rated squad.

            Next, I’m making the assumption that the average player with a 90-rated squad is harder to beat that the average player with an 84-rated squad, because everyone has the coin to buy and 84-rated squad, whereas a 90-rated squad costs millions.

            And to get millions, you either have to be rich or good.

          6. aramshat

            When playing with higher rated squad you are being matched with very low rated teams too. The thing is when you are playing against a higher rated opponent then 8 times out of 10 it is obvious that their players are not moving at all, they don’t react to your movements and you keep winning every single duel. When your players are being handicapped it is impossible to tackle the ball, you are surrounding their striker with 3-4 players but they intentionally don’t do anything, it feels like a force field.

            Also how you will explain that most of the time players with very low shooting stats keep scoring stunners from the center of the pitch while players like Ronaldo or Ibrahimovic keep hitting the post or shooting wide.

            45′ and 90′ goals are impossible to deny if you played enough matches, they happen in every single game, like in 7-8 games out of 10, whenever someone takes a shot at these minutes it always has huge power and 100% accuracy. Also in more than half of the matches momentum/handicapping strictly changes at exactly 30′. Most of the time when your players are behaving like shit, they start playing great after 30′ instantly.

            Also the opinion that AI doesn’t impact your play is horribly wrong, 90% of the game is decided by AI, you can only control one player while AI is controlling all other players. When momentum is on your side your players automatically rush and make fantastic tackles even when you’re controlling another player, and when momentum is on opponent’s side AI will simply throw your defenders to completely random positions by creating space for them and you can’t do anything because you can’t control all them at once, and even if you’re in control they will not react properly to what you press.

          7. Crlarsen

            “45′ and 90′ goals are impossible to deny if you played enough matches, they happen in every single game, like in 7-8 games out of 10, whenever someone takes a shot at these minutes it always has huge power and 100% accuracy.”

            Let’s assume that the 45th and the 90th minute each lasts 5 game-minutes, which isn’t uncommon in FIFA.

            This implies that the time has been stopped for 2×4 game-minutes during the rest of the match, meaning that 11 % of the effective playing time is taking place while the clock displays 45:00 or 90:00.

            According to research on this area, the goal scoring intensity is roughly twice as high towards the end of the half as it was at the beginning of the half. This is due to psychological and tactical changes.

            This leaves us with that we should expect 20 % of all goals to be scored during the 45th and the 90th minute (while the clock displays 45:00 or 90:00).

            At 4 goals per match on average, you would see a goal during either the 45th or the 90th minute in 8 out of 10 matches,

            So, basically what you are telling me here doesn’t appear unlikely, but at the same time it doesn’t indicate that goals are happening more often than they should during those minutes.

            “Also the opinion that AI doesn’t impact your play is horribly wrong, 90% of the game is decided by AI, you can only control one player while AI is controlling all other players.”

            The AI controls _the movement_ of all the other players, but it never passes or shoots. So although it does move the players around, it’s actual impact on the game is definitely not 90 %. It may control 90 % of the movement, but that’s about it.

          8. aramshat

            Well so you’re trying to prove that it is normal to score last minute goals in 8 games out of 10 even if in real life it happens probably in 2-3 games out of 10 at most. And taking into account that most lags/bugs happen at these times, when player who is worst at shooting always scores stunners in 45′ and 90′. If you collect all goals scored at these minutes and compare them to goals scored at other times during game you will see how unrealistic they are. There is a significant difference in gameplay at these minutes which shouldn’t be so.

            Regarding AI importance to the game – AI controls 90% of the movement and that’s exactly what football is about – player movement on the pitch. It’s far more than having the ball and being good on it, when AI intentionally doesn’t control your teammates properly you can neither get into shooting position or make a successful pass or defend. Particularly defending depends entirely on AI, which is first one to decide player movements before you take control of one of the defenders. You can’t do much if AI gives you a state where your defence is completely screwed. When the game is not going on your way all your teammates start doing strange things and thus ruining your gameplay. Player should be able to play in any situation independent of AI, more than 80% of goals I concede or score come automatically, like the game forces me to concede or helps me to score. I rarely feel that I have conceded because of my mistake or scored because of my good decision, almost always it depends on momentum/handicap/luck.

            Also outcomes of duels are ridiculous because of handicapping, in real life good players mostly win duels against bad players(defender vs attacker, etc) and make better decisions, but in fifa its completely random & scripted, in that aspect <75 rated players and 85+ rated players are almost identical, in average they deal in the same way against same players. When facing people in different divisions in FUT I see that all they have almost similar skills & squads, I have faced a lot of professional players with world class squads even in div7 and a lot of average players with low-rated squads in div1. If the game was fair that wouldn't happen, there should've been much bigger difference between these divisions.

          9. Crlarsen

            “Well so you’re trying to prove that it is normal to score last minute goals in 8 games out of 10 even if in real life it happens probably in 2-3 games out of 10 at most.”

            Yes, but in real life you rarely see 10 minutes of stoppage time. I believe that 4 minutes is the average in real football.

            The reason why stoppage time is longer in FIFA is probably that the breaks are relatively longer. As an example, the rule that the keeper has to put the ball into play within 6 seconds, would imply that the player would have to put the ball into play in 0.8 real second as the time passes 7.5 times faster than in real life.

            “Regarding AI importance to the game – AI controls 90% of the movement and that’s exactly what football is about.”

            I think this is pointless. We both know that football isn’t about movement alone. You can’t win a game by movement alone. So no need to continue down that path.

            “You can’t do much if AI gives you a state where your defence is completely screwed.”

            I agree. But please consider how complicated it must be to build defensive quality into a computer game. To me, it’s common sense that it’s almost impossible to build a perfect defense due to the same reasons why real defenders sometimes are failing blatantly.

            So, why do you prefer to conclude that the flaws you see are the product of deliberate intervention rather than plan and simple poor programming?

            “Also outcomes of duels are ridiculous because of handicapping, in real life good players mostly win duels against bad players(defender vs attacker, etc) and make better decisions, but in fifa its completely random & scripted, in that aspect <75 rated players and 85+ rated players are almost identical, in average they deal in the same way against same players."

            I can understand your position, but I think you are underestimating the importance of human skill as well.

            In real life, John Terry may be able to keep some random, bronze striker from Division 2 away from scoring, but in this game, it's only 30 % down to the stats of the players and maybe 70 % down to the skill of the humans controlling them. And sometimes, the guy controlling "random bronze striker" is simply so much better than the guy controlling JT that he will win almost every duel. This is feature by design and has absolutely nothing to do with scripting or handicapping.

            Besides, it's a key aspect of FUT to understand how the various in-game stats affect the actual performance. For certain stats, it makes little practical difference whether they are high or low, whereas others are crucial.

            This is not always intuitive, and it doesn't always imply that the game matches the real world particularly well. As an example, Messi has so far never been the best player in FIFA.

            "When facing people in different divisions in FUT I see that all they have almost similar skills & squads, I have faced a lot of professional players with world class squads even in div7 and a lot of average players with low-rated squads in div1. If the game was fair that wouldn't happen, there should've been much bigger difference between these divisions."

            Yes, it would be more fair but no, it doesn't prove that the game is made unfair deliberately.

            I believe that FUT seasons will attempt to match you up against an opponent who has (1) decent connectivity, (2) a similar star rating, (3) is in the same division – and (4) is trying to connect within the same time frame. .

            Although there are millions of players playing FIFA right now, it will be hard to find players who meet all these criteria.

            From a game design perspective, this leaves you with two options:

            Either you return a "no opponent was found" and keep the player waiting until he gets bored or you find an opponent who is as close as possible.

            Would you prefer to wait instead? Maybe. And maybe they could do us and themselves a favor by letting us decide.

          10. Dan

            Hi Guys,

            Really enjoyed reading this debate. Clearly we can see that Crlarsen doesn’t believe in handicap, momentum or scripting. His mind is clearly made up. Would be nice if he played a more impartial role. But, hey-ho.

            One recommendation I can make is to play H2H seasons online, this mode doesn’t have any handicap, momentum or scripting. I know this because I win 90% of the matches online vs users.

            When you win it feels like you win, when you lose you can easily accept it. When it is a close game you can understand it going either way.

            None of us are nut jobs, I don’t believe in ghosts, Aliens etc… If anyone wants to add me let me know because it is nice to chat around how to play vs the handicap.

            I run out a bronze bench to lower the average rating, never use IF or players with ratings above 84. I find it helps lower the chance of the AI becoming retarded.

            Division 1 player on H2H & Ultimate team and looking for a team to join on Pro mode. If anyone wants to start playing that mode and is a good play hit me up.

            Emilto some good posts, let me know if you want to add on.

          11. Crlarsen

            “Clearly we can see that Crlarsen doesn’t believe in handicap, momentum or scripting. His mind is clearly made up. Would be nice if he played a more impartial role.”

            You are asking biologist to be impartial in a conversation with creationists.

            We are not dealing with a debate between two equal points of view. The facts supporting the handicapping claim are non-existent. I have checked everything presented as evidence around the internet, and there is absolutely nothing to it. Generally, people present what ever *may* fit with the claim that handicapping exists, without actually caring about whether it fits just as well or even better with the opposite claim as well. For something to become evidence, it most either exclude all other options or make one option remain more likely than the other. Neither of these criteria are met here.

            Besides, the alleged rationale behind handicapping (why EA would have an interest in doing it) is based on a number of questionable or even unlikely assumptions such as the perception that people will buy more packs if you annoy then sufficiently by making the game appear unfair.

            The counter rationale (why people believe in handicapping if it isn’t there) is what I presented previously: People have an interest in being able to say that they are being handicapped because this is a much more convenient explanation for losing a game than accepting the fact that the opponent was better. Basically, this rationale is fully consistent with how people act elsewhere – like for instance the losing coach complaining about the referee.

            And then there is the counter evidence:

            – 85 % of the participants in the survey believes that the game deliberately let players score easy last minute goals to achieve certain results. What we know is that late goals in FUT will occur extremely often due to natural circumstances.

            – 65 % believes that the game downgrades the stats of star players. What we know is that NIF’s doesn’t perform better than IF’s and that better stats equals more goals (Ronaldo vs. Neymar).

            – 76 % believes the game imposes losing streaks on them. What we do know is that we didn’t find any losing streaks outside the ordinary in a sample consisting of 400 matches.

            – 70 % believes the game advantages inexperienced players to give them a chance. What we know is that inexperienced players don’t experience less handicapping than experienced players. What we also know is that people report more handicapping in harder game modes, meaning that they could be confusing strong opposition with handicapping.

          12. Dan

            Hi Crlasren,

            Thanks for the continued debate. I’m not 100% that handicap, momentum, scripting exists. However, having played for years I look to gain an advantage over the opponent by selected players that will achieve the best results. This hasn’t been as obvious on Fifa 14 as selecting a team of world beaters.

            On Fifa 14 I would run out a bronze bench and lower the overall team rating. Best to stay 80-83. Why? Because I would win more games the lesser my team rating. I’ve tested this and a selection of others that also play online UT also found this to be the case. Hence the cost of low bronze players. Players would fill out the bench to keep the team rating down. This would increase your chances of winning the match and also improve the AI performance of the team. It improved the passing, the runs the AI makes, the reaction time of players, and decreases the mistakes players would make in 14.

            After testing this on Fifa 15. This is NOT the case. I can run out a gold bench and notice no drop in performance. I’m rational. I test. I evaluate. This in my experience is massive improvement in Fifa and also means I can make subs!.

            This year for those who read this and want to drop out some tips on how to win. (Division 1 player with W/L ration of 3/1). I would run out a good bench and make subs towards the end of the match. My bench is now stronger than the players on the pitch.

            First half, defend and choose players that have strength and that are defensive minded. Then after 60 mins sub on Stirling, Arron Lennon (at LW) and a new striker. These are then very hard for the opponent to stop.

            The game is just that, a game. I find it very hard to win as constantly on UT as H2H season. It might be because of the game engine, it could be a more challenging league, could be I’m getting old..I’ve lost 5 games on H2H and I’m in Div2 heading to Div 1.

            I’m more than happy to look at both sides of the coin. For now, I’ll still look for ways that increase my chances of winning matches. I’ve not tried an IF player but have 50k ready to spend on one that is a good striker in prem.Will see how that effects the team.

            Last time I had an inform I then went from Div 1 to Div 2 and felt the team had a handicap because of the high rated player. Only proof I have is that without the good player I was always in Div 1.

            Hopefully this has changed in Fifa 15, the bronze bench is now not effective so I’ve high hopes hopes for IF’s

            Keep up the work and it is good to see what others think about the game and there reasonings too.

          13. Crlarsen

            “On Fifa 14 I would run out a bronze bench and lower the overall team rating. Best to stay 80-83. Why? Because I would win more games the lesser my team rating. ”

            I agree, but I don’t see why this should lead to the conclusion that people are being handicapped. Obviously, your winning chances depends a lot on the opponents you will be getting and hence on how matchmaking works within the specific game mode.

            We know for a fact that in some game modes, matchmaking depends on squad rating, and it’s definitely my experience that certain ratings will lead to easier opponents than others. Thus, lowering your squad rating (with or without a bronze bench) will make life easier in many cases.

            “After testing this on Fifa 15. This is NOT the case. I can run out a gold bench and notice no drop in performance. I’m rational. I test. I evaluate. This in my experience is massive improvement in Fifa and also means I can make subs!.”

            The nice thing about FIFA 15 is that fatigue has a bigger impact, meaning that it makes more sense to substitute and thus staying away from the bronze bench.

            “I’m more than happy to look at both sides of the coin. For now, I’ll still look for ways that increase my chances of winning matches. I’ve not tried an IF player but have 50k ready to spend on one that is a good striker in prem.Will see how that effects the team.”

            I have owned +100 different informs and TOTS players, both bronze, silver and gold.

            In general, the bronze and silver informs increases the winning chances because they are heavily upgraded without necessarily being higher rated.

            As an example, I had a silver La Ligq squad (74 rated on average) which I gradually swapped with a squad consisting of blue and black La Liga silver cards (all 74 rated). Obviously, I got petter performance without this leading toi an increase in the skill level of my average opponent.

            With the gold cards, it’s a different story, becauase adding the black and blue cards usually increases the rating as well which in my experience leads to better opponents on average.

          14. Dan

            “We know for a fact that in some game modes, matchmaking depends on squad rating, and it’s definitely my experience that certain ratings will lead to easier opponents than others. Thus, lowering your squad rating (with or without a bronze bench) will make life easier in many cases.”
            On Fifa 14 I don’t believe this is the case. When playing I would get matched up against players with 85+ rated teams with IF’s. These I’d beat 9 times out of ten. The more difficult games would be against teams of a similar rating.
            This I believe was because the handicap would work in my favour on 14 because of the lower rated squad. This isn’t the case on Fifa and is a big change and one for the better.
            I’m now running out a 5 star squad! 🙂

          15. Crlarsen

            You are not specific about which game mode you are talking about, but my comment above was not about UT seasons, as I *assume* that matchmaking isn’t based on squad rating in UT seasons.

            “This I believe was because the handicap would work in my favour on 14 because of the lower rated squad. This isn’t the case on Fifa and is a big change and one for the better.”

            I’m pretty sure that you will be able to find people who disagrees on the last part.

            There are foure reasons why I’m extremely skeptical about the presence of a handicap which outweighs the advantages of a higher rated squad.

            First, it would work against EA’s commercial interests. There would be absolutely no point in buying packs if you didn’t get an advantage by owning better players. On contrary, EA has every possible interest in ensuring that the guy with the expensive team comes out victorious as often as possible.

            Second, a handicap based on squad rating wouldn’t really work: At the end of the day, a bad carpenter with a good hammer won’t outperform a good carpenter with a bad hammer. So, why bother handicapping the guy with the good hammer?

            Third, there is the newly published study on player performances, which clearly rejects the claim that higher rated players don’t perform better. If your opponents were being handicapped when they had the higher rated squad, we wouldn’t see Ronaldo score significantly more goals than Neymar etc.

            Fourth, maybe needless to say: Where is the evidence?

          16. Dan

            I understand all your points and they’re valid. This is just my experience.

            The evidence is that with a low rated team I went months always in Div 1. (About 3 months, maybe 4). Not winning it all the time but always staying in the division on UT.

            I couldn’t do that with a high rated team, this is my experience. Not a survey etc…with evidence and I’m not in a position to prove anything.

            This so far hasn’t been the case on 15 which is good.

          17. Crlarsen

            But still… even if we had a systematic study of 1.000 matches demonstrating that playing with a lower rated team would give a higher win rate in UT seasons, this would still leave two possible explanations open:

            (1) Handicapping
            (2) That playing with a lower rated team generally will give you easier opponents for some other reason

            Even if this was the case, I would still say that option 2 was far more likely than number 1 for the reasons I just listed.

            It’s very unlikely that a company would spend money doing something which most likely would decrease it’s revenue, and – as mentioned – we already know that better players (on paper) perform better.

          18. Dan

            1 is the answer. I hear what you say but EA also doesn’t want a game that only the rich play because others who cannot afford to buy packs will lose to a far superior side with a less skilled player. So the game has a balancing mechanic in my opinion.

            From experience and monitoring what my players are doing the lower rated team performs better. Feels more responsive, quicker, easier to pass with etc…

            Before I found others had the same issue online I used to talk with a friends about how the higher players could be faulty and to the fact that there could be an optimum stat level. Say 80. Anything above doesn’t do you any favours etc….

            I like the game but think that it balances in someway. Especially after playing H2H vs UT you can notice. You don’t get the stuck in the mud syndrome etc…Where you quick players seem slow.

            I will continue to play both with a focus on H2H for competitive gaming and UT for fun. After all, no ranks, world ranks, ability to see others stats after match etc… means that you have no way to judge how you are performing.

            I’m in Div1 with a good win/loss ratio but who am I playing etc…..what are their records? What is the players using in the top 100?

            All this would help me to believe that handicap / game balancing isn’t in the program. Until then I will sit on the fence.

            My last post. Thanks for the debate though and keep up the research it makes for interesting reading.

          19. Emilio

            Word. I do the same things. People like you and me and many many others who have experienced handicap for a long time have found ways to come around it by adding non rares and silvers. If I wan’t to play with an inform I know I have to add a non rare to “even it out”. For every inform a non rare has to be added in order to be sure to avoid handicap.

            If my eyes want sexyness and a team full informs/tots I play single match and cross my fingers that i get paired with a guy who also has a sick team, which of course happens more often in single matches because we aren’t in a division where there are only a certain amount of teams to choose from.

          20. FIFAer

            Yup. Spot on. If i have a couple TOTS id be stupid to put more than 2 or 3 in a team and expect a normal game. And heck theres some awesome non-rares out there that when affected by this (Whatever it is) play insane. Mini messis and ronaldos.

        2. 2.1.1.2

          Crlarsen

          “What i’m talking about is things you can actually see and feel. Obvious things.”

          One of the things I wanted to demonstrate with survey is that although something may seem completely obvious to you, it may appear completely unlikely to someone else (even though you both believe in handicapping).

          “We have to look at what is actually going on at the pitch. How the players react. First touches, players that won’t react when you push the buttons, players that looks like they are having stones around their legs when you want them to change direction.”

          We all know those situations, but instead of blaming the game, I think you have to blame your opponent. One of the things that makes better players better is that they know how to ruin your game.

          If you can increase your opponents failure ratio on first touches and passing, your chances of winning increases drastically.

          Just like in are real football, putting pressure on the player when he receives the ball will increase the chance of an unsuccessful first touch.

          Another successful concept is to force your opponent into playing difficult passes all the time. Either you ensure that he never gets enough time to pass for his team mates to get into position, or you ensure that his only passing options are backwards.

          When you think of your passing stats, I hope you will recognize the observation that your own percentage of successful passes usually is higher when you are the better player and vice versa.

          But unlike real football, better players also benefit from taking advantage of various weaknesses in the game logic. One such example is the through pass down the flanks. The AI does a terrible job in position the full backs, and many players aren’t very good at compensating for this. Hence, being able to exploit this flaw gives you an edge in many games.

          Regarding the observation that adding TOTS players doesn’t increase your chances of winning, I can definitely confirm this, but I also have to state that there are two very good reasons why it works this way:

          First and foremost, squad ratings aren’t as decisive as some people think. If you are the better player, you will win no matter whether you are playing with a full La Liga TOTS squad or a 75-rated non-rare gold squad.

          Second, in some game modes, the game levels the playing field by ensuring that you are matched with a squad with similar rating. And the matter of the facts is that when you take a 90-rated squad into action, you will get matched against opponents who were good enough to have 90-rated squads as well.

          Besides that, I still haven’t heard anyone come up with a reasonable explanation to why EA would want to level the playing field to the disadvantage of someone who has added a star player to his team.

          The survey does prove this point by establishing that nothing actually indicates that EA would gain anything from doing anything in that direction.

          Based on pure logic, EA has every possible reason to make star players perform well, as the quest for star players is what drives us to buy packs. If we start believing that star players doesn’t make a difference, we won’t buy packs.

          Reply
          1. 2.1.1.2.1

            FIFAer

            I dont mean to sound rude, but for lack of better terms.. Your mind-f**king yourselves with over-reasoning on this. You can see and feel a handicap or something affecting the games at certain times…and i’m not saying this out of poor sportsmanship..i BENEFIT FROM THE SCRIPTING/HANDICAPPING. I dont know how it works but I do know how to make it work for me. Don’t stack a team. Use some non-rares and silvers. Hope your opponent isn’t all bronze MLS cards (horrible handicapping ensues).

            I get exactly what Emilio means by you have to only go so far with the psychological aspect of this study. You have to be able to differentiate between logic and something obviously affecting gameplay.

            If you try to think of reasons why this wouldn’t occur or is/isn’t suppose to happen or why they wouldn’t do this… YOU WILL FIND REASONS…but that happens often when you are pondering the thought of if something exists…but where there is smoke there is fire.
            EDIT: I bounce between division 1 and 2 so this is from experience…i have stayed up since i started playing only up to 3 informs in a starting 11 and at least 2 non-rare golds/rare silvers

          2. FIFAer

            But I also want to stress i do NOT think there is a handicapp that affects FUT level, nor 45/ 90 minute goals or win/loss streaks.

          3. Crlarsen

            “I dont mean to sound rude, but for lack of better terms.. Your mind-f**king yourselves with over-reasoning on this. You can see and feel a handicap or something affecting the games at certain times…and i’m not saying this out of poor sportsmanship..i BENEFIT FROM THE SCRIPTING/HANDICAPPING.”

            It’s a fact that sometimes your team plays bad, sometimes it doesn’t.

            Based on this survey, we can a few more things to that list:

            – The presumed reason why EA would manipulate the game doesn’t fit with any of the facts. EA wouldn’t make more money if the game was manipulated, skilled players aren’t suffering more from manipulation than less skilled players etc.

            – The feeling of being handicapped is directly linked to the difficulty of the game mode.

            The question is why some people prefer to connect this fact to an explanation which makes no sense and doesn’t fit well with the facts rather than an explanation which makes sense and fits with everything we know:

            Namely the very simple explanation that when your team plays like crap, it’s simply because your opponent is skilled enough to put you into situations where you become more error prone, where your players have to play difficult passes and take difficult shots – and where the AI’s logic doesn’t work well.

            To me, it’s pretty clear that the handicapping explanation is easier to accept, because it takes away your responsibility for losing.

            “If you try to think of reasons why this wouldn’t occur or is/isn’t suppose to happen or why they wouldn’t do this… YOU WILL FIND REASONS…but that happens often when you are pondering the thought of if something exists…but where there is smoke there is fire.”

            The thing about analogies is that they have to be analogue. And this one isn’t. There isn’t any smoke here.

            Just because something may appear crystal clear in someones mind, it doesn’t have to be true. The earth appears flat, but it isn’t. Clairvoyance appears to be proof of a life after death but it isn’t. Vodka looks like water but it isn’t.

          4. Emilio

            Dude you aren’t listening at all. You just keep going down the psychological road. I’m sorry, but it feels like talking to an door. You should take off those glasses and come back down to earth. Making assumptions won’t take you anywhere. We could make assumptions like “Namely the very simple explanation that when your team plays like crap, it’s simply because your opponent is skilled enough to put you into situations where you become more error prone, where your players have to play difficult passes and take difficult shots – and where the AI’s logic doesn’t work well”.. Could you please stop doing this. And this “It’s a fact that sometimes your team plays bad, sometimes it doesn’t.” Are you serious? To me it seems like you HAVE experienced handicap you are just trying to reason it out with all these assumptions for some reason i don’t know. Maybe you just decided you won’t believe it exist, i don’t know. In Ultimate Team the only thing that should make your team play bad is if your players’ fitness is too low (under 90 i can personally feel a difference). The rest should be up to you. This isn’t Football Manager, it’s Fifa. You are going to far, too deep. I’m sorry if I am writing in a aggressive tone, I just can’t believe you aren’t listening.

          5. Emilio

            DaBlackSyndicate wrote this further down: “This whole scripting/AI responsiveness is all to do with the game sliders. I believe they change per game. What determines why they change I have no idea but they just do. You don’t see the game sliders because they remain hidden for online modes. Don’t believe me note that there isn’t an option to change them. You play a game like NBA 2K you can set the sliders before you actually play the game. FIFA just care about taking your money and not producing a game of value for money. DaBlackSyndicate tells da truth.”

            Maybe we are getting closer to actual proves here. Game sliders. Gotta look further into this. It makes totally sense.

          6. Crlarsen

            This has nothing to to with proof. It’s a simple claim.

            It’s a fact that there is sliders elsewhere in FIFA, but that obviously doesn’t prove that there is sliders in the online game modes.

          7. Emilio

            Yes for now its a claim. I didn’t say it proves anything here and now. As I said it is something that would have to be looked further into. If there is sliders elsewhere in FIFA, there could indeed also be sliders in online game modes.

          8. Crlarsen

            But it doesn’t change anything. On a general level, there is no doubt EA could handicap you if they wanted to. This could be done in a sway similar to the sliders or in other ways. But the fact that it’s technically possible doesn’t make it the slightest bit more likely that it actually happens.

          9. Crlarsen

            Emilio, quite honestly I’m not assuming anything and you are the one not listening.

            What I’m saying here is pretty straight forward to anyone with an open mind and maybe just a tiny fraction of scientific understanding:

            We have two competing explanations to what we are seeing.

            Explanation 1 builds on nothing but assumptions. No facts or evidence supports it. A serious problem with this explanation is that no one has been able to present a likely explanation to the WHY question (why EA would do something like this). And by ‘likely’ I mean something which isn’t contradicted by the facts found in the survey above.

            Explanation 2 doesn’t build on any assumptions, as it doesn’t require anything else than two human players with different levels of skills and experience. So far, no one has been able to come up with anything which doesn’t fit with this explanation.

            Which explanation sounds more likely?

            “You just keep going down the psychological road.”

            Yes of course – this has everything do to with psychology. If you have any good reasons to object to this, by all means let me know.

            “In Ultimate Team the only thing that should make your team play bad is if your players’ fitness is too low (under 90 i can personally feel a difference). The rest should be up to you.”

            No. The rest is up to you – and your opponent. I can guarantee that it is possible to make an opponent play bad.

            And no, I’m not going to stop presenting my point of view just because you disagree to it. By no means.

          10. Emilio

            So this question WHY. Why would EA do this. It comes down to money. It comes down to always making the game move. If they didn’t create handicap the game would be divided much more. It would be much harder for people without the tots/inform/highrated players to advance into the higher divisions.

            When a good fifa player without the highrated/inform/tots cards would enter a higher division and meet a player on the same level skill wise with inform cards his chances of winning the game and proceeding in divisions would be minimal/much smaller. And if these players keeps loosing because the opponents cards are better he would stop playing in the end. Why would he stop playing? Because he doesn’t like fact that winning comes down to having the good cards, and having the good cards costs a lot.

            Fifa isn’t a game where the skill of your players increase in rank when you win games. It’s not like Football Manager where the stats of your players increase season after season. There are only a certain amount of the good cards on the market in fifa you see. And these cards are hard to get your hands on because they cost a lot. You see what I mean? If Fifa was a game where your players advanced in rank for each game like FM it would be a whole other story.

          11. Crlarsen

            “So this question WHY. Why would EA do this. It comes down to money. It comes down to always making the game move. If they didn’t create handicap the game would be divided much more. It would be much harder for people without the tots/inform/highrated players to advance into the higher divisions.

            When a good fifa player without the highrated/inform/tots cards would enter a higher division and meet a player on the same level skill wise with inform cards his chances of winning the game and proceeding in divisions would be minimal/much smaller. And if these players keeps loosing because the opponents cards are better he would stop playing in the end. Why would he stop playing? Because he doesn’t like fact that winning comes down to having the good cards, and having the good cards costs a lot.”

            First of all, I’m not really sure what the issue is here. The ‘handicap’ you describing appears to be about making it possible for people with lower rated squads to beat people with higher rated squads – if they are good enough.

            This doesn’t sound the slightest bit unfair to me. In fact it sounds exactly like it’s intended. It has never been EA’s intention that FUT should be about having the best squad. Of course, the squad quality makes a difference, but it is ultimatively down to the skill of the player. There is an interview with one of the producers where he talks about this.

            Next, let’s look at the explanation you present. I hope you agree that it relies on certain assumptions:

            1. That alleged handicap works by ‘downgrading’ the performance of star players when matched with lower rated squads

            2. That the game would me *much more divided* if the game wasn’t handicapped and that it would be *too hard* to advance into the upper divisions

            3. That it would be almost impossible to win without star players, and that people would stop playing when they realised that.

            Now, let’s look at the facts with relevancy to these assumptions.

            (a) Jamie Kennedy has proved that TOTS players in fact are performing better than their ‘shiny’ versions. This means that assumption #1 is wrong. If it was correct, we wouldn’t see TOTS Hazard outperform regular-gold Hazard. But this doesn’t imply that TOTS Hazard will score twice as many goals as his regular version. The differences are marginal.

            (b) Regarding assumption #2, I would like to point to what I started out with: It is definitely the intention that the best players should be able to win against weaker players even though they are playing with bronze against gold. So yes, the game would me much more divided if squad ratings would decide 9 out of 10 matches, but the fact is that they only decide around 1 out of 10. In the remaining 9 out of 10, the decisive factor is player skill (or luck).

