Rodrigo Lopes, the website’s author, has always wanted to do something while being some place near the community where he could explore more freedom of content. In this area, which will start by being a monthly thing, he’ll definitely have the opportunity to show a mostly personal vision about (not only) the game.
All the Truth About FUT Draft
I owe you guys an article, don’t I? No one’s really complained but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t love a fresh new article to read, am I right?
FIFA 16 is out and our team has been working hard to give you guides and articles of the best quality (and quantity). So hard that we almost don’t even have time to play. But you do. So what about you, how do you like it? There’s been all kinds of opinions but here’s something that’s more or less of a consensual matter: the new Draft mode, nice little addition by EA on this year’s FUT. Fun, challenging and addicting, FUT Draft came to stay. It’s been a long time since I last heard of something this unanimous. You liked it, too, didn’t you?
If you’ve read my previous articles (if you haven’t, you should have!), you know by now that I’m a bit against it. So I was kind of expecting you to answer my last question with ‘yeah!’. “Good, this way I’ve got something to write about”, I thought to myself. So yeah, FUT Draft is an innovative and fun new feature, but not everything is as good as it seems. This is what I’ll be talking about today.
FUT Draft was practically the only news for this year’s Ultimate Team. Its promotion was extraordinarily well made, overcoming even the introduction of women’s national teams. Before the game was released, you’d see FUT Draft highlighted anywhere you’d look at: at E3, Gamescom, on the demo or any kind of review. Everyone wanted to play FUT Draft. I wanted to, you wanted to, we all wanted to.
I’m not saying we all wanted to play just because EA convinced us. It’s far from that. The game is really a breath of fresh air and us apparently being able to try out players that we’d never be able to afford is a super interesting fact. I just want to show you how high are EA’s expectations for this game mode. Higher than you’d imagine. There have been in fact those inside the company recognizing that this year would be “more important than ever“. But why is it that FUT Draft is so important? Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
I was probably one of the few that didn’t get so much enthusiastic back when FUT draft was announced, also because I thought it wasn’t going to be free. Yeah, I’m a cheapskate. I was only tempted to try it out when EA actually promised we’d get our investment back even if we lost the first match. But is it really like that? Well then, EA’s marketing department tried to make it look like we’d have nothing to lose, but really we do. When we don’t get past the first phase, we receive something like two gold packs worth 5k each and one silver pack worth 2.5k, adding up less than 15k which we spent to enter FUT Draft. Lying isn’t cool, EA.
You must also be thinking right now that it would be really unlucky of you to lose your first match, right? Well, this is just maths. The chances of you winning an online match are, in theory, 50%. It’s no secret, in a game there’s only one winner. The other one loses. Which means, for someone to win four matches in a row, at least four people have lose. It could be sixteen but let’s take the fact that you can face players who are in different phases than yours. Do you wanna keep doing the maths or is it getting complicated? I’ll break it to you: in average, what is most expected is that you win only one match per participation rather than two, which is what we’re led to believe. So what’s the average reward for a situation like that? Well, you could get something like a silver pack, a gold pack and a premium gold pack. Save your time, I’ve already done the calculation: the average reward equals the participation requirement – 15 thousand coins. After all, if you stop and think for a moment EA aren’t usually that generous, right?
But you’re more stubborn than I am, you’re thinking “I’m good enough to achieve a nice win streak”. Okay, I don’t doubt you’re good, after all you’re not just another casual player. But don’t forget that the game will always try and match you with someone with a win history similar to yours, they’ll give you a lot of work. No matter how good you are, your chances are always approximately 50% in every match. Wanna go back to the maths in order to know what are the chances and how much the packs you get according to your online performance are worth? I’ll help:
- Exactly 0 Wins
Average probability of 50%
- Exactly 1 Win
Average probability of 25%
- Exactly 2 Wins
Average probability of 12,5%
- Exactly 3 Wins
Average probability of 6,25%
- Exactly 4 Wins
Average probability of 6,25%
If you look at these numbers carefully, you’ll see FUT Draft can indeed be fun, but not for your wallet. And within these rewards there’s quite some variation, since if you achieve a four win streak, for example, you can either get 60k worth of packs or maybe 100k. One way or another, it is far from being a cost effective game mode. In average, a player needs to participate FUT Draft sixteen times before they win the grand prize.
