EA has been slowly trickling out information on FIFA 20 in the last few months, as just recently we got a deep dive into the changes coming to Pro Clubs, and now some more Pitch Notes have been released, this time looking at Ultimate Team (FUT).
Creative director of FUT Tyler Blair tells us that there's a new Season Objectives feature this time around, allowing you to progress towards rewards beyond daily or weekly windows. The first Season in FIFA 20 starts on September 19, running until the end of October, and you can find the Objectives Hub on the FUT Central menu, tracking progress towards Season rewards, objectives, and Milestone and Foundation objectives.
These Objectives can be grouped together by themes and tasks, and earn you XP and rewards, not to mention progress towards the Objective group it's in. Completing these groups unlock larger rewards, and there are Daily, Weekly, Season, and Dynamic Objectives to look out for. Daily are simple tasks giving you XP and rewards, while Weekly are groups that have rewards and XP, staying active in the game the week after they were first relevant.
Season Objectives, however, are long-term challenges to finish, which may remain until the end of the season, while Dynamic are time-limited Objective groups without a regular release schedule. These could be tied to campaigns or real events, and completing all of the above will progress your level on the Season Rewards tab, with the first Season having 30 levels available, like a battle pass with rewards at each tier, from packs to players, customisation, and more.
"We're looking to balance Season progression to appeal to all types of FUT players, from those who play once or twice a week, to players regularly competing in FUT Champions or Division Rivals," we're told. "As you level up throughout the Season, the bigger both the challenges and rewards will become. You'll be able to track your overall progress and see all level rewards in the Season Rewards screen for the duration of the season."
Foundation Objectives are the place for new players to learn the ropes, featuring subjects like trading and chemistry, but Milestone Objectives are groups for the longer term, not tied to any Season.
FUT is all about customisation as well, and in FIFA 20 there are eight options, including stadium themes, unique custom balls, new crests, custom celebrations, and more. Stadium theme is all about what's on the sidelines and the crowd, while Tifos are also new to the game, featuring in the pre-match intros and at times after goals are scored. Celebrations you assign to the club can also be used with X or A (PS4 or Xbox), but bear in mind that not all stadiums can be customised in the same way.
FUT Friendlies are also announced in this post, letting you play locally or online with your friends, as well as head to head online, with or without the custom House Rules like headers and volleys (and four new ones designed for FIFA 20). Matches within this mode don't consume contracts or fitness, nor do they count towards your club record. Red cards and injuries don't carry over either, although you do get deeper stats tracking, so it's a lot different from the base FUT experience.
The four new House Rules modes (which can be assembled into your own playlist) are Max Chemistry and Swaps, two new ways to play Ultimate Team, while Mystery Ball and King of the Hill apply to all modes, with the former described as follows:
"Mystery Ball brings the element of surprise each time the ball leaves play as it comes in as a new mystery ball type. Each ball has a custom goal value that ranges from 1-3 goals and boosts the player in possession with over the top effects that take their Shooting, Dribbling, Passing, Sprint Speed, or the all powerful All Ball, which brings each of the other effects at the same time."
Max Chemistry, however, removes restrictions of team building and adds a full boost to chemistry, while Swaps sees three players from your squad move to your opponent, causing chaos to your formation and plans.
King of the Hill, lastly, sees you try to control the ball inside an attacking zone, and you have to continue doing this as the zone shrinks. Your goal meter fills as you do so, and you can then try and score for a max goal value of 3.
Squad management on the Squad Screen is being changed as well, as selecting a player with R1/RB will take you directly to your club, filtered to the position selected, allowing you to refine results from there using triangle/Y and access unified filters if you need it. With L1/LB though, you can go to the Transfer Market, again applying filters for the position you're looking for and a coin balance that doesn't exceed your maximum for Buy It Now.
Pressing square/X on a player brings up a radial menu now as well, with quick options like player tactics, consumables, or quick sell, and the manager has also been moved to the dock with subs and reserves.
Squad Battles aren't safe from the changes either, as there's a new interface that puts more emphasis on details of the squad you'll face, including top three players, details on setup and formation, and ratings and chemistry.
Timed refreshes have also been removed, meaning you can refresh four new squads whenever you want, until you hit 10 refreshes for weekly competitions, of course. While the first 10 are the only ones that'll count towards weekly competition standings, you can still refresh to get new opponent squads to complete Objectives or for fun. Team of the Week will be recurring Squad Battles opponents too, which you can replay if you want to improve your final score.
Pre-match flow is tweaked as well, as you have the option to select playing against your opponent in your other kit, or in one of their chosen kits, with the game using "logic to evaluate the colour of the kit you are wearing and choose the kit your opponent is wearing which has the least similar colour patterns to your own".
An option to bulk quick sell consumables has also been added, reducing time wastage, and EA plans to do more with FUT Champions Red players earned in weekly rewards, with Squad Building Challenges (SBC) in the game at launch. One of these is to submit any five Champions items from a 83 to 86 rated Champions player, while another is an 81-rated squad of Champions player to receive a player pick 86+.
On top of all this, skill rating requirements for divisions have been tweaked in FIFA 20, as you can see below:
Division Skill Rating
Matchmaking has changed as a part of this, as players who exceed 2200 skill rating in Division 1 hit a matchmaking cap, ensuring that players find games quicker and with more regularity, calculating skill per your exact rating after 2200. This only applies to finding a match in Division Rivals.
To minimise the impact of shadows in stadiums, the game selects between day and night and uses predetermined time of day and weather conditions before each match, and those who love the Companion App can also expect more of the same this year, except with new features to streamline the process, like the ability to create Custom Tactics for your squad, similar to how you would in the full game, as well as customisation options and checking in on Objectives.
In the app you can even add SBC protection onto players in your Club, making sure you don't accidentally put them into an SBC, as well as a search functionality that excludes Active Squad members from Club search results, making SBCs a little easier.
Of course all of this is subject to change, but it spells good news for fans of the Ultimate Team experience in FIFA. Do you agree?