Update: We've included some new Ultimate Team information – including an easier way to get your team off the ground.
- The contract length of your initial cards has been increased dramatically from seven last year to 45 matches. EA says it wants to do this so early players aren't forced to spend money to buy packs.
- Players will no longer have a preferred formation. This lets you experiment with different formations without a chemistry penalty.
- The Morale rating is gone for players. However, there is now the Loyalty chemistry bonus (see below) as well as a Manager one. The latter applies a chemistry bonus if the league or nationality of your active squad's manager matches that of a player.
Original Story: The pre-season period of exhibition matches frustrates and tantalizes fans who just want to get on to the business of life and death. In the video game world it's no different; let's stop talking about the game and start playing it. While we're still a little ways off from FIFA 14's September 24 current-gen release date, we're using this run-up time wisely. We got some hands-on time with an early build of the game and culled some useful info about Ultimate Team and Career mode's new scouting mechanic that may tide you over until release.
EA Sports says that Ultimate Team is FIFA's most played mode, and this year fans can look forward to a new feature that changes the way they approach their squads.
- Chemistry Style: Chemistry Style refers to over 20 consumable cards that you can apply to your players to change their attributes. For instance, play the Marksman consumable on your striker and his shooting, dribbling, and header attributes will go up.
- Players' attributes affected by their Chemistry Style can increase even more – indicated by chevrons on your players' card that change from white to green as their chemistry in the squad increases. Apart from the chevrons, your players' numbered attributes remain the same when a Chemistry Style card is played.
- All players – including your keeper – start out with the Basic style, but any players' Chemistry Style can be changed at any time.
- In this early build of the game, I didn't come across many Chemistry Style consumable cards unless I bought the Rare Consumable Pack. I don't know what the balance will be like in the final retail game.
- Here's a list of the game's Chemistry Styles and the attributes they affect:
(Note: You can apply an Attack Chemistry Style on a defender, for example, if you wish)
Basic: All keeper attributes are modestly upgraded
Legendary Players: Xbox 360 and Xbox One players can access Legendary cards for over 40 soccer superstars. These can be found in card packs and in the auction house.
Players on your UT squad confir a chemistry bonus for their loyalty. Players are loyal if they came with a pack you've opened or if they've played 10 matches in your squad.
You can once again play online single matches in the mode.
The number of divisions in UT Seasons has been doubled from five to ten.
Under the Squad Actions menu you can now change players' kit numbers and hand-pick who you want to take corners, free kicks, and penalties.
Scouts play a much more vital role for your club as part of the Career mode's Global Transfer Network.
You can hire up to six scouts who will scout existing players, and up to three for your youth system (the two scouting systems are separate). These scouts vary in salary and skill.
You can create up to six sets of scouting instructions based on the position, age, contract, and attributes you are looking for in a player. Scouts will accordingly look for players that fit these criteria in the regions of the globe you send them to.
Unlike the player search engine in previous games, you will not know concrete attribute numbers like the overall or speed rating until you fully scout a player over a period of time. Even then you will only be given a range. These reports also expire over time, which means you may have to re-scout a player if you cannot seal the deal during the current season's transfer window.
- You can still search for players using the old search engine, but it too does not divulge exact attribute numbers nor let you search by salary, name, or specific attributes.