Saturday, July 19, 2008

Playing football online

A note my American readers: This post is about online versions of what Europeans call football, which differs from American football in that it is actually played with the feet only. You might know it under the name of "soccer".

I'm in the last week of my holidays, and when I wasn't going out or doing other holiday stuff, I basically spent most of my computer time playing the beta of Football Manager Live. FML is organized in seasons taking about one real-world month each. And I just started less than a month ago, so for the first time I'm experiencing the end of a season. And it's exciting! I'm currently 4th in my division, so I'll probably make the playoffs, and get a chance for promotion to the premiership of the "early evening football association" I'm in.

The other exciting thing about the end of season is that the contracts of many players run out. You can only auto-extend the contracts of 5 of your players, for the others you'll have to bid against any other manager. As there is still too much money in the economy, some rich managers bid very high wages, up to 50k per day for world class players. But I bid much lower amounts for good, not-quite-world-class players, and got some good improvements and reserves on the cheap.

But as I mentioned before, playing a football manager in an online game isn't for everybody. It's great for strategists like me, but boring for people who want a bit more action. But one of my readers wrote me and alerted me to another online football game coming out soon: Football Superstars. Here you don't play a football manager, but a football player. The games are actual 11 vs. 11 "PvP" matches, with only the goalkeepers being AI controlled, the other 10 players on each side are controlled by humans. The game is download for free, play for free, probably with microtransactions for fancy outfits somewhere thrown in. Because when you aren't playing a match, you can hang out in bars or the gym, and chat with the other players, everything is 3D. Not for me, I prefer the text and 2D matches of FML, but I must admit that Football Superstars looks better. But then I guess most matches are pickup group vs. pickup group, as it will be hard to form fixed teams and get everyone together every night to play your leagues. I wonder how the teams will be managed, maybe they need a football manager after all. :)

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