Monday, 29 September 2008

FML Launch Dates confirmed!

The launch dates have finally been confirmed!

They can be seen here.

Cantona kicks off the big jamboree on the 27th of October. This comes after a very smooth launch for GW23, setting a great example for live.

The best launch GW, Sharp, will start sometime in November (I'd expect early November), after all the riff-raff have sorted out any teething issues!

Oh, and the Blades are now unbeaten in 7, having won 6 and drawn 1. The initial ranking came through last night at a very acceptable 89th!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Solid start continues

I managed to steal an hour online today, and the Blades continued their excellent start to life in GW23.

Another two wins and a draw - and in games cherry-picked against top 50 sides - saw the unbeaten run stretch to 5 games... and still unbeaten in GW23. Hopefully that may just be enough to squeak me a ranking tonight at midnight, and start the ball rolling on some daily income - as an unranked side, I'm still only getting my wages covered.

Once I get some money rolling in, I'll be able to go shopping...

Friday, 26 September 2008

Blades hit Dublin in style

The Blades have set up camp in GW23, Dublin, and have hit the ground running with two wins from their opening two friendly matches.

The initial squad selection took some time, but in the end a good blend of youth and experience was chosen.

The key positions for me are always the keeper and the strikers. In goal is former Arsenal keeper Rami Shaaban - a solid all-rounder, and a bargain at that £24K. Up front I plumped for Vaclav Sverkos: cheap, quick, a good finisher and a smart mover. Another nice signing was former GW4 favourite Christopher Lamprecht. All in all a fairly solid side.

The opening tie was against a good friend of mine, Chris Priestley and his 780 FC side. I travelled to his ground for the match, and roundly thrashed his side of big names (Billy Sharp, no less) 3-0. Goals came from MC Stefan Buck, Sverkos and DM Edgar Mejia - definitely one to watch for the future.

The second fixture was a home match, against an old GW2 buddy, Jay Kotak. It was nice to catch up with Jay - it's been a long time since I left GW2 back in December! It was nicer to see sub Renan, who was at MR but can play in roughly 4 million positions, grab a goal after some neat interplay. The Blades ran out 1-0 winners.

I won't get ranked tonight - probably not until Sunday night, in fact, as I won't have time to get on tomorrow, but at least we're up and running. And some wins too!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Blades win Cup on last day of GW

Well, I logged in quickly just now to say goodbye to the guys, just in case I can't make it on again and two things happened.

First, I fined a guy £10M for two crazy deals - think the end-of-GW blood rushed to his head.

Secondly, I saw this news item:
Capable Scottish manager Nik Reeves-McLaren's overachieving Frecheville Blades have won the sixteen-club "Only The Strongest Have Survived..." after their 5-4 penalty shootout win over Israeli manager Asaf Foerster's powerful Beitar Katamonim in the Final.
The game had finished 0-0, but it's nice to see the lads end on a high note!

A week? Blimey

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I last posted! Apologies for that - I've been a bit on the busy side.

I have lectures to write, and they start next week, so that has been a big focus. Also, the BEFA (Big End FA) launch was on Monday night, and I had that to do for myself.

With only 65 members being projected for GW4, I decided that it would be best if we were all in the same FA - more chance of finding an opponent online. In the end, this FA (BEFA) got 128 members.

It was a remarkable success, and I received a lot of thanks from the managers, which was nice. Barely anyone has played a game though...

Still, anyway - GW4 is finally closing, and the end will come soon. We're all off to GW23 to play in a full Gameworld with a more up-to-date database. It will be a big test to see how new gameworlds cope with lag etc, as SI have been making massive in-roads there.

Amalgamating worlds means a lot of mods, and GW23 will have around 40 mods. So I will be taking something of a backseat until launch, so I can focus on my real job, and maybe even get in the gym. I will keep trying to get online though - the Blades, and this blog, will live on!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Silver Linings

I'm always one to look for a positive - and one that has improved already since last night's exodus from GW4 is my ranking... The Blades are up to 9th!

Organisation of the new super FA, with all teams in the gameworld all under one roof, is going well - I was 'told' that we were to expect to have 65 teams left, but over 90 have already signed up to the new FA... With all these guys pretty active, it's going to potentially make for an active and interesting season. Plus we get to meet new people in the chat, rather than the same old rabble we were used to!!