            (c) Regarding assumption #3, I would like to make a counter assumption: If people don’t believe star players will increase their performance, they will stop buying packs because the primary reason to buy packs is the expectation to find star players. In support of this assumption, the vast majority of the respondents in the survey actually say that they buy more packs when they experience pack luck or see others experience it. Now we have two competing assumptions. Which explanation would EA trust, presuming they know what we just learned from the survey above?

            I could go on, but I think this proves my point:

            The explanation you are making above is simply not likely.

          12. Emilio

            Okay lets look at what you are saying:

            “First of all, I’m not really sure what the issue is here. The ‘handicap’ you describing appears to be about making it possible for people with lower rated squads to beat people with higher rated squads – if they are good enough.

            This doesn’t sound the slightest bit unfair to me. In fact it sounds exactly like it’s intended. It has never been EA’s intention that FUT should be about having the best squad. Of course, the squad quality makes a difference, but it is ultimatively down to the skill of the player. There is an interview with one of the producers where he talks about this.”

            Yes the handicap I am describing is about making it possible for people with lower rated squads to beat people with higher rated squads. You can say it that way.

            You start out by saying it sounds exactly like it’s intended and that this doesn’t sound unfair to you. But then you say that of course the squad quality makes a difference “but it is ultimatively down to the skill of the player”. This doesn’t make sense. If a player gets handicapped the game is not decided by the skill of the player. First you say A then you say B.

            1. No. Don’t mix things up. You are making this discussion more confusing then necessary. The handicap doesn’t work on downgrading individual star players’ performance. The handicap works on the AI – as we have talked about earlier. Stop trying to prove anything by referring to some survey about individual player statistics. It’s stupid. Most people use TOTS players in teams with non rare gold players in order to avoid handicap so they play as intended. You can’t prove anything by referring to this survey, it only makes you look stupid. I feel like you keep changing the subject. You believe that a survey about individual player statistics proves that handicap doesn’t exist.

            You know what.. I’m gonna stop here, I can’t continue this. All your statistics and analyzing is starting to mind f*** me just as much as you already are. You are completely relying on statistics in every single question about handicap. Your eyes are closed and you want to know WHY EA would do it before they can be opened. I see you are having a master in economic science and data analysis so I don’t judge you for seeing things the way you are at the moment after you have made this big survey. Handicap exists and it can be seen with the pure eye. Statistics will never prove anything when we are talking handicap.

          13. Crlarsen

            “You start out by saying it sounds exactly like it’s intended and that this doesn’t sound unfair to you. But then you say that of course the squad quality makes a difference “but it is ultimatively down to the skill of the player”. This doesn’t make sense. If a player gets handicapped the game is not decided by the skill of the player. First you say A then you say B.”

            Let me try to explain it in a different way then.

            What we are talking about is what decides the outcome of a mach. To what extent is it the difference in skill between the human players and to what extent is it the difference in stats between their squads? Based on personal experiences, some 9 out of 10 matches are decided by human skill, meaning that it didn’t matter who had the better squad.

            The differences in squad quality will only be decisive, if the difference in human skill is small. If one player is significantly better than his opponent, it won’t help his opponent to have even a much better squad.

            “The handicap doesn’t work on downgrading individual star players’ performance. The handicap works on the AI – as we have talked about earlier.”

            But the AI hardly does anything except for positioning the field players and eventually controlling the 2nd defender and the keeper. The vast majority of activity on the pitch is decided by you.

            So, if you were EA and wanted to fix certain games, tangling with the AI alone would be an extremely inefficient approach, a it wouldn’t do the trick in many cases. So why would they chose an approach which wouldn’t work very well instead of something that would work?

            “Stop trying to prove anything by referring to some survey about individual player statistics. It’s stupid.”

            Did you actually read it? In case you did, I’m wondering why you haven’t taken the chance to tell me why it’s irrelevant and stupid.

            “Most people use TOTS players in teams with non rare gold players in order to avoid handicap so they play as intended.”

            Honestly, you haven’t got a clue about what most people do and why they do it. And as long as you keep thinking that surveys looking into such questions are stupid, that’s not going to change.

            “I feel like you keep changing the subject. You believe that a survey about individual player statistics proves that handicap doesn’t exist.”

            The survey isn’t about individual player statistics, but yes, I believe it supports the claim that handicapping is a myth.

            “You can’t prove anything by referring to this survey, it only makes you look stupid.”

            Do you want me to keep responding??

          14. Emilio

            The problem discussing this with you is, that you clearly haven’t experienced the handicap enough. You haven’t experienced frozen players, lack of reaction etc. If you had, you wouldn’t reject it every time we mention it saying that it’s just a claim. Or maybe your just a to big of a fan of fifa to admit that there is something wrong with the game. Or maybe you are denying it for some other course. Maybe you are just trying to defend the survey you made. What you wanna talk about is psychological things that affects every head to head game out there. We want to talk about technical things. That’s why we will never agree on anything. We are not on the same page. You said earlier:

            “We all know those situations, but instead of blaming the game, I think you have to blame your opponent. One of the things that makes better players better is that they know how to ruin your game.”

            So the better players knows how to affect the AI is that what you are saying? You can feel the handicap from the very first moment you have the ball. Even when you are passing it around in the defense and your opponent aren’t pressing you, you can see and feel that everything is going slower. You opponent doesn’t have to be anywhere near the ball to see the handicap. Everyone with enough games and knowledge about handicap will agree with this. You don’t think so? Make a survey asking these questions then. Ask if that’s what they are experiencing.

            You say that you know these situations yourself but you believe it’s just because you are facing a better opponent. And again you are just in denial or haven’t turned your playstation on and tested it yourself. It seems more and more to me like you haven’t played a lot of fifa and testet what people are claiming: that it only happens when you are playing with inform/highrated teams/players. It can’t be a coincidence that thousands of people have registered this. This will be my last post, I know you will probably finish it off with something like “it’s all psychological. All these thousand of people are just blaming the game because they are loosing.” I will happily wait for you to say this and see everyone laugh at you.

            And i guess you question will also be: “If it’s so obvious that it’s the players’ reaction time/maybe sliders that gets affected, why haven’t anyone made any video proof of it?” I can only answer that for myself. Number one thing is that Fifa isn’t my life. I love the game, I know the handicap is there and how to avoid it when I want to play. Number two is that I don’t have the equipment to record it. I don’t know how to do it.
            I love the game, it’s my favorite computer game of all time. And ultimate team is the mode i play most. But i’m not afraid to say that handicap exists. I’m not a moderator on a big fifa site nor am I a big known youtuber who lives from making fifa. I totally understand why you don’t like to go down the technical road and look with your eyes. Maybe you feel like you have to protect something. Or maybe as I said earlier you just haven’t experienced handicap enough because you haven’t tested it enough. I don’t like to talk bad about fifa either because I love the game so much, but this handicap thing has become a pretty big issue and everyone is talking about it so we have to look at it.

            And please read everything I wrote and make a honest answer. Don’t just plug some things out and analyse and manipulate my words. I think I am being very clear what I mean in this post.

            Last, to repeat myself and others here: handicap exists when playing with a team with too many inform/tots players against a team without informs. This is what people claim. How does it show up? It shows up in the reaction time of the players. Can you see this with the eye? As in: Can you just look at your screen, observe and make a fact that your highrated players are making turns like they were non rare bronze players, won’t run after the ball even though it passes right in front of them (zombie syndrom) and just in general won’t react as they should when you push the buttons on your controller? Yes you can.

          15. Crlarsen

            “The problem discussing this with you is, that you clearly haven’t experienced the handicap enough. You haven’t experienced frozen players, lack of reaction etc. If you had, you wouldn’t reject it every time we mention it saying that it’s just a claim.”

            Emilio, I think you need to revise your perception regarding the obviousness of this phenomenon. Having played more than a 1.000 matches on FUT 14 alone, there is no doubt that the amount of games isn’t the reason why I don’t believe this.

            Please take a closer look at section 1 in the survey report. What is shows is that, although lots of people think they are witnessing something blatant and obvious, they actually have very different perceptions about what is going on and what isn’t,

            I brought that up to show guys like you that statements like this are wrong:

            “Everyone with enough games and knowledge about handicap will agree with this.”

            Next, let me comment sporadically on a few things:

            “Or maybe you are denying it for some other course.”

            Not really. So far, you haven’t written one single sentence which challenges any of the work I have made. You have called it stupid and similar, but you haven’t actually provided any argumentation to support that position.

            “So the better players knows how to affect the AI is that what you are saying?”

            The better player knows what works, and that includes things which works because of the opponent’s or the AI’s weaknesses.

            “And please read everything I wrote and make a honest answer. Don’t just plug some things out and analyse and manipulate my words.”

            What are you talking about? I have never manipulated with anything you have said. It’s correct that I’m challenging your statements one by one, but that has nothing to do with manipulation what so ever.

            “Last, to repeat myself and others here: handicap exists when playing with a team with too many inform/tots players against a team without informs. This is what people claim.”

            Some do, some do not. In the survey, we have about 1/3 who doesn’t agree with this claim.

          16. 3200+ games played w 92 Robben

            Great article. We all appreciate the analysis and time that went into this. However, and Sorry if I come off like an ass… It is an absolute fact… not interpretation or misunderstanfing… that when 92 Robben has a breakaway and 82 David Luiz is chasing him… Luiz catches up everytime. That’s not interpretation or a misnomer. It happens everytime.

          17. Crlarsen

            I fully agree, but I don’t think this has anything to do with handicapping, scripting and the like.

            What you observe is that defenders chasing a dribbling striker will have a higher chance of catching up than they for instance had in FIFA 12 and FIFA 13. In earlier years, a fast player would be able to run almost as fast with and without the ball. This changed with FIFA 14.

            I believe this is an intentional reaction to the previously widespread complaints about the unrealistic importance of pace.

          18. FIFAer

            The only thing I can say to not open a can of worms^…the way you picked out one FRAGMENT of my entire response and picked it apart shows your not REALLY even open to discussion!!! You have gone with your data and strictly your data. In any situation…IF ANYONE goes about it the way you are…you are only going to come to a statistical answer. A 1 DIMENSIONAL ANSWER. NOT FACTORING IN ANYTHING BUT NUMBERS.AND REASONING THAT EA HAS MORALS.

            Not to sound harsh but…

            DO YOU REALIZE,…. IF THE REASONS YOUR GIVING (hardcore statistics no real game-testing {playing with specificly weaker or stronger squads and feeling the difference} or actual reasoning) FOR WHY THE GAME IS NOT AFFECTED BY OUTSIDE FACTORS (BESIDES THE PLAYERS/ AND PLAYER SKILL)…….IS THE WAY THE WORLD ACTUALLY WORKED…EVERYTHING WOULD BE PERFECT. IS THE WORLD PERFECT? ARE HUMANS PERFECT? YOUR analysis sure isn’t. And once again i am NOT saying DIFFERENCE IN FIFA LEVELS OR 45′ 90 MINUTE GOALS ARE SCRIPTED. I AM NOT. But quality of players are. and games your destined to not win. Nothing goes in. 10 cross bar hits. your opponent wins with 0 shots on goal. YES ITS HAPPENED. and 1 shot on goal. But i am of a high enough intelligence to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between pure coincidences or sheer luck (even for a whole game I can understand) and some games…MAN THEY ARE OBVIOUS that something is different.

            I dont mean deliberately manipulated…but more of a unpredicatable engine that is affected at certain times by numerous factors which are affected by MONEY and maintaining a population of players. IF ONLY GOOD PEOPLE WON THE GAME THIS WOULD BE FUCKING STREET FIGHTER…..NO ONE PLAYS STREET FIGHTER CAUSE GOOD PEOPLE WIN AND NEW PEOPLE LOSE.

          19. Crlarsen

            “The only thing I can say to not open a can of worms^…the way you picked out one FRAGMENT of my entire response and picked it apart shows your not REALLY even open to discussion!!! ”

            1. I have responded to anything I can respond to. The few bits I have left out does not appear as if they require any answering.

            2. … And you realize that yo yourself haven’t responded to anything of what I just wrote?

            “DO YOU REALIZE,…. IF THE REASONS YOUR GIVING (hardcore statistics no real game-testing {playing with specificly weaker or stronger squads and feeling the difference} or actual reasoning) FOR WHY THE GAME IS NOT AFFECTED BY OUTSIDE FACTORS (BESIDES THE PLAYERS/ AND PLAYER SKILL)…….IS THE WAY THE WORLD ACTUALLY WORKED…EVERYTHING WOULD BE PERFECT. IS THE WORLD PERFECT? ARE HUMANS PERFECT? YOUR analysis sure isn’t.”

            1. I’m using statistics telling about other people’s experiences because I’m trying to approach this question in a scientific way, rather than basing my statements on hear-say, personal gut feelings and the like, which wouldn’t give it any credibility what so ever.

            2. Humans are not perfect – and so what…?

            3. If my analysis isn’t perfect, by all means feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.

            “But quality of players are. and games your destined to not win. Nothing goes in. 10 cross bar hits. your opponent wins with 0 shots on goal. YES ITS HAPPENED. and 1 shot on goal.”

            It has happened, which doesn’t worry me because it should. Approaching with the analytical glasses, there is a certain percentage of matches where someone will shoot on goal 20 times without scoring. But how often does it happen? The real concern could be if it happened more often that it should.

            “But i am of a high enough intelligence to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between pure coincidences or sheer luck (even for a whole game I can understand) and some games…”

            That’s good for you, but as you said, humans aren’t perfect, and most humans suffer to some degree from the cognitive biases I refer to above. A cognitive bias is the tendency to interpret information incorrectly, like for example seeing patterns where there isn’t any. The trouble with a cognitive bias like this is that it’s quite hard to tell yourself, because it’s part of the brain’s natural way of working to see patterns everywhere. It’s just doing what it’s supposed to do.

            A good chunk of the respondents in this survey believe losing streaks are happening more often than they should, although they actually don’t.

            So, how do you know that you are able to separate coincidence from deliberation? I think this is virtually impossible without using statistical methods like I do above. Have you done that?

            “I dont mean deliberately manipulated…but more of a unpredicatable engine that is affected at certain times by numerous factors which are affected by MONEY and maintaining a population of players.”

            Random manipulation? How on earth could that make sense? I suppose, you realise that most people will win and lose matches eventually under all circumstances.

          20. LarsonTheClown

            It’s ok man…this clown has been proven to benefitting from EA and was banned on futhead a few days ago when he compared scripting believers to isis and people who don’t believe in scripting as the speakers of truth…it’s an established fact, he is biased and his stuff is completely unreliable…I proved it on many different platforms. When he runs out of arguments he simply either a) stops responding or b) puts you on an ignore list. Nobody who is interested in debating does such cowardly things.
            Plus, he has been doing this for over 3 years on countless platforms (not only ultimateteam.co.uk)…would anyone spend hundreds of hours (sure, it’s nonsensical work, but work nonetheless) on something for free? Nobody is THAT stupid.

      2. 2.1.2

        James

        Larsen- well presented idea, but I think we should work together on a new experiment (as I described below). I can think of a few OTHER things EA could be doing to ensure “pack buys” than what you propose….but EA’s logic never ceases to defragment ones mind…. I am very surprised tbh, that you did all that # crunching, but didn’t take into acct most ppls claim- which is high rated players/squads are only handicapped/manipulated/subject to scripting when playing against inferior “rated” squads….

        Reply
        1. 2.1.2.1

          Crlarsen

          I don’t believe you can point to one specific claim as THE most widespread manipulation claim. One of the things I already noticed prior to creating this survey is that people have quite different perceptions of what is going on – and what isn’t.

          The approach of the survey is to examine some of the common assumptions behind all manipulation claims rather than going into detail with a lot of specific claims.

          First and foremost, there is the assumptions regarding why EA possibly could have a commercial interest in manipulating matches. Quite clearly, the conclusions within this area are relevant to the claim you present above as well as to many other claims.

          Another conclusion which is relevant to your claim is the fact that I found absolutely no evidence in support of the claim that the game levels the playing field to the disadvantage of the more skilled or more experienced players.

          Reply
        2. 2.1.2.2

          FIFAer

          YOU JUST MADE ME CRY TEARS OF JOY (not really) but YOU SAID IT THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE

          I have been trying to say it like that but couldn’t formulate that exact idea^ cause some of the accusations aren’t true but that inferior/superior thing is.

          Reply
      3. 2.1.3

        FIFAer

        When you start comparing non inform to in-forms, YES in-forms do better goal/assist wise. But you can see the difference when you do an experiment like Emilio says. A team full of TOTS, you feel the handicap. The random BS.

        And to prove it affects in-forms…An in-form performs great and without handicap (for me) as long as my whole team or majority is NOT in-forms. As SOON as I flood a squad with in-forms..my players play DOWN to the opponents level…sometimes even worse.

        And to the opposite side of that…if i have a team of gold rares and a couple informs…throw a silver or regular gold card in there… Townsend/Abonglahor/Miram Diof/N’Zogbia/ Matt Jarvis and they play like All-stars.

        IN real life, theres CLASS differences in footballers…in FIFA its like ANY GIVEN SUNDAY…its a f**king shitfest. I can roll out a regular gold card or silver…Knowing i’m going to have a field-day with my opponent for no practical reason but handicapping.

        Reply
    2. 2.2

      FIFAer

      YOU CANT SAY IT ANY better!

      “it’s in the players reaction time. I use to say that it feels like the batteries in your controller are running out. When you push the buttons on your controller the players doesn’t react. Sometimes they even just stand still like dumb frozen zombies. This is clearly the AI that gets affected.”

      When you start comparing non inform to in-forms, YES in-forms do better goal/assist wise. But you can see the difference when you do an experiment like Emilio says. A team full of TOTS, you feel the handicap. The random BS.

      And to prove it affects in-forms…An in-form performs great and without handicap (for me) as long as my whole team or majority is NOT in-forms. As SOON as I flood a squad with in-forms..my players play DOWN to the opponents level…sometimes even worse.

      And to the opposite side of that…if i have a team of gold rares and a couple informs…throw a silver or regular gold card in there… Townsend/Abonglahor/Miram Diof/N’Zogbia/ Matt Jarvis and they play like All-stars.

      IN real life, theres CLASS differences in footballers…in FIFA its like ANY GIVEN SUNDAY…its a f**king shitfest. I can roll out a regular gold card or silver…Knowing i’m going to have a field-day with my opponent for no practical reason but handicapping.

      Reply
      1. 2.2.1

        FIFAer

        But i do not think there is ANYTHING to do with win/loss streaks. Nor do i think there is a “magical thing” for 45’minute and 90 minute goals…its part of the real game too. Nor do i think there’s a handicap for higher leveled players or lower leveled…ALL that is rubish.

        The ONLY difference is how the players play depending on your total squad and your opponents squad rating/players/card-type.

        Reply
      2. 2.2.2

        Evan

        Maybe you guys are just complaining because you’re not that great. Whenever I play ANYONE with my Hellas Liga team and win, they claim EA Cheese. I’ve beaten Kazooie94 in FUT but I’ll tell you no cheese was involved in that (the Hellas Liga has mostly silver players).

        Reply
  3. 3

    Scripted bullshit

    How much did EA give you for writing this article? Scripting exists in fifa14 to a unacceptable level.those who dont believe it are just ignorant or incredibly stupid.

    Reply
    1. 3.1

      James

      so EA, who cant bother fixing the simplest of things all year, have a “scripting” program that they’ve designed- SO IN-DEPTH-LY- that YOU (for some reason its a minor percentage of ppl) will lose in the 90th minute so much, that you are still crying a year later? youre giving them too much credit good chap, and be assured no one is paying anyone on here!

      Reply
      1. 3.1.1

        Athon John

        While I’m not agreeing with Scripted bullshit; I will say that just because EA doesn’t bother to fix the simplest parts of the game, does not mean that they don’t have an intricate scripting system devised over the last few years, especially if it allegedly encourages FUT players to spend real money.

        As for being “assured” no one is paying anyone, whilst it’s very, very unlikely that crlarsen is being paid off, I don’t think you can really assure anyone, just like you can’t assure a surfer that they won’t be attacked by a Great White shark when they’re in the water with their board.

        Reply
      2. 3.1.2

        FifaGod

        I completely agree with scripted bullshit. You sound like you haven’t even played the game. Undercover EA Wanker

        Reply
      3. 3.1.3

        LarsonTheClown

        That shit existed 10 years ago on Mario Kart…so it is absolutely possible that scripting is a) in Fifa today and b) probably much improved from the oldschool rubberbanding.
        Also, it’s a vast majority of people who believe scripting exists and despite the bias that blinded the author of this poor survey, even he could not erase that FACT from his embarrassing survey. So not only are you of questionable intellect, but you also failed to read the first question of the survey. Genius.

        Reply
    2. 3.2

      Rosco

      Aye you sell out!

      Reply
  4. 4

    datamybuns

    ridiculous and thoughtless conclusion, the game is creepier than a george orwell novel complete with thought police. Orwellian matching and ranking system and real interpretation of “skill” is hidden. You simply do not understand how any of it works. You would be a complete fool to not believe this game is a year long throw away commodity for children. Naturally the older you origin account the more likely you are to experience genuine manipulation. Accounts absolutely play differently, Scams only work when thousands of people like you are too blind to think for yourself. Theres nothing competitive to be valued in this game thats why they make a new one every year.

    Reply
  5. 5

    paranoidnoyouareasheep

    If you have a virgin fifa player and he plays on a 2008 blacklisted origin account there is no way on earth he would experience the same game play as a 2014 brand new origin account, its a fact. If you do not interpret this as manipulation you are not open minded or able to think for yourself. See commodity fetishism as coin by Karl Marx.

    Reply
    1. 5.1

      James

      Not to be an ass, but if you personally are “open minded or able to think for yourself,” how come you are basing your conclusion around someone ELSE’s (Marx) unique thought? Get off the psychology textbook drugs and come back into the “economic truths of today” world. (which is me saying I agree w/ you and Uncle Karl)

      Reply
      1. 5.1.1

        simplelogic

        This is done to not plagiarize an a idea. I have never read a book, taken as class on, or visited a psychologist. I have not said anything about psychology. Explain your “economic truths of data” and yes I am actually insulting your intelligence now.

        Reply
      2. 5.1.2

        FIFAer

        Not to be an ass, but…

        To be open minded also means he is able to listen to and understand others philosophies…and in doing so…. base his thoughts/ ideas off others…Which is a bonus/plus/character trait..not an indication of drugs.

        The exact opposite of being open minded would be to instantly rule out others’ viewpoints/ not listen to them/oppose ideas or count out observations that aren’t your own ( selfish or .narcissistic)

        And to think for yourself means your able to come to the right decision or accurate conclusion (in your eyes) with or without incorporating other individuals discoveries and thoughts, and if you do or not is based on the situation at hand and what you gain/lose from using other people’s observations/thoughts/philosophies..

        Some things can prevent people from being able to listen to others thoughts and observations..including being afraid of being thought as a follower, or having ego issues for sharing credit and only trusting yourself for accurate data and judgement.

        Reply
  6. 6

    DisembodiedMoraleMomentum

    All your really saying is your perception of match leveling, match making or the ranking system as you see it should be given negative connotations(overall it is a good think for the community and full of intrinsic and competitive value lol). That is “your opinion” but obviously others disagree and can even give you fool proof ways to see but your eyes will stop be closed. Why? I duno your biased or unable to step outside yourself and look at something from another vantage point. I understand people who dont believe in it, i understand their perspective. You cannot seem to understand the other side, a bit ironic.
    Any single person who believes in manipulation will tell you they see how the other side does not it view as such but nobody on your side has the facility of mind to see both sides. Ever wonder why you cannot even close your origin account without the help of a advisor? You know what I bet you already know all this and exploit it like all the so called “good” players. Everyone must have the same year origin account for match making and ranking to even permit a “fair” game. Guess what that does not happen and its part of the plan.

    Reply
    1. 6.1

      Crlarsen

      “All your really saying is your perception of match leveling, match making or the ranking system as you see it should be given negative connotations(overall it is a good think for the community and full of intrinsic and competitive value lol). That is “your opinion” but obviously others disagree and can even give you fool proof ways to see but your eyes will stop be closed. Why? I duno your biased or unable to step outside yourself and look at something from another vantage point. I understand people who dont believe in it, i understand their perspective. You cannot seem to understand the other side, a bit ironic.”

      Which fool proof ways are you talking about here? I’m all ears.

      “Any single person who believes in manipulation will tell you they see how the other side does not it view as such but nobody on your side has the facility of mind to see both sides.”

      That’s your opinion.

      Reply
  7. 7

    improperthought

    How can your “data” defend this logic? If no manipulation exist then there would only be primarily one group, the non believers. If manipulation exists on some level there would be a split or divide of believers and non believers.

    Data looks like propaganda in your hands. If people need to go further than Marx and Orwell I will. its all up to you guys, I do not need to win anything to enjoy and continue this entire dialogue.

    All the ea and origin propaganda in the world does not have the weight to move the logic of a simple peasant.

    Reply
    1. 7.1

      Crlarsen

      I simply don’t think you are right in assuming that “if no manipulation exist then there would only be primarily one group, the non believers.” There are plenty of examples of vast numbers of people believing in absolute nonsense like witchcraft and geocentrism.

      Reply
  8. Pingback: FIFA 14 News |

  9. 8

    Aram

    Explanation for why EA would do this is pretty obvious – if they don’t put any scripting or something like that then players who play too bad and have a bad squad will constantly lose and thus stop playing the game which will affect EA’s income because if someone continues to play he is likely to buy packs.

    I have felt too many times that when you keep winning too much then suddenly game starts to manipulate your players and thus starting a losing streak. And opposite – when you lose too many games it becomes much easier to play in next ones, players start making a lot of smart runs.

    Regarding in-game proves – number of 45′ and 90′ minute goals is just ridiculous in fifa14, I have played fifa13 too but it never happened so much, in fifa14 last minute goals seem to appear like 3-4 times more often compared to fifa13. And by the way they usually happen in ridiculous situations, when suddenly players of one team start to fail one after another by creating a goal chance, and opponent player’s shot gets 100% accuracy after that.

    The amount of strange rebounds is ridiculous, another proof for scripting is that more often everyone will look fine most of the time without making a simple mistake during whole game and then suddenly 4-5 players will make ridiculous & unbelievable mistakes in a row at 90′ to create a scoring chance for opponent.

    And the most important thing is that it changes during the game at certain points (30′, 45′, 60′), very often at these times game will completely change and players of one team who were great before will immediately start to fail. The amount of such strange things is ridiculously high and it can’t be random because they follow the same pattern and very high amount of people talking about scripting are experiencing the same patterns.

    Reply
    1. 8.1

      Crlarsen

      I think you should read the article before responding to it. Most of the things you write below are rejected thoroughly.

      Regarding your suggested explanation to why EA would build in a handicap:

      If this was true, then how come that –

      – less experienced players report being exposed to handicapping to the exact same extent as experienced players? If there was some kind of leveling going on, we should expect so see less good players get a lot of help, but we don’t.

      – our respondents say that match results doesn’t affect their pack buying habits? If EA had a plan to make extra money, and were pursuing it this way, it would require that people actually reacted to those results. But they don’t. And EA simply can’t be unaware of that.

      Regarding losing streaks:

      I have compared the actual length and number of losing streaks from a sample of 400 matches to what you would expect to find in a similar but unmanipulated gaming environment. There is no difference. In other words, losing streaks are happening due to natural reasons and nothing else.

      Regarding 45th + 90th minute goals:

      Both those minutes are significantly longer than any other minutes due to stoppage time. On top of that, FIFA adds more stoppage time than you would find in a normal football game because of time acceleration. And finally, as is the case in real football, more goals are being scored in the dying minutes of the match.

      Given all these aspects, I find it hard to believe that the number of last minute goals in FIFA are the product of anything else than natural causes.

      Regarding your claim that the game changes during certain minutes of the game:

      – I haven’t heard this claim before, but that is no surprise. If there is one thing I have learned about this claim, it’s the fact that everyone have their own, private version of what is wrong with the game.

      Reply
      1. 8.1.1

        aramshat

        – All kind of players seem to experience handicap by the same amount independing of their skill/experience/etc. When you want to level the game you don’t need to handicap weaker players more, you just handicap everyone by the same amount – I have played around 500-1000 matches and handicap was on my side same number of times as it was on opponent’s side. If stronger player would have won 9 matches out of 10 without handicap against a weaker one, with handicapping he will win 5 matches out of 10 and that will make them equal.
        There can be very logical reasons to do that:
        1. Make everyone win & lose in equal amount because otherwise weak players will lose 9 out of 10 and will not play anymore.
        2. Keep divisions balanced. When going naturally there can be divisions which will be left empty with most players centralized in some other divisions. Handicapping not only makes one user lose and other win, but also it seems to force a draw whenever needed

        – You can refer the reasons above, I have already noted 2 possible reasons for doing so. So handicapping doesn’t apply only to high rated squads, scripting can be on your side even if you’re playing against a low-rated team.

        LAST MINUTE GOALS: It is not only about goals scored at these minutes. Even when playing kickoff against PC I have noticed that sometimes suddenly my players started to run & move like 1.5 times faster. I have looked at the clock and saw that 45′ or 90′ just passed. Notable difference can be seen in gameplay as soon as extra time starts. The reason to do so is simple – to make it more realistic like real life, when players start playing with more intensity in extra-time, but EA obviously have overdone that and in game players play much more intense during extra-time than in real life.

        Regarding my claim about game changing at certain minutes (30′, 60′), I have seen other people complaining about it, I can find the link if you are interested.

        P.S. From my personal experience I feel that handicapping happens more often when you reach the end of your FUT season when relegation/promotion need to be decided. First few matches of the season always looked much more fair to me. This can be explained by trying to balance divisions as I have stated above.

        Reply
        1. 8.1.1.1

          Crlarsen

          “There can be very logical reasons to do that:1. Make everyone win & lose in equal amount because otherwise weak players will lose 9 out of 10 and will not play anymore.”

          But this can be rejected straight away: People do not have the same win / lose ratio. It’s not even close. Check your match history and you will see that it doesn’t fit.

