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....