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