Well, today sees the start of the new GW22, with users from GWs 2, 4, 8 and 9 migrating over. These worlds will be losing the majority of their players, and so will from now test how a properly dying GW copes.

Phil and I will be the sole mods in GW4 from now on, looking after 60 - 80 users, I guess. It could be a bit quiet and desolate, but we're determined to make the most of what may be the end of our time in GW4 and the FML Beta.

I've organised all the remaining teams in to one big FA (The Big End FA, or BEFA), and will be organising plenty of different types of competitions for all different types of user. Hopefully this approach will make sure that when people log on, they always have a game to play.

Will it work? Time will tell - it will need users to get involved - to chat, to accept challenges. I think it can work - but only if we all make it work.

On the bright side, the exodus hasn't even started yet, and I'm up to 19th rank.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Babel signs / GW Turmoil

The Blades' 'problem' MR position has been filled by the surprise big-money capture Ryan Babel. While the move was welcomed cautiously by Blades fans, it was overshadowed by news that SI have invited teams from the older to up places in a new Gameworld.

The new, full gameworld will allow SI to test that critical launch phase again ahead of October's scheduled launch for FML, and also allow testers the opportunity to take part again in a full and active GW, while also checking out an updated database. As a moderator, I can see the sense in the move - from a testing point of view, it's vital. From a personal point of view, I'd like to have heard of the demise of the gameworld and community that I've helped build from SI, and not from the users who were already receiving invite emails...

What that does tell us though, is that time is short - something needed doing, so they did it - and it's probably the right move. With launch so close, there is no time to waste, SI need to see that the final causes of lag in FML have been eradicated for good - and I'm confident they have done it.

As for the Super Blades? Well, it's my sinking ship, and I'm one of the captains. I owe it to what will remain of my community to stick by them until the bitter end of the beta. We're looking at getting as many teams as possible into one big FA for what may be our final season - Robson ain't brain dead yet.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Kardec signs!

The Blades have announced the capture of Brazilian hotshot Alan Kardec. Throwing caution to the wind, the Blades moved to sign a player they are rumoured to have been interested in for many seasons from Christos Nikoletatos' Panathinaikos side for £1M. A solid all-round player, Kardec was rumoured to have been valued at up to £2.3M, so despite his £38k daily wages, the star will still be considered a bargain buy by Blades fans.

More new faces arrive

Another batch of new players have been whisked in to Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane as the Frechville Blades continued their off-season rebuilding program in earnest.

Strong and pacey 23 year old Bulgarian striker Martin Penev has been signed in an end-of-contract wage auction for a bargain £72k. Will he be good enough to lead the line for the Blades next season? Time will tell, but 28 goals in 54 games for the White Hart Colts last term offers some promise - they'd paid £2.5M for him two seasons ago.

Two more midfielders arrived overnight as well - Chinese AM/FC Zhou Liao has signed from Delta FC for a shade over £60k, after 5 seasons there consistently achieving over a 7.1 average rating. Fernando da Silva also arrives to fill the DMC role, from Dale Honess' FC Coconuts for £55k.

The Blades are taking a lot of gambles in end-of-contract wage auctions, and are buying younger, pacier players with lots to prove - will the gamble pay off? The Blades are still in the hunt for a couple of bargain wingers, and then we shall find out. Early signs - a 3-1 away friendly win over Walter Wilson's Lost Lagos FC (ranked 49th) - show some promise.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Blades rebuilding makes swift start

Before the door has even struck the backsides of the departing players, I've made a start to recruiting new players for next season.

The defence has been strengthened with the addition of pacey centre-half Avi Nuriel, while two new full-backs - John Blair (DR) and Iker Guinea (DL) will also make their Blades debut soon. Nuriel was signed for £1M, while Blair and Guinea were snapped up in end-of-contract wage auctions for bargain wages.

Also signed is the US AMC/FC David Chevalier, who will feature largely in midfield for the Blades. All the players being signed are 26 or younger, pacey and have plenty of potential and scope to prove it.

Looking forward, in light of the announcement by NFA bigwig Rob Delport that there will be fewer games next season (38, down from 60), the Blades have elected to remain in the NFA Super League. I tried to be noble, but I couldn't resist having another go after finishing 3rd last season.

