Ratings are usually used as basis for comparison between two or more players. However, a big part of the community still doesn’t really know what this number represents. We’re here to break all the myths around this subject (and a few others) with our complete FIFA 18 player ratings guide for Ultimate Team.
FIFA 18 Player Ratings in Ultimate Team
What’s FIFA 18 player ratings in Ultimate Team?
We’ve explained all there is to know about squad ratings here, and now it’s time to talk about FIFA 18 player ratings. This is quite a sensitive subject for most people in the community still have a lot of misconceptions about it.
Let us start from the very beginning. A player’s rating is represented by a number on his card, which varies from 1 to 99, whilst 1 corresponds to the worst situation possible and 99 the best. Each card has only one rating, but the same player may have different ratings if he has more than one card. Except for the Ones to Watch and Path to Glory, both being Live Cards, the rating that shows on a player’s card will never change.
Okay, so far everything seems simple enough. The problem is when we try to answer this simple question: what is player rating? If you answered ‘it’s a number that measures the player’s quality’, well, you’re wrong. Rating doesn’t tell you how good a player is at all. Overall rating isn’t even some kind of average or reflex of all the attributes. It tells nothing about the player’s technical, mental and physical attributes. Sometimes, players with lower ratings can be better choices for your team. The rating is, in fact, a number that evaluates the player’s potential relatively to a determined set of attributes, according to his position in the field, and that also takes into account his popularity and the environment he’s in. Confused? Don’t worry, the guide that you’re about to read will clarify all your doubts no problem.
The Cards’ Quality
Gold, silver and bronze: taking a general look at the cards
In order to allow you to evaluate the cards and compare them, EA created a scale called “overall rating”. Without it, it’d be more difficult to recognise which ones are the best and the worst cards. In the end, the rating gives you an idea of the player’s quality, when compared to others. In order for these differences to stay evident, all the cards in the game are separated in three levels, which depend directly on the rating associated to each one of them:
✔️ Bronze, for ratings up to 64;
✔️ Silver, for ratings in the range of 65 to 74;
✔️ Gold, for ratings superior to 74.
In general, the gold cards are better than the silver ones and these are better than the bronze ones. But not always. The problem with rating is the same as with any other thing that tries to be the simplest and most general possible, which is what happens with the quality of the cards: it is inaccurate and induces people into error. We’re not saying rating shouldn’t exist, after all it’s important that there is some information accessible to anyone that’s looking at a determined card. We just cannot forget that one player is characterised by dozens of attributes that can’t be summed up in a single number, especially when the importance of each attribute varies according to many factors, such as play style, formation, position and the team’s constitution itself. It’s way too subjective to compare two players just by looking at a number that doesn’t even take into account most attributes but does take into account something that has no practical effect inside the pitch (yes, we’re talking about International Reputation, we’ll explain that later on).
The Six Basic Attributes
A slightly better source of analysis
As we’ve explained, you shouldn’t just look at the ratings whilst choosing the players for your team. Each player has 36 attributes associated with him, and they are the numbers you should be paying attention to in order to make your decision. However, unless you’re already an experienced player, analysing so many numbers can be a bit of a complex process, especially if you’re comparing two or more players. That is why EA decided to make it all simpler by introducing in each card six basic attributes, which are no more than an average representation of these 36 attributes in just six numbers. Although this is still not the most accurate method to analyse a player, it’s how most of the community does it, since it’s more accurate than just looking at the overall rating and at the same time much simpler than having to look at all 36 attributes.
The basic attributes are those six numbers that every player has on his card under the photo: pace, shooting, passing, dribbling, defending and physicality. By taking a look at them you could have a general notion of the player’s characteristics, but it’d be even better if you knew what each one of these attributes represent exactly.
Relatively to the player’s overall rating, which is the main theme of this guide, we can say it is NOT based on the six basic attributes but on another selection of attributes, which we’ll be seeing next.
FIFA 18 Player Ratings Calculations
How is the FIFA 18 player ratings calculated in Ultimate Team?
Probably you still don’t understand what exactly the overall rating is made of, but as soon as you understand how it’s calculated, everything will be clearer.
A player’s overall rating is the result of two parcels added up together: one is the weighted average of a certain selection of attributes; the other refers to International Reputation.
