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Why FIFA 18 players think EA changed gameplay for the World Cup update - despite the fact it didn't

Mind games.

When EA Sports released the free World Cup update for FIFA 18, some players thought it played differently compared to the main game. Actually, it was more than some - there were loads of players who thought it played differently.

These players, who suspected EA Sports had tinkered with the gameplay of FIFA 18 for the World Cup update on the quiet, claimed it felt slower, with nerfed dribbling and passing. I've also seen plenty of people say the World Cup mode plays more "arcadey" than the main FIFA 18 game, with overpowered shooting from distance. I've also seen people say lofted through balls are more effective, and even spotted the suggestion the World Cup update reverts to gameplay before FIFA 18 was patched.

The truth is, the gameplay in the World Cup update is exactly the same as the gameplay in the main FIFA 18 game, Andrei Lazarescu, producer of the Switch version of FIFA and the World Cup update confirmed to me at E3. So, why do players think there's a difference?

It turns out there are two reasons, Lazarescu said.

The first relates to your starting point for the World Cup update. Players have refreshed stats based on their national team form, which will be different from the cards players have spent months grinding for in the main Ultimate Team mode. In short, the players you start with in the World Cup update will probably be worse than the players you've got in your Ultimate Team squad, and so they're slower and weaker at things like passing and dribbling than the players you're used to playing with. Lazarescu told me this contributes to the feeling the World Cup update gameplay feels slower, or more sluggish.

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There's another reason, too, and this one is a bit more on the psychological front. The World Cup update comes with a new look for the game, new stadia, new lighting and new players with updated faces that display in a game mode with a new user interface.

"Players saw it and thought, oh, this is new, and psychologically it feels like new gameplay," Lazarescu said.

So there you have it. Loads of people reckon the FIFA 18 World Cup update has different gameplay than FIFA 18, but it really doesn't. Now you know why.