A close look at the engine upgrade

From Hattrick
Hattrick.png This is an official Hattrick Editorial originally published in 2010-03-19 10:45:00.

Lets kick the weekend off with some interesting reading! Here are the full details of the match engine upgrade next season.

For those of you who just want to get a simplified version, there’s also a short summary published on editorial space.

I have to say it feels really great to launch one of the biggest updates in Hattrick ever. What feels even better is the aim of this change; to increase the tactical options by creating a better balance between different formations and team parts. In this text I will stick to the details and the logic behind the changes.

For those of you who aren’t interested in reading the lengthy descriptions, there’s a shorter editorial for you. And for those of you who forgot about our motives and intentions with this change, please read the earlier editorial about this upgrade (published Feb 24th 2010).

Contribution for central players (inners, central defenders and forwards)

There will be a new principle for how players in a central position contribute.

  • When a sole player plays in a central position he will contribute 100%.
  • When two players play in a central position they will both lose a bit of their contribution
  • When three players play in a central position they will all lose some more of their contribution.

The logic behind this is that as soon as more than one player plays in the same area, they start to rely on each other and aren’t able to contribute with their whole capacity. As they share the same space on the pitch, it also means all of them are affected by this contribution loss and not just one of them – just like in real life football.

This contribution loss still affects players’ whole contribution to the team ratings (and not only the primary skill), just as the current loss for ‘repositioned players’.

To summarize: A sole player in a central position contributes to 100%. Using two players means a contribution loss (affecting both), and using three means a bigger loss (affecting all three).

Size of the loss is not identical for all sectors

The principle for the contribution loss is the same for all central team sectors, but the size of them differs. The loss for inner midfielders is around twice that of defenders. For forwards it’s roughly in the middle of those two.

While at this it’s also worth mentioning that central defenders and forwards - not inners - will get a boost. This boost amounts to the contribution loss two players get, which means using two forwards or defenders will be just as good as in the past. More about this in the player contribution changes below.

Different loss for different central positions is needed to get a better balance. For example, the inner midfield is more powerful than the two other central sectors today, so if the loss for three inners isn’t bigger than for other sectors there wouldn’t be enough incentives to use a winger instead of a third inner for example.

Note that all this contribution loss does not affect set pieces (direct and indirect) or the team’s tactical skill.

To summarize: The size of the contribution loss is bigger for inners than for forwards, and bigger for forwards than for defenders. You should also know that the loss still affects players’ whole contribution to the team ratings.

Promoting wider and more balanced squads

There is however one side-effect of this contribution principle you should pay notice to: An awful central player may make your ratings worse if his team mates in the same area are a lot better.

This is because the “contribution penalty” now affects all players in that area. This means the added contribution from the second or third player has to be bigger than the penalty in order to improve things. This is not something you should fear: if you use two titanic midfielders the third one will have to be at a level even teams in div X wouldn’t field that often to penalise you – so scenarios like that are rare.

This is also quite logical and realistic. For example If I lined up in midfield with Iniesta and Xavi in Barcelona, I would probably mess things up rather than making things better, even though I consider myself a quite decent football player. In fact, I actually think they would tell to me hide behind the corner flag. ;)

Even though this will happen rarely, it makes it more important to have a wider and balanced squad - and that your substitutes are good enough.

To summarize: Make sure your central players don’t differ very much in strength and that your substitutes are good enough. A terrible central player may make your ratings worse if his teammates in the same area are much better.

Formation experience

You will be able to get formation experience in 5-5-0, 5-2-3 and 2-5-3, and 4-4-2 will be treated just like any other formation. Extreme formations (more than 3 central defenders/inners/forwards, like 7-3-0 or 4-6-0) will no longer be possible. This means that you never risk losing training due to extreme formations anymore.

You will also be able to push the formation experience level a few levels beyond excellent (the current maximum). Your team will not play any better if you do, but it can be used as a buffer zone in order to keep a good level for many formations at the same time.

Formation experience level will start at poor for the new formations. For 4-4-2 it will start at excellent.

To summarize: You can get formation experience for three new formations, and 4-4-2 will be treated as any other formation. It will also be easier for your team to maintain experience, thanks to a buffer zone beyond excellent.

Confusion

Formation experience will matter more and team experience less (although still important) when it comes to the risk for confusion on the pitch. In particular, high team experience will no longer be a guarantee for avoiding confusion.

The risk of getting confused rises the lower your formation experience (and team experience) level is. Moreover, how confused your players will be after confusion also depends on the formation experience level. The lower your formation experience level is, the more confused your players will be.

If your players get confused it affects all the team ratings, and the confusion effect stays for the rest of the match. Your coach may however improve the situation in half-time and before extra-time.

To summarize: Formation experience will matter more when it comes to confusion, and high team experience will not be a guarantee to avoid confusion. How confused your players get in case of confusion also depends on your formation experience level.

Player contribution changes

To reach our aim for better balance between different formations we also need to do some changes to player contribution in this upgrade. Some changes are also needed to keep the current relative balance between inners and other positions using the playmaking skill, so we don’t accidentally make it more important to field wingers towards middle or defensive forwards whilst inners become less powerful. Here’s the full list of changes:

Overall:

  • Central defenders and forwards get a boost. This boost amounts to the contribution loss for two central players. Note that this is not true for defensive forwards (see below).

Playmaking:

  • Wingers, central defenders and def forwards will lose some playmaking (due to the reason mentioned above).

Passing:

  • Technical def forwards will also make less use of their passing skills in the middle, but use a bit more to the sides. As the wording suggests, the loss is bigger than the gain.
  • Non-technical def forwards will contribute the same as technical ones to central attack, but not as much as technicals to the sides

Winger:

  • Wingers, wing backs and forwards (especially towards wing) will make a bit more use out their winger skill, with the exception of wing backs towards middle who will make less.

Defending:

  • Offensive and defensive wingers will use some more of their defending skill.
  • Central defenders towards wing will contribute more with their defending to the wing
  • Defensive wing backs will lose a bit of their defence in the middle.

Keeper:

  • Keepers will contribute slightly less with their keeper skill, affecting both sides and middle.

The reason for the latter two is partly to balance the sole central defender, who already is pretty strong (thanks to the keeper and defensive wing backs) and with the boost for central defenders he would get even stronger. This would in turn have made the use of two central defenders quite unattractive, or even unnecessary.

To summarize: Central defenders and forwards (not defensive ones) will get an overall boost, equal to the penalty two central players get. The passing contribution for technical def forwards will be tweaked down, and it will also shift to the sides rather than the middle. Wingers, wing backs and forwards will benefit a bit more from their winger skill. The keeper will lose a slight bit of his keeper contribution.