Each player has 8 basic abilities, and there are also some additional factors affecting their performance in different situations. Let's have a rundown on the various abilities first :
This skill is absolutely vital for any players who use playmaking. This is most important for midfielders, especially the inner ones, but also for defensive forwards and offensive defenders. If a player does not have enough stamina, a serious drop in their playmaking contribution will be noticed, particularly in the second half of matches.
In addition to this main use, it is somewhat important for other players (see Special Event).
Every successful team needs good playmakers in the midfield, especially in the central positions. Otherwise the team won't have a lot of ball possession, which will lead to fewer scoring opportunities.
The ability to create scoring opportunities by advancing down the sides. This is obviously most useful for wingers, although wing backs also profit from it. A forward played towards the wing will also benefit a lot from this skill.
The ball is supposed to go into the net. Most important ability for forwards. Any player with good scoring skill combined with good set pieces skill can score on a long shot special event.
Goalkeepers are normally not very skilled in the other areas, but they have lots of this ability.
The scorer gets the credit, but the player giving him the decisive pass is just as important. Both forwards and midfielders, including wingers, profit from being good at this. Passing is also very important for defenders when playing Counter Attack. Passing is also used to help compute Attack on Wings and Attack in the Middle.
Inner midfielders, and forwards contribute to the central attack rating by their passing ability. Wingers played offensively, normal or defensively use their passing to contribute to side attacks. There is some debate about the contribution of passing on a winger towards middle.
The ability to stop opponent's attacks. Unconditionally the most important ability for all types of defenders. Midfielders may also put this ability to good use.
It is also relevant on all players when using the 'Pressing' tactic.
One player is appointed for set pieces. He'll take all free kicks, penalties, and in case of a penalty shoot-out, he'll take the first penalty. In all cases, lots of skill is needed in this area.
Change in abilities
The 8 abilities can all change. They may be improved by training. Young players are able to improve their abilities much more quickly than old players.
As a player reaches 27 his abilities may start decreasing. This process doesn't occur constantly, and there is no guarantee it will happen at all. Typically, very small decreases occur for players around 30, considerably larger leaps for players around 35. For some reason, these decreases in abilities always surface on Mondays. Certain skills are harder to maintain as players grow older - scoring ability is the hardest to maintain, whilst goalkeeping is the easiest.
It's very hard to maintain stamina above the level of "excellent" for a long period of time. All players just above the dividing line between "excellent" and the level under it are successively pressed downwards. There's a limit to how well the human body can perform.
What abilities really mean
The following tables will help you somewhat when you select your team. Note that it's only an approximation. Some levels of abilities following each other may mean only slight differences in performance, and vice-versa.
The state of the midfield decides how many opportunities your team will produce during a match. The other parts of the team will decide the probability of attacks leading to goals.
A normal case
|Part of team||Factors (most important first)|
|Midfield||Playmaking inner midfielders
Offensive Central Defenders
|Attack Left wing||Winger left winger
Passing left winger
Passing left inner midfielder
Winger left wing back
|Defence Left wing||Goalkeeping Goalkeeper
Defending left wing back
Defending left central defender
Defending left winger
Defending left inner midfielder
|Attack Centre||Scoring forwards
Passing inner midfielders
|Defence Centre||Goalkeeping goalkeeper|
Defending central defenders
Defending left and right wing backs
Defending inner midfielders
Defending left and right wingers
|Attack Right wing||Winger right winger|
Passing right winger
Passing right inner midfielder
Winger right wing back
|Defence Right wing||Goalkeeping goalkeeper
Defending right wing back
Defending right central defender
Defending right winger
Defending right inner midfielder
|Wing back||Offensive||More Winger, an ounce of playmaking, less Defending|
|Defensive||More Defending, less Winger|
|Centre||More Defending to the middle, less Defending to the side, less Winger|
|Central defender||Offensive||A certain amount of Midfield, less Defending|
|Towards wing||Less Defending to the middle, more Defending to the side, a certain amount of Winger|
|Winger||Offensive||More Winger, less Defending|
|Defensive||Less Winger, more Defending|
|Centre||More Midfield, less Winger, less Defending|
|Inner midfielder||Offensive||More Passing, less Defending|
|Defensive||Less Passing, more Defending|
|Towards wing||Less Midfield, more Winger|
|Forward||Defensive||A certain amount of Midfield, less Scoring|
|Towards wing||Less Scoring in the middle, more Scoring to the side, more Winger|
Players (not all of them, about half of them) have a characteristic called speciality. There are 5 different specialities available for players: Technical, Quick, Head, Powerful and Unpredictable.Every speciality, while sounding useful, has a good and bad side. A player with good technique will place his trust in his awesome control of the ball. At times he'll run rings round a big and clumsy defender. On a really waterlogged pitch, however, he'll have problems with players placing their trust in other abilities.
