With FIFA 20’s first full weekend wrapped up, it’s time to dig into the first big Title Update (TU), live now on PC and coming soon for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
For those new to this series of Pitch Notes articles, whenever a TU for FIFA 20 drops, and it contains changes or fixes that we believe the community would benefit from additional context around, we will endeavor to deep dive into those changes so it’s clear what is changing.
We won’t be covering every single thing in TU2 here, but if you want to review the full list of changes and fixes, you can do so here – Title Update #2 Notes.
With that out of the way, lets jump right in.
- These gameplay updates are driven off the feedback that we’ve received over the past few weeks, including the feedback from the Closed Beta.
- Most of the upcoming updates have been played by members of the community, with their feedback influencing those updates where appropriate.
- We are being cautious about every change that we are making and we are focused primarily around fixing bugs, not fundamental changes to gameplay. That being said, we also want to ensure that when we have clear and consistent feedback around a topic, we are positioned to respond quickly where appropriate.
With that context in mind, let’s look at some of the changes in this Title Update.
One area of focus for the team in this TU was on goalkeepers, with a number of the change and fixes for them. There are two main improvements that we wanted to cover in this Pitch Notes.
First off, we have a change that is focused on how the keeper was handling shots that result in rebounds. The direct text from the TU notes reads:
- Goalkeepers will be more likely to push the ball further away from the net when they make a save that would result in a rebound.
With this change, combined with the other fixes for goalkeepers, covered in the TU#2 Notes, we are expecting to see less goals from rebounds, with the keeper trying to push the ball away from the net more often instead of seeing the ball directed into a spot where an attacker could easily score a rebound goal from.
Secondly, we have a change that is focused on penalties, and the range by which a keeper will react, and attempt to save the ball, when they are standing in the middle of the net, which is this change in the TU notes:
- In a penalty kick situation we have Increased the range that a goalkeeper will react to the ball, and attempt to make a save, when they are standing still in the middle of the net.
- This will result in goalkeepers being more likely to react and make saves to shots that are placed close to where they are standing when they are standing in the middle of the net.
The difference this change will make is easily understood through visuals, so here is a pair of images, before and after TU#2, that show the change.
Above is a penalty kick from before TU#2. Note the yellow zone surrounding the goalkeeper, it’s their potential save range if they stood still at the center of the goal. So if the keeper stood still during this penalty kick with no other inputs, they would only save if the ball if it went into the yellow zone.
The yellow zone has been increased in TU#2. This means that the goalkeeper’s reach has been extended when standing still in the middle of the net during a penalty kick.
The updates in this TU are the first wave of changes to goalkeepers, but as we are continuing to focus on this area, you can expect that future Title Updates will contain additional updates to goalkeepers.
The dribbling change in this TU is all about making those players with high-end dribbling related Attributes as responsive when they have the ball as possible, with the most benefit to this change coming when changing directions while dribbling the ball. Here is the change from the TU notes:
- Improved the responsiveness of dribbling, when not using any dribbling modifiers or skill moves, for players that have an average rating of 80 or higher between the Attributes of Dribbling, Agility and Balance.
- The effectiveness of this improvement will scale based on the average rating with the least improvement being felt at 80 and the most improvement at 99.
- This will not have an impact on players that do not have an average rating of exactly 80 or higher between the Attributes of Dribbling, Agility and Balance.
So, to review, this means that when you are playing with a player that has an average rating of 80 or higher between those three Attributes (Dribbling/Agility/Balance), you should see those players being more responsive when they have the ball at their feet. As mentioned, this will not have an effect when you are using any dribbling modifiers, such as when Strafe Dribbling or when doing Skill Moves, but will be in effect when just dribbling using the basic Move Player controls, including when the player is sprinting.
For FUT, the Attribute changes from Chemistry will impact this, either with players that normally wouldn’t qualify being able to qualify due to Chemistry boosts, or vice-versa, with players not qualifying as a result of the reductions to their Attributes due to poor Chemistry.
The impact of this improvement scales, in an equal and linear manner, based on the average of those three attributes, starting at an average of 80, and running up to an average of 99.
Also important to understand, there is no ‘rounding up’ present in this formula, so if the average of the Attributes in question was 79.97, it would not be rounded up to 80.
