Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Words from another, erm, Man

While others are promoting blogs that diss FML and its gameworlds, I'm always keen to promote those who do the opposite.

A close friend and fellow mod in StJohn has set up a new site on Tumblr, which may or may not be the clown equivalent of Blogspot - I'm not sure yet. Anyway, it's well worth a look - though I do fear for Frooty's sanity sometimes... The writing is brief and good quality, documenting the life and times of Frootloops FC.

Words from a Great Man

“What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses or the marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.”

Sir Bobby Robson

Monday, 28 September 2009

Rage quit? One can dream

When this blog started, I'd had visions of using it as a revolutionary behind-the-scenes look at what being a mod entails, about looking at what goes into the big decisions.

It's often not come to pass. The writing became harder when the game went live - one starts to worry more and more about what the paying punter will think or feel, that somehow I could upset someone's delicate sensitivities by writing the wrong thing here.

Others, it seems, don't share the same respect. After more than two years of FML, and nearly two years of moderating, apparently I (and others) don't give enough to our community. The ideas for innovative and interesting competitions, the months of work building communities and grafting for free to establish FAs and keep a Gameworld active and enjoyable get labelled as 'idiotic', 'shit' and the like. By people who've made no effort to communicate their opinions or thoughts, or come up with better ideas, through the proper channels - no, but plenty of effort to blog about it and not to let facts get in the way. Rage quit? One can dream.

In other news, selling Vucinic turned out to be a bizarrely good move. The Frecheville Blades enjoyed their best ever season, with an early season dalliance at a title run culminating in a good league finish (8th in the FA, and only 2 points off third!) and my first official senior silverware - the EDFA Cup, after a stirring performance ended in stalemate and a penalty shootout win. I'm likely to get to keep the trophy too, with the EDFA folding this season also, due to falling numbers.

We're aggressively looking to merge and re-structure our remaining FAs. Any aging GW will see falling numbers - that FML can keep people's attention for as long as it does is nothing short of amazing. How many games do people seriously play to such an extent for months on end? It's great value... The green shoots of recovery aren't restricted to the real world economy however - we had a great intake of new, active managers last season who are now feeding into the main FAs after a protected baptismal season in NUFA.

So, doom and gloom? Not totally... the future is bright for those in StJohn. It's still one of the sanest worlds around, enjoyed by many. But that doesn't make such a good story...

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Blades conquering mid-table...

So I'm not even going to apologise for my shameful absence this time... It has been inexcusable, unforgiveable etc and so forth... I've been super busy :(

Moderation is going swimmingly as always - StJohn is a very well behaved world in general. SI have brought out the idea of 21 day trials for Football Manager Live, which have been quite popular and have brought us probably 150 new managers over the last two off-seasons. The mod team in StJohn has also expanded to 9 now, with several great new lads coming on board. It's always a real pleasure to be able to get people into the team.

As for the Frecheville Blades, well it's been a mixed bag. I had quite a rise up the world rankings lately, with a high of around 45th - not bad for me. The new tactics UI has been quite a godsend! The big experiment - going all out for a decent income didn't really pay off. I do well, and signed some great players (Vucinic and Thiago Neves being highlights - Pablo Zabaleta did well too, and Pablo Piatti is on the left wing now too!) but we were always a bit short.

The best finish yet saw me come in 5th in the newly formed EDFA Premier League - it's an interesting daytime FA with fairly low AI levels and some good people.

Anyway, I will try to get more time to blog a bit more meaningfully again...

Friday, 8 May 2009

Massive week continues with shock FA move

More big news from the Frecheville Blades as their week of big news continues.

The recently-relegated side have moved to the newly-formed EDFA (Elite Daytime FA), leaving the AEFA after four seasons.

The new FA promises some new innovative competitions and since only active managers will be around to sign up, it should also be super active.

In other news, two new first team defenders have joined the Blades, with centre half Stephane Mbia and left back Tiago Gomes joining the club after being poached in end-of-contract wage auctions.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Second signing of day pleases Blades fans

Frecheville Blades have won the race to sign Brazilian midfield playmaker Thiago Neves in the end of contract wage auction that ended this morning at 11:48.

Their bid of £23,001 was enough to secure him on a 2 season contract.

