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New Framework for Specialties & Special Events

2017-05-09 10:49:00

Our new system for specialties is more carefully balanced and will offer managers more interesting tactical choices, as well as open up new paths for strategic team-building.

The key changes will be a new, more transparent way to generate Special Events, big tweaks to the effects of all current specialties, two new unique player roles and the introduction of a completely new specialty.

Let's dig into the new stuff:

A New Specialty and New Unique Roles

We are introducing a new specialty, "Support Player," revamping the old "Regainer," and introducing two new unique roles: "Power Forward" and "Sitting Midfielder."

Stronger Link between Skills and Specialties

Specialties now have a stronger link with the skills of the players that are involved in a special event.

Generation Process

The most important change under the hood has to do with how we decide when and which special events are triggered, and how they play out.

Today, the match engine (ME) first decides which team will have a special event, giving the one with the most ball possession the best chance to win it. Once this is decided, the ME chooses a random player from that team. Finally the ME choose a category of events to check for (weather, quick, corners, etc.) and steps through those to see which one may be triggered for the selected player.

This system makes it quite hard to predict how a match may play out, and it is also tricky for us to balance and improve the system as a whole. So we rewrote this logic from scratch.

In the future, the process will follow a different logic. First the ME will decide if there is any event at all. If there is, it will choose between two main categories for the event: team events or individual events, and then choose an event type within that category.

As you can guess, anything related with the whole team (like corners and inexperience events) belong to the team event category and anything related to a single or two players belong to individual events. The latter will generally occur more frequently.

One big change is that each special event can happen more than once in a game. However, each time a specific event occurs, subsequent chances of it occurring again are lower.

Individual Events
Individual events are the most common special events, such as when a Quick rushes to score, or a Technical goes around a Head player.

When the ME has decided an Individual event will happen, it will no longer check ball possession to decide which team gets the chance, but instead check the actual players on both team, their specialties and their positions.

Example: If the ME decides to create a quick rush event, it will list all the relevant players from both teams and randomly pick one to get the event. This way, by comparing your lineup to that of your opponent, you will know in advance what your chances are to get a specific event. This will bring a new taste to all tactical choices.

Team Events
Team events will still depend on ball possession, so if the ME triggers one of these it will be awarded much like before, in a linear comparison between the midfield ratings.

Weather Events
Weather events will move outside the main special events process. Instead, the ME will check for them during the start of each half. If one is triggered, ALL the players on the field with the related specialty will be affected, losing or gaining a fixed percentage of their total contribution. A weather event usually lasts for the rest of the match. Sometimes, though, an event starting in the first half can be overturned for the second half.

Weather will matter more for players with specialties than it does today.

With the new generation process code, we are positive that we will be able to balance the specialties by their expected contribution and the events frequencies, something that was too difficult with the current one.

Specialties & Events

Now let's examine each specialty separately. Please note that for further details on each event, check our Dev Blog where we have published an overview of all the skills that will be used for each event.

Quick Events

Quick Scores
Any Winger, Inner Midfielder or Forward can start a quick rush to score. If the exact opposite player is also quick, then he has 100% chance to stop the attack. Otherwise, nearby quick players might stop it instead, but they have a much smaller chance of doing so.

Quick Passes
Again, Wingers, Inner Midfielders and Forwards can start a quick rush with potential for a subsequent pass.

Loses in Rain and Sun
In case of rain and sun, all quick players might suffer.

Boost on Counter Attacks
If you want to be an expert in Counter Attacks, you will need not only good passing skills, but also quick players to take advantage of CA opportunities. Any quick Winger, Inner Midfielder and Forward will give a small boost to the CA tactic. The effect will not be linear, the range starts from 0 and goes up to 2.8 tactic levels. Keep in mind that your opponent might reduce or nullify this boost depending on the number of quick players they have fielded as Wing Backs, Inner Midfielders and Defenders.

Technical Events

Technical Goes around a Head Player
This is known as a tech vs head special event. Any technical Winger, Inner Midfielder and Forward can take advantage of it if the player on the exact opposite position has a head spec.

Lose in Rain, Gain in Sun
Any technical player will suffer in rain and thrive in sun.

Technical Defensive Forwards
No change here. These players continue to have a boost of 33% of their passing on wing attacks.

Create a Non-Tactical Counter Attack
When you win the ball deep in your own half, it is a blessing to have a precise passer at hand. Every technical defender and wing back will give you a small chance to create a non-tactical counter attack from a missed normal chance of your opponent. Your chances to trigger an event increases with every technical defender you have (but it will not increase linearly).

Man Marking
During man marking, if your target is a technical player, then there might be a chance to have a bigger effect than any other player. If you keep him close to you, he will not have the space to do his magic.

Unpredictable Events

Unpredictable Long Pass
Goalkeepers, Defenders and Wing Backs might create chances with a long pass.

