Sneak Preview: New PPM Tool Surpasses Expectations

Those who have been reading my content for some time may remember a review I did a long time back about a PPM tool that helped you determine your players true strengths via the EOR and EQ calculations.  Well, I am very pleased to announce that the creater of that tool, Wessel, has been working on a brand new, updated version of the tool, and let me tell you, it’s really good!

A little bit of history first though.  Wessel has been in the process of creating this tool and it’s previous versions for the last few years.  Originally the tool was developed as a WordPress plugin, which allowed you to import your players data and it would tell you the results.  Following that came a Greasemonkey script, which gave the tool direct access to many features on the PPM website itself.  This tool has been one of my favorites for a long long time.  The newest version breaks the chains of Greasemonkey, and delivers a knockout punch directly via the Firefox Addons system.

Functionality

Let’s get straight to the things you want to hear… what the heck does this tool do, and why should you be interested?

The primary feature of the tool (right now) is to display your team in a way that highlights which players are best for which positions.  As you know, having a successful player on PPM takes more than just offense, defense or goalkeeping, it requires a ratio of different attributes all working together to create the “perfect player”.  Over exagerated I know, but you get the point.  The basic player display screen of course doesn’t give you this magic number, it only lists each of your players attributes.  But the PPM Tool does.  Using a combination of mathematical calculations the tool will convert your players attributes and display them using their EOR (Effective Overall Rating) and EQ (Effective Quality) figures.  Not sure what EOR and EQ are?  I direct you to an older post of mine which can be found here.

Current featues in the preview version of the tool:

  • Display your players strenghts based on EOR/EQ
  • Select which multiplyers to use in EOR calculations (Energy, Chemistry, Experience, etc)
  • Set and adjust your training rations directly from your team settings page.
  • Turn the tool on and off which a click of a button (on your team page).
  • Export your team directly to a CSV file.
  • Currently the tool ONLY works in the soccer version of the game.  Others coming.

Other than the requirement that you use the Firefox browser, there are no issues with the tool.  As a regular Firefox user myself, this of course did not bother me at all.

The Design & Style

The best way to describe the style of the tool is to say it’s seamlessly built into your PPM team page, so it looks like it’s part of the page. 

Players page with the tool turned off.  Notice the button to switch it on.

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Players overview page with the tool turned on.

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With the tool turned on, the columns now have all new headings to display the EOR figures.

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The team settings page now contains your ratio settings.

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Release Details

Right now the tool is in development (hense the sneak preview) and is currently unavailable for download / install.  It is being worked on and hopefully a full release date is just around the corner!

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5 Ways To Improve Your PPM Soccer Team

ppmsoccer03The evolution of the Online Sports Manager Game, Powerplay Manager since it’s inception has been quite incredible, so it’s understandable and expected that the game engine that drives the game(s) has also.  For better or worse, the football / soccer and hockey game engines have undergone continual tweaks and adjustments since day 1 of season 1.  I have been involved in different online manager games for a number of years and PPM is by far the most active of all admin, and to me, that can only ever be a good thing.

Of course, the other side to continual tweaks to the game engine is that we as managers need to study the changes and constantly adjust our playing style to ensure we stay on top of our games.  This is part of PPM that I really like the most, as It creates a certain amount of trial by fire to the game.  That doesn’t mean that it’s a guessing game.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Knowledge equals power, and once you know and understand the finer points of the game, your winning percentage will greatly increasel.

So here are 5 things you can do that will help you develop a stronger team and play a stronger game (in no particular order).

1. Dominate The Midfield

In one of the big changes to the game engine in the last few seasons PPM made some major improvements to the way the game looks at, and plays the midfield.  In football, ball posession is often won (or lost) in the midfield, and ball posession is the first step to scoring chances and of course goals.  PPM are always keen to make their games as realistic as possible, so this particular change had a lot of us hardcore football fans nearly salivating!

ppmsoccer01Your midfield (both central and out wide) should be one of your strongest (if not THE strongest) positions on the field.  The quickest way to see the strength of your midfield is to look at your team page and look at your team ratings graph (similar to image on right)

Having core players here could quite literally be the difference between a win and a loss.  In my opinion I believe you should play at least 4 midfielders, 2 in the center position and 2 out wide.  Depending on your opposition (see point 5 in this article), your players (point 2) or how offensively talented they are (point 3) your tactics may vary here.

2. Position, Position, Position!

Left back, right back, full back, striker, forward, center midfield attack… great phrases, but what does it mean in relation to having a strong team?  There are actually 2 things you need to understand when it comes to your players positions. 

The first is to ensure that they are in fact being played in the correct position.  Playing a center defender at left back may sound ok, but in practice the results may be something entirely different.  If you do test different players in different positions be sure to take note of your team strength (ie. team info page) after the daily game update.  This will give you an indicator of any major changes.  I wont get into attributes and EOR in this article as that will take too long, but you need to make sure that your players are where they should be.

