It isn't really treading new ground to say that ratings given to players in Ultimate Team don't make sense sometimes, but this has been taken to the extreme in FIFA 23!
You can't always judge a card by its overall rating, so taking a delve into its stats is a must when deciding whether to replace a player in your starting squad with a new face.
Let's take a look at some of the most confusing and ridiculous upgrades that have baffled us during the FIFA 23 Ultimate Team campaign so far.
A pair of Premier League CDMs have had various in-form and special items in FIFA 23 Ultimate Team that clearly show there is inconsistency in the overall rating handed out.
Rodri has a starting rating of 87 OVR, with Declan Rice an 84 OVR, but the Englishman was then given an 87 OVR boost during the FUT Centurions promo and after that earned an 87 OVR in-form during Team of the Week.
Now, logically these three cards should all have fairly similar stats, given that the game says they are all 87-rated.
However, as you can see in the image below that is clearly not the case!
Rice's FUT Centurions item is head and shoulders above the others in terms of stats.
We understand that large pace upgrades are often given out during promos to make the items more sought-after in the FUT community, but it isn't simply that one attribute that is much better than the other two cards.
Taking a look at FUTBIN and its in-game rating calculator really highlights the difference, as it works out a card's overall rating in different positions on the pitch based on its stats.
Using that, Rodri has the stats of an 84-rated CDM, TOTW Rice an 87-rated CDM, and FUT Centurions Rice an 89-rated CDM!
EA employed a new in-form upgrade system halfway through the season, which effectively sees cards rated below 87 OVR handed a double in-form upgrade.
This has been a very successful change, making Team of the Week players much more sought after than in previous years, however, it also highlights a flaw in the overall rating system.
In the Future Stars promo, Karim Adeyemi was given a top 90-rated card, which has fluctuated in price since release, now sitting around 370,000 coins.
A 90 OVR is +15 from his base gold card, yet it didn't gain the stats of +15 in-form upgrades, meaning that his Man of the Match version - which has an 83 OVR and gained +8 in-form upgrades (apart from in his pace) - has very similar stats.
If Adeyemi gains another in-form card, which will have an 86 OVR, that version will have better stats than the 90-rated Future Stars!
Lois Openda is a great player to look at to see how powerful the new in-form upgrade system can be.
He has only gained upgrades via TOTW inclusions, seeing his card boosted from 75 OVR to 81 OVR, then 85 OVR and 87 OVR.
Because all of these have come from an in-form upgrade there is a consistency to the boosts, rather than the sometimes random upgrades we see in promos.
Yet, it also raises an issue with the overall rating assigned, because according to FUTBIN, his 87-rated item has the stats of a 91 OVR ST!
It also shows the importance of investigating the stats of a card and not just judging it from the overall rating handed out.
You could find some bargain buys on the transfer list for players with a lower overall, as they won't be as useful to use in SBCs, even if they are great to use in-game!
In Defence of EA
To be fair to EA, balancing the power in a live mode such as FIFA 23 Ultimate Team can be difficult.
Not only do you need to start with the initial overall ratings handed out at the start of the title, but you also have to give boosts to cards that will entice users into buying packs while also not unleashing end-game items too soon.
That means there will always be cards with stats that don't match the overall rating, something as players we will just need to live with.
The only way around it we can see would be to lower the ratings of all the cards in the game so there is more room to boost them, or give ratings that exceed 99!