Hello and welcome back to Football Manager Ambition. As I write, it's the 1st of January, and I'll be heading out shortly to watch my beloved Sheffield Wednesday take on Birmingham. So this is going to be a quick post, but that's fine, as you'll see.
I'd like to think that anyone who has followed this blog would have felt my love for football, and the sheer pleasure I have had playing Football Manager. But that's all over. Before I explain why it's over let me tell you this:
My save is going well. Everything is going to plan according to the ambitious targets I set myself. In my save, it's 29th December 2025. I'm 7th in the league, over-performing despite some critical injuries. I'm progressing nicely in the Euro cup, I'm favoured personnel with the fans, the board are pleased, and my job status is very secure. My star striker is fit again, and I'm just about to ship out a few unwanted players so I can bring in the players that can take the club to the next level. Everything is peachy.
But the game is shit.
Simply, I'm fed up with the elements of the FM19 that are broken and the continued bugginess of the game. The player interactions and dynamics are terrible. For me, the straw that broke the donkey's back was the goalkeeper nine months into a five year contract (big wages) who was unhappy because he wanted a new contract. Note, he'd not asked for one, and had not been turned down for one, but was unhappy anyway. So I opened talks with him, and he decided he no longer wanted a new contract - he was just happy I'd come to speak to him.
That is just one example in a series of mystifyingly awful and unrealistic interactions on the game. There have been so many.
The dynamics part of the game is a joke. Players who are marked as unhappy one one screen, but are perfectly happy on the dynamics screen, or vice versa. Why?
Last time I checked, the Sports Interactive FM19 bugs forum had over 20,000 posts, with new bugs being reported daily. The game is so buggy that it is not fit for purpose; indeed, not fit for sale. Sports Interactive are milking the fans of the game. The same was true of FM18. I've played every version of the game since the CM97-98 iteration, and I've played them a lot. But FM19 has proven to be the least enjoyable.
The way to deal with bugs on the game, apparently, is to report them on the bugs forum. As I've previously written, bugs can stay "under review" on this forum for months. Months. Not only that, the SI Football Manager forums can be toxic. Don't get me wrong, there are some lovely people using the forums. But there are also trolls who get away with it because of friendly relationships with moderators. And there are a number of moderators who have such colossal arrogance that they are impossible to deal with - unless you're one of their sycophants. I mean it. Have a look for yourself at what happens when someone on the forum disagrees with a moderator, and what happens when someone replies to a moderator with "Oh, that was so helpful, thank you so much." Go see for yourself.
The toxicity of the forums, like the culture in any online forum, is driven by the actions (or inactions) of the moderators. The amount of freedom the moderators have to develop the culture is determined by how involved their employers are in policing the content of the forum - in other words the culture of the company heading it up. It doesn't take much to extrapolate from SI's willingness to release a horribly buggy game for sale, and the toxicity of the forums, that the culture at SI is not great. I repeat: they are milking the fans.
So, I've had enough. I'm not going to be party to SI's shameless profiteering on the back of a badly flawed game - however tiny my part might have been in promoting the game through my blog.
The 2017 iteration of FM was an excellent game. Apparently, there were bugs, but nothing on the scale of 2018, and I personally didn't experience any bugs at all on FM17. I thought the poor quality of FM18 was a blip, but the state of FM19 has shown that was not the case. The fans desperately need a rival product to make SI up their game. I don't know if that is likely. But I do know that when FM20 limps out, I will not buy it. It will be the first time since 1997 that I haven't rushed out and bought the new iteration the moment it was available.
Sports Interactive, you have alienated one of the oldest paying customers.
I'll probably go back and play FM17 again, just because I like playing a football game. But I won't blog about it, or talk up FM in any way, as the quality of what Sports Interactive are offering has fallen so low.
Happy New Year to you all. I wish you happiness and prosperity. I hope your teams win - as long as they don't beat SWFC.