The 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!
Your 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.
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!