The specialties have impact on matches as described in the section about Special Event in Chapter 10 (The Match). In addition, they can be useful for certain tactic types.
It won't matter how good a player really is if he's not on form or is injured.
Sometimes players get injured. If this is the case, the injury, unless very slight, will put them on the treatment table for a couple of games. The risk of injuries increases as the team increases the intensity of training. (See below) Older players take longer to heal than young ones. You should also remember that the injury times stated are only estimates. A +1 injury could heal within 3 days with the assistance of doctors, but equally if your 35 year old star forward has a week-long injury, it might take him 10 or 11 days to get fit again.
Yellow and red cards
Players may get booked or sent off during games. Two bookings during a match will automatically lead to the player being sent off. Being sent off means that the player is suspended from the next competitive game. A player will also be suspended for one match after accumulating 3 bookings from competitive games during a season. Bookings from the league, cup, and qualifying games are all counted as the same. If a player has already been booked twice in league matches one season, and receives another booking in a subsequent cup match, he will be suspended from the next competitive match, regardless of whether it's a league match, cup match or qualifier.
You can check your Players List for how many bookings your players have received before a match. When a player has been suspended for one game, his bookings slate will be wiped clean. A player who has accumulated 3 bookings will have a red card symbol on the Players List, to show his suspension.
Highly aggressive players ("fiery", for instance) will be booked more often than other players. Especially if they're "not always completely honest" or lacking in experience.
The suspended players booking slate is wiped when a competitive match has been played. Also, all player slates are wiped at the end of the season. A player can't get a suspension (or get his slate wiped) from a friendly game.
Players move in and out of form, and there is not a lot that can be done about this, apart from exchanging players in bad form for those in good form. You can also make sure that players with bad form get to play in friendlies, as this increases their chance of improving their form. Every player has an attribute that shows his "current form" (the real figure at the moment) and another one that is hidden, called "background form", which shows where his form is heading. The current form is the figure applied for matches, while the background form is used by the program to compute where the player's form is heading.
Each week, during training, the current form figure (simply called form) of every player will change, moving towards the hidden background form figure. The exceptions are those players where the current form is already at the exact same figure as their background form. Current form is not changed at once to the figure of background form. Instead it moves in steps over several weeks, though the further away from background form they are the larger the steps will be.
After current form has been changed during training, there is a chance that background form is changed for each player. Every player has the same individual chance of having his background form change, and there is nothing you can do to influence this chance. In fact the only factor that decides whether or not the background form of a player is changed is a random chance. This means that the background form might change several weeks in a row for some players, but for other players it might not change at all for weeks.
However, when chance decrees that a player's background form will change, there are several factors that influence what the new background form will be. The most important one is whether or not the player has played a match during the week. If he has not his new background form will probably be lower than for those that did play. This is partly because it should not pay to have an enormous squad - if you do you will soon have a large number of discontented players not receiving proper match training and being constantly out of form. Besides, having many bench-warmers on the payroll is a bad investment. When the new background form is computed the following is taken into consideration:
- How hard you train (intensity of training)
- How good your coach is
- How many assistant coaches you use (and how many goalkeeping coaches you use for keepers)
- If a player has participated in a match during the week. This is very important!
- A random factor
Note that in Hattrick form doesn't mean form in a physical context. It's not about a player having trained well or not. This affects stamina. Rather, form reflects a combination of all other aspects making it possible for, or preventing a player, from reaching his full potential. A player may be off form due to a loss of self-confidence or not having scored any goals lately. Maybe he's got some private problems. You could also imagine debilitating physical factors such as colds or similar, not simulated by injuries. In the same way, players in good form at the moment are on a roll.
An "excellent" player in "wretched" form is usually worse off than a "passable" player in "solid" form.
The intensity of training affects form. Players in a squad with a high level of intensity at training are generally in better form than players from a squad with a lower level of training intensity. Players' form is also affected by what kind of special training you choose.
Does this seem complicated? Remember, it's just as complicated for your opponent! You don't really need to compose the perfect team to win a game. The main issue is to assign players to positions they seem most suited for, and keep an eye on their form. Substitute players in bad form with players "on a roll". Give reserves in great form a chance to prove themselves. A simple system goes a long way.