Playing the beta, it’s clear that more established teams who’ve been playing for months will have one or two star players among them, while many sides will have players whose names are at least familiar, if not household. “It should be an achievable goal to have a big name, rather than a right,” claims Ov. “A new football club doesn’t get to sign Ronaldinho, so why should they be able to in a computer game?”
With income streams ranging from game world ranking points, federation, league and cup competitions, to pay-to-enter gamer-organised competitions and leagues, as well as individual wagers on matches and profits from transfers, managing the cash flow looks to be just as important as managing the team. But while the money matters are taking time to get right, on the pitch FML already works like a dream.
The matches have all the convincing ebb and flow and all the excitement we’ve come to expect from Football Manager, with the added bonus that the make-up of the side is all your own doing, and they’re playing in your own way. If anything, victories feel that bit more personal, and all the sweeter for some banter with the opposing manager in the chat box as you both watch the match.
For some, it’s just got too personal, however, and it seems not every gamer on the FML beta has been full of the Corinthian spirit - the words ‘Abuse Will Not Be Tolerated’ appear in red at the start of every match. “A profanity filter is going to be very important!” laughs Miles, and a few people have even been banned from the beta for crossing the line once too often. Other types of transgressions have seen some gamers discover exploits and, well, exploit them. Until they’re spotted, that is. “It’s been a bit disappointing to see some people exploit over and over again, rather than reporting it,” admits Ov. “Some people seem to think it’s funny, which is quite sad.”