‘Don’t like it, don’t play it’, you might say (fair enough). I have nothing against EA creating a game mode in which people have to invest to participate. They have all the right to do so, especially if the product is as good as it seems to be consensual. What I don’t accept is all the false advertisement revolving around it, claiming you have nothing to lose. There’s a whole marketing strategy built to make you believe in this lie, which goes from much better prizes in the beta version to reviews that go far from impartial. By the way, have you been getting many Draft Tokens in packs? No need to answer that.
But the lying doesn’t end here. For me, the main delusion is another one: participation prizes aren’t given directly in coins, but packs. It’s like my economy teacher used to say, better have the money in your pocket rather than anything else. Having the coins, you can decide what to do with them. Not the same with packs. And there’s one more thing which many people seem to forget about: you rarely get to neutralize the cost of the pack by selling its whole content on the market. In average, it’s a devaluation of around 60%. In other words, in case you don’t get past the first opponent you might lose 50% of what you spent to participate. You better be confident you’re gonna win.
Now let’s see EA’s part of the deal. Why do they wish so badly that FUT Draft does well?
In the first place because, as I’ve showed you, it’s really lucrative for the company. After all, EA are all about selling packs. With FUT Draft they’re constantly selling. Each time someone participates, whether they want it or not, they’re buying packs. You buy your participation and receive packs for prize. Guaranteed profit for EA. It reminds me of gambling houses. You win, your opponent loses, EA win. You lose, your opponent wins, EA win. Connection is lost, both lose, EA win double. Who wouldn’t want part in a deal like that?
But EA don’t live off exclusively of pack sellings. For the first time in the history of Ultimate Team, FIFA Points have another utility (other than buying packs). The FUT Draft participation payment can also be done through them. With all the expectations created around this game mode, imagine how many players out there wanted to try it out, and since they don’t have many coins yet they bought FIFA Points in order to play. Welcome to the fantastic world where wealth comes out of nowhere.
This is starting to look like an opinionated article full of irrefutable facts. It’s time to speculate a little. What if EA’s true plan goes beyond all the instant profit? In case you haven’t noticed, the company has in their hands a fantastic game, but that never works quite properly. Problems and more problems: artificial coin generation, apps that don’t last half a year, autobuyers that promote unfair concurrence, servers with insufficient capacity, coin negotiations on the parallel market, etc.
So far the strategy has been keeping everyone happy through the first weeks after the release of the game. After all without selling copies, they can’t sell FIFA Points later. The apps are functioning, price ranges are wide and promote the idea that much has been done so that previous problems don’t repeat themselves. But not really. A few months past, after the hottest FIFA Point seasons (Christmas and TOTY) end, they start blaming the coin sellers and autobuyers when things go back to how they were. The apps are shut down, price ranges are shortened until every possibility of trading dies and they start promoting the next FIFA. However, EA know that this strategy won’t last forever, and only by definitively shutting down the market they can give the game the security it needs. This is where FUT Draft comes in. If FUT Draft achieves global acceptance, the company will be able to promote it as the main Ultimate Team game mode and basically live off of it. Imagine, for example, a FUT Draft in which you could save the cards you’d get to play with, use them conditionally in your squads; you wouldn’t be able to sell them to anyone but you’d be authorized to trade them or sell them to the game for pre-established prices in order for you to get coins to keep participating. And, of course, packs would be sold. This is just a brief preliminary idea of what all of this could have as a result. I’m sure EA could think of other better changes. After all, it’s profit we’re talking about…
I want to make clear that I’m not trying to make you quit playing FUT Draft with this article. On the contrary. Someone’s got to keep feeding EA. The purpose of this was to clarify the less transparent themes to the community. And, of course, reveal the truth within the lie early announced.
Good gaming to everyone!