An economy crashing, coin values depreciating, and people struggling to get by. You might think we’re talking about the current global crisis, but we’re actually referring to FIFA 22’s Ultimate Team market.
EA SPORTS restructured their most popular game mode in many ways, before releasing it to the public in September via an EA Play early access trial. At that time, FUT Club owners would have been stockpiling high-rated items, waiting for Squad Building Challenges and the eventual release of the Standard Edition for prices to potentially soar, as they usually do.
That moment never came this year.
Even now, take a scroll of your Twitter feed or load up the Web App for a quick look at the transfer market. You will see pretty good 83 and 84 rated cards just sitting around the 2,000 coin mark, and the problem is a lot of these cards take up slots as ‘boards’ in FUT Packs. Based on the pack weighting odds, you’re very likely to get a load of these really low-priced players in packs. The year before, this “fodder” would be worth a bunch of coins.
That is the very tip of the iceberg in many ways, but it’s a strong indicator that the restructure of the mode and launch editions has been a disaster.
FIFA 22’s restructure has broken the FUT market
The introduction of a 4,600 FIFA Points package built into the price of the Ultimate Edition – priced at $99.99 – appeared to be a major victory for players at first glance.
On top of that was Division Rivals being redefined into a competition that’s promotion and relegation based, making it seem like a good way to rack up rewards. And if you’re lucky enough to qualify for FUT Champs Weekend League, it’s well documented that you can grab some really great prizes for not winning a single match.
However, the effect this has had on trading has been like a landslide.
More players had access to packs than normal at launch, meaning the majority of the player base had an abundance of high-rated cards immediately. There’s never been any demand for these 83, 84, 85, and in some cases 86-rated players, driving down the potential asking price. That was expected to change at launch, and it didn’t. It was expected to improve with the addition of more SBCs, and it hasn’t.
Division Rivals rewards, SBCs & price issues
The Division Rivals rewards system, for casual players, is one that’s arguably not worth the time and effort. On a weekly basis, people are tweeting EA with their rewards and complaining about what they earned in return. Therefore, not only have we all been given a bounty of useless cards worth a few thousand coins on the FUT market, the rewards aren’t good enough to improve on that – unless you hit the jackpot with a free pack.
Now, the alternate view is clear. The market works really well in terms of affording decent cards to make an Ultimate Team. Jorginho (85) at Chelsea is fetching around 4,800 coins on a good day. That’s super for a casual player just starting out, and there’s no problem with that. I’m one of those casual players.
In the mid-range cards, though, there’s definitely been a concerning drop-off that will make it harder to accrue wealth in the mode.
We’ve actually gathered a list from FUTWIZ between FIFA 21 peak values and FIFA 22 at launch, to show you how poor the valuations are in the newest installment.
- Kai Havertz – FIFA 21 (112,000 coins) vs FIFA 22 (5,100 coins)
- Diogo Jota – FIFA 21 (10,000 coins) vs FIFA 22 (1,000 coins)
- Federico Valverde – FIFA 21 (68,000 coins) vs FIFA 22 (15,000 coins)
- Richarlison – FIFA 21 (45,000 coins) vs FIFA 22 (750 coins)
Each of these cards were given upgrades this year, and they’ve all fallen off a cliff.
The difference between the very best in the game and those worthless cards rated highly is so big that the grind becomes so tiring. In previous FIFAs, packing a few of these Havertz and Jotas would leave you with enough coins to make significant squad upgrades. This time, though, if you weren’t lucky with that 4,600 Points – or didn’t buy the Ultimate Edition – it’s going to be a slog.
For example, if you were building a Premier League team and wanted to replace your Diogo Jota (82) – who has good stats – for Heung Min-Son (89), you would have to sell a card of Jota’s level 150 times to afford that upgrade, without FIFA Points. This would be fine if the rewards system was more lucrative in Rivals, but it’s not. It would also be fine if the prices of top players fell down as well, but that’s not how it has played out. Kante at launch, for example, was pretty much the same price as he was when FIFA 21 launched. The same goes for Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, and others.
The grind is significantly more arduous without FIFA Ponts this year and the poor middle ground in the market means it’s even harder to climb the ladder.
It could get worse
The market is only going to get worse with the endless list of Ultimate Team promo events, too. These will continue to water down the already terrible prices.
There is actually nothing in the game to motivate players towards a Road to Glory. Not a single thing – and if you are trying to pull that off, you’re probably having a miserable time nine times out of 10. And what happens when you want a good team but don’t want to play for 40+ hours a week? You guessed it, they purchase more FIFA Points and hope for the best.
I’ve long been critical of the arguments made against EA on gambling, especially with the insane cards you could get in Squad Building Challenges and the rewards systems in-game. But this time around it’s fair to say that this system – if it was built to drive players towards more microtransactions – is indefensible.
Without question, EA and players alike will be hoping the more SBCs that are released requiring high-rated teams, the more balanced it will become. To challenge that theory, the two really exciting SBC offerings released so far have been Kalidou Koulibaly for 150/160,000 coins and Cristiano Ronaldo for 2.2 million, with 26 (twenty-six) teams to submit for it. The latter is unobtainable, and that’s intentional.
FIFA 22 needs a stimulus
To cut a long story short, there needs to be a change. A stimulus is needed to counterbalance the crashing of the economy so early into FIFA 22’s life cycle.
There are many ways that the developers could go about doing this, whether it’s a changing of the price limits on high-rated cards to get it under control or raise the floor of the 80+ rated valuations. Rewarding Squad Building Challenges will go some way in improving the valuation of players needed to complete it, but something needs to be done.
At present, items on the FUT market are decreasing all of the time, and holding onto assets hoping they jump up has proven to be a really wasteful strategy. Whether it’s a restructuring of the rewards system or a cash injection into player accounts to allow the economy in-game to bounce back, EA has got a decision to make. Do they continue down this path with a broken market, or step in with a stimulus that creates more transfer activity and drive up prices again?
Often you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of players wanting to complete their Road to Glory in Ultimate Team. But without FIFA Points, it’s looking like a Road to Nowhere.