Here’s what the FIFA 18 player ratings calculation formula looks like:
OVR = (ATT + IR)
OVR is the Player Overall Rating (1 to 99)
ATT is the Weighted Average of Attributes (1 to 99)
IR is International Reputation (0 to 3)
To start off, remember that the weighted average of attributes is not calculated the same way for all players. It depends on their position on the pitch, so the only attributes that will be taken into account are the ones considered to be important for the position. This way, here are the ponderations that should be considered for the calculation of the ATT variable, for each one of the positions:
17% Standing Tackle
13% Tactical Awareness
10% Sliding Tackle
05% Short Passing
04% Ball Control
02% Sprint Speed
14% Sliding Tackle
12% Tactical Awareness
11% Standing Tackle
07% Short Passing
07% Ball Control
07% Sprint Speed
12% Tactical Awareness
11% Sliding Tackle
10% Short Passing
08% Standing Tackle
08% Ball Control
06% Sprint Speed
14% Short Passing
14% Tactical Awareness
12% Standing Tackle
10% Ball Control
10% Long Passing
05% Sliding Tackle
17% Short Passing
14% Ball Control
13% Long Passing
06% Attack Positioning
05% Standing Tackle
05% Tactical Awareness
04% Long Shots
16% Short Passing
15% Ball Control
09% Attack Positioning
05% Long Shots
04% Long Passing
03% Sprint Speed
13% Ball Control
11% Short Passing
08% Attack Positioning
06% Sprint Speed
05% Long Passing
14% Ball Control
09% Short Passing
09% Attack Positioning
06% Sprint Speed
04% Long Shots
15% Ball Control
13% Attack Positioning
09% Short Passing
05% Shot Power
05% Sprint Speed
04% Long Shots
13% Attack Positioning
10% Ball Control
10% Shot Power
05% Short Passing
05% Sprint Speed
03% Long Shots
As you can see above, the rating is calculated by the sum of the weighted average of attributes with international reputation. But after all, what is this second parcel? International Reputation, also known as International Recognition, is an attribute that affects the player’s rating according to his club’s local and international prestige. It is based essentially on the popularity, history and results of them both. Basically, IR was created in order to adjust the players’ rating relatively to everything that doesn’t actually have to do with his technical, physical and mental capacities. It converges artificially so that the players who have the most fans around the world always get the highest ratings, but in practice there is no real effect.
Such as what happens with weak foot and skills, the players are evaluated relatively to International Reputation on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, so if there are more stars that means the player has a better reputation. If you wish to know how many IR stars a certain player has, you can always consult some type of database that provides this information, such as FUTBin, FUTView and SoFIFA.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that there’s no such thing as adding stars to an overall rating, for we’ve said International Reputation gives players a bonus of up to 3 points of rating. Actually, the parcel that does participate in the player’s rating calculation depends simultaneously on the stars and on the player’s base rating (the one previously calculated – weighted average of attributes), such as the table that follows indicates:
|01 – 28||0||0||0||0||0|
|29 – 33||0||0||0||0||+1|
|34 – 49||0||0||0||+1||+1|
|50 – 66||0||0||+1||+1||+2|
|67 – 74||0||0||+1||+2||+2|
|75 – 99||0||0||+1||+2||+3|
To make things clearer, let’s take Cristiano Ronaldo as an example. How can this be done? We’ll explain.
Start the game and look for Ronaldo, open the screen that shows the detailed attributes of his NIF card. Or else go to a FIFA database. Then, you just have to use the formula we indicated above for a LW and substitute the values. This way we have something like this:
ATT = 0,16 x Dribbling + 0,14 x Ball Control + 0,10 x Finishing + 0,09 x Crossing + 0,09 x Short Passing + 0,09 x Attack Positioning + 0,07 x Acceleration + 0,07 x Reactions + 0,06 x Sprint Speed + 0,06 x Vision + 0,04 x Long Shots + 0,03 x Agility =
= 0,16 x 91 + 0,14 x 93 + 0,10 x 94 + 0,09 x 85 + 0,09 x 83 + 0,09 x 95 + 0,07 x 89 + 0,07 x 96 + 0,06 x 91 + 0,06 x 85 + 0,04 x 92 + 0,03 x 89 = 90,51
This value equals 91 when rounded up. Probably some attribute was artificially adjusted by EA, because the cover guy got really close to ending up with the same rating as Lionel Messi. If we add to this value the 3 points from his 5 stars of International Reputation, we get the final overall of 94, which is what shows on his card. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and we’ll try to answer you asap.
Numbers that don’t mean anything
This is a guide about FIFA 18 player ratings, so we have to talk about these so-called In-Game Ratings. Our job is to inform the community. It would be a big mistake not to talk about these numbers that are constantly being broadcasted as a secret formula to success, because… are they really true after all?