There is an acquisition fee of £400,000 payable to Dutch manager
Jordie Altheer's dazzling Garuda and a signing-on fee of £230,010 (10 x his wage of £23,001) payable to Thiago Neves.

Of the three clubs who made bids, the second highest bidder made a bid of £21,000.

This is the Blades' second stunning signing of the day, following the earlier capture of star striker Mirko Vucinic.
Frecheville Blades have won the race to sign world class Montenegrin striker Mirko Vucinic in the end of contract wage auction that ended this morning at 06:35.

Their bid of £43,500 was enough to secure him on a 2 season contract.

There is an acquisition fee of £1,330,000 payable to young English manager Tom Durn's outstanding Toms Super Blues and a signing-on fee of £435,000 (10 x his wage of £43,500) payable to Vucinic by Frecheville Blades.

The Blades manager was said to be delighted and relieved to finally close the deal for one of the greatest strikers in the FML world.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Relegation confirmed

The Frecheville Blades will be plying their trade outside of the Premiership of an FA for the first time ever next season, after it was confirmed that the Sheffield-based outfit had finished bottom of the AEFA Premiership on just 28 points. Two thrilling injury time goals from supersub Alvaro fired them to a 4-3 home win over 2nd placed Ulrik Underdogs, but it was too little, too late.

The Blades late surge back towards some sort of form almost saw them escape, but it wasn't to be in the end. Gary Glen made his final league appearance for the club in the win over Smutny's Underdogs side, coming off to warm applause - though it was his replacement who turned out to be the matchwinner.

Before the game, the Blades manager had given this interview to the StJohn media, offering a valuable insight to the team, and the future of gameworld StJohn.

The Blades will now be rebuilding for life in the AEFA's second tier.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Form Improves but Relegation Looms for Blades

The Blades have managed to draw three Premiership games today - all 1-1, and all in games I ought, and needed, to have won. The Frecheville side are still firmly rooted to bottom place, with only 17 points from 29 games - the club's worst ever performance, though a shift to a smaller pitch may be paying dividends. Too little, too late.

As a result, preparations for next season are well underway. Striker Gary Glen will be leaving the club at the start of the off-season; an auction is ongoing with a bid in at £400K. Veteran midfield maestro David Jarolim will also be signing off, after a similar four years of service - Rubicon FC lead the bidding at a shade over £50K.

The plan will now be to do well and sign specific, quality replacements for these one or both of these players. Vasquez may last another year at MC; up front is probably where the solution must be found.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tactical Consultants Meet Blades Manager as Relegation Looms

The Blades are playing well below itself at the moment - with 10 points from the opening 15 games the side are firmly rooted to the bottom of the Premiership.

That in mind, the Blades have decided to take on some advice from other managers. Some of the Blades youth players are exceedingly promising, but not quite ready for top level football; other players are woefully under-performing. Striker Gary Glen is a prime example - a clearly gifted footballer doing nothing to show his talent.

For the youthful £105K wage Blades relegation wouldn't be too much of a disaster; it may even be the opposite - a chance to give the youth time to flourish and come back strong. To go down without a fight, however, is unthinkable.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Dorsin shores up leaky defence

It had come to my attention lately that the replacement I had signed for former star left back Manuel Pasqual was absolutely shocking. Slavko Maric is duly on the auction list for £1, and I moved to snap up 31-year old Mikael Dorsin on a short term deal for £95K from Jay Derriman's side.

Dorsin has settled in very well, but it looks like a long battle against relegation regardless - we just can't score. While other clubs are moving forwards, my self-imposed ban on big deals is seeing the team get left behind... for now...

I must stick to my plan, however painful in the short term...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Supporters in Uproar as Lane Legend is Sold

Yesterday evening could go down as a dark day in the StJohn chapter of Frecheville Blades' history, when record scorer Nikola Zigic was sold for £850K to Bishop Ultras, plus 75% of any future fee.

The Blades manager tried to calm supporters, by pointing out that 92-goal legend Zigic was 32 years old and not getting any younger.

The move also means that the Blades financial worries are over for good, with a now healthy balance. Zigic's £24K wages are also off the books, so the Blades are now paying out a miserly £105K per day - future big-name signings appear guaranteed, though striker Gary Glen will have to fill Zigic's massive boots for the time being.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Cautious opening for Blades

I don't know what to make of my start to my third Premiership season - two games played so far, both ending in stalemate.

