FIFA 12 Ultimate Team: ultimate tips

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Ultimate Team is the hot mode in FIFA 12. It enables you to build your own club by buying cards that represent individual players, managers, kits, badges and more, then take to the field with a side that’s guaranteed to be different to any other on the planet. These cards can be acquired in packs of 12 bought with in-mode coins or real money (from PSN), or from other users via trade or an ebay-style auction system. Playing matches and tournaments (either on or offline) within Ultimate Team earns you more coins which you can then put back into upgrading your squad. It’s a monstrously addictive vicious circle, and one of – if not the – most fun ways to play FIFA 12. And with these Ultimate tips, it’s about to get even better for you.

Tip one: All about chemistry

Cards come in three flavours: gold, silver, and bronze. You start off with a mainly bronze squad, but will inevitably improve over time to a team of superstars, if that’s what you’re after. Whatever level you’re playing at, it’s vital that you keep an eye on your team chemistry (shown on the right of the squad screen), as it really does have a major effect on every match. Chemistry is scored out of 100, and the way to keep it high is to take into account each individual’s club, nationality, and the team they play for in real life.

Let’s say you have Fulham’s Andrew Johnson up front. Selecting an English club-mate, like Bobby Zamora, to play alongside him will maximise the chemistry between your strikers. His chemistry with a fellow English Premier Leaguer at a different club, like Darren Bent, won’t be as strong but equally won’t have too damaging an effect on your side’s overall score. Send him out next to a Macedonian playing in the Turkish league, however, and the pair will have zero chemistry – and in the game’s brain this affects abilities like off the ball runs made by the AI.

The lines which link each of your players on the squad screen go bright green if a pair has maximum chemistry, dark green if they get on without any negative affect, and black if they’ve none whatsoever. To build the best squad, try to get all the links light green.

Tip two: Formations and happy feet

Additional factors in your overall performance are a player’s preferred formation (listed just under the name on his UT card) and preferred position. If the little rectangle that looks like a set of pegs on his card goes red it means he’s not happy with the formation you’re playing, and if the little boot symbol goes red it means he’s out of position. Again, bright green is your friend on this – to keep that chemistry score up, make sure you find players who like your chosen formation, and utilise them in their prime position.

When it comes to choosing a formation, bear in mind that 4-1-2-1-2 and 4-4-2 are most popular online, and so players who ‘like’ those formations cost more when you’re buying them at auction. If you can adjust to using, say, a 3-4-1-2 setup, you’ll be able to hoover up players for your squad on the cheap and build a competitive side really quickly.

Tip three: Never buy packs

Wondering what we meant by ‘cheap’? Well, you can get loads of ‘gold’ players using the auction system for 350 coins, meaning it’s almost pointless to buy gold packs (which cost 5000 coins for 12 cards, many of which you’ll never use). Looking at the auction market while writing this piece I could have snatched up Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini, Stoke midfielder Dean Whitehead and Blackburn underachiever Simon Vukcevic, all with a favoured formation of 3-4-1-2, for a Buy It Now price of 350. That’s a solid quarter of an all-Premiership team bought for just over a grand.

The only exception is tournaments that feature all-bronze teams. Because bronze players are worth next to nothing at auction, you’re better off buying two or three bronze packs (400 coins a pop), using the players you get for as long as you need them, and then dumping them once they’ve become deadwood. Occasionally someone will give you 150 coins for a bronze player – particularly if they play in League One or League Two – so you won’t necessarily make too heavy a loss on bronze packs.

Tip four: Expand your operations

Here’s one of the greatest things about Ultimate Team: you can fanny around with auctions and your team while away from your PS3 at the FIFA 12 website. Not only is this a handy distraction from important stuff like work (in the Official PlayStation office dep art ed Andy Leung and I actually call using Ultimate Team a ‘cigarette break’), but it enables you to get players cheaper.

Why? Let’s say again that you’re putting together an all-Premier League team. Peak hours in the UK are in the evening when the majority of users at home, so there are more people around to bid on a player you want. If you’d checked your Ultimate Team this morning you could have got Phil Neville, Danny Murphy and Matt Jarvis, all with a favoured formation of 4-4-2, for either 300 or 350 coins. You won’t be able to do that when you log in at 9pm tonight. So logging in during the day actually saves you (fictional) money. (Although if it results in your P45 landing on your desk, be aware it might cost you real moolah as a result.)

Tip five: work the market

I’m giving away a personal favourite here for professional reasons, but what the hell. A good way to make money is to work out what the hottest commodities are – players who ‘like’ 4-4-2 or 4-1-2-1-2, or whose nationalities match countries where FIFA sells strongly (England, Germany, USA, etc), or who play for the most popular clubs like Man Utd and Chelsea – then look for them at a cheap Buy It Now price, and sell them on for a profit.

I’ll give you an example. On Tuesday I found centre back Phil Jones listed with a Buy It Now price of 400 coins. He plays for United, his favoured formation was 4-4-2, and his nationality is English. Knowing these are all things FIFA users look for when creating their team, I snapped him up then immediately listed him on a three day auction with a start price of 500 coins and a Buy It Now of 950. He sold within 24 hours, making me 550 coins as reward for using the search function. Buy shrewdly and get a feel for who sells well and you can make a mint in this way, then invest it back into your Ultimate Team.

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