What is EA Access (Origin Access)?
In 2014, EA launched a monthly subscription service called EA Access. For $4.99 a month (or $29.99 USD for a year), players were granted early, trial access to EA’s games days before their worldwide releases.
Last year, EA Access members had to opportunity to play FIFA 17 for 10 hours, days before the worldwide launch. While this may not seem significant, it was a big deal. The trial period allowed players to hop onto Ultimate Team on console to start playing games and earning coins. But perhaps the most significant, was that early access members could load up FIFA points on their account before everyone else. This meant that players could get hoards of coins to invest and buy their starter teams before prices skyrocketed during the first couple weeks.
This year, Xbox and PC (through Origin Access) players with will be able to play the game days before the release of the Icon/Ronaldo editions. The official launch date of the EA Access window is set for the Thursday, September 21. However, there is good reason to believe that it will come out in the late evening of the 20th. EA Access has typically launched earlier than the official launch date.
Is Early Access Worth It?
We certainly think so! You only need to sign up for one month of EA Access to get the game early. You can cancel your subscription after you are done playing. This means that for $4.99 you can play ultimate team for 10 hours before most others. You will be able to load up FIFA points and with the coins you make from those packs, you’ll be able to trade and invest with clout. Again, the age old saying, “you need money to make money” comes into play here. Large coin totals are like gold dust in the beginning of the game.
To put it another way, $4.99 buys you 500 FIFA points. That is the equivalent of three 7.5k packs. If you think about the average return from those packs, you’re likely to conclude that one month of EA Access is the way to go!
How to Best Use Your Time
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s dive into what we recommend you do during the those precious 10 hours to maximize your coin totals heading into launch.
Before you log into FIFA 18 and start your 10 hour timer, you’ll want to get a few things in order. First, you should pre-plan your starter squad. This way you can waste no time crafting your Squad Battles squad. You’ll also want know which nation you plan on choosing for you starter pack so you don’t have to think about it when the option comes up.
You will also want to select your club name ahead of time so that you don’t have to think about it when you are prompted to set one. Below are some names to get you thinking.
Once you’ve finished your prepping, it’s time to fire up FIFA. After you’ve agreed to EA’s terms and services and find yourself on the main menu, head over to the EA FC Catalog. Here, you’ll want to tab over to the Ultimate Team portion of the catalog and buy every reward and bonus you can get your hands on. If your EA FC points are limited, you priorities should be; match coin boosts, transfer list space, and anything that you can sell on the transfer market (i.e. kits, badges, contracts, etc.).
Now that you’ve raided the catalog, let’s fire up Ultimate Team. There are a number of different ways that you can spend the next ~9.5 hours. Let’s break it down by skill level and whether or not you plan on investing in FIFA Points.
FIFA POINTS + INTERMEDIATE-ADVANCED SKILL LEVEL
If the above description sounds like you, we recommend loading up FIFA points right away and then jumping into Online Draft. If you are decent player, the rewards that you receive from a 300 FIFA Point draft entry far outweigh the reward from two 7.5k packs. Do as many of these drafts as you can in your limited time.
If you run out of points, log out of FIFA, hop onto the Web App, build a starter team, and jump back in and play Squad Battles. If you can’t stomach playing against the computer, your next best alternative is playing divisions.
FIFA POINTS + BEGINNER SKILL LEVEL
If the above description sounds like you, we recommend loading up FIFA points right away and then jumping into Offline Draft. Set the difficulty to whatever you can handle and consistently win at (last year, rewards were not affected by set difficulty and it’s likely that this year will be the same) and win as many as you can. The reward you receive, even for offline draft, is significantly greater than what you get from two 7.5k packs.
NO FIFA POINTS + ALL SKILL LEVELS
From what we’ve seen, the rewards for Squad Battles are rather decent this year. If you have the patience to play against the computer and grind your way to the top of the leaderboards, you will be rewarded handsomely. If you would rather play against other humans, we recommend playing divisions.
Now that we’ve gone over some of things that you should do during your 10 hours of Early Access, let’s cover some things you’ll want to avoid.
- Leaving your game open - There is a timer that runs whenever the game is open. If you pause to take an extended break, close out of FIFA 18 completely so you don’t waste time.
- Trading - Probably sounds a bit ironic coming from someone that goes by the name “FutEconomist”, but if you plan on trading, don’t waste your time doing it on console. Spend your time trading on the Web App.
- Buying Consumables/Squad Tweaking - After you play a handful of games, you’ll likely need to take a break from playing to upgrade some of your squad and buy consumable items. We recommend that you do this on the Web App instead of burning valuable time on console.
- Open Packs - If you plan on opening packs, we recommend that you open them on the Web App. While we agree that it is considerably more fun to open them on console, in terms of maximizing your time, you’re best served opening your packs and selling your packed items on the Web App.
- Play Career Mode or Other Game Modes - There is no real advantage to playing game modes other than FUT early. Even if these are your primary game modes, we encourage you to spend the majority of your time playing FUT to maximize your early coin totals.