A 0-0 draw with Ben Talbott's Last Minute Wanderers was followed by a 2-2 draw with Craig Legend's top-flight newcomers, DR Dazzlers - Zigic and Glen getting a goal each. The team are playing quite well, and both opponents are ranked significantly higher than me - so all in all, I should be happy. I'd sure like to see some wins on the board soon though - have I done the right thing gambling on the youth coming good?

I'm really torn on skills as well - should I be focussing on scouting or coaching? With my youth side flying just now and plenty of green arrows, it's tempting to concentrate there... but I need to sign at least half a dozen players for my U17s...

In other news, the Blade have released a significant number of 18 and 19 year olds from the academy, after they failed to show the appropriate improvements.

Football Manager Live: Click here to Buy now

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Season begins...

It's been a quiet season thus far for the mighty Blades in StJohn - I've yet to play any senior FA matches, though I did make a decent start in the AEFA U21 league.

It was a quiet close-season for me as well, with finances being tight. I made a big decision to build a block of Exclusif corporate seating last season, at great expense... and to pay it off within a season. That pretty much limited spending in the off-season window, with the only real note-worthy signing being experienced keeper Kamil Contofalsky.

Some of the youths need to start proving themselves - right-back Daeselaire, and forwards Alvaro and Gary Glen in particular. There's no questioning their potential, but it's time for them to start delivering.

If I can survive another season in the Premiership, I'll be more than satisfied. With the Exclusif in place, and Commercial Level 4 under my belt, I'm making a healthy profit. The plan is well in hand, oh yes.

In other big news, I've setup a new blog for all the StJohnians to keep track of the latest news and gossip in the gameworld. "The Fiery Baptist" is still in dire need of beautification, but the content is coming thick and fast...

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Another season of survival...

I've not had any time to blog recently, so apologies for that - I was teaching at a training course last week, so all my spare time was taken up preparing for that, or being on it... It was very good though!

That also meant probably my highest ever AI% in an FML season - I forget the exact final figure, but it was certainly right around the 40% mark, the limit for the AEFA. Funnily, it was all largely down to a now-resolved bug - I came back from all that course business on the Friday night, with the season ending on the following Wednesday... I played a few games and logged off still on 0% AI! Oh, what could've been...

It was a decent season anyway - I'd expected a struggle, which never really materialised. I came in solidly in 15th place. OK, that's only two places above the relegation zone you might say - but I was 8 points clear of 16th spot... and 9 points off the team in 14th! In a league of my own, you might say... Very strange, especially after last season's thrilling finale.

Preparations for Season 4 have been quite muted - my only signing has been experienced keeper Kamil Contofalsky. Hopefully that will do some good; I've bid for a few others in end-of-contract auctions, but really I need to focus on maximising my skills...

This season has also seen me learn Finance 5 and get up to Level 4 Commercial - so I'm making a lot of money... My plan has always been long-term, and with these skills in place, I've been able to fit my stadium with a block of Exclusif corporate seating, which will be paid off within 4 weeks. That will earn me a cool £15k extra a day, which along with the skills will see me financially secure - so long as I keep my wage bill down and my reputation doesn't drop too low. It's all about Season 6...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Blades make first signing of off-season

Left-winger Salim Arrache has arrived at the Lane in a bargain basement deal. The 7.35 average wing wizard joins the Blades for a ridiculous 5-figure sum in an end-of-contract wage auction.

Arrache has made a promising start to life at the Lane, setting up giant striker Nikola Zigic with a couple of goals already with a pair of excellent crosses.

Rumours are rife that the cash-strapped Blades may also be after a central defender as they look to secure their Premiership place in the forthcoming Season 3.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

And... well...?

The Frecheville Blades manager today announced that he was thoroughly delighted with the Blades' final position of 13th in the inaugural 20 team AEFA Premiership.

With a stonking 6 relegation places up for grabs, the Blades could not afford to many slip ups in their final 5 games on the last day of the season.

Things got off to a great start when a crash to desktop left the Uppsala Gunners accidentally playing the wrong tactics for much of the first of those games. The Blades safely won 2-1. (I think!)

