I can handle losing in Football Manager. Really, I can. I've handled it over the last eight years just fine and after I bought Football Manager 2013 on Steam, thought I could handle it this time. I started off with Crystal Palace, and after a rocky start got myself promoted to the Premier League.
Here came the first source of my frustration. My first seven matches in the league? Liverpool A, Arsenal H, Manchester City H, Manchester United A, Chelsea A, Tottenham Hotspur A and not forgetting Wolves H, who were promoted with me but did the double on me the previous season. Needless to say, I only picked up 5 points from 21. Miraculously, I beat Chelsea away from home 1-3 with Zaha, Boutiadjne and Vidal finding the net after 2 goal-scramble incidents and a penalty. I drew with Wolves and Arsenal. The game got me thinking about the game's scheduling matrix.
Did it really, on purpose, drew out the hard and diabolic teams to prevent you from even getting a smidgen of form? I averaged around 8 shots and 3 on target each of those matches, while my opponents drilled me between 15 and 20 with at least 6 on target per game. Every time I lost it was by three goals or more and my players always ended up exhausted. Not to mention the Manchester City game where, after starting okay and being 1-0 up, my DM and his back-up suffered injuries, making me play a CB out of position to compensate. I lost the lead in the 30th minute and City hit me for 5 to make the final score 5-1.
This is still all right. These are hard teams and I was in a new environment, so obviously it was hard to adapt. That was my logic. Not the case later, however, as I found out. I started a few win streaks after my draw with Wolves H. However, my defence was leaking goals like it was no tomorrow, ESPECIALLY against...
Players with Finishing Ratings between 10-13, Heading below 11 and Long Shots in single digits.
Yes, acquaintances: people who SHOULD NOT BE EVEN HITTING THE POST OR THE BALLS ON TARGET have achieved strike rates of a goal every 2 or 3 shots on target. I also noticed that the game seemed to force you to lose and make your players intentionally morons when it wanted you winning streak to end. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a team (No matter their morale nor their form) will have their army of Shaun Wright-Phillips crocks and Duncan Ferguson wannabes transform into Santi Cazorla and Didier Drogba and dominate entire matches.
I can stand losing to strong teams and concede goals to the parties that are involved, but Sports Interactive's Match Engine seems to purposely boost teams with low attributes into Manchester United and Bayern Munchen levels when it seems like you're winning too much. Anything can happen in football, but I noticed that the dumbing down of your players happens way too consistently when you're a streak, regardless of the other team's state. I don't mind losing goals through defender mistakes as it's part of the game.
I mind losing goals when the little twit who "out-jumped" my 3 defenders who have 14 Jumping/14 Heading/14 Anticipation minimum between them heads a goal to put his team ahead. I mind losing games when a player with a finishing and dribbling of 8 and 9 respectively dribbles HALF MY BLOODY TEAM and scores a goal that would have made Messi bow in respect.
Where's my special moment? Where's the magic that makes MY 12 Finishing and 16 Dribbling winner do the same? He's scored 5 goals this season; all from goal-mouth scrambling. The AI for this game needs to be balanced, in my opinion, or give the person playing the game the same luxuries it seems to give every third or fourth team.. THAT PLAYS AGAINST YOU.
Forget Real Life cheaters. The Program does it more.