          “2. Keep divisions balanced. When going naturally there can be divisions which will be left empty with most players centralized in some other divisions. Handicapping not only makes one user lose and other win, but also it seems to force a draw whenever needed”

          Why would EA care about some divisions being empty? I see absolutely no reason to care about that. You have to realise that the divisions aren’t real divisions. The only difference between division 1 and 10 is the numbers of points you need to collect to stay / win the division. You will most likely be matched against division 1 players while playing division 10 yourself.

          “You can refer the reasons above, I have already noted 2 possible reasons for doing so. So handicapping doesn’t apply only to high rated squads, scripting can be on your side even if you’re playing against a low-rated team.”

          Which is yet another reason why it makes absolutely no sense.

          “The reason to do so is simple – to make it more realistic like real life, when players start playing with more intensity in extra-time, but EA obviously have overdone that and in game players play much more intense during extra-time than in real life.”

          You seem to forget two the obvious fact that last minute goals will happen in abundance for two obvious and completely natural reasons:

          – Stoppage time during the 45th and 90th minute
          – Tactical and psychological changes taking place towards the end of a match

          In other words, there is no need to build this artificially, so why on earth should be chose to believe that EA has done it anyway?

          Reply
          1. 8.1.1.1.1

            aramshat

            People can’t have exactly 50/50 win/lose ratio, someone will deal better with handicapping and someone will do worse, I don’t think that scripting decides 100% of the matches. Everyone I have seen has a win/lose ratio very close to 50/50 and longer they play, the closer that ratio becomes. If players are matched against others completely randomly, then weakest players should have 90% win rate. How many such users can you find?

            Regarding last minute goals – again, I’m never changing tactics or my psychology because I care about the gameplay and controlling players instead of staring at the time, so I never know that extra time started unless something special happens. Even ignoring these goals scored at last minutes – gameplay itself significantly changes immediately when extra time starts.

            The biggest issue that is ruining this game is momentum/luck – you can shoot from different situations, from hard positions or easy tap-ins, but the probability that it goes in almost doesn’t change. Players will either score from impossible positions either miss complete sitters with 50/50 probability.

          2. Crlarsen

            “People can’t have exactly 50/50 win/lose ratio, someone will deal better with handicapping and someone will do worse, I don’t think that scripting decides 100% of the matches. Everyone I have seen has a win/lose ratio very close to 50/50 and longer they play, the closer that ratio becomes.”

            This is not true at a larger scale.

            In the survey, the respondents are at 3:1 on average, and we have responses from players who have played more than 1000 matches who has a W/L ratio of 3:1 or more.

            So no, EA is not trying to give everyone an even 1:1 W/L ratio.

            “Regarding last minute goals – again, I’m never changing tactics or my psychology because I care about the gameplay and controlling players instead of staring at the time, so I never know that extra time started unless something special happens.”

            Maybe you aren’t, but what about the opponent?

            Besides, I don’t think we necessarily are fully aware of the psychological aspects ourselves. For the tactical part, I’m not only thinking about changing your offensiveness or picking a different line up or custom tactic.

          3. aramshat

            How can respondents be at 3:1 on average? If so it means you have extremely unbalanced survey takers because if someone wins another one loses, they can’t both win and average win/lose ratio can’t be bigger than 1:1. Also if someone will have 3:1 ratio with 1000 games played it means he will win division 1 title every time which is very unlikely.

            You keep saying the same about last minute goals by ignoring the fact that gameplay is completely changed at these minutes, why my players will start moving fast if I didn’t changed anything? And again I repeat once more – I DON’T LOOK AT THE DAMN TIMER DURING GAME. I only look if I see that unbelievably strange things are happening on the pitch and almost always (in > 90% cases) I spot either 30′, 45′, 60′ or 90′. Look at these leaked values: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YnL-IeNGmPA/UIlE-7CnjzI/AAAAAAAAAAk/cgCck8B9g14/s1600/2mcvl0i.jpg – Do you think it is a coincidence? Maybe instead of just denying every single fact about scripting you could try to actually decide whether it is likely to exist or not?

            Why do you think players will suddenly start running at their half speed? Or start making completely wrong passes/shots? It’s not one or two players, when it happens everyone starts flopping at an unbelievable rate. The existence of handicap/scripting is not possible to deny and it is not mandatory that EA did it intentionally, maybe they wanted to integrate emotions/drama and make it more realistic but they overdid it and it resulted in this.

            How do you explain the fact that everyone who I have asked about these strange things in game (even if they didn’t hear about scripting/handicap before) immediately said that they experienced same things and stated exactly same issues I have seen? Like player with 70 pace running faster than opponent’s player with 90 pace on full fitness.

          4. Crlarsen

            “How can respondents be at 3:1 on average? If so it means you have extremely unbalanced survey takers because if someone wins another one loses, they can’t both win and average win/lose ratio can’t be bigger than 1:1.”

            If you actually read the report, you would know this already.

            But yes, the survey participants are above average in terms of skill. This is however not unexpected, as the survey is addressed to the community rather than FIFA players in general. And no, it’s not a problem to the conclusions. But to understand why, you need to read the report, which you obviously still haven’t done.

            But again, let’s face it: EA is not trying to ensure that everyone has the same numbers of wins and losses. You have to revise that part of your theory along with the perception that late goals are happening more often than they ought to.

            “Also if someone will have 3:1 ratio with 1000 games played it means he will win division 1 title every time which is very unlikely.”

            I have a ratio of 3.5:1 and I have never won division 1. So no, this is my no means true. Remember that people play other game modes than seasons.

            “You keep saying the same about last minute goals by ignoring the fact that gameplay is completely changed at these minutes, why my players will start moving fast if I didn’t changed anything?”

            I think you are the one ignoring facts here. I just demonstrated why the number of late goals isn’t unnatural.

            Following that, I haven’t seen anything from you which challenges this view. And yet, you start to talk about some doubtful observations of the game play during the final minutes.

            What you are telling me now is irrelevant, as long as the number of late goal isn’t unnatural, as it won’t change the conclusion that nothing sinister is going on.

            Besides, the will change over the duration of the match due to fatigue, which will decrease the actual workings of all other stats. And now we are on that subject, please notice that informs have 99 stamina, meaning that they are less prone to fatigue.

            “I only look if I see that unbelievably strange things are happening on the pitch and almost always (in > 90% cases) I spot either 30′, 45′, 60′ or 90′. Look at these leaked values: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YnL-… – Do you think it is a coincidence? Maybe instead of just denying every single fact about scripting you could try to actually decide whether it is likely to exist or not?”

            Yes, I think it’s either a coincidence or a product of selective memory. The screen dump is not proof of handicapping or scripting, and it has never been despite that many people keep referring to it as if it was.

            It talks about something called “match intensity”, and if you actually take a closer look at the table, it appears far more likely that this table controls crowd volume as a product of time and goal difference rather than something else. But it could be anything really.

            “Why do you think players will suddenly start running at their half speed?”

            They don’t unless they are tired or you have forgotten to press the sprint button.

            “Or start making completely wrong passes/shots?”

            They don’t unless they are tired or you are trying to pass / shoot in difficult situations.

            “The existence of handicap/scripting is not possible to deny and it is not mandatory that EA did it intentionally, maybe they wanted to integrate emotions/drama and make it more realistic but they overdid it and it resulted in this.”

            Yes, it’s by all means possible to deny it’s existence. No evidence supports that it exists, and plenty of facts + common sense contradicts it’s existence.

            The mere fact that no one have been able to come up with a believable explanation to why it would be there is and should be reason enough for people to not believe in this nonsense.

            “How do you explain the fact that everyone who I have asked about these strange things in game (even if they didn’t hear about scripting/handicap before) immediately said that they experienced same things and stated exactly same issues I have seen? Like player with 70 pace running faster than opponent’s player with 90 pace on full fitness.”

            How do you explain, that the 485 persons I asked in the survey above have approximately 300 different perceptions of which kinds of manipulation they are experiencing in the game?

            To answer your question, this is not the first time in history that a lot of people have believed in something which was complete and utterly wrong.

          5. aramshat

            Ok, it’s impossible to discuss this with you. You keep denying it even about 90% of your survey takers are saying that they experienced handicap. People more or less all state same reasons – players are running slow, making wrong decisions, bad shots, etc. You either don’t play FUT much or have some reasons to try convincing people that handicap doesn’t exist.

            Even fifa07 back in it’s time had momentum meters displayed in the game. There are documents which contain a lot of information about so called “emotions” which were planned to integrate into FIFA and they have almost all details that happen during handicap.

            But I don’t have any questions to you, you don’t have to reply to this because I find it meaningless to continue this conversation, you are denying everything, literally everything without wanting to think about it and why that could have been done. With the same approach you can deny every proven fact in the world, that’s not the way how to do it.

          6. Crlarsen

            A few things here:

            The respondents agree that there is handicapping, but they certainly don’t agree about what that means.

            Besides, I don’t see why I should change my mind just because a lot of people disagree. That reasoning is plain stupid.

            The Gdc paper on fifa07 and emotions doesn’t confirm that there’s handicapping. On contrary, it rejects it. But a lot og people are like you: They refer to things they haven’t read. I have read it.

          7. aramshat

            Well probably you know better than me what I have read and what I have not.

          8. Crlarsen

            I guess we both know – it’s pretty easy to tell, isn’t it?

            What you have done so far is basically to object to the conclusions of a report you haven’t read by referring to something else which you haven’t read.

            It can’t be a big mystery that I’m reluctant to but into this…

          9. aramshat

            I have completely read both report and the other document I have sent. Stop making wrong conclusions and stating them as facts when you are not sure about it. I don’t see meaning in discussing this with you, you are clearly not up to listening opinions of others.

            You don’t even want to accept the results of your own survey when each one of top 5 facts was experienced by more than 75% of survey takers. It is normal that different people will choose different set of scripting details, they can’t all state exactly same things because it takes a lot of time to experience every detail, most people will notice only some part of these things.

            Most people who experienced handicap states that it works both against him and for him. When so many users are dissatisfied even when they win then there should be something really wrong.

          10. Crlarsen

            “I have completely read both report and the other document I have sent.”

            That’s good news, but then how come you aren’t trying to challenge the actual content of my report?

            And how come you believe the GDC document confirms the existence of handicapping, when it actually denies it?

            “Stop making wrong conclusions and stating them as facts when you are not sure about it.”

            We both now you didn’t read any if these documents up until now.

            “I don’t see meaning in discussing this with you, you are clearly not up to listening opinions of others.
            You don’t even want to accept the results of your own survey when each one of top 5 facts was experienced by more than 75% of survey takers.”

            The premis for this survey is – and has to be – that even a majority of people may believe things which turns out to be wrong.

            I do by all means believe the survey results are correct, but the fact that a majority believes something doesn’t lead to the conclusion that they are right.

            I don’t think you need ti be Einstein to figure that out.

            “It is normal that different people will choose different set of scripting details, they can’t all state exactly same things because it takes a lot of time to experience every detail, most people will notice only some part of these things.”

            So, despite the fact that most of the respondents have played hundreds of matches, you still want me to believe that they haven’t played enough to experience things which – according to some respondents occur in 9 out of 10 matches?

            “Most people who experienced handicap states that it works both against him and for him. When so many users are dissatisfied even when they win then there should be something really wrong.”

            I totally agree.

          11. aramshat

            “We both now you didn’t read any if these documents up until now.”

            Okay, keep trolling.

          12. Dan

            Hi Guys,

            Really enjoyed reading this debate. Clearly we can see that Crlarsen doesn’t believe in handicap, momentum or scripting. His mind is clearly made up. Would be nice if he played a more impartial role. But, hey-ho.

            One recommendation I can make is to play H2H seasons online, this mode doesn’t have any handicap, momentum or scripting. I know this because I win 90% of the matches online vs users.

            When you win it feels like you win, when you lose you can easily accept it. When it is a close game you can understand it going either way.

            None of us are nut jobs, I don’t believe in ghosts, Aliens etc… If anyone wants to add me let me know because it is nice to chat around how to play vs the handicap.

            I run out a bronze bench to lower the average rating, never use IF or players with ratings above 84. I find it helps lower the chance of the AI becoming retarded.

            Division 1 player on H2H & Ultimate team and looking for a team to join on Pro mode. If anyone wants to start playing that mode and is a good play hit me up.

          13. aramshat

            “That’s good news, but then how come you aren’t trying to challenge the actual content of my report?”
            what should I challenge exactly? Your report shows survey results which are showing that most part of the players experience scripting more or less. Regarding other parts you are just making wrong assumptions about handicap and then denying it. Handicap/scripting is not supposed to force people buy packs, so far it has only one logical reason, the same that was stated in the GDC document – adding emotions & interest in the game.

            Intentionally or not (maybe as a result of just adding emotions) scripting makes game much more random where it is more like playing lottery rather than playing with skill. So you’re saying that the fact that GDC document has all details about scripting which can be experienced here in fifa denies scripting only because in the document it is written that “but we don’t propose to affect AI, pre-determine game result or affect player attributes”? The fact is that they had a plan(initially fair) to introduce emotions, make users cry from frustration or jump from happiness. And they knew what details exactly affect that. Of course they wouldn’t have stated in the document that they are going to ruin the game like that, but it is hardly a coincidence that you play a broken game like this where you score & concede almost randomly and then you find a document like this. This document clearly shows why exactly EA would have introduced scripting, even it doesn’t show any intentions to introduce scripting directly, it was designed only for crowd volume, cutscenes, etc.

            Even playing few hundred matches doesn’t mean that you will understand which part is scripted and which is not. There are different aspects in scripting and you never can be sure whether you know all of them or not. Even if someone experiences it multiple times it doesn’t mean that he will necessarily understand that it is part of scripting or not. I knew there is scripting only after playing around 500 matches, before that I thought that these strange things are because of connection latency & lags, but when I saw patterns repeating hundred times and exactly same things in kickoff mode during PC vs PC games every possible excuse disappeared.

            We have played a private fantasy league where matches were simulated using PC vs PC kickoffs. First strange thing was that home teams always had strange advantages and mostly won independent of how good they were. Because of that we changed stadium to neutral. Next strange thing was that matches between teams who have big rating difference was extremely strange – playing same game with different bench players affected the game, usually low-rated teams had advantages and once they scored first they kept scoring. Average team won against Barca like 5-0 and 2-0 against Real while having 3-4 times more shots on goal. And higher rated team hit the post multiple times from ridiculous positions.

            Then more strange things appeared – teams who were not giving any chance to opponent started to completely fail and concede at 45′. Same players who were winning almost all duels suddenly lost every single duel 4-5 times in a row in 45′.

            And then even more strange things – some average strikers completely went wild and certain times and scored 4 goals during 20 minutes.

            And all these things happened extremely often, way too often than they should occur.

            I still doubt that you understand what exactly I’m claiming by saying that “handicap/scripting exists”. Most people explain it a bit wrong and are stating wrong reasons for its existence. If you understand what that really means and played enough amount of games then it is very unlikely to reject its existence.

          14. Crlarsen

            “what should I challenge exactly?”

            What about the part of the conclusion you disagree with for a start? As stated in my very first response to you, this report thoroughly rejects the core claims behind the handicapping theory you are supporting. That ought to trigger some kind of reaction.

            “Your report shows survey results which are showing that most part of the players experience scripting more or less.”

            Most of the respondents are under the perception that they are experiencing it, but that doesn’t imply that they actually ARE experiencing it. They may be seeing ghosts, or they may be correct. In other words, we aren’t measuring what they see but rather what they perceive.

            “Regarding other parts you are just making wrong assumptions about handicap and then denying it.”

            I see. Which assumptions are you referring to and why are they wrong?

            “Handicap/scripting is not supposed to force people buy packs, so far it has only one logical reason, the same that was stated in the GDC document – adding emotions & interest in the game.”

            The GDC paper talks about enhancing emotions *which are already present*, not adding, altering or creating new emotions. And the only purpose is *to give the game a more realistic appearance*. This is as far away from manipulating matches as it can get.

            I don’t see why EA would believe that emotions arising from scripting and handicapping would maintain people’s interest in the game. The contrary appears at least as likely if not more.

            “Intentionally or not (maybe as a result of just adding emotions) scripting makes game much more random where it is more like playing lottery rather than playing with skill. So you’re saying that the fact that GDC document has all details about scripting which can be experienced here in fifa denies scripting only because in the document it is written that “but we don’t propose to affect AI, pre-determine game result or affect player attributes”?”

            The document doesn’t “have all details about scripting”. It contains nothing which correspondens with the claims you and others are making about scripting. And yes, the exact sentence shows why this document by no means is proof that scripting is real.

            “The fact is that they had a plan(initially fair) to introduce emotions, make users cry from frustration or jump from happiness. And they knew what details exactly affect that.”

            The document specifies how this emotional enhancement works: Via sound (crowd volume) and cut scenes. That’s it. It doesn’t contain anything with the slightest resemblence to the claims you are making.

            “Of course they wouldn’t have stated in the document that they are going to ruin the game like that, but it is hardly a coincidence that you play a broken game like this where you score & concede almost randomly and then you find a document like this.”

            There is no resemblence between FIFA emotions and the claims you are making, so no, there is no coincidence, as nothing coincides.

            “This document clearly shows why exactly EA would have introduced scripting, even it doesn’t show any intentions to introduce scripting directly, it was designed only for crowd volume, cutscenes, etc.”

            No it doesn’t. Manipulating matches is a completely different story than controlling cut scenes and crowd volume.

            “Even playing few hundred matches doesn’t mean that you will understand which part is scripted and which is not.”

            So, on one hand it’s “a clear fact” but on the other hand, “you won’t necessarily see it, despite having played hundreds or thousands of matches”?

            You can’t be serious.

            (…)

            I haven’t commented on the rest, as it doesn’t contain anything new.

          15. aramshat

            Your most wrong assumption is that you want people to state exactly same combination of scripting factors which is very unlikely. There are a lot of factors and different people know different factors. You get to know these factors only during time, even most experienced players will continue to learn new aspects of scripting as they play.

            GDC document itself contains one main purpose – to make the game interesting so that more people will play it, to not make it mainstream and make it so that “every 90 minutes will be different”. It doesn’t matter how exactly they propose to solve it in that document. Most important thing here is their intention of doing something that will have such effect. And by “coincidence” scripting solves all these things which were proposed to be solved by just changing crowd volume and animations.

            I’m really curious what exactly do you want to see to understand that scripting exists? Do you really believe that some day EA will come and say “hey guys, there was scripting, sorry about that”?

            Usually people will not complain about the game if it works fine, especially if they have some skills to play it. The fact that people win and they are not satisfied because they won because scripting tells a lot. Usually win makes user happy and he wouldn’t start complaining that it’s not him but AI let him win. Why would div1 users complain about scripting too as much as weak players if they are successful in the game?

            I have checked win/draw/lose ratio of different people I know who have very different skills and type of play, and all their win ratios are between 35-45% (these stats are for FUT seasons) independing of how good they play or how good their squad is. When you pick random people and look at their win ratio it should vary much more than that.

            Also if you look at amount of comebacks happening in the game – it is way unnatural. In real world comeback is a rare thing while in FUT you are most likely to lose the lead than to keep it.

            Scripting is almost clear fact because most people can feel it, but it has multiple aspects which you learn only by playing hundreds of matches. It gets more and more obvious as you play, by saying that it is a “clear fact” I don’t mean that you will see it instantly by playing 10-20 matches. Understanding of scripting comes during time, when you have enough experience to understand what is random and what is scripted. But when it comes, you see that it is a clear fact and not possible to explain in any other way.

          16. Crlarsen

            “Your most wrong assumption is that you want people to state exactly same combination of scripting factors which is very unlikely. There are a lot of factors and different people know different factors. You get to know these factors only during time, even most experienced players will continue to learn new aspects of scripting as they play.”

            No, I’m not saying that people should be experiencing / describing *exactly* the same things. This is a clear misinterpretation. I actually just observe the fact that they aren’t *even close* to report the same things in terms of what, when and where it happens.

            In general, you should expect people to report *relatively similar* descriptions if they are describing the same observation. In this case however, people provide very different descriptions in terms of what, when and where. There can in principle be two explanations to this:

            The first is that they aren’t observing the same things, i.e. that the game doesn’t work in the same way to everyone. This isn’t very likely given that the survey covers a broad range of skill levels and XP levels.

            The second is that they are observing the same things but are interpreting them differently. In that case, we should ask why they are interpreting things differently.

            My answer to that question is that people – unconsciously – use handicapping as an excuse for failing within various aspects of the game. As an example, people who often lose due to last minute goals will list this as a likely type of manipulation, and people who have difficulties in seasons will report handicapping as being frequent in seasons.

            “GDC document itself contains one main purpose – to make the game interesting so that more people will play it, to not make it mainstream and make it so that “every 90 minutes will be different”. It doesn’t matter how exactly they propose to solve it in that document. Most important thing here is their intention of doing something that will have such effect. And by “coincidence” scripting solves all these things which were proposed to be solved by just changing crowd volume and animations.”

            That argument is pointless. Of course, EA has the intention to make the game interesting and to make us keep playing it. You don’t need to read the GDC paper to establish that. It’s true for every video game ever made.

            Besides, you are jumping to conclusions when you assume that scripting can be used as a means to achieve this goal. Absolutely nothing indicates that you are right about that. On contrary, it’s more likely that scripting would decrease our interest in the game. 1/3 of the respondents answer that their (perceived) experiences with manipulation will affect their likelihood to buy FIFA 15.

            “I’m really curious what exactly do you want to see to understand that scripting exists?”

            I actually build the survey to test some of the hypotheses behind it and thus potentially challenge my own perception.

            I would most likely have needed to change my perception, if it had turned out that (a) better players experienced more manipulation, (b) losing streaks were happening more often than they should, (c) last minute goals were scored more often than they should or (d) that people weren’t experiencing more scripting within more difficult game modes and so on.

            But the fact is that the survey failed to produce any results which didn’t fit with my initial perception.

            “Do you really believe that some day EA will come and say “hey guys, there was scripting, sorry about that”?”

            No, they won’t because it isn’t there.

            “Usually people will not complain about the game if it works fine, especially if they have some skills to play it. The fact that people win and they are not satisfied because they won because scripting tells a lot.”

            Yes, but it doesn’t tell that scripting is real. I fully recognize the frustration of losing a game because of something the AI did or didn’t do. The feeling of not being in control is frustrating. But the fact that you may lose because of that does not lead to the conclusion that the game is being manipulated. This is again jumping to conclusions.

            “I have checked win/draw/lose ratio of different people I know who have very different skills and type of play, and all their win ratios are between 35-45% (these stats are for FUT seasons) independing of how good they play or how good their squad is. When you pick random people and look at their win ratio it should vary much more than that.”

            And so what? This doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people, including the majority of the respondents in the survey, have won significantly more than 50 % of their games in total.

            Absolutely nothing indicates that EA is trying to level the results – not even the information, you provide above supports that idea.

            “Also if you look at amount of comebacks happening in the game – it is way unnatural. In real world comeback is a rare thing while in FUT you are most likely to lose the lead than to keep it.”

            I haven’t seen any evidence to support the claim that comebacks are happening more often than they should. And based on what we have seen in relation to 90th minute goals and losing streaks, I’m quite skeptical about such claims. What we have seen previously is that a lot of the most widespread claims in fact are the product of selective memory rather than actual facts.

            “Scripting is almost clear fact because most people can feel it, but it has multiple aspects which you learn only by playing hundreds of matches.”

            If it was a clear fact, then how come that people who have played hundreds if not thousands of matches strongly disagree about what it is, where it is and when it takes place?

            And no, people can’t feel “it”. 5 % of the respondents “feel” the same thing. The rest “feel” all sorts of other things.

            “It gets more and more obvious as you play, by saying that it is a “clear fact” I don’t mean that you will see it instantly by playing 10-20 matches. Understanding of scripting comes during time, when you have enough experience to understand what is random and what is scripted. But when it comes, you see that it is a clear fact and not possible to explain in any other way.”

            No it doesn’t get more obvious the more you play, and again I have the facts on my side. As mentioned in the report above, I have examined whether people with a higher XP-level (= people who have played more games) experience more handicapping. This is not the case. In other words, we can conclude that it doesn’t get more obvious the more you play.

          17. aramshat

            The thing here is that you are using survey results in your favor only. The way survey has been made makes it almost impossible to prove the existence of scripting because you are using unimportant factors. You’re assuming that people of different level will experience scripting differently, but they will have same opinion about it. You have said that your survey takers are all experienced people. Why you don’t take surveys on people which will include those who played 10 or 20 games only? When comparing people who played 100 and 300 games there will not be a difference, they both can say that there is scripting but the one who played most will know more details about it.

            You continue to state that people explain scripting in different ways. What exactly is different? So far I have seen a lot of reviews about scripting and everyone told same facts – players becoming sluggish at some random time, inability to control players, bad teammate AI decisions, last minute goals, etc. Everyone who knows about scripting will tell you these same things. You should not expect from everyone to state all possible aspects because as I have already told it takes a lot of time to learn all of them and most people know only few aspects from all existing ones.

            Also you keep ignoring the fact that people complain from winning almost as much as losing, they blame scripting even when they win. When you blame something because you lost is more or less understandable, but why people will blame a non-existing thing when they are winning? Scripting is so bad that most people even don’t enjoy their victory because they feel that no matter what they do they are winning the game if scripting decided it so.

            “And so what? This doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people, including the majority of the respondents in the survey, have won significantly more than 50 % of their games in total.”

            Winning more than 50% of their games? I have never seen such a player profile with more than 50% win ratio and more than 100-200 matches played. I have looked at the wide variety of player profiles and both worst and best ones had win ratio between 35-45%.

          18. Crlarsen

            “The thing here is that you are using survey results in your favor only. The way survey has been made makes it almost impossible to prove the existence of scripting because you are using unimportant factors.”

            The survey is deliberately constructed to test a specific theory about handicapping. This is how scientists work. But that does not imply that it is biased towards a certain result. If the before mentioned theory about handicapping was true, this survey would definitely have produced different results.

            I don’t think the survey uses “unimportant factors”. After having debated this subject for a considerable amount of time, I’m pretty aware of what claims are being made around this subject, and the survey is indeed ment to test some of these claims. This doesn’t appear unimportant to me.

            “You’re assuming that people of different level will experience scripting differently, but they will have same opinion about it.”

            No, I’m not assuming that they will experience it differently. I’m saying that if the game was being levelled to give bad players a chance, then we would see that better players felt more handicapped than the less good players. And I’m observing that this isn’t the case.

            From that we can conclude that the game isn’t being levelled.

            “You have said that your survey takers are all experienced people. Why you don’t take surveys on people which will include those who played 10 or 20 games only? When comparing people who played 100 and 300 games there will not be a difference, they both can say that there is scripting but the one who played most will know more details about it.”

            I didn’t say that they are all experienced. The survey contains responses from players at almost every XP-level between 8 and 98. If there was some kind of dependency between experience and exposure to handicapping, I would have found it.

            And in the same way, if it was true that more experienced players had a different perception of handicapping, I would have found some kind of difference in terms of which kinds of scripting was observed, how often they were observed and where they were observed between players with a low XP level and a high XP level.

            Since this was a voluntary survey, I didn’t decide who participated and who didn’t. The fact is that no players below level 8 chose to participate. I belive one of the primary reasons for that is that players at the first levels are quite rare because the first levels are short in terms of how much XP you need to advance.

            “You continue to state that people explain scripting in different ways. What exactly is different? So far I have seen a lot of reviews about scripting and everyone told same facts – players becoming sluggish at some random time, inability to control players, bad teammate AI decisions, last minute goals, etc.”

            They describe it in different ways in terms of what manipulation is, which game modes it affects and how often it affects them. The graphs in section 1 gives you a clear idea about this. But the point is that even among people who generally believe in handicapping, there is a noticeable percentage who find it unlikely that late goals happen too often etc. etc.

            “Everyone who knows about scripting will tell you these same things.”

            They don’t.

            “You should not expect from everyone to state all possible aspects because as I have already told it takes a lot of time to learn all of them and most people know only few aspects from all existing ones.”

            As mentioned, we have responses from players between level 8 and 98. You said you have played 500-1000 matches this year. The majority of the respondents have played thousands of games in order to reach their current XP level. And yet, they have very different perceptions in terms of what handicapping is, which game modes it affect and how often it affects their game play.

            “Also you keep ignoring the fact they people complain from winning almost as much as losing, they blame scripting even when they win.”

            Actually not. 64 % of the respondents say that handicapping works to their disadvantage. Only 5 % say it works to their advantage. I find it hard to belive that anyone actually started complaing about this because they were winning too much.

            “Winning more than 50% of their games? I have never seen such a player profile with more than 50% win ratio and more than 100-200 matches played.”

            As already stated a couple of times, you can’t see the player’s full W-D-L statistics in his profile, as it only contains Seasons matches.

            As also stated a couple of times previously, I see no reason to doubt that the respondents aren’t telling the truth when they are reporting a W/L rate of 3:1 or higher.

            Whether you like it or not, EA isn’t attempting to give everyone a 50/50 W/L rate.

          19. aramshat

            “As already stated a couple of times, you can’t see the player’s full W-D-L statistics in his profile, as it only contains Seasons matches.”

            Yes it contains only seasons matches statistics, what’s then? How does it affect the fact that win/not win ratios are so close to each other? W/L rate doesn’t matter, there are also draws. Most important factor is W/G ratio where G is the number of games you have played. Online seasons mode is FUT’s main mode so there is no need to take into account other modes. Even if you take statistics of only one mode it has to differ.

            You’re saying that no one lower than 8th level participated in the survey. Most probably because they don’t know yet what the scripting is.

            You still haven’t shown two different opinions about scripting. There are few main aspects which are widely used by everyone. Most general aspect is that at some moment during game players behave strange, feeling too heavy and sluggish, being hard to control and the opposite, at some certain times everyone starts making very intense attacking runs & movements even if you haven’t changed anything.

            The thing that I claim under scripting is that FUT online mode is almost non-controllable and random being based mostly on luck of “scripting”. If it were based only on player skills and squads they have then stronger ones should have won much more and weaker ones should have lost more often. Right now game feels completely random. Whether I win or lose in FUT I feel that me and my opponent weren’t the only factors deciding the result. And most people feel the same about the game. It’s not about EA wanting to make some money or leveling the field. It’s about uncontrollable gameplay which is affected by some hidden factors which are not controllable by user.

