One of the key feature sets in FML are the Skills that managers can choose to learn. I've covered these in detail in the past, but what has caught my eye lately is the debate raging on the official forums over one particular skill - judging potential (JP).
For those not in the beta, this skill allows the manager to determine, on a 1-10 scale effectively (from 0.5 - 5 stars) how much potential a young player has; a player with 5-star potential is destined to become world class, with the right training and experience. There are 5 levels of JP skill to learn, with each increase bringing an increase in the reliablity of the shown potential.
In the early days of the beta, there were no skills - and therefore no JP skill. It was hard to tell how good any given youth was, and so teams would sign as many as they could in the hope of unearthing a star. This had two effects: the fierce competition drove up wages for youth players, and teams had massive squads - many of whom never got near a sniff of a game. I remember one FML legend who had over 400 youth players...
This was clearly madness, and then the skills arrived. By learning first some of the 'Scouting' skill (Levels 1 and 2, maybe 3 I forget), and then starting off JP, managers could see which youths had potential. Everyone caught on straight away - everyone started learning JP. What was intended as a boost for youth specialist teams became available to the masses. Teams no longer hoarded so many youths - they didn't need to sign the dross - but competition for players was (is) still fiercesome.
It was clear that JP needed nerfing to some degree, and so SI changed the setup so that you need, I think, Scouting Level 5, which takes I guess 2 (real world) months, before you can begin learning JP - much more of a specialisation. That only applies in the newer Universe 2 gameworlds, so I don't know how well it's worked out - but debate is raging as to whether further nerfing is necessary, or whether JP needs to be removed altogether.
For me, I remember what life was like without it, and I wouldn't want to return to those dark days. But I would like to see it maybe made a little less accurate. Perhaps instead of the current 5 levels, we could have a 3-Level system as follows:
Level 1 (quick to learn): +/- 2 stars
Level 2 (takes a while): +/- 1.5 stars
Level 3 (takes aaaages): +/- 1 star
Signing youth players should be a gamble, progress must not be guaranteed, and I think the current system is maybe just a little too accurate.
Also, the future planned feature of youth academies, which will be added some time after the retail launch, has to be built in here somewhere - how would these work, and fit in with the existing setup? It's going to be exciting seeing what SI have up their sleeves, but this is a key area for many people - they say you never win owt with kids, but in FML, that's not always the case...