MY FM22 EXPERIENCE, AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR FM23

Way, way back at the end of FM18’s life cycle I wrote a post called ‘What I learned playing FM18’. Looking back now, it was garbage! (It does still exist on the internet, but I won’t be linking it here 🙈 brownie points if you can find it!)

It was a very mundane list of things that I wanted to change about how I played Football Manager, under the guise of mini epiphanies I’d had when thinking about my lack of engaging saves that year.

This year, I’ve had the same kind of feelings. Apart from a mini revival in mid-August for a few weeks I’ve barely touched the game since March! This obviously put a stop to creating any content, plus I’m not overly vocal on social media so I just kind of disappeared. This post is just going to be a bit of a ramble, a talk through what happened to my saves, why I didn’t play for so long, and what I plan to do about content going forward. (Yes I’m afraid there will be more 😆)

I’ll probably hate this post in a few years time too, but here goes!

FM22 HYPE

FM21 was easily my best year as a content creator. I had a save called ‘El Violeta’ with Defensor Sporting that I thoroughly enjoyed, lasting 8 seasons before finishing up with a spell as the Uruguay manager. Alongside that, I started branching out into other types of content, starting my Tactical Aspects series, and writing a few standalone posts that were a bit different from my norm. I was also very fortunate and grateful to be able to contribute posts for FM Base, 5 Star Potential, and amazingly Football Manager’s official blog, The Byline. This, combined with the announcement of the Data Hub and the Wide Centre-Back, made me more excited for FM22 than I probably had been for any new version of FM ever. The site was expanding and doing well, I was excited for the game and my save idea, and I was ready to hit it hard and keep the momentum going.

THE FAILURE OF DE HERSTART

De Herstart was the name I gave to my main FM22 save, with FC Volendam from the Netherlands. When I decided on the save, I had been inspired by Das Reboot, a book by Raphael Honigstein that focused on the rebuild of German football after their decline in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. With the Dutch national team missing out on Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, I felt this was a comparable narrative and would be interesting to incorporate into a long-term save. Just rebuilding the Dutch national team wouldn’t be much of a long-term save though, so my idea was to start with a lower level Dutch side and focus on youth development to supplement the national team, maybe picking up the Dutch U21 job early on to have a path towards the senior team. None of this ever came to fruition though, and as much as I enjoyed the first season of the save, it was already far away from the ideas I had in my head for the save.

From a content point of view, I massively over complicated how I was going to present the save and bit off far more than I could chew. I was writing my usual informative pieces, using Sky Sports article style posts here and there, but had also decided to try and add narrative pieces to the story too, something I hadn’t really tried to do since way back in the days where I was doing LMA Manager save updates on the Codemasters forum!

Narratives certainly aren’t my forte, unlike the GOAT FM_Grasshopper, and they aren’t posts I’m particularly proud of if I’m being honest. By halfway through the second season of the save I was finding myself having to grind to get posts out, and then putting out content I wasn’t particularly pleased with – a feeling I never got while writing about Defensor. If I was to look back on all of the written content I’ve produced since late 2017 and rank a top 10, I don’t think any De Herstart posts would make it. By trying to do too much, I feel I actually regressed as a creator. A combination of that, and a season of successful but really boring football to keep us in the Eredivise saw me lose interest, and sadly the save fizzled out.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE?

Although the content stopped, I still had the itch to play FM after the Volendam save ended. I had a relatively short save with Newcastle United and all their millions, not exactly a challenge, but it was fun to splash some cash and have a proper play with a back three! The save did also give me something I haven’t had on FM since 2016(?) – a Ballon D’Or winner! Have a look at this beast, Mikkel Bang, signed from Midtjylland for £7.25m and the best player in the world at the age of 19!

After 6 seasons that reaped 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 1 Carabao Cup and a UEFA Champions League, I was done with the save. I’d love to see how Bang and some of my other wonderkids would have developed over 10 more years of the save, but the thrill was gone, winning was stale, and real life was getting in the way big time. I won’t go into detail, nobody needs to be bored with that, but a lack of available time and some added stresses meant that FM took a back seat and eventually became an after thought for months.

After a long, long time away, I finally got back to playing FM with a brief one season save with Rangers. It was a lot of fun, especially as I made getting attacking outputs from James Tavernier a focus (there may be a post on this at some point). Being at a club that is one of the best in their division but struggling to make much headway in Europe felt a bit like jumping in halfway through a longer term save though (which I guess was kind of the point, it’s the kind of save I want in 23 but didn’t have the time to start it on 22), so having won everything domestically and reaching the Champions League knockouts in attempt one meant I didn’t really want to carry on, I’d have needed more seasons than I had time for to develop the Newgens and squad I’d need to make a real challenge.

GOING FORWARD

FM23 is right around the corner, and as always, it’s pre-ordered and ready to roll as soon as the BETA drops! At the time of writing we’ve had the initial headline features release, and although I’m obviously very excited for the new game, it hasn’t blown me away. There are some big things I’d like to have seen updated, namely the set-pieces and international management as many others have talked about. However, it still looks like a step forward, the planner in particular looks like a great feature, and as always there will be loads of little quality of life touches that just make the game feel more enjoyable to play.

In terms of content, I will be back to producing on the blog again, and although I’m not somebody who looks to just stay in their comfort zone, I think it’s important to reflect on what trying too many new things did to my drive to produce content this year so it’ll be back to the more informative style posts, rather than trying to force too many storylines.

I’d also really like to try to connect more with the community over the coming months with the new release! I’ve had some great chats with some great people, but I’m also aware I go very quiet very quickly so I’d like to reach out more and more! That being said, if you’re interested in chatting FM with a group of good people then join the On the Break discord server by clicking HERE, and follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with what I’m doing!

Hopefully this hasn’t been too much of a ramble, like I said at the start of the post I’ll probably hate this when I look back on it this time next year, I’m not a huge fan of it now! 🙈 I wanted to put something out and just explain my thoughts on my lack of content this year, especially after FM21 was such a great year as a creator for me. I did things I never thought possible and that’s where I want to get back to. Bring on FM23!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s