          20. Crlarsen

            “Yes it contains only seasons matches statistics, what’s then? How does it affect the fact that win/not win ratios are so close to each other? W/L rate doesn’t matter, there are also draws. Most important factor is W/G ratio where G is the number of games you have played. Online seasons mode is FUT’s main mode so there is no need to take into account other modes. Even if you take statistics of only one mode it has to differ.”

            It does differ even within seasons alone. But obviously, you won’t see a lot of players winning 9 out 10 in FUT seasons simply because the competition is much harder than in friendlies for example.

            Besides, the point should be pretty clear given the overall stats alone: EA is not trying to level the number of wins and losses.

            “You’re saying that no one lower than 8th level participated in the survey. Most probably because they don’t know yet what the scripting is.”

            That’s possible. You don’t see many 5-year-olds propagating the 911 conspiracy either.

            “You still haven’t shown two different opinions about scripting. There are few main aspects which are widely used by everyone. Most general aspect is that at some moment during game players behave strange, feeling too heavy and sluggish, being hard to control and the opposite, at some certain times everyone starts making very intense attacking runs & movements even if you haven’t changed anything.”

            No, there are not five main aspects, which are perceived likely by everyone. On contrary, only a minority of 46 % of the respondents believe that all the five most supported aspects are likely:

            – Deliberately preventing the player from controlling certain defenders in certain situations

            – Making players pass and shoot poorly

            – Losing streaks

            – Letting the AI-controlled team mates make bad decisions

            – Letting players score easy 90th minute goals

            Second, the opinions not only differ in terms of WHAT scripting is, but also in terms of WHICH game modes it affects and HOW OFTEN it affects them.

            To understand why this is relevant, let’s make an analogy: Out of 500 people present, 80 % claim they witnessed a crime being committed by a guy called EArl. Some of them claim is was robbery, others that is was an assault or that he broke in to a car. Some claim there was one victim, others that there were two, three or four victims. In terms of when it took place, the witness accounts vary between 8 in the morning and 6 in the evening. And then there is a residual of people who were present at the time and say that they saw nothing. There are people who claim to be the victims, but none of them have damages proving that shomething actually happened. No one has been able to identify a credible motive.

            What’s the credibility of such witnesses?

            And on top of that, we should add that in the FUT case, the ‘eye witnesses’ may have a reason to interpret the actual events with a certain bias, because it can be argued, that handicapping may be used as an excuse for not succeeding.

            “The thing that I claim under scripting is that FUT online mode is almost non-controllable and random being based mostly on luck of “scripting”.”

            Well, I can actually recognize a lot of this. One of the biggest issues with online FIFA is that tight matches quite often will be decided by random factors. Although the most of us are ready to accept that bad luck plays a role in such matches, it’s sometimes hard to accept the kind of bad luck you will meet in FIFA: Some of my favourites are 2nd defender being called in and tackling YOU instead of your opponent, team mates not moving during throw ins and free kicks and the like.

            Sometimes you almost think that such stupidity can’t be coincidential. But it can. This is a computer game, and the AI will make mistakes that even a 5-year old wouldn’t make.

            “If it were based only on player skills and squads they have then stronger ones should have won much more and weaker ones should have lost more often.”

            Now, there is no doubht that you can find matches where the better player didn’t win. But having said that, I’m pretty convinced that there is a strong connection between skill and win rate. I occassionally check my match history, and so far I haven’t recorded any unexpected matches. When I lose, the opponent is more experienced and / or in a higher division. The few exceptions are level 1 players who obviously weren’t beginners.

            “Right now game feels completely random. Whether I win or lose in FUT I feel that me and my opponent weren’t the only factors deciding the result. And most people feel the same about the game. It’s not about EA wanting to make some money or leveling the field. It’s about uncontrollable gameplay which is affected by some hidden factors which are not controllable by user.”

            As mentioned, I agree that a lot of factors are outside the player’s control. I think it makes sense to say that the human player controls the macro movement, but the AI controls the micro movement. You decide the direction, but it’s the AI that actually moves the player’s feed and so on. Sometimes when passing, two team mates are positioned in almost the same angle from you, meaning that the AI in reality decides whom you are passing to. Sometimes it picks the offside guy, sometimes not. In general, I don’t think this control scheme is very good for tight matches.

          21. aramshat

            By the way, I have selected 10 random opponents from FUT history and checked their win/lose/draw ratio – all 10 hat win ratio in the range 35 – 45% even though there were decent and very poor players in that list ranging from 30 – 80lvls. All they have very close win ratio. Naturally win ratio should not always be in the same range. Stronger ones have to win more.

          22. Crlarsen

            You only see their w/l ratio for seasons on the Web app. What about the rest of their matches?

        2. 8.1.1.2
  10. 9

    DaBlackSyndicate

    This whole scripting/AI responsiveness is all to do with the game sliders. I believe they change per game. What determines why they change I have no idea but they just do. You don’t see the game sliders because they remain hidden for online modes. Don’t believe me note that there isn’t an option to change them. You play a game like NBA 2K you can set the sliders before you actually play the game. FIFA just care about taking your money and not producing a game of value for money. DaBlackSyndicate tells da truth.

    Reply
    1. 9.1

      Emilio

      This is really interesting, thanks for sharing. It makes completely sense.

      Reply
      1. 9.1.1

        GummyBear

        Yes he is right. People have different functioning AI depending on their rank in origin account and exp level. Eventually your AI will only move to negatively impact you and you are expected to use quick tactics to move them back into place. The use of quick tactics or sliders varies in game dependent on other variables such as stamina, morale, and momentum. These features are used to script and handicap people. Its all tied into a match making system implemented to induce as much revenue as possible. When it is the year 2015 a bunch of new origin accounts will be created and they will instantly effect the playing field as they need to be acclimated into the community and targeted for revenue. Of coarse EA and origin will make sure they do not get destroyed cue “server maintenance.” Patches do the same thing, they are a blatant manipulation the help out the massive portion of ignorant fan boys who do no play or watch football.

        Reply
  11. 10

    FifaFetish

    The ONLY placebo in this game is the same quality of player in D10 as D1. How can you possibly be so ignorant to not believe in handicap and scripting.

    Reply
    1. 10.1

      Crlarsen

      Well, to respond to the factual part of your comment, you are right in the sense that the game will match you with someone with decent connectivity if it can’t find an opponent in the same division. This effectively means that the difference between div 1 and 10 sometimes will be the required point averages rather than the skill of the opponents. But I guess the alternative would be that ot was harder to find an opponent.

      And what’s the link between that and handicapping?

      Reply
  12. 11

    BobbyCox

    So according to your data we are like witches who are hallucinating and it can be explained by a fungus on our wonder bread. If that was the morale of the story then we would indeed be found out to not be witches and it was your party the whole time which created the mass hysteria.

    It has nothing to do with a exp, rank, and math making system implemented and controlled by EA in cooperation with origin. Look no further than this data proving the believers are witches.

    Reply
  13. 12

    Modz

    As concluded from the data above, our results point us in the direction of mass hysteria and witch craft. It is more likely that the community has a fungus on their bread to prove to to accounts for scripting and handicap then any type of “crazy” theory dealing with match making and rank implemented by EA in cooperation with Origin.

    Reply
  14. 13

    ILoveGeorgeFriend

    Some interesting points raised. Personally I believe manipulation/handicapping/rubber-banding/whatever else you want to call it is a reality, although I can’t pinpoint any one way in which it manifests itself, or prove it in any way whatsoever. All I have is purely anecdotal evidence over 4000+ games over the last 4 years (very sad, I know, but what else you gonna do as a student) across several game modes that your fortunes rise and fall apparently at random; that your players feel “sluggish” at times for no apparent reason; that occasionally everything you try, however improbable, just comes off, and equally at other times that sure things go wrong inexplicably.

    Of your observations and conclusions, the only one I would really take issue with is number 4. Assuming that I understand you correctly – and I’m not sure I do – you seem to be saying that FUT Online Seasons is the most “difficult” game mode FiFA has to offer, followed by other FUT online modes, FUT single player modes, and other modes outside FUT such as Online Seasons and others of lesser significance being “easier”.

    My quite considerable experience suggests to me that this is emphatically NOT true. Compared to Online Seasons, FUT Online Seasons is a vastly lower standard, particularly early in the game’s annual life cycle. Simply put, I find div1 league titles incredibly easy to come by in FUT; less so in Online Seasons. Over several years and thousands of games my win:loss ratio has been roughly 3-3.5:1 in FUT and closer to 2.5-3:1 in Online Seasons.

    There are a few reasons I could think might explain this:

    -In FUT, trading excellence is a legitmate option to build strong squads. Simply buying coins from less reputable sources has also historically been an option. Pack luck is of course also a factor. What this means is that weaker players can elevate themselves beyond their natural level by virtue simply of having a stronger team than their opponents. This is not a criticism of the mode: it is, in fact, largely the point and the allure of FUT – that you can build an “ultimate team” by various means and play with it. By comparison, matchmaking is largely good in Online Seasons leaving little opportunity for any artificial edge – players tend to find their true level. While it is true that regardless of team strength, the cream will generally rise to the top in terms of skill, team strength undeniably affects matches. This is most evident in the sheer volume of people who have played exclusively with Real Madrid in Seasons over the last 2 years for the artificial edge they gain from using comfortably the best team in the game.

    -The nature of the gameplay of the 2 modes. Again, this is not necessarily a criticism of FUT as I certainly enjoy it myself from time to time – otherwise I wouldn’t play – but it’s a somewhat dumbed down form of FIFA compared to Seasons, where pace is king and shot power and accuracy have been ramped up hugely. This attracts a dumbed-down type of player as any skill deficit can be compensated for – to an extent – by abuse of these facts. So, similarly to the first point about team strength, there are plenty of poor, non-thinking players at high levels in FUT for the taking having got there by getting to grips with an easier game mode to gain some mastery of. As a more “pure” form of FIFA, this phenomenon is less prevalent in Seasons, although reiterating the Real Madrid point is helpful – on the rare occasions I choose to play with 5* teams i enjoy the frequent match-ups against Madrid whores because generally they are weak, easy to beat players only operating at a high level because they play with a team that gives them an advantage.

    In summary of my somewhat meandering post, I may have just been rambling on about something you don’t even disagree with, but it felt like a point worth making anyway: FUT is quite simply not a more “difficult” game mode than Seasons; it is far easier to succeed at.

    inb4 tl;dr

    Reply
    1. 13.1

      Crlarsen

      I really appreciate this kind of response, and I agree to a lot of it including your perception of the difficulty in Regular Seasons vs FUT Seasons.

      In the survey, the respondents weren’t given the option to chose between all FIFA game modes. The options available to the respondent are the ones presented in the chart with the blue columns, which doesn’t include regular seasons. As you can see, these are primarily FUT game modes, as I was planning to use the responses to test two hypotheses:

      Hypotesis 1: “That people claim that they are being handicapped, when they in fact have being matched with a skilled opponent.”

      But as you probably know, hypothesis testing is done by attempting to falsify the hypothesis rather than prove it. And in conclusion, it’s pretty clear that “handicapping intensity” is correlated to to the level of difficulty. As the test failed to falsify the hypothesis, it can’t be rejected and remains a possibility.

      Hypotesis 2: “That handicapping serves a commercial purpose which has the ultimate goal of getting people to buy more packs.”

      I think it’s pretty relevant to this claim that people say they are being handicapped even within offline game modes outside FUT and that handicapping works with different intensity within various FUT game modes. In this case, I think the test succeeded in falsifying the hypothesis as neither of the observations fit with it. In conclusion, the hypothesis has to be rejected.

      In general, we are dealing with a puzzle here, and although I don’t rule out handicapping as a possibility, the fact is that an increasing amount of pieces doesn’t fit with this explanation, whereas the official explanation isn’t challenged by anything factual.

      Reply
  15. 14

    jakob

    Hejsa,
    I like u spending time on this survey, however I do not agree on all.
    I experience “SLUGGISH” players, when playing with TOTS-teams. Sluggish in FIFA: It feels like players balance, agility and reaction are very low. Handicapped. When playing lower rated teams, the teams are more freeflowing. I cannot say that tots-teams are handicapped by bad runs, because “the sluggish” ruins my offensive and defensive play. Thats all I can say. When I experience the normal player being “easier to control” than the tots-player, then I get suspicous.
    Lets say 100 players feel the excact same thing as me. Sluggish tots-players. How are we going to answer on the survey about which methods are being used? I for one, would problably say, that “passing and shooting is poorly” and “starplayers are downgrades”. Because thats the questions that fits my problem the best.
    However my fellow 99 “friends” could answer other combinations. I could also see myself using the answer “45/90”- minute goals – beacuse they are a result of my real handicapping: The sluggishness – (which isnt a possibilty to answer).
    And thats my problem with survey. There are to many methods lined up in one survey-question. The survey is likely to get alot of different answers. U use the diffrence in answers as part of your conclusion for why “handicapping” doesnt exist. Thats a problem, I think.
    And then let me use your Loch Ness-reference in a other way. If I where to do a investigation on Nessie, then my first, second and third priority would be “DOES HE EXIST”??? However your fut-survey also take in commercial interest etc… then youre likely to show the handicaping as a blurred and uncertain myth.. because answering differs so much..
    You should only have question 1 – Is it a fact? If it is, then we can talk about the other things…
    Question 2 is not that relevant, until we know if it is a fact.
    I really like your work on question 3. I do not believe the streaks – which your number show, there is no reason to…. (however the difference in opnions between handicap-believers on this subject shows the handicapping as a blurred, uncertain myth..)
    I think question 5 i irrelevant. Question 4 is good and could actually raises some real doubt about the handicap-believers.
    However, what if I played fut with only tots teams all the time? Then I would expereince the problem all the time? Or what if I only played with tots for one season. And then played 9 seasons with normal 80 rated team. Then i would expereince the problem 1 out of 10 times? Im the same player with the same problems, but my playing habits could influence my answering greatly. To greatly actually. because your usind the “difference in answering” as a part of your conclusion.
    Hope to hear from u!
    Regards, Jakob

    Reply
    1. 14.1

      Crlarsen

      Selv hejsa.

      “I experience “SLUGGISH” players, when playing with TOTS-teams. Sluggish in FIFA: It feels like players balance, agility and reaction are very low. Handicapped. When playing lower rated teams, the teams are more freeflowing. I cannot say that tots-teams are handicapped by bad runs, because “the sluggish” ruins my offensive and defensive play. Thats all I can say. When I experience the normal player being “easier to control” than the tots-player, then I get suspicous.”

      I’t a fact that a lot of people have experienced losing despite having the better team. This includes teams with regular star players and various informs being matched with lower rated teams or even silver teams.

      There are quite a few reasons why believe we should attribute this to differences in player skill rather than the teams being “downgraded”.

      First and foremost, I can’t imagine why EA would downgrade the performance of star players. From a commercial point of view, EA has a strong interest in maintaining the perception that those cards are worth the money we are paying for the packs.

      Second, my mod-colleague Jamie has posted a study which proves that TOTS-players aren’t downgraded in comparison with the regular gold versions of the same card. If higher rated players were downgraded, we wouldn’t see TOTS Hazard scoring 20 % more goals than regular Hazard etc.

      Third, I think it’s important to understand the importance of squad quality versus the importance of skill. Having stated that EA has a clear interest in ensuring that rare star players perform better than cheap, regular players, it’s definitely still the intention that the better player should be able to win against the better squad. My personal opinion is that many of the accounts of star players feeling sluggish can be attributed to a combination of differences in the skill between the involved players and unrealistic expectations regarding the importance of star players.

      “Lets say 100 players feel the excact same thing as me. Sluggish tots-players. How are we going to answer on the survey about which methods are being used? I for one, would problably say, that “passing and shooting is poorly” and “starplayers are downgrades”. Because thats the questions that fits my problem the best. However my fellow 99 “friends” could answer other combinations. I could also see myself using the answer “45/90″- minute goals – beacuse they are a result of my real handicapping: The sluggishness – (which isnt a possibilty to answer).”

      I think you are presuming that the question is intended to measure what the respondents are feeling / experiencing, but that’s not really the case.

      The actual purpose of the question is to measure the “level of agreement” which is done by measuring whether the respondents have coinciding perceptions of whether certain common claims about manipulation are likely or not.

      To measure the level of agreement, it’s not really necessary to include all possible kinds of manipulation claims as response options. Instead, it’s important to ensure that the response options which aren’t overlapping in order to diminish the influence of interpretationary variation.

      Although interpretationary variation is present in most questionnaires, it’s not a likely explanation to the huge variation we have seen here in terms if what people believe.

      “And thats my problem with survey. There are to many methods lined up in one survey-question. The survey is likely to get alot of different answers.”

      Let’s not exaggerate the importance of this question. It’s used for one single purpose as described above. No matter what people would have responded, it wouldn’t have lead to any definitive conclusions regarding the presence of handicapping in the game.

      You are right that the number of options will invite people to provide more different answers, but I actually attempt to work around that by calculating the level of agreement within the four most widespread beliefs alone. So, the point is that even if we only look at the four most common claims, we still only see agreement among 50 % of the respondents.

      “U use the diffrence in answers as part of your conclusion for why “handicapping” doesnt exist. Thats a problem, I think.

      And then let me use your Loch Ness-reference in a other way. If I where to do a investigation on Nessie, then my first, second and third priority would be “DOES HE EXIST”??? However your fut-survey also take in commercial interest etc… then youre likely to show the handicaping as a blurred and uncertain myth.. because answering differs so much..”

      The ultimate purpose of this survey definitely is to determine whether handicapping exists or not, but sometimes, such questions are hard to answer directly. Instead, you may need to apply an indirect approach where you test the assumptions supporting the claim rather than the claim itself.

      In this case, one of the core assumptions behind the handicapping theory is that EA uses handicapping to increase our inclination to buy packs.

      Now, it’s quite clear that the survey didn’t find any support for that assumption. This is not direct proof that handicapping doesn’t exist, but it definitely leaves handicapping proponents with a serious issue, because they need to find a credible explanation to WHY EA would do something like this.

      It goes without saying that most companies don’t do anything without a reason. So, where there is no reason, there probably isn’t any effort being made…

      “You should only have question 1 – Is it a fact? If it is, then we can talk about the other things…

      Question 2 is not that relevant, until we know if it is a fact.”

      See above.

      “I really like your work on question 3. I do not believe the streaks – which your number show, there is no reason to…. (however the difference in opnions between handicap-believers on this subject shows the handicapping as a blurred, uncertain myth..)”

      I’m glad you appreciate that.

      In fact we can test the claims regarding last-minute goals as well by applying a similar method. Now, we don’t have many facts, but we will have to use assumptions instead.

      Let’s assume that 45th or 90th minute goals happen in 5 out of 10 matches. Is that more often than we should expect?

      In this case, we should start by noticing two things:

      First, the clock stays at 45:00 and 90:00 during stoppage time, meaning that those two minutes are in fact much longer than 1 minute.

      Second, FIFA adds quite a lot of stoppage time because the actual breaks are relatively longer (measured in game minutes) because of the accelerated time. In Premier League, the average is some 7 minutes in total. Let’s assume it’s the same here.

      Based on that assumption, we can calculate that 83 minutes of effective play time takes place between the 0-44th and the 46-89th minute, while the remaining 7 minutes takes place in the 45th and the 90th minute. In total, the 45th and the 90th minute covers 8,4 % of the total effective play time.

      On top of that, reasearch showing the the goal scoring frequency increases towards the end of the match due to tactical changes, fatigue and psychological reasons. Let’s simply assume that the goal scoring frequency doubles.

      What this means is that we should expect to see roughly 17 % of all goals scored during the 45th or the 90th minute.

      At just 3 goals per match, we should expect to see a goal scored during the 45th and the 90th minute every second match.

      Following that, I believe we can conclude that we actually should expect a considerable amount of last minute goals for completely natural reasons.

      “I think question 5 i irrelevant. Question 4 is good and could actually raises some real doubt about the handicap-believers.

      However, what if I played fut with only tots teams all the time? Then I would expereince the problem all the time? Or what if I only played with tots for one season. And then played 9 seasons with normal 80 rated team. Then i would expereince the problem 1 out of 10 times? Im the same player with the same problems, but my playing habits could influence my answering greatly. To greatly actually. because your usind the “difference in answering” as a part of your conclusion.”

      This could be a real issue if we were dealing with a small sample, but with a samle of 500 responses, such deviations won’t affect the results significantly.

      Reply
  16. 15

    neto

    all sports games have scripting ! it seams like now a days it’s impossible to have a blow-out result (5-0)..

    NBA 2k14 – FG % goes way down if you are in the lead
    MLB – if you’re up by 4/5 runs, your pitcher starts throwing meat balls
    NHL – more penalties are called against you, and you lose all face-offs

    etc.. etc..

    Reply
    1. 15.1

      Crlarsen

      “it seams like now a days it’s impossible to have a blow-out result (5-0)..”

      Maybe for you, but definitely not for me.

      Besides, the results above strongly suggests that the game doesn’t level the playing field to advantage the less skilled players.

      Reply
  17. 16

    Matt

    Wow, nobody has commented on this, yet?

    Thanks for taking your time to have an objective look at what’s really happening. Very interesting how statistical data can prove your perception wrong.

    I absolutely do believe in manipulation in FIFA, though. With nearly a thousand games in FIFA 14, mostly against the same friend, I must say I’ve noticed a lot of things that just seem more than a little fishy.

    Sometimes you seem to be unable to complete the most simple short range passes, a few games in a row and you lose by a big margin. Then suddenly it turns around and you win 11:0 or something. All against the same player. While now he is struggling with passes, AI positioning, only hitting the post etc.

    Also, without being able to back that up from my statistics, I would guess that at least 20-30% of my goals happen in the 45th or 90th.

    You see, I still do believe. But your essay makes me wonder if I’m sometimes too fast to judge and say I was manipulated. I mean, conceiving 2 or 3 goals does annoy me and maybe does lead to negative reactions from my side.

    Reply
    1. 16.1

      crlarsen

      Thanks for commenting.

      The indeniable fact is that you are experiencing varying results against the same player. Sometimes, passing appears to work well, sometimes not. This may definitely be true, but the question is why it happens.

      iI don’t quite understand why you link it to manipulation. Based on your description, your experiences seem quite random, and I don’t quite understand why EA would want to intervene with random matches in random ways. There is no likely link from this to EA making more money.

      On the other hand, it’s quite indeinable that the game is full of bugs which aren’t fixed (because it cost’s money), that the game is hard to control (because developing a better control scheme is expensive) etc.

      So, although I find it likely that some of your experiences actually are caused by the game rather than you and your friend, I find it hard to imagine that such things could be the intentional from EA’s side.

      Reply
  18. 17

    Spector Mason

    I liked how he broke everything down & explained it thoroughly, but once he implied that “manipulation” was just a figure of our imagination in the heads of the 100s of millions of people that have blatantly experienced it, it lost all credibility. If I have a 5 star, 84 rated UT squad, come up against three 65 rated squads in a row, beat them 4-0, 6-0, 8-0, then come up against a fourth 65 rated squad & lose 1-0, no I’m sorry thats manipulation.

    Reply
    1. 17.1

      Crlarsen

      “I liked how he broke everything down & explained it thoroughly, but once he implied that “manipulation” was just a figure of our imagination in the heads of the 100s of millions of people that have blatantly experienced it, it lost all credibility.”

      First of all, please read section 1 again. Having read that and understood the findings, is it actually correct that people share the same belief? They may share the common belief on a high level, but when we start looking into the details, the consensus ends. So the matter of the fact is that there aren’t millions og people that have blatantly experienced ‘it’.

      Second, look around you: There are numerous examples of widespread beliefs which are wrong. A couple of examples: Lightning never strikes the same place twice (it does!). God exists (according to 1 billion Hindus, he doesn’t).

      “If I have a 5 star, 84 rated UT squad, come up against three 65 rated squads in a row, beat them 4-0, 6-0, 8-0, then come up against a fourth 65 rated squad & lose 1-0, no I’m sorry thats manipulation.”

      What you are saying here is that because you are able to beat someone with a lower rated squad, you should be able to beat everyone with a lower rated squad. Why on earth do you think so?

      On contrary, it has always been the intention, that a sufficiently skilled player with a lower rated squad be able to beat a less skilled player with a higher rated squad.

      Reply
      1. 17.1.1

        Spector Mason

        You can go on forever with your long paragraphs of nonsense it really doesn’t make a difference. I win 10 games in a row the magically lose 10 in a row because of EA manipulation. You can’t justify that when it happens on the reuglar to millions of people. Multiple EA reps have even confirmed handicapping to those FIFA based you-tubers that are always at FIFA sponsored events & tournaments. Its a blatant fact just give it up.

        Reply
        1. 17.1.1.1

          Crlarsen

          I’m sorry, but you are ignoring the facts. It’s a plain and simple fact that there aren’t millions of people who experience losing streaks like the one you describe above.

          When you look at the actual match history of a considerable number of real players, you will see that they DON’T experience losing streaks beyond what they should.

          And the reason for that is plain and simple mathematics:

          If you take an average player, 50 % of his opponents will be better than him. Thus, his chances of losing the next game against a raodnom opponent is 50 %. The chance of losing the next two matches is 25%. The chance of losing the next four games in a row is 6.25 %. The chance of losing the next 8 games in a row is 0.4 % – and so on.

          If an average player plays 1.000 games against random opponents, chances are that he will lose 8 games in a row 4 times.

          In other words, this will most likely happen to most people who play more than 1.000 matches in a season. And of course, it will happen more often if you are below average.

          Reply
          1. 17.1.1.1.1

            Spector Mason

            You wouldn’t even be able to get 5 people out of the millions who play FIFA to agree with these claims so I don’t need to see reason or alleged facts. Its right in front of me, I play the game so I know its not my skill thats making me lose its other factors. If I lost to someone thats a low overall maybe like 6-5 then fine, I was scoring but just played horrible defense but if I’m getting shut out or its 1-0 to them & I have like 20 shots then no its manipulation hands down.

          2. Crlarsen

            The good thing about the truth is that it’s true whether people believe in it or not.

            It’s up to you whether you want to know the truth or perhaps are satisfied with whatever the majority believes. But please note that people once thought the Earth was flat. Yet, no one fell of the edge. Not even people who based their opinions on whatever the majority thought.

            “f I lost to someone thats a low overall maybe like 6-5 then fine, I was scoring but just played horrible defense but if I’m getting shut out or its 1-0 to them & I have like 20 shots then no its manipulation hands down.”

            Is it?

            Below, you see the stats from the Euro 2016 qualifier between Portugal (at home) and Albania played on September 7th this year.

            Portugal – Albania
            Goals: 0 – 1
            Shots in total: 19 – 1
            Shots on goal: 5 – 1
            Possession: 68-32

            Was that match manipulated as well…?

            http://www.soccerpunter.com/soccer-statistics/Europe/EC-Qualification-2016-France/match/1653150_Portugal_vs_Albania

          3. Spector Mason

            Now you’re trying compare real life to a game? Nowhere near the same thing.

          4. Crlarsen

            I didn’t say it was “the same thing”. All I’m saying is: If Portugal – Albania can happen in real life, then why do you call it manipulation of something similar happens in FUT?

            All you need to do is to tell me why the differences between FIFA and real football should imply that such results shouldn’t happen in FIFA despite the fact that they occur in real football.

            Besides, I’m still looking forward to the massive stream of evidence you are going to present, now that you were convinced that the manipulation claim was well supported by actual evidence.

          5. Spector Mason

            Do you even play the game? Go on UT & play 3-4 games & theres your evidence. I don’t need to write up a bunch of BS statistics when I have the manipulation right in front of me as I play. It doesn’t happen in Career, Pro Clubs, Seasons, any of that. Just Ultimate team.

          6. Crlarsen

            Yes I do. How come you can’t answer any of the questions I’m asking?

            I still wan’t to know why you believe it’s proof of manipulation when you encounter matches like Portugal – Albania.

            And I’m still curious to see all that evidence you have.

            And it’s not the first time I ask, nor the second. Don’t you think it’s a little unusual for someone who in his own opinion has a solid case, that he isn’t able to answer even the simplest questions?

          7. Spector Mason

            No its not unusual because its some thing so blatant that merely playing the game for 20 minutes is evident enough to know some thing isn’t right. Why do people keep saying “show me evidence” I can hand you anything through the screen & if I post some thing as simple as a link of someone analyzing manipulation you’re going to use the “you can’t believe whats on the internet BS” so what exactly do you want me to sow you.

          8. Crlarsen

            But still – if it is blatant, then how come you can’t show me any evidence?

            And how come you can’t explain why something that did happen to Portugal won’t happen to your FUT team, unless the game is manipulated?

            You may find this blatant, but the fact still is that you haven’t delivered anything with just the slightest resemblence to evidence.

            Doesn’t that cause some kind of reflection?

  19. 18

    Tim Coghlan

    Its not surprising that the first reaction to this article would be along the lines of “how much did they pay you”, or more topical that this is native advertising. It is certainly well within EA’s form to use these types of PR methods.

    Certainly the appearance on the surface that this article is presented in a scientific format comes off as a little above the skill set of a content site of this nature…… that is until you look closely at the authors primary data collection methods.

    The survey will return data accurately based on the quality of the questions asked. However, for these responses to be relevant they need to be qualified within a controlled data set. Mixing responses from gamers who play online FUT with gamers who play online pro clubs, and Online Seasons; and to the more extreme single player offline modes; completely voids the integrity of the results.

    Anyone who has been a member of the FIFA gaming community more than casually will be able to tell you that there is a heavy bias towards online game modes, both from EA and the majority of gamers. the disparity in FUT rewards for winning a tournament or season between online and single players modes is just one clear indication.

    If we take a look at the results of Question 4, the survey would have us believe that all online game modes are affected by EA game-play manipulation more than all offline modes. How surprising when the majority of gamers play online and look down their nose at single player modes that the majority will readily admit they haven’t played in years. Given each game mode is different the responses are only relevant within each data set. Especially between online and offline modes.

    It apples and oranges.

    As for whether scripting exists………. it a coded application!!! Explain to me how it would work without scripts!!!

    Reply
    1. 18.1

      Crlarsen

      Thanks for you comments. Although I disagree, I’m glad that you actually comment on the survey rather than just reject it’s conclusions as is the case with the majority of the comments.

