Many of us, or at least the 90s kids, remember RPG games like the prince of Persia, Shadows of Cairn, etc., and how they had characters, varied fighting styles, and action scenes. Fast forward to now, and games have evolved at an alarming rate.
With insane amounts of customization options available, like customizing the features of our character, the kind of role it will play, the type of stats it will have to even the sort of skill set the character will inculcate as the story goes along.
Customization options in games based on real life have also gone to higher levels, such as Sega’s Football Manager, which offers players an in-depth holistic experience of what it’s like to be a football team manager.
Then there is another sort of football manager, one that is based on real-life performances, called Fantasy Premier League.
FPL is a popular online fantasy football game based on the English Premier League EPL. In this game, players act as virtual team managers, selecting a squad of real-life EPL players and competing against other players based on the players’ actual performances.
Each FPL team consists of 15 players, including two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders, and three forwards. The game assigns a price to each player based on their performance, and players have a budget of 100 million pounds to build their team at the beginning of a season.
Players earn points based on aspects such as goals, assists, clean sheets, and saves. Points are also deducted for things like own goals, red cards, and penalties conceded.
Since the game follows the real-life EPL closely, it has become a trending discussion topic on social media for a new feature that has been added recently.
We are talking about the xG and xA stat.
First, let’s dive into these stats and what they signify. xG, xA, and xGI are statistical metrics used in football analytics to measure a player’s expected goals, expected assists, and expected goal involvement.
1. xG (expected goals) is a metric that quantifies the quality of a goal-scoring opportunity. It is calculated based on factors such as the distance of the shot from the plan, the angle of the shot, and the number of defenders in the way. The higher the xG value of a shot, the more likely it is to result in a goal.
2. xA (expected assists) is a metric that quantifies the quality of a pass that leads to a goal-scoring opportunity. It considers the location of the pass, the type of pass, and the number of defenders between the passer and the scorer. The higher the xA value of a pass, the more likely it is to result in a goal.
3. xGI (expected goal involvement) is a metric that combines a player’s xG and xA values to measure their overall offensive contribution. It is calculated as xG + xA and is used to evaluate a player’s ability to create or score goals.
Football analysts, coaches, and fantasy football enthusiasts often use these metrics to evaluate a player’s performance and predict future performance. They are instrumental in assessing the performance of attacking players, such as strikers and midfielders, who are expected to contribute to their team’s scoring efforts.
While these stats have been highlighted by organizations like OPTA for some time now, this is the first time these stats find their way into a fantasy game.
The addition has now divided the FPL community, with some praising the game while others criticizing it as it adds complexity.
The praise is because every new feature brings with it more nuances and, with a game like FPL, the more the stats, the more information a person has to make his/her decisions.
Additionally, “Expected” stats have increasingly become popular in the modern game and it shows the willingness of FPL to keep up with the times.
Then there is the other side of the argument, those who say that adding such stats makes a fun game needlessly complex and maybe even intimidating for some. No one should need an excel sheet and a maths degree to make a team or do well in a game.
Now in retrospect, since the dawn of video games, features of a game have never gone without criticism, and this stems from each customer, each player being their own unique individual and hence having varied preferences that cater to their likes and dislikes, and such is a case with this feature.
End of the day, there simply is no reason for this feature to be criticised other than for criticism’s sake.
Expected stats have been added and those who wish to use these to make their decisions can use them. Others who think this is a nonsense addition are simply free to ignore it. After all, I have been playing for a long time and very rarely do I go on every screen or check every possible feature while picking teams.
All in all, it’s just a matter of the people playing the game. Some will like it some will not. For the player that is critical of this feature, at least there is respite in the fact that this feature is optional, making it still enjoyable for them, as it was before.