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Messi-attributes.jpg POSTED BY EA SPORTS Football Club ON Jan 5, 2012

The Backpage | FIFA 12 - Attributes Guide: What They Do And How To Use Them

In this week’s Backpage, football writer and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at all of FIFA 12’s outfield attributes – including the hidden ones – and reveals which are the most useful…

Finding new players in Career Mode took far less time in previous versions of FIFA.

It was simply a case of going to the search screen then looking for as many players with 90+ for Acceleration and Sprint Speed as you could, then buying them up until you had a team full of sprinters.

Pace made such a difference in FIFA 11, and all the versions prior, that those two stats were really all that mattered to most managers.

Of course this wasn’t particularly realistic so the team behind the game had to do something about it and, in FIFA 12, they have.

Acceleration and Sprint Speed are still desirable attributes and they can be devastating weapons when used correctly, but they are no longer the be-all and end-all on the pitch. As with real-world football, it’s no good having a fast winger if he can’t dribble or cross, and completely pointless having a striker who can get into the box before everyone else if he can’t put the ball away once he’s there.

Now successfully building a good team is less about having fast players, and more about getting the players in who have the right skills for the position you want them to play.

Of the outfield attributes given to each player, between 10 and 12 count towards their Overall Rating and these change from position to position. For example, Marking will be one of the attributes considered when the game creates an Overall Rating for a defender, but it has nothing at all to do with strikers, who will have something more appropriate in its place.

So, in this week’s Backpage, we’ll look at what each of the game’s outfield attributes actually do, then we’ll pick out the ones that are the most vital to players in each of the outfield positions.

Hopefully, after reading, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for in the transfer market so you can pick out the best player available for what you’ve got to spend.

There’s a lot to get through, so let’s get started…

Acceleration
This is purely about how long it takes a player to reach his top speed, so it needs to be considered alongside the Sprint Speed stat. Some players have a high Acceleration rating but only average Sprint Speed so, in their case, Acceleration becomes almost irrelevant – it’s no good getting to your top speed really quickly if that top speed really isn’t very quick.

Agility
Players with high agility can perform acrobatic shots or clearances, and agility also affects dribbling ability. If you’re a player who likes to run with the ball, Agility is one of the stats to keep an eye on. The higher the better.

Balance
This is another attribute that influences a player’s dribbling skill and, more generally, how responsive the player you’re controlling feels. If you have high stats for Agility and Balance then you’ll move fluidly and you’ll be able to get in or out of tight spots. Also, high Agility and Balance scores are needed to get the most out of fast players – even if you have 95+ for Acceleration and Sprint Speed, your player could feel sluggish and a little unresponsive if they lack Agility and Balance. It’s important to remember that when you’re looking at potential new players, as it’s easy to spend a lot of money on quick players, only to find they don’t feel to sharp due to low stats in other areas like these.

Jumping
Quite simply, how high a player can jump. Useful if you’re scouting for a player to win you more headers but, like speed, it’s fairly useless without its related attributes. For example, for a player to be really good in the air they need to have high Jumping, Strength Aggression and Heading Acc stats.

Reactions
This will also affect how responsive a player feels. The higher the stat, the easier they’ll adapt to contextual changes – an attribute that’s vital for effective dribbling.

Sprint Speed
You don’t need any explanation here, I’m sure. As with the Attributes above though, remember that Sprint Speed in isolation is less effective – it needs to be combined with Acceleration, Agility, Balance and Reactions to be unleashed.

Stamina
This attribute plays a huge part in FIFA 12. With True Injuries now occurring in game, it’s important to keep an eye on your players’ stamina levels, as tired players get injured. As well as affecting fatigue during a game, Stamina also determines how quickly a player recovers between matches. I’ve had players in Career Mode that constantly ask to be rested because they’re tired – due to a poor Stamina rating – which can be annoying.

Strength
Another attribute with more importance in FIFA 12. Your players Strength stat will decide how they cope with any physical battles, so a good score in this area is important for anyone with defensive responsibilities. It’s also a desirable attribute to have for at least one of your strikers, just to give you a chance in 50-50s with defenders.

Aggression
This works in tandem with Strength; you’ll usually find that a player has high scores for both, rather than one or the other. Aggressive players generally win more tackles, but also risk giving away more free-kicks.

Att. Position
This Attacking Position attribute deals with a player’s ability to spot open space and move into good positions that offer an attacking advantage. The higher this stat, the more likely a player is to make enough space to receive the ball in dangerous areas.

Interceptions
This applies more to AI controlled team-mates rather than the player you’ve selected, as it determines the ability to read the game and intercept passes. If you’ve seen players stick out legs or do something unexpected to prevent a pass, it’s likely they’ll have a high score for Interceptions.

