FixFIFA is a movement created by the FIFA community to press EA Sports to fix many issues in their game. It has now thousands of followers and it’s getting visibility on the media. Our friend drpoplove, popular member of the FIFA community, will analyse the reasons that are behind this movement, if they make sense, how the game can be fixed and what it is expected to happen.
FixFIFA Guide – FIFA Community vs EA Sports
Introduction to the FixFIFA Movement
In order to talk about the whole #FixFIFA idea, we need some context first.
This hashtag or movement (whatever you want to call it) comes from years of feeling neglected as a community and feelings towards the current state of the game. With the success-but-not-actually-but-maybe of the Star Wars Battlefront II backlash, the hardcore FIFA community is trying to unite in order to be finally catered to. Ultimately, the community wants a better product, but sometimes it doesn’t know how to ask as a group. And sometimes, EA is too focused on their profits. Both parties have made mistakes, but now’s a great time for everyone to come together. Let’s do our best to put aside our egos and unite, because EA’s goals and the community’s goals are aligned, believe it or not.
This post takes a look at the history and present of we call #FixFIFA now, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It also offers exactly what the general #FixFIFA sentiment wants along with solutions.
History of Momentum and Emotions
We have to open this article up with momentum because when things go wrong, this is the immediate thing that the community latches on to.
Momentum used to be an actual mechanic in old FIFA games. This is a fact. It was not hidden, it was a gameplay mechanic and you even had little bars on the hud that told you how the teams were doing.
Emotions were also introduced to FIFA a long time ago, and as far as we know, they’re slightly murky. Here’s a paper written by EA about how it works. It very specifically says that this is not the AI deciding anything outside of user input, and that it’s not a system that changes attributes.
But then why does it also say that it directs gameplay modifiers? Is a sound cue a gameplay modifier? Or is taking a good shot and it going wide a gameplay modifier? I have no clue, but the paper clearly states that it doesn’t affect attributes. So even when momentum was a mechanic, EA denied that emotions impacted the game. You can have your own conclusion about that.
EA has gone on record, several times, to deny momentum in contemporary FIFAs. They did it as recently as the press cycle for FIFA 18.
Would such a big company with all sorts of shareholders be ballsy enough to lie about something like this and risk their own stock? I doubt it, but there’s no doubting that the game has a lot of problems.
History of EA’s Response and the Community
FIFA is one of the most popular games on the planet so it has one of the biggest communities around.
As a result, we’ve seen some hilarious and insightful “influencers” and content creators like airjapesfifa, nellygotbored, and fifastallion. But we’ve also seen the dark side, ranging from constant whining and bitching to coin selling and to making death threats on developers’ lives. Unfortunately, the latter is far louder than the former.
Take a look at who the most famous influencers are in this community, and you’ll get a good sense of what the vocal parts of the community are like.
As a result (I assume), EA have a pretty firm policy of not engaging the community in a way that some other developers do. They tried with Chu but he got super shat on by a lot of people. Think about it, would you want to be abused on a daily basis every time you look at a screen?
However, also as a result, EA has done nearly nothing to combat the spread of toxicity and conspiracy. All while introducing game mechanics that encourage you to spend money on FUT (more on that later).
In fact, it’s gotten so out of hand that FIFA players feel cheated constantly. You even have T100 players and pros who believe in scripting/momentum/handicap. Even on my FUT FM podcast, we had Hashtag Mike on recently, and he stated on it that he thought some games in the past had it.
EA has failed miserably to create a relationship with the community, and now everyone is suffering as a result.
Again, draw your own conclusion here. You can think that EA are so profit driven they don’t care about the community, or you can think that the community drove them away.
In my opinion, the truth is somewhere in between. A company has to be profit driven, but the community’s vocal toxicity has led them to be closed off, which in turn gives more power to the business side of things. It’s a weirdly connected fuckfest in which we all screw each other over. I’m sick of it.