The best way to really understand this change is actually through feel when playing the game, as you should notice the difference when you are in control of players that are impacted by this versus controlling players that are not.
Inline with our goal in FIFA 20 to make manual defending the most rewarding way to defend, we have made some changes to reduce the effectiveness of Contain and Secondary Contain.
The first change impacts both Contain and Secondary Contain.
- Players that are being controlled by Contain or Secondary Contain will no longer sprint to catch up to the player they are trying to chase.
This functions exactly as stated in the TU#2 notes, those players that are being controlled through the Contain or Secondary Contain functions will no longer be able to sprint as part of their defensive coverage. Note that this behavior happened rarely and only when the defending player was chasing the attacker.
The second change only impacts Contain, but that is because Secondary Contain already worked this way.
- Players that are being controlled by Contain will now take longer to react to the ball carrier’s movements.
Here’s what this looks like in action, with Eden Hazard as the blue player controlling the ball, and the red player trying to cover him using Contain. The top video is how this would have looked prior to the changes in TU#2, while the lower video shows how it looks with TU#2.
Note how Eden Hazard is able to generate more space for himself in the “After TU #2” clip because the Containing defender takes longer to react to Hazard.
LOW DRIVEN SHOTS
The TU contains a fix for Low Driven shots, as detailed in the TU notes:
- Low Driven Shots were being impacted by more error than other types of shots when being taken in easy shooting situations, such as when there is low defensive pressure or where the player is well balanced and in control of the ball.
To show the impact of this fix, here are some visual examples, from our gameplay testbed, of a Low Driven Shot in a low pressure situation, both before and after TU#2.
In the above image we have Eden Hazard’s taking the exact same uncontested Low Driven Shot 100 times. The blue lines are shots on target, which may or may not be saved by the keeper, and the dark red lines are showing off target ones. As you can see before TU#2, the spray of these shots is quite wide. Now let’s look at what happens after TU#2 is applied.
Here we have Eden Hazard once again attempting the exact same shot, 100 times. Note how there’s now a much tighter spread of shot results.
To be clear, this was a fix to an issue that was impacting Low Driven shots, and after TU#2, they are now functioning as expected.
The only change to passing in this TU is focused on the Lofted Ground Pass and Lofted Through Pass, as covered in the TU notes:
- Reduced the effectiveness of Lofted Ground Passes and Lofted Through Passes by increasing the amount of error present when making these passes.
The Lofted Ground Pass and Lofted Through Pass are new additions to FIFA 20. In order to perform these passes, you simply double-tap the Pass or Through Pass buttons, and this will perform the appropriate pass, but with some additional height, making them harder to intercept by defenders.
In playtesting the launch version of FIFA 20, we found that these new passes were offering too significant of a benefit without any increase in risk, as they were being impacted by error at around the same levels as the non-lofted versions of the same passes. As such, we have increased the amount of error that impacts these passes.
Let’s look at a couple different examples.
First, we have an easy passing situation, with no defenders near either the passer or the receiver.
Above we have Eden Hazard attempting 100 Lofted Ground Passes to his teammate. Despite it being an inherently more difficult pass to make, prior to TU#2 the spread of the pass is very tight..
Now let’s see the same pass with TU#2 in effect.
Same as the first image, we have Eden Hazard taking 100 Lofted Ground Passes. Note that the spread of the pass has been increased in TU #2. The pass is still pretty accurate because both players are open and uncontested, but it’s going to be trickier for the receiver to trap the ball or attempt a first time shot or pass.
Now let’s take a look at Lofted Passing in a more difficult scenario.
Here we once again have Eden Hazard attempting 100 Lofted Ground Passes before TU#2, but in this scenario both Hazard and the receiver have a defender near them. In this situation the pass might be more difficult to control than a regular one, but it’s still very accurate.
With TU#2 enabled, note the much wider spread of the Lofted Ground Pass here. Hazard can still try to attempt this pass under pressure from the defender, but there’s much more risk involved due to the varied trajectory of the ball.
We will continue to monitor these new passes to ensure that they offer a reasonable mix of risk vs reward.
GAMEPLAY (VOLTA FOOTBALL)
This TU contains a few changes that are specific to VOLTA FOOTBALL gameplay, one of which we want to focus on.
