An understandable and normal perception is that division 1 is for the elite players. Consequently, making it to division 1 is considered proof that you belong to the elite. As we however will demonstrate below, this is a misunderstanding. As a matter of fact, players with average skills eventually will make it to the upper divisions. All it takes is a moderate bit of patience.
Our normal perception about football divisions is that they work like skill layers. We usually expect teams in division 1 to be able to beat teams in division 2 and so on. When it comes to FUT seasons, this perception isn’t accurate. As explained in our article on why relegation streaks occur, FUT season’s promotion/relegation logic basically makes it fairly random what division you are in. For 80 % of the player population, their current division tells more about how lucky they are than about how skilled they are.
The strong influence of luck may be pretty infuriating. But on the other hand, it also creates an opportunity which we set out to explore in this article. The question we asked ourselves was: Is it possible for an average player to go all the way to division 1? The answer may surprise you.
For this article, we created a simple, probability-based simulation. We let 1.000 virtual players complete a career of a certain number of seasons and look at how far they got.
Since our simulation is probability-based, we don’t simulate actual matches. Instead, we assigning probabilities to “win”, “draw” and “loss” and create random match results using those probabilities. Every time a player has completed ten matches, we use FUT season’s point thresholds do decide whether our player should stay, get promoted or relegated from his current division.
How “average” players perform
We started out by assigning the probabilities Win 42% – Draw 16% – Loss 42% to our virtual dice. We picked these probabilities because they correspond to the actual outcome probabilities of an average player. For the purpose of this exercise, we define “average” as having the same chance of winning and losing and the same chance of drawing as an average player. According to out latest game data sample, the average player has 16 % chance of drawing.
After 25 seasons, more than 50 % of the population of average players had played minimum 1 season in division 2, and after 70 seasons (~700 matches), virtually all our average players had made it to minimum division 2 at least once.
The majority of the population had seen division 1 after 40 seasons (~400 matches), and after 60 seasons, more than 80 % had made it to the top.
Making it there but not staying there
While most people can make it to division 1, staying there is more difficult.
In the table below, we show how 100 average players will be distributed after 40 seasons. As we explained in the previous section, approximately 60 % of the players below have made it to division 1 by this time. But despite of that, only 8 % of the average players who completed 40 seasons will be in division 1 at that point in time. This illustrates how versatile FIFA’s divisional structure really is, and also why a stay in division 1 doesn’t tell a whole lot about how good you are.
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Not all players are average
Most people don’t think about themselves as average players, and may find it difficult to relate to the results above. So, what about players who are above or below average?
Obviously, the lower your winning chance, the longer it will take to make it to division 1. Below, we have charted the outcome of the same simulation, but this time we have added the results for two other “player profiles”, which we have dubbed “Above average” and “Below average”.
The “Above average” players have 46 % chance of winning and 38 % chance of losing, meaning that he earns 8 % more points per match than the average player. The “Below average” players have 46 % chance of losing and 38 % chance of winning, meaning that they earn up 8 % fewer points per match than the average player.
After 50 seasons, more than 50 % of our “below average” players had made it into division 2 and more than 1 in 5 had made it to division 1. It just took 20 seasons before more than half of the above average players had made it to division 2 and at 30 seasons, more than 50 % had made it to division 1.
Can everyone make it?
It’s a natural question to ask: Did EA design FUT seasons so that everyone will make it to division 1? The answer is a ‘not quite, but almost’.
Based on the simulations we have made here, we find it safe to conclude that the majority of the population stands a reasonable chance of making it to the top if they have the required patience. In fact, our latest player survey shows that 90 % of the population has a large enough win ratio (>=32 %) to guarantee a 50 % chance of making it within 100 seasons.
Division 1 isn’t for the elite: It’s for the masses.