Muting All – A Message To The Victims of Bullying

It’s been a while since I posted an update here on NoobTubeTV. From new games to old games there always seems to be something I should be covering. As I recently played through a few rounds of Call of Duty WW2 on PS4 I noticed something that wasn’t necessarily ‘new’. 
Online gaming interactions can occasionally be fun experiences where you make new friends. Unfortunately, more often than not in games like Call of Duty (especially) it’s a party line for verbal abuse and threats. The fact that there is an option in the game to mute the entire group of players en masse with the click of a button should tell you how necessary it can be at times. As I thought about the issue of bullying/verbal abuse/racism/etc. in gaming and the ‘Mute All’ function it became more and more clear to me that burying our heads in the sand and clicking ‘Mute All’ isn’t an option out in the real world. 

Sometimes, those of us that have grown into adults seem to forget that our suggestion for dealing with bullies is to ‘ignore them’. Sorry, but there is no ‘Mute All’ button in real life.

While I am not particularly fond of unsolicited advice (ask my parents if you want proof). I feel compelled to throw this out into the world for kids, teenagers, parents, teachers, and bullies alike. 
People that are bullied for their looks (weight, physical features, etc.) will grow to not only have negative self-esteem towards their own body, but they will grow to be more critical of others. It can be hard to deal with this because it’s literally something we can’t escape. I was bullied about my weight when I was as young as third grade. I hit a growth spurt when I was in 5th grade or so and by the time I was in 8th grade I was 6’2” 220 lbs. When I was in sixth grade I used the wonderful note-passing system to ask my crush to be my girlfriend. Among the things she responded to me on a note card were the colorful cuss words to describe my looks encircling ‘lose ten pounds’… this was a sixth grader to another one of their peers.
To the adults out there that have lost touch with their own childhood – try and remember how cruel it was a times. This is only one example, but it is my example of being able to pinpoint one of the starting points for my own poor self-esteem and negative body image that unfortunately I carry to this day.

The worst part about being bullied isn’t necessarily the parts that make us cry in front of those we want to impress as we are being made fun of either (yes, that happened to me as well). But, no… that isn’t the worst part about being bullied. 

The worst part about it is if and when we allow it to grow and fester in our mind and like Anakin Skywalker, we let that hate and anger turn us into the very thing that we want to fight the most. I can remember saying things and doing things that I was ashamed of even as I said and did them. The wonders of insecurity given to us by bullies tend to turn us into the worst versions of ourselves and make us into the bullies we hate the most. Looking back on how I imagine I am probably remembered by those that were my peers when I was a teenager and probably into my early twenties – yes, I knew I was a bully (and a lot of other names I would probably find acceptable, but not complimentary) and a jerk. I won’t use the excuse of causation to justify those actions. I will take the responsibility for them as someone that knows all the more how damaging those things can be. I can honestly reflect on this stuff now – and hopefully help someone going through these things.

To anyone being bullied in school or otherwise and the many others out there that are victims of such cruelty. I wish I could tell you to hit the ‘mute all’ button. I wish I could tell you that these kids are just insecure jerks and not to let it get you down or feel bad. I wish I could tell you that adults don’t behave that way. Sadly, we can be a totally new breed of jackass (you’ve heard the supposed ‘grown ups’ on Call of Duty, and such, you know better).

I can tell you this. 

You are more powerful than you know. You have the ability to change the world by being who you want to be and not what they are trying to make you into. Be the kid that carries around your Dungeons and Dragons notebook and storylines. Be the teenager that listens to metal music and keeps a poetry journal. Be the athlete that hangs out with the goth kids and outcasts. Be the dude that cooks for his prom date instead of taking them where everyone else is going to be. Be the person that opens doors for others. Be the nerd that reads because it is fucking awesome. Be the person that stands up for others that are being bullied. Be the cool hero in your story instead of becoming the villain (villains are lame and cliché anyway). Be the adult that knows about the multiverse in comic book lore. Be the guy that has seen Dumb and Dumber so many times that he can quote it at some of the best (and worst) moments. 

Never ever forget – you have people who think you are cool as hell. While there are people that we don’t get along with or don’t hang out with, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your basic respect. Just remember they have their own things that other people think are cool – even if you don’t. That’s the best part about being different from everyone else – we get to know people from other walks of life. 