      I will comment in detail on some of your points.

      “Mixing responses from gamers who play online FUT with gamers who play online pro clubs, and Online Seasons; and to the more extreme single player offline modes; completely voids the integrity of the results.

      Anyone who has been a member of the FIFA gaming community more than casually will be able to tell you that there is a heavy bias towards online game modes, both from EA and the majority of gamers. the disparity in FUT rewards for winning a tournament or season between online and single players modes is just one clear indication.”

      You are not very specific about why you believe this is an issue, but if I understand you correct, your point is that the results in question 4 could be caused by the fact that some game modes are more popular than others. I.e.: “It’s no wonder, less people experience handicapping in offline game modes, since less people play offline game modes.”

      This is however not true. The report above doesn’t contain all data in the survey. The survey included a number of reference questions, and among other things, I did check how often the respondents played the various game modes. The exact purpose of this was of course to avoid the issue you presumably are highlighting here.

      So, among players who actually *do play* each of the game modes in question, the clear pattern is that the harder the game mode, the higher the intensity of “manipulation”.

      Besides, I don’t understand why this objection to one single point leads you to conclude that the results in general are wrong. Please note that some of the core conclusions aren’t even based on data produced by the survey.

      “As for whether scripting exists………. it a coded application!!! Exp to me how it would work without scripts!!!”

      I find this irrelevant. We are not discussing whether the game programming will affect the results. It will! The question in dispute is whether the game *intentionally* is programmed to produce certain match results in certain situations. This is where the true disagreement lies.

      “Its not surprising that the first reaction to this article would be along the lines of “how much did they pay you”, or more topical that this is native advertising. It is certainly well within EA’s form to use these types of PR methods.”

      The primary reason why it isn’t surprising is that the lowest, least credible but also least time demanding way to disagree is to attack the author’s credibility rather than his work.

      There is actually a name for it – it’s called ad hominem attack.
      http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html

      The reason why such objections generally aren’t very credible is quite obvious: If there really is something wrong with the author’s argument, then why don’t you say it?

      But yet again, I appreciate that you didn’t succumb to that kind of arguing.

      Reply
  20. 19

    Ben

    Manipulation and handicapping is real, I’ve used an entire squad of silvers and beat a decent gold side a player of FUT founder standard with in forms, I have proceeded with a gold side with rares and in forms against silver/gold mixed sides and find my players static, slow to react and i’ve just added squad fitness prior to the match, its pathetic EA would find it all acceptible.

    Reply
    1. 19.1

      Crlarsen

      Why does this in your opinion prove that the game is manipulated?

      It has never been the intention that a skilled player with for instance a silver squad shouldn’t be able to beat someone with a gold squad. On contrary, it’s the intention that the game first and foremost should be about skill. So, if you play enough games, you will see someone get beaten by a much lower rated squad or the opposite. This is how it should be – it has nothing to do with handicapping.

      ‘FUT founder’ does not indicate that you are dealing with an expert player. FUT founders are people who opened a FUT account the first year, but this does not imply that they have been practicing ever since. Some of them have, some of them haven’t.

      Regarding squad fitness, adding a squad fitness card doesn’t make your players faster unless they had a low form level to begin with. But even though your players are fully charged, speed is not only about player pace, but to a large degree about the reactions and precision of the human player controlling the events. If your opponent is reacting faster than you, it will (and should) feel like his players are faster.

      Reply
  21. 20

    Kav

    I’m sorry but having come accross this clickbait article while looking to see if Fifa 15 is still as scripted as before I have to comment on what is a gross misrepresentation of collected data, combined with a wildly spurious methodology.

    But first, to anybody reading this that understands scripting exists please realise going on forums talking about it will not make it disappear. You have 2 options. Buy the game or don’t. If you keep buying it nothing will change. We need to send a message to EA that scripting is not acceptable and the only way the message gets through is by a reduction in sales. If you buy it you are giving up the only tool you have at your disposal to cause change, and that is your money. If you do buy the game your are buying it in full knowledge scripting exists and in effect give up your right to complain about it.

    Now Mr Larsen, I have no intention of trying to convince you ‘manipulation’ exists. We both know the reason these threads exist and it has nothing to do with getting to the truth of the matter. Ad revenues for this site must be booming as your other article was first thing to appear when I googled ‘fifa scripting’, and you are hawking this one like a pro. Fair enough, everybody has to make a living.

    I just wish to point out a few grave flaws in your interpretation of the survey, and the methods used to collate it. I will just cover the first 3 questions for brevity.

    1. Is manipulation clearly a fact?

    “but only 5 out of 10 think that all four kinds of manipulation are present in the game. Obviously, this also implies that 5 out of 10 finds it unlikely that all four kinds of manipulation are present”

    This is a serious misrepresentation of what these statistics are actually telling us. You have arbitrarily decided that for these complaints to be taken seriously, the top four must be experienced the same way by everyone. Why have you not collated how many people selected the top 2 answers, regardless of what else they selected? Because it is likely 70%+ and blows your arguement out of the water. To use a far better analogy than the Loch Ness monster, if I have a group of witnesses to a robbery and 70%+ tell me it was a) a man with b) brown hair, I’m not going to discount that on the basis they disagree on the colour of his eyes or can’t tell me what type of shoes he was wearing.

    Fact – 8 out of 10 surveyed believed there is ‘manipulation’ in fifa and no amount of statistical manipulation of your own can deny that. There are serious flaws in the questions asked as well but I don’t really need to get into that just now. It is enough simply to say a large set of questions on individual subjective experiences will always return a wide range of responses. But you knew that already.

    2. Do better players experience more manipulation?

    You don’t list the questions on the survey which gave you these results but I will assume you made sure to stress the experience of ‘manipulation’ had to be a negative one or else the entire process was a waste of time, because clearly someone including experiences of positive ‘manipulation’ throws the entire data set out.

    Taking that as a given then, the massive black hole in this section is the failure to gain the opinion of those who would be the main benificiaries of scripting i.e those with negative win rates. You say yourself the peope taking part are far more likely to be experienced, accomplished players. It is also self-evident that new, inexperienced or casual players will not realise the signs of scripting, or go on forums seeking out evidence of such. You had 12 respondents with a minor negative win ratio. This is quite simply a hideously unbalanced sample. It is obvious that those who would a) benefit from and b) not realise they are benefitting from scripting are those that did not take part in your survey, rendering the result next to meaningless. And this section of players does not just include ‘absolute beginners’ as you misleadingly try to write off the obvious flaw in your hypothesis. If scripting doesn’t exist there must be tens of thousands of players with negative win rates, many of whom would have zero subjective experience of scripting.
    Therefore all this question basically tells us is “average-to-good experienced players believe their games are scripted”. And before you mention XP, its obviously a meaningless measure as it only counts how long a player has been playing this particular version of fifa, regardless of previous experience.

    3. Are losing streaks happening more often than they should?
    “I haven’t defined losing streak in the questionnaire, but I believe that most people will agree that a losing streak consists of an uninterrupted row of at least three consecutive losses”
    This is just plain wrong. On every level. You fail to specifically define the question then proceed to make baseless assumptions about what people meant when they answered? This in itself renders your whole exercise disingenous to the point of outright corruption.
    Beyond that I know you have read the forums and must know that when players talk about losing streaks they are not talking about straight losses, they are mostly talking about streaks that take them down 3-4 divisions in quick succession. Why do I have to spell out that this is not losing every game in a row but having your w/l rate drop to 1/2 or 1/3 so you cannot hold position in the higher divisions. I have never witnessed players complaining of scripting just because they lost 3 in a row. This is one of the most obvious straw man arguments I have seen in a long time.
    Your methodology in this particular section is scandalous I’m afraid and I can’t believe you could go to all this effort and not know it.
    Honestly there are many more glaring errors and logical contradictions and I can only hope some steps are taken to remedy some of them in the name of accuracy, balance and truthfullness.

    Reply
    1. 20.1

      Crlarsen

      “We both know the reason these threads exist”

      You obviously don’t.

      “This is a serious misrepresentation of what these statistics are actually telling us. You have arbitrarily decided that for these complaints to be taken seriously, the top four must be experienced the same way by everyone. Why have you not collated how many people selected the top 2 answers, regardless of what else they selected? Because it is likely 70%+ and blows your arguement out of the water.”

      Not really.

      First of all, I do not set a criteria here. I do not say that if this was to be taken seriously, people should believe in 4 different claims etc.

      Second, the reason why I don’t present the percentage of people agreeing to the two, three, five, six and seven most common beliefs is that this would be redundant information. The point I’m making here is that the more claims we add, the weaker the consensus. And even if we only look at the top four claims, we still end up with only 50 % who actually have the same belief across these four beliefs.

      If we translate that observation into common language, it simply means that although a lot of people may agree that “something is wrong”, they definitely don’t agree on what it is. In other words, the alleged consensus on the existence of handicapping/scripting/momentum is only skin deep.

      “To use a far better analogy than the Loch Ness monster, if I have a group of witnesses to a robbery and 70%+ tell me it was a) a man with b) brown hair, I’m not going to discount that on the basis they disagree on the colour of his eyes or can’t tell me what type of shoes he was wearing.”

      You know, the thing about analogies is that they have to analogue, and that one isn’t.

      What we are dealing with here is 500 people. 80 % of them say they witnesses a crime. Trouble is they don’t agree to what kind of crime, where it happened, when it happened or how many times it happened. In fact only 5 % of them agree on all those parameters.

      And then we have 20 % who say they didn’t witness any crime. They are in fact the largest consensual group among the 500.

      “Taking that as a given then, the massive black hole in this section is the failure to gain the opinion of those who would be the main benificiaries of scripting i.e those with negative win rates. You say yourself the peope taking part are far more likely to be experienced, accomplished players. It is also self-evident that new, inexperienced or casual players will not realise the signs of scripting, or go on forums seeking out evidence of such.

      You had 12 respondents with a minor negative win ratio. This is quite simply a hideously unbalanced sample. It is obvious that those who would a) benefit from and b) not realise they are benefitting from scripting are those that did not take part in your survey, rendering the result next to meaningless. (…)

      And before you mention XP, its obviously a meaningless measure as it only counts how long a player has been playing this particular version of fifa, regardless of previous experience”

      This is not correct. As long as you stay on the same account, your XP points carry over to the next version of the game and continue growing if you go back to a previous version etc.

      So, the fact is that XP does tell quite a lot about the experience level and – all other things equal – the skill level.

      We got responses from players at almost every XP level between 8 and 98 and hence at very different skill levels. In a large sample like this, we should definitely expect to see a link between XP level and the “intensity of manipulation” if there was some kind of aspiration to level the playing field between players of different skill levels. However, there was no such correlation to be found.

      Based on this observation alone, I wouldn’t hesitate to conclude that the “leveling the playing field” theory is stone dead. If the game was leveling the playing field, we would have seen it above.

      You do cling to hopes in the fact that most of the respondents say they have positive W/L ratios, and you try to bring that up as a huge issue, which it really isn’t.

      First and foremost, the observation related to the XP levels is more than enough to conclude from, and it obviously doesn’t weaken that conclusion the slightest bit, that we primarily have responses from people with positive W/L ratios.

      Second, if there was some kind of leveling taking place, we should still expect this effort to target people with an VERY positive W/L ratio to a higher degree than people with just a slightly positive or perhaps neutral W/L ratio. Again, we didn’t seer any of that.

      So, whether you like it or not, you aren’t losing because you are better than the opponent but because he is better than you.

      “This is just plain wrong. On every level. You fail to specifically define the question then proceed to make baseless assumptions about what people meant when they answered?”

      Your attempt to debunk my little piece relies heavily on what I would call “cherry picking”. That is: You pay a lot of attention to small and often irrelevant details and completely ignore the important parts. This is a brilliant example.

      It is absolutely indifferent to the conclusion whether people share the same perception or not.

      The only thing I do observe is that a lot of people believe that losing streaks a inflicted on them somehow. That’s all, and I don’t need to go into further detail here, because the point I’m making is based on a completely different set of data.

      “Beyond that I know you have read the forums and must know that when players talk about losing streaks they are not talking about straight losses, they are mostly talking about streaks that take them down 3-4 divisions in quick succession.”

      And so what? This still doesn’t change the fact that when you look into the actual match results of real players, you will find exactly the number and lengths of losing streaks your should expect to find for completely natural reasons. Based on that, we can conclude that no losing streak or relegation is caused by anything else but natural causes.

      “Why do I have to spell out that this is not losing every game in a row but having your w/l rate drop to 1/2 or 1/3 so you cannot hold position in the higher divisions”

      Experiencing a periodical drop in win rate has nothing to do with a losing streak, and there is nothing unnatural about the win rate varying over time.

      “I have never witnessed players complaining of scripting just because they lost 3 in a row. This is one of the most obvious straw man arguments I have seen in a long time.”

      But I’m not saying that anyone is complaining about losing three matches in a row!

      All I’m saying is that losing 3 matches in a row is a losing streak by definition. And no matter whether people complain about it or not, we can calculate the expected number of such losing streaks in a sample of 400 matches and hence decide whether the actual number and length of losing streaks found in that sample was natural or not.

      And hence, I was able to conclude, that losing streaks don’t occur to an unnatural extent.

      “Honestly there are many more glaring errors and logical contradictions and I can only hope some steps are taken to remedy some of them in the name of accuracy, balance and truthfullness.”

      The truth is that you didn’t point out any errors. In fact, the primary observation from reading your response is that it’s incredible how one-blind and biased people can be when trying to protect their personal beliefs.

      Reply
      1. 20.1.1

        Kav

        LOL cherry picking. How ironic that you use the blatant weaknesses of your own method as an attack against others. There’s a name for that don’t you know : Projection. Look it up.
        I’m not going to respond to the abject nonsense you have posted in response as it plays into your hands of encouraging people to engage with these deceitful articles, and I refuse to succumb to obvious clickbait. I will say this. Two of your points are valid and I can accept, but the rest is willfully blind to the statements I have made and in some cases entirely contradictory to things you yourself have said. Your ignorance and ham-fisted application of probability is a particular highlight. Unfortunately this is not a surprise given your previous pseudo-scientific deconstruction of the scripting issue, and the often hilarious attempts by yourself to justify it against a community who systematically tore your argument to pieces.
        You are nothing less than a troll. Unfortunately the abhorrence above is far more mendacious than mere trolldom as you deign to dress up your wittering with the veneer of academia, and in doing so commit grave offences against the scientific method. Hang your head in shame, for it is people like you who hold back the human race in matters far more important than a mere computer game. Corporate apologists using the appearance but not the actaul rigour of science to muddy the waters of public discourse in the name of naked profit. Shame on you sir.
        I will not reply to whatever self-justifying tosh you write, as clicks are the oxygen that keeps this rubbish alive. People can make up their own mind based on what is written above. Unlike you, I do not think they are idiots

        Reply
  22. 21

    Gerardo Gozain

    Scripting or however you want to call it, exists and it is OBVIOUS. It all started on FIFA 2007 when EA introduced momentum. It was even a “new feature” of the game which then they hide. It is sooooo FRUSTRATING. I also accept that such manipulation has also favour me in many occasions making me feel bad of winning with stupid FIFA scripted goals so NO, IM NOT COMPLAINING BECAUSE I LOOSE as I experience the same on my favour. I enumerate all the experiences I have:
    – Early goals: the first 0 to 7 minutes defenders are so slow and bad positioned it is so common to score goals at this period.
    – Goals right after scoring one goal: Right after someone scores a goal, whichever team that scored will have like 5 minutes of stupidity allowing the other team to come back easily. Many times, even running from the midfield re-start kick with just one player. Ridiculous instant come backs
    – Minute 72, whichever team is loosing has an enormous chance of scoring
    – Late goals: near 45 min and 90 min, this is the most notorious one. Ive experienced being loosing and trying to come back and the game will just “not follow my commands” to help me score. I would know that I ve made a wrong choice but the game will magically take the best choice to assist me scoring. Many rebounces will come my way, I will regain possession quite easily and some ridiculous things will happen that will help me or whoever is loosing to score. And Ive tried this without changing mentality to super attack. Ive seen up to 4 goals being scored after 90 min stoppage time in one same game.
    Just got FIFA 15 hoping for any improvements… NOT AT ALL… EXACT SAME CRAP!!!!

    Reply
    1. 21.1

      Crlarsen

      I think most people recognize many of your observations, and I fully agree that the game causes lots of frustrations because it is too hard to control at certain times. But there is a huge difference between scripting (deliberate manipulation) and poor controllability.

      I definitely agree that neither the AI nor the control scheme is perfect, and both unfortunately does have a huge impact of the results in quite a few games. But there is a difference between arguing that things doesn’t work the way they ought to and claiming that this is part of a deliberate scheme.

      When you look at the examples of alleged scripting you mention above, I simply can’t come up with any realistic explanation to why anyone would want to impose such things on you on purpose. One of the key conclusions in my survey report above is that it is highly unlikely that EA could benefit from something like this.

      I have a few comments to your claims regarding goals allegedly being scored at strange times.

      Starting from behind, it can be proven via simple mathematical and statistical methods that goals during stoppage time should happen in approximately every second game due to natural reasons. So yes, there definitely are many goals during stoppage time, but it’s not because of manipulation.

      Goals scored at minute 72: That’s a new one. I have never heard that claim before. But again: Why would anyone want to impose goals on you in that exact minute? This makes no sense.

      Goals scored within 5 minutes after conceiving: Definitely should occur quite often. On average, a FUT game has about 4.5 goals. This means that a total of 22,5 minutes (25 %) of the match is taking place within 5 minutes after one team scored. Thus, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that such goals occur in approximately 1 out of 4 matches. If we add psychological factors on top of that, it may even happen more often.

      Reply
  23. 22

    15 minutes or more

    why dont they just get a sample of say 1000 matches of fut and graph when all the goals occur at specific times, that will show it

    Reply
    1. 22.1

      Crlarsen

      Not available, I’m afraid. But please read section 6 above and tell me whether you still believe there’s anything fishy about the number of stoppage time goals. I honestly thing it’s a natural product of the high match goal average in FUT in general.

      Reply
  24. 23

    COJOFC

    If there is no manipulation, they why when someone plays a team with low chemistry (full of red links) the game becomes so laggy that it’s almost unplayable? Why your opponent slow CBs catch up with Ibarbo, while on the other side of the pitch it’s a whole different story? Why you make a clearance from your defense, and it falls exactly at the feet of an opponent’s striker, sometimes after a bounce or two?

    Reply
    1. 23.1

      Crlarsen

      Sorry, but I don’t understand why you relate these experiences to manipulation.

      Yes, the game may be laggy at some times – but certainly not only when you play against low chemistry teams, and certainly not only to the disadvantage of one party.

      Slow CB’s catch up because the developers wanted to make pace less important. That’s how it works for you and for your opponent. I don’t see how this could be interpreted as manipulation. Rather, I would say it makes the game more natural.

      As for clearances, they do sometimes fall at the feet of the opponent’s striker, sometimes not. And so what?

      Reply
  25. 24

    Froyo

    This is the most stupid, biased EA sponsored FIFA related article I’ve ever read. Where did you get these statistics from? McDonalds?
    If you go to the EA forums, you’ll see more and more people complaining of manipulation day in day out. What a waste of time this article is.

    Reply
    1. 24.1

      Crlarsen

      We got them by asking the readers of this site.

      So, why do you find it stupid? Because you don’t like the conclusions or because you think the data doesn’t support the conclusions?

      Reply
  26. 25

    Josh

    In fifa 14 at first i didn’t ever have this problem, but having put A LOT of hours into this game, i can categorically say scripting in this game exists. And as my team got better the more blatant the scripting got. The forms of scripting that do 100% exist are the players reaction times, they’ll just act incredibly stupid miss easy passes, interceptions, stop randomly and fall over for no reason. And the AI in your team will suddenly stop showing for the ball, you’ll find yourself with NO passes and no movement in your team.

    The other thing is when you’re in a momentum game you can tackle the other player as many times as you want, the ball will always end up back with them, and i’m talking 7-8 tackles bounced back to them in a move which ends up with them scoring (usually with the keeper saving it into another one of their players).

    The shots can be affected badly too, not to be boastful but i am a VERY good finisher, as in in the skill game for advanced shooting i can beat the legendary score by at least 10,000 every time then i’ll get into games and then with bergkamp pires and ljunberg i can’t score to save my life and will hit the post at least 3-4 times a game and the keeper will make miraculous saves for everything else (and generally in these games the other player will have 2 shots or something and win 2-0 or 2-1).

    It’s definitely linked to the players you have too, the better your players the more it will try to force you to lose. At one stage i had an inform player in every position, i could not win a game. Now i settle for a half legend, half 75-80 and i can still feel it trying to make me lose about 7-10 games. And no I’m not just a shit player who is looking for an excuse, because i still win most of these games, it just tries EXTREMELY hard to make me lose. I’ve won the league in division 1 in both ultimate team seasons and normal season multiple times. If you want proof just ask.

    Reply
    1. 25.1

      Crlarsen

      I have put a lot of hours into this game as well, and as you can see above, new and experienced players are equally likely to believe in some sort of handicapping. Clearly, believing in handicapping has nothing to do with the level experience.

      I fully acknowledge your observations about players acting stupid, not moving into position for a pass, stumbling over each other and so on. But there is a very big difference between observing these things and concluding that this is done deliberately. There is definitely another and far more likely option: That it isn’t done deliberately, and that it simply happens because the game isn’t perfect.

      Although some of these events would be seen as “too stupid to be coincidental” in a real football match, this way of reasoning doesn’t apply to a computer game.

      Being a good finisher when there is no opponent to bother you does not imply that you are able to score on every chance in a real match.

      Further, I can reject the claim that the game will try to force you to lose when you have better players.

      In one of my other articles on this site, I looked into the actual scoring performance of various star players, and found that in general, better players (on paper) score more goals. If you replace Neymad with Ronaldo, you most likely will score more goals with your LW.

      Besides, it makes absolutely no sense for a company like EA to devaluate the contents of it’s own goods by making star players perform worse than cheap players. If this was true, it would take away the incentive to buy packs.

      Reply
      1. 25.1.1

        Josh

        way to not read what i said properly. For one you can’t just reject my claim because with over 600 games to my name i know for a fact i win more games with a worse team (it’s just boring and sweaty). If you have a team with 1 amazing player and a load of standard non rare players, the one amazing player will play unbelievably. Why do you think when famous fifa youtubers do reviews of players they surround him with average players? Almost all people who play fifa professionally or for videos will testify to momentum being real. Have that same players surrounded by team of the seasons and suddenly he’ll have no ball control no first touch and constantly make mistakes. If you notice i never said momentum was done deliberately either, i’m just saying it’s in the game. If i was to guess why they would do it deliberately though i would have to say it’s probably to make games closer to how they are in real life, at the detriment of the better player. And what you said about my finishing, remember when you’re finishing is that good all you need is a tiny bit of space and you can shoot, no one can pressure you constantly. I know the difference between a player being better than me and being able to put me off my game, and my players not doing what i want.

        Reply
        1. 25.1.1.1

          Crlarsen

          “way to not read what i said properly. For one you can’t just reject my claim because with over 600 games to my name i know for a fact i win more games with a worse team (it’s just boring and sweaty).”

          I have played way more than 600 games, and yet, I haven’t found any reason to believe in handicapping. I’m fairly sure that I see the exact same things as everybody else. The game is just as frustrating to me as it is to you.

          With regards to your observation above, I can fully confirm the factual part:

          I also win more friendlies with my bronze teams than with my gold teams. But this does not imply or for that matter prove that the game must be handicapped.

          I think that a lot of people who believe in handicapping tend to have a wrong impression about (1) matchmaking and (2) the importance of human skill versus squad quality.

          Although squad quality does play a role, it does remain completely obvious to me, that the vast majority of my games are decided my whoever is the better player. Even quite significant differences in squad quality won’t make up for just a medium sized gap in player skill.

          As for matchmaking, it’s quite obvious to me that there is a connection between squad quality and the skill level of the opponents you will bump into. Playing with a squad that only the chosen few can afford will lead to more hard matches than playing with a cheap bronze squad.

          The inevitable result of that is that you will win more games with less good squads.

          When looking at the handicapping theory from outside, the mere assumption that EA would have an incentive to handicap a player with a better squad makes absolutely no sense, because it would imply that EA depreciated it’s own goods (i.e. effectively reducing our incentive to buy packs). Of course, they won’t do that.

          Additionally, those who argue that a handicap would give bad players a chance and hence make them stay, buy packs and stuff, tend to ignore the very obvious fact, that a handicap would be a total pain in the neck to everybody else, and in turn make the game a lot less fun to play. Why on earth would EA want to take that risk?

          Finally, there is the survey above. What it basically shows us with relevance to this is that new players and less successful players observe just as much “handicapping” as experienced and more successful players. It is very hard to see how this fits with the explanation that the game will attempt to level the playing field.

          “Why do you think when famous fifa youtubers do reviews of players they surround him with average players?”

          Perhaps for the same reasons I do it, i.e. above and the link below [1]. Perhaps because they believe in handicapping. No matter what, it doesn’t really prove anything, does it?

          (…)

          “If you notice i never said momentum was done deliberately either, i’m just saying it’s in the game.”

          How did it get into the game if not deliberately?

          Exactly what does “momentum” mean to you?

          “If i was to guess why they would do it deliberately though i would have to say it’s probably to make games closer to how they are in real life, at the detriment of the better player.”

          Why would you assume that the games wouldn’t come close enough to real life football without this?

          Besides, when looking at the complaints about “handicapping”, many of them actually relate to events which doesn’t appear realistic.

          “And what you said about my finishing, remember when you’re finishing is that good all you need is a tiny bit of space and you can shoot, no one can pressure you constantly.”

          No, but you are ignoring the facts if you assume that the opponent has no impact on your own performance in terms of passing, dribbling and shooting. He does, and accepting this + learning what to do about it is one of the major steps towards mastering this game.

          “I know the difference between a player being better than me and being able to put me off my game, and my players not doing what i want.”

          I think this claim is pretty common among many handicapping-believers, but to be honest, I doubt it. In general (not just in relation to this discussion), people tend to have too high thoughts about their own capabilities. In the survey above, almost all participants thought they were better than average, no matter they were level 10 or level 80 and no matter whether their win-rate was 1:1 or 10:1.

          [1] https://www.ultimateteam.co.uk/2014/11/07/advantageous-players-fut-15/

          Reply
  27. 26

    Athon John

    I can’t quite remember the source; but I do seem to remember seeing a screenshot of allegedly some kind of game configuration file/spreadsheet, in which there was a table with the heading “match intensity” with entries of 0,-1,+2 etc.
    I can’t verify whether they were real or not, but if such a table does exist within the game, then I think that’s sure evidence for, let’s say, non-player controlled events.

    That being said; I think gamers should realize that in a game where you are controlling only 1 out of 11 players at a time, and where the goalkeeper is entirely AI controlled, the result of the games shouldn’t be taken too seriously. As a game, it’s meant to be a bit of fun and not something to base your life upon.

    Obviously some players are going to be better than others, but the difference in skill level is going to be very much smaller than in e.g. StarCraft, where the 2 players (in a 1v1) are in control of everything and nothing is left to chance.

    So simply put, if you want to play a game were winning and losing is entirely down to the “skill” of the player, then play another game.

    Reply
    1. 26.1

      Crlarsen

      I think you are referring to the “match intensity table” (google it), and I do believe that it’s genuine (is/was part of th game’s code base). However, it doesn’t really prove anything in relation to this discussion. Based on the screen dump alone, it’s impossible to determine what it actually does.

      Some people thought that this table was the reason for the large number of late goals in FIFA, but if you actually look at the actual structure and values, it should be pretty obvious that it isn’t. As an example, please take a look at the match intensity values when the scorediff is -1 or +1 in the last quarter of any half… Makes no sense, right?

      Besides that, I believe my explanation to that phenomenon (#6 above) is far more likely.

      In my opinion, it’s more likely that it controls crowd volume or perhaps player reactions in the cut scenes. The suggestion about crowd volume comes from the fact that it’s placed between two tables named noattendence and bigattendence.

      Reply
      1. 26.1.1

        Athon John

        Actually that sounds like a good explanation for the “match intensity” values, I hadn’t thought of that.

        This game is always going to frustrate people regardless if scripting exists or not. After all, the game is trying to simulate reality; in real life teams tend to try harder for more important matches, and weaker teams sometimes play better against opponents who don’t take them seriously. Even the best teams have off-days, and don’t win 100% of their matches.

        However, the human being playing the game may be “good enough” to win 100% of the matches. They are inputting exactly the same movements, pointing the stick in the same direction, holding the shooting button for exactly the same duration in each instance. It’s just that every action in the game is based on stat sliders and consistency sliders.

        The actual player’s input in this type of game is relatively small, so sometimes when you lose, it feels unjust. Interestingly, your victories don’t seem so unjust despite the same factors coming into play.

        Overall, this shouldn’t affect your win/loss ratio if you have played many matches. However, in my experience, If you’re playing a best of 3 against your mate it often leads to the winner feeling quite superior to the other and for the next few days you aren’t quite such good friends.

        So I guess my point here is: enjoy FIFA responsibly, don’t spend your entire paycheck on FUT.

        Reply
  28. 27

    Vladimir Druts

    I said it all along this guy is the biggest online scripting/handicap lobbyist for EA lol.

    Here is an article describing precisely WHY game companies include handicap and scripted events, it’s speaking about a different game but the same psychological principles apply; it’s to keep people addicted and coming back for me. FIFA, especially Ultimate Team has been set up around many Casino gambling style principles; this helps them move along their bottom line >>

    Here you go ! http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/apr/01/candy-crush-saga-app-brain

    Reply
    1. 27.1

      Crlarsen

      Vladimir, let’s just say that I am an EA lobbyist. Where would that make me wrong? I’m not making any claims above, just observations.

      I definitely believe that the concepts described in the article above are used in FIFA as well, but not in the way you think. Quite clearly, FIFA offers many different game modes and difficulty settings, which definitely serve the purpose of making the game challenging. Seasons offers levels in the almost the same way as Candy Crush Saga by raising the promotion bar each time you progress.

      Reply
      1. 27.1.1

        Vladimir Druts

        Facepalm.. How much money have they paid you?

