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Versus Attack Game Mode

A closer look into the mechanics behind Versus Attack

Pitch Notes

Hi FIFA Mobile Fans!

 

We launched the @FIFAMobileDev Twitter account a few weeks ago so that we could have a more personal way to interact with the community.  We are striving to provide the information you want, when you want it, and on a more personal level.  We have been really impressed with the passion you have displayed daily! We love the regular feedback and constructive conversations that discuss various aspects and features of the game. Thank you.

Recently, there have been many questions about various aspects of Versus Attack. So, we felt now was a great time to dive deeper into the mechanics behind the mode. We hope this guide will help you understand why things happen when they do, and address some of the more common questions we see and hear.

Vs Attack Mode is a quick and simple 90 second match where you compete in real time against an opponent. Your opponent will either be a real user or in some cases, AI opponents may be triggered in lower divisions to assist users that are struggling to win matches.  Each user is given various grades of chances in quick succession, with the goal to score more than your opponent in the allotted 90 seconds. The great thing about this mode is that you don’t have to wait for your turn!

The clock never stops for corners, free kicks, out of bounds, or penalty kicks. So your best strategy is to play smart, be efficient, score as quickly as possible, and run as many attacks as you can before time runs out.

 

Matchmaking

To start a match, enter into the VS Attack hub from the Main Hub, and press the big yellow Play button. This will trigger the matchmaking process to find an opponent that best matches with your fan count.

We hear many questions about matchmaking, particularly around perceived OVR mismatches. A common question is “Why was my 82 OVR team matched against a 93 OVR team?”.

In the core VsA game mode, matchmaking is based purely on Fan Count and NOT by Team OVR.

We use a rating system called ELO as our means of calculating the relative skill of players. Fan count is essentially your team’s power rating, and the game will always try to match you with another player with the same Fan count/power, regardless of their Team OVR. A player with 364K fans could easily be matched with a player of 355K fans, even if the difference in their OVR is significant.

Another common question we hear from Players who understand the Fan-based ELO system, is “Why did I just match against a player with 300k more fans than I have?”.

Sometimes there will be matches where the difference in the number of fans between opponents seem greater than normal matchmaking parameters. This occurs because an opponent close to your fan count may not be available currently, and the matchmaking system needs to expand the available pool of users in order to find you an opponent.

Here is how it works.

When you press the Play button, the game starts searching for a match. It starts by looking for another player who is also searching and has the same fan count as you. In the lower divisions, this almost always happens instantaneously (if network speeds permit). However, in the higher divisions where there are less players overall, there may not be another player with the same fan count as you searching at precisely that moment in time. So, after waiting for a few seconds, the game will expand the fan count by a few percentage points higher/lower and keep searching. It will continue to repeat this process until a match is found.

This can happen quite frequently for the players at the very top of the Vs Attack Leaderboard, who will sometimes need to wait for 5-10 minutes just to find a match. We understand that it can be frustrating when you are on the receiving end of one of these matches and have to play someone who is much more powerful than you are, but the ELO system also accounts for this and adjusts the number of fans you win/lose in a match based on the relative power levels of both players.  

In this example, the game could not find an opponent for Borisbrother who has a very high Fan Count. The game needed to expand the fan count by more than 20 percentage points before it found a match with Cuffer.

 

Gaining and Losing Fans

At the end of the 90 second time limit, you will gain or lose fans depending on the outcome of your match. Win or tie and you gain fans for your team (the exception being that a tie in FIFA Champions does not gain you fans). Lose, and fans are subtracted.

The number of fans you gain or lose is based on the quality of your opponent, which is measured by the differences in fan count. A win versus a player with a higher fan count than you will reward you with more fans than if you were to defeat a player with a lower fan count than you. Conversely, losing against a player with a lower fan count than you will result in greater fans deducted than if you were to be defeated by a player with a higher fan count.

At the time of writing this article, the minimum amount of fans you can gain/lose is 1,500, while the maximum amount of fans you can gain/lose is 12,000. Please note that as the game evolves through the season, these numbers may be subject to change.

Let’s look at a few examples to show some potential Versus Attack outcomes.

In this match, neodog wins 7300 fans since he is evenly matched with an opponent with nearly the same Fan Count.

In this match, Cuffer only loses 1,500 fans since he was playing an opponent with a significantly higher Fan Count. Borisbrother would only win 1,500 fans for this match since he beat a far less powerful opponent.

However, in this rematch Cuffer wins 12,000 fans since he beat an opponent with a significantly higher Fan Count. Borisbrother would lose 12,000 fans for this match since he was beaten by a far less powerful opponent.

 

Gameplay & Chances

At the start of a match, you will arrive at a Match Preview screen that displays the number of projected Chances that each team will be allocated. 

There are 4 types of Chances:

  • Great - Plays such as 2-on-1s, breakaways and Penalties, all of which have a high probability of success.
  • Good - Plays that begin in the attacking third with a decent opportunity to score with a through ball, a good cross to the net or a Free Kick.
  • Basic - Plays that begin around midfield with multiple defenders and less space to maneuver, including Kick-off. These are more difficult chances, but with a bit of skill and finesse you can still convert these opportunities into a goal.
  • Counter Attacks - Defending your own goal against your opponent’s offensive players.

