FIFA 23 - EA encouraging PACEY meta with latest Ultimate Team releases

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Much has been made of the lengthy or pacey meta we've had in FIFA 23 and Ultimate Team this season.

There seemed to be a clear advantage for lengthy players upon release, but in a recent update, the lengthy meta was declared "dead", even though the update didn't target those players with the AcceleRATE archetype.

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Although the meta is heavily decided by the community, promo cards from the World Cup Stories promo appear to show that EA is encouraging a certain player type...

Picking up the Pace

Ultimate Team has been taken over by World Cup content in recent weeks, with plenty of new promo players released to improve our squads.

We're used to seeing the players included get significant boosts, but there have been a couple of cards in the World Cup Stories promo that have had mammoth upgrades in a certain area.

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Fan favourite Olivier Giroud got +43 pace from his base Gold card (or +40 compared to his Team of the Week version).

Axel Witsel was another that got this treatment, with +44 pace compared to his Gold card (or +43 if judged against his World Cup Player item).

Design Insight

We're used to seeing pace upgrades happen, but such large increases are usually reserved for special Flashback and Player Moments cards, events where stats are adjusted massively (such as Rulebreakers), or promos much later in the FUT campaign.

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The interesting thing about the pace changes this year is they come when EA has introduced the AcceleRATE system to try and even things out and stay away from a meta where pace is king.

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Giving slow players such a drastic upgrade on the attribute shows that maybe AcceleRATE isn't working as originally hoped, or that EA is encouraging a pacey meta.

AcceleRATE is only available on next-gen, so it could be that EA is catering to users on older consoles here, although we would have thought they would focus on the newer ones.

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Community Accountability

When talking about meta cards, it can't just be EA that we look at.

Sure, they design the gameplay and give the players the ratings they have, but the meta is heavily influenced by the FIFA community, which usually focuses on the pacey players.

If EA were to release cards that didn't have much pace, the community would slate them, saying we were getting unusable content.

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That can put the company in a tough position, where it can't always please users that want slower-paced gameplay and those that want fast players!