FIFA 21 players are exploiting the game's unbalanced reward system by throwing matches to purposefully land in lower ranks. The game, like many of EA's annual sports franchises, has encountered some backlash following its release. In a shocking display of blatant, low-effort greed, EA admitted that the Switch version of the new sports game was essentially the same as its predecessor, forcing fans to pay full price for an almost nonexistent upgrade.
Unfortunately, that's far from the only problem that's been encountered with FIFA 21. When the game hit early access, so many people tried to download the ten-hour demo that EA Play crashed, forcing EA to struggle through alternate means of distributing the game. While the game itself is solid, and makes some decent improvements over last year's entry (assuming one isn't playing on Switch) it ultimately doesn't change much, following an unfortunate trend that's impacted a lot of EA's sports franchises. Madden NFL 21 is so guilty of this that fans have torn the game apart, and even demanded that NFL drop EA over it.
FIFA 21 Sales Way Down Over Last Year Ahead Of Next-Gen Version Launch
Now that FIFA 21 is out, it's being faced with a whole new problem. In a curious case of art imitating life, Eurogamer reports that FIFA 21 players are intentionally losing matches and relegating themselves to lower ranks in Division Rivals, the game's competitive multiplayer mode. Players are avoiding the top ranks like the plague thanks to two unfortunate balancing decisions made by the developers. The first is the rewards. Player Dincht04 compares the rewards for landing in the top rank of Division 4 to landing in the second rank in Division 1. Even though Division 1 is higher, the rewards for getting a better rank in a lower division are arguably better; one option gives the player 65,000 coins, while an option in Division 1 rank 4 rewards only 55,000. This inferiority is exacerbated by the second issue. FIFA 21 has placed a 30 game cap on weekly score contributions for Division Rivals. The top rank is all but impossible to achieve in that time, and since rank 2 is so unappealing, there's no reason to proceed past Division 4.
It's depressing to see how unbalanced the game's multiplayer is, because the 30 game cap isn't a bad thing in and of itself. It prevents players who don't have time to commit to the grind from being blown away by committed fans who do. But combined with the high skill ceiling necessary to reach rank 1, the game cap becomes very hard to navigate. Fortunately, at least one of these problems is an easy fix; Division 1 rewards are clearly in need of a significant buff.
Despite EA's constant fumbles, the company has produced a soccer game that people do enjoy playing. There's plenty to like about FIFA 21, like its realistic facial scans of real-life athletes. This unbalanced multiplayer experience is an unfortunate roadblock preventing fans from enjoying their soccer sim to the fullest. Hopefully EA will improve it soon, and render FIFA 21 the game fans want it to be.
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