Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Kyle Lafferty for NEC Bargain Basement (v Gold Coast Warriors), 1 April 2008

My names LB....and I'm an addict.

As I have written about before, I have been a fan of the Championship Manager/Football Manager franchise since, I reckon 1996. I'm a "plug and play" kind of manager - buy and sell, send your team out, hope for the best.

A few weeks ago, having absent mindedly signed up one day to the FM mailing list I was invited to be one of the few hundred participants in the Beta testing process for "Football Manager Live", the logical next progression for the FM series. I said I'd help, and I joined the "gameworld" in early February.

It is *brilliant*.

There are around 500 players worldwide in my particular "world". Whilst similar in look and idea to the offline version, there are clearly some significant differences - mainly of course that instead of playing a computer controlled side you are playing a living, breathing human somewhere in the world.

I'm not much good at it, to be fair. There are still loads of things I don't know about the game and the level of detail available is far more than I care about (I'm not all that bothered where my left back stands when defending a right wing corner, for example). The community aspect of it is brilliant, though - there is a "chat" facility during games and I have made a few online buddies in places as far afield as Holland, Ireland and Slovenia.

Making a few buddies also helps if you need to loan a player for a few days.....!!!

I also like the fact that you have to watch the game develop much more than in the offline version as people tweak their tactics - the whole experience is much more like actually being a manager and having to change formation, instructions etc as the game unfolds. For example, I've now developed two full thorough tactical formations (that took about two hours each to establish) - one which is my favourite and then a really defensive one I switch to if I am ahead with 25 minutes to go.

There have been bugs in the system and there remain some teething troubles but I can see FML being an enormous success when eventually launched. Whilst it is eating up my life like nothing has for years, I'll happily pay the subscription once launched....


Shane said...

You sell it well, but how much time do you have to put into it? And is it the case that fixtures are scheduled and you've got to be at your computer for kick-off at pre-determined times (e.g. 19:30BST Mon-Sat)?

LB said...

Ah, it eats up every last second of your waking life, mate. Heh heh heh.

No, you can schedule games with people but you basically join an FA that plays at the times you will be about (evenings, weekends etc), log on and find other people to play. There is a system, in place whereby you do end up playing some matches against an "offline" team if you are reaching competition deadlines etc.

skif said...

Another advance effort from me.

Arsenal v Liverpool, 1-1
Aston Villa v Bolton, 2-0
Blackburn v Tottenham, 2-2
Fulham v Sunderland, 1-1
Man City v Chelsea, 0-2
Newcastle v Reading, 1-0
Wigan v Birmingham, 0-0
Everton v Derby, 3-1
Middlesbrough v Man Utd, 1-0

Barnsley v Cardiff, 2-3
West Brom v Portsmouth, 2-1

Any further games, thrown me in for 1-1.