Futmas time is upon us with New Year’s is right around the corner and while everyone is feverishly throwing away coin on special squad builder challenges (for untradeable players) and a never ending slew of pack offers, I’m sitting here thankful for the players I have and not for those I don’t have. Kurt Cobain once said, “Dreaming of the person you want to be is wasting the person you are”. Those words resonate in Ultimate Team to some degree. FUT will always leave you wanting more, there will always be a newer, better card that you’ll desire. That’s just how it works. A never ending cycle of trying to fulfill an unquenchable level of gratification. So instead of wishing and praying that you one day pull a Messi or reach the 1% status with every 90+ rated player, let’s rejoice and embrace the positive aspects of FUT and not the dark demons it can bring about.

1. Don’t Be An Asshole

I was going to leave this out for the sole fact that it really should be common sense but since common sense is lacking in the majority of the population (just go look at the results of our electoral college) I felt like it’s necessary to state the obvious. The social media trolling, the vulgar in game comments and inappropriate DM’s in the Playstation and Xbox world is a disgusting place. The vile, hate filled speech that goes on is inappropriate in so many levels. My buddy @ThatSportsGamer had an extreme such encounter last night playing FIFA. Go check out the video here, fair warning NSFW.

As much as I love the FIFA game (I do love it but I’ll be the first to criticize and blast its’ gameplay) it has the worst online community. I’m sorry but it’s a miserable group of people. I don’t know what it is about this game but it brings out the demons in people. Believe me I know, I experience the rage all the time but never to the extent of lashing out at an opponent. It’s just a game, no one is dying, there is nothing important on the line. Don’t be an asshole.

2. Don’t Dream About The 1%

Just like in real life, 99% of us will never grow up to become a millionaire or billionaire. It’s a reality that not everyone wants to face. You aren’t selling yourself short by realizing you won’t become filthy rich. In fact those that blindly dream of becoming that are likely to have delusions of grandeur and are disconnected from reality. They’re the type that thinks “If I could only win the lottery”. Sorry it doesn’t work that way and becoming a 1% in FUT probably isn’t going to happen either.

In order to become a FUT multi-millionaire you are going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of your money. You just can’t organically manufacture that much coin via grinding matches and buying/trading through the transfer market. Unless you hit the lottery (Messi, Ronaldo, In Form Pogba, etc) you’re never going to have an abundance of wealth without spending a small fortune on FUT packs. If you never dream about being that 1%’er you won’t be disappointed when pulling those players or accumulating that much coin doesn’t happen.

3. FUT Responsibly (Clean Ultimate Team)

As I’ve said time and time again spending money on FUT is a fruitless proposition for the majority of us. You can drop an infinite amount of money on FUT packs and be guaranteed nothing in return. I feel like a broken record but Clean Ultimate Team is the way to go. Do not give your hard earned money to EA Sports FIFA for fictional digital content without any guarantees for a return. The resentment and anger that builds up from spending hundreds (sometimes thousands if you’re addicted) on Ultimate Team will grow and grow with every mediocre pack pull.

Everything done in FIFA Ultimate Team is done with calculation and precise measuring. Everything from Happy Hours, Lightning Rounds, releasing special SBC’s for a particular card, they’re all done for a reason. Those reasons are generally to get you to spend money right now only for that card that’ll become obsolete or devalued shortly there after. They do things to tweak supply and demand and everything is done in their favor. You don’t beat the casino in gambling if you keep playing, it’s impossible. Keep your money and stop fighting a battle you have no chance of winning. Please FUT responsibly.

4. Don’t Believe The Hype

For the love of God stay away from believing what you see on Twitter and YouTube. These “big name” streamers and gamers are not reality. These guys are generating money from ad revenue, sponsorships, etc. to pay for their FUT teams.  I highly doubt they are tapping into their bank accounts to pay for FUT packs, these guys are in bed with EA Sports. When they do post a video “OMG I PULLED AN INSANE 97 IF RONALDO” just think about how many packs they ripped to get to that point. Do you really think it happened on their first few tries? Think again the magic of editing is a wonderful thing and all of these clowns do it. Nothing pisses me off more than these streamers who post their video titles in all caps, we get it…you’re excited. Got it.

