It's fashionable to knock FIFA – as has been the case since the 8-Bit era – and asking fans what they'd change ahead of next year's game often elicits end-of-the-world responses. The truth of the matter is that FIFA 17 (opens in new tab) did virtual football very well indeed, but constructive criticism is nonetheless justified.
That's where GR+ comes in. I've scouted official forums, fan websites and social media to piece together this hit list of the best fan suggestions and recommendations. And thankfully, the sentence 'add Robbie Savage to the commentary booth' hasn't materialised, even once. There are some things even the trolliest of trolls don't dare suggest, just in case they come true…
1. Complete career mode overhaul
Ultimate Team's brilliance has hooked gamers worldwide (and doubtless made EA a lot of money), but its dominance has overshadowed the mode which for a long time was FIFA's biggest pull. Career mode isn't bad, it just feels a touch unloved in FIFA 17. CaptainJack13, from the official EA forums (opens in new tab), has some fine ideas to fix that.
"You should be able to be the actual manager of the team for Premier League clubs," he writes. "What's the point in adding manager likenesses into the game if they just disappear if you manage that team? I'd much rather be Jurgen Klopp than some random generic manager."
"You also need to get proper reports on loaned out players," he continues. "If I loan out a player from a PL club to the Championship, I want to be able to see how they have been performing. Right now, the only way to see your loaned players' stats is to go on the squad report. This only shows stats for the competitions your club is competing in. Therefore, if a player is not playing in the same league as the parent club, you can only see their stats for cup competitions. And if they are in a different country then you can't see anything except their attributes."
On a different thread in the same forum, Gooner17 makes some smart suggestions for how the mode's authenticity can be upgraded. "Custom kits, with the option to change after each season. Also, sponsors. And badge and font changes after promotion, relegation and cup wins." The latter idea is as essential as any on this list – it's an immersion killer to get four or five seasons in to a Premier League career, only to have half your opponents sporting Championship kits.
2. Improved player depreciation
Another career mode tweak, this one merits its own heading as it affects the mode long-term more than any of the smaller tweaks mentioned above. Essentially, players in their mid-to-late '30s are prone to falling attributes from the instant you begin a new save, with some reporting Petr Cech's kicking stat dropping by 15 points in the first season alone. That clearly needs to be amended.
"Tt's fine that when players become 30+ they start decreasing in movement. That's natural, but it's [currently] a bit harsh," writes Nightfall on Operation Sports (opens in new tab). "For instance, I play as Arsenal and some players drop 10 points in pace, agility, strength, volleys and such in just one season. Basically those players are just useless. They're decreasing so fast and so heavily that it's not even realistic."
3. China and other new leagues
Yep, we're greedy. FIFA 17 packs in an impressive 35 leagues from around the world – but with Chinese clubs dropping bonkers money on imports such as former Watford striker Odion Ighalo, the addition of their Super League would bolster both career mode and Ultimate Team.
Juniorcbr, from the official FIFA forums (opens in new tab), wouldn't stop there. He'd like, "additional full leagues, such as the Ukrainian, Czech, and Greek leagues. Also, a whole lot of additional rest of the world teams from the remainder of Europe not covered. Teams such as Dinamo Zagreb, Red Star and Partizan Belgrade, Hajduk Split, Bate Borisov, Dinamo Minsk, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Metalist Kharkiv, Sparta Prague, Viktoria Plzeň, Sloven Bratislava, MŠK Žilina, Steaua and Dinamo Bucharest, CFR Cluj, Ferencvárosi, Levaki and CSKA Sofia, Ludogorets Razgrad, etc."
4. Free agents within FUT
If new leagues aren't possible, then how about free agents within FUT? The concept already exists as Xbox-exclusive legends are grouped as such. Why not expand the idea to include some faces from across the globe who don't play for featured clubs?
"[I'd love] the ability to download a player even if they play for a club not currently licensed by FIFA," writes kleiner540 on the official EA forums (opens in new tab). "Specifically, Demba Ba, who now plays out in China. He's a FIFA player but because he's [spent most of this season] on a team FIFA doesn't include in their game he is subsequently left out. I should be able to download him to Free Agents or some other newly created list."
In FIFA 16 Tim Cahill missed out on Ultimate Team completely despite being on the cover of the game in Australia, as he was contracted to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. With this switch, that type of contradiction could be avoided in future.
5. Bronze and Silver seasons
A hugely enjoyable element of FUT is building strong Silver and Bronze squads; but their use is currently limited, as only a couple of the four-game cup competitions restrict Gold players. That could be transformed with the introduction of ten-match Seasons limited to a specific card type.
"Bronze and Silver divisions would be good even if just 5 tiers," says Satch85 on the FIFA forums. Aegyr echoes him (opens in new tab), and throws a decent trading idea in for good measure: "I would personally love Bronze and Silver seasons, as most players [of those types] are kind of useless. Plus, regarding the transfer market, I would like more search filters – for example, for different special cards (think about the stupid Movember-card overload). And when searching for consumables I would like to see some filters for manager leagues and injury cards – it's stupid how you can't search for one injury only and [instead] have to cycle through all the different types of injury."