Unpredictable Scores on His Own
One on one with the goalkeeper. This event is for Wingers, Inner Midfielders and Forwards.

Unpredictable Special Action
Any unpredictable player (except keepers) may read their opponents, dribble, and find an opening pass. The player then receiving the pass would be a Winger or Forward.

Unpredictable Mistake
Wing Backs, Defenders and Inner Midfielders can have a bad day and make a fatal mistake. An opposing Winger or Forward can take advantage of this.

Unpredictable Boosts Play Creatively Tactic
More details later, but experience and passing will be important for every player to have in order to increase the play creatively tactic.

Man Marking
Since you cannot predict an unpredictable player, they will be harder to man mark than others.

Create a Non-Tactical Counter Attack
The events "Unpredictable scores on his own" and "Unpredictable special action," if attempted by a Winger or a Forward, might lead to a non-tactical counter attack for your opponent if they fail.

Powerful Events

Pressing Tactic
No change here. Defense skill counts double on the tactic level.

Lose in Sun, Gain in Rain
Same as before, all powerful players on the field will suffer in the sun, and will thrive in the rain.

Power Forward ("Powerful Normal Forward")

Size matters. If you have a big forward playing Normal, they can put their bodies in the right place, forcing a second chance to shoot and score after a normal chance for your team has been missed. Keep in mind that this physical play could result in yellow cards! For that reason, if your player has already been carded, he will tread more carefully in these situations.

Sitting Midfielder ("Powerful Defensive Inner Midfielder")

Lets your powerful midfielder play defensively so that he can concentrate on breaking up attacks and winning the ball. If he succeeds in pressing, the opponent's attack breaks down.

Man Marking
Powerful players will have an advantage when performing man marking.

Winger Events

Winger to Anyone
If your winger manages to break through the defense on his side of the pitch, he might pass the ball to the other Winger, Forward, or an offensive Inner Midfielder.

Winger to Head
Same as the previous event, but if the receiver has a head spec, then it will be far easier for him to score.

Corner Events
Corners will be more frequent than now, but they might be harder to succeed with.

Corner to Anyone
You need a good set piece taker and your offensive indirect set pieces will be tested against the defensive indirect set pieces of your opponent. If the ball receiver has good enough scoring skills to pass the keeper, then it's a goal.

Corner to Head
Same as the previous one, but instead of a good scoring player, you just need to win the fight between the headers of the two teams.

Both events might lead to a yellow card for the offensive team, but if your player is already carded he will be extra careful so the risk of a second yellow is lower than it would otherwise have been.

Inexperience Events

At the moment, the ME compares the total experience of the teams when checking for inexperience events, but if one of the teams is one player short, total experience will fall a lot. As a consequence, this team is currently much more likely to get any inexperience event. Now, the ME will use average experience.

Experienced Forward Scores

If your forward has great experience compared to the average experience of the opponents, and also high enough scoring to outwit the keeper, you might end up with a goal.

Inexperienced Defender

If your defender has low experience compared to the average experience of the opposing team, an opposing player may be able to win the ball and then get a crack at scoring.

Resilient (formerly known as Regainer)

Regainers are not a myth. They do exist, and now they will be more frequent. The frequency of their birth will increase by 50 times. If they get injured, their injuries will be less severe than they would otherwise have been, and they heal faster. They will also have their skill drop kick in at a slightly higher age than other players. To reflect the wider scope of their vigor and durability, this specialty will be renamed "Resilient."

Play Creatively
We will redesign the tactic and give it a visible tactic level, like any other tactic. Choosing to play creatively will increase the maximum number of special events in the match, but also reduce your defense ratings. Both experience and passing will be important for Play Creatively (passing more than experience) and unpredictable players will have a double effect.

For teams that choose Play Creatively, we will also increase the probability that when a Special Event is triggered, your team will get it - regardless of your ball possession or the number of specialties on your team. If both teams Play Creatively, this bonus will be void.

Overcrowding Penalty for Unique Players

With the new specialties, we have 3 unique combinations of specialties and positions: Technical Defensive Forwards (TDF), Powerful Normal Forwards (PNF) and Powerful Defensive Inner Midfielders (PDIM). If you field two of the same type, you will suffer a penalty on their contribution. If you field three, the penalty will be bigger. These effects will be rather small, just big enough to make you think twice about other alternatives.

New Specialty

A new specialty will come to Hattrick. The name will be "Support Player"." He will be rare, but not as rare as the Resilient/Regainer. We will start giving birth to them next season in the youth academies, but we will not share any details for now, more than the name hint.

When Will All This Happen?

We plan to release these changes to the game toward the end of this season, however they will only be available in Tournament games at first so that everyone has a chance to test or observe the mechanics before they enter the main game two seasons from now (early 2018).

During this time details may change as we consider your feedback and continue our own testing and balancing. If this happens, we will of course make further announcements before the final release.

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