Well, here it is, a collection of tips and tricks to get you ahead with FIFA 12′s scouting system.
Before I begin, take note that this guide advises users to make multiple saves and to quit and reload saves in order to get better scouting results. It’s a good idea to do the following two things:
1) Delete the FIFA autosave file. Don’t worry, this won’t mess up your game. The autosave file is a separate save file automatically created by the game, so deleting it doesn’t mean you’re deleting your career save. I suggest you delete it because if (using any of the methods described below) you get unsatisfactory results you don’t want to be stuck with them thanks to the game being autosaved! So you need to go to My FIFA > FIFA 12 Profile > Save/Load/Delete > Delete, and delete the autosave file (it’ll have autosave in the name).
2) I always create regular backup saves, and have 2 copies of the most up-to-date save (i.e. called “Career 1″ and “Career 2″). Sometimes FIFA recreates the autosave file (e.g. after you play a game rather than simming it), so in case anything goes wrong you’ve got a very recent backup at the ready. This is especially important when it comes to finding good scouting results (see below). If you need to reload, just load up the backup copy and save over the original save so that both saves are now where you want them to be.
Anyway, on with the guide…
It’s been described a lot on the FIFA forums, so I’ll just briefly run through it. In FIFA 12 you can hire up to 3 scouts that you then send off to different parts of the globe in search of young talent. Each scout is rated out of 5 in both experience and judgment. What seems to have been ascertained from the FIFA 12 forums is that a scout’s experience level determines the quality of players he finds, whilst his judgment determines how accurate his reports are. That is, if a scout with 5 star judgment finds a 14 year old with potential 72-91 and so does a scout with 2 star judgment, the 5 star scout is more likely to have got this prediction right. However, lower judgment scouts can still find great players, it’s just more rare. The idea has also been put forward that judgment matters more than experience, since a scout with 5 star experience and 4 star judgment costs more than one whose attributes are the other way around. This has yet to be confirmed.
Your “choose a scout” screen will have 5 to choose from, varying in nationality and experience/judgment level. Here’s a little tip that’s been picked up by LeBron on the forums – if you’re looking for 5*/5* (five star experience and judgment) scouts and there are none in your list, simply save, then advance a week and 5 new randomly-generated scouts will appear. If there are no 5*/5* scouts there, simply quit, reload the save and try again. Do be aware that 5*/5* scouts are very expensive, however. 4 star and even 3 star scouts can still produce future-superstars, as can lesser scouts (but it gets increasingly harder to do so the fewer stars your scout has).
Your scout will recommend certain players to you by highlighting their name in orange. I personally totally ignore this, as I often have my scout recommend terrible players and ignore potentially great ones. In one case I was scouting a player for several months, and on the latest report my scout recommended him. I then reloaded the save and this time around my scout decided not to recommend him! Nothing about the player had changed, which makes me think the recommendation system is probably random.
It is generally acknowledged that certain countries contain more potentially-great players than others. These regions are, more or less, Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. If you send a scout to these regions you are more likely to find better results. However, don’t write off scouting in other regions. Two of the best players I have scouted came from China and Scotland respectively, with the latter having 88 dribbling when he was only 16! Regions other than this “big 7” are also cheaper to scout, so this may be a good option if you are managing a club with more strict finances.
It is often a good idea to send a scout to look in his own country. If, say, you have an English scout, when you hover over England on the scouting screen a little star will appear next to the country name. This means that this is his country of expertise. He will not necessarily find better players here, but his reports will be more accurate, meaning you will have a better idea of who to sign and who not to. To illustrate how this works, my Chinese scout found better players in Spain than in his own country, but his reports from China would have been more accurate than those from Spain, and therefore less of a gamble.