Next up was a 1-1 draw, followed by an absolutely sensational 5-2 win away against 4th placed SanSebastian. Suddenly things looked easy, and it was rumoured that the Blades manager may have been noted singing U2's "Beautiful Day" in the FA Organisers chat room.

This tempting of fate almost bit the Blades right in the bottom. A 2-1 defeat to main relegation rivals ACS Alco was followed up with 1-1 draw with another fellow struggler, CFC...

Results transpired to see Alco four points behind the Blades, with two games in hand. CFC were level on points, but with a poorer goal difference. Two wins for Alco, and a point for CFC would still see the Blades go down.

CFC were first up, but despite battling bravely went down 3-2 to third placed T-Bag Town. That meant the Blades were safe; regardless, Alco had failed to take any points - their last two games had been against the top two sides!

So, I'd expected a real fight to stay up, and in the end really only flirted with relegation. When things had started going wrong, I shipped out Zat Knight and brought in Nikola Zigic - this single act (and Zigic's goals) probably saved my season.

Special mention also has to go to a Fernando Gaona (17 year old DC) and Cavusoglu Ali (17 year old ML), who deputised fantastically towards the end of the season when injuries and suspensions started to bite. The various youth sides may have slipped down the rankings a little as other sides begin to take it more seriously, but the policy appears guaranteed to bring long-term rewards, with some excellent prospects emerging.

All in all... That'll do Blades. That'll do.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Relegation battle...

Well, life doesn't get less busy, and the Blades are in the midst of a dire battle against relegation.

All of the early season good form has gone out of the window, with only 3 or 4 wins in the last 10-15 games. With 5 games to go, I'm in the top relegation spot. I've games in hand over those around me, and it should come down to a straight winner-takes-all match vs. ACS Alco, my main survival rivals.

Having taken 6 points from my last four games, two against very good opposition, it's not entirely hopeless. But with tomorrow being the final day of the season... I need to have a good day. A very good day, to be sure. Safety is possible, but it's going to be tight.

I'd always been expecting a relegation battle, but the good start made me believe... FML can be a cruel sport at times...!

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Friday, 27 February 2009

Wowzers! FML gets new subscription rates

Sega have just announced that there are new subscription packages available for FML - you can check them out here.

There's a new 24-month package priced at £114.99, and you can even now break all the packages down into monthly deals - the 24-month package will cost just £4.99 a month!

Great value - remember, Click here to Buy now for those prices, and help support this blog at the same time.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Help Support "A Mod's Life!"

I'm pleased to announce also that I have now become part of the FML affiliate scheme - so if you've been reading and enjoying the blog, but have yet to sign up to FML - click the link below to sign up to one of the best games around AND support a poor, hungry FML mod...

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It's been a mad time since my last update - I'm not sure how the FAs took so much work to organise, but it was an absolute bloody nightmare this season.

I think being in a half-empty world that suddenly doubled in numbers brought a lot of organisational challenges - making sure the AI Limit exceeders weren't promoted, that new guys were properly looked after... and don't even start me on the UFFA allocations.

StJohn is still going very well - the community has always been strong and is getting even better. We've just appointed all our new Organisers, so no more ballache there for me! They've got straight to work in appointing a lot more journalists, and even doing some manager interviews - all great stuff, and I'm very proud to be a StJohnist.

The Blades came in 3rd in the end in the FA, guaranteeing a Premiership place. I've made a decent start in the top league, looking safe for my usual mid-table finish. Gary Glen has emerged as a starting striker, but with that Darius Henderson disappeared, so he's being auctioned off as we speak. Also leaving is 33 year old, £10k daily earner Gresko, with Aaritalo moving to left wing.

The big talk has been the exchange deal that saw Zat Knight and £200K leave the club, with one slightly used Nikola Zigic coming in - Zigic got 2 on his debut, so hopefully that will quieten the posher fans moaning about a lack of goals!

The changeover to the new income system happens tonight, and the Beautiful Downtown New Bramall Lane is just about ready to go. I'm some way short of required capacity, but my second new stand - a 3-tier Mercantile II - is on it's way. I think it's important to balance the rewards gained from seating all the fans possible with the amount of expense involved...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Glorious Day For Blades Youth

I've finally done it. I'm top of the youth rankings in GW StJohn!

I'm now hastily snapping up new youths to try and maintain my position!

