Welcome to Hattrick 6
Today we are launching Hattrick 6, the biggest upgrade of Hattrick since October 2000. The new features include: National teams, which will do battle with each other, eventually fighting for the World Championships. Will some country be able to challenge Sweden in the first Hattrick World Cup this winter? Further, clubs in different countries can now also fight each other in International friendlies; a revamped series system, which allows leagues with more than 11.000 users (currently only Sweden) to expand. And finally - a whole bunch of brand new exiting match events that takes into account player specialties, the weather and more.
One of the most commonly requested features has been the ability to play friendlies against clubs from other leagues. Especially by those who belong to a small league, who sometimes have been having difficulties finding opponents for friendlies. Here's for you (oh, and all the rest as well): You can now challenge any team in any country (unless they are in the cup or already have a scheduled friendly, of course).
When you do, you will of course have to go abroad. If you are playing, say a Portuguese team, the game will be played at regular Portuguese Wednesday match time (ie 2.30 PM Central European Time CET). Already at midnight (CET) the night before the match, your team will be leaving for Portugal, and they will return by midnight (CET) the night between Wednesday and Thursday. These times (when your team is away, ie midnight to midnight CET) will apply regardless of where in the world you'll be travelling.
Since there are a lot of travel planning and ticket ordering that must be sorted out for a friendly, you cannot book International friendlies Wednesdays (CET). You will have to book it by Tuesday at latest. And when you've been abroad you cannot arrange a new friendly (not even a local) until Thursday (hey, come on - the staff needs to get back home and sleep for a few hours after a long journey, right?).
Obviously, flight tickets and hotels are expensive stuff, so you need to pay 6.000 US$ (or whatever equivalent in your own currency) for each International friendly. It costs the same regardless if you merely cross the Pyrenees from Spain to France or fly to South Korea. Friendlies withing your own country are still free though. On the other hand, International friendlies tend to attract more spectators than regular friendlies.
As a very minor change, players now get a little experience from friendlies. An International friendly gives about a fifth of the experience that a league match gives - and a friendly within your own country gives about half as much as an International friendly. Cup and qualification matches give, just as before, about twice as much as a league game, and a gamer with the National squad clearly give even more.
In Hattrick 6, just like in the real world, there are National squads fighting the squads of other countries. But in Hattrick the coach of each such National squad is elected by you! That's right, you can now become the Sven-Göran Eriksson of your entire league, if your colleagues elect you.
The World Cup takes place every second season, starting this season. The World Cup then starts about mid-season and for a couple of weeks there is one World Cup round per week (fridays). Then it speeds up, and during the last two weeks of the season, the final 5 rounds will be played, it all ending in the World Cup Final on the "winter break" Sunday (when all the club teams are resting, awaiting the new season). The way towards final play-offs contains both qualification preliminaries and series play. Seeded teams don't have to play the first few rounds and it is the rank of the National team that determines whether it is directly qualified or if they have to play the preliminaries first. Ranking is determined by previous World Cup results, but may also be affected by National friendlies or the number of active users in the league. You will get more complete information about all the aspects of the World Cup later on (during January and February).
So what happens in between World Cup seasons then? Well, that is when the Junior World Cup takes place! Each country has, apart from a National A squad, also a J20 squad where only players 20 years or younger may participate. The J20 World Cup takes place every second season, in between the World Cup seasons. The J20 lads are coached by another user, elected by the other users just like the A coach.
When there is no World Cup going on, the National teams can play friendlies, much the same way as your club does.
The National Coach is elected for 2 seasons, ending his term after each World Cup. The only exceptions are those National Coaches that will be elected this January, because since the first World Cup takes place already this season, they will only have a one season term. Elections take place during the first two weeks of the new season.
This is briefly how coaching of the National squad takes place: The coach picks players freely from those players that come from his country (they can be currently playing in any league, of course). That way, he'll get himself a troop of up to 25 players that he gets easy access to in a list similar to the list that you have of your players. The troop is semi-permanent, because the coach can add and remove players at any time, but whenever he removes a player, the team spirit falls somewhat. The purpose of that is to similate that real-world National squads don't change every week as forms goes up and down a little. Even if Beckham has a few bad weeks in his club, he'll still be showing up in the National squad, right? Anyway, using these 25 players, the National Coach will pick the lineup for each game just like you do.
Your team will be unaffected if one of your players should happen to be enrolled for the National squad. He is still a part of your team, alongside being part of the National squad. National games and club games are being played on separate days, so you can always use him. However, he does run a risk of being injured while playing with the National team, and the position he plays "counts" for training just as any other match. Anyway, all this only affects a small number of top teams who will ever get any of their players chosen for National service.
