Monday, January 21, 2013

Top Eleven - Soccer Manager (Game Review)

Here is a great game i've stumbled upon whilst on my return to app games via Facebook.

When I first joined Facebook years ago I was captivated by the ones everyone at the time were playing, Mafia Wars, Farmville, Cafe World etc.. These were ok games and very addictive...

Mafia Wars, like the rest of them, was fun at first but lacked that real ideal of playing it longer than a few months. Mafia Wars was getting annoying, you would build your Mafia and compete against others, was super hard when coming up against Mafia's with 100's of members against your 15...

Farmville, that was fun at first, just like the zombie version, but mundane and became very boring... you grew alot of stuff and collected money - thats about it...

Cafe World, same, you built up your cafe, put some neat stuff in there but after a while you think, What for....

Top Eleven is different, this allows you to control the team, friends and users don't affect your team other than playing against them. Level 1 you are given a team to control, depending on when you start your team could be anywhere, my first season my team was sitting around 12th I think. Ended up finishing 6th after buying a few players with little cash available.

Its taken me until now to realise some of my earlier mistakes, when I first started I played 3 or so friendlies a day, then had my team play their normal league games. Soon realised players fitness levels were way way down and lost alot to injury..

Friendlies are an annoying feature but I don't mind playing them every now and then, when it suits me... I usually will play them for example if I had a late game the night before scheduled and nothing til the next day. This allows ample time for my players to recoup fitness in time for the next game, but I don't play a heap of friendlies, just one or two. I then use the training feature to help raise the players skills and attributes.

So lets take a look at the app version for iphone, its a great version and the developers are putting time and effort into making it better and more like the PC version. It contains alot less options than the PC version has but, is still a great game.

So your given a squad of 22 players, this is made up of 11 starters, 7 subs and 4 reserves. You don't get alot to work with but you will get the odd 4 star and some 3 star players, rest will be mostly 2 star players.

To help also, Top Eleven have provided opportunities for you to earn extra cash through sponsorships, at level 1 you can earn $600k in Sponsorship through "Frontmen"... When you crunch it down, you can pick up some very handy 3 or 4 star players for that amount, possibly 3 or 4 players if done correctly...

One item that is worth the gold colour it represents is "Tokens". Tokens allow you to buy extra items and also to bid on players in the trade market, careful though - this is where alot of people waste their tokens while in bidding wars with other users. I once lost 20 tokens just on one 5 star player and still lost the auction...

As a nice bonus, along with Sponsorship $$ terms you can also obtain a Token Sponsor through the Finances section, here you can sign a TV Rights sponsor who will give you tokens on a daily basis, you can either receive one through Nordeus 1 daily regardless or the one I'm with now Speed who gives me bonus tokens if I login consistently each day...

Luck and Patience often gets the player, I've found that if I bid on players early in the morning I will come up against big users who have alot of tokens to use, either by earned through sponsorship or bought with actual $$'s... But i've had more luck getting players, good 5 star players, later in the arvo, the other day for example, I had 4 tokens... I put two dummy bids on two 5 star players finishing in 15 minutes, another one had someone bidding on.

In the second stage of bidding the other user failed to put a bid on and I put one on with 3 seconds to go, nailed a new 5 star midfielder.

Then to my amazement while on the bus heading home from work, the two dummy bids went through without opposition, so I scored a new 5 star GK and a 5 star DEF. In the end 3 5 star players and it only cost me 4 tokens...

If you play around with it you'll find the best time to bid and sell, for me its afternoons, by then most of Europe and US are in bed tucked away from robbing me of tokens and players...

If your lucky enough to finish within the top 7 teams in the league you qualify for the Cup, this is where you play against much harder opponents on the off chance you may beat them. Beauty of Cup is the prize money per game played is big, especially for a level 1 player,

The top 4 teams for each league move into the Champions League, prize money is much lower than Cup but still a great addition if you can reach it... So far this season I haven't done too well in either but the proze money made up for it as i've managed to sign 4 5 star players...

One of the other "nice" functions is the addition of upgrading your stadium and supports, I include this as a nice addition as some of it impacts your team like health and the ground however its just nice to upgrade stuff every 3 days - ie: we're not playing this game to upgrade stadiums so its just a nice compliment to the game.

Most of the upgrades take 3 days to complete however if you want to upgrade the size of your ground your looking around 15 days... You can use tokens to speed this up a bit however my advice would be to save those up and buy players...

As I mentioned previously theres two options, you can try your luck on the transfer market and try and snare a decent player, it definately can happen - you just need to find times best suited to your bidding so you don't get stuck in a bidding war... or, you can save your tokens and buy a 6 star player through the Scout.

The Scout offers you high quality 6 star players at a premium cost, minimum $1m signing fee and each player will set you back 50 tokens. Yep, 50, thats alot for a regular user that doesn't buy tokens with real money... Best advice is to save up your tokens, participate in as many free ways to receive tokens such as watching video's or going in surveys and then target your best player.

The Scout updates 6 times a season, if theres a particular player your keen on but not currently listed best to wait... I recently was looking for a midfielder but only ones on Scout were 28 years old and over, Ideally I wanted a youngy so I held off two days and the scout refreshed, luckily a 22 year old MC appeared with awesome stats, averaged 38 Defence, 39 Attack & 39 Health. Cost me $2.75m but was well worth it!

