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New Match Engine Details

2015-06-23 11:30:00

In our roadmap from one month ago we announced upcoming changes to the match engine. Here are more details regarding how we plan to achieve a Hattrick that is better balanced and which allow users a wider range of competitive tactics and formations.

We have stated three main goals for the current work on the match simulation engine. We want to create more balanced tactics, ensuring that users can use a wider range of tactics and formations and still be competitive. We want to strive for more “realistic” results in matches, which means fewer games that end with very improbable results. And we want to further boost transparency in the game, giving users better information and overall better tools to make good decisions for their teams. The following changes all play into this in different ways.

Smarter pullback

The pullback mechanic serves a purpose in that it can keep a game tight, even if one team is considerably stronger. But it also has flaws, mainly that the pullback is seen as a little unpredictable and too punishing when it does happen. Pullback is the only effect in Hattrick that happens entirely outside the managers control and, while that can certainly be frustrating, it is also highly realistic that the game includes this kind of dynamic. As everyone knows, the psychology of how a match evolves is a hugely important and interesting part of soccer. We decided to reduce the impact of pullback, rather than remove it, but to also make it a little smarter and more predictable.

When a pullback is triggered, it will now reduce your attack by 15 % (instead of 20 %) while adding an extra 10 % to defense (instead of, as before, 15 %).

A team will now automatically stop pulling back if the match is equalized. Also, pullback will never happen when you have given the “Match of the Season” instruction. Also, if your team is in a National Cup final, a World Cup final or a Hattrick Masters final, pullbacks won’t happen either.

Match dynamics

We are also introducing a separate mechanic, which we call match dynamics. There are gradual, non-random adaptations that the team makes to the way the play, and which are affected by what’s happening on the pitch.

The first match dynamic effect we are adding is similar to pullback and in essence replaces some of the random effect we remove, replacing it with a predictable one. Whenever a team is two goals ahead, the team will naturally play more carefully, losing 6.25 % of their attack value and gaining instead 5 % of defense value. If the lead is extended to three goals, the effect is doubled, if the lead is four goals, the effect is tripled, and so on. The effect will cease if the goal difference drops to just one goal, but can come back later if circumstances allow.

This match dynamic effect has the same limits as the updated pullback event, that is it won’t happen when a team is going for “Match of the Season”, neither when it is playing in a National Cup final, a World Cup final or a Hattrick Masters final.

Having players react to the context of a game is a completely new idea in Hattrick, but one we want to continue building on. In this first version, we take some of the existing effects from the pullback event and use it to create a match dynamic around goals difference while the game is played. But there are many other things we can add into this later on, such as reactions to fans, to cards, to time remaining in a game, and so on. This is a first step and we decided to limit ourselves to the known territory of pullbacks for now, but more changes is likely to come in future seasons as we evaluate these first changes.

Player contributions reform

The biggest single change is the adjustments we make to player contributions, how efficiently a player in a certain position contributions with his individual skills to the overall team effort. Some positions and skill combinations have been overpowered and needs to be dialed down a bit, others get a small boost. One main theme is that the power of the wing attack is reduced at the expense of the central attack. Overall, we reduce the offensive effectiveness of teams a little bit, which also has good effects for the game as a whole. We have seen that with the new player contributions, fewer goals are scored but also that more games on average ends with the better team as the winner. This is in line with our wish for fewer improbable match outcomes.


The offensive winger is very powerful today, and also the individual tactic that is overwhelmingly most often used for wingers. We reduce the power of the offensive winger, making the other tactical options for wingers more viable.

Winger (Normal)
Passing increase of 16% for central attack
Winger reduction of 13 % on side attack

Winder (Defensive)
Winger reduction of 20 % on side attack

Winger (Offensive)
Playmaking reduction of 20 % on midfield
Defense reduction of 20 % on central defense
Winger reduction of 14 % on side attack

Winger (Toward Middle)
Playmaking increase of 10 % on midfield
Passing increase of 25 % on side attack
Winger increase of 7% on side attack


It is a little too hard today to build a credible side defense. This will be made a little easier now. We also boost the midfield contribution of the offensive defender, a tactical option that is today underused.

Central Defender (Normal)
No change

Central Defender (Offensive)
Playmaking increase of 21 % on midfield

Central Defender (Toward Wing)
Defending reduction of 9 % on central defense
Defending increase of 6 % on side defense

Wing Back (Normal)

Defending reduction of 8 % on central defense

Inner Midfielders

All inner midfielders (except inner midfielder toward wing) will now contribute to central attack through their scoring skills. This opens up for more multi-skilled players and new training combinations.

Inner Midfielder (normal)
Passing increase of 5 % on central attack
New scoring on central attack same as 21% of normal forward

Inner Midfielder (Defense)
Passing reduction of 20 % on central and side attack
New scoring on central attack same as 12% of normal forward

Inner Midfielder (Offensive)
Passing increase of 5 % on central attack
Defending reduction of 25 % on central defense
Defending reduction of 25 % on side defense
New scoring on central attack same as 31% of normal forward

Inner Midfielder (Toward Wing)
Passing increase of 6 % on central attack


Forwards that play normal will also contribute a little bit to midfield. Side forwards (that play either to the right or to the left) will now only contribute to the side they are attacking on.

Forward (Normal)
New playmaking on midfield same as 25% of normal midfielder

Forward (Toward Wing)
New playmaking on midfield same as 15% of normal midfielder

Side forwards (RFW/LFW)
Contribution to near side attack increases by 30 %
Contribution to far side attack removed

The update at hand is the biggest change to the match engine in at least five years. Given the size of the changes, it will not be activated in the main Hattrick match engine until Season 60 (the season starting in late October). This upcoming season, Season 59, the new match engine will be used only in the Tournament system. This way, we as developers will get a lot more data to verify that the changes work as we think they do before they are moved to the competitive main game. Also, we hope that getting another season to think about and observe how these changes work will give users ample time to research and prepare for the change. This goes for all the match engine changes: Pullback, match dynamics, and player contributions.

Show all chances

In order to make matches easier to analyze after they have been played, we will show the statistics for all chances in the games that have been played. Today, some chances are “hidden” - they happen as part of the match simulation, but lead to nothing and are not reported. These formerly hidden chances will still not appear in your match report, but after the game you will be able to see an overview of all chances that were created in the game and also where they happened. This makes a closer analysis of your tactics much easier.

Heads Up: New Tactical Coach staff member

The system with offensive and defensive coaches have always been present in Hattrick, but that doesn't mean that it is the best possible mechanic. Almost every competitive manager will opt for the neutral, which makes this a rather uninteresting choice. Also, attaching a tactical option to an expensive coach means there is very little flexibility to make quick changes. Meanwhile, we have seen in National Teams that it is fun and interesting when teams have the ability to switch more easily between offensive or defensive tactics.

What we will do in Hattrick is to complement the coaches we have with a new Tactical Coach staff member. Having a coach with a certain style will still be possible, but teams with a Tactical Coach will have the option to choose any defensive or offensive orientation, regardless of the preferred style of the coach. Also, a Tactical Coach will open up more Individual order for the team, one extra slot per level.

The Tactical Coach will also only be introduced at the start of Season 60, in late October, at the same time the new match engine goes live.

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