In the run-up to FIFA 19’s release, EA Sports boasted about how FIFA 19 would feature more Icons than ever before. They were taking one of FIFA 18’s most exciting aspects and taking it further, and that only seemed to be a step in the right direction.
Also, they have got a lot of FIFA 19’s Live content spot on, with new stuff being released almost constantly. That being said, their handling of Icons this year has been nothing short of shambolic.
Today’s release of the final set of Icons is not only the low point in the whole saga but shows just how out of touch they are with their own community.
For weeks now, a large group of Ultimate Team fans have been crying out for the Prime Moments versions of the best Icons in the game (Ronaldo, Gullit, etc.) to be released as SBCs so that they can work towards adding them to their teams before the game’s life cycle ends.
They were always going to be expensive. They’re the best players in the game and shouldn’t be attainable for every player. Now, EA has released the final set, choosing to release the original Prime version (now the second best) as SBCs instead, citing “community feedback” for the decision.
This is going to the final Icon SBC release of the year, meaning that the best versions of the best Icons will never come to the game as SBCs. If you want the likes of R9’s Prime Moments card, you’ll have to wait for one to pop up on the transfer market for 15 million coins. That’s your only option.
EA Sports tweeted the reason for this choice, saying, “The feedback from the community has been that you want to progress towards getting your favorite ICONS and therefore we made the decision to release them as Prime SBCs.”
Not only is this difficult to understand, due to how expensive the released versions are and the fact that fans have asked for the cards to be cheaper, not for cheaper options, but it makes them seem untrustworthy.
‘Community feedback’ is not something they tend to listen to. Prime Moments were never asked for.
They were released on a whim, making many already completed SBCs obsolete, then they were promised as SBCs down the road, and now EA Sports has made this decision while hiding behind the ‘community feedback’ reasoning.
Why they couldn’t continue releasing Prime Moments SBCs at the expected heightened price or release both the Prime and Moments versions, or simply make them cheaper is beyond me.
They could have pleased everyone somewhat, depending on the pricing, but instead, they’ve made the top level players unobtainable and Icon SBCs almost pointless.
Today wasn’t the start, though. This has been happening all year. From the game’s release, when we were given Icon pick packs with five choices that made some players significantly better value than others and had a time limit of 30 days, not allowing players to grind towards them, a lot of the decisions have been baffling.
Then there was the SBC that was released and quickly removed in November that could be repeated for unlimited 100k packs, making an endless profit. This was all alongside the fact that many were overpriced and we were left waiting and waiting for the top level players, which was also a complaint in last year’s game.
Then, Prime Moments were released in early February, adding a version above what was said to be best in the six months prior. It came out of the blue, seemingly as something to cover for the fact that Winter Ones to Watch was underwhelming due to a quiet January transfer window.
Not only was it a blatant attempt at selling more packs, but it showed that EA Sports had been lying to their community by insisting that Primes were the best version of each Icon. Suddenly, without warning, they’d moved the goalposts.
Whether it was the plan all along and they were just using the first five months as a time for players to sink their coins into poorer Icon SBCs or it was a quick fix for an intended promo event, we’ll never know, but it wasn’t a good look.
Fast forward to recent weeks and the Prime Moments SBC began to come thick and fast, but once again they were poorly handled. Many were severely overpriced, but it was the two kinds of upgrades that left a sour taste in the mouth of many.
First, any Icon that had previously been given a Prime SBC and would get a Moments one too would get an ‘upgrade’, granting anyone who completed the first instance a discount – in theory.
However, the upgrades would often be more expensive than the Moments SBCs themselves, with EA Sports considering previously crafted Icons to be worth little more than the lowest value of any Icon on the market, not the price of the originally completed SBC. Early adopters of Icons had been short-changed, and EA didn’t seem to care.
Finally, we’ve seen the release of Mid and Base Icon upgrade SBCs in the last two months, suggesting that Icons would have a use down the line, as they did in Icon SBCs last year.
Instead, the wool has been pulled over players’ eyes, with high rated squads being repeated in Moments SBCs and many not requiring an Icon at all, making those Base Icons we had pretty useless.
All in all, EA Sports handling of Icons in FIFA 19 has not only been confusing but an embarrassing way to treat their fans. If nothing happens in the coming months, huge changes have to come in FIFA 20 and they need to stop manipulating players in the way they have done this year.