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Hattrick Soccer Manager soccer manager game

Hattrick Soccer Manager

Hattrick Soccer Manager is one of the longest running and most successful online soccer managers - established in Sweden in 1997 it is now almost 20 years old. In 2009 Hattrick was one of two (next to Manager Zone) such games with largest number of users - around 1 million, although exact numbers are vague and hard to confirm. Unfortunately the glory days for Hattrick are long gone - in 2012 the original creators sold their game at its prime to a British company that within 1 year runned the game down and soon later sold it back to Swedes.

Hattrick from the beginning was built as massive multiplayer game, which meant some sacrifices, f.e. only one transfer option is available (auctions) since ot would be impossible to spot the cheating parties, the rotation of users was always high, the divisions structure was a huge pyramid where there is no way to guess where we will end after promotion or relegation, etc. Those factors made Hattrick a very superficial game that lacks depth when it comes to player parameters (only 8 and they determine player position rather than describing his skills), player statistics, management options and so on. In general the game is based on very simple engine that in first step compares the abilities of midfield players for both sides - whoever has advantage there will have more chances to score goals. In theory it seems fair, but in practice it leads to lots and lots of games in which one side is dominating the match and results like 5-0, 8-0 are not something uncommon.

Another problem is with the game development - there is none. For years only tiny details were changed in the game and it does not seem like the creators really want to improve Hattrick anymore. They have introduced youth teams that were a novelty, but proved to source of huge amount of good players that flood the transfer market and with each season it is easier to get better players much cheaper. On the other hand the training system is very simple and very predictable (f.e. 17-year-old player will improve his skills within 7-8 weeks, 18-year-old in 8 or 9, 19-year old in 9-12, and so on), which means that there is any point in buying and training only very young players.

The league system has tiny flaws that made huge problems with time - the differences between each level of divisions are huge and since the number of fans coming to stadium are linked to current season results sometimes it is far better for club not to get promoted since one level higher they will most probably lose money instead of gaining them. The simple example: if you take a look at the national teams most of their players do not even play in the top level clubs, most of them play in 4th, 5th or even 6th division.

Overall Hattrick was a brilliant idea that gathered a huge interest from fans, but simple solutions to transfers, training, youth players, forums, etc. that worked fine at the beginning were not changed with time and a lot of elements in Hattrick right now are really obsolete. Of course there is still a large number of devoted fans of HT, but for few years now the number of players have been decreasing and without a large scale revolution in whole system the game will most probably die (especially since more and more options are available in premium only and lately the price of the premium account was almost doubled).

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Strong points

  • simple interface,
  • game is easy to understand,
  • many language versions,
  • not bad live match events viewer,
  • players are not assigned to specific positions, they can be put anywhere on the field,
  • friendly games can be played when teams is knocked out of cup competitions,
  • international competitions and national teams competitions are available,

Weak points

  • too simple game engine that puts too much emphasis on midfield,
  • too simple and too predictible training system (f.e. you can choose only one training for whole team, so when you train goalkeepers rest of the team gains nothing),
  • the very open squad selection system (in which player can be placed anywhere on the field and there are no restrictions) leads to completely irrational formations to be most effective (f.e. 2-5-3, where 2 defenders are put on the sides of the field and the center defence is wide open),
  • too many options available as premium only,
  • game grew too big and in some countries new players would have to start in 10th division, which is rather depressing,
  • youth system too complicated (since players have hidden the skills it is hard to place them correctly on the field),
  • only one transfer option (auctions),
  • too few player parameters and most of them do not even present the skills, rather define his position on the field,
  • no individual statistics from game events,
  • insane match rating system based only on player skills and form, completely ignoring match events (f.e. player who scored 3 goals still has poor note for the game, so either he player poorly and it is a mystery how he managed to score 3 goals or he played well enough to score 3 goals yet it does not really matter),
  • complicated pyramid structure of the divisions that do not let users know where they will end up after promotion or relegation,
  • too simple finance system that leads to insane situations in which it is better not to get promoted to a strong division since in low division and with hopeless opponents you can get big bucks, while in stronger division with poor results you hardly break even,
  • players are forced to play in their native countries (which could mean starting in 10th division), while some other countries are more or less empty,

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