EA’s FC 24 Ultimate Team witnessed an unprecedented glitch that turned the Team of the Year (TOTY) Lionel Messi card into an almost common commodity overnight, sparking widespread debate and frustration within the community.
This blunder, occurring during the highly anticipated TOTY promotion, is now being labeled by many as possibly the biggest mistake in Ultimate Team history and subsequently dubbed as “Messi Gate”.
How Did The Messi TOTY Card Glitch Occur?
As part of the TOTY promotion, which was already under scrutiny due to the lowering of pack odds, EA Sports introduced an SBC that unexpectedly increased players’ chances of securing a TOTY Lionel Messi. The TOTY promotion, featuring both men’s and women’s squads for the first time ever, was meant to be a highlight for players. However, the excitement turned to frustration when an 86+ TOTY Player Pick (1 of 3) SBC, meant for players who submitted an 85-rated squad, predominantly awarded the Messi card due to a significant oversight.
The glitch was rooted in the SBC’s structure as EA may have assigned one league per slot, which inadvertently made Messi, the only MLS player rated above 86, a common reward. This error gave hundreds of players the chance to add a 10 million coin-worth Messi to their roster for a fraction of the effort or cost, leaving thousands more feeling cheated when the SBC was promptly disabled by EA.
We have identified an issue with the 86+ TOTY Leagues SBC, as a result we have disabled the SBC.
— EA SPORTS FC Direct Communication (@EASFCDirect) January 30, 2024
The fallout from “Messi Gate” has been intense, with a large portion of the community calling for EA to issue the TOTY Messi card to all players as a form of compensation. This suggestion, however, brings its own set of challenges, particularly in addressing the concerns of players who had already packed or purchased Messi through the transfer market.
Other proposed solutions include the re-release of the player pick SBC with corrected odds, or simply remove the card from those who got it through the glitched SBC.
Two ways to fix this:
– Remove TOTY Messi from everyone who got him from the pick.
– Give everyone who didn’t a free TOTY Messi.
reality: nothing actually happens and we just have to get on with it👍
— FUTBIN (@FUTBIN) January 30, 2024
Adding to the controversy, numerous players report an uneven playing field, facing opponents with TOTY Messi almost in every match since the glitch, amplifying claims that the game has lost its competitive balance and could heavily affect the next Weekend League results.
This glitch has not only marred the TOTY promotion but has also sparked a broader conversation about fairness and balance in Ultimate Team. Some players are calling for a game boycott, while others have expressed their intention to quit the franchise altogether, highlighting the deep frustration and disillusionment with EA’s handling of the situation.
Two days following the glitched SBC’s release and subsequent removal, EA Sports has acknowledged the error and issued an official statement, echoing the community’s anticipation. The statement reads:
“We understand this has caused frustration within the Ultimate Team Community, and we apologize and appreciate your patience. We have explored several scenarios for how to proceed in a way that is both fair and would preserve long term game health. We can confirm the following:
- Players who completed this SBC while it was available will keep their rewards
- The SBC will not be returning as originally designed
We know that this is not a perfect solution, and we will continue examining our processes with the aim of minimizing such issues in the future.”
Additionally, EA revealed that the glitched SBC was active for 24 minutes, during which approximately 0.7% of Ultimate Team players secured a TOTY Messi item, causing some stern reactions from the community.
If 0.7% of the player base now has Messi
You are more likely to have Messi in your club than to pack any TOTY from a Tradeable £20 pack…
— SAF Cal (@saf_cal) February 2, 2024
EA’s handling of the “Messi Gate” fiasco falls short of expectations. Their response, while acknowledging the glitch, leaves much to be desired in terms of fairness and transparency. Allowing a small fraction of players to keep their ill-gotten TOTY Messi cards, while the vast majority are left without, highlights a persistent issue in EA’s approach to managing Ultimate Team.
This incident not only disrupts the game’s balance but also undermines player trust. EA’s commitment to minimizing future issues is a necessary step, but the gaming community will likely remain skeptical until real improvements are seen. “Messi Gate” stands as a stark reminder of the need for more accountable and player-focused game management.