The senior squad also managed to hold on to 3rd spot in the qualifiers, with ACS Alco failing to beat bottom club Roberts Utd in their final game seeing me safe.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Dev Blog / Blades Update special

First off, my usual apologies for not updating here for a while - we'll see why I didn't want to jinx my team by discussing it here in a moment.

I just want to mention though that the SI Dev Blog has been updated with a new post, so head over and check it out, once you've finished being bored by me talking about my Blades season...

The Blades got off to a terrific start, and managed to largely keep it going for most of the season, which is very unusual. It looks like I will just miss out on the title, but with two games left third place in my AEFA qualifying group is just about assured - a great performance, in all honesty, but just ever so slightly disappointing that I couldn't hold on to win it. The form has definitely dipped towards the end.

The star perfomers were definitely Gresko (ML), Chris Clark (MR), Aaritalo (FC) and of course Jarolim (MC). Mustafa, the DC, did exceeding well too, much better than I expected. The side desperately needs upgrading for the forthcoming Premiership campaign - where I'll be joined by mod mates Henrik Bjorkman and Philip Sinkins, looking good for a 1/2 in their group.

The senior performance was pleasing enough, but overshadowed somewhat by my title winning youth team - the U21s won the 8-team AEFA U21 league in exciting fashion, snatching the title with a final game 1-0 win over Uppsala Gunners despite being the weaker side for much of the game! This is, I think, only my second ever official competition win, so I'm delighted.

The U21s are also the second ranked youth side in StJohn, and closing the gap on number 1 youth giants Wolves United all the time. Now I need to keep it up in Season 2 - this was a real surprise, with Jamie Ness proving a real dynamo in midfield. Ness has also proved himself capable of filling in at senior level with a 6.8+ average rating there. A great find!

Gary Glen has also been a star - though he struggled to find the net at senior level, he's been knocking them in for fun in youth games, so hopefully his development will continue.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Tricky Puzzle...

It's difficult getting things balanced right in FML sometimes - the stadiums have brought that mildly in to view for me.

The qualifying campaign started off in glorious fashion, with the Blades going 8 games unbeaten, I think. But then form started to dip, so I needed to bring in some fresh talent to cover some of the deficiencies in the squad. A quality left back was secured, and now we're not conceding 2 every game...

I know Gary Glen will become a great player, but he isn't scoring now - and my sides always do best with a big target man up front. Aaritalo isn't that, and is scoring - so I've brought in Darius Henderson, a real life Blades player, to partner him. Hendo's aerial prowess has seen him grab two goals on his debut already.

Of course, how does all this impact on the stadium? The clock is ticking - we roll over to stadium income in under three weeks. While average attendances are still low, it won't be critical that I do upgrades, but I want to get ready as I will need to expand sooner rather than later.

I'm also not a big believer in repetitive building - I want to waste as little money as possible, so will be building a big stand early doors - even if I don't put anything in it. Do I go with my dream, and build a new Bramall Lane? Or do I build a good stadium? For my part, it's hard to see beyond the Aziendale 3-tier stands, so that is likely to be where my money goes. The £1.5M likely cost will be spread over 8 weeks, but it'll still limit prospects in the short to medium term. FML is about long term planning, though...

Construction 4 finishes in the morning tomorrow, so I will be able to make significant savings by using my own construction company... Work starts on New Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane tomorrow...

Thursday, 22 January 2009

FML Stadium Patch (1.1.1) Dated

The stadiums will land in the live Gameworlds during the morning (GMT) of next Wednesday 28th January.

More info on the SI forums here.

As a gamer I'm really looking forward to this - it's a great feature, and implemented with much more in the way of depth and variation than I'd anticipated before seeing it.

As a mod, I'm not looking forward to explaining all the depth and variation to customers, or telling people that no, they can't get a refund on the money they wasted on Di Lusso seating when what they needed was Pieghevole...

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

We..... are the Chaaaaaaaaampions my fre-hends

One of my absolute favourite features in FML is the Gameworld champion - given to whoever wins the first match in a GW, it then passes on like football kiss-chase, from game to game.

I've often flirted with the golden crown, but have never worn it... until now!

I saw that Jay Derriman, a good lad from the old beta GW4 had the crown, so I challenged him. He battered me for 90 minutes, but a Mika Aaritalo strike secured an unlikely 2-1 win. What happened next was even more unlikely...

