Next season: Indirect free kicks and long shots

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Hattrick.png This is an official Hattrick Editorial
originally published 2008-01-28 09:21:00 by HT-Johan

Next season we will introduce indirect free kicks in Hattrick. In contrast to the existing set pieces variants indirect free kicks will not depend only on a single set piece taker, but on team effort. In addition to indirect free kicks, we will add a new team tactic type, called "Long Shots". This will use a similar game mechanic as the indirect free kicks.

We plan to launch this feature for friendly games during the Season that starts in February 2008, and for it to go live in competitive games the season after that. At this time, we will also make the skill Set Pieces conform to other skills in Hattrick when it comes how it is trained, and how the skill is lost due to age. We will also add a modest cost for the skill on salaries.

Today, Hattrick has two types of set pieces events – direct free kicks and penalties. Both work the same way, they pit the individual set pieces taker against the goalkeeper. The other players on the pitch have no influence on these events. We will add a new set pieces type to this: Indirect free kicks. These will work as a team effort. This means they will rely on the skills of a number of players, both when attempting to score on them and when trying to defend them. The set piece taker and the goalkeeper will still be important, but just as one link in the chain.

The main reason for this change is to create a broader use for the Set Pieces skill, while also giving the match simulation more depth and tactical choice. We also don't think set pieces work that well as they are today. Merely having a top goalkeeper makes it very hard for the opponent to score on a free kick. With indirect free kicks, the whole team needs to be prepared to defend well. One consequence of this is that certain "extreme" tactics, such as using a very strong midfield but no defence, will be quite vulnerable to indirect free kicks.

We also wanted to create new uses for secondary skills in the match engine. With indirect free kicks and long shots, there will be a reason to train set pieces, defence, and scoring on new categories of players. Later this year, we will complement direct and indirect free kicks with yet another set pieces variation, corner kicks. Corner kicks will also be a team effort event, and will add some further importance to the set pieces abilities of your team.

Getting Free Kicks and Penalties

Overall, set pieces will happen a little more often than they do today. The existing set pieces events (penalties and direct free kicks) will be around twice as likely to happen than the new indirect free kicks. All of the above are regarded as "normal" attacks, not as a special event in the match.

Direct Free Kicks and Penalties

Direct free kicks and penalties will work very similarly to today. One change is made to the goalkeeper defending a direct free kick or a penalty. His ability to do this will now also take into account his set pieces skill. To have a goalkeeper that is very good at defending direct free kicks and penalties, he will need both set pieces and goalkeeping ability.

This bonus to certain keepers in the system will be compensated by the fact that goalkeepers themselves will no longer be able to be the primary set pieces taker on the team. If a goalkeeper is nominated as the set piece taker in the match order form, he won't be used as such. Another player will be used for set pieces, following the same rules for set pieces takers that are in place already. Keepers will however be able to participate in penalty shootouts.

Indirect Free Kicks

The outcome of the indirect free kick is decided by teamwork rather than by individual skill. The efficiency of the attacking team is decided by the average set pieces and the average scoring skills of the outfield players. On top of this, the set pieces skill of the free kick taker is given extra impact.

The attacking team is matched against the defending team. The defence is based on the average defending skill plus the average set pieces skill, again of the full team minus the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers are extra important and defend using their set pieces skill and their goalkeeping skill.

If one team outmatches the other, their chance of scoring (or defending the goal) naturally increases. This works similarly to the attack and defence ratings in normal attack events. The main difference is, here, the whole team matters.

This design gives an advantage to teams that specialize in developing set pieces, scoring and defending across their whole teams. On the other hand, ignoring indirect free kicks altogether will also be plausible. After all, it only accounts for a small part of all goal scoring opportunities in Hattrick. And even with a low rating you will still retain some ability to score in these situations.

Long Shot Tactics

The new tactic “Long Shots” will be an alternative for teams that have problems converting their possession into goals. Using this tactic a team will convert some of their normal chances into long shot chances. The team is simply instructed to “go for the long shot” more often than usual, rather than to play the whole attack sequence through.

Similarly to how indirect free kicks work, the long shot skill depends on the average set pieces and scoring ability of the team. This decides their ability to find, and go for, a long shot at the right time. If you shoot at the wrong time, you may interrupt an attack that would eventually have led to a real goal, instead taking an unsure long shot.

Any player on the field is a potential long shot taker – except the goalkeeper – but the position on the field will affect the probability of who is shooting when. Inner midfielders and wingers are twice as likely to take a long shot than defenders or attackers.

The player taking the long shot needs set pieces and scoring. To make a good long shot, both abilities are needed - in fact they will reinforce each other. Having a very high level in one, but very low in the other, will make you a less efficient long shot taker than if you had a reasonable level in both. The quality of the long shot is decided both by the long shot taker and of the quality of the chance itself, which in turn depends on the team ability as described above. The defence then has a chance to block the long shot. Their chance to do that depends on their regular defence rating, and to how high this is compared to other parts of the defending team. Teams with a "defensive focus" will defend long shots more efficiently.


Set pieces will be trained like any other skill with relation to skill and age. However, a maximum gain of one skill level per week will be in place. This limit will only be relevant when training set pieces at low skill levels. This change takes effect at the beginning of next season, starting in February 2008.

Skill drop

Set pieces will be affected by both age and skill level when skill drops are calculated, just like every other skill is today. This means that higher skills will drop faster due to age and skill than they do today. This will be countered by the lower need for very high set pieces skills to score on free kicks and penalties. This change takes effect at the beginning of next season, the one starting in February 2008.


Starting next season set pieces will affect salary. The effect will be linear (percentage wise) with the skill. Divine set pieces will for example get a 5 % salary increase. The overall effect is expected to be around 2% salary increase. This change takes effect at the beginning of next season, starting in February 2008.