        Reply
  29. 28
  30. 29

    fifa1000

    Hi Everyone 😉

    For those who are busy, have low attention span, or simply bored, scroll down to the dotted lines to get to business end.

    part 1

    I would like to share with everyone my fifa experience.

    The beginning.

    The first copy of fifa i owned was fifa 13.

    I bought fifa 13 after having it recommended to me by my brother, i didnt play games at the time so i bought a second hand ps3 in order to play fifa solely.

    I started off by having a few games with my bro online, it was clear he was much better than me as he had owned many fifas before me, while i was just starting off, he played it casually and would have a few games per week.

    We started off playing each other online and would have 3 games in a session about twice a week. From then on my brother only played fifa against me and didnt play any games inbetween playing me, i started playing online seasons against random people and played in seasons a lot inbetween playing my brother.

    After just a short time it became clear that i was now better at fifa than my brother, he only played against me but i was having many many games online so i caught up with and overtook my brother very quickly, i started winning every match we played.

    I really got into fifa and was playing about 10 games online each day! the game was really fun, i had no problems with it whatsoever, it was always responsive and my players done what i told them to do. My record in seasons wasnt very good but i enjoyed the game and continued to practice every day and got better and was improving.

    Then at some point in the game i started having trouble, something didnt seem right, the game felt different and i couldnt seem to play as i was playing before and i couldnt work out what i was doing wrong, things just didnt seem to work as well as they was before! my first thought was that i had let bad habits creep into my game , i started to try and find out what i was doing wrong, maybe i was holding sprint too much? perhaps i was rushing my game in some way?……….. (this was the beginning of handicap which i didnt know at the time!)

    I began to get fed up of h2h seasons and began to look for another part of the game to find fun in, i stumbled upon fut which i had never tried before!

    FUT

    So i started up fut and had a couple of games with the bronze starter team, after those games i then decided that i wouldnt play anymore untill i had built up enough coins to build 2 good teams to play with, all i had was the coins i started with and the coins i earned from those games i had played.

    I quickly learned how to buy and sell and make coins, i stopped playing games of fifa and just began to trade every day, eventually i had enough coins to build a team.

    I went on the internet and began to look for some help to build a team and come across an article by a guy called Darren Cross (if i remember his name correctly) He suggested in his article a team that he said is very good, and even had a second team that people could build which was also very good but a lot cheaper, i had enough coins to build both these teams so i bought them both so i had one for fitness.

    Here are the 2 teams he suggested-

    http://www.futhead.com/fifa/squads/15269030/

    http://www.futhead.com/fifa/squads/15269033/

    So i put the best team in first and then when a player went down to 90 fitness i would swap him for a fresh reserve player.

    This team played absolutely amazing, i couldnt believe how well they played, everything was perfect, this team is actually what people call a sweaty team, but i didnt know anything about sweaty players at the time, i just built a team recommended by someone online.

    Anyway games with this team was soo perfect, they played soo well together, nice and smooth, perfect positioning, perfect runs, perfect crisp passing, just everything was perfect, i was winning every game i played and not only winning but winning comfortably, i was winning like 6,7,8,9-0, a bad game for me was like only winning by 4 goals! i must of only conceded about 2 goals in about 30 ish games!

    I was shooting up the leagues, blasting everyone away who i faced, they simply couldnt get near me! i was in division 1 in no time with no defeats! I also entered a cup and won that first time too very easily, this team was so good that i could play someone twice as good as me and demolish them no problem!

    So after 30 ish games, i started to notice that my team had lost its mojo, they just wernt playing like they did at the start, i was now winning some/losing some, and i just couldnt get away from winning 30 ish games more than i had lost, i ended the year winning 30 ish more than i lost! looking back it appeared that the game had given me a huge welcome and gifted me a nice long run of games that i could win easy then wouldnt let me go over or under that ratio of winning 30 ish more than id lost! I believe that EA had some sort of system in place to allow me a run of perfect games to ease me gently in fut, then once id had those games it kept my win loss ratio almost the same right through the year, the game to me has a way of balancing out a lot of peoples wins and losses!

    NEW ACCOUNTS

    Going back to half way through fut 13 i decided to use a new account after my great tream became average! I noticed that the guy who owned the ps3 before me had left 15 accounts already created, so i went on one of those accounts and set up fut, i then got all my players from the 2 teams mentioned above and swapped them over to new account.

    I quickly realised that these players didnt perform like they did in first 30 ish games in old account, they carried on playing like they did when they became average!… looked like EA had something in place for those who moved their players over to new account!

    In the end i swapped these players into new accounts a few times more and could never get them to play like they did in them first magical games!

    So after realising they would never play for me again like they did the first time, i opened another account with the ones already on my ps3 from first owner, and decided to just play games with my starter team and build the team up as i made coins through playing, i always remember building a german league team, and picking veronin as a CF and he played amazing, he had H/H work rate and i could always notice him tracking back and helping me to defend when my opponent was attacking, he also had a great shot and scored many good goals. I remember telling people that veronin was the cheap wayne rooney!

    So what i was now doing was creating new account, building teams up from different leagues as i earned the coins, getting myself to division 1, then leaving the account and opening a new one and starting over again, each new account had the players playing very good for a while in kind of like a ”honeymoon” period before they started to go stale then id move onto next account! but all these teams in new accounts never ever matched up to that first russian team i built shown further up.

    What was happening was that each time you start a fresh account, the game runs nice and smooth for you untill you have played so many games, then your players never quite play up to that standard again which leads me to this………

    ………I began to notice certain games in fut, where my players performed strangely, they wouldnt play as good as they could and they would be unresponsive, heavy and make lots of mistakes, i looked into this and realised that it was when i was playing someone with a brand new account that my players underperformed, i began to spot when i was playing a fresh account by how my players performed, if they played badly then i would check the date of my opponents account and sure enough…it would be a fresh account!

    It became clear to me that fresh accounts played better than older accounts when they where matched up!

    I always remember the days when i could see my players work rates acting out on the pitch, and how certain players played, how some players were amazing, but after so long of playing fifa, none of this happens anymore, i cant spot work rates on the pitch, no players play amazing like they used to, yet when i go on the forums even to this day i see people posting things like this-” x player is so good, he is everywhere for me and really helps me out in defence” etc, and i often think to myself that my players used to be like that….before handicap!

    BACK TO ME AND MY BRO

    Ok so after a while of me always winning my bro…..something happened!

    A switch was flicked in the game and i began to start finding it more difficult to win all the time against him, now this is very perculiar indeed, as my bro continued only playing fifa sparingly, while i was on it every day getting better and better. I had got even better than when i began to win him every game, while he had not got any better, but i could see the game now giving him a helping hand, something had clearly adjusted in the game to help him after a run of defeats for him against me.

    I noticed all his goals was from lucky rebounds and silly mistakes by my AI and unresponsiveness of my players, yet it became very rare for me to get these lucky goals against him, i rarely got goals this way against him.

    I started to play him on new accounts and quickly realised that in new accounts i could score these lucky goals again, i could score from crosses and corners again….using exact same teams!

    We both noticed that when i played in new accounts i could score goals that i found much harder to score in old account, and my brother got less luck when i was in new account!

    I could see when on old account how my bros AI worked a lot harder, and pressed me with 3 players even though he doesnt use custom tactics! my players would also be unresponsive and i found it hard to tackle him, i would slide past him like there was a forcefield! there was lots of things i noticed about the game that was aiding my bro!

    Games between me and my bro became a chore for me, nothing would work, my players was always slow and stupid and unresponsive, i told my bro i was getting handicap, he wouldnt accept it at first but then we began to do some tests and i also explained things to him and pointed things out, and he gradually became aware of the handicap.

    I always noticed that his players was always much more responsive than mine and could twist and turn better, and generally performed much better for him.

    One thing i always remember is when we both loaded each others accounts onto our own ps3’s and i played his account and he played mine, i couldnt believe what happened, at the start of the game, i noticed straight away how easy it was to play with his team, much more responsive, i absolutely dominated him, he couldnt get out of his own third of the pitch! but then at 30 ingame minutes something switched, this is when i realised that there was ”mid game” handicap, after i was dominating him with his own team, a switch was flicked ingame, the game realised i was dominating him and altered my teams stats on about the 30 minute mark! It was very clear to feel and see!

    FIFA 14

    So i purchased fifa 14 on day of release, went straight into fut and started playing/building my team.

    After so many games my record looked like this – WLWLWLDWLWLWLDWWLWLLDWLWLD!

    Basically i played a game, my players performed well and i won, then played next game and my players performed shockingly bad and i lost, there was a draw in between the wins and losses every now and again, and there was also a back to back win, but then there would always follow a back to back loss!

    It was very clear to me that the games was being manipulated, after a win my players played soo bad and was so unresponsive that a loss surely followed, my wins and losses was down to how my players performed and not how i performed! my win/loss ratio always stayed equal!

    I got so annoyed with this, and the fact that my wins and losses was so predictable and how everything was decided by how well my players performed, that i decided to use my old trick from fifa 13 which i had learned about after being frustrated by handicap.

    I decided to use one of the other accounts as i thought that i would get a nice run of games before the handicap kicked in like in fifa 13!

    So i started on one of the other accounts and the exact same thing happened-WLWLDWLWLD etc.

    This was very frustrating, it seemed i couldnt get away from this manipulation of winning and losing! it was awful to know that after i had just won, i would know that i couldnt win the next game and i would have to play through it with the most shocking of handicap, and the handicap was soo obvious and stuck out like a sore thumb, EA had tried to make it less obvious by sticking the odd draw inbetween these wins and losses and also giving me a back to back win occasionally….that would always follow by a back to back loss in the very near future!!!

    Anyway….moving on a bit, i realised that i couldnt get round the handicap like i learned in fifa 13, and i eventually found a way to get round it in fifa 14.

    In fifa 13 what i had to do was start a new account and i would get a long run of games where my players performed well untill the handciap kicked in. But in fifa 14 it didnt work like this, but what i eventually found did work was using lots of different accounts and playing a few games in each before moving onto the next account.

    So what i would do is this- play 3 games in an account, then go onto the next account and play 3 games in that, then onto the next and 3 games in that. I could play over 10 games a day doing this with minimal handciap!

    I had so many accounts i was using that it took about 3 or 4 days before i was back onto the first account. The handicap was there but it was less severe and it could be overcome, there was the odd game where the handciap was so bad that it seemed impossible to win, these games was normally when it was for the title/promotion, but it didnt bother me that much as there was only the odd game with lots of handciap!

    by doing the method above, i was able to sail quite easily up to division 1, i used the same 2 teams in each account, here they are-

    Team 1 http://www.futhead.com/14/squads/17822426/

    Team 2 http://www.futhead.com/14/squads/17822457/

    I used 1 or 2 other players in second team as well, one i remember was rickie lambert, i may have also used a midfielder instead of cattermole, and another defender instead of dawson, but they were all low rated and the rest of the team stayed the same.

    Ok so after getting to division 1 very easily in each account with the same players, i noticed that the handicap returned with all its force as soon as i started a game in division 1, i noticed all my players was slow and stupid and unresponsive, and generally performing really bad, this happened in each account as soon as i got to division 1. I then realised that EA had something in place in terms of handciap for when i reached division 1.

    Im sure EA would have been expecting me to think that i was just facing tougher opponents in division 1 and that was why i was finding it tough, but that was not the main reason for finding it tough, the main reason was the performance of my players!…..which leads me to say this……for all the times the game started to go tough, it was not solely down to facing better opponents, it was mainly due to how my players performed, and i am certain of this, it was not hard to see certain instances in the games where my opponent could not affect my players, yet they was playing terrible!

    So after realising that the boring tedious (handicapped) gameplay returned with full force after reaching division 1 i decided that i would scrap all those accounts and create a bunch more and start from the bottom again using fresh new accounts.

    So i deleted all those accounts off my ps3 (the accounts that had been created by ps3’s previous owner) and created another bunch myself.

    I was looking forward to starting off again using those same cheap teams and getting to division 1 with only the light handicap which i could overcome and the occasional heavy handicap which came around promotion time and seemed impossible to overcome!

    I opened the accounts and started to play, and to my horror……it didnt work anymore!

    I was getting the strong handicap from very early on!

    I now wish i didnt delete those other accounts created by previous owner as i dont know the details to put them back on my ps3!

    It seems that those accounts created by old ps3 user had for some reason been immune from the heavy handicap yet any accounts created by me get the full handicap from very early on!

    Throughout fifa 14 as i was playing, i was also doing many tests along the way and found out a lot of things about the game to do with handicap, i will write them down in a summary at the end of my post.

    FUT 15

    Ok so i purchased fifa 15 from day 1 and went straight into fut.

    i started playing and building my team slowly, it was very annoying, my team played ok and i won, then next game they played awful and i lost! there was a draw here and there inbetween and the odd back to back wins quickly followed by back to back losses, my record looked like this- WLWLWLDWLWLWLDWWLWLLDWLWLD…………look familiar anyone?….very similar to the start of fut 14! and once again the main difference in the games is not facing a better opponent but the fact that my team become paralised and sluggish and stupid!

    Its quite funny because i had forgot what my record looked like from the start of fut 14 and it was only when i stumbled upon some old notes i had of my record that i reralised it was very similar to fifa 15!

    ==================================================================================

    ==================================================================================

    continued in another post………..

    Reply
  31. 30

    fifa1000

    part 2

    HANDICAP IN FIFA

    Here are some of the things ive learned along the way on fifa having played many games (over 3600 a year as i usually play over 10 games a day and sometimes even more, and rarely miss a day all year) and doing many tests.

    1. midgame handicap

    I noticed in fifa 13 that there was midgame handicap, i gave an instance of this above where i used my brothers account and he used mine, i dominated him and he couldnt get out his own third of the pitch untill the game made adjustments at around 30 ingame minutes, me and my brother did not use any custom tactics or even go defensive or attacking yet the game clearly made an adjustment midgame when it realised i was totally dominating, we manged to fool the game by swapping over accounts and playing each other, the game had clearly kept my brothers aids on his account while i used it, and kept my handicap on while he used mine! untill it was able to read that one was dominating the other then it adjusted to make the game more even!

    2. Lobbies

    After getting so frustrated with handicap i began to search through the game modes for a place to play that didnt have the dreaded handicap, i came across lobbies and had a session and the game played fine, i actually thought lobbies didnt contain handicap.

    I told my brother about it and he agreed to meet me in lobbies, my brother beat me in there and my players played dreadful! I was scratching my head how this could be as all the games i played in there ran smooth and i felt in control untill i played my brother in there.

    So after much head scratching i found out what had happened…..in lobbies i was hand picking my opponent, i would go in there and find the guy with the highest skill level, it was usually around the high 20’s or low 30’s and then play them, i guess the game didnt have to handciap me as i was actually playing better players than me! maybe my opponents with the high skill level was the ones who was getting handicap!

    3. My 100% record

    Ok so after getting dubious losses in fut and feeling i was cheated and my team played poor rather than me playing poor, i decided that i would start asking people for rematches, but when people agreed we would go into the game and my players would play equally bad and i would feel equally cheated and lose again!

    So obviously i still was not happy and began looking for ways to beat this handicap and prove that i was handicapped when i lost.

    I then thought of another idea, I would ask people for a rematch after feeling cheated, but instead of playing in the same account, i would play them in one of my other accounts which had the exact same team that i use!

    I done this with all the people who beat me and who agreed to the rematch, and i won every single one of them, with no draws or losses! we both used exact same teams.

    I noticed that the key to this was to use an account that i hadnt used in last few days, and this is one of the handicaps EA uses, it wont let you win so many games, so the opponents had already played a few games already while my other account had not played for a few days, EA likes to share the wins and losses out!

    4. running accounts parallel.

    While playing in different accounts i noticed games going very similar to other games i played not long before in the other account. I played a guy with a starter team, i had a low rated full chem team, my team is slow and stupid so he goes 1-0 ahead, my team carry on playing bad untill after 80 minutes then they go responsive and i score 2 late goals to win 2-1

    Next game i play a full chemistry bpl team, im also handciapped in this game and the opponent is quite good, he beats me by a huge score.

    I move onto next account and play very similar team to in the first game in other account, my team is slow and stupid and he scores to go 1-0 up, my team stay unresponsive untill after 80 minutes then they play ok and i score 2 late goals to win 2-1

    2nd game in second account, same team as the second game in other account except for 2 players , opponent is quite good but i am handicapped, he beats me comfortably.

    It became clear to me that EA have like a kind of story in fifa, like im meant to play poor team and my players can only play good after 80 mins, then i play a second team who is high rated and im destined to lose it no matter who deserves to win, perhaps EA matching me up to lose to a good team so i will want that team…..etc.

    I also played a game with a guy and beat him 2-1 , the game went exactly as described above with the other 2-1 game, my players played bad for 80 mins then allowed me to play and i come back and win 2-1, i added this guy and asked for a rematch in other account and yet again the game went the same way ie he scored first as my players was bad, then after 80 mins im allowed to play and score 2 goals. And this happened a lot when playing accounts parallel!

    note.- you can see a lot more clearly the handciap methods when playing different accounts!

    5. The curse of ivy lane!

    Ok so i became friends with someone i met online who was just as much into fifa as i was, we always swapped what we know about fifa, he asked me if i knew about ivy lane, he told me that very strange things happen on this pitch, but only when the pitch is a lighter shade of green, like illuminous!

    After him telling me this we decided to have a match on this pitch, he beat me 5-0 and it was one of the worse games ive played on fifa, all the handciap nonsense, i felt no control whatsoever, while he found it super easy to score, all the games we play are a lot more evenly matched than that one at ivy lane with the light green pitch, except for another game we had……which was also on ivy lane!! I beat him 5-1 and he had all the same problems as i had in the first game, no control whatsoever while i found it easy, we done tests on this and my friend already knew about this pitch, which proves that EA manipulate the game just by playing on a pitch that is lighter green than normal!

    6. W/C add on fifa 14

    Well what can i say about that abomination= the worst type of handicap ive ever experienced, so obvious so strong, EA had to handciap that mode bad, as they knew the kids would go there and spend on packs, they couldnt have them getting beat, it became obvious that i could win 2 world cups there quite easy then impossible after that…maybe unless i met the requirements to win a 3rd by buying packs or by losing out lots before i win it again!

    I also noticed i was getting matched up with ”beast fc” a lot in this mode when i rarely do any other time on fifa, i got the feeling there was no matchmaking whatsoever in that game, or it was not very good, perhaps all the ”beast fc’s ” are mainly 11 year old kids who i could beat most of the time!…but not in this mode after winning it twice, once again ive never known handicap as bad as in that w/c mode…EVER!!

    7. Playing too many games.

    It is clear to me that EA handicap you for playing too many games, your players will become slow and stupid the more you play, i explained this to a mod in the EA forums, he told me that i was just getting tired after lots of games and i was losing my concentration.

    But you can carry on winning simply by going onto a different account, ive actually gone on a bad run in division 7 after playing a few, then went on another account were im in division 1 and winning the two games i played by 6-0 and 5-1….so much for the cocentration theory eh!

    Why is there handicap in fifa?

    there are many reasons why EA put handicap in fifa, this is why i believe there is handicap.

    1. EA ideally want people to be matched up to each other with similar skill levels, without handciap people facing opponents with similar skill would just cancel each other out quite often! and the game would become boring to a lot of people!

    2. When one opponent is much better than the other opponent EA think it is better to aid the lesser player to keep him in with a fighting chance, or not get bored by being dominated too much

    3. Some form of handciaps are actually needed to keep the game working, i remember in fifa 13 that if some people went 1-0 up they would simply pass it round the defenders for the rest of the game and this is a very sly and wrong thing to do, EA have to manipulate certain aspects of the game so the game cant be abused too much (although its nearly impossible for them to remove every abuse) but what EA do is make your defenders pass wrong for no good reason, but this stops the idiot opponents keeping ball around the back, pass manipulation even if the pass is easy is needed so the possession hounds cant keep the ball with 90% possession stopping their opponents from getting completely dissalusioned with the game.

    4. Drama. EA feel it neccessary to manipulate games to keep it exciting and unpradictable.

    5. There are lots of people that start fresh accounts on fifa, when they do this the game wont know how good they are and so it may match them up with a noob in first game, the noob will get beaten by a big margin, then ofcourse the better players will beat people on the way up from bottom division before they find opponents of similar skill again, but ELO also helps with this, in the first game in fut with fresh account you will notice more types of handicap, one i notice that happens more in first game is the ball speed being manipulated to make it reach the lesser opponent more, the ball is also likely to rebound to lesser opponents keeper from any angle to kill a threat on goal, there are many more things too!

    note-i have recently done lots of tests when starting fresh fut account, i opened several new accounts and decided to play like a complete beginner, i noticed quite easy that it was my opponent who fell foul of strong handicap when i played like a complete beginner! all the things that normally happen to me regarding handicap was happening to my opponent, this is the only time i see my opponent getting the strong handicap that i regularly get!

    6. EA may use handicap to make it more likely for people to buy packs.

    7. There must be a large group of fifa addicts out there who play it religiously every day for hours and hours…and im one of them!

    Lets imagine that there are 100,000 of these people who play fifa and are really good, lets say they play 12 games per day, imagine if they won 10 of these games, well that would mean they would be dishing out 1 million losses into the fifa community every day!

    8.There are lots of people who play fifa for a week or two, then when another game gets released they play that for a while and they may leave fifa for a month or two, a lot of these people will be pack buyers and give EA lots of money. If they was to leave fifa for a month, they would be very rusty when they come back, the handicap ensures they wont come back into say division 3 and get beat in the next 10 games! There are lots of people out there who have stated they took a long brake from fifa and come back and won the cup in first game, or won there first 2 games!……etc

    Why does EA handicap YOU…and not HIM?

    Well i just cant get to the bottom of this one, you would think it would make sense that the handicap is there for people who reach a certain level of fifa, but this doesnt seem to be the case, there are people out there who are godly at fifa, yet state they dont get and dont believe in handicap!

    So this seems quite sinninster to me, it seems that some people are immune from handicap while others are targetted with handicap

    Personally..i believe that EA have some sort of system in place that activates handicap when certain thresholds are met.

    An obvious one for me is….playing lots of games in short space of time.

    When i first started playing fifa, i easily played 10-15 games per day every single day, and i didnt feel handicap for a long time, so maybe EA have something in place so say 3 months of hitting fifa hard every day will activate the strong handicap, so it will only catch a certain type of person….the guy playing 10 games a day for months, EA may know that from time to time there will be many people who hit fifa hard for maybe 2 weeks or so, so this will not activate the handicap as it would catch too many people in the handciap net, but activating strong handicap after say 3 months of continual play or longer, will only catch a select few, and stop them from ruining the franchise by dishing out collectively massive losses to the fifa community each day!

    There will be many more reasons for handicap, but one thing is for sure………………….handicap is real.

    There are 3 types of people who play fifa

    1. People who believe in handicap

    2. People who dont believe in handicap

    3. people who know there is handicap

    Im going to leave it here, this was such a long post, and yet i missed so much out, i just wish i could of perfected the post rather than sending out a first draft….but there you go!

    Thanks for reading, now go and shave that long beard!

    Reply
  32. 31

    fifa1000

    Hi people, i made a very long post but i couldnt send it in one go, so i had to brake it down into 2 sections, part 1 is under part 2

    thanks

    Reply
    1. 31.1

      Crlarsen

      Thank you for taking all that time and effort to produce this huge contribution.

      I have read it in it’s full length, but I won’t comment in detail, as some of my comments will be general.

      Above and in my responses, I have taken a scientific approach to this discussion, as I find it pointless to do anything else. The bad thing about science is that it discovers the truth, no matter whether you like it or not. In this case, it has become blatantly clear from certain peoples reactions that they not only believe in handicapping: They also WANT to believe it for all they are worth. The reason for that is probably pretty straight forward: Having to accept that you lose because the opponent was better is not as appealing as being able to say that you lost, because you were better and got handicapped.

      With regards to your posts, I will start with section 1.

      You play a lot against your brother, and you are quite certain that you started getting handicapped when playing against him because he started winning after you had been winning for some time.

      Basically, this is an anecdote, meaning that it doesn’t represent any value as evidence from a scientific point of view. We don’t know whether your personal judgement is correct, and your account does not hold any information to suggest that your observation is representative to others.

      With regards to the events between you and your brother, you may indeed teach your self bad habits. This may have happened, even though you were unable to identify the problem. Besides, your brother may (unconsciously) have changed certain aspects of his game, or perhaps gotten rid of his own bad habits. But the point is, that this is all speculation. We can’t know, when all we have is a brief, anecdotal account.

      Further, if there is a handicap, it ought to work in the same way for you and your brother. So, at first your brother ought to have been handicapped as he had been playing for years, and yet he won. Then you started winning or he got handicapped even more. And finally, it started to handicap you because you started winning.

      This raises a couple of questions: How come he won even if he was handicapped in the beginning? How did it decide that you had started winning because you had become too good and not because your brother was handicapped? If the intention was to balance the game, this clearly didn’t happen.

      Further, I really don’t see the motive for applying a handicap like the one you suggest here. The game already has difficulty sliders which you could adjust if you wanted a more balanced game. It makes absolutely no sense from a game development perspective to implement a voluntary handicapping concept while at the same time forcing it on to the players.

      As for section 2, I would like to dig into some of the alleged motives for having a handicap in FIFA.

      “1. EA ideally want people to be matched up to each other with similar skill levels, without handciap people facing opponents with similar skill would just cancel each other out quite often! and the game would become boring to a lot of people!”

      What you are suggesting here calls for matchmaking, not handicapping.

      Levelling games through a handicap is extremely complicated. People may be dominating for many different reasons, and you pratically need the ability to analyze exactly how to make the game level. Further, I would like to point ot the obvious fact that many matches aren’t levelled (look at the result!).

      “2. When one opponent is much better than the other opponent EA think it is better to aid the lesser player to keep him in with a fighting chance, or not get bored by being dominated too much”

      But matches like these do occur, so either there is no handicap, or it doesn’t work like you describe it here.

      “3. Some form of handciaps are actually needed to keep the game working, i remember in fifa 13 that if some people went 1-0 up they would simply pass it round the defenders for the rest of the game (…) ”

      Yes, this still happens, and you can do very little about it. So, obviously there is no handicap fixing this issue. Besides, I don’t see how a handicap would solve this. Rather, it would make sense to implement a tactical setting aimed at marking all passing options tightly or something similar.

      “4. Drama. EA feel it neccessary to manipulate games to keep it exciting and unpradictable.”

      Why do you assume that there wouldn’t be drama without articifial help? This is football to some extent, and football has always had the ability to produce drama.

      “5. There are lots of people that start fresh accounts on fifa, when they do this the game wont know how good they are and so it may match them up with a noob in first game, the noob will get beaten by a big margin, then ofcourse the better players will beat people on the way up from bottom division before they find opponents of similar skill again, but ELO also helps with this,”

      There is no evidence to suggest the existing of ELO matchmaking in FUT. Besides, the very fact that people may switch accounts is a very good reason why a handicap would never work as intended.

      “6. EA may use handicap to make it more likely for people to buy packs.”

      How does that work? In the article you are responding to, we actually reject this claim rather effectively.

      “7. There must be a large group of fifa addicts out there who play it religiously every day for hours and hours…and im one of them!

      Lets imagine that there are 100,000 of these people who play fifa and are really good, lets say they play 12 games per day, imagine if they won 10 of these games, well that would mean they would be dishing out 1 million losses into the fifa community every day!”

      Yes, and they most likely are. And then what?

      “8.There are lots of people who play fifa for a week or two, then when another game gets released they play that for a while and they may leave fifa for a month or two, a lot of these people will be pack buyers and give EA lots of money. If they was to leave fifa for a month, they would be very rusty when they come back, the handicap ensures they wont come back into say division 3 and get beat in the next 10 games!”

      Why would that be important to EA?

      Reply
  33. Pingback: Anonymous

  34. 32

    Sweaty_Beaver

    None of us can say for sure that scripting/manipulation/losing streaks exist because nobody will ever have sufficient proof to back it up. So I like that this article is all about “interpretations”.
    What I will say is that on occasion I feel I have been on both the good and bad side of some very, very strange happenings in this game. I’ve seen myself coast through divisions only to get stuck in Division 4 for 3 seasons, then sail on to Division 1 winning titles on the way, then go on a losing streak that sends me back down to Division 4. I’ve came up against mediocre teams that have completely battered me for a full game, only to see me run up and score a winner in the 89th minute. I feel like sometimes you can just “feel” a goal about to happen: the way the players move, the way AI reacts, it kind of feels like it was “programmed” to happen. Do you ever get those games where it feels like your opponent just gets everything? Every break of the ball? Every lucky bounce? Every time you touch them it’s a foul? They absolutely maul your players with no punishment? I think those are the games that fuel this sort of discussion. It used to really frustrate me, to the point that I wanted to stop playing the game but unfortunately that’s not an option as it’s one of the very few things I enjoy doing – so FIFA/EA has a bit of a hold on me in that respect. The only way to combat it is to come to terms with the fact that the loss/scripting etc isn’t a reflection on your ability, it’s just one of those really sucky things. So just forget about it and move on to the next game.

    Reply
    1. 32.1

      Crlarsen

      Strange things happens now and then, but humanes have a tendency to see patterns even in random dots and to presume the existence of a motive where there isn’t one.

      Reply
  35. 33

    D.

    I am not going to pretend to be a programmer or have the ability to write code, though I have taken both courses in college, but with technology now I strongly believe EA is capable of writing a script in Fifa 15. I will go further and say that EA has written a script in Fifa 15.
    Whether the scripting is malicious or ignorant, it is still scripting. I have seen multiple definitions and meanings of scripting/manipulating/momentum/handicapping, and it seems like everyone is trying to make the big point that turns EA back. I have heard that it is purely business related and they are simply trying to make more money on in-game purchases, which I would identify as malicious. I disagree with this theory. Yes, it is a business, but they are going to make money off people regardless of the outcome of individual games. I believe EA simply scripted the game not knowing what the gamer wants. They are trying to mimic the real game of soccer too closely, including scoring tendencies and outcomes. I believe there is scripting in the game purely based on EA not understanding their market. Ignorant scritping.