Are you accustomed to seeing a bunch of colourful images being published by all the FUT databases with a player and a rating for each position of the pitch? Are you? Well, of course you are, just look at these IG stats we got for Cristiano Ronaldo by looking at three different websites. If you don’t know what this is, basically it’s numbers that say how well a determined player performs in each position. At least it’s what most of the community thinks. They’re normally known as ‘In-Game Ratings’, but can also be called ‘Ratings per Position’, ‘Best Positions’ or even ‘True Ratings’ (what a fancy name!) on other websites.
Before anything else, it’s important to mention that we have nothing against databases. They provide a very useful type of service that surely enhances the community’s game experience. However, people who keep up with this game mode daily, like ourselves, are able to notice when something isn’t quite right. Everytime someone comes up with an innovation, everyone else will go ahead and copy that. If you eventually run into a website with several new ideas, in just a few days they will all be absorbed by the bigger websites. And this is valid both for good things (cards’ prices, IG player statistics, etc) and bad things. It happened with chemistry, when all websites decided to mistakenly copy the attribute bonuses according to styles (which remains to this day!), and it happened when everyone adopted a stupid idea that was named after In-Game Ratings, which we’re here now trying to bring down. We’ve explained to some of these websites how these numbers make no sense and, generally, the answer we got was that they weren’t willing to take this (dis)information down because, although they recognise we’re correct, it’s something the community searches often so they don’t want to lose audience, plus some other websites would always maintain the data accessible anyway.
Remember how we said in the previous chapter that the player’s rating depends on the position he plays for the weighted average of attributes is calculated in a certain way for each position? Well then, this is what In-Game Ratings are. They took Cristiano Ronaldo (not literally, of course!), did the weighted average of attributes for each possible and imaginary position and then published the results. Seems flawless, doesn’t it? For us this is either acting in bad faith or, perhaps, many of the famous Youtubers out there have really just been showing some major lack of FIFA knowledge. We’ll explain why.
Let’s imagine you’re a regular FUT player. Not that difficult, right? Someone told you that it’s possible to know how well any player can play outside of his original position, so you go to one of these database websites to find out whether this is true or not. You pick Cristiano Ronaldo, open his page and concluded that, after all, once you have enough coins to buy him (which is probably going to be by the time the next FIFA is out) you might as well use him as an ST because he actually performs better as a striker than as a left winger (his actual position). You realise that was quite an amazing discovery, pretty undebatable, after all the numbers don’t lie. Instead of settling with that conclusion, do try to keep up with us here. Start by going to some different databases and do the same search. Do the different results confuse you? That’s fine, it’s because the way calculations were made are different from one website to another. That’s why if you decided to use CR7 as a centre back (why the hell would someone do that anyway?), you’d get IG ratings varying from 53 to 57, which is a difference that not even International Reputation could justify.
If even after reading this article you insist on comparing players by their True Ratings (we can’t resist the urge to use this name: it’s just so sweet!), then you’re probably challenging us. How can you claim a determined number is good or bad if, like we’ve seen above, rating is just as or even more subjective than EA’s Team of the Week selection? You may argue that at least you’re able to compare two players in the same position, because you’re putting their most relevant attributes side-to-side, but don’t forget that the players aren’t set to just stay fixed at one position. They move to different zones of the pitch during the game, performing roles that might be a characteristic of another position. Besides, the weighted average of attributes doesn’t take a lot of things into account. A determined player may have a superior IG rating than another player but, for example, he may be shorter, have no stars of skill and/or weak foot. Conclusion: the ratings, IG ratings in particular, are good for nothing.
If you’re a stubborn person, you may still think Ronaldo can play as an excellent striker. He might as well do that, but IG rating can’t really confirm anything. Do you really think he’ll perform a striker role better than a left wing role? If your answer is yes, don’t take this personally but you still have a poor perception of how Ultimate Team works. These magical numbers many websites claim to be the formula to success are no more than lies. The average player is going to look at them and be satisfied with the chance of new opportunities and open doors. When someone has this type of realisation, their brain tends to appreciate the discovery and disregard logical thinking. We’re happy with something and we don’t want it to go away. In this case here, people keep visiting these websites and making decisions based on them. On the other hand, the database administrators themselves, even though they know they’re not providing a correct information, they’d rather correspond to the demand so they keep it all online. Do you see how the circle closes?
