AI Defending is finally fixed
In this title update, EA Sports have focused on changes to AI Teammate defending, the effectiveness of a well-timed tackle in separating the dribbling player from the ball and the effect that defensive pressure has on a player's fatigue.
Here is an example of a shot blocking situation, from before and after the title update, which highlights the changes to the AI Teammate defenders. Before the title update, the AI Teammate defender stretches very far to make a shot block, preventing the shot from getting through. After the title update, that AI Teammate defender doesn't perform that stretch block, allowing the shot to get through on target.
To make it more rewarding to control your defending players when covering an attacking player with the ball, we have made some changes to the distance that a defending AI Teammate will stretch when trying to make a tackle. Prior to the title update, an AI Teammate defender would have been able to stretch the same distance as a human controlled defender would have in order to tackle an attacking player that is carrying the ball, but after the title update, an AI Teammate defender will not be able to stretch as far as a human controlled defender will be able to.
We made some changes to tackling in the previous title update, focused on making it more rewarding when a well timed tackle is executed by the defending player by making it more challenging for the dribbling player who was tackled to recover the ball.
We have another change, in this title update, aimed at further increasing the reward for a well timed tackle, by increasing the tendency of the ball to travel further from the dribbler after a tackle is performed, which will increase the likelihood that the dribbling player will lose possession of the ball following that tackle.
We were seeing that when players were defending with lots of pressure, such as when the Constant Pressure tactic was set in a team's Dynamic Tactics/Game Plans, that they were not being impacted by enough fatigue by the end of the match, allowing them to be effective at pressure defending for the entire match. To make this more authentic to the experience on the pitch, we have increased the impact to fatigue of playing with defensive pressure during the match. Direct from the patch notes, here are the details of the change:
To give an example of the impact of the change, we have two teams that have played a full match while defending with Constant Pressure as set in the Game Plan for the team. Before the title update, you can see that their fatigue levels were depleted, but there was still a fair amount of energy left on the players. After the title update, the players are have fully drained their fatigue bars.