The FIFA 21 Ultimate Team grind is real - if you don't splash the cash on loot boxes, that is. So, to speed things up a bit, players have come together to create their own, unspoken Golden Goal rule.
This unofficial rule was sparked by the release of the first batch of Icon Swaps rewards. These tokens are eventually "swapped" for powerful Icon cards, for the likes of a 90-rated Thierry Henry, a 90-rated Frank Rijkaard and a 91-rated Prime Ronald Koeman.
To get these tokens you need to complete objectives, and the first eight of these are live now. Five are completed in the Live FUT Friendlies playlist, and three in Squad Battles (Ultimate Team vs the AI).
Here's where the grind comes in. To get all the tokens currently available, you need an eye-watering 45 wins. That's 15 hours of play - if you do nothing but win, of course.
In response, the FIFA community has come up with a Golden Goal rule. The idea is simple: if your opponent scores the opening goal of the game, concede straight away. The hope is if you are to score first, your opponent will do the same. If you're one-nil up and your opponent concedes, you register the win. And because this is just a friendly, there's no penalty for conceding, and no blemish on your record.
When I first saw word of this Golden Goal rule I was sceptical of its take-up, but I've spent a few hours playing Live FUT Friendlies and it seems pretty widespread. During most of my games in which I've gone one-nil up my opponent has conceded. I've conceded when I've fallen behind. Hopefully my opponent knows why!
This rule has already sparked much debate among FIFA players. It has sprung up yet another way to be toxic in FIFA competitive play, with some pausing the game and celebrating after a goal in order to annoy their opponent. The etiquette, it seems, is to skip the celebration and let your opponent pause the game as quickly as possible.
Redditor andrewrov listed some rules for playing in friendly matches to avoid toxicity and keep the mode as fun as possible. Top of the list is to continue to play the match normally if your opponent doesn't quit after you score a goal. They may not know about the community movement, after all.
"I like golden goal but if people celebrates or pauses after they score, then I won't quit," said redditor Ikorose87.
"Few games I was about to leave but then my opponent began to celebrate and pausing, I played the whole game. It's about respect for each other. Don't be an asshole and don't expect that everyone quits after the first goal. Some of us are playing for fun. People stress too much about the game. Just reminding, this is only a game!"
It remains to be seen what EA makes of all this. I doubt it's exactly what the developers intended with the Icon Swaps objectives. But I'd like to think they will leave this one alone - it's rare to see FIFA players come together in any sort of community-driven sense for Ultimate Team without it descending into a steaming pile of toxicity. So far, so good with this Golden Goal rule.