Currently, you can not see anything of the features related to National teams on the site. Not all pages are quite finished, and all the stuff pertaining to National teams does not start until a few weeks into the next season.
New series branching system
The change that has taken up most of our time, even though most of it will not be visible (hopyfully - 'cus things like that only gets visible when they don't work properly!), is the changes in the way the series branch out for each new level. Previously it's plain and simple been "4 new leagues for each league above". Final. This still applies until the 6th level, but we've added a rule that once the series level 7 is reached, it will be "1 new league for each above". Currently only Sweden has reached this level and so below the current 8192 Swedish teams in level 6 (which for spurious reasons is called "V" instead of "VI" in Sweden), we are adding a 7th level which also contains 8192 teams.
This has been a necessary change as 33.000 new teams in the lowest Swedish division would have been way beyond the capacity of our servers. Also, to limit server load, the Swedish 7th level will be played at a different time from the higher Swedish levels and so would your league, should you guys ever recruit enough Hattrick users for us to be forced to add a 7th level in your league.
Promotion from level 7 is slightly different from normally: Teams placed 1 and 2 in level 7 gets promoted automatically. There are no qualification games between levels 6 and 7.
In order for our GMs to keep pace with all the new teams suddenly added, and to have the new players arrive in some kind reasonably ordered manner, we are limiting activation of new users to 150 users per day and league. So it won't be 8200 new Swedes arriving tomorrow, it will take a couple of weeks or more before all are in and have gotten teams.
New match events
When we introduced Hattrick 5 back in the fall of 2000, we were planting the grains for the new and extended match engine that now has been allowed to grow finished. Back then we introduced specialties for some players (quick, technical unpredictable and so forth). We also gave each region a weather, and said that at some future point, these things would be taken into account in matches. That future point has now arrived!
In the past there has been a rather silly limit to how many goals there can be in a game, namely 10 goals at most. What has decided the outcome has entirely been how your team parts (midfield, right defence and so on) have performed compared to those of your opponents. Many users have also said that the midfield is way too important. There were no room for individual achievement by a single player or other exceptional events.
This system remains intact, BUT alongside of it, a new, more flexible and realistic system has been added. Most of your goals will still be caused by dominating a particular section of the field. This ensures that the team you have built up over several seasons will not suddenly be rendered obsolete in a single day's rule changes. Equally important, this game engine has for four and a half years proven itself a solid (I dare even say "formidable"... ;) online football simulator that blends realism with playability in a way that those who try to reverse engineer the Hattrick concept end up imitating in vain. Yes, we are proud of it, but there is always room for improvement.
To this end, we've added the opportunity for "Special Events" to happen. A Special Event can happen practically at any time. So, from now on, even if it is 5-5 and ten minutes left, you cannot be certain how the game will end. More about which Special Events that can happen shortly. In line with the "cautiousness principle" that we explained above and to not turn the old engine over all of a sudden, chances for Special Events have initially been set to fairly low. We may opt to increase chances for Special Events later - or we may not. We'll see. Also, we may add further events in the future - the new match engine is much more flexible than the old one and now allows for new events to be added much more easily.
A word about the player specialties. If a player has a specialty, it means that he is primarily relying on that specialty for his playing. Another player who doesn't have any particular specialty should be considered "balanced": He's a decent head player, he's reasonably (but not exceptionally) quick and so on. If you compare two players that are exactly equal in terms of regular skills (scoring, playmaking etc) and one of them is technical whilst the other has no particular specialties, then this is how it should be interpreted: The technical one does mainly rely on his technique for his playing. He is probably slightly slower and/or a little worse at positioning and/or a tad weaker than the balanced player. Had he not had his specialty to precisely compensate for his other weaknesses, he would have had higher skill values (perhaps been a formidable scorer instead of merely an excellent). In other words, every player with a specialty also has a weak side.
OK, here are some guidelines to what the new events are all about:
- Weather: Technical players prefer a dry pitch over a water soaked field. They also have an advantage in heat over other players because their style of play is less energy consuming, than for instance a player who mainly rely's on power and speed. We believe that this is one reason why powerful players tend to be more common in England and Scandinavia and technical more common in, say, Brazil and Spain. Hence, in Hattrick, technical players will perform below their normal standards in rain (affects scoring and playmaking skills), and above it in sunshine. Powerful players might gain scorer-, playmaker- and defender skills in rain and lose out on scoring in sun, and they will also get more tired in sun. Quick players have disadvantages from both these two weather types (their powers rests elsewhere) - they lose defender skill in sun and defender and scorer skill in rain.