Do you still not realise why we’re saying these numbers have no apparent meaning, even after we’ve explained how subjective ratings are? Perhaps here’s the strongest reason of all: chemistry. So you went ahead and put Ronaldo as a striker after all. With this you’re expecting him to play as a 94-95 rated player, whatever that means. It’s just that this isn’t how things work in Ultimate Team. If he’s playing outside of his original card position, his capacities are penalised. In the case of a LW playing as an ST, and as you can see here, this attribute decrease will be so harsh that Ronaldo will surely not play as well as in his original position. Optimistically, and only in case a LW-LF position changer were applied to him, he’d have an individual chemistry of 4, meaning he’d lose at least 4 points of overall rating. Okay, this time you’re right: we’re talking about rating variations when they don’t represent anything. It was just so we could give you an idea, which is also what EA had in mind when creating them. The point here is that someone who looks at IG ratings create expectations that will never be fulfilled because these numbers do not contemplate the strong attribute penalisation chemistry applies to players out of position.
Myths and Facts about FIFA 18 Player Ratings
A deeper reflection about what has been said so far
Now that you’ve realised how everything works, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve said so far. Let’s think of some things that people have already accepted as true, but turn out not to make that much sense.
Let’s start by discussing everyone’s impression on the official ratings that are announced just before the game is released. Since Ronaldo has an overall rating superior to Messi’s, everyone rushes to the conclusion that the Portuguese is the best player in the game. Well, one thing doesn’t necessarily mean another. Having higher rating doesn’t mean he’s a better player. Ratings are way too subjective, they can’t determine a player’s quality with accuracy. EA themselves contribute to the hype, releasing the supposedly top 100 players, a list that even compares players from different positions. Who, in their right mind, would allege that De Gea is worse than Suárez just because his rating is inferior? It doesn’t make any sense.
This may seem repetitive but maybe a concrete example will help end all doubts once and for all. Say we have two players from the same position: Thiago Alcântara and Radja Nainggolan. The first one has an overall rating of 88, whilst the second has 2 points less. Which one of them is better? Comparisons will always have some kind of subjectivity, but for most of the community the Belgium is better, hence his much superior price. The reason for that is simple: Radja is a ‘Man of Midas’, a much more polyvant player. When EA try to transform their capacities into one number, they do it accordingly to the card’s position, CM. That means they don’t take into account a lot of extremely important attributes for a good CDM, such as aggression, strength and marking. Besides, there are attributes that are very appreciated by the community but weigh little on the rating calculation, which is stamina’s case, having Radja beat Thiago by miles. Literally. Overall ratings tend to underrate the most versatile players because they focus mainly on a single position. Not that we’d want to use them in other positions all the time, but having a CM that helps defending is always a good extra.
Overall ratings also ignore some major flaws the player might have. They don’t consider skills, weak foot, height, work rates or even some attributes: Balance, Curve, Free Kick Accuracy, Penalties and, believe it or not, Composure! These don’t go into the calculation for any of the positions, so players who are really good at them don’t get the attention they deserve. On the other hand we have Reaction present in the rating of all players on the pitch. On the table below, you’ll be able to identify what attributes are most often considered for the overall rating.
One of the problems we must always warn you about resides in the fact that we all tend to think of rating ahead of attributes. We were educated and trained to think this way. No one would pay for a TOTW card if it had the same rating as the NIF card. And when Ratings Refresh approaches, everyone wants to know how many points of rating some cards will gain. So many people often say things like “this player deserved this or that rating”. But what the hell does that mean anyway? None of this makes sense because the overall rating is merely a consequence of the attributes, not the other way around. When a card gets upgraded, we can only know for sure that it represents an actual upgrade when we look at its stats. An upgrade of one point of rating may represent in extreme cases a single attribute receiving a one point upgrade. That’s not exactly interesting, is it? On the other hand, a player may maintain his rating and at the same time have several attributes upgraded on the new card (maybe even dozens!). Rating has zero importance on the pitch. The attributes, though, actually define your player’s potential.
Lastly, let’s compare two other players that play in the same league: Kompany and Bailly. The first player has a rating of 85, one point higher than Bailly’s. Anyone who didn’t bother to read the whole guide and skipped right to this paragraph (you didn’t, did you now?) would probably say Kompany is best. However, anyone who’s tested them both is perfectly perfectly aware of how Bailly is pretty superior. So if ratings are based on the important attributes for a certain position, why is it that it seems to be wrong in this case? The answer is very simple: international reputation. The Ivorian centre back has only two stars of reputation which give him no rating bonus, whilst City’s centre back has four of them which end up giving him two extra points of rating. This means that Bailly has indeed a base rating superior to Kompany’s (84>83) and that he has everything needed to be the best defender. We so conclude that, after all, the most popular players aren’t really as good as their rating seems to indicate, because sometimes they’re not even as good as some less notorious players with slightly inferior rating. That is also why the only six non-icon players with 5 stars of reputation have ratings considerably higher than most of the others.