Vision
It’s all very well you being able to spot a pass from your sofa, but if the player you’re controlling can’t see what you’re telling it to do then the pass is going to be off. The higher the score in this attribute, the further the player will be able to see and so the better their passing will be – as long as they have a good Long Pass rating of course.

Ball Control
This determines two things; how well a player initially controls the ball, then how good they are at keeping it under control. It’s another attribute that’s very desirable for dribblers and also for strikers – you could have the best finisher in the world up front, but if he can’t trap a bag of cement then he isn’t going to get goals.

Crossing
This obviously deals with the accuracy of crosses, but it also determines how easy it is for a player to get the ball in the box in the first place. If your winger keeps getting blocked when you are expecting him to whip the ball in, there’s a good chance he has a poor Crossing score.

Curve
Dictates how effective a player is at applying curl to crosses, passes and shots. It’s a good attribute to have for any set piece takers; curling corners can be a nightmare to defend against, and curling free-kicks can be tough to save.

Dribbling
Lionel Messi has 97 for this, which may actually be a couple of points too low as this attribute affects how well the player keeps possession of the ball while running with it. I’ve seen him lose it once. Possibly.

Finishing
Career Mode managers often largely overlook this essential attribute. Without a high score here, it’s going to be very difficult to find the back of the net consistently. In my opinion, this is easily the most important attribute to consider when you’re scouting for a striker, but keep in mind that it only determines the accuracy of your shooting from inside the box. Shots outside of the box are dealt with by the Long Shots attribute, which we’ll get to in a sec.

FK Acc. 
Simply, how good a player is at taking free-kicks. Ideally you want your free-kick taker to have a good score for Curve too. Then they really are a weapon from dead balls.

Heading Acc. 
The does two things; affects your player’s ability to get their head on the ball, then how accurate that header is going to be. It applies to headed passes as well as headers at goal.

Long Pass
Clearly, the ability to pick out a team-mate that’s far away. This also determines how quickly the ball gets to them – the higher the score, the faster and more accurate the pass will be.

Long Shots
The ability to shoot with accuracy from outside the box. A great attribute for midfielders to have.

Marking
This determines your player’s ability to track and defend against an opposing player. AI players will do this off the ball, and when you’re in control of a defender their Marking stat will affect how good they are at containing.

Hidden Attributes
These aren’t viewable in a player’s profile but they are all searchable using the Primary and Secondary Attribute options in the transfer menu. Short Passing determines a player’s accuracy and speed of passing over a short distance, Shot Power affects how fast the ball travels when struck from any distance, Standing Tackle deals with the ability to win the ball while staying on your feet, Sliding Tacklecontrols how accurate a player’s sliding tackle is and what chance it has of succeeding, Volleys affects the technique and accuracy of shots taken while the ball is in the air and Penalties is an obvious one.

Still reading? Great, because we’re now going to look at what I think is the most important thing when it comes to attributes – which ones to look for by position…

Full-backs…
Should have good scores for Stamina and Marking. It’s also one of two positions in which Accelerationand Sprint Speed are effective without high scores for Balance, Agility or Reactions, as you’ll purely use their pace to recover ground. Dribbling and Crossing are a bonus, but not essential.

Centre-backs…
Can also get away with being quick but not necessarily agile. Primarily though, you want good scores forStrength, Jumping, Heading Accuracy, Marking, Standing Tackle and Sliding Tackle.

Defensive midfielders…
Need Stamina. After that you’re looking for Strength, Marking, Standing Tackle, Interceptions andShort Passing. Aggression may also be useful here, but – since these players are always in the thick of it – you don’t need to worry too much about speed.

Attacking midfielders…
Benefit from good scores in the Long Shots, Vision and Short and Long Passing departments. I like to have a player here that can run with the ball too, as he plays so central, so I search for Dribbling as well as Balance, Ball Control, Agility and Reactions.

Wingers…
Need to be able to beat their markers, accelerate into space and get the ball into the box, so you wantDribbling, Ball Control, Balance, Agility, Reactions, Acceleration, Sprint Speed and Crossing. Stamina and Strength are a huge bonus here.

Strikers…
Are a waste of space without Finishing, in my opinion. It’s the very fist thing I look for when I need a goalscorer, because I really feel like it pays off in game – if you’re only going to get one chance, you want to score with it. I also like them to feel responsive, so I like them to have Acceleration, Sprint Speed, Balance, Agility, Reactions and Ball Control. Attack Positioning, Strength and Stamina really help too.

Okay, that’ll do from me for this week. Thanks for reading this mammoth blog, hopefully you found it interesting and helpful.

See you next time,

Have a good week,

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