I had a friendly competition match due against my nemesis and good friend Lennart Kohler, a fellow StJohn mod. Lennart is a true FML wizard, and is probably best known for a 5-1 thrashing of me in GW4.

Revenge was finally mine. My Blades were magnificent - I've never seen a performance from them like it - I'm not sure I ever will again. Midfield dynamo David Jarolim was outstanding - he got rated 9.5, as I demolished the Ohnics 4-0. By half time. It was a stunning victory.

So I took the crown into a second defence against 5th ranked side Cattenacio Calcio. Or is it Calcio Cattenacio? We've both! Joe Faultless' side, anyway - 78 ranks above mine, but a brave home performance saw me home with another late Aaritalo goal, 1-1. The crown will be on the pillow next to me tonight...

It was a good day all round - I also won my own 5-team Diddy League!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

First reviews for FML: Positive!

I'm delighted to see FML get its first reviews, and for them to have come through positive - I send my congratulations to the team for some thoroughly well-deserved plaudits!

More from FullMetalRacket on the SI forums:
This morning, the very first reviews for Football Manager Live were published on two of the biggest gaming websites.

EuroGamer kicks it off by giving our favourite game a very respectable 8/10 summarising it with the sentece:

"Football Manager Live has been worth the prolonged wait. Sports Interactive has massive experience in creating single-player management games, but this is the developer's first stab at an MMO - and for the most part, it's a genuine success."

The excellent VideoGamer went one better, scoring FML at an incredible 9/10 saying:

"According to my manager stats, I've spent approximately 35 per cent of my life (since my team was created) logged into FM Live. Either I've got nothing better in my life to be getting on with or FM Live is the greatest football management game ever created."

Keep an eye on the Press & Awards page on the website for the latest reviews as and when they are published.

Friday, 16 January 2009

CVG Interview with Miles Jacobson

Just noticed this interview with SI Games head honcho and all-round nice guy Miles Jacobson on CVG, so check it out.

It's not as good as the interview I did with Miles, obviously, but still very much worth reading!

Glen signs

The Frecheville Blades called a hasty press conference this morning to confirm overnight rumours that they had indeed captured the signature of pacey young striker Gary Glen.

The Manager responded to queries from delighted Blades fans, commenting that he was delighted to have gotten such a promising young player so cheaply. Glen's agent looked less happy at the reputed wage of under £2k, while the Blades have confirmed that an acquisition fee of £110k was paid.

Glen said that he was eager to make a big impact at his first club, and out to prove that he merits a first team place.

Elsewhere, rumours are rife that Glen may soon form the focal point of a Blades U21 side. Not previously known for youth development, it is rumoured that this will now form a key part of the Frecheville Blades re-profiling strategy.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Finally - LIVE in St John

I've finally made it to the retail environment, modding in the new gameworld, St John, which launched shortly after 6pm on Wednesday 14th January.

It's been a delight, even if it's off to a slow start. We need more managers! The atmosphere is good, with clearly some good folk already taking a part in the fledgling community.

It's been a shaky start for the Blades though, despite debuting at 7th in the world rankings... probably my highest ever position!

Three wins, two draws and four defeats make for grim reading, and it's clear that some tactics skills are needed, along with one or two new signings. That is problematic, as my approach is quite clear for this world: I'm going for a joint infrastructure/management skill push, so that I can get myself financially established.

To that end, I started off with the 'Tycoon' skill package, to boost my Infra skills. The stadiums won't be implemented for a week or so, so I don't want to waste time learning there - they take a while, so I want the boost. I've snaffled Tactics 1 to give me some flexibility, and some Management skills too already. And Scouting 1 - for this approach I need to grab a few recognisable names, who I can sell on for a profit in a season or two!

The auto-squad assignment was pretty kind to me too - I got Czech star David Jarolim, Slovakian full back/left midfielder Vratislav Gresko and good young winger/striker Mika Aaritalo. I shifted a few on, allowing me grab big target man Tresor Kandol, and a solid keeper Stijn Stijnen.

One of the key things I kept in mind was reputation - to maximise my profits, I need to get my team reputation up quickly, and obviously a factor in that is the players' reputations. Also, I need to get a solid ranking, of course!

