This year I want to show a different way of playing the game which doesn’t include attributes at all. I’m using the Keysi Rensie skin https://mrkeysirensie.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/the-fm19-rensie-custom-skins/ for this and had custom panels created by wkdsoul.
I feel that while attributes are a vital part of Football Manager, I think we all become far too reliant on the actual numeric value of the attribute above all else. My aim is to take control back and use all the utilities the game has to offer and show that focusing on attributes isn’t the only way to play. I'll also be using fake names, so I won't know who the original players are. Some of you might find this way to time consuming and that’s fine, it probably is for some of you. That’s the beauty of Football Manager, there are many different ways to play the game and we all do quirky little things to bring us enjoyment and add longevity to the game. This happens to be my way this year.
There is a really good chance that Paysandu are relegated in real life. At the time of writing this, there are four games left in the season and they’re currently third from bottom. With this in mind I’ve decided to delay the start of my Paysandu series in case they are relegated. If they do go down, I’ll either edit the relegation myself or wait for the Brazilian community to release the first major update they do, normally shortly after the games release. I like the idea of starting in a lower league, so that’s the main reason for waiting as I think it could add another challenge to the restrictions I’ve already imposed on myself. So fingers crossed that they are relegated!
A lot of people who have seen what I’m planning to do on Football Manager 19 this year think it’ll be fun and different. Which I hope it is but I think a lot of people, don’t understand just exactly how hard it will be playing without attributes. It has implications for absolutely everything I do in-game. So while I’m waiting to see if Paysandu get relegated or not, I thought I’d talk you through some of the difficulties that I’ll encounter and offer a little insight into how I’ll try and find a solution for them. I’ll also introduce you to the squad and walk you through everything.
Before I do anything though, I will be creating many different custom views like I do every year. Once they’ve been created I’ll share them with everyone as they proved popular last year with over 10k downloads. But as of yet, I still haven’t created any.
Assessing The Squad
When I finally start the save game, I’ll have to make a decision on the players I have at the squad and decide who is going to play. Without attributes or being familiar with the players this will be a difficult task because I have nothing to make an informed decision on just yet due to playing long enough.
This is what I have to work with at the start, just look how imbalanced the squad it. It’s basic at best and I don’t have much variation in the positions I can play. I need to decide which of those players will be the starting eleven and who are the backup players. Another interesting decision I have to make is what to do with the loan players. Eleven of them is a bit much so I’m likely to terminate all the loan players if I can and probably fill the squad out with the reserve and youth I have.
Those are the reserve players I need to assess and promote to the first team when the loan players leave. I don’t have any players in the under 20 squad currently so the players above are all I have at the club.
Due to the nature of the way I’m playing the game, everyone will get a chance to impress as I don’t know who is good or who isn’t just yet.
Deciding If A Player Is Good Or Not
When looking at a player's profile this is what I see;
The attributes are hidden and blank so I can’t see them at all, not even on the attribute panel of the profile. I will be changing this view on the overview profile above though and it will look like this instead;
This screen is set up (with the use of extra panels) to offer me the info I need and feel is important. The things that have been changed and I believe are useful are;
Pros and cons view
The pros and cons section of the profile will give me a good overview of what the player is good at, what he’s capable of, while also telling me about his limitations and drawbacks. This coupled with the rest of his overview basically tell me his full coach report.
This is needed because I want to know how the staff rate the player compared to others at the club who share the same positions.
Dynamics are a big part of the game now. By tracking them I can easily which see part of the social group a player is in, what the positives and negatives are that the player is feeling. This can be a good insight into which mentoring units I want to put him in, or for tracking if the mentoring unit he’s in has had any kind of impact on his social standing at the club.
I want to know if a player is not match fit, lacking condition or is an injury risk. This is not only for squad selections though but it can also help me with training. I have a quick snapshot of if he needs resting, to work on a specific thing to increase his sharpness and so on.
Keep an eye on training just gives me a very quick overview of what he’s working on.
These help me see what and how many PPM’s he has. This will help me decide how they impact the role I give him at the club. A lot of people ignore these but they have a greater impact tactically than people realise.
Here I can track the players morale and any possible time away from the club he’s currently on. It will help me plan future squads and team selections.
Over the save game I might add/remove some of these depending on how useful I find them long-term and whether I can get more custom panels that could offer me something else that I might feel is missing.
Deciding who is good and who isn’t will be tricky. My plan is to devise a system that works for me and this is where the player profile becomes useful.Currently the process looks something like this;
Comparison - The comparison on the player overview will tell me who the staff think are the better players in the position I’ll be looking it. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be the best suited for what I need. I won’t know that until I see the player actually play myself and look at the match stats.
Personality - You always hear managers mention how much personality matters and how hard-working players are. So this is where personality fits in for me. If you have a weak personality type then the chances are, that long-term, they’ll struggle to hold down a regular position for me as I won’t deem them having the right playing mentality for what I need.
Coach/Scout Reports Including Pros and Cons - These are probably the biggest indication of what a player is good at and what he struggles with. Using these reports will be the second biggest insight I get into players. On face value probably the most important but overall I believe it second to seeing what the player actually is capable of in a match.
Training - Training will be a big part of how I play. The players will need to be getting good training scores in the weekly reports. That way I know they’re putting effort into the sessions and schedule. If someone isn’t training properly, then can I really trust them to start a game? It’s something I will have to judge on a player by player basis. Long-term I might have the luxury of dropping players. But what if my squad is small and I don’t have that luxury short-term. These are all question I’ll have to answer as I’m playing.
Watching A Player - One of the things I’ll be doing this year is focusing more on the visuals. Not only will these likely form the more interesting articles, I believe it’s essential for knowing what a player can/can’t exactly do. This is where I think you can make up for not knowing what attributes someone has, because you are forced to pay attention to the actual details. For example, if you know your striker has 17 for shooting and he misses an easy chance, you automatically blame the player and think he did something wrong.
But what happens if the player was put off, the chance wasn’t as easy as you though or it was something else. When you know the attribute values, you over focus on those rather than looking at what actually went wrong. People also have a tendency to look at attributes in isolation. In the scenario I mentioned above most would blame finishing or composure. But the actual move is much more complex than that and there are a whole host of combinations of attributes in play at all times.
I’m hoping this approach will show people, while attributes are important, what you see happening is much more important. You don’t need to be fixated on them.
I don’t want to give everything away in this post, as I have some very special articles coming later in the series. I’ll talk about my approach to tactics in the next one, then the one after that will focus on scouting and how I approach that. It should also include examples of who I bought and how I came to the conclusion of singing them over someone else for the same role. I’ve come up with what I believe is a realistic template for scouting and have been throwing ideas around with https://twitter.com/VincentGuzman_ over the past few weeks and I can’t wait to show you what I came up with.