To the kid out there that gets made fun of or rejected by your crush. Don’t you dare let them get you down. Because, here in not too long (although, you will swear it takes forever) you will meet all sorts of new friends as you grow in this world. You will find that you aren’t so alone in yourself. Keep being the good version of yourself. Don’t let the world turn you into a mean and cynical person. It is hard to turn that off as you get older if you let it settle in now. You are cool as hell and you look fine. Stop worrying about your acne, nose, hair, lack of six-pack abs, etc. Your friends will make themselves known in time. In the meantime, you have some work to do getting back to being yourself. That is what makes each day kick more ass than the day before.

As my wife tells me I now tell you…

Go and do great things.

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Madden 18 CFM and Gameplay House Rules

House rules for Madden 18 are here for you to start planning your Madden NFL experience!

Madden 18 – Franchise Mode and Gameplay House Rules

As most of the Franchise Mode players out there know, sometimes we have to make our own unwritten rules in order to keep our team from dominating the CPU in every facet of the game.

Draft Picks – It has always been easy to horde draft picks as the CPU becomes dumber as the seasons go on.  This year, we saw the Browns end up with three first round picks.  It doesn’t happen often, but it also happened – so I understand the view of ‘I do what I want to the cognitively disabled CPU.’.

This year will be the toughest draft house rule set I have ever made.  Also, I highly recommend you create a Franchise Journal in order to track your yearly performance.  I will be posting updates of my own Franchise story this year.  It helps with immersion and also to keep you honest in your franchise!

  • Trading Down – You can trade down three total times during the draft.

  • Scouting and Draft Board – You must fully scout every player you begin scouting.  This will keep you from seeing the first rating being a C+ and moving on to the next guy.  It will also limit how many sleepers you can find every year.

  • Big Board – You must draft according to your big board.  This will make it necessary for you to plan through the season and off-season.  You must also take it upon yourself to rank your big board through the season and build your draft each year.

    • Top Three Rule – While you don’t have to pick the top guy on your board in any situation you must select from the Top 3.

    • Sleeper Rule – You can choose any player up to one round before their projected position.  This will keep you honest and give the CPU a chance to take these sleepers before you get the chance.

  • Draft Pick Limitations – You can only hold a limited amount of picks in each draft.  The rules for your draft pick amounts are somewhat complicated, but they will make for a better experience.

    • Maximum of 13 picks in any draft

    • You can have two first round picks for up to two years in a row

    • If you end up with three first round picks during any draft you must trade one of them to a division opponent for their lowest pick in the next season’s draft.

    • You cannot draft two QBs in two consecutive rounds

    • You cannot draft more than two QBs, HBs, or TEs in any draft

Free Agency and Re-Signing –

  • You can only sign one 90+ OVR free agent player per season

  • You can sign one player outside of each of your schemes during free agency bidding (1 on Offense, 1 on Defense).

  • You can make ONE offer to any player on your team with 90+ OVR during the re-signing period while in regular season.  If they turn down your offer they must be allowed to test free agency.

  • QB Specific – If you have two QBs with 80+ OVR you must allow one of them to test free agency when their contract expires.  If both are on expiring deals you must choose one to re-sign.  This will allow CPU teams to have access to quality QBs and drive realism.

Spending XP –

After finding a serious issue with some ratings creating a broken gameplay experience in Madden 17, which will most likely be the same issue in 18 (WR Release in particular) I have decided to stop spending XP manually.  XP will also be set to ‘Every Four Weeks’ to allow for a better development system for all teams. 

Trading –

During the pre-season you are permitted to make a maximum of four trades (one per week).  Two trades can involve acquiring draft picks.  Two more trades can be made that are player for player.  Any player you acquire must have a lower OVR than what you are giving up OR if they are a greater OVR they must be over 30 years old.

GAMEPLAY HOUSE RULES

  • Play Calling – You must pick a play from as many formations as possible during each game.  I recommend choosing a new formation for every play or every other play. This will add a tremendous amount of depth to your experience and how you play each game.

  • Hot Routes – You can use one hot route per series.

  • Money Plays – If you find a play that works often enough against the CPU that it becomes a go to play, you must either remove it from your playbook or stop using it immediately.

  • Running Up The Score – If you are up by 21+ points in the fourth quarter you must switch to Chew Clock and choose a running play while rotating new HBs as well as a new QB in the final two minutes.

  • Passing No Switch – Do not user control a WR until after the catch has been made. This will add realism, challenge, and more animations! 

  • No Huddle – This can be used only on the first drive of the game and during the final two minutes of either half.  It cannot be used to keep other personnel on the field outside of the situations above.

  • 4th Down – You can go for it if you are losing the in the fourth quarter or if there are fewer than five seconds left in the half and you are within fifty yards of the endzone.

Madden 18 Release Day Guide

My guidance for anyone that is going to be playing Madden 18 on either release day (GOAT Edition or Regular Retail) is as follows.