One particular streamer, this wanker from England, the last I checked was sitting on 12.5 million coin and 62,000 FIFA points. Right now if you spent $20 you get 2,200 FIFA points (110 points per dollar), if you spent $40 then you get 4,600 points (115 points per dollar). Let’s just assume the 115:1 ratio, if you have 62,000 FIFA points that means presumably you spent $539 on packs. And then on top of that to already have 12+ million coin the amount spent on packs is easily in the thousands. What is the fucking point? When you have that much coin and your card catalog includes pages and pages of In-Form cards what is the mother f’n point? You can buy any card you want, you can buy your way into any squad builder, what is the point?

Guys like this piss me off and I refuse to follow them. I know the community loves guys this like, the jackass up in Vancouver and this other guy in Chicago but I can’t stand them. I generally don’t like FIFA streamers at all, I find them all over the top and ridiculous. Their videos are usually pack openings and squad building banter, I hardly see any gameplay. Everyone wants to be a celebrity and to me that’s pathetic. Give me the real people who generate quality content and do it for the love of doing it, not these wannabe internet celebrities.

The media managers create a positive bias by retweeting the amazing pack pull screenshots, these are the exception, not the rule. The buzz gives the appearance that “hey it could happen to you too”. Guess what? It can’t… Sure from a mathematical standpoint it’s possible but it’s as likely as winning the lottery or digging in your backyard and finding a sack of diamonds. I don’t blame the community & social media managers, it’s their job to bring hype and exposure to their game but just be smart enough to realize for every five amazing packs there are 50,000 garbage packs.

5. Balance Online and Offline Gameplay

Not everyone in the world is set up to be a competitive gamer. We all don’t have the skills, desire or composition to be one of those gamers. It’s okay, contrary to what the gaming companies want you to think you don’t need to be an online prodigy. The more games and the industry moves towards competitive gaming the more I find them pushing me away. I’m turned off by the whole aspect.

The rise of competitive gaming and online modes for rewards and achievements has created an increased level of douchebaggery within the community. Sportsmanship is already suspect in online competition and with the introduction of FUT Champions/Weekend League any type of common code of decency is thrown out the window. Exploiting glitches (backing out before ball crossed goal line in 0-0 game resulted in draw not loss), parking the bus the entire game, pinging the ball from goalie to defender when leading 1-0, anything to get the other person to back out and quit. It’s a miserable existence all predicated on qualifying for the weekend league and once you’re there accumulating as many wins as possible out of the 40 matches that you can so you can tap into the luscious rewards they offer in the Elite & Gold tiers.

There’s no shame in offline play, do both, mix it in, don’t feel compelled to only play online. The CPU difficulty is more challenging this year so playing on World Class is no walk in the park. You can have fun playing tournaments or seasons offline without the stress online games. If you do play online and get whipped just take your ‘L’ and move on, it’s not worth getting pissed off about.

6. Find Your Own Path

Just because someone like the Vancouver loud mouth says Andre Schurrle is the greatest player in the world don’t believe him. Just because every team plays with Hector Bellerin, Marcus Rashford and Theo Walcott because of their 90+ pace don’t think you need to mimic the same type of teams. Find your own style, be creative. There are plenty of leagues and hybrid options out there.

Not every team needs to be a Premier League team or Spanish La Liga Team or German team. Build a combination Belgium and Brazilian team. Do a French team but add some Spanish flair in there. Or do a generic league team but find players that are right for you. If you’re not the type of gamer who utilizes skilled dribbling why waste your time on someone like Yannick Bolasie on the wing? Be practical.

In spirit of the “12 Days of Christmas” here are my 12 favorite cards in FIFA 17 and who I’m grateful to have on my team. They may not be the 1%, they may not be the most sexy cards that everyone is clamoring to have but they’re players who I’ve really enjoyed playing with and have brought success on the pitch.