    Let’s focus on the little things. The simple idea of the game trying to mimic the scoring tendencies of real soccer games proves there is something in the coding to make this more likely. If I have not allowed a goal in the first 44 or 89 minutes what helps my opponent score in the last minute or stoppage time? Don’t say fatigue, it is not even an option. It is coding. EA needs to realize they need to make the graphics and movement as realistic as possible, but leave the scoring tendancy and creativity to the gamers. We do not want to play a real life soccer game, we want to play a video game. We do not want to compete against EA, we want to compete against our opponent.

    The point made above, though simple, should be enough information to prove there is scripting in the game, regardless of whatever this survey “proves”. There are multiple points in this article that contradict the writers point. Just to highlight a few.

    1. “Although we do not know this for sure, there is a good chance that people who have strong feelings about the subject are over represented in the survey.”

    -Is it safe to say that the casual gamers who have a .250 record dont know what they dont know. If they are struggling to just pass the ball how are they going to notice manipulation. If they don’t notice manipulation why would they be taking this survey or reading this article? So the writer is telling us he knows he doesn’t have a good sample, but he is still going to use his findings as fact.

    2. “The observations show that the more skilled players aren’t experiencing manipulation to a higher extend than the less skilled players. This FACT strongly suggests that we can reject the general hypothesis that the game is levelling the playing field.”

    -Again, not a fact. And again, the less skilled players who are receiving the positive end of the manipulation did not take the survey.

    3. “Is manipulation a blatantly clear fact?” “No. On contrary, the respondents have very different experiences in terms of what they observe, where they observe it and to what extent. This indicates that the experience of being manipulated is a product of the observer’s interpretation rather than what he actually observed.”
    -Just because people are experiencing multiple variations of the manipulation means they are not experiencing manipulation? What sense does that make? There are multiple tools that EA uses to level the playing field so that if the user can defeat one they have multiple others in place to ensure the result is met. EA uses the AI on both team to level the playing field. The winning/better team’s players slow down, have poor touches, and can’t pass out of their shadow. Not to mention, the AI goalkeeper comes our 30 yards on his own and then tries to dribble rather than just clear it. The losing/worse team’s players are all in the best positions they have been in all game, they are quicker, have better touches, and actually make attacking runs. Also, the referee and player injuries are included in the script. So, in any given game, you may not experience all of these but I am confident you will experience any given combination of these to acheive EAs goal. Keeping the scores close and realistic.
    MESSAGE TO EA: People who play video games all have one common interest, and that is competing against their opponent to achieve the simple gratification of being better than that person. There are a lot of true soccer fans that play Fifa 15, and there are also a lot of gamers that know nothing about the sport but enjoy the competitive nature of the game. Keep pressing forward with improving graphics and gameplay, but leave the scoring and the outcomes to the gamers. Just because you are trying to make a game as realistic as possible doesn’t mean every game needs to be a 2-2 tie or a late game-winning upset. We are not in it for the theatrical or cinematic thrill. We are in it for the competition.
    -D.

    Reply
    1. 33.1

      Crlarsen

      “They are trying to mimic the real game of soccer too closely, including scoring tendencies and outcomes. I believe there is scripting in the game purely based on EA not understanding their market. Ignorant scritping.”

      (..)

      “I disagree with this theory. Yes, it is a business, but they are going to make money off people regardless of the outcome of individual games.”

      I think you are underestimating EA. You are completely right about the last part: Deciding the outcomes of individual games will not increase EA’s revenue. Personally, I would be really surprised if they hadn’t figured that out.

      “The simple idea of the game trying to mimic the scoring tendencies of real soccer games proves there is something in the coding to make this more likely. If I have not allowed a goal in the first 44 or 89 minutes what helps my opponent score in the last minute or stoppage time? Don’t say fatigue, it is not even an option. It is coding. ”

      I can’t follow you here.

      First, FUT in particular does not mimic real football scoring tendencies. Most notably, goals are significantly more abundant in FUT than in real life. As mentioned, I found the average accross 400 FUT matches to be 4.5 goals / match. If EA wanted to mimic real scoring tendencies, they would start right here.

      Second, real matches are decided by late goals as well. The last live match I saw (Denmark – Portugal in Oct ’14) was decided by a single goal in the 95th minute. What helped CR7 score? Obviously not coding.

      Third, no matter whether you lose a match on a goal scored in the 23rd or the 90th minute, you have kept the opponent from scoring in roughly 90 minutes. I don’t understand why a 90th minute goal necessarily must be the product of scripting, whereas a single, decisive goal scored in any other minute apparently is completely natural.

      “Is it safe to say that the casual gamers who have a .250 record dont know what they dont know. If they are struggling to just pass the ball how are they going to notice manipulation. If they don’t notice manipulation why would they be taking this survey or reading this article? So the writer is telling us he knows he doesn’t have a good sample, but he is still going to use his findings as fact.”

      No, I got the exact sample I was looking for. The aim of this survey was to get responses from people who have strong feelings about the subject. One of the strengths of the report is that it rejects some of the claims about particularly handicapping *using* responses from people who basically believe in handicapping.

      “Again, not a fact. And again, the less skilled players who are receiving the positive end of the manipulation did not take the survey.”

      Due to the construction of the questionnaire, we got responces from players who felt manipulated in nearly every game, whereas others never felt manipulated. 22 % of the respondents never felt handicapped when playing FUT online friendlies, whereas the remaining 78 % felt handicapped more or less often.

      Further, the respondentes were asked whether they agreed to the statement that ‘Momentum, Scripting and Handicapping generally works to (their) advantage’. 5 % agreed to some extent, while 64 % disagreed.

      Finally, please notice that we had responses from players at nearly every XP level between 8 and 98, meaning that we had a good share of both experienced an inexperienced participants.

      Especially due to the last fact, I’m extremely confident about the claim that the game doesn’t level the playing field between experienced / inexperienced or good / bad players.

      “Just because people are experiencing multiple variations of the manipulation means they are not experiencing manipulation?”

      I didn’t say that. The point is that, on contrary to widespread perception, there isn’t a big majority who shares a common view regarding this subject.

      “The winning/better team’s players slow down, have poor touches, and can’t pass out of their shadow. Not to mention, the AI goalkeeper comes our 30 yards on his own and then tries to dribble rather than just clear it. The losing/worse team’s players are all in the best positions they have been in all game, they are quicker, have better touches, and actually make attacking runs.”

      It’s the sort of speculations that may make sense at a glance, but when you expose them to closer scrutiny, it’s different story. You are saying that EA are trying to make all matches tight. Why would they want to do that? And how come that so many matches aren’t tight? When you look at the results, you will see many games being decided by a significant goal difference. How come?

      Reply
      1. 33.1.2

        D.

        I have played the sport my entire life, watch multiple EPL/UEFA games a week, and have played the FIFA series since 2001. I fully understand how scoring works in both real life and on a console. What you don’t understand is you are making my point for me.

        MY COMMENT:

        “The simple idea of the game trying to mimic the scoring tendencies of real soccer games proves there is something in the coding to make this more likely. If I have not allowed a goal in the first 44 or 89 minutes what helps my opponent score in the last minute or stoppage time? Don’t say fatigue, it is not even an option. It is coding. ”

        YOUR RESPONSE:

        “Second, real matches are decided by late goals as well. The last live match I saw (Denmark – Portugal in Oct ’14) was decided by a single goal in the 95th minute. What helped CR7 score? Obviously not coding.”
        -The only thing I agree with you on is that in real life goals are scored in the 45th and 90th minute. This is the point I am trying to make about FIFA 15 trying to mimic real life soccer. They want to make the game real, and in real games goals are scored in the 45th and 90th minute. EA should not be writing code to make this more likely to happen. Leave it up to the people participating in the match. The only way EA can make this happen as much as it does is if they have code written in the game to affect the players participating. It happens way too frequently for this to be a coincidence.
        Allow people to decide with the attacking and defending tactics if a 45th or 90th minute goal is more likely (i.e. Ultra attacking will allow you to put more pressure towards the goal but will leave you susceptible to a counter attack).
        If I am completely dominating my oponent in time of possesion, shots, shooting accuracy, passing accuracy, and tackles (i.e. 65% – 35% possession, 12 – 3 shots, 70% – 50% shooting accuracy, 75% – 60% passing accuracy, and 13 – 7 tackles.) and I do not change any of my offensive or defensive tactics, how do they all of the sudden score on some fluke goal in the 45th or 90th minute when my opponent hadnt even created a scoring opportunity to that point?
        To define fluke, becuase I am sure you will make a point of it. In this instance I am using fluke to describe a goal that that was scored out of a situation that has happened many times before that didnt result in a goal, and the exact same tactics were used to stop the goal. Irratic behavior from the AI, unrealistic deflection, shot from extremely deep goes in, etc.
        Hopefully this helps better explain my point that it is obvious that EA has written a script into the game that makes late goals happen way too frequently. Even more frequently than in real life. If this is the case, the only way they can script this to happen is by manipulating my players and my opponents players. These manipulations are out of our control, which means EA is helping to decide the outcomes of the games rather than it being completely based on individual skill.

        Reply
        1. 33.1.2.1

          Crlarsen

          “The only thing I agree with you on is that in real life goals are scored in the 45th and 90th minute. This is the point I am trying to make about FIFA 15 trying to mimic real life soccer. They want to make the game real, and in real games goals are scored in the 45th and 90th minute. EA should not be writing code to make this more likely to happen.”

          Perhaps not, but I really don’t understand why you believe that these goals wouldn’t happen as often as they do without EA’s intervention.

          Here is why I believe they would:

          In reality, the term “90th minute” doesn’t refer to the 90th minute (which starts at 89:00 and ends at 89:59) but to the time spend while the clock stays at 90:00, i.e. the entire duration of stoppage time. Assuming that 5 minutes are added in the second half, only 40 minutes will be played between 45:00 and 89:59, meaning that “the 90th minute” contains of 1/9 of the effective playing time in the 2nd half, whereas the other minutes contain 1/40 on average. Obviously, the chances of scoring during – what we refer to as “the 90th minute” is way higher, but mainly because the 90th minute isn’t one minute but for perhaps 5 or more.

          As already stated, goals occur way more often in FUT than in real football. As mentioned, I counted 4.4 goals on average in a small sample I made. When goals are more frequent, goals during stoppage will also be more frequent. If the average is 4.4 goals / match, we should expect to see at least 2.2 goals on average in the second half. 1/9 of 2.2 =.24 goals scored in “the 90th minute” per match.

          Not only in FUT but in real football, it’s a well known fact that the goal frequency increases towards the end of the half due to psychology, tactical changes and fatigue. In the Premier League, 70 % more goals are scored in the final quarter of the second half than in the first quarter. 1.7 * .24 = .41 goals scored in “the 90th minute” per match.

          At .41 goals per match, you should see late goals happening every 2,4 matches, assuming that 5 minutes is added per match. If goals are even more frequent than 4.4, you should expect to see then even more often.

          So, how come you believe they needed to script this in? To me it appears as if it would happen completely by itself due to the number of goals we usually score.

          “If I am completely dominating my oponent in time of possesion, shots, shooting accuracy, passing accuracy, and tackles (i.e. 65% – 35% possession, 12 – 3 shots, 70% – 50% shooting accuracy, 75% – 60% passing accuracy, and 13 – 7 tackles.) and I do not change any of my offensive or defensive tactics, how do they all of the sudden score on some fluke goal in the 45th or 90th minute when my opponent hadnt even created a scoring opportunity to that point?”

          I think the Danish players were asking that question as well after losing against Portugal. The fact is that such things do happen. It could be pure luck or it could be skill: Sometimes, you are better than your opponent in every aspect of the game except for finishing. He get’s one chance and he scores.

          Just as well as Denmark – Portugal wasn’t scripted by EA, matches like the one you describe above probably isn’t either.

          Reply
          1. 33.1.2.1.1

            D.

            Again, I fully understand: the phrase “The 90th Minute”, stoppage time, and basic math. I want you to stop for one second and think about what you are explaining and trying to compare. Real soccer to a video game.
            There is psychology in soccer. There should not be psychology in an EA video game. The psychology should be in the gamer.
            The timing and frequency of goals in real life should have no relationship whatsoever with the timing and frequency of goals in a video game. There are way too many variables involved for there to be any relationship. The only way for there to be any correlation is if EA has written a script into the game to make this more likely. Period.
            This is a poor survey, based on a poor population, with a poor hypohtesis. I am not writing this out of anger or trying to be personnally demeaning. My goals of any of my comments are:
            1. Hope that EA trolls this article to get true insight from their market and make the proper corrections next year. It is not a matter of if scripting is involved but that we (the gamers) despise it. I literally have not spent a penny on FIFA points this year, when I typically spend $100 USD a year, and I will not spend a penny until the script is removed. I challenge the other FIFA gamers reading this article to not spend any money on in-game purchases until the script is removed.
            2. Deter any laymans reading this article from becoming hypnotized by the numbers. There is a saying when it comes to surveys and calculations: “shit in = shit out.” The article itself is very well written with great presentation, but the content is utterly worthless.
            Again, I buy FIFA every year and will continue to do so, EA knows that about us. They are a monoply when it comes to soccer video games and we have no other direction to go (PES is awful), but I hope their profit this year is lowered based on reduced in-game purchases. FIFA is extremely close to making the perfect soccer video game, but they have one major flaw that has completely lowered their ceiling, scripting. I am a nobody, one person out of millions, but it never hurts to try.
            I hope you are listening EA. Do the right thing.
            D.

          2. Crlarsen

            “There is psychology in soccer. There should not be psychology in an EA video game. The psychology should be in the gamer. ”

            A skill game between two humans will of course have psychology. This is how it works, and it’s definitely also how it is intended from EA’s side according to the official statements they have made on the topic.

            I really don’t understand why you believe they would want to add it articially when it is already there, and when you know that they clearly are aware of that.

            A document which quite often is mentioned in this debate is the GDC whitepaper, which basically explains how EA is trying to *enhance* the emotional experience related to the game.

            http://www.novuscom.net/~s.enrique/files/gdc07.pdf

            What’s important to note here is that, (1) they fully understand that there are emotions related to the gaming experience and (2) they want to intensify these emotions via cut scenes, audio commentary and similar effects.

            “The timing and frequency of goals in real life should have no relationship whatsoever with the timing and frequency of goals in a video game. There are way too many variables involved for there to be any relationship. The only way for there to be any correlation is if EA has written a script into the game to make this more likely.”

            What I tried to explain in my previous post is that late goals aren’t a product of a script.

            They occur because you have a ball, two teams, a match of 90 minutes, a concept called stoppage time, a game where attacking is far easier than defending and two humans controlling the events. Add these ingredients and you will inevitably get lot’s of late goals. There is absolutely no need to script late goals in to the game when they are already there.

            “There is a saying when it comes to surveys and calculations: “shit in = shit out.” The article itself is very well written with great presentation, but the content is utterly worthless.”

            The report is based on different sets of data. Some conclusions are based on our own survey, whereas others are based on existing data.

            As for the survey itself, you can argue that it’s shit in, because the respondents to some extent haven’t got the facts right. On the other hand, there is nothing unusual about asking people questions about their perceptions, beliefs and thoughts, even though they may be wrong, contradictory and illogical.

            Sometimes there is lots of information to be drawn out of misinformation. The intention of this survey was exactly that. So, shit in does not always lead to shit out. Or perhaps it just wasn’t shit in in the first place.

  36. 34

    Carl Bergfeldt

    Well you crlarsen is obviously not good enough to experience the handicapping, at least not going against you. Imthink the best tell that you are in a handicapped match is when all your throw-ins are ending up in opponent possession, all your corner rebounds and opponent clearances are perfect counterattack balls for your opponent. It does go both ways, which however does not make it better since it almost never is possible to judge who is the better player. 15 is def worse than ever.

    And I think this article by itself is proof enough that it exists. What other game triggers this kind of skeptism.

    So EA should be really proud of all the fifa rage destruction this sad excuse for a business model causes…like the guy dumping his tv out the window..ok a little funny I admit 🙂

    The motive why is in my belief to please the general public to the greatest extent in order to simply sell more copies. They have had me fooled some years, and skeptic some years…now I am def done and no FIFA 16 for me. Still makes me angry though – such a morally low thing to do to kids especially.

    Reply
    1. 34.1

      Crlarsen

      “Well you crlarsen is obviously not good enough to experience the handicapping, at least not going against you.”

      Aside from the obvious fact that you know absolutely nothing about my skill level, there are other reasons to reject that claim.

      First of all, none of the conclusions in the article above are based on my personal beliefs, feelings or observations. Everything I write above is based on either (a) the observations and experiences of a random, representative sample of other players or (b) other statistical sources such as match history data collected directly from EA’s site. Hence, it’s basically irrelevant to the conclusions whether I have played 1 or multiple thousands matches (as is the case), or whether I have a win/lose rate of 1:10 or 10:1 (as is the case).

      Second, the conclusion in section 2 above states that the participants in our survey were equally likely to believe in handicapping no matter whether their XP level, win-rate and self-assessed skill level was high or low. In other words, inexperienced or bad players aren’t less likely to have “seen the light”. Hence, I simply have to reject the claim that there is any sort of connection between how good you are and your tendency to believe in manipulation.

      Third, how come you think that someone who doesn’t believe this must be too bad to have felt it rather than too good to have been affected by it?

      “And I think this article by itself is proof enough that it exists. What other game triggers this kind of skeptism.”

      The fact that a lot of people are “skeptical” does not prove that they are right, just as well ad the fact that 1.5 billion people believe in Allah doesn’t prove he exists.

      There are thousands of examples of even more widespread beliefs which are just as complete and utterly wrong as this one. A couple of examples: The belief that eating Vitamin C can cure a cold and that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made object visible from the Moon. It makes no difference to the truth, whether people believe in it or not.

      Besides, the manipulation belief is not a common belief shared by a huge majority. Although the majority believes in some kind of manipulation, they disagree on what that is to a very large extent (section 1). In fact, there are about as many different perceptions of what it is as there are players, and obviously they can’t all be right, can they?

      “Imthink the best tell that you are in a handicapped match is when all your throw-ins are ending up in opponent possession, all your corner rebounds and opponent clearances are perfect counterattack balls for your opponent. It does go both ways, which however does not make it better since it almost never is possible to judge who is the better player. 15 is def worse than ever.”

      Let me ask a very fundamental question: If you were matched against a much better player, then how would that possibly feel in terms of the game aspects you mention above? Would you expect to maintain the same passing ratio against a much better player for example?

      “The motive why is in my belief to please the general public to the greatest extent in order to simply sell more copies.”

      I have heard this claim more than a couple of times, and the problem is that absolutely nothing indicates that this strategy would work. In fact, everything we know indicates that it wouldn’t work even if EA were trying to do this.

      Just to mention an few obvious examples, it’s a fact that a huge majority of the players believe in some kind of handicapping / momentum / scripting scheme to exist. None of the respondents in our survey found that it made the game any better, and none of them reported that this had any positive or negative implication towards their likelihood to buy more packs and so on.

      Do you really believe that EA is unaware of this?

      Reply
  37. 35

    Tom

    There is handicap to all the non believers, I can not win one game in division 3 with my Ribery robben lewy ect. So I go down a division to division 4, so I decided to use my non rare gold team, and now I’m almost in division 1, Do you really not think its a handicap taking part in this game? Please rethink about it.

    Reply
    1. 35.1

      Crlarsen

      We know nothing about how matchmaking works in FUT seasons. It could be the case, that you are matched based on rating or it could be amproduct of random circumstances. Personlly, I have never felt that playing with a better squad in seasons was any harder than playing with a lower rated squad.

      Reply
  38. 36

    RHJ

    You can try and prove anything with stats but unfortunately you are just wrong.

    Scripting does occur and this re that deny it are too ignorant to the fact that it does.

    It has been getting worse since FIFA 13 and currently is at such a ridiculous level. I’ve found myself personally and you can clearly see by playing against other played and also loads of you tubers videos that this game makes more and more people red with rage. In FIFA 12 it was never this bad but the amount of people who scream bull shit as it feels the game is screwing you over at one point.

    The game has various ways of handicapping you but you can always tell when your players start reacting like sluggish zombies, not passing the ball quick enough, not turning quick enough, if they do pass they either pass the ball at 2 mph and you have to wait for it to crawl to your team mate or they just smash the ball to completely the wrong player.

    The game is scripted, and EA does it for what I believe is a simple reason, to get you to buy more Packs!! You lose you get frustrated… You buy more packs . You win you get excited you buy more packs. Anyone who try’s to deny this is ignorant to the fact.

    And finally before you say anything I have been up to and won divison one in FUT and am in divison 1 in seasons. Alas with this scripting mostly in FUT I can have wild runs of either amazing and horrendous form with no explanation. Can go on a 5 game winning streak start of season in Div 1 and then suddenly I lose he next 5 with my team playing like arse.

    I have all rare Chelsea prem team, and all rare Italian Roma/Juve hybrid team and…. An all silver championship team with players like jerome, Redmond, Vydra… Have a guess who I won divison 1 with…..

    Reply
    1. 36.1

      Crlarsen

      Thanks for commenting.

      Would you accept it as evidence that scripting doesn’t exist if I told you that I have won division 1 with a La Liga squad with all the big names, whereas I wasn’t able to get out of division 8 when I used a mixed gold/silver Turkish squad based around Emenike? I wouldn’t.

      There could be a lot of reasons why you had more success with a lower rated team:

      (1) You are right that there is a handicap

      (2) The FUT seasons matchmaking algorithm could – for some unknown reason – be matching you up against harder opponents when you are playing with the higher rated squad

      (3) It’s just a coincidence

      The primary reason why I find option 3 more likely is these two articles:

      https://www.ultimateteam.co.uk/2014/10/08/fut-15-scripting-study-in-forms-worth-coins/
      https://www.ultimateteam.co.uk/2015/01/10/important-various-fut-15-stats/

      These articles first and foremost document that there is a quite direct relationship between player stats and performance, and article 2 explains in detail how the relationship looks. What this should tell us is that if you have a better squad, this will – all other things equal – increase your chances of winning.

      With regards to the all other things equal part, the question is if all other things are equal. The one thing we don’t know for certain is whether you actually have a higher risk of getting more skilled opponents when you have a higher rated squad.

      But if you feel there is a handicap like you suggest here, then by all means try out one of these 40-49 rated bronze squads. I’m sure you will know after that:

      https://www.ultimateteam.co.uk/2014/12/11/worst-full-chemistry-squads/

      Reply
  39. 37

    Medi

    It exists without a shadow of a doubt…It exists even if you come up with hundreds of survey and theories to prove otherwise…It exists because people experienced it, people searched the issue online to come along articles like yours…thousands of people who play FIFA for years!

    Reply
    1. 37.1

      Crlarsen

      There aren’t thousands of people who experienced “it”, and by “it” I mean – the same thing. On contrary, the people who took part in the survey had very dissimilar experiences, even though they all labelled their experiences as handicapping, momentum, scripting or similar.

      So basically, it’s factually incorrect that thousands of people experienced “it”.

      Besides, the fact that a lot of people or for that matter a majority BELIEVES in something will never and should never be acceptable as evidence. More than a billion people believe in Allah, and yet I think we should agree in the fact that these numbers are insufficient as evidence of his existence.

      Reply
  40. 38

    Bourkaris Koulouriotis

    what a bunch of bs.is this article sponsored by ea?

    Reply
    1. 38.1

      Crlarsen

      You may not like the conclusion but that doesn’t make it wrong.

      Reply
  41. 39

    bob

    Absolutely fuckin kidding me to suggest Fifa 15 is not scripted. You should be more honest, or maybe try playing the game. Very nice of you to call 90th minute goals “late goals” these bullshit corner kick header goals are nothing short of EA blatantly scripting the the game And I fuckin hate them for it.

    Reply
    1. 39.1

      Crlarsen

      If it’s blatant, then where is the evidence?

      Reply
  42. 40

    Richard

    Ive just lost 4-3 conceding two late goals (after 90). I bounce between div 1/div 2 but mostly div 1. I am skilled enough to be in div 1 and skilled enough to bang three past this apparently “more skilled than me” player, but apparently not skilled enough to defend for the last few minutes against someone I had 70% possession against. I also have this recorded for anyone who’d like to claim I’m lying or that I just suck. The final goal the ball bounced off my own defenders (twice) and he also had a penalty (where I didn’t and never try to tackle in the box) for this exact reason. Explain to me how I’ve not been manipulated to SOME degree here.

    Reply
    1. 40.1

      Crlarsen

      That depends on what you mean by manipulation.

      When I talk about manipulation above, I specifically mean DELIBERATE intervention, not just random events decided by the game.

      It’s indisputable that the game itself influences match results, and unfortunately sometimes in a decisive way.

      Everyone who plays the game as often as I do will recognize the frustration of losing a match because of some of the many inconveniences in FIFA’s gameplay. Some of my own ‘favorites’ are:

      * Your own players stumbling over each other (this happens way too often)

      * Clearing the ball right into the feet of an opposing player

      * The passing assistant interpreting your input in a way which wasn’t intended

      * The auto switching assistant picking useless players

      Although I definitely do recognize these experiences, I see no reason to assume that they happen as part of an intentional plan to manipulate the outcome of specific matches.

      With regards to your specific experiences, I would like to make a few comments:

      * I would consider a 4-3 match a tight match, and the fact is that tight matches in many cases will be decided by who makes the most mistakes. Unfortunately, a lot of mistakes can be accounted to the CPU as per my examples above. Hence, there is a good chance that the decisive mistake is made by the CPU and not the human player.

      * In a match with 5 (2-3) goals scored up until stoppage time of the second half, there is a good chance that either player will score in stoppage time as well. Sometimes it’s you increasing the lead to 5-2, sometimes it’s the opponent scoring once or twice.

      * Regarding possession, it’s a common misunderstanding to assume that possession in itself increases your chances of winning. Jose Mourniho’s football philosophy more or less involves giving the ball away:

      . The game is won by the team who commits fewer errors.

      2. Football favours whoever provokes more errors in the opposition.

      3. Away from home, instead of trying to be superior to the opposition, it’s better to encourage their mistakes.

      4. Whoever has the ball is more likely to make a mistake.

      5. Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake.

      6. Whoever has the ball has fear.

      7. Whoever does not have it is therefore stronger.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/champions-league/10793482/Do-football-possession-statistics-indicate-which-team-will-win-Not-necessarily.html

      Reply
  43. 41

    Greg

    Late to the party, but I thought I’d add my two pence in. One of the main arguments against the notion of scripting is often “EA wouldn’t go to the bother of writing a handicap system in to FIFA” The big problem with that assertion, is that it exists for everyone to muck about with on career other modes (the sliding bars that control speed, shot error, pass error etc). All you’d need to do, is make certain aspects change under particular circumstances.
    Another argument, “when you have a strong squad on UT, you will be matched against better skilled players.” That’s a lot more difficult a process to program the game to achieve, than implementing “handicap” after certain basic prerequisites are met, i.e. you have won (x) amount of games in a row.
    The amount of fine detail that would be needed to be programmed in to compare strength of squad against skill of human opponent would be prohibitive.
    PS Can anyone tell me why Tevez is a weak player? His stats should make him a beast.

    Reply
    1. 41.1

      Crlarsen

      “Late to the party, but I thought I’d add my two pence in.”

      You are welcome.

      “One of the main arguments against the notion of scripting is often “EA wouldn’t go to the bother of writing a handicap system in to FIFA” The big problem with that assertion, is that it exists for everyone to muck about with on career other modes (the sliding bars that control speed, shot error, pass error etc). All you’d need to do, is make certain aspects change under particular circumstances.”

      I don’t think anyone is questioning EA’s ability to make games more difficult as such. The point is that making a handicap system serving some kind of commercial or similar purpose would take a lot more than adjusting the sliders.

      Simply making games difficult every time someone had won five games in a row would be quite pointless, as it would do nothing but annoy people which obviously puts them at risk of stop playing the game.

      Assuming the purpose was to increase pack purchases, EA would need the ability to predict exactly what kind of match outcome would be needed to increase your incentive to buy packs.

      On top of that, the fact that it’s a multiplayer game implies that they would have to take both player’s reactions into consideration, as it obviously wouldn’t make sense to increase player A’s incentive to buy packs if you at the same time reduce player B’s incentive by the same amount.

      Some people have speculated that the purpose of the handicap system is to make games more even and hence make players stay longer. In order to serve such a purpose, EA would need the ability to predict exactly how the sliders should be set in order to make a match between player XYZ and player ABC even. Again, this is no simple endeavor.

      “Another argument, “when you have a strong squad on UT, you will be matched against better skilled players.” That’s a lot more difficult a process to program the game to achieve, than implementing “handicap” after certain basic prerequisites are met, i.e. you have won (x) amount of games in a row. The amount of fine detail that would be needed to be programmed in to compare strength of squad against skill of human opponent would be prohibitive.”

      I agree, but you have to realize that the very valid objections you raise here, would make it equally impossible to level the playing field by simply adjusting some sliders.

      “PS Can anyone tell me why Tevez is a weak player? His stats should make him a beast.”

      In my opinion, he is the best, reasonably cheap striker in the game, and statistics appear to support that conclusion:

      http://www.ultimateteam.co.uk/2015/01/10/important-various-fut-15-stats

      Reply
      1. 41.1.1

        Greg

        “In my opinion, he is the best,”

        TBH That was a result of me not playing him to his strengths. A bit of a FIFA 14/13 hangover, where in place of physicality we had heading. Obviously his heading isn’t the best, so he will often not get to the lobbed through ball. That being said he can be a sluggish at times. I find that because he has high attacking & defence work rate. It’s best to select his defensive characteristics to press the other teams back line, that way he doesn’t pop up all over the place. Oh, I play him as ST rather CF.

        “Simply making games difficult every time someone had won five games in a row would be quite pointless, as it would do nothing but annoy people which obviously puts them at risk of stop playing the game.”
        Personally I am quite aware of selection bias & how we tend to notice things that support our conclusions, whilst missing all the examples where they do not. That being the case I can accept that there is a greater than average chance this is happening, especially as UT can be frustrating. The hypothesis being that the higher the emotional state the less likely to be able to engage in cognitive objective analysis or as it’s often called “critical thinking”.
        That being said, there are situations that are quite strange & certainly indicative of possible tampering or altering of in game stats on players. A perfect example would be a 50 something pace defender beating a forward like Doumbia to a ball. I am convinced that these things happen. Whether it’s meant to reflect the Jimmy Greaves “It’s a funny old game” philosophy or a deliberate attempt to provoke behaviours (like buying packs) is debatable. I do contest these things happen. I also contest that EA do engage in shady practices. Mass Effect 3 day one DLC, is a good example of this.