The second part to this is your players preferred side.  There are 3 different types of preferences for this; left, right or universal.  While this “mainly” applies to players who are in the wide positions it can also apply to central players also.  Above all else the most important thing you need to remember is to try and NOT play someone who prefers  one side on the opposite side of the field.  For example if you have a left back who likes the left side, don’t play him on the right side!  Research shows doing so could result in an drop of attribute rating for that player between 10% and 20%!

3. Shooting, The Forgotten Attribute

You can have the most talented player in the league but if he has zero finishing skills he’s never going to score a ton of goals.  All too often I see players who train up their team with 1 or 2 scorers (usually forwards) and then wonder why their team scores less goals a season than their opposition. 

The fact is, the shooting attribute applies to ALL players with the exception of only the goalie!  Last season I spent a lot of time training up shooting on my midfielders and defenders to see just how much of a difference it really made.  The image below shows the current top goal scorers in my team so far this season. 

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Of those top 6 players, 2 are forwards, 2 are midfielders and 2 are defenders!

How much you train your shooting is entirely up to you.  I would recommend between 40% and 60% of the defense attribute for defenders (depending of course on the quality of the shooting attribute), between 40% and 70% for midfielders (50% – 80% for attacking midfielders) and for forwards 70%+ or their primary attribute. 

4. Use Line Tactics That Suit YOUR Team

Line tactics are another thing that PPM have spent time tweaking within the game engine over the last few seasons.  No longer can you play a crazy (unrealistic) tactic and still dominate a game.  But that doesn’t mean you “have” to play a cookie cutter style of tactic.  While many play a default 4-4-2 style of game, it is my opinion that if you train your team right, you can be far more successful with tactics that are designed around your teams strengths.

For example, if you have a center midfielder who has a very high shooting then you could play a 4-1-2-1-2 tactic, where you have 4 defenders, a defensive midfielder (played back in the central position towards the defenders), a winger on the left and right and the high shooting attacking midfielder at the top just back from the 2 forwards.  This would give your team essentially 3 attacking players while keeping your midfield strong (see point 1 in this article).

Alternatively, if you only have 1 quality striker but have a strength in the midfield you could play something like a 4-1-2-2-2 or 4-2-2-1-2 where you have 5 players in the midfield with either 2 back as defensive central midfielders and 1 attacking or switch them and have 1 defensive mid and 2 attacking mid.

The line tactics you play should always match the strengths of your team. Just remember, don’t play crazy lineups!

5. Know Your Enemy

Updating your game tactics and lines everyday can take less than 5 minutes and can be a major decider in you winning or losing.  But before you do that, take a look at your next match and check out your oppositions analysis.  See what tactics they play, how they manage their energy / game importance and which of their players are the biggest scoring threats. 

Once you’ve done that, take a look at your lineup and decide what (if anything) you need to change or tweak.  Doing a little research can go a very long way with PPM!

Tomorrow I will be posting an article touching on the same issue but with regards to your PPM Hockey team.

Not playing PPM yet?  Why not join today?  It’s 100% free and you can play either Hockey or Soccer! 

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Three Issues Causing PPM Managers Major Concern

People are upset with PPMIt would appear that the list of people upset with the popular online sports manager game, Powerplay Manager, is growing by the day, driven by frustration and a sense of unfairness.

Powerplay Mananger, arguably the internets #1 hockey and soccer manager games have created a true masterpiece with their system. The features far beat out their closest competitor and the game engine drives a competitive, and sometimes heartbreaking game experience.

But as good as game may be, there are issues that are causing some managers, even the experienced and most loyal managers, to re-think their participation in the game. And that concerns me.

Here are the big 3 issues that are causing grief amongst the managers, causing some to leave the game.

National Teams, or lack there of.

PPM have always said that in order for a country to have a national team, they must have their own league. This is fine for the majority, but there are always countries that will struggle to gain enough managers to get their own league; Australia and New Zealand are two such examples. We have great managers with brilliant players but due to the way PPM is programmed, we can’t have a national team. We miss out on the opportunity to represent our country, and as such, get the OTR gains that could come with that. We are a close knit group in Other World (hockey) and Oceania (soccer), and don’t actually want an Australian league, as it would mean losing many of our friends who we play with in our current leagues.

Vlady confirmed on the PPM forums today that this is not a programming issue, and is simply a policy decision.  This is very upsetting, as clearly there is a demand for this feature to be made available!

Credit Features, the extras that cost

Credit features have their place in the game, there is no arguing that. The problem here is that for every feature added to the pro pack, there appears to be 3 or 4 added as extra credit features; many of which are included in pro packs in similar games. Many loyal pro pack users are starting to opt out of paying for pro because of the alleged lack of support they feel they get from PPM. To the credit of PPM, the credit features do add incredible enhancements to the game and are still worth the cost, if of course, you can afford it after paying for pro pack, etc.

Pro Pack & Advertising

It’s really hard to believe i’m actually writing this, as in almost all other membership sites (games or not), if you pay for an upgraded membership it usually means you get little or no advertising. This is not actually an issue, or at least would not be an issue if people were not paying for the extra credit features already. But there is great news. If you use Firefox you can install the adblock extension which will completely remove all of the advertising.

