There’s no bigger mode in sports gaming than FIFA 18’s Ultimate Team, but its reputation as a cash cow for EA is misleading. Yes, it does make the publisher millions from those who deign to spend money on packs, yet it’s far from the only way to prosper. Savvier players can score lots of in-game coins with a shrewd understanding of Squad Building Challenges, as explained here; and the free web app also helps provide an edge on those who play by console only. How and why is outlined below.
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1. Know the basics
The web app is available, free of charge, to all those playing FIFA 18 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Find it here. A few elements of the main game are missing – such as actual matches, obviously, and the option to view leaderboards – but most of the options in FUT proper are also available on the app. You can buy packs using in-game coins or FIFA points, although points themselves can’t be purchased through the app; sort through all your players, staff, club items, and consumables; and do plenty more advanced stuff, which is what we’ll go through over the next few points.
2. Sign in daily for freebies
One of the app’s best features is that every so often EA will give you complimentary goodies just for using it. For instance, at the time of writing this piece in mid-September, you’re treated to a different prize each day when you sign in. Over the past week I’ve had them range from a mixed contract pack (a bit rubbish), to a bronze pack (decent for those long-haul SBC plans), to 1000 coins (very useful). Similar freebie guarantees can be expected in the lead-up to Christmas, and at the back end of the season to coincide with Team Of The Year items.
3. Manage transfer targets
Whether it’s to slowly build the team of your dreams or simply buy the last few players required for a Squad Building Challenge, the app makes it far easier to track targets than either console. For instance, click on a player, then Compare Price, and you’ll see all available cards and their cost in list form; rather than having to cycle through cards one-by-one like in the main game. Tracking active bids is also more user-friendly, with Active Bids, Watched Items, Won Items and Expired Items all visible on a single screen.
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4. Keep your transfer list refreshed
A critical element of making coins, again covered in more detail in GR+’s extensive guide, is listing items for an hour – and then re-listing them as soon as possible if they don’t sell. However, it’s unlikely you’ll be busting your PS4 out to do that on the bus home from college, or during a busy day at work. Which is where the app comes in handy. Clicking through to Transfers > Transfer List > Relist All takes less than five seconds, and means you can stay on top of your outgoing deals throughout the day without the boss knowing. If you are the boss, well, sorry not sorry.
5. Completing SBCs
A common frustration with the FIFA 17 app was that, in the first year of Squad Building Challenges, there was no option to complete them when away from the game proper. This year, that’s rectified. Hit the ‘SBC’ button in the left-hand menu to bring up every such challenge in the game. Those you’ve already completed are in blue, those you haven’t in white. From this hub you can see the specifications for each individual challenge, and submit them once you’ve matched those requirements; although experimenting with the cards required is a touch more cumbersome than using the in-game equivalent. It’s one of the few areas where the console layout is superior.
6. Tracking objectives
A smart new feature within FIFA 18 which has gone largely unmentioned in reviews is the inclusion of Daily and Weekly Objectives. As it says on the tin, these are tasks which update regularly and pay out rewards upon completion – a silver gift pack (four cards) for scoring two goals with players from the Bundesliga, for instance. While in-match objectives inevitably must be completed in FIFA 18 proper, many others – such as buying a player, applying a fitness consumable, or extending a player’s contract – can be done in the app. Again, it’s worth checking in daily and doing them ASAP to maximise rewards.
7. Assessing Teams Of The Week
Saved enough cash to afford some elite cards? Then you can use the app to view the current Team Of The Week, and cycle through past TOTWs and other limited-edition squads, such as the One To Watch XI. Sadly you can’t use the app to immediately boast about your purchase of 86-rated, in-form Lukaku – but isn’t that what Facebook and Twitter were invented for?