  • Wait until at least the first post-release patch to really jump into your CFM.  EA will be fixing zone defenses in a post-day one patch.  Not to mention CFM notoriously has problems at launch and it would be smart to wait out of common knowledge.

    • You should also wait for the first roster update to occur as there have already been retirements and injuries that you should wait on.

  • Play the single player challenges on MUT and Longshot early on in your gaming.  This will help you earn much needed good players as well as earning some trophies in a mode that most people will only play once before moving into the actual game (in the case of Longshot).

  • Start playing on All-Madden and let it kick your butt for a while.  Learn how the hardest difficulty plays and let it prep you for playing against human opponents in MUT.  This is because not only will opponents be tough in MUT, but they will also find ways to glitch and cheat you much like All Madden difficulty will from time to time.

  • Get a feel for how the controls feel this year.  From year to year Madden feels differently and with Frostbite being implemented this year you should expect some different feel when it comes to controlling your players.

Madden 18 – So That’s Why They Didn’t Show Gameplay

The gameplay videos for Madden NFL 18 finally emerged from the ivory towers of the EA Game Changers as the footage embargo expired.  Some of the videos came out with what strangely sounded like criticism of the still broken zone coverages, and that was the last of any sort of negative feedback from Game Changers. According to a couple EA Developer Tweets, they are working on fixing the situation. Pardon my skepticism, but I’ve heard this kind of thing before with numerous issues in the game.  Usually, if it happens it ends up being in a patch that doesn’t come until October.


Based on the videos it is hard to see any sort of focus on improvements of actual gameplay issues.  The same magnetic pull exists on sideline catches.  The same broken man coverage and press situation seems alive and well.  Screens and slip screens are still overpowered as well.

One of the nice aspects I noticed was decent double-team blocking – something that All Pro Football 2K8 had ten years ago on Xbox 360.  It’s nice to see Madden catch up in that department.  It seems that some of the animations might have been cleaned up, but not enough to say the game actually plays differently as a whole.

Another aspect of CPU not changing from strange decisions and wonky animations is noticeable when the ball carrier is going towards the sideline and the movement looks like it is being performed on a D-Pad instead of analog sticks.  Somehow, these issues never seem to get fixed as the EA Game Changers go back to EA Tiburon year after year.  Obviously, the changes to these issues aren’t in the hands of Game Changers, as they aren’t developers.  One thing that can be stated is that these issues can be fixed because again – All Pro Football 2K8 managed to have these issues under control.  It’s difficult for me to believe that any real effort is being made to fix this kind of weak CPU gameplay.  Things like this become LEGACY problems because they are long term, unfixed and apparently – unimportant to whoever is in charge.

Madden 18 is focused on Madden Ultimate Team.  They can talk about the marketing for Longshot (which will probably be the source of a few trophies just to make you play the mode if you’re a trophy junkie) being the focus of this iteration of Madden, but they make their money from Ultimate Team and that is what they focus on every year. 

Connected Franchise Mode hasn’t been touched more than a few supposed fixes to draft logic and regression limitations, etc. Don’t look for a lot of changes to come from this aspect of the game anytime soon.  If I had to guess about any new improvements in Madden 19 CFM it would be that they will include a better draft experience and maybe a halftime show with updates from around the league (like NFL 2K5 had back in the day).  I find it funny that the commentator likes to make light of the fact that I skip every halftime show in Madden 17.  I wonder if the developers at EA have metrics to show how many people skip that waste of time like they do for how many people spend real money on MUT coins…?

Now that I have let you know about some of the issues I have noticed from the first day of gameplay footage and other news from the EA Propagandists Game Changers I can move into what will be featured from NoobTubeTV in the coming weeks.

Just as EA Sports knows their money comes from MUT I have to admit that most of the NTTV’s views come from my coverage and posts about Madden.  It seems that most of you enjoy the honesty that comes without the filter of being bought off by a developer.  For that I thank you as it means a lot to see the view count spike here every year around the start of football season.  I don’t have as much time to devote to gaming as real world responsibilities take precedent and frankly, I enjoy being away from my couch and console more and more as well.  That won’t stop me from helping you out on Madden 18 on August 22.  Here is a list of what you should expect from NoobTubeTV’s Madden 18 coverage once we get to release day.

August 22-

  • NTTV All Pro and All Madden Sliders (Version 1.0) uploaded on PS4 and posted here on the site.

  • House Rules for Offline CFM Scouting and Team Management

  • House Rules for playcalling (offline vs. CPU)

August 23-

  • Team Selection Guide

August 24-

  • