One of the world's most popular RPGs just added Gibraltar for free! Wow, a whole new landmass to explore. I wonder if it'll be set during the War of Spanish Succession, allowing keen commanders to invade and cede the territory to the British Empire in perpetuity.
Oh wait it's the Gibraltarian football league added as part of Football Manager's mid-season update... Even better! The patch also contains a "potential fix for odd throw ins", and a hundred other small tweaks, improvements, and thousands of database updates.
Sports Interactive always put out a mid-season update to the game. It's there in part to respond to the January transfer window, where footballers swap teams like kids swap football stickers. This means that if you want to take control of Manchester United with Juan Mata on your side, you can do so now. (Writing that sentence so that non-football followers will get the matter/Mata pun in the title).
The update also serves to fix bugs and re-balance the game's match engine, which by this point has undergone so many hundreds of thousands of hours of testing by its community, the idiosyncracies of its AI have become more clear. There's a full list of patch notes listing the changes on the Sports Interactive forum, including the aforementioned throw-ins, "slight reduction in overhit passes", and lots of other changes to player decision-making that should hopefully cut-down on you Pardew-ing your computer monitor in frustration.
As for the new Gibraltarian league, it's a free, fully-licensed addition, made available by SI via the game's Steam Workshop.
I've played around a hundred hours of FM2014 this season, more than the last eight games in the series combined. Is that because the game suddenly changed for the better? No, that happened last year when Sports Interactive introduced the more streamlined and immediately gratifying Classic Mode. This year's change was that I went freelance, and whose to complain if I play a sneaky game at lunch? I can probably justify it by writing a feature about it in the afternoon.
Speaking of which, Adam and I will convene later in the week for half-time oranges and a chat about our experiences with Football Manager this year.