The FIFA Ultimate Team Rant
Date: 2017-01-18 10:01:56
By: Adam Singleton
Let’s talk about FIFA ultimate team.
Something has been on my mind for a while guys and first of all let’s get this clear I absolutely adore FIFA Ultimate Team and although it’s been running in one form or another for around 7 years now it still manages to attract new players every day. Why it does this is quite obvious especially to an older generation of player such as myself, because it combines elements of Panini sticker book collecting (that feeling of opening a pack and not knowing what it could behold, but more on that later) Football manager (designing a team with a great chemistry so that they perform better, achieved by having players from the same nation or club) and of course the originally FIFA game play which a few years ago took over from Pro Evolution Soccer as the number one soccer for real fans, although rumor has it that Pro Evo may be about to take back it’s crown.
So let’s talk a little about my Ultimate Team addiction, from the day I own FIFA I do not play any other mode of FIFA aside from ultimate team, friends message me asking for a friendly and I’ll reply “only if it’s in Ultimate Team” and if they don’t play FUT mode then I’ll ignore them because to play any other mode of FIFA will not add to my coins tally and what do coins mean? Well they mean eventually being able to buy better players and it’s at this point perhaps I should explain this mode of FIFA in better detail.
Ultimate Team is about building the best team you can and by playing matches or trading on the transfer market. The way to find new players is to buy packs very similar to the old Panini sticker books of the day where you’d sit in the playground trading with your friends looking for that ever elusive card of your favorite player from your favorite team.
So let’s get in to everything that’s wrong with ultimate team a couple of years back EA had some problems with people selling coins on the market, players could hand over cash for a certain amount of coins rather than having to rely on the luck and chance of opening packs, and at the time these transactions normally represented far better value for money than buying the packs, for example let’s say you want to buy the Arsenal player Alexis Sanchez who costs upwards of 100k Ultimate team coins then why buy FIFA points and open packs which could take a lot of time and real life money when you could pay around $10 for 100k coins have put in to your ultimate team in a matter of minutes and go out and buy that coveted player.
Much simpler and easier on the wallet? Yes. Ethical? Debatable. Within the rules EA have set? No absolutely not.
So how did EA counter this? Well they introduced price ranges for players, they came down hard on anyone caught buying or selling coins.
Now when I first heard of these price ranges I was super excited, figuring that the reason super star players such as Messi or Ronaldo sold for over 10 million coins was due to the inflation of this coin buying that had been going on and perhaps all players would be within a fairly realistic price range perhaps putting a total cap of 1 million on any player, but of course this wouldn’t not benefit EA, no the price ranges were put in place to stop people being able to buy coins and receive those coins by placing a bad player on the list and receiving 100k for him, now the highest bid you can receive for that player would be a maximum of 5k so did this benefit the fair players, the people such as myself who grind away playing matches and trading consumable cards, no of course it didn’t and a little word of advice, unless you have a huge disposable income you will never have Messi or Ronaldo in your team.
I always considered myself a fair player and yes I’ve built some fantastic teams, I’ve never bought coins but also let’s talk about the packs you can buy. A rare gold pack costs you 7.5k coins that can be earnt by playing matches or it costs 150 if you balance this with the amount it costs when you buy FIFA points this works out around $1.50 although the more points you buy the cheaper it becomes but as these packs are supposedly randomly generated they represent terrible value for money especially when spending the coins you’ve grinded by playing all those matches to win.
(Above, my current team, not bad huh?)
I’ve opened a lot of packs and spent far more real world money than I ever should have done and I can safely say unless you are incredibly lucky you the chances of even breaking even on these packs are so low that it just doesn’t make any sense to buy them. On average and to be honest this is if you are very lucky you may get 4k back for every 7.5k pack you buy so buying these packs with the money you have earnt in game makes no sense, and of course it doesn’t, why? Because EA sports wants your money, they want all your money, they don’t care where it comes from, they don’t care if you’re 12 years old and you steal your moms credit card from her purse, as long as that money goes to them.
You see Ultimate Team is a huge cash cow for them that cow is going to be milked until one day everyone stands up and says hold on we paid $60 for this game why am I still pumping money in to it?
Here’s a few other things that make this very apparent, the game not only features buying players but contract cards, fitness cards and injury recovery cards, notably in last year’s version players seemed to suffer from leg injuries regularly so regularly it became very frustrating, and leg injury cards on the market consistently sold for a high price, coincidence? I think not. So contract cards is it fair after you’ve bought these players that you should still need to buy cards to make them be able to feature in the game, in my opinion no, and fitness cards this help your players avoid injury and mean they can maintain their pace during matches making them valuable and a necessity.
If you buy one of these rare gold packs, which feature 12 cards 3 of which are rare (shiny gold cards) but there is not guarantee that any of those will be a player as it’s a mixture of players and consumable cards. Another problem is the fact that 5% is taken off everything you sell on the market, why you might say, what’s the point in that? Well let’s say you buy a player who is worth 110k for 100k and you want to make some cash, so you list him up for sale straight away but whereas your profit should be 10k it’s actually only 4.5k which is still a good profit, but if your making smaller transfers although the amount is less, so why is this done? Well because then you can’t make profit to quickly and when you get tired of trying to trade but still want those good players where do you turn? Back to EA’s point buying, sure a real life auction may take a percentage but why does it need to be done in Ultimate Team? Because it brings more revenue back to EA that’s why.
Here’s another problem if you just want to play matches and don’t want to trade or spend real life money on buying packs then your rewards are minuscule, an average match will net you around 400-480 coins although there are end of season bonuses and each season normally on average last 9 matches, so let’s say for the average online season for a division 5 player (the division I’m currently in, hey I never said I was really good at it!) you will net you around 6000 coins with a little variation depending on your finishing position, next let’s say each match takes 20 minutes so about 3 hours per season and imagine I want to buy soccer royalty Leo Messi (which I do but have come to accept he will never be part of my team) who costs (if we get a really good deal) 900k (and that’s his standard card not one of his in form or team of the year cards) that will mean I have to play 300 seasons, taking 900 hours (or 37.5 days straight) and in total 2,700 matches remember most people have to go to work or school and also it gets kind of tiring especially if you’re on a bad run (losing is never fun) so that time needs to be split up, I also haven’t taken in to account all the consumable cards you will need to buy to keep doing this run, so actually we should probably round it up to 1000 hours and 40 days, so taking in to account the times you won’t be able to play, responsibilities and the times when you just can’t be bothered to play anymore you can expect to buy Messi around this time next year if you’re lucky and of course by then the new game will have been released meaning that this year’s FIFA has become irrelevant and even if you have the most amazing team there will be no players left for you to show it off to (as I found last year), you also can’t transfer your team from one year’s version to another so when the new year’s game is released you will have the pleasure of starting from scratch all over again and wondering why on earth you threw a whole load of money in to improving a team and playing a game which becomes irrelevant every October!
Will I stop playing Ultimate Team? Of course not. Will I stop throwing pointless money at it? I’m trying to. Do I blame people who buy coins on the black market? Nope I can’t because until EA can make the game fairer and start making the packs they so badly want us to buy which we still do rightly or wrongly a worthwhile investment then what’s the point.
In conclusion I still think FIFA Ultimate Team is fantastic and maybe I should seek counselling or some kind of FIFA equivalent of an AA meeting but I absolutely beg the guys at EA sports to increase the rewards and make those unobtainable players a little more obtainable, of course not too much as it won’t feel rewarding if it’s too easy and I don’t want to come up against Cristiano Ronaldo in every match but I truly hope EA look at things and stop just thinking about their bulging wallets in the future.
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