Plus, never forget “chemgate.” We were getting screwed over for a long time by the in game chemistry system not working as it’s supposed to. And EA’s response to all that was truly awful. But they can’t really go out publicly and say “we fucked up huge!” can they? It would crush their stock like Battlefront II.
Still… it was a problem that shouldn’t have existed. Doesn’t exactly breed trust with the community.
The Sobering Reality of FUT’s Existence
The way we often think about FIFA’s most popular mode is very different in the way that EA looks at it. So let’s build a better understanding before we proceed further.
FIFA Ultimate Team can exist solely without gameplay related microtransactions.
Think about that for a moment.
How does that make you feel?
Are you angry, happy, unsure, or don’t care?
I’ve even gone as far as to write up a 50+ page design document to completely redesign it just to see if it could still be possible (I’ve made and published small games in the past, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert or anything).
A lot of you reading this are probably young, so you might not know, but video games didn’t used to be like this. They used to be about providing as much value to the customer so that you make lifelong fans that purchase your expensive video game every time it comes out.
Since the 360/PS3 era, we’ve seen a shift to downloadable content and microtransactions, with some games going as far as hiding the true ending behind their DLC. That’s pretty fucked up, yeah?
Anyway, this model is currently evolving into “games as a service” model in which developers and publishers make something that keep you hooked and keep you spending for a long period of time. It has its roots in the old arcade model. You put in 25 cents to keep going… and you want to keep going don’t you? There are many places to learn about how games are becoming casinos and how they’re psychologically tricking you (for better and worse).
The thing about a service based model is, it won’t work long term if there’s not enough to hook people. So how do you hook people in FUT? Packs, SBCs, SBs, rewards.
SBCs can be fun, but they exist to maintain the prices on the market.
Packs can be fun to open, but they exist to directly take your money.
WL can be fun but it exists to wear you down into buying packs.
Squad Battles can be fun but they have the same effect as the WL.
Trading on the market can be fun but EA takes a cut to help keep the market in check.
Special cards (in forms, record breakers, etc.) are fun and kind of the whole point of the mode for many people, but the progression system is insane.
Everything in FUT is carefully designed to encourage pack buying behavior. Even the fancy pack opening animations. The fact that you get so few coins forces you to either play the game for an insane amount of time, or to buy FIFA points. And chances are, if you spend a huge amount of time on the game, you’ll probably spend some money on it.
I get it, you have a job like me, your time is limited like me, you love the game, what’s the harm in a 100$ once in a while or maybe even less? Well, if many people do that, it tells EA that the game is balanced properly. People keep playing and paying, so what’s the problem?
FUT exists to give you your dream team. FUT exists to extract as much money from you as possible. In order for FUT to work in the long term future, there needs to be a balance between the two, or the money aspect of it can’t be tied to gameplay. And the game needs to be superb.
Of course, someone at EA could say “but we need to pay for server costs” or give some other reason that this money benefits the product, and there’s definitely some truth to that. If the series can make crazy money, it can afford massive upgrades and improvements. But that’s where the next paint point comes in.
Despite New Features And Upgrades, Old Ghosts Haunt FIFA’s Gameplay
I’ve played FIFA seriously since 06, and causally prior to that alongside Winning Eleven/PES.
To this date, I can tell you only 6 things that have truly changed the flow of matches.
✔️ The ability to move 360 degrees as opposed to just 64 (or less) directions with your player;
✔️ Body physics, so that you can have proper collisions and whatnot.
✔️ Players not getting stuck on rails as often (meaning that they don’t get stuck in a loop that you can’t break with user input… this sometimes happens still but it is rare).
✔️ L2R2 crabwalk dribbling that was beyond unrealistic and super abused.
✔️ The right stick! It wasn’t always there like that, can you believe it?
✔️ Tactical defending (for better and worse).
Literally everything else, no matter what the change, has not changed the general flow of matches. Yes, every year has a slightly different meta, but the 6 aforementioned changes were the ones that would actually impact how a match plays out.
