EA Sports has announced that the next patch for FIFA 18 will take a big swing at improving passing in the game - something that the community has become increasingly irate about in the last few weeks following the release of the game's last major patch.
Other changes include improvements to goalkeeper behaviour, and an assortment of different bug fixes, although the controversial player indicator remains.
In a post on the official forums, EA drew most attention to passing changes. Here are the main notes:
- Made ground passes and ground through passes less effective when blindly passing the ball between 90 and 270 degrees, where 0 degrees is the direction the player is facing.
- The most significant impact will be seen when the pass angle is between 140 and 220 degrees.
- The impact scales when the pass angle is between 90 (least impact) and 139 degrees and between 221 and 270 (least impact) degrees.
- The passes impacted by this change will see:
- Reduced ball speed.
- Reduced accuracy.
- Disabled user controlled reactions, when locked to a player, when the goalkeeper is holding the ball.
Essentially what that means is that passes directly ahead of your player are still very accurate, but anything aimed behind them, especially directly behind, has a much lower chance of reaching its intended recipient without going astray or being intercepted.
To illustrate how this will work, one redditor produced this rather helpful diagram:
Diagram to understand passing changes
If you've spent any time on the FIFA subreddit recently, you'll know that one of the most prominent complaints about this year's game is the speed and precision of passing. It's too easy, fans have been saying, and while that's fine for players who enjoy knockabout gameplay and lots of goals, it means that even highly skilled players often concede goals against weaker players and defending is rarely a viable way of closing out a match.
Of course, there are two sides to this debate, and a lot of people do enjoy the way the game feels this year. We were over the moon about it in our FIFA 18 review, in love with its fast pace, huge goal tallies and the sheer sense of fun, and we were disappointed when the first post-release patch nerfed things like goals from crosses.
Then again, we're still playing FIFA 18 every day, so the acid test will be whether we continue to do so once this patch hits. It's out now on PC, with early reports that it slows the game down considerably but feels more skill-oriented, and console versions will follow "in the coming weeks" according to EA Sports.