Determining the grade of chances each team receives is determined by your OVR and Chemistry. Applying an algorithm, we calculate a rating for your team based on your OVR and chemistry, compare that to your opponent’s team rating and determine the number of quality chances each team should receive.

Equally rated teams will receive a relatively equal distribution of Chances. But differences in OVR/Chemistry will result in the higher rated team having the potential to generate more Great and Good Chances while the lower rated team will have fewer opportunities at higher quality Chances. For considerable differences in OVR and Chemistry, the lower rated team will also see Counter Attacks.

A common question we are asked is “Why did my opponent get more Great Chances than me even though my OVR/Chem is higher?”.

This can happen when one or both players manage to play a higher or lower than average number of Chances in a given match.

At the time of writing this article, our tuning is based off both players playing 10 Chances each over the course of the match, not including kick-off. For example, in the screenshot below, neodog on the left has higher projected Great Chances (30%) than kingbitty on the right (20%) based on their OVR/Chem ratings. This means that if both players were to play exactly 10 Chances each (not including kickoff), then neodog on the left will receive 3 Great Chances and kingbitty on the right will receive 2 Great Chances.

When this match begins, the game will take these percentages and apply them to a “10 Chance bucket”.  So, for neodog on the left, the 10 Chances in the bucket will be split up and applied as 30% Great Chances and 70% Good Chances, as per the preview. 

An example of that 10 Chance bucket might look like this:

  • Chance 1 - good chance
  • Chance 2 - great chance
  • Chance 3 - great chance
  • Chance 4 - good chance
  • Chance 5 - great chance
  • Chance 6 - good chance
  • Chance 7 - good chance
  • Chance 8- good chance
  • Chance 9 - good chance
  • Chance 10 - good chance

But in this match, it actually ended up looking like this:

  • Chance 1 - good chance
  • Chance 2 - good chance
  • Chance 3 - good chance
  • Chance 4 - good chance
  • Chance 5 - good chance
  • Chance 6 - good chance
  • Chance 7 - great chance
  • Chance 8- great chance
  • Chance 9 - good chance
  • Chance 10 - great chance

Remember, the order in which the chances appear varies, and will be different every time you play. This is really important to understand. Consider this example where 2 of the 3 Great Chances happen at the bottom of the bucket. If neodog plays too slowly and wastes time on his first few chances, he may never get to the final Chances in the bucket and therefore get only 0 or 1 Great Chance! This can appear to be an unfair result when looking at the final statistics if you don’t understand the 10 Chance bucket.

Here is the results screen from this match. When the match ended, neodog had only played 6 Chances (not including kickoff) and didn't get a single Great Chance. Yet kingbitty played 10 Chances (not including kickoff) and got his full allocation of 2 Great Chances.

So while this may appear odd at first glance, when you understand the 10 Chance Bucket you realize that neodog wasted too much time during his early Chances. It is critical that you try to take at least 10 Chances (not including kickoff) in each match. Our data suggests that this is well below the average number of Chances most players can manage in a 90 second match, so if you play aggressively and are mindful of the clock, this should generally be quite easy to do.

So what happens after you play those 10 Chances? 

Good question.  You get a second bucket of 10 new Chances and the process starts all over again.  This means that after you complete your first bucket of 10 Chances, your second bucket could start with something like Great > Good > Great. The only time your final Chance distribution will perfectly match the projection percentages is when you take exactly 10 or 20 chances, not including kick off. For everything in between, we feel that the small level of variation reflects the real world of Sport, where teams do not perform identically from match to match and underdogs can sometimes win.

Overall, the more Chances you can manage in a match (without wasting them unnecessarily), the more likely it becomes that you can get “extra” Great Chances. The less Chances you take, the more likely it becomes that you can get fewer Great Chances than was projected.

 

Last Minute Goals

At the end of a match, you may see a notification:

Please wait for your opponent to finish. It should only be a few seconds longer

There are various factors that can impact waiting times post match:

  • Networks in general can sometimes cause delays.
  • Unstable connection of either player can delay information being sent to servers.
  • Opponent may have started the match a few seconds later than you, resulting in servers waiting for their match to conclude.
  • Just like on the real pitch, your opponent may have had an extra second or two in their match if they were inside the box with a scoring opportunity when their clock ran out.
  • Opponent may have forced closed the game or lost connection momentarily and our servers are waiting to see if they reconnect.

Any of the above factors can also affect last minute goal(s) received by our servers, which is why the score you see right when the match ends (ie 3 - 2) may occasionally be different than what is displayed in the match summary (ie 3 -4). We understand that this can “feel” unfair, like your opponent is getting a lot more time to play than you. But that is not the case. Both users get the same amount of time to play, with the final few seconds you have to play your last chance of the game being the only tiny variance. We are investigating ways to improve your experience, but some instances are simply out of our control.

We hope that we were able to provide some insight and address some of the questions on how Vs Attack works and why matchmaking and Chances work the way they do. Your comments and  feedback are important to us as we continue to prioritize issues that matter most to our community. To learn more tips, tricks and updates in the game, join the conversation and follow us on Twitter @FIFAMobileDev.

 

Thanks again everyone, see you in FIFA Champion!

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