Take a look at some of my goals from FIFA 13 included in the video portion of this post. The graphics are hideous by today’s standards but you’ll notice that a lot of the goals scored are just the exact same thing as newer FIFA games.
Football is football, you can’t change that much about it. All you can do is provide an excellent gameplay experience that continues to iterate regularly as the technology allows it to.
But FIFA’s gameplay has not kept up. While PES has been making huge changes to their game in order to get back their lost market share, FIFA has been coasting as the undisputed king of virtual football for years. If you remember, PES used to be the hardcore sim and FIFA used to be child’s play. Then starting with FIFA 07, EA took gameplay very seriously and eventually built a better game by FIFA 10, hands down.
FIFA has had the exact same glitches and problems for many years now, across 3 different engines! That makes no sense. Players should not be able to teleport or break their limbs at will. Kick off goals are still a regular occurrence. The list goes on and on.
Some of the most frustrating and recurring FIFA glitches include:
✔️ The ball changing flight paths for no reason.
✔️ Player appendages warping in order to score or let the ball in.
✔️ Attackers being able to score through their own body.
✔️ The ball incorrectly changing its movement path after interacting with a goalkeeper.
✔️ Goalkeepers being incapable of making basic saves, often losing track of the ball (example is not going down on the ball and just standing there as the attacker scores).
✔️ The AI’s insane inability to defend kick off, resulting in kick off goals being the easiest way to come back into a match.
✔️ The passing assist being way too generous, resulting in easy ping ponging despite recent patches.
The state of the gameplay results in 41212(2) being the most viable formation. A narrow formation. Most viable. In football.
Whether you want FIFA to be a sim or arcadey, it’s ridiculous that the undisputed formation in game is something that’s not common in the real sport, and something that teams struggle to play.
Counter attacking and ping pong passing have been the FIFA meta for years now, with the exception being FIFA 16 (unrealistic skilling). There was one year that had crossing be legitimately too strong, I think it was 14, but that ties into counter attacking anyway.
What is FIFA trying to emulate on the pitch? Is it creating its own brand of football? If it is, it should give the player more strategic options.
Players are fed up with the same meta and the same glitches.
The Rise of eSports and How It Affects FIFA
Part of the #FixFIFA movement is about how the majority of the game is neglected due to FUT, and the fact that there are many problems with the Weekend League.
One thing I don’t get- each major part of FIFA is worked on by a separate team. EA has insane money. Shouldn’t we see big updates every year to every mode?
Why has career mode been stagnant for years? Why is the gameplay in The Journey just some virtual pro gameplay retooled? Why do non FUT modes get no love at all?
I get that FUT is a cash cow, but this is demonstrating that FUT might as well be its own thing. I wouldn’t be shocked if FUT one day is its own video game, and FIFA is something else.
Anyway, EA has been pushing to make FIFA a big competitive eSport. This isn’t new, FIFA has always had a competitive scene but EA are trying to hook more people into it.
But the competitive scene is tied to a game mode designed to get the most money out of you. And for many people, the servers change on an hourly basis. If you aren’t in Central and Northwest Europe, your gameplay changes often. EA even matches people from Toronto (me) to people from Brazil. That distance is similar to Toronto to the UK. That’s madness.
So you have a horrible gameplay environment for thousands (if not more) people + eSports tied to who can spend the most money and still be decent + a T100 scene that exploits matchmaking.
Go watch T100 streams or check out their replays from the T100 leaderboards and Champions channel. Almost no top player plays away matches. As a result, they never meet each other. They noob slay. And for some reason, matchmaking will often give them Gold 1 and silver players.
So how exactly does this breed a fair playing ground in any way? Don’t forget to factor in the gameplay problems.
At its core, the #FixFIFA movement wants good gameplay. You can’t have that with insane delay, game changing glitches, and an exploitative progression system.
Of course, no one is foooooooorcing you to buy packs. It’s your choice. But is the game designed in a way to encourage pack buying behavior? Yep.