More signing news will be on the way - the Blades are still in the market for 3 or 4 new players, if not more...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

End of an era for Blades...

Well, it had to come one day. With recent defeats to league leaders Fenerbahce (3-0) and Super League minnows Hangover 96 (7-3), it was clear that the title dream was over for the Blades.

We look odds-on to finish 3rd, which is a remarkable achievement after years of mid-table mediocrity and almost flirting with relegation, but alas the aging Blades are in need of change. With a midfield comprising five players all aged over 31 (Borowski is 36), Billy Sharp and Gary Cahill both 31... it is time for a clear-out and a re-focus.

Already DM Guy Demel (35) has left (£250k), followed by Blades legend Javier Arizala (31, £250k). The big departure is Billy Sharp - a true Blades favourite - for £2.5M.

So. Next season's Blades will be on the move again - I want to try something I've never done before. In all my time in FML, I don't remember ever being outside of top flight football - so I'm going to try out lower league football. I'm selling up, and if I can't sell up I will restart. I'd rather keep my money, I'm not daft...

As a moderator, I think I ought to discover what that experience is like for FML players - and to see if and how it can be improved in the future. A noble sentiment, or plain stupid? Time will tell...

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Oh my...

So some information on FM09 has been released...

You can find out more here.

There are some new and improved news items, transfer rumours (false and accurate ones...), and press conferences (before and after matches, and when you get a job). You also get to build up relationships with the journos...

Training has been improved, with the ability to train up special moves (PPMs).

The many lady FM managers will be happy to see they can fully represent themselves in their true gender, with new text throughout - well done SI.

Various issues from FM08 have been improved - board confidence, newgens (not in the video), the transfer module has been completely re-written, the user interface... including widescreen support (hooray!)

Looks like there are no new leagues though :(

Oh, and the new improved match engine will be there - in 1D (commentary), 2D (as in FM08 etc) and new 3D! And my it looks glorious... I'm blown away.

The feedback looks to be much improved also, with you assistant manager seeming to play a key role in offering advice during games in two specific areas: motivation (of the players, during the match), and general feedback - are your tactics working, how the opposition are exploiting your tactics, what you could be doing to exploit their tactics, and information on 'team blend'.

Anyway, check out the video and forums for more news - and be sure to pre-order FM09 for release on 14th November! More news will be coming over the coming weeks.

UPDATED: Screenshots!

Solid start in NFA / FM09 buzz

The Blades solid start in the NFA is continuing, with good recent form seeing the Blades climb to the dizzy heights of 4th place. What's even better is that from the 23 games played so far, the Blades have only lost 3.

The only downside really has been the number of draws so far - 8, I think. Failure to convert some of those ties into the victory that some merited may cost us a title shot, but in a close league... anything is still possible. I'm very tight at the back, with a new 4-1-4-1 formation, but not quite scoring freely enough...

I'm half way through the season and not saying 'meh' or talking fearfully about relegation, so it's got to be a step in a good direction!

For those not aware (hello, that's a nice rock you're living under, step out into the sun!) the big announcement about FM09 happens tonight, some time after 6pm GMT. Check out the SI forums for more info - it's going to be huge!

Monday, 1 September 2008

You're busted, sunshine!

Quite chuffed with myself today - just busted a dodgy dealer in GW4. The guy had bought four players for £1 from a club, while selling them eight players for over £6M. Only problem - the guys he sold were worth about £80k, total, and the guys he bought were all worth a lot more than £1.

He's gonna log back in to find himself short of around £7M.

Cheats don't prosper - it took me a while, but I will catch you.

First season guide for new players

Some of you may know of JordanC already, one of the talkiest talkers on the planet - infamous for doing the FM/FML 'Get Sacked' podcasts and his presence on FM-Britain.

Well, Jordan is doing a series of guides for FML aimed at explaining the experience for new players coming into the FML universe, and it would be negligent for me not to big them up here - the first three guides are already up:

FML First Season Guide - Part 1: Fundamental Truths

FML First Season Guide - Part 2: Short Term Objectives & Routes

FML First Season Guide - Part 3: Initial Squad Selection

Jordan's a very thoughtful guy, and I'd thoroughly recommend reading anything that he types. In fact FM Britain is a site that seems to have slipped under my radar somewhat, so I'm going to have a lot of reading to do myself!