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Whilst the game is subscription based, both major and minor updates are provided within the subscription paid by users. Subscriptions may be purchased online using debit/credit cards, or PayPal to play on a regular basis, or through boxed copies, which were released in the United Kingdom on 23 January 2009. The servers for the game were shut down in May 2011.
Football Manager Live differs significantly from previous Football Manager titles, whilst keeping the same match engine and many of their fundamental concepts.
Users are assigned to a "Game World" of up to 1000 players and create their club and fill their squad with real players, similar to fantasy football. Players are signed via a proxy bidding system similar to that of eBay with the player signing with the highest-bidding club. Whilst Football Manager Live utilises a very similar database to that of Football Manager 2009, like its offline counterpart, ageing players retire and younger players are randomly generated in their place within each game world, creating an increasingly fictional environment as seasons progress.
Clubs can choose a football association based on the number of matches the user wants to play ("Casual" FAs for casual players and "Xtreme" ones for more dedicated managers) and which play times are most convenient. Each FA has its own ladder system with a premier league and several lower leagues which are linked via promotion and relegation. Matchmaking for league fixtures is done through a "resolve by" system in which users have to finish a game by a certain deadline instead of having to meet online at a specific time. If a player cannot meet the deadline, an AI "assistant manager" takes over their team for that match.
The game also adds a role playing game-like skill training system for users. Managers can improve their skills over time in coaching, physiotherapy, finance, scouting and infrastructure to become more specialised or to suit their style of play.
Players can also construct a stadium to accommodate several different fan bases to the club. These include die hards, devoted, families, glory hunters and corporates, each offering their own characteristics such as wealth and atmosphere.
There are currently 12 Gameworlds in Football Manager Live. The gameworld system was radically changed in 2010 when they were split into two types: 'Fantasy Players' and 'Returning Stars.' Previously, as a gameworld progressed over time, 'real life' players gradually aged and retired to be replaced by generated players (or 'regens'). This remains the case with 'Fantasy Players' gameworlds, but for 'Returning Stars' the gameworld is reset sporadically back to the present day.
The first gameworld, launched on 4 November 2008 was Cantona, and this was followed by 8 other worlds until the first Pro-Gameworld, Toms, was launched on 12 January 2009. Existing users were encouraged to join the first Pro-Gameworld by having the opportunity to transfer the skills that they had gained to the new Gameworld. This had not been possible when transferring worlds previously and the challenge of playing the best was readily taken up.
Gameworlds are named after real-life ex-players and Gameworlds are likely to be populated by supporters of the team that the player excelled for. This is also true of a player's nationality and users may congregate in a Gameworld that is named after an ex-player of their own nationality, however, this is not uniformly true and each world is likely to be populated by a good cross-section of users that support different teams and are of different nationalities.
In June 2010 the 3D match engine, first seen in Football Manager 2009 was added to Football Manager Live.
On November 26, 2009, vast changes to the existing game were announced by SI. The most controversial of these changes was the announcement of the resetting of all current game worlds to their initial states, which would commence on 1 March 2010 This announcement caused controversy amongst the community as many managers were upset by the results from this decision which would include losing all progress made up until this date. SI in an attempt to make up for this action offered all current subscribers two months of free play time though this was met with relatively negative reactions.
On December 28, 2009, Sports Interactive announced that it would be extending the free time for its managers until the reset in March 2010. It was also announced following the outcry over lost skills that they would be implementing a new skills system into FML after the reset which would allow current managers to use their existing skill points after the reset. This move was met with great appreciation by the games current subscribers. At the same time it was announced that the new version 1.4 would include youth academies and many more extras which its subscribers have been asking for many months.
- Football Manager Live.
- Football Manager Live - The Official Website
- Football Manager Live - The Official Website
- Football Manager Live: How the ultimate management sim became an MMORPG, The Guardian, March 17, 2008