Is the game designed in a way to exploit those who might be prone to addictive tendencies? Hmm…
Myth: EA Doesn’t Listen | Fact: They Do
EA listens to you.
And you and you and you.
EA is listening to everyone at all times. It’s what big companies do. I work in digital marketing, I know how much user data you can collect on anyone. It’s easy and outrageous. And keep in mind that the game tracks everything you do anyway.
a post by someone in PR that explains EA’s “silent” strategy in more detail. This is one of the many ways big companies survive backlash.
In fact, EA is so in touch, that they once told me not to post a glitch video I was going to do. It was game breaking and I was going to post how to not be ruined by it, but instead they made it very clear that it’s a risk to post that and that it’s a violation of the terms of service since technically it would show you what the glitch is. Same thing has happened to some other content creators.
We’ve had EA devs tweet out threads of mine in the past.
We’ve had EA devs literally tweet that they read Reddit and other communities.
So they’re listening. Every day. The devs are powerless to comment, because they can lose their jobs if they do. The marketing and social media teams collect as much data as possible, because it’s their job to do so.
That’s why this #FixFIFA thing could be so great. Never has the community been so united. Never has the community been so vocal in their critique, without resorting to vitriol. Yes we still have some bad apples, but now’s the chance to unite under a banner and try to make a change.
Someone here has to be the bigger person, but it’s not going to be an entry level social media guy or girl making $42,000 a year at EA. It’s going to be the community and the key decision makers at EA.
Something Most People Missed About The Battlefront II Debacle
EA didn’t actually fix the problems people have with the game. They just turned off microtransactions.
A lot of games now launch without them to avoid backlash and to help inflate review scores, but bring them in later. This isn’t new. The new Call of Duty even does it.
It’s a hugely unethical practice, just like when Konami patched Metal Gear Solid V to be way more of a grind in order to encourage microtransactions. Insane stuff.
You have to remember that the business people running EA and all these companies are in it to make massive profit. You can’t really fault them for wanting to get rich, but you can definitely fault them if they’re doing it by ruining something good or by exploiting people.
This business practice is disgusting. It’s as bad as the fact that AAA gaming is becoming more casino like. But like I said before, now is the chance to make a difference, while the community at large still cares, and while EA’s stock is taking a hit from the Battlefront II situation.
What FixFIFA Actually Wants
✔️ Fix the truly game breaking glitches that have plagued FIFA for years, ranging from broken collisions to kick off goals. We know you’ve seen them all. If you need a refresher, go to that thread I linked earlier or just Google “EAids.”
✔️ Fix the stability of the game’s servers, give as many people as possible the best gameplay possible. Yes networking is insanely difficult, especially with crappy WiFi, but the fact that you can have a gigabit connection and never see 5 bars is not okay.
✔️ Communicate with the community through key figures, whether “influencers” or designated community managers. They will take a lot of abuse but that’s part of the job. Hire someone who can take that in their stride and be a professional.
✔️ Write detailed patch notes like Valve. There have been instances in which the community discovered that patches changed things other than what was listed.
✔️ Create a skill driven matchmaking system (maybe look to games like LoL or HOTS for inspiration?) and force everyone to not know whether they’re home or away when playing competitive modes.
✔️ Extend the Weekend League to the “week league” or come up with better ranking and ladder system that doesn’t literally take away weekend from players.
✔️ Publish pack odds. We know this is unrealistic but with China already making a law about this, you can bet that we’ll see something like this soon in other parts of the world as well.
✔️ Redesign FUT or aspects of it in order to make the progression more realistic.
✔️ Upgrade other parts of the game in meaningful ways. Negotiation cutscenes aren’t that. Part of why FUT is #1 is because of its design. If other modes saw some love, you might see them played more often.
✔️ Make camera settings consistent on stadiums, or force competitive modes in 1 stadium.
✔️ And for the love of god, make sure the ref isn’t wearing the same colored kit as one of the teams playing.
No one reasonable expects all of these changes done in a day. But we need to see progress.
The Ugly Solution
If EA is going to continue to make FUT more about the money, the player base will drop off. The business decision makers will then look at new ways of getting more players and building good will. You can let this process happen naturally (all franchises go through cycles) over the next however many years it takes.
Or you can be more active. The thing is, in order to have your voice actually heard, you have to stop playing the game. By not engaging with it and by not buying packs, you’re communicating everything I just wrote in a business manner, to the people that are looking at the numbers and making decisions.
So the question becomes, are there enough people here and in other communities that will legitimately stop playing for a period of time in protest to make a difference? Are you prepared to miss out on multiple Weekend Leagues? Are you prepared to to stop buying packs? If you are, let it be known in the comments. Perhaps FIFA blackout protests are required to be heard, I don’t know for sure. This might be something we do in the future.
Also I’m here to call out bullshit YouTubers. I get that many of the big wigs literally make money because of FIFA, so it would be absolutely stupid for them to riot against EA.
But if you’re respectful in your critique and offer actual constructive points, you won’t be in any “trouble.” If you actually care about the game and the community, you’ll speak up respectfully.
You’ll see that this is an opportunity to fix so many mistakes that have plagued the community side and EA’s side. You have to put aside your fragile YouTuber ego.
You guys have played a huge role in what this community is with everything from fake pack openings to spending tens of thousands of dollars to give unrealistic expectations (and even lying about good custom tactics!). You’re part of the problem. You’re the reason everyone has to type in all caps to get noticed on there. The FIFA online audience skews young, and you rub off on the playerbase.
This is your chance to to build something greater and still make as much money as you already do. Hell, you’ll make more money long term by building fans that don’t age out and realize your catchphrases were never cool.
All you have to do is stop pretending EA is the greatest thing ever, and stop pretending FIFA is perfect. If you see a glitch or something broken, speak up!
Same goes for pro players that are popular. I can’t fault them too much for only playing home games because we’d all do it if we were that good to begin with, but if you’re so worried about your precious skill you’re going to get exposed eventually anyway. Plenty of pros have been shown over the years to simply not be as good as their videos and leaderboards suggest they are. Some “influencers” in the community have even admitted to paying other people to play for them.
We Must Stop The Toxicity
As long as we’re collectively a bunch of cunts complaining about momentum and buying packs EA won’t care.
We can’t just go out and harass developers or make shitty memes about the state of the game. That gets us nowhere. That makes EA see us as crying babies.
If you have actual feedback, you must present it in a respectful and constructive fashion. If you see a glitch you can’t say “FUCK EA BULLSHIT AIDS OMGZZZZ,” it’s better to tag a dev on Twitter or post here and say something like “Here’s this ball path glitch I found, I hope this gets patched soon.”
Again, this goes back to the YouTubers. They often breed a culture immaturity and instant gratification. Hell, some of them use homophobic slurs and still appear on EA programming…
If EA isn’t going to be a difference maker, the onus falls on the community. Someone has to be the “bigger person” here.
Final Message To EA
We know you’re reading this. We know devs want to make the best game they can and that business decisions are out of your control.
You are going to see people drop off your game at some point in the future as you burn out your fans financially and psychologically. And by then it’ll be too late to change, and you’ll have to go through the cycle again. What you’re doing now is not a long term strategy.
Fix the game’s issues and be more transparent with us. In return, you’ll have a healthy relationship with the community and make way more money long term. Everyone wins.
Consider redesigning FUT before you burn out your players. Consider microtransactions that are primarily based on vanity items instead of gameplay.
Also, if anyone reading this (community or EA) wants to see my big ass redesign document, let me know. I can make it a bit more readable and publish it. I’m not worried about my “ideas being stolen,” everyone has a bunch of ideas and plus it’s not like EA is trying to hire me or anything.
I just want a great game and a fun community. That’s the main reason why I got into FIFA and content creation.