6. Separate settings for online and offline matches
Competitive matches online can become wearisome as you rise up the ranks, with many elite players reliant on ping-pong passing and Olympian speed up front. That means concessions have to be made with the game engine to make it suitable for all, and a knock-on effect is that – in the opinion of many – offline matches become stilted and one-dimensional. JoshC1977 from Operation Sports proposes a neat means of resolving this.
"[EA should implement] separate settings and sliders between online and offline," he writes. "Don't mix the two. Tweaks made to make online more arcade-like should have no bearing on offline manager modes. Make the online gameplay settings server-based, and offline driven from the original game and patch updates. The wants/desires of the two camps are totally incompatible. This is the biggest issue facing all sports games, not just EA ones. An offline user shouldn't have a 'sim' experience modified because people online choose to play a vastly different [style of] game."
7. Specific kits and badges for each Ultimate Team squad
Love this idea, from TVchot on the official FIFA forums. At present, you can only have one badge, one home strip and one away strip assigned to all your FUT squads – and chopping and changing between Seasons or tournaments can be a faff. Here's his simple solution: "Would be good to have a separate kit and stadium per squad. For example, if I have an Italian squad, I would like to default an Italian kit and stadium. If I have a separate Brazilian squad, would like a separate Brazilian kit and stadium linked to this alternate squad, without having to change each time."
8. Improved set pieces
No brainer. The option of who to send up for corners must surely come sometime soon. And there's one FIFA 17 change which categorically was not for the better…
@BenjiWilson I think we can all agree the penalties are awfulMarch 11, 2017
9. Co-op friendlies
Via Operation Sports, forumite Stevosl points out a bizarre design quirk which one would think could be easily rectified. "It's ridiculous that co-op friendlies are not an option in the game, when you can already do co-op Seasons," he writes. "There is no way to have a co-op FIFA league because of this. Imagine how much fun a co-op FIFA league would be. Co-op seasons is probably one of the most underrated online modes in FIFA – it's great – but they shouldn't just limit it to Seasons."
"You should be able to play 2 v 2 online with 4 friends as often you want and anytime you want. I have 8 friends who I play Clubs with but we also want to play co-op 2 v 2 vs each other and it's such a hassle getting that to work in FIFA co-op Seasons. Plus it will only let you play same co-op team twice to try to keep you from abusing records."
10. Indoor mode
An indoor mode has become something of an annual request here at GamesRadar+ – but there's plenty of clamour for its return in the wilds of the internet, too, two decades after it was axed following FIFA 98. "How fun would an exhibition match indoors be?" asks EA forum poster kleiner540, rhetorically. "Do it right too. Indoor shoe selection from catalogue, loud heavy atmosphere, maybe a soundtrack played behind the game – think back to FIFA Street a little bit."
"I would kill for an MASL style indoor experience in next years game," echoes Operation Sports' brushbackpitch. "The indoor game is so unique it would provide many more hours of fun than just trying to collect cards." MASL stands for Major Arena Soccer League, with 17 teams across the United States. Little doubt EA could afford the license should it want it, and doing so would further expand in-game match types after the addition of women's international sides in FIFA 16.
11. Stadium packs
With Ultimate Team serving as one of the most lucrative micro-transaction services in all of gaming, it'd be dangerous to suggest that what FIFA needs is even more paid-for DLC. But as a stickler for authenticity throughout sports games, I can't resist finishing on an idea from EA Sports forum poster Gooner17, which would give players the option of even more detail in the game – and, at least theoretically, afford the devs additional time with which to deliver it.
"[I'd love] stadium packs," he writes. "EA could create authentic stadiums throughout the year and give players chances to buy them in the store as league specific expansion packs: e.g. Championship, Ligue 1, Calcio A." A heated Devon derby between Exeter and Plymouth at a noisy virtual Home Park? Sounds brill. I've set aside 79p for the PSN piggy bank, and pre-ordered a gargantuan October pasty delivery, just in case.
GR+ will have plenty more coverage looking ahead to FIFA 18 during the summer. Got a feature you'd love to see added? Tweet me @BenjiWilson and I'll propose it to the dev team in due course.