The debate started on the SI forums precisely six minutes after the beta was released: is FM22 too easy?
It’s an almost impossible job for SI to balance out the difficulty level for casual players who just want to play for a few hours every month and, well, folk like us (guys? You with me?) who dream up tactics in the bath, stalk wonderkids and know the middle names of the lead game developers. (Just me then?).
If you’re finding it all a bit too easy, here are some ways to stiffen the FM22 challenge.
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Start without experience
FM22 doesn’t have difficulty levels. There’s no slider in the Preferences menu that allows you to make the game harder.
However, in the manager profile that you set up at the start of every career, you are given the option to choose your coaching badges and previous experience. If you want to make the game as tricky as possible, select no coaching badges and set your previous experience to Sunday League footballer.
This means you’ll be about as much use as a bacon sandwich on the training ground, and the players will have more respect for the kit man when you first start dishing out instructions, forcing you to earn their loyalty with results.
Having already sabotaged your CV, you can now make life even harder by placing yourself in the dole queue. In the dropdown menu at the top left of the screen where you choose the club you want to manage at the start of a career, you’ll find the option to begin unemployed.
With no coaching badges and a playing career that went no further than the Dog & Duck Second XI, you’re not going to be signing on the dotted line at Anfield if Klopp decides to spend more time with his teeth. Indeed, you might have to keep hitting continue for a few months before you’re even offered a job at all.
Take the first offer that comes along and build your way up from the bottom.
Make scouting more realistic
Although data is flooding through professional football, most managers can’t sit there with a laptop and find the ten wingers with the best crossing attributes in the country by doing a simple search.
If you want to up the difficulty level, impose some restrictions on yourself to make the game more realistic. Only sign players that either your scouts have uncovered or you’ve seen for yourself (when playing other teams, for example). If you really want a challenge, hand over all transfer activity to your director of football, so that you only get to work with what you’re given.
Don’t Google for lists of Columbian wonderkids that you can pick up for the price of a pack of pork scratchings, and then complain that the game is too easy.
Don’t stop moving
There’s no denying the satisfaction of taking a club from the Bosnian conference to Champions League winners and getting the stadium named after you. But once you’ve cracked it at a club and the money keeps rolling in, the challenge fades.
Take S Club’s advice – and that’s the only time these words have ever appeared on screen – and don’t stop moving. Set yourself a hard limit of five seasons at any one club – enough time to turn them round, but not long enough to build a dynasty. Then make sure the next job you take is lower down the pyramid.
Sell your star player every summer
Poor old Dean Smith. He’s chugging along, posting season-on-season improvements at Villa, and then City sign Grealish the Wonderhorse. Within a few short months, he’s reduced to managing Norwich.
The game gets a lot harder when your best player is whisked away. So set yourself the challenge of selling your top star every summer and see how you fare.
You can find out who your Key Player is by clicking on your club in the league table and switching to the General tab on that page. Make sure he’s sold by September, taking a low-ball offer if you must.
If you fancy a Premier League challenge, read our tips on managing West Ham in FM22.