Scouted players themselves will be between 14 and 16 years old. Once you sign them to your Youth Academy their potential and OVR ranges will continue to narrow down until the potential range is 6 digits apart (e.g. 73-79, 82-88, etc) and the OVR range is 4 digits apart (e.g. 61-65, 57-61, etc). Once this happens these values will not narrow down any further. At this stage players begin to grow, so you may notice a player’s OVR has gone from 61-65 to 62-66 one month down the line. It should be noted that the maximum potential that a player can have in your academy is 85-91. Once a scouted player reaches 16 he will be available to be signed to your first team. I would recommend keeping them in your academy for as long as possible so that when they leave it they have a better chance of challenging for a first team place. Every now and again your scouted players may tell you they want to join the first team or they’ll quit. An easy solution to this problem is to save after every game, then if you get this message simply quit and reload. It appears these messages are randomly generated once a player reaches 16, so the chances are it won’t reappear once you reload.
So now you know how scouting works, how do you know who to sign?
Your scout will report back to you once a month with a short list of players for you to consider. The report will list the player’s name, age, how long they’ve been scouted for, a rough estimate of the OVR and their potential, their strengths, and a few other details such as their height and weight. Usually you will be presented with a list of around 4 to 8 players. In order to find the best players you must consider a combination of player potential, OVR and age. I will outline each of these factors, then give some examples.
The first thing to look out for is the player’s potential. Anyone with a maximum potential value of between 88 and 91 is likely to be exceptionally good. So, if you find a player whose potential is predicted to be anywhere from 68-91 to 76-91, I would recommend signing them. Any lower, such as 62-91 or 65-86, I would recommend scouting them further to get a better idea of how good they will turn out. Next month your scout’s report will have narrowed these values, and if their max potential comes back any lower than 82 or 83, reject the player. He probably won’t even reach that potential. If you get players with potential of, for example, 56-69 or 62-78, don’t bother.
However, many people make the mistake of only considering a player’s potential outline; his actual OVR outline is just as important (if not more important).
If you really only want to sign the best of the best, you should only consider signing players whose OVR outline has a minimum value of 50. So, if you find a player whose OVR is predicted to be 50-70 or above (e.g. 52-72, 54-76, etc), I would recommend signing them. A player’s actual OVR is often halfway between these values, but more often it is around 5-8 points above it. Still, this is the upper tier of scouted players, and as such they are quite rare. I would therefore recommend at least scouting them for another month, and if you feel confident that they will be good enough, sign them.
However, never sign someone whose minimum OVR projection is in the 30s. For example, if you find a 14 year old who has a player potential of 70-91 but whose OVR projection is 35-43, don’t sign him, he won’t be good enough when he joins the first team. The likelihood is he’ll have an OVR of late 40s to early 50s by the time he’s 16, which probably won’t be good enough to break into your first team. You can try loaning him out, but if anyone takes him he probably won’t get into their first team either, so won’t grow.
If, of course, an OVR of late 40s to early 50s is good enough to get into your first team, you may feel his potential is enough to justify signing him. Just be aware that:
- His max OVR projection will probably go down the longer you scout him / have him in your youth academy, so he may not end up as good as you first think
- You will scout better players than him, so it may be best to continue scouting him while you make up your mind
The final thing to consider is age. The very best players will have a combination of the best areas of the above 2 points (e.g. OVR 52-72, potential 74-91) and will be 14 years old. These are the rarest of the rare, and you should sign them immediately, the likelihood is they will develop to become world beaters (given enough playing time, of course).
So, you’ve found a player with potential 68-91 – great! However, he’s 16 years old. In this case, I would scout him further to see if his potential and OVR are still as high once your scout has a better idea of his ability. The thing is, at 16 he won’t have long to develop in your academy until he starts pushing to join the first team. If his actual OVR doesn’t turn out to be as good as you thought, he may not be able to contend with your first team, and you may have wasted your time on him.
If that same player (16 years old, potential 68-91) has an OVR outline of anything less than 50-70 (or 50-68 if you’re feeling generous), don’t sign him, he definitely won’t be good enough.