- Unpredictable: These players combines outragous mistakes with astonishing achievements. You can never know what they might be up to once they are out on the field, for good or bad... By the way, please note that when two players are involved in an event, for instance when an unpredictable defender who makes an unexpected cross pass to one of your forwards, the skills of both players will matter: That is, the passer skill of the ones who makes the pass, and the scorer skill of the reciever.
- Tired strikers/defenders: In the past the stamina only affected playmaking. No longer, as one type of event is now that a tired defender (or midfielder, for that matter) may mess up things when he cannot think clearly. Obviously the forward then have much better chances of taking advantage of the tired opponent if he is fresh and in good shape.
- Long shot: This is a new event that has nothing to do with any specialty. What matters here are the kicker skill (the one you use for free kicks) and scorer skill. Players with high values in these areas may successfully score with a long shot.
- Quick players: Quick forwards and wingers may outrun their opponents and get an extra opportunity to score. Clearly a quick defender is much more difficult to outrun than one who isn't so quick.
- Corners: At last, we have a decent implementation of corner kicks in Hattrick. It is your primary kicker who handles the corners, so the better kicker he is, the better corners. Corners are where head specialist are most important - both to improve chances of scoring and to defend your own goal when your opponent has a corner. But it is possible to score on a corner even if you have no head specialist in the team.
- Experience: Inexperienced players may do inexperienced things...
We are perfectly aware that some of you might disagree on one or two points above. Some of them are arguable. But this is our interpretation, and we have attempted to make the implementation balanced so that if you gain in one area from one specialty, you will lose roughly as much in another. Also, the description above tries to explain how things work to you, but there are many events that may happen, each with a certain twist and variant. And, as always, we are not telling you how much things are affetced or what the chances are for a particular thing. And we won't tell you!
One other change that has already been mentioned under the My Hattrick section, is that in derby matches (ie two teams from the same region) both teams counts as home team and so plays better than when away. Should ever a match be played between two teams and none of them playing home (neutral ground), then both teams will suffer away penalty. Currently this can only happen in the World Cup. In the WC, you could even have a game in which the team formally listed as "away" is actually plaing on their own ground (e.g. in a match England - Japan in a World Cup being played in Japan).
We've added new levels to several leagues. The biggest increase is in England which has now expanded to 10.920 potential teams, second largest after Sweden. There should be plenty of available places in all leagues now.
Daily update times at night have changed a little.Becuase Sweden and England have increased and are the leagues running first, they will take longer to complete. So we have placed the other leagues a little later, typically to 01.30 AM CET. An exception to that is the US which have been having a little trouble with their Wednesday matches not being finished when the updates started. So we've pushed the US updates all the way to 2 AM CET (I know it's confusing for Americans, Australians and others with all these times being given for weird time zones, but what can we do really?), and the South American leagues to 2.30 AM CET.
Apart from these changes, there are some minor adjustments and bug fixes "under the hood".
Please note: We realise that the information given here may not fully satisfy you on some points. If you do have question or think we were unduly unclear or inconsequent, by all means, do send a letter to Björn at email@example.com. But we will not answer any questions about the changes by email! We are adopting that tough approach for two reasons: We wan't everyone to have the same amount of information. Giving elaborate (or even brief) further information to a single player is not fair to the rest. Secondly, we simply don't have the time required to explain these things by one-to-one communication. So, if you do have a good question that we think should be answered, we will consider answering it in a public forum - either the My Hattrick section if the answer can be brief, or a more elaborate document such as this one. Remember also that many questions should not be answered at all, by us - we want the Hattrick Universe to be a world to explore - on your own or together with other players. The Complete Manual To Every Aspect Of Hattrick will never be written, at least not by us...
Finally, we'd also like to thank you all for supporting Hattrick during the past year - moral support through kind letters, by enjoying the game and of course by contributing to the survival of the game by subscribing to Hattrick Supporter. It is thanks to you that we've been able to develop Hattrick 6.
The lion's share of our development time the past year wen't to the rather boring but necessary task of speeding up the game engine and our servers, we were buried in that task last winter and spring (Hey, Aussies, sorry for being Eurocentric again... ;). In spite of some performance troubles at the moment, caused by caching being (unintendedly) disabled during the season break, we have come a long way away from the often down servers that we all suffered from during the summer. Spring and summer also went to develop Hattrick Supporter and the mobile services, both necessary to secure the financial survival of Hattrick. During the fall, we were finally in a position where we could start implementing all the cool features that now make up Hattrick 6.
We've been longing for this and finally we can proclaim it: Hattrick 6 is here. And along with that, a brand new exciting Hattrick year. Let the fireworks begin! :-)
/The Hattrick Team