        Reply
        1. 41.1.1.1

          Crlarsen

          With regards to Doumbia being caught by John Terry, I believe this is fully intended. Earlier versions of FIFA were rightfully criticized for being too much about pace, and when FIFA 14 was introduced, EA did a lot of adjustments to make other skills matter. To mention a few of the more obvious, it’s a lot harder to outrun a defender while dribbling than it was earlier. Further, strength matters a lot more.

          Besides, these things work exactly the same to all of us. Hence, I don’t think there is anything strange about it. And it’s definitely not manipulation in the sense we are talking about it in the article above.

          Reply
          1. 41.1.1.1.1

            Greg

            “Other skills matter”.
            What ball control, dribbling & some such? Indeed I agree fully there’s many factors that go in to a successful run with a ball at your feet. Though one has to question this next example.
            I have literally just finished a game on FIFA 15 UT. In that game there were a few incidents that were questionable. One of them was right at the end of the match. The other player had Busquets on the ball, I was attempting to chase him down with the 84 card Pogba. There is around a 20 pace difference between the two. I couldn’t get near him, like I said Busquits was on the ball. So he should’ve been somewhat slower than normal. I quickly glanced down, to check if fitness was the issue. My Pogba had twice the level of fitness his Busquits had. Like I said, I couldn’t close the gap.
            There is no reasonable explanation for this beyond “nerfing”, regardless the reason for said “nerfing”.

          2. Crlarsen

            “”Other skills matter”.What ball control, dribbling & some such? Indeed I agree fully there’s many factors that go in to a successful run with a ball at your feet. Though one has to question this next example.”

            My point is that in later version,s a player like John Terry was pretty useless because he was slow. I think FIFA 15 is more realistic in the sense that more traits and stats make a real difference now.

            “I have literally just finished a game on FIFA 15 UT. In that game there were a few incidents that were questionable. One of them was right at the end of the match. The other player had Busquets on the ball, I was attempting to chase him down with the 84 card Pogba. There is around a 20 pace difference between the two. I couldn’t get near him, like I said Busquits was on the ball. So he should’ve been somewhat slower than normal. I quickly glanced down, to check if fitness was the issue.”

            Without having seen it, it’s hard to comment on the details, but fatigue may be the reason why you are witnessing something like that. Some players don’t use sprint as often as others, meaning that their players won’t suffer as much from fatigue by the end of the game. Hence, Pogba may have been a bit more tired by the 86th minute. Obviously, fatigue generally kicks in a lot heavier this year than previous years.

            Other than that, I don’t really see how this would indicate the existence of an actual handicap, meaning some kind of intentional bias working to the advantage of certain players.

          3. Greg

            “I quickly glanced down, to check if fitness was the issue.”

            “meaning that their players won’t suffer as much from fatigue by the end of the game.”
            I used the word fitness instead of fatigue. Like I said, I had about twice as much energy left as his. I appreciate that you haven’t seen footage verifying my claim, but I am not one for exaggeration, hyperbole or lies. My comment about Tevez notwithstanding, I worded my point on him in such a manner for the sake of brevity. Suffice to say, I will record these events in future & let people see for themselves.

          4. Crlarsen

            I’m basically making two points here:

            (1) Players catching up could be caused by numerous reasons. It could be fatigue, the opponent reacting quicker, momentum (and here, I’m talking about the physical thing, not the psychological) or similar. Personally, I haven’t seen any situations which looked unnatural to me (other than what presumably was related to bugs in the graphics engine and game logic).

            (2) I don’t see why these experiences inevitably would lead to the conclusion that the game is biased towards a certain result in certain games.

          5. Greg

            “Players catching up could be caused by numerous reasons. It could be fatigue, the opponent reacting quicker,”

            He wasn’t catching, me I was failing to gain any ground on him. That’s a difference.

            “Personally, I haven’t seen any situations which looked unnatural to me”

            I’m not going to pull the whole “Appeal to nature”, that would be engaging in a distinct lack of reasoned thought. What I will say is the term “unnatural”, is this scenario, is entirely subjective. Also if it exists, it is natural.
            For the sake of argument, we will (for the moment) concede that I am reporting events accurately & without bias. You may have a set of criteria that you would deem such an event as natural. Where maybe others don’t. I don’t see that you have two players, who are similar in their respective skills, with the exception of speed. Yet the slower player is able to out pace the faster player. I see no reasonable explanation for this, nor do I see you offering one (not an attack, merely an observation).

            Now in all fairness you are invoking the exact same reasoning as I am, but our conclusions are opposed. So I agree, it comes down to reasons why.

            “I don’t see why these experiences inevitably would lead to the conclusion that the game is biased towards a certain result in certain games.”
            Nosce inimicum tuum (Know your enemy). The inevitability of the conclusion to the negative, is directly proportional to past slights. A company with a spotless record of treating it’s patrons with respect, would likely not receive such criticism. EA is not that company, quite the opposite in fact. EA is culpable of every ill practise that plagues the gaming industry. Recent rumblings of another 80s style collapse within the industry, have EA, along with the likes of Ubisoft, being the main aggravating factors. It is for good reasons, that during the Mass Effect 3 debacle, they became known as the rEApers. In a similar vein to Microsoft being known as Micro$oft. Meme’s they maybe, but like clichés, memes come about for a reason.
            In short, EA is known for fleecing it’s customers. Therefore to believe they aren’t capable of said fleecing on their flagship game seems incredulous.
            Though there is this “evidence” (see above), personally I’d rather wait for a meta-analysis of Random Control Trials. Than place too much significance on one survey. Maybe it’s time every consumer recorded videos of their games where such inconsistences are evident. Nothing beats an empirical standard of evidence & repeated recorded events would be harder to dismiss. In comparison to a rhetorical argument.

          6. Crlarsen

            > Now in all fairness you are invoking the exact same reasoning as I am, but our conclusions are opposed. So I agree, it comes down to reasons why.

            I don’t think it makes much of a difference whether we deem events natural (as they would occur in real football) or not. Obviously, there are aspects of FIFA which aren’t supposed to appear completely natural. The speed for example.

            With regards to whom is faster than whom in specific situations, I just don’t se anything which to me would indicate that EA is trying to create a particular bias in the game.

            > Nosce inimicum tuum (Know your enemy) (…)

            This is a tautology, isn’t it? Despite all the justified criticism you can direct towards EA, nothing indicates that EA would do anything like this. This is just a clear fact.

            > Though there is this “evidence” (see above), personally I’d rather wait for a meta-analysis of Random Control Trials. Than place too much significance on one survey.

            The main question you should be asking yourself is: WHY didn’t this survey find any traces of scripting, despite the fact that it was designed to look for them?

            > Maybe it’s time every consumer recorded videos of their games where such inconsistences are evident.

            People record all sorts of videos of whatr they believe is scripting, but in general, these can be divided into two piles:

            Those that obviously show bugs in the game logic

            Those that show the player committing a huge, defensive error followed by some kind of bug or flaw, and then blaming it all on the game.

            Videos will never provide the evidence you are looking for. If there was evidence of scripting to be found, the survey above would have found it in a number of areas:

            – We would have seen better players experiencing it more often

            – We wouldn’t have found the connection between match difficulty and the feeling of being scripted that we found

          7. Greg

            “This is a tautology, isn’t it?”

            No it isn’t.
            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/tautology

            “Despite all the justified criticism you can direct towards EA, nothing indicates that EA would do anything like this. This is just a clear fact.”

            Fact is not derived from personal belief or even consensus (Argumentum ad populum, appeal to the crowd fallacy). It’s derived by evidence & evidence alone. Unfortunately neither of us has anything approaching objective evidence. Which is why we are engaged in a rhetorical debate. Trying to sift through all the points to arrive at a logically deduced conclusion.

            “WHY didn’t this survey find any traces of scripting, despite the fact that it was designed to look for them?”

            Now we’ve come to the crus. How valid is this survey? This is the bit where I dissect the findings & show that this survey isn’t reliable evidence.

            1) It’s a survey. A bad way to conduct a study, open to many issues with reliability & validity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257493/

            Surveys should always be representative of the population, as the author of the survey said “there is a good chance that people who have strong feelings about the subject are over represented in the survey.” So by admission this survey fails on that count.

            2) The sample size. This survey had a sample size of “486 respondents”

            “But the number two spot in the fall race was captured by EA’s FIFA 15, which VGChartz currently has pegged at 14.3 million copies sold globally”. That was on the run up to Christmas
            http://business.financialpost.com/2015/01/08/call-of-duty-destiny-and-fifa-15-were-the-best-selling-games-of-the-fall/?__lsa=8dab-38d5

            Now admittedly that’s FIFA 15 sales figures, not the amount of people who play UT.

            http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/19/5525710/fifa-ultimate-team-fifth-anniversary-ea-sports-interview

            FIFA 13 had over 11 million UT players & has risen in popularity since then. Though I will be ultra conservative & say 11 million people play FIFA 15 UT. A sample size that small would not be representative & reduces the reliability of the findings dramatically.

            Also 50% of the respondents are from the UK. That means it is a non-representative sample. As I am no doubt that 50% of the people who play FIFA UT are not from the UK.

            3) Types of questions asked. This is only part that I found to be above critique.

            4) Observer bias. Is there any possible bias from the person who led the study. Well considering the researcher included this statement as part of his/her conclusions to the first question “To understand why this is relevant, think of the Lock Ness Monster as an example. Plenty of eye witnesses claim they have seen a monster, but their descriptions vary greatly in terms of shape and size”

            Why would the researcher include such a pejorative, if they were coming from a neutral standpoint?

            No this survey does not meet basic standards of validity & reliability. This is from a cursory look, I haven’t even committed to a thorough critique of the findings. So I can not concur with the findings at all.

            “We would have seen better players experiencing it more often”

            Possibly, but there is no reason to put so much emphasis on that. Better players could just equal a better knowledge of circumventing the mechanics of scripting. Nothing in this survey addresses that possibility.

            “We wouldn’t have found the connection between match difficulty and the feeling of being scripted that we found”

            This was barely looked at, there were no findings based on any research in relation to this. Just two questions which could be simply seen as deflections.

            “Although there is no way to measure the level of difficulty, the observations above are fully in line with my personal experiences of difficulty within various game modes”
            Anecdotal evidence is no evidence at all. This based purely on the researchers personal experience.

          8. Crlarsen

            “Fact is not derived from personal belief or even consensus (Argumentum ad populum, appeal to the crowd fallacy). It’s derived by evidence & evidence alone.”

            I fully agree, and argumentum ad populum is probably the most widespread fallacy among people who argue that scripting exists, although not you obviously.

            “Now we’ve come to the crus. How valid is this survey? This is the bit where I dissect the findings & show that this survey isn’t reliable evidence.”

            This is the kind of feedback I appreciate. My comments below:

            “1) It’s a survey. A bad way to conduct a study, open to many issues with reliability & validity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm

            Surveys should always be representative of the population, as the author of the survey said “there is a good chance that people who have strong feelings about the subject are over represented in the survey.” So by admission this survey fails on that count.”

            I agree that data has to be representative to the population, but it’s absolutely key to understand, that the population of the survey isn’t ‘all FUT players’. On contrary, I am intentionally targeting people who believe in scripting with respect to the data used in sections 1, 2 and 4.

            Section 1 discovers what people who believe in ‘it’ actually believe, and whether they in reality have common beliefs or not. I conclude that there is no consensus.

            Section 2 discovers whether better players people who believe in scripting actually experience it more often than less good players who believe in it. It turns out that, no matter how we measure skill, no such correlation can be found.

            Section 4 discovers whether there is a connection between game mode difficulty and the reported intensity of scripting.

            Hence, it is basically irrelevant whether the data set is representative to the population of FUT players in general.

            The only section where this objection perhaps could have some relevancy is section 5, where I look into the relationship between shopping habits and results. On the other hand, there are no immediate reasons to assume that the bias of the survey affects these results.

            As for sections 3 and 6, they aren’t really based on data from the questionnaire.

            “2) The sample size. This survey had a sample size of “486 respondents

            But the number two spot in the fall race was captured by EA’s FIFA 15, which VGChartz currently has pegged at 14.3 million copies sold globally. ”

            Whether the size of a sample is appropriate does not depend on the relationship between the sample size and the size of the population. When statisticians evaluate sample sizes, they look at the required level of confidence.

            Most opinion polls are based on samples consisting of even smaller percentages of the population. A typical opinion poll is based on around 1.000 interviews, no matter whether it’s made in Denmark or the UK, despite the fact that the UK population being 10 times bigger.

            “4. Observer bias. Is there any possible bias from the person who led the study. Well considering the researcher included this statement as part of his/her conclusions to the first question “To understand why this is relevant, think of the Lock Ness Monster as an example. Plenty of eye witnesses claim they have seen a monster, but their descriptions vary greatly in terms of shape and size”

            Why would the researcher include such a pejorative, if they were coming from a neutral standpoint?”

            Observer bias is in many cases inevitable.

            In this case, I have been completely open about the fact that I don’t believe scripting / handicapping is real. My first article on this subject released months before the survey report was in fact titled: “Why scripting and handicapping don’t exist” (www.ultimateteam.co.uk/2014/05/21/fut-14-scripting-handcapping-dont-exist/)

            However, the fact that the observer has formed certain beliefs prior to the execution of the study does not in itself make the conclusions invalid. If you can point out any areas where the conclusions would have been different, assuming I had the opposite beliefs, then be my guest.

            The Loch Ness example is chosen to illustrate the point you started out by making; namely that fact neither is derived from personal belief, consensus or for that matter that something slightly similar may be believed my more than one person. It’s hard to exemplify this without the use of an example which illustrates the logical fallacy in a way which may be recognizable to most readers. Hence, the possible pejorative connotation is both intended and also somewhat inevitable.

            “”We would have seen better players experiencing it more often”

            Possibly, but there is no reason to put so much emphasis on that. Better players could just equal a better knowledge of circumventing the mechanics of scripting. Nothing in this survey addresses that possibility.”

            That doesn’t really make sense.

            First, I don’t understand why the ability to circumvent handicapping / scripting would prevent the player from seeing it. According to those who believe in scripting, it manifests itself in very obvious ways such as making players behave stupid, slow, unable to pass and the like, i.e. the various situations listed in the section 1 table. Assuming that EA did add some kind of bias to the game in matches between unevenly matched opponents, the physical manifestation ought to be observable to a skilled player.

            Second, please note that we are dealing with a sample of people who for the majority’s part claim to experience it.

            Third, the correlation analysis deals with two variables: (v1) The skill level and (v2) how OFTEN do you experience it.

            “”We wouldn’t have found the connection between match difficulty and the feeling of being scripted that we found”

            This was barely looked at, there were no findings based on any research in relation to this. Just two questions which could be simply seen as deflections.”

            You are definitely correct that the alleged difficulty of various game modes is the personal opinion of the observer, which for the same reason is stated as an assumption, not a fact. Hence, the conclusion: Assuming I’m right about my assessment of the difficulty of the various game modes, the conclusion is that there is correlation between ‘games being difficult’ and the feeling / perception that games are being manipulated. So far, no one has expressed a significantly different view around the difficulty assessment, but of course, consensus doesn’t mean fact.

            Other than that, the difference across game modes is notable, because it basically doesn’t match with the alleged rationale behind scripting / handicapping. If there was any sort of commercial incentive driving this, then it makes absolutely no sense that it affects game modes outside FUT and that it affects some game modes more than others.

  44. 42

    Crlarsen

    I am more than willing to discuss the method of the survey above, but in order to do so, I need more information than the mere claim that you think you know something about statistics and doesn’t agree with it.

    I am also more than willing to discuss whatever evidence you come up with. However, I must confess to be a bit skeptical up front due to the fact that more than 700 forum posts on the subject haven’t yielded one single, tiny piece of evidence in support of your claim.

    Presuming you are right, when you claim to know something about statistics, I assume you are familiar with the normal requirements for something to be accepted as evidence: Namely that it either rules out all other options or makes all other possible explanations less likely.

    In this case, the information usually presented as evidence by the handicapping believers so far has failed on both conditions. But be my guest. If it’s around for anyone who cares to look, it ought to be piece of cake for you to post a link or two.

    Reply
  45. 43

    Anonymous

    I haven’t scanned through all 700 posts but the ones I saw were mostly written by handicapping believers who had three things in common: They were rude, they didn’t understand even the simplest and most basic concepts of logic and they all had resented to the most primitive line of arguing such as personal attacks.

    You ask:

    >> But since you are so proud of your definition of proof, consider this statistic: Scripting believers vs non believers here is probably about 680 to 20 when I am being generous. Which option is more likely to be right?<<
    The more likely option is that you sure as hell don't understand what argumentum ad populum is all about.

    Reply
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  56. 44

    LarsonTheClown

    Hi CrLarson…greetings from futhead, where your nonsensical “articles” and ridiculous “surveys” cost you a permanent ban. You gotta find another site to spread your cheap and poorly made propaganda now lolololololol. Cheers

    Reply
  57. 45

    JAP

    Those good players out there know that Scripting exists. You dont need to be a game designer to know that DDA (dynamic difficulty adjustment) is easily implemented in any game. The hard thing is to have a built in DDA that doesnt interfere too much with multiplayer gameplay. EA had done a good job until FIFA 13. It got out of control. They just missed it. The last time I won 10-1 was in FIFA 12, after that, i could never win by more than 3 goals more than 3 matches in a row. I actually had this awful loosing streaks with lots of posts and bars and many 90th min goals from corners against me. I was ALL MANUAL player, I got to be ranked 22nd of MANUAL world ranking on XBOX360. When I started suspecting about DDA I started trying things out. For example I set games in online friendly with ALL MANUAL restrictions, casual players got in, and didnt even realize what what wrong with their game. They didnt even know that MANUAL CONTROLS existed. Guess what…I LOST!…more often than not. And those cases in which I won, I managed only to score once. I got a lot of 0-0.
    After this I started a research on DDA, scripting, handicap, rubber banding, etc, and almost inmediately quit playing.
    After like ten days Me and my brother decided to test theories. Because he didnt believe it. We set an OFFLINE game. After the 15th minute I let him score. Then i dropped my joystick. Guess what…the game ended 0-1….We are both football lovers. We are both gamers. We played ISS pro 98, WE, PES, and FIFA since 99 in PS1…nowadays we have abandoned sports gaming. Its sad, but EA and KONAMI make money from addicted players that even though they see something is wrong with the game, they keep playing because “next game I will win”…
    Its my money and my time…and Im taking it with me elsewhere…

    One more thing. In order to discuss this polemic, I think the better approach is to expand the issue on other games, not just FIFA or PES, go to all the EA games forums. But also…forget about sports…there is some pretty good bibliography about DDA out there…just give it a look.
    DDA has been there ever before MARIO KART…do some reading…you will see that this thing is bigger than FIFA, bigger than this forum….lets not let it be bigger than us, community of gamers.

    Reply
    1. 45.1
  58. 46

    JAP

    Those good players out there know that Scripting exists. You dont need to be a game designer to know that DDA (dynamic difficulty adjustment) is easily implemented in any game. The hard thing is to have a built in DDA that doesnt interfere too much with multiplayer gameplay. EA had done a good job until FIFA 13. It got out of control. They just missed it. The last time I won 10-1 was in FIFA 12, after that, i could never win by more than 3 goals more than 3 matches in a row. I actually had this awful loosing streaks with lots of posts and bars and many 90th min goals from corners against me. I was ALL MANUAL player, I got to be ranked 22nd of MANUAL world ranking on XBOX360. When I started suspecting about DDA I started trying things out. For example I set games in online friendly with ALL MANUAL restrictions, casual players got in, and didnt even realize what what wrong with their game. They didnt even know that MANUAL CONTROLS existed. Guess what…I LOST!…more often than not. And those cases in which I won, I managed only to score once. I got a lot of 0-0.
    After this I started a research on DDA, scripting, handicap, rubber banding, etc, and almost inmediately quit playing.
    After like ten days Me and my brother decided to test theories. Because he didnt believe it. We set an OFFLINE game. After the 15th minute I let him score. Then i dropped my joystick. Guess what…the game ended 0-1….We are both football lovers. We are both gamers. We played ISS pro 98, WE, PES, and FIFA since 99 in PS1…nowadays we have abandoned sports gaming. Its sad, but EA and KONAMI make money from addicted players that even though they see something is wrong with the game, they keep playing because “next game I will win”…
    Its my money and my time…and Im taking it with me elsewhere…

    One more thing. In order to discuss this polemic, I think the better approach is to expand the issue on other games, not just FIFA or PES, go to all the EA games forums. But also…forget about sports…there is some pretty good bibliography about DDA out there…just give it a look.
    DDA has been there ever before MARIO KART…do some reading…you will see that this thing is bigger than FIFA, bigger than this forum….lets not let it be bigger than us, community of gamers.

    Reply
    1. 46.1

      Crlarsen

      Before we start theorizing about DDA and similar concepts, we need to understand what DDA actually is and isn’t.

      In principle, DDA is a difficulty management concept, and like all other difficult management concepts, it’s primary purpose is to avoid that the game becomes too easy (boring) or too difficult (frustrating). FIFA uses DDA in career mode as described in one of my later articles.

      DDA would never cause the type of complains we see with regards to scripting. In fact, concepts like DDA serves the purpose of avoiding that people become frustrated about the game and start feeling that they can’t obtain the results they should.

      I explain the ‘science’ behind DDA more thoroughly here:

      http://futfacts.com/2015/10/08/what-rubber-banding-is-and-isnt/

      Besides, as also pointed out in the article above, the data from our survey clearly rejects the notion that the events referred to as scripting in fact are caused by the game helping out lesser players. In reality, people at a higher XP level / with better win rates doesn’t experience ‘scripting’ more often than lesser players.

      Reply
    2. 46.2

      Crlarsen

      Before we start theorizing about DDA and similar concepts, we need to understand what DDA actually is and isn’t.

      In principle, DDA is a difficulty management concept, and like all other difficult management concepts, it’s primary purpose is to avoid that the game becomes too easy (boring) or too difficult (frustrating). FIFA uses DDA in career mode as described in one of my later articles.

      DDA would never cause the type of complains we see with regards to scripting. In fact, concepts like DDA serves the purpose of avoiding that people become frustrated about the game and start feeling that they can’t obtain the results they should.

      I explain the ‘science’ behind DDA more thoroughly here:

      http://futfacts.com/2015/10/08/what-rubber-banding-is-and-isnt/

      Besides, as also pointed out in the article above, the data from our survey clearly rejects the notion that the events referred to as scripting in fact are caused by the game helping out lesser players. In reality, people at a higher XP level / with better win rates doesn’t experience ‘scripting’ more often than lesser players.

      Reply
  59. 47

    JAP

    Those good players out there know that Scripting exists. You dont need to be a game designer to know that DDA (dynamic difficulty adjustment) is easily implemented in any game. The hard thing is to have a built in DDA that doesnt interfere too much with multiplayer gameplay. EA had done a good job until FIFA 13. It got out of control. They just missed it. The last time I won 10-1 was in FIFA 12, after that, i could never win by more than 3 goals more than 3 matches in a row. I actually had this awful loosing streaks with lots of posts and bars and many 90th min goals from corners against me. I was ALL MANUAL player, I got to be ranked 22nd of MANUAL world ranking on XBOX360. When I started suspecting about DDA I started trying things out. For example I set games in online friendly with ALL MANUAL restrictions, casual players got in, and didnt even realize what what wrong with their game. They didnt even know that MANUAL CONTROLS existed. Guess what…I LOST!…more often than not. And those cases in which I won, I managed only to score once. I got a lot of 0-0.
    After this I started a research on DDA, scripting, handicap, rubber banding, etc, and almost inmediately quit playing.
    After like ten days Me and my brother decided to test theories. Because he didnt believe it. We set an OFFLINE game. After the 15th minute I let him score. Then i dropped my joystick. Guess what…the game ended 0-1….We are both football lovers. We are both gamers. We played ISS pro 98, WE, PES, and FIFA since 99 in PS1…nowadays we have abandoned sports gaming. Its sad, but EA and KONAMI make money from addicted players that even though they see something is wrong with the game, they keep playing because “next game I will win”…
    Its my money and my time…and Im taking it with me elsewhere…

    One more thing. In order to discuss this polemic, I think the better approach is to expand the issue on other games, not just FIFA or PES, go to all the EA games forums. But also…forget about sports…there is some pretty good bibliography about DDA out there…just give it a look.
    DDA has been there ever before MARIO KART…do some reading…you will see that this thing is bigger than FIFA, bigger than this forum….lets not let it be bigger than us, community of gamers.

    Reply
  60. 48

    Landstrykern

    I feel the same at times, but it is impossible to prove what is the reason. Maybe my reaction and performance as a player and human being is not 100% consistent? Even professional football-players has dips in form, and cannot perform at the same lavel all the time.

    Maybe after buying a new IF winger, I somehow believe it will become easier. That makes me trying more difficult things and not make me perform 100%?

    FIFA is a very psychological game that demands a level of concentration and composure. If you are a bit annoyed, over confident or stressed, this makes a HUGE difference. If you believe you are being “scripted” or “handicapped”, this mindset would certainly not make an advantage playing this kind of game.

    I experience as I am in my “zone”, having perfect concentration, with no emotional unbalance or disturbances. As i focus perfectly I never have problems with the game.

    If im a bit tired, stressed, annoyed about losing, or something like that, weird stuff happen. I pass directly to opponent. I miss an open goal. I fail to evaluate my decisions like thinking I can pass a player, but misjudging the situation leaving me thinking “WTF how is my player so slow?!”

    I know many calls me a denier, but I am also experiencing the same shit as anyone else. Question is: Is it God? Is it EA? Is it the Illuminati? Or is it just basic human psychology?

    Reply
    1. 48.1

      Landstrykern

      I dont say the game is flawless. There are much RNG and many bugs, but it is the same for evereyone.

      The human element of psychology makes much more difference in my experience. Sometimes it is normal to think of yourself as flawless, blaming the game for your own errors. It makes me feel like a 6 year old raging over Super Mario bros all over again.

      Reply
    2. 48.2

      Crlarsen

      It is first and foremost important to realize that scripting, handicapping and momentum are different terms covering a vast number of experiences and hence also beliefs regarding what caused these experiences. I do not think one can or should point to one single explanation covering all these experiences.

      Some of it may indeed be a drop in performance caused by lack of concentration, fatigue etc., but this doesn’t explain all the experiences encompassed by scripting, handicapping and momentum.

      I think that there are multiple explanations involved here:

      – Bugs. Some scripting videos portray events, which to me obviously are simple software bugs. This could be a keeper not reacting or a ball passing through an object.

      – Control failure. The control scheme essentially allows strange things to happen. The game doesn’t try to make sense out of your input. If you aim for an offside player, the game doesn’t pick out the onside team mate slightly to his right.

      – Attack / defense imbalance: Most scripting complaints are about allowing goals too easily, and this is definitely true: The game allows goals to happen much more easily than they would in real life. A FUT 16 seasons match contains 8-10 times more goals per minute than a real football match. Hence, defending clearly isn’t as effective as attacking.

      – Coincidence and lack of understanding thereof: Some people experience streaks of losses or even relegations, and blame this on scripting. The fact is, that streaks happen naturally.

      – How seasons work: A season length of 10 matches combined with the set point thresholds makes it highly random whether you get promoted or relegated (depending on your skill level), which obviously also implies that the divisions become quite diverse and also why relegation streaks might happen. This also explains why matches feel very different.

      – The opponent and lack of understanding of how he influences the gaming experience: A lot of the experiences attributed to scripting comes down to the opponent’s ability. I often hear people claim that the opponent can’t influence things like shooting or passing. He certainly can!

      – Bad decision making: I think that 9/10 scripting videos portray some very bad decisions. This could be frantic shooting or bad defensive play. Yet, the people uploading the video only focuses on the AI’s part of the action.

      Reply
    3. 48.3

      Crlarsen

      It is first and foremost important to realize that scripting, handicapping and momentum are different terms covering a vast number of experiences and hence also beliefs regarding what caused these experiences. I do not think one can or should point to one single explanation covering all these experiences.

      Some of it may indeed be a drop in performance caused by lack of concentration, fatigue etc., but this doesn’t explain all the experiences encompassed by scripting, handicapping and momentum.

      I think that there are multiple explanations involved here:

      – Bugs. Some scripting videos portray events, which to me obviously are simple software bugs. This could be a keeper not reacting or a ball passing through an object.

      – Control failure. The control scheme essentially allows strange things to happen. The game doesn’t try to make sense out of your input. If you aim for an offside player, the game doesn’t pick out the onside team mate slightly to his right.

      – Attack / defense imbalance: Most scripting complaints are about allowing goals too easily, and this is definitely true: The game allows goals to happen much more easily than they would in real life. A FUT 16 seasons match contains 8-10 times more goals per minute than a real football match. Hence, defending clearly isn’t as effective as attacking.

      – Coincidence and lack of understanding thereof: Some people experience streaks of losses or even relegations, and blame this on scripting. The fact is, that streaks happen naturally.

      – How seasons work: A season length of 10 matches combined with the set point thresholds makes it highly random whether you get promoted or relegated (depending on your skill level), which obviously also implies that the divisions become quite diverse and also why relegation streaks might happen. This also explains why matches feel very different.

      – The opponent and lack of understanding of how he influences the gaming experience: A lot of the experiences attributed to scripting comes down to the opponent’s ability. I often hear people claim that the opponent can’t influence things like shooting or passing. He certainly can!

      – Bad decision making: I think that 9/10 scripting videos portray some very bad decisions. This could be frantic shooting or bad defensive play. Yet, the people uploading the video only focuses on the AI’s part of the action.

      Reply
      1. 48.3.1

        Landstrykern

        Nice views on the phenomena of “scripting”. The game is not perfect, but neither are the players. This is FIFA 🙂

        Reply
      2. 48.3.2

        Landstrykern

        Nice views on the phenomena of “scripting”. The game is not perfect, but neither are the players. This is FIFA 🙂

        Reply
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  63. 49

    bastcilk doptb

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