Ever played a competitive game and been so convinced that something fishy was going on? The game was ignoring your inputs; the computer had quietly had nerfed your side; rubberbanding was giving your opponents an unfair chance. According to the FIFA community, you might have been right sometimes.
Members of the FIFA 16 community think they’ve found a way in which the game isn’t giving players the high stats it should. It might be a bug, it might be a deliberate balance measure, or it might be nothing at all, but it involves items you buy with real money and it fits squarely within my area of interest.
A post on Reddit explains everything in greater detail, but I’ll summarise.
FIFA Ultimate Team is a mode in which you construct football teams from cards, where each card represents a footballer. Play footballers alongside each other on the pitch according to certain rules, and they get a boost to their ‘Chemistry’. The higher the chemistry rating, the better the buff that gets applied to the footballer’s skills – meaning more accurate passing, better shooting, that sort of thing.
Except it seems that in some instances footballers haven’t been getting those boosts from their chemistry rating. This apparently applies to ‘in form’ versions of cards, which are issued when a footballer is playing well in real life. ‘In form’ cards already have a stats boost, so perhaps this is just a way in which EA are trying to stop buffs from stacking, but the community is frustrated because how it works is never explained and because people spend a lot of money – theoretically hundreds or thousands of pounds – to construct teams that have maximum chemistry ratings.
Here’s a video by RighteousOnix that shows what’s happening and shows how it was discovered:
This kind of thing is significant whenever there’s real money involved, but it’s also a symptom of the way in which FIFA works. It’s a game you play cooperatively with the computer, negotiating control over players who don’t do what you want sometimes because you did it wrong, sometimes because of auto-targeting, sometimes because of opaque player stats. It creates a certain kind of paranoia, especially given how competitive the game can be. If the above is real, and if it really has been in the game for the last seven iterations as suspected, then it’s clear that all defeats are void and I am much better at the game than my friends.