The vast majority of FIFA 17 players will spend most of their time in Ultimate Team.
FIFA Ultimate Team is the most popular mode in the series, so much so that it generates more money for EA in micro-transactions than sales of the main game itself.
Has Ultimate Team (often known as FUT) somehow passed you by? Fear not, here’s everything you need to get yourself in the know.
FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Guide – What's new?
FIFA 17 includes a new mode called FUT Champions, which is a reimagining of Online Tournaments. Winning a Daily Knockout tournament qualifies you for a place in the Weekend League, where you are challenged to win as many matches as you can from a set number of fixtures. This triggers rewards, which can help build your side for the next competition.
Related: FIFA 17 vs PES 2017
Consistently qualifying for, and impressing in, the Weekend League moves you up the Monthly Leaderboard tiers, which could land you some of the exclusive FUT Champions items. And, if you really do dominate, you can end up qualifying for the real-life competition – the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the finals for which were held in New York last year. Not bad for a quick game of FIFA.
FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Guide – The Basics
The most common comparison used to describe FUT is like a digital version of football stickers. You collect packs of players – and various other items, like kits, club crests, staff, stadiums – from which you can build your squad. That team can be used in both online and offline modes, and can feature players from every league on the game. Using your random collection of stars, you enter various tournaments and competitions, earning coins with which to strengthen your squad.
Some people play as collectors, others to build the, erm, ultimate team – in either case, it’s compelling and time-consuming. One great way of jumping into FUT is by using the Draft mode, which will let you generate a random selection of cards from which to pick your line-up for a four-game tournament, again either online or offline.
FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Guide – Player Ratings
In FUT players are split into three categories depending on how good they are: Bronze, Silver and Gold. A Gold player is anyone rated 75 or higher overall, while Bronze players are those rated 64 or below. That’s not to say you only want Gold players, though. Some online tournaments have entry restrictions, which might include only using Bronze or Silver players.
Related: PS4 Pro vs PS4
Each of those broad categories are broken down into Normal, Rare and In Form cards – the latter featuring stat boosts to players who are performing well in real life, and are updated on a weekly basis through FIFA’s Team of the Week. The In Form cards, noticeable thanks to their black background, do not automatically replace your existing Normal cards – they’re just extras to collect. There are also annual and semi-regular special cards released, but that’s something to worry about further down the line.
FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Guide – Building a Team
A big part of how your team will perform is down to its Chemistry. This is based on the relationship and familiarity between your line-up. It's something that will improve over time, the more you use them together, but it is also influenced by nationality, division played in, club played for and playing them in their natural position.
Related: FIFA 18 wishlist
If two of your players gel well, this will be indicated by a green link between them. This line being yellow indicates an average connection, while red conveys little or no chemistry. Your squad has a maximum chemistry rating of 100, and many players will adopt different tactics to maximise theirs – from vowing to buy players only from La Liga, from the two Manchester clubs, or from England. Reaching 100 Chemistry isn’t as easy as simply composing the team that fits the relevant parameters – you will face constant challenges to this, as players must have a contract to play for your team – and these are generally limited to seven matches. So you’ll also need to collect Contract cards, under player items, to keep your strongest XI together. Similar ‘consumables’ can be used to affect fitness, morale and how your side looks.
FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Guide – The Transfer Market
One of the biggest appeals of FUT is the collecting element, and the luck of the draw opening new packs. So, naturally, there is a marketplace for trading, to really capture that ‘swapsies’ feel of the school playground.
On the transfer market, you can buy and sell players for FIFA Coins, in the form of auctions or a fixed price listing. One thing worth remembering is that any sale is subject to a 5% FUT tax. You can also buy packs of players in the trading area, using FUT Points, aka real cash, rather than the in-game coins you earn through matches.
Related: Nintendo Switch preview
This is one of the bigger frustrations with FUT, that people can buy their way to glory – but, then again, that’s also the case in the real-life Premier League. For those working to a budget, there are good times to hunt for bargains – the market tends to crash around Christmas. Player prices drop here because the market becomes flooded with players from all the newbies getting the game on December 25th, and so the demand goes down. This is also worth considering when weighing up whether to flog that Paul Pogba card you got in your first pack – sell him well before December to maximise profit.
There’s also a deal to be had during the January transfer window. As players move in real-life, updated versions of them at their new club are released – and some gamers will want to ditch the ‘old’ cards at knockdown prices.