Will it work? Will I end up with the stadium of my dreams, wallowing in riches? Probably not - as ever I will be no doubt be languishing in mid-table sooner rather than later...

But at least I'm finally doing a proper mod's job.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Pre-selected squads

Another of the new 1.1 features is the pre-selected squad. These have caused some low-level concerns for some user, so Ov Collyer took the time to explain exactly how they work.

Never one to do work unnecessarily, here's me quoting what Ov said verbatim:
"All GWs start with a database of 50,000 players.

Of these, 1100 x 18 = 19,800 players are assigned to balanced 18-man preselected squads. At this stage these squads are not yet assigned to clubs.

As clubs sign-up to the GW, a club is chosen from the 1100 reserved ones, and then 'tuned' according to the manager's nationality/location. This involves swapping players from the chosen squad with players from another unchosen suqad to try and end up with more players of your nationality/location/favourite club (that is why it reserves 1100, instead of 1000 - so that even if the 1000th team joins, it still has 100 more squads to swap with to find players familiar to you).

When you first sign-in, your chosen squad is activated, meaning the players all sign 24 hour provisional contracts as you are used to.

All players assigned to preselected squads (whether assigned to a club or not) are locked and unavailable to any other club.

When the first season starts (7 days after GW launch) all unclaimed preselected squads are disbanded (so a club joining after this point won't be given one), but the players are only unlocked gradually over the course of the first season, rather than in one go.

By the end of season one, no players are locked.

Finally, the other change from beta, is that scouting skills *do not* come into it during initial squad selection, whereas they used to. So if you decide to change your preselected squad, you have full visibility of all other players in the database that haven't yet been chosen (either in a preselected squad, or manually by another user.) The reason this was changed was because otherwise, what with 19,800 players + invisible (from scouting) players locked, it was getting a bit restrictive.

Once you confirm your squad (whether its a preselected one, your own, or a mixture) then the players sign on full contracts and from that point on its business as normal - scouting skills will limit your visibility of the players etc.

What the system aims to do:

- give everyone a fair chance. You don't need to arrive on the dot when a GW launch. Indeed this system was designed for the hard launch of the game when people will be going out and buying a boxed copy, returning home and expecting a GW to be waiting for them to choose to join. The GW launch date will perhaps be a lower-key thing.

- provide flexibility. If you don't want any players, or some players from your preselected squad, you are free to throw them away and replace them with anyone else unclaimed.

- stimulate the early transfer market. Maybe you have managed to be assigned a player that someone else badly wants - no problem, with the transfer rules of 1.1, you can sell/swap from your initial squad right away (although no cheeky short-term profiteering allowed )" - Ov Collyer, on the SI Forums.
It should also be noted that you don't have to accept the pre-selected squad - you can ditch some or all for other players before hitting confirm.

I like this new system - to be honest, the majority of new FML managers (and many older ones too!) are pretty poor judges of a player, so anything that levels the playing field in the early stages of a Gameworld are fine with me.

I had my reservations too, but I was pretty pleased with what I got in my Coppell auto-squad. I swapped about 6 or 7 of the 17 or 18 then went with it. Most of the initial squad don't last past the first season anyway, so it's not worth worrying about too much!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Post 150 - and big news!

So I can finally make an announcement... the Mod Team for "gameworld 1" has been announced!

That means the first hard launch gameworld, which will be the first world to launch AFTER GW Toms launches on Monday, will be moderated by:

Me, Nik Reeves-McLaren
Phil Sinkins
Henrik Björkman
Lennart Köhler

How's that for a dream team?

Soon the Frecheville Blades will see their first non-beta, live action...

Excited much? You bet I am.

Keep your eyes peeled and get signed up when the world becomes available - I don't know what the name is yet, or when exactly it will be up, but I will update here as soon as I do...

Edit: Just so that is 100% clear - Blissett and Toms launch on Monday. The next world after that, whenever it launches, whatever it's called - I'll be there!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Blades to return!

The mighty Frecheville Blades will be returning to an actual proper gameworld soon! Long have I been in the wilderness, but I've had word... One day soon, I will have my chance at proper non-beta action again.

Watch this space... Largely cos it's all still in the ether and yet to be confirmed. Very grey areas.