To compete at Champions League & Cup level you will need to consider stacking your squad, hence using the Scout function, lets be honest, there are players out there that frequently buy huge amounts of tokens with real money - prob nothing else better to spend it on... so if you have high ambitions of winning and taking big titles then you have to compete via tokens...

Training is another great function included, here you can chose to train or rest your players, the more game time and training they get the more they earn skill points to increase your players attributes.

I usually tend to have my starting 11 plus 2 or 3 reserves I keep resting unless no games are on, then the remaining reserves and substitutes I use as train hard. Now I'm definately no expert and I'm probably doing it wrong but this is the way I do it... Seems to work ok and my players not featured in games are still upping their attributes whilst the starting squad upgrade too by working hard in the game.

Careful though, injuries can strike at any time. For example, I signed a new 5 star striker, his states were in the 40's in attack and is not far off being a 6 star striker. Scored him at a bargain 2 tokens... First game he went out and played really well, didn't score like I hoped but assisted a few and rated highly, then late in the game he suffered a broken leg, prognosis, out for 16 days.... 16 days without a 5 star player is like an eternity... Injuries can also hit during training, so if your actively training players always try to have some that are left as reserves for the starting 11, just incase you lose players in the game and then also backups off your bench through training...

The Club shop is another "Nice" function added in by the games creators, here players can go nuts buying guernseys or patches of their favourite teams, sadly though it only has a handful of teams for you to choose from, so if your a Manchester United fan reading this, sadly you can't get a Man U strip just yet...

The shop is a place where you can send gifts to friends you have added either through the game or via facebook, you can send one gift daily of either a skill point, health pack, morale booster or a rest. These are very handy and you can receive one daily of the all four, so receive one each of the above but you can only send one to friends...

Well now a quick look at how i've gone since joining, i'm into my 4th season, my first I joined really late and won a few games but finished 6th overall.

My 2nd season was much better, I dominated the comp for the whole season, only losing once I think and took the League Title, With that I entered my first Champions League and Cup... I only won one game in Champions League and sadly missed out on progressing, Cup... well I was only really in it for the money haha - I lost both games and came away only with money...

My 3rd season was tougher, I started the season trying to juggle a team around my obligations to League, Champions League and Cup which would sometimes be played same day and I had issues that I would play a League game at 6am and then at 8am I would play a Champions League game... Players would be tired by second game and wouldn't play as well...

So I struggled in League early but fought back midway through, led the league until 4 rounds to go when I dropped the bundle and finished 2nd... Still shaking my head over that as not sure how I drew and lost games against players well under my team....

Anyway still finished second and entered my 2nd campaign for Champions League and Cup.

Cup I managed to win my first 2 games which blew me out of the water, haven't won a cup game before so was a pleasant change... Beauty of it was, $1.58m per game was mine. I lost in straight sets in the Qualifying stage but was happy with how the team performed only narrowly losing - more importantly i received $2.36m per game...

Champions League is still going as we speak, Lost my first two games 3-0 & 1-0, since then i drew my next game 1-1 and just then demolished a team 5-0. So now I'm sitting 2nd on the ladder with 2 rounds to go and a good chance to progress further. Prize money isn't huge for this but I'm just excited to get further considering i've only won 2 champions league games in the career haha.



League, well again I started very slow, had some issues with the formation I was using and found I constantly changed the formation which was impacting the players and how they performed. A friend guided me into using a much better formation and since then have only drawn a game but scored 21-0 in last 4 league games... I'm now sitting 3rd on the ladder and should be good to finish 2nd overall - doubt I can overtake the first placed team.



For me its a great game, very addictive, alot needs to be added to it though and more of the nice functions needed. Personally I'd like to see things like;

*Ability to update squads for each game, so nominate a squad for League, Champions League and Cup
*Extra tournaments where you can buy into and compete against players on your level
*Cheaper players placed on a "Buy" now function, similar to Scout.
*Staff Hiring - ie: Recruiter, Scout, Finance Manager etc.

These are a few of the idea's i've sent to the creators to see if they can add, each has its factor, the main one for me would be the first. What players tend to get stuck on is being asleep while your squads play... sometimes if you have League & Champions League playing close together players can get fatigued.

My idea is in the squad screen have extra menu's available called Champions League & Cup, this way you can nominate which players will play. Now, the onus is completely then on the player, if they don't nominate then you have the default team selected at league level but this could be good.

For example I use 2 DR & 2 DC players which I rotate every game, they're all too good to get rid of and all rate around 7-8 per game so I decided I'd play them every 2nd game. This morning I played League and Champions League within 1.5 hours of each other, would have loved to be able to set my squads the night before for both games rather than one default squad playing each game.

So, if your reading this game and considering playing this going forward I give this a 4 star rating (out of 5).

If the makers can add more nice features like some I mentioned above it would move my rating up to a 4.5 atleast and push hard towards a 5, its fun, addictive and keeps the player second guessing every game, especially when they draw or lose...

The other positive, you get to play against people from all over the world, and friend them too if they're nice.

Try it out and enjoy!


**Update 24/01/13:

One feature I forgot to mention was the fact you can watch and manage the game as it happens, one good thing about that is should an injury occur you can be there straight away to take the player off. You do have the extra option too if its playing while your away of having automatic players to be subbed on should this happen...






I like to jump in after each game and check out the stats.

Here you can see your substitutions, carded players and scorers.








You can also check the performance of your players and if lucky who from your player scored man of the match.

As well as check below how many supporters attended the game: