Is a cheap FIFA 22 Ultimate Team market good for the game?
The state of FIFA 22 Ultimate Team’s market has sparked a lot of debate among FUT fans this year. We break down the pros and cons of such a cheap market, as well as the concerning long-term impacts.
FIFA 22 Ultimate Team’s market has caused a lot of confusion since the game’s launch on October 1.
Some of FIFA 22’s highest-rated players, including Heroes and TOTW cards, are selling for a fraction of the price you’d expect, throwing the strategies of savvy Web App players into disarray.
But is this crashed market a good thing for players, or is it going to hamper the game so early into a long FUT season?
Sucker for a bargain
As mentioned at the top, many of FIFA 22’s biggest names are on the Transfer Market for next to nothing when you consider the ratings EA has assigned them.
At the time of writing, Karim Benzema (89) and Harry Kane (90), two of the highest-rated strikers in the game, are clocking in at a mere 25k and 30k respectively. At this point in previous years, you’d expect these two to be around double that.
Low-rated meta players that normally demand a big fee are also selling for pocket change with Gabriel Jesus (83) and Lukas Klostermann (80) being listed for under 1,000 coins.
There’s still a handful of 80 to 85-rated cards that will break the bank, but these tend to be the cards that are only needed to compete at the top level. As a rule, players with huge pace stats or invaluable chemistry links like Ferland Mendy are the only ones who keep their value.
The big positive of this is that casual players who don’t have thousands of hours to dedicate to the FUT grind can build competitive teams relatively quickly.
This means we’re seeing a more level playing field when it comes to Division Rivals, making the matches more about skill than having a team full of 1 million coin players.
Of course, you still have to put in the time to earn the cream of the crop, but gone are the days where you need 500k to build a squad to stand a chance in online modes – which can only be a good thing for the average player.
The second big win of such a friendly market is the ease with which SBCs can be completed in FIFA 22.
In previous years, cards of a higher rating would keep their price regardless of their viability in-game because they could be used as SBC fodder. Every time a big challenge dropped, slow, but high-rated, players Busquets and Parejo would shoot up in price.
This doesn’t seem to be the case in FUT 22, as even Player of the Month Ronaldo couldn’t lift the 86 rated players above the 10k mark. So, SBC prices are at an all-time low, making it far less likely that you’ll be priced out of a card that would fit your team like a goalkeeper glove.
It’s helping FIFA 22’s status as the most accessible FIFA in years, as many of the top cards are no longer locked behind a ridiculous grind.
But at what cost?
Unfortunately, a broken market isn’t all rosy when you look at the long-term fun of the game. It’s also bringing some serious problems just a few weeks after launch.
High-rated players that are worth so little are making it almost impossible to make coins from opening tradeable packs. When it comes to promo packs that cost upwards of 45,000, there’s only a handful of players that would help you break even.
- Read more: FIFA 22 Bundesliga Player of the Month
Realistically, you need a special card from the latest promotion, or a golden goose like Mbappe or Ronaldo to stand a chance of making your gamble pay off.
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This all subtly nudges players to fork over their money on FIFA Points rather than using coins to buy packs. Especially when you consider that most SBC packs are untradeable.
From a gameplay point of view, the ease with which you can build a strong is team is making FUT Champs and Rivals a real slog to make any progress in.
While it’s true that everyone having good teams makes the playing field more even, it also makes the online modes feel less rewarding at the higher levels.
Missing out on a promotion because a lesser player is being carried by their 20k Romelu Lukaku quickly sucks the fun out of competitive play.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly in a mode geared around building an “Ultimate Team,” actually improving your team is becoming next to impossible.
At the moment, what we’re seeing is a huge disparity between players in the same position from the same leagues.
For example, Riyad Mahrez, the second-highest rated right-winger in the Premier League, is under 10,000 coins, while the next upgrade is Mohammed Salah at 371,000.
This is preventing players from making the jump from starter team to competitive team as they rise through the ranks in Division Rivals because there are very few cards they can pack to help raise the funds to buy a superstar.
What needs to change?
What’s most concerning about the current state of the FUT 22 market is how much it resembles an end-of-year market. Players with so little worth usually come in the summer months, when the game is flooded with special cards – not before Christmas.
There are steps that EA can take to help secure the long-term enjoyment of Ultimate Team, such as raising the price ranges of some of the bigger names to stop them from dropping too low.
Regular promotions also offer some more valuable cards for players to hunt, but the pack weight will have to be significantly raised to make them more than a pipe dream to throw FIFA Points at.
Without that spark of excitement when you open a pack, the Ultimate Team experience starts to fall apart. Fans need to feel that every pack could change their fortunes, but that feeling just isn’t there right now.
As it stands, the Ultimate Team market is precariously balanced, and what EA does in the next few months will make or break how successful this year of FUT will be.
There’s no denying that having access to household names is making FIFA 22 more fun in the short term, but it’s hard to imagine how this ever-changing market is going to survive in the long run.
EA has some work to do if wants to keep players on the bandwagon for the rest of the season.
For more on FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, check out our full review of the mode, and the best starter team you should build.
Image credits: EA