I actually only play FIFA for the single playeer career mode and I must say, FIFA 18 feels like a step back compared to '17. I always enjoy taking a 4th division English team all the way up to the PL. Sadly, there are so major issues with the new features that got added, that it's hurting the SP experience. In some cases these flawed new features are just frustrating, but not gamebreaking, but in other cases they are actually hurting the gameplay big time.
I've been waiting for patches to fix some of the issues, which they should be entirely fixable, but some issues I encountered are purely game design.
Let's start with the first new feature that did nothing but hurt career mode: Squad Hub
First problem with Squad Hub is the attributes tab, which replaced the useful tab of Squad Report - the tab in which you tracked player growth.
For some unknown reason it has been decided to leave out multiple attributes that you should be able to track in the new Squad Hub, like Vision and Strength. Why on earth did those get removed? It is highly annoying not being able to monitor the growth of the youthful talents you incorporate in your main team.
Second annoying thing about squad hub is that it's a mess. Why do we have 4 different tabs when the old system worked just fine? Why is the "contract" page from the 17 career suddenly included in to the '18 squad hub? Having all this stuff in different tabs makes it hard to track all of it and keep it organized. Contracts are part of the manager functions so they should be in either the office tab, or maybe in the transfer tab, definitly not in the squad hub.
There was also nothing wrong with the old transfer system. We used to be able to select whether we wanted to sell or loan out players in one in the transfer window, but now we have to go to squad hub -> financial go to the player and then select the transfer option we want. Same thing with contracts, we now have to go to squad hub -> financial and then pick one of the 2 new options to negotiate contracts (and both those new options are pretty awful additions too, but I'll get to that in a bit).
It seems like EA has tried to bunch all the squad activities together to make it easier to work with, but they have overdone it and now it's messier than ever.
Flawed new addition number 2: Contract negotiations.
There is a major flaw in the contract negotiations as in you can NOT offer a player a full contract of role, wage, contract length. Instead you have to start at role, then go to length and finish it off with the wage. This makes no sense.
For instance, when you work your way up through the leagues, and have a semi-decent youth player with great growth potential, you want to bind him to you for a longer period, to avoid him being poached away by a big club. But, if I want to make him sign a long-term contract I first need to offer him an important role, but that's not always possible to do, because the player still has to grow and I can't afford to player with a much weaker talent, instead of the better & more experienced player. This makes it incredibly hard to hold on to youthfull players.
Now if we could offer a full contract and then negotiate about each part of the contract individually, that would make sense. I could offer that talented player a very good wage IF he's willing to sign for a longer period & agrees to a less important squad role. Being able to offer a full contract would thus actually solve a lot of problems regarding making players stay.
Furthermore, the delegate option for contracts is as useful as Anne Franks drumkit because you can neither influence the contract length nor squad role, just the wage. Having no control over these 2 options makes the delegate option pretty useless.
There are actually more problems with contracts.
Flawed new addition number 3: Promoting Youth Players to your main squad
This baffled me the most out of all things they messed about with from '17. For some infuriating reason I can no longer offer the contract to the youth players when they join the main squad, instead, the game generates a contract for the players automatically, including the squad role?! Now how does this hurt the game?
In my first season I scouted a great goalie. He's now already rated 74 halfway through the 2nd season and does not want to extend his contract for another year due to "wanting a new adventure" (read he's too good). This means that in 1,5 seasons I need to have a good replacement goalie ready to take his place. Luckily for me, I scouted 2 more great goalies with great potential.
To speed up the growth of these 2 goalies I promoted them both to the main squad. Problem is now: They both got the Important role. How is this a problem? Now both are angry as hell, because they only get to play a couple of games this season, and one already requested a transfer that I can not cancel. This means I'm down to 1 goalie and have to search for another good back up goalie when my main goalie, with role crucial goes on his new adventure.
Sure, I could buy a new goalie, but money is limited when you're advancing with a 4th division team and this was just something that should not have happened if only they didn't mess about with the system.
Was there anyone that ever even complained about manually making the contract offers to youth players? I highly doubt it. They literally broke something by trying to fix something that wasn't broken at all.
And one more thing about negiotating:
When we loan a player from another club we have to negotiate about the % of wage we want to take over from the team loaning us that player. But when the player himself wants to loan out a player, there is no such negotiation.
For me, as I try to progress through the leagues, it would be very useful to be able to stall my developping youth players in a league I just promoted out of, so that they get a lot of playtime and grow quickly, yet I can not set the option of loaning out a player for 0, resulting in a massive increase of failed transfers in '18 compared to '17.
It just feels like all these new features are so rushed, not tested and not thought through, creating a very frustrating career mode.
Lack of new addition: Training of certain skills missing
Final point is the lack of being able to train certain skills effectively. Why is there no goalie reaction training? Surely that's part of a normal goalkeepers training IRL.
Why can we still not train strength? Why does stamina not get a massive boost when one of my players is fit as can be and played 50+ matches in a single season? Surely my box-to-box midfielder should have had a bigger stamina boost than +3, taking him from 52 to 55?
Things like these are severely hurting the growth of youth players and are making them less useful. Especially now that acceleration & sprint speed have been slightly nerfed. Strength is more important than ever and we still can not influence it in the career mode, which makes no sense because hitting the gym is seemingly something that every players does once they join the Premier league, for instance.
Fixing this would also make youth player more valuable. Currently the only players that can actually reach their potential are very physical players and/or very fast wingers. Simply because Strength, Speed, Reactions and some other factors cannot be trained and grow very very slowly over the season.
Anways, that's that. There are some other minor things that are annoying, like that latest news takes about 30 seconds to update, it's even harder to track the transfers that take place, and that the scheduling of matches doesn't make sense (I had a league match on tuesday and then an european game on wednesday?), but those are very minor issues compared to the things stated above.
This'll probably be ignored anyway, but atleast I tried.