Setting Up A LLaMa Save
A Step By Step Guide
In this article we will go through the process step by step outlining what is necessary or not when setting up a LLaMa save. As you will see there's no special formula to it and it may well be pretty much what you do already but it's worth outlining so you get off to the best start possible in FM21
This time I've gone for the Grey Llama in the LLMPicker and he has kindly pointed me in the direction of Kvik Halden FK in the Norwegian Second Division Group 1
I've clicked 'Tweet Team' to let everyone know that my journey has begun
Next I've clicked on the League Overviews button to get a run-down of what to expect on my Norwegian adventure
Fun fact - Norway has 4 tiers but the lowest you can start is the 3rd tier. You can manage in the 4th tier but only if you are relegated into it and somehow manage to keep your job
On the league overview page I've made a note of the suggested additional leagues, which in this case are the rest of Scandinavia (note this is only a suggestion and you can load as many or as little as you/your system is comfortable with)
I've looked at the type of league structure involved and based on my teams media prediction what kind of points total i'm going to need to stay in the league/challenge for promotion
In this case the the board want a top half finish and the bookies agree with them making us 4th favourites for the league title. I hate the pressure of these kind of expectations but it is what it is and I'll have to hit the ground running on my FM2021 lower league management adventure
My next personal port of call is always the Wikipedia page of my team so I can get a feel for them (links are at the bottom of the overview page), I find this always gets me in the mood for a new save and gives me a little bit more connection with the club. Judging by their 114 year history Kvik Halden look like a team on the up, sadly for them they've just hired me
Another thing I like to do is check out the town/city a club is based in and have a little look at a few pictures of the stadium. Again all just little things to give myself a little more added immersion.
Turns out that Halden has the "worlds most humane prison" so at least if they do lock me up for crimes against football it won't be all bad
Now it's time to load the game!
Football Manager 2021
Once the game is loaded click on Career Mode then advanced setup
I will now outline how I set up in-game as a Lower League Manager
Active League Pane
I've got the five active nations as suggested previously with their league structure as low as it will go. This gives added scope to move to other clubs in the lowest reaches in case of a sacking. Again though this will all depend on the strength of your computer combined with your own patience level.
A quick word on view-only leagues, my take is don't bother. They add a small amount of extra processing whilst adding no extra players or transfer activity, the only plus point is league tables which without the players in the league render it pointless in my opinion
Advanced Options Pane
Use fake players and staff - Mixed feelings about this one as it has no real effect on your game especially at this level. An argument could be made for it in a league you already know quite well but as i'll be starting in Norway, a league i'm not overly familiar with I think there's far more to be gained from having real player pictures and the benefit of properly researched players so we'll leave it as it is
Do not use real fixtures - Keep unticked for realism
Do not add key staff - Only really of concern if you use added leagues so leave this ticked
Add players to playable teams - Again only really used for expansion leagues as leagues that come with the game will already have at least a decent compliment of players
Disable first window transfer activity - Completely up to you, could be considered more of a challenge to tick this and play with the same squads that the teams used to begin with so an argument can be made for realism
Disable player attribute masking - Must never be ticked, the very backbone of any LLaMa save. Attribute masking or fog of war as it used to be known is vital to add realism, player attributes should only be revealed through scouting/taking players on trial. No exceptions.
Prevent control of teams with manager in place - Again completely up to you, could be considered very realistic if you want to start at a team that already has a vacancy but in this case the Blue Llama has spoken so this will remain unticked
Prevent use of the in-game editor - Must always be ticked, see above with attribute masking, this is completely non-negotiable, there is no feasible reason why it would ever be used
Approximate Player Count Pane
Choice of database size is a topic of hot debate around the community and my own personal feeling is that a small database gives you a better transfer market due to less players flooding the market. My observations are purely anecdotal but coupled with the quicker processing a smaller database gives you it seems a no brainer to me.
Adding Extra Players - As above with database size, adding extra players from certain nations like the one you are currently managing in may seem like a good idea on the face of it but it can lead to greater processing times which I feel would be better served running more active leagues and could possibly lead to database imbalance later in the game however if you decide otherwise then it will have no adverse effect
Estimted game speed - This is never correct, I would ignore it. Only you can judge what is fast or slow in your own game
Selecting your club and creating your manager
Once loaded create a new profile to make sure that you select the lowest badges and experience available (unless of course you genuinely have played international football and have a continental C license, in which case feel free. It's realism we're going for here after all)
How you allocate the managerial style points is entirely up to you, you've not got an awful lot to play with so it shouldn't make a lot of difference. I tend to leave mine as is.
And that's it, you're off into the LLaMa way of doing things, where failure is as much a part of the way of things as success is. Feel free to check back on the LLM Ethos/Guidelines. I used do it myself constantly but after a while this way of playing will become second nature.
If you've got any further questions on this topic or just the LLaMa guidelines in general feel free to ask over on twitter or sign up to the Lower League Manager forum where you can post about your exploits and ask any questions you may have about your LLM adventure.