There are those who like to jump straight into a game of FIFA 22, and there are those who like to tinker. Arguably the most Ultimate form of tinkering comes in the Ultimate Team mode, in which you can pay for packs of player cards to build up a squad and test it against other real players.
Much like FIFA 22, Ultimate Team gets updated every year, and because it’s such a high earner for EA, it gets the same level of tournament treatment and prize money.
This year’s no different, for the tinkerers out there with limited time or hectic schedules, Ultimate Team has made some accessibility changes to accommodate you.
A New Schedule for Tournament Play
Those with busy schedules or shift work will be happy to hear that the FIFA team has put some thought into how to make FUT Champions more accessible.
The structure has been spread throughout the week more with a Play-Offs competition and then a Finals competition. You can play these games on your own time until you reach the Finals stage.
The Finals are the only part that puts a rigid demand on your time. This section operates as it did in FIFA 21, where you’re given a weekend window to complete your games. Just use your Finals Qualification Token when you’ve got some spare time on your weekend.
Entry into these tournaments also depends on points, this time being points that you accumulate through the Division Rivals mode. The goal here is that you should be able to play anytime, accumulating points when it’s convenient, and never be locked out of a tournament because it didn’t fall in line with your lunch hour.
Division Rivals Turned Upside Down
The reworking of the competitive season brings FUT a bit more in line with what you’d expect in other esports games like Apex Legends. There are “safe points” you can get to where losses won’t drag your ranking down any further.
This time, you can also accelerate your progress by going on a win streak, which should benefit everyone. It sends the super-skilled players up faster, and the lower league players don’t have to feel like they’re always playing against smurfs.
That’s especially handy, because divisions are reset at the start of every season. Rewards will be doled out every week, and at the end of the season as well.
At the top of the pyramid is a new Elite league where you’re competing directly for spots on the global leaderboard.
Co-Op Public Matchmaking
This is a feature that isn’t immediately apparent how it’ll work. Ultimate Team is all about constructing a squad with great synergies that you know the ins and outs of. A squad you know how to pilot better than everyone else. How’s that work in co-op? Does it mash two squads together? PSG’s front line with Inter’s defence?
It turns out there are specifically made teams for this mode, so you’ll be matchmade with a co-op teammate and a team before you’re on your way.
This is done by first selecting a squad, and then you’ll be matched with a teammate who also wanted to play that squad.
These are just for friendly matches, so you don’t have to worry about it affecting your ranking or your club’s record. It’s just for fun, and gives you a chance to try out some players you might not normally have access to.
FIFA 22 Has More FUT Heroes
Legends of days past are coming back to the coliseums of football, and that means more heroes for you to use in your Ultimate Team.
The big one here for Australians has to be Tim Cahill. It’s a point of national pride that ol’ mate Timmy, often one of the smaller guys on the pitch, was able to get above the head and shoulders of his marker so often to put the ball in the net.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns as well, rolling back the years to take a break from coaching to play once more. Robbie Keane is back, as is Joe Cole and The Other Pele.
There are a host of other legends added – too many to list here, but you can check out the full log on this page.
I also found the following bit of advice pretty important:
The Heroes Club acts as a wildcard with all other clubs from that league, so this means a Premier League Hero like Cahill will get a green link between any other Premier League player, regardless of what club they play for.
There are also new customisations for your home stadium. In EA’s words:
… show off your unique style from pitch side to row Z, with a new VIP Area and enhanced crowd elements including Flags, Cards, and Banners that let you take your design to a whole new level.
That should bring you up to speed with all the changes in FIFA 22‘s new version of FUT. In the end, it’s all down to what you do with the controller, though a bit of luck when opening packs never hurts. If all else fails, you can always retreat back to vanilla FIFA 22 and play PSG.