Actually, I don't know why I said again there either. I've always been in beta, never elsewhere. :D

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

FML v1 to land on Thursday!

Hot off the presses at the official SI forums:
The much anticipated update to Version 1.1 of Football Manager Live is ready and is due to be rolled out into the live gameworlds on Thursday 8th January.

Brand New Features including…
Updated Financial and Transfer Systems
To help curb inflation in gameworlds and to lessen the gap between the top clubs and the chasing pack.

Gameworld Champion
Any team can be crowned 'King of the Gameworld' simply by beating the current holders.

Clubs now attract fans with different sorts of personalities, what sort of club will you become?

Enhanced Game Analysis
To help you work out what the players are feeling throughout the match and to help you improve your team.

And much more…
You can check out the full changelist in the manual here.

Version 1.1.1
Unfortunately, the Stadiums feature wasn’t quite ready for release in this update, but because we want to bring it to you as soon as possible we will be releasing a further, smaller update to the game within the next few weeks called Version 1.1.1. This update will include Stadiums alongside some other tweaks that will help further improve the game. The full changelist for this update can be found here.

We hope you enjoy these new additions and we look forward to playing against you in your gameworld.
Be there, or be square folks!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Bums on Seats...

One question I've been getting asked a bit is with regards to the new stadiums feature, and what sort of fan sits where.

There are six different types of fan in FML, and each has their own broad characteristics - for example, the Diehard is extremely passionate and loyal to their team, and their vocality really boosts the atmosphere at the ground... but they don't like to spend much money and they can cause trouble.

There are then 6 different types of seating available... but what to build, and for what sort of fan? Well, maybe the following list can be of some use... Bear in mind: I don't have any corporate seating capability yet, so I can't comment on where that fits in!
Die Hard
Will pay:
0.68-1.02 xBase
Seating types:
Terrace (0.75 xBase)
Astilla (1 xBase)

Will pay:
0.98-1.47 xBase
Seating types:
Astilla (1 xBase)
Disagio (1.2 xBase)
Pieghevole (1.45 xBase)

Will pay:
1.43-2.14 xBase
Seating types:
Pieghevole (1.45 xBase)
Di Lusso (2 xBase)

Glory Hunter
Will pay:
1.85-5.56 xBase
Seating types:
Di Lusso (2 xBase)

Will pay:
0.88-1.32 xBase
Seating types:
Astilla (1 xBase)
Disagio (1.2 xBase)

Will pay:
22.76-79.66 xBase
Seating types:
Flauta (25 x Base)
- Seats 1000 per block of boxes, costs £2.76M ish per block.
Exclusif (75 x Base)
- Seats 500 per block of boxes, costs £5.5M ish per block.
So as you can see - getting the balance right can be quite tricky... maybe those die hards don't pay much, but will your team still win and attract the bigwig corps if you don't have them there to cheer you on in the closing stages... Tough choices ahead!

Happy New Year!

Well, I hope your heads aren't as sore as mine this cheery New Year's Day.

I've had plenty of time off work over the festive period, so I've been breaking my new graphics card in very gently with plenty of FML. The Blades, or should I say 'Now Is The Time' now, have been having a pretty miserable time in GW Coppell, but the added time I've been putting in has really paid off, with a rise of 250 places in the rankings in the past week. If I can keep it up, I may be in with a shout at 'Mover of the Week' this week, and god knows I could use that £100k prize money!

There have been some pretty big wins lately - a couple of 3-0 away wins over top 50 opposition, which is always nice. Of course, the rankings are just that these days - rankings, and nothing more. They don't have any actual significance now, since in 1.1 your income isn't based solely on team reputation. There's now a hidden FA ranking system, so you have a ranking within your FA, and it's this (and UFFA matches) that influence your team reputation.

I assume your team rep then influences how many fans your team has, and your income that way... which is then limited by the size and style of your stadium...!

Speaking of which, I've been working hard learning Infrastructure skills - I'm up to Construction 4 (saving me 20% of building costs) and Foreman 3 (cutting building times by 15%). That means I've been able to switch to building the stadium upgrades myself, rather than having to pay 10% extra to get SI Construction Inc to do it (and they only have Construction3, Foreman 3 too!).

With that in mind, I've raised capacity to about 16500, coming in line with my projected current attendance, so that should help bring a bit more money in!