Help Us

We would love your help. If you’re a manager at PPM and you believe that all countries should have a National Team please contact tuttle or vlady at PPM and tell them your thoughts. Hopefully, if enough people express an opinion on this issue PPM will think about changing the way the National Team system works. Thanks in advance.

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Play To Your Team Strengths… But Don’t Forget Defense

How is season 5 looking for your PPM soccer teams?  If you’re like so many other managers, during the short off-season you probably made a few tweaks to your team to help make them better going into this season.  When preparing for this season, did you have a particular strategy in mind (other that winning, of course)?

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Wayne Rooney of Manchester United; a team that wins games by prolific offense

Like most team sports, the key to a successful football campaign at PPM is to make sure you play to your team strengths.  Naturally strong teams down the front are going to want to put emphasis on their strikers and focus on winning games by out-scoring them.  It’s worked well for Manchester United in the opening games of this seasons Premier League, has it not?  Teams who are weak up front but have much stronger midfield and/or defense are going to want to play a style that allows for their strongest players to dominate the game.

Playing to your teams strengths brings 2 related topics to relevance.  The first is that of formations, and which ones are best to use for your team.  A highly offensive squad may opt to play 2 or even 3 guys up front and leave the back-end a little open. This will offer a risk of being scored on, but if you have good strikers you will be out-scoring your opponent anyway so it’s not a “huge” issue.  Strong defensive squads may opt to role as much as 5 defenders with 3 down the middle.  This will often work great with 4 midfielders and just 1 forward, but naturally your ability to score goals could be heavily reduced.  Then again, this type of formation is great against those 3 forward type offensive squads.  The important thing to remember when selecting your formation is to use one that plays to your teams strength first, and then to what your opponent is doing.

The other topic that comes up is the topic of defense.  One of the “tweaks” PPM did to the soccer game engine was to have more influence in the attacking zone.  To you this means 2 things; your forwards need to be better than your opponents defense and more importantly your defense needs to be as strong as possible to shut down your opponents forwards.  It is better to draw games than to outright lose them.  

Just something to keep in mind when planning your next match.

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New PPM Player Advertising Feature: What Is It Really About?

Powerplay Manager are bringing in a new feature next week which will allow managers to advertise players they have on the transfer market to the PPM public.

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Click the image to view a full size version

This feature appears to serve 3 purposes; allows managers to advertise, creates an extra cash flow for PPM, and removes numerous transfer threads.

“This new feature scheduled for launch next week spells the end of the infamous market threads on the forums.” ~ PPM’s Facebook Page

My first thought is simply “why”?

Transfer threads are part of every game like PPM. They don’t hurt anybody and are often incredibly valuable tools to get your transfer players known to others. While they are seen by many ase useless, the fact remains that they are popular and well used on a regular basis. PPM did confirm that 1 transfer thread would remain, in the International forum, so all is not lost.

To me, this feature seems to be more about making PPM money and less about the actual advertising of players, a thought that was at least, in part confirmed earlier today:

“Yes Sam, if we do our job we need money to do it. Besides that if somebody want to advertise it is know that it costs money.”

I say "in part" because after discussing with PPM this issue, a very important feature came up; designing, developing and programming a game as in-depth as PPM is not easy. It takes a LOT of time and an even larger amount of money.

So while my original response was one of "why another cost?!?", I do understand the reasoning behind the move. Agree with it as a user, no, but understand it, yes.

For the record, this is a GREAT addition. It’s a valuable tool that will be very popular.

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts below.

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Is Your PPM Soccer Keeper A Head Above The Rest?

How much do you pay attention to how you train your keeper on your Powerplay Manager soccer team? As with most team sports, a good keeper can make or break a season for your team.

The guide suggests that technique and speed have a major influence on a goalies skill, and the passing and head attributes have a small, or little influence. But the guide is just that, a “guide”. Research done by others and myself however suggests that the head attribute may have a much larger influence on a keeper than many believe.

Edwin Van Der Sar makes a saveThe “head” attribute influences a players ability to play the ball off the head, which also means a players ability to jump for the ball. So the argument could be made that the head attribute could also influence a keepers ability to jump for the ball to make a catch or save.

Do you think top flight keepers like Manchester United’s Edwin Van Der Sar (right) don’t train in jumping? Of course they do.

Which brings me to the attributes themselves, and the ratio allegedly best used. The most common attribute used for goalies at PPM is 4-3-3-1-1. This is based purely on the suggestion in the guide as I mentioned at the top of this article. I believe however that a goalie performs better if the head attribute is increased to 50% of the primary, which would lead to a 4-3-3-1-2 attribute ratio (goal-tech-speed-pass-head). Does this mean the guide is incorrect? Not at all. PPM make it clear that the guide is a reference only, not a “set in stone” sure fire way to train your players.

Something to think about next time you train your keepers.

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