As one of the best-selling video game franchises in the world, FIFA has revolutionised our modern perception of sport simulators, consistently improving the authenticity of our virtual experience, while implementing an abundance of innovative features.
In 2008, FIFA debuted the iconic game mode ‘Ultimate Team’ and since then it has become one of the most popular and enticing characteristics within the franchise. Anyone who has played FIFA within the last five years has probably tried out Ultimate Team at least once. Essentially, FUT allows players to build their ‘ultimate’ squad, as they acquire the greatest professionals to grace the game, both past and present.
However, obtaining the highest rated players is no menial task and those who have played the game will reiterate that unless you sleep on a bed made of rabbit’s feet and four leafed clovers, it is highly unlikely that you will ever get the chance to use the likes of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on a regular basis. – Or in my experiences, anyone rated higher than 84 overall.
Do you have a team like this?
Arguably, this is the most appealing, yet frustrating aspect of the game, as players swiftly find themselves stuck in a vicious and frustrating cycle, in an attempt to better their squad. Through completing matches both offline and online, players are rewarded with a measly amount of ‘coins’, which are in-turn used to purchase higher calibre squad members. However, in order to earn these coins, one must insure the needs of your current players are met (fitness, contracts, etc.), consequently decreasing your funds. Thus, saving for players, such as Di Maria, who sells for an excess of 100,000 coins, becomes an increasingly tedious and time consuming task.
As a result, fans are often left in a peculiar conundrum – Should they spend their few thousand coins on a slightly better player? Should they save their hard earned coins and take a chance by opening a random pack? Or should they simply spend their real money on packs?
But want a team like this?
The answer, in most cases, is often none of the above and this is where coin sellers come into play. Instead of paying £30 to open a load of packs and potentially receive no decent players, many people would much rather purchase coins directly from third party sellers and proceed to build their ideal squad. However, this year, upon FIFA 15, Electronic Arts have taken a firm stance against coin buyers/sellers and the people who use automatic bots (‘auto-buyers’), to farm the online transfer market.
Although largely popular within FIFA community, EA has stated that the "buying and selling [of] coins is not authorized and amounts to cheating in FIFA Ultimate Team", while also declaring “that the promotion of coin selling websites is against [their] Terms of Service. If you see a video that promotes coin-selling please report it along with the gamer’s Xbox/PSN gamertag or Origin ID so we can investigate it".
Yet, rather ironically, if you head over to YouTube and view a random video from any established FIFA YouTuber, you will indefinitely see some form of advertisement endorsing one of these ‘nefarious’ coin selling websites who "diminishes the enjoyment of FUT for all players, creates an unfair advantage, and impacts the balance of the game."
So, the question is, why have these people not banned? If EA have supposedly banned thousands of accounts since February, why are the people who publicly break the rules not getting punished?
In order for EA to be taken seriously regarding coin selling, they need to show some form of equality amongst the community, otherwise their campaign will simply be regarded as a scare tactic, used to force people into purchasing packs off them directly.
Personally, my only concern surrounding EA’s crusade can be identified within their use of wording; "creates an unfair advantage, and impacts the balance of the game." Is someone who pays real money to purchase coins any less deserving than someone who spends money on FIFA Points? If EA truly wanted a fair and open game, they could simply remove FIFA points entirely, make everyone earn their team and reward people for their skill, as opposed to their financial investment.
However, for obvious reasons, this will never happen. Regardless of the method, people will continuously search for the fastest and easiest way to better themselves, while the rest of us cross our fingers and hope for a miracle. Maybe that hope will one day lead to a Team of the Season Ronaldo – I’m due one.