It’s pretty common to see writers bash EA nowadays. It appears to be a common topic amongst games journalists. But fear not, for this piece will not be exploring creative ways to diss EA and one of its biggest franchises in FIFA. On the contrary, I am here to suggest a way in which the team at EA Sports can make FIFA a more entertaining title. It revolves around their neglected game mode, Pro Clubs.
Being a veteran player myself, I’ve seen the franchise during its high’s and low’s. Some of you may not remember, but between the years of 2006-12, FIFA consisted of some of the best football titles ever. And it was fun! Yes, fun. But during the later generation, something happened to FIFA. As EA started pushing towards its most popular game mode, Ultimate Team, the game started losing the fun aura it displayed for years.
FUT is FIFA’s main game mode and it is for a reason
It makes EA money. It will continue to do so given its addictive player pack system. Unfortunately, success in Ultimate Team can be pricey. Every year I try to succeed on FIFA without spending a dime on packs. While I do get far, there’s only so much a Gold MLS player can do when trying to keep up with Mo Salah, Mbappe or Messi. And yes, while there are ways to make coin, it’s simply not enough or can be time consuming to just buy one of these elite players. If you’re not looking to grind or spend money on packs, you may struggle to bond with Ultimate Team. Some users want to play a fun, competitive sports game without spending extra amounts or grinding for hours. While Online Seasons is definitely an option, some may argue about the level of competitiveness present in said game mode.
Some consider FIFA’s community to be unhappy and there is, at times, a strained relationship displayed between EA and their fans. Spending extra money on a game to then be disappointed by it’s gameplay, glitches and inconsistent servers creates a tense environment. In other words, Ultimate Team further highlights some of EA’s gameplay issues at an expensive cost. No, I’m not suggesting EA scrap their money maker, because, well it makes no sense? We continue to buy and spend in-game currency, and it obviously makes sense for a business to focus on profit. But EA need to start focusing their energy on another game mode if they want to fix their strained relationship with some fans. A game mode that has a lot of promise but seems to be neglected year in year out. And that is, of course, Pro Clubs.
Pro Clubs is Fun!
Look, there’s something undeniable about Pro Clubs. It’s bloody fun. It’s fun to kick back, go into a game of Pro Clubs with the lads and have a kick about. The gameplay is the same. The bugs and server issues are still present. Hell, Pro Clubs probably has more glitches given the amount of players present. But it stands out less given the fun factor.
Pro Clubs has a cult following regardless of how much EA have somewhat neglected the game mode. But this small group can certainly grow if EA can put some focus towards Pro Clubs. Pro Clubs can be competitive and a money maker for EA, just look at NBA 2K and the eSports scene. 2K have their own version of Pro Clubs and the mode has become so popular that it is now licensed by the NBA. Each NBA team has an eSports version of the team representing them. The league holds drafts and a full tournament every year.
What needs to be done?
Support the game. Easier said than done, but there are many areas that could be explored in Pro Clubs. Add new features and consistently update the game. Right now, the hardest thing to do, well, for my team at least, is to win division 1. But what does it mean to win division 1? Not much. You and your team take away the trophy which is great, but the trophy doesn’t really lead to anything other than a cutscene.
The team at EA could start by making divisions mean something. The simplest way to do this is to add a budget to each team. Increase the prize pool the more you progress in divisions, and let players use the prize pool towards a bigger cause. Maybe give players the option to replace mediocre AI players for better or, in fact, real players. Throw some sponsorship deals with the more trophies you win and let players work towards something like cooler looking kits. Maybe put some stars on the team logo the more titles a team wins? Winning a championship has to start to have a more significant or interesting meaning to the game.
EA need to then start to consider factors such as training, fatigue, injuries or substitutions. In other words, fully explore a game mode in how it would feel to play for a club with your mates. Training in order to try to level up your player seems more immersive than your player just leveling up based on your in-game performance. The fact that injuries are nothing less than a short animation is disappointing. Why include it if it has no significant meaning? Even considering the effect of substitutions, imagine the impact it would have on the dynamic of the game. It’s all there to create a more interesting and engaging Pro Clubs mode.
Once you add newer features, the game will require a lot less marketing. The newer features will already attract an audience. Additional content could be interesting, but it’s important to keep progression and purchasable content separate. In other words, avoid a pay-to-win scheme which will certainly earn respect from fans.
There’s no denying EA have a talented team, but their fans feel neglected when it comes to Pro Clubs. With the new Star Wars title displaying EA’s solid efforts in building a strong relationship with their player basis, the team at EA Sports should start to notice the cult following of their “less popular” game mode in Pro Clubs.
What would you like to see in FIFA 21’s Pro Clubs mode? Let us know below!