When setting up your new FM save game, the decision to set a league as playable or view only poses an interesting conundrum, if you are not sure what really happens in either.
I will lay out the differences between the two to leave you more informed as to what will suit your particular needs for the next time you set up a new FM save game.
A playable league in football manager means everything is simulated to the tiniest details, from every single match to the weekly awards and the like. You can also manage any team from that league if you wish to.
Each team will also have its respective youth teams present up to the youngest age group (U18) as well as more staff for the respective clubs will be loaded as well.
Transfer activities in the playable leagues will also be high, maintaining the realism into the latter years of your save when the game is taken over by regens.
On the flip side, setting too many leagues as playable will slow down the game to a crawl, especially if you do not have a powerful PC. Processing between days will be slow, and this will be particularly worse on transfer deadline days and when the save game ticks over to a new season. Also, the further you go into your save game, the slower your game will run.
View Only Leagues
When a league is selected as view only, you will be locked away from having the ability to manage a team from that division. On top of that, fewer number of players will be loaded in the said league as compared to when it is selected as playable.
However, matches will still be simulated and the league standings, stats and other relevant data will still be present, although not to the tiniest of details. For instance, replays of goals from matches, goal of the season awards and other weekly awards will not be present.
Since the players loaded in the league will be determined by their reputation, most youth players will not be present. Therefore, under 18, 19 and 21 teams will be populated with greyed out players which football manager generates to fill out the squad requirements.
The transfer market activity will also be lower, and as you progress into the latter years of the save game, the league will become less competitive in the international scene compared to clubs in the playable leagues which will be actively improving their squads.
The upside of having a league selected as view only is that in game processing is fast and as a result, you can load more leagues for added realism. This is particularly useful for those using less powerful PCs or laptops.
Playable Vs View Only Leagues, Conclusion
It would be ideal to have all leagues selected as playable, but this is not always feasible. A good compromise is having the right balance between playable and view only leagues.
For instance, if you are managing in one of the top divisions in Europe and have a relatively weak PC, start with a small database and set the top two or three leagues from England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy as playable, the top leagues in Portugal, Norway, Scotland, Wales, Turkey and Belgium should also be put as playable.
If at this point you are still above three stars, load the top leagues from South America i.e. Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and set them as view only. Brazil especially has a considerable number of players and can eat into your processing power significantly.
Priority should be having the top five leagues as playable to ensure the UEFA competitions are not dominated by clubs from one nation. Loading leagues and nations where high quality regens are normally generated will also spice up your game.
The above method of setting up a save isn’t the only way to go about it, and you can tweak it to your liking to add more realism and a balanced play field for all nations.
If you are planning to upgrade your PC’s processor, I have a guide for it here, with the graphics card’s guide here as well. If you prefer laptops for their portability, you can also take a look at my recommended picks here