This change is focused on long distance shooting in VOLTA FOOTBALL:
- Long distance shots taken from the shooter’s side of the pitch will now be impacted by more error.
In a nutshell, when combined with the VOLTA FOOTBALL gameplay changes that were made to keepers (covered in the TU#2 Notes), we were seeing that blasting shots from your own side of half was a more effective way of scoring than we had intended, so we have increased the amount of error present in these shots.
Let’s once again return to the testbed to visualize this change.
Here’s a simulation of Eden Hazard taking 100 long distance shots in a VOLTA FOOTBALL 3v3 Rush match prior to TU#2. As a reminder, blue lines mean the shot is on target, while red lines are not. Note that even the off target shots are relatively close to the goal, making these long distance shots quite effective.
After TU#2, while it is still possible to get a shot on target from long distances, the spread of results is much wider, making the risk/reward of taking a long distance shot a tougher decision than before.
FIFA ULTIMATE TEAM (FUT)
In addition to a number of fixes, the focus in this TU for FUT was on making some optimizations and improvements to the new Squad Screen UI.
When we did the redesign of the Squad screen, we had goals to unite the Club, Squad, and Transfer Market functionality into the Squad screen, and simplify concepts that may have been challenging for some of our players. Our intent was always to maintain many of the ‘power’ flows for our veteran players, but through Closed Beta and during Early Access we heard feedback from players that these flows were not as efficient in some cases. As a result, we have made a variety of changes.
First, let’s cover the changes that are being made to Multi-Swap functionality, which is where you can, while on the Club tab, cycle through all the positions in your squad to make multiple changes without having to go back to the Squad tab.
- Improved the discoverability of, and added new functionality to, Multi-Swap in the Squad Screen and Squad Building Challenge Screen.
- When on the Club tab of the Squad Screen, players can now turn on Multi-Swap regardless of how the player entered the tab.
- When Multi-Swap is active, players will be able to cycle through the positions in their squad, including the subs and reserves, enabling the ability to swap Player Items in all positions without leaving the Club tab.
- The mini-map image on the screen shows which position you are currently selecting, and now also includes subs and reserves.
- When highlighting a specific position in the squad, there is an option to refresh the search results to update based on the currently selected position.
Previously, you could only engage the Multi-Swap functionality if you entered the Club tab without having specifically selected a position in your squad prior to tabbing over. Now, you can engage that functionality regardless of how you entered the tab by pressing the Options button on a PlayStation 4 controller and the Menu button on an Xbox One controller.
In addition, when Multi-Swap is active, you can quickly refresh the search results, relative to the newly highlighted position, by once again pressing the Options button on a PlayStation 4 controller and the Menu button on an Xbox One controller.
Here is a video of some of the new functionality in action, which we believe will speed up the process for managing your squad and for engaging in Squad Building Challenges (SBCs).
The player changes to the Club tab and than engages the Multi-Swap functionality. They then proceed to change to the RM position in their squad, refresh the search results to find appropriate players, and than they do the same for the LM position before returning to the Squad tab.
Next we have a change to how you move players from the Club tab into your squad when you are not trying to focus on a specific position within your squad.
- Adjustments to Player Item swapping functionality on the Club tab.
- When changing to the Club tab, without having specifically selected a position on your squad first, it will no longer assume that you want to swap players for a specific position.
- When you select a Player Item on the Club tab, it will not automatically send that player to your squad, instead you will need to manually change back to the Squad tab.
- Once you have done this, you will be able to specifically select a position on your squad that you want to place or swap that Player Item into.
With this change, if you move over to the Squad tab without specifically selecting a spot on your squad beforehand, you will now be able to browse your Club and select a player without them automatically being dropped into your squad. You will now be able to select a player, move back over to the Squad tab and decide where you want to put that player.
Here is another quick clip of that new flow in action.
The player changes over to the Club tab, without having selected a specific position, and they search their club for a Player Item that they want to put into their squad. Once selected, they return to the Squad tab, after which they are able to select the specific position they want to put the Player Item in.
Lastly, we have a pretty self explanatory change, but one that we think will reduce some of the back and forth between the Squad and Club tabs.
- Backing out of Player Search while on the Club tab of the Squad screen will no longer take players to the Squad tab and will instead keep them on the Club tab.