So, here are some examples of players that I’ve found recently and whether or not I’d recommend signing them:
As you can see, this player has a very good potential of 66-91. However, his OVR is 35-47, which isn’t great. Trust me, you will find players with potential 66-91 and much better OVR ranges than this. Also note that he’s 15, so has less time to grow than an equivalent 14 year old would. I wouldn’t sign this player. Now for example 2:
On the same report is this player. Like the previous player, he has a high potential – in fact this time it’s higher, at 72-91. The main difference is that his OVR range is much better at 55-73. This means his OVR will be roughly 64 (halfway between 55 and 73), but is probably actually a little lower. The kicker is that this guy is 14, so has loads of time to develop his already good skills. An OVR like this, combined with his age and potential, is awesome. This player is a definite sign in my book.
You can promote youth players from age 16. So when it comes to doing this, what sort of OVR should you look out for in 16 year olds? Well, I’ve got a couple of 16 year olds I recently promoted to the first team. Both had potentials of 84-90, one was rated 64 and the other 65. This is perfectly acceptable for a 16 year old – they will both develop into excellent players, at least 84 OVR with enough playing time. Sometimes you’ll get a 16 year old who is rated in the 70s – this is exceedingly rare, so play him as much as you can so he develops! But ultimately it depends on a combination of OVR, potential and what your team looks like. In my youth academy I had two 16 year old LBs, one was rated 66 but with potential 79-85, the other was rated 64 with potential 82-88. In this case, the 64 rated one, even though his OVR is lower, may be the one to promote – he will probably grow quicker than the other one.
If you’re not sure if a player is good enough at 16, leave him in your academy for a while. By this point his OVR and potential have probably narrowed down as much as they’re going to, but by leaving him in the academy you can assess whether you actually need him in the team. If you do, promoted him; if not, release him.
I’ve been asked about how a scout’s idea of a player changes over time. Before a player is promoted, his OVR and potential will vary a lot, but don’t worry. If you find someone whose potential is 72-91, then after a month of scouting it’s down to 69-86, don’t panic – I’ve had this plenty of times where a month later his potential goes back up again. It’s just part of the scout’s process of narrowing down the player’s potential – his actual OVR and potential haven’t been affected, it’s just that the scout is basically still working out how good the player is/will be.
Secondly, the reports a scout sends back on a player after a few months of watching him work on the same basis as if you’d signed the player and then had his values narrowed down in the youth academy. The only difference is that signing the player costs money, and watching him for longer increases the chances of him being poached by other clubs. The easy way around this is to save after you’ve found him (and told your scout to keep watching him), then reload if he gets poached – because this seems to work in the same way as youth players wanting to leave the academy (i.e. random), he probably won’t get poached next reload. Also, your scout’s reports may give this player different OVR and potential values upon reloading, but don’t worry – as I said above, his actual stats haven’t changed, just your scout’s guess as to what they are.
It should be noted that the weak foot star rating of scouted players can improve, albeit very slowly. Similarly, their attacking and defensive work rates can improve too. However, it does not appear that scouted players can improve their skill moves rating; at least, no one has yet been able to work out how to improve it if it is indeed possible to do so.
Often you’ll get scout reports where there are no potentially good players. Bummer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could try again? Well, there’s a very simple way to do it.
- Find out what day your scout(s) reports back to you and note it down
- Save your game the day before he is due to report back to you
- If there is no one good on your scout report, simply quit the game, reload the save and try again
- Repeat as necessary
If you find someone you’re not sure about, or you find someone good but not great, instead of quitting after your scout’s report, tell your scout to keep watching the player(s) in question. Then create a new save, call it “Test 1” or something similar, then quit and reload your original save (i.e. before your scout’s report arrives). Then if you find someone better you can compare him to the player(s) in your “Test 1” save and decide which to go for. Repeat this as many times as you want until you find someone you’re happy with.
To make things easier, I’ll show you how I keep track of the players I’m considering in various saves. Yes, it’s a little nerdy, but it’ll help you out if you choose to use this reload method. Below is the table I make in Microsoft Word, with some examples that I found:
Incidentally, the players here are some of the ones in the previous pictures. Anyway, I have created columns for all the key data, including a player’s position, name, OVR outline, actual OVR (I’ll come back to this later), potential, age, where they are from, and what their strengths are. I have also included the name of each save so I know where to find my scouted players.
