Player Attributes Explained
This is an overview of all the (visible) player attributes in FM2011, hopefully explained as simple as possible. There are lots of misunderstandings about what certain attributes do, and how they translate into the match engine, and this article will explain them all.
Types of Attributes
There are three types of attributes; background, prime and secondary attributes.
• Background attributes are attributes that are constant. They are either passive or active, and are always checked first by the match engine to see if the prime and secondary attributes should be used or not. Example; the determination attribute controls the length of time the player puts in an effort in a match. For every action, this attribute is checked to see if it’s passive or active (passive at the start of a match, active towards the end of a match), and then other attributes follow.
• Prime attributes are attributes that controls the success of other attributes. They are simply defined by being responsible for the secondary attribute to be successful. Example; without the decisions attribute (prime), the passing attribute (secondary) will have little success, as the choice of where to place the pass is controlled by the prime attribute decisions. So even though the accuracy is good, the decision of where to aim is bad.
• Secondary attributes are always tied in with a prime attribute, and are either accuracy or situation based.
All actions a player performs in the game are a result of a string of attributes, usually starting out with one or more background attributes, then one or more prime attributes, and lastly one or more secondary attributes. Example – a player makes a short simple pass:
Background attributes > Creativity (prime) > Decisions (prime) > Passing (secondary).
Background attributes decide if the pass is even made in the first place. Creativity presents the player with X amount of options. Decisions controls what option the player goes for. Passing controls the accuracy of the pass in the end. There are several background attributes in play, either passive or active…but in its simplest form, those attributes are the requirement for a short simple pass.
Another example – a player takes a shot at goal:
Background attributes > Creativity (prime) > Technique (prime) > Decisions (prime) > Composure (secondary) > Finishing (secondary)
Teamwork (background) decides if the shot is in the best interest of the team or not. Determination (background) decides if the player will even perform the shot (he might have given up trying). Creativity presents the player with X amount of options. Technique decides the range of options as to what type of shot the player can perform. Decisions controls how well the decision is to shoot (and where to aim). Composure controls how well the player makes his choices under pressure, and finishing controls the accuracy of the shot in the end.
In this category there is only one prime attribute; technique, and there are no background attributes. All other attributes in this section are secondary, and they’re all accuracy based.
Corners – Accuracy of a corner kick
Secondary to the anticipation (how will my teammates move) and decisions (where do I place the corner) prime attributes.
Crossing – Accuracy of a cross
Secondary to the anticipation (how will my teammates move) and decisions (when and where will I place the cross) prime attributes.
Dribbling – Accuracy of a dribble
Secondary to the anticipation (how will my opponent move) and technique (do I have the trick in my repertoire) prime attributes.
Finishing – Accuracy of a shot at goal
Secondary to the composure (will I make a calm decision under pressure), technique (do I have the type of shot in my repertoire) and decisions (where will I place the shot, when will I shoot and what kind of shot do I use) prime attributes.
First Touch – How well a player controls the ball upon receiving it
As soon as a player receives the ball, this attribute decides how well he controls the ball in order to do what he wants to do. Secondary to the creativity (what options do I have to choose between) and decisions (what is the best option) prime attributes, as he has to make a choice while the ball is on its way towards him.
Free Kick Taking – Accuracy of a free kick
Secondary to the technique (do I have the type of free kick in my repertoire) and decisions (where do I place the free kick) prime attributes.
Heading – Accuracy of a header
Secondary to the anticipation (where will the ball end up), and decisions (how and where will I head the ball) prime attributes.
Long Shots – Accuracy of a long shot
Secondary to the creativity (what options do I have), technique (do I have the type of shot in my repertoire) and decisions (where will I place the shot) prime attributes.
Long Throws – Accuracy and length of a long throw
Secondary to the decisions (where will I aim my throw) prime attribute.
Marking – How well a player marks an opposition player
Used closely with the tackling attribute to decide how well a player defends against an opponent. It also controls how well a player understands his zone.
Passing – Accuracy of a pass
Secondary to the anticipation (how will my teammates move), creativity (what options do I have) and decisions (when, how and to whom will I distribute my pass) prime attributes.
Penalty Taking – Accuracy of a spot kick
Secondary to the decisions (where will I place the penalty kick) and composure (will I keep calm under pressure) prime attributes.
Tackling – Accuracy and timing of a tackle
Secondary to the decisions (how and when will I make my tackle) prime attribute.
Technique – Prime Attribute – The width of the player’s repertoire
The easiest way to describe technique is that it controls the width of the player’s technical range. The higher the attribute, the more the player can actually do with the ball. As an example; if a player wants to shoot a Roberto Carlos type banana shot, he has to have it in his repertoire, and that’s where the technique attribute comes in.
Most of the prime attributes are in this category. The secondary attributes are mostly situation specific, like bravery and influence.
Aggression – How combative a player is
A high attribute means an energetic and forceful player. A low attribute means a docile and unassertive player. This has little to do with how violent a player is, which is more controlled by invisible attributes like dirtiness and sportsmanship.
Anticipation – Prime Attribute – The prediction of other player’s movements
Otherwise known as being able to ‘read the game’. Anticipation is used when performing actions that involves other outfield players, like passing, crossing, intercepting, etc. In chess, it’s the ability to predict what moves the opponent will perform in X amount of turns.
Bravery – The sacrifice a player will make to gain an advantage
Or translated into FM terms; how much a player is willing to risk injury in order to win a ball, not concede a goal, etc.
Composure – How well a player performs under pressure
Pressure means pressure from opposition players, but also pressure to score or pass in an important moment. Secondary to the decisions (am I calm enough to make the correct decision) prime attribute.
Concentration – (Background) – How long the player will make correct decisions
A high attribute means the player will use his decisions and anticipation prime attributes better throughout the length of a match. A low attribute means the player will make more mistakes (essentially not utilise his decisions and anticipation attributes well).
Creativity – Prime Attribute – Controls the mental repertoire
A prime attribute similar to the technique attribute, controlling the width of the players mental repertoire. In order to make a certain decision, the player must know the choice even exists in the first place. This is where creativity comes in – it decides how many choices a player can choose between. A high attribute means more choices.
Decisions – Prime Attribute – Controls the quality of decisions the player makes
Also a prime attribute, and this is one of the most important attributes in the game. A player is constantly presented with options, and the decisions attribute controls if the player chooses the best option. It also controls how and when an option is performed. Decision is what, when and how. Even though it’s a prime attribute, it’s secondary to the creativity (what are the options) and technique (what am I able to do technically) prime attributes.
Determination – (Background) – How long the player will give 100% in a match
A low determination attribute means a player ‘gives up’ earlier. High attribute means the player would fight until the end.
Flair – Controls the players tendency to do the unexpected
Flair means ‘style’ or ‘originality’, but in Football Manager it simply translates into players doing unexpected things. Which essentially means the ability to override an opponents anticipation skill. Secondary to the creativity (what options do I have), decisions (what is the best option) prime attributes, and whatever accuracy attribute needed at the end of the action.
Influence – Decides if a player makes a good captain
Unlike many theories and speculations, this attribute is very simple; it’s used for deciding a captain at the club. A low attribute means the other players won’t respect the decision of who is captain, or listen to him in emergency meetings. A captain with a high influence attribute creates harmony in the squad.
Off The Ball – How well the player utilises space when not in possession of the ball
This attribute is not only important for a player to make himself available for a pass or assist, but also for a player to draw opposition players away from their positions, creating space and opportunities for his teammates. Secondary to the decisions (when, how and where should I move) prime attribute.
Positioning – The accuracy of a players position
This attribute controls how well a player positions himself, depending on what’s going on around him. Secondary to the anticipation (how will others move around me) and decisions (where should I be) prime attributes.
Teamwork – (Background) – Controls the player ego
A low attribute means the player will put his own best interest before the best interests of the team, like trying to shoot for goal instead of passing to a team mate, even though the team mate might be in a better position to score. A high attribute means the player would base decisions on what is best for the team, not what is best for himself.
Work Rate – (Background) – Decides how often a player is active
A low attribute means the player would not spend too much time in off the ball decisions, and rather wait for an opportunity to arise instead of trying to create the situation himself. A high attribute means the player would make himself available and involve himself in play as much as possible.
Acceleration – How fast a player can reach his maximum speed
Used together with the pace attribute, it decides how fast the player can reach his maximum pace.
Agility – How easily a player moves
A low attribute means the player is ‘sluggish’. A high attribute means the player is nimble and light-footed.
Balance – Controls how long a player can keep on his feet under pressure
Often used together with strength in shoulder to shoulder situations, and decides if a player can keep on his feet through pressure situations like tackles, etc. A high attribute means that the player will be able to stay on his feet for longer.
Jumping – Maximum height a player can reach
Jumping is how far a player can get his head from the ground. Height is also taken into account, deciding whether or not the player needs to jump in the first place. Two players with the exact same attribute will have the ability to reach the same height when jumping off the ground.
Natural Fitness – Decline and recovery of physical attributes
Long term attribute that controls the level of decline when it comes to the physical attributes. It also controls how well a player returns from injury. Essentially, a high attribute means a longer career and faster recovery from injuries.
Pace – Decides the maximum speed
Loosely secondary to the decisions (when should I utilise my speed) prime attribute.
Stamina – Decides the rate of decline of the players condition
The higher this attribute is, the longer a player can keep going without getting tired. It’s fully connected to the match condition of the player.
Strength – Player sturdiness
Only used in conjunction with an opposition player, helping to decide who wins a tackle, shoulder to shoulder situation, etc.
Background attributes control if the action is even performed in the first place.
Concentration – Am I aware of what’s happening so I can use my anticipation and decisions attributes?
Determination – Am I still determined to use my skills, or have I given up?
Teamwork – Am I performing this action in the best interest of the team, or in the best interest of myself?
Work Rate – Will I create this situation, or will I wait for someone else to create it for me?
Prime attributes control the success rate of an action.
Technique – Am I able to perform this action, do I have it in my repertoire?
Anticipation – Will I be able to predict the next move?
Creativity – Do I know what the options are?
Decisions – What, how and where will I perform the action?
All other attributes are accuracy or situation based.