Word is useful because you can also put in little notes to yourself. Mine here reads “Definitely a striker – long shots 75, shot power 74, finishing 67, but dribbling 55 and crossing 55!” So in this example I scouted a winger whose striker stats (finishing, shot power, etc) were better than his winger stats (dribbling, crossing, etc), so in this case his OVR may be deceptive, as he may be better as a striker than as a winger. The opposite is sometimes true – a player listed as a striker whose strengths are good for wingers. This is why using a table like this can be useful when considering whether your scouted players are worth signing.
So, in this example you can see that “Test 2” reaped better results than “Test 1”, so I went for “Test 2”.
But how, you ask, can you know exactly what a player’s OVR is before you’ve signed him to your first team? Well, I’ll explain that now, because it is one of the key things that helps me decide whether or not to sign a player.
Here is a great trick I found out to work out how good your scouted players actually are. Sure, you get a little outline of how good they are, but that can be up to 20 digits apart at times, which is no help. So here’s the secret.
Before you start, make sure all your saves are up to date, then delete FIFA’s career mode autosave file. This isn’t as scary as it sounds, it’s just an auto-generated save file and deleting it won’t cause you to lose your career. Go to My FIFA > FIFA 12 Profile > Save/Load/Delete > Delete, and delete the autosave file (it’ll have autosave in the name). The reason you do this is because you don’t want to sign what turns out to be a crappy player, then find out FIFA has saved over your old file and that you’re stuck with him!
Once you’ve done this, use the save, reload method as described in point 4. Make sure if you find a potentially good player you tell your scout to keep watching him, don’t sign him yet! Note down the player’s details in the table I showed you above (noting down his strengths is particularly important, as this’ll help identify him later). Now, after you’ve done this, create a new save (“Test 1”). Now you can sign him. Once you’ve done this, immediately go to your Youth Academy and release him. Go to the Buy Player screen and search the free agents for him (it helps if you search for his position too). If your player was a Spanish ST whose strengths were finishing, long shots and shot power (in that order), look for a Spanish ST who matches these criteria.
Note: your player’s age and name will have changed. If you released a 14 year old called Xabi Lopez there won’t be anyone with that name in the free agents. Your player will be there, however, just under a different name. He will always be 16.
Once you’ve found a 16 year old whose position, nationality and strengths match those of your just-released player, you know you’ve found him. You will also notice that you can see his OVR! This will be his OVR at the age he was when you released him, not the OVR he will be when he’s (legitimately) 16. This is incredibly useful because if you find a player with potential 70-91 but whose OVR (using this method) turns out to be 54, I wouldn’t bother signing him. If, however, his potential is 70-91 and his OVR is 64, then I would sign him. So this method can make all the difference.
The reason I say tell your scout to keep watching the players (rather than sign them straight away) is mainly because if you find 2 good players and only have space for one in your academy you can find out the actual OVR of one of them, quit, reload, then do the same with the other player.
Note: all a player’s stats (including skill moves, weak foot ability, plus all the normal stats like finishing, long shots, etc) will always be the same no matter how many times you reload. So if you find a great winger with only 1 star skills, then unfortunately you’re stuck with that. On the plus side, if you find one with 4 star moves then you’re stuck with that too! No need to worry about losing that if you reload. The impact of this depends if you sim or not. I sim all the time, so skill moves and weak foot ability don’t matter to me. If you play lots, however, it may be more important.
Anyway, if, using this method, you find a 14 year old whose OVR turns out to be 63 or above, sign him – he will be a star. If you find one whose OVR is 65 or over – well, I don’t need to tell you what to do! These are very rare, however. My best find was a 66 rated 14 year old CB, but I’ve also found 65, 64 and 63 rated 14 year olds using a combination of the ‘save, reload’ method and this method.
Sometimes, if you’re using multiple saves to compare scouted players, one player’s potential will be higher than the other’s, but his actual OVR will be lower. This was the case in the table image I posted above. In this instance it is up to you who you go for.
Well, I hope this guide has been useful to you. Just be patient and follow these tips and you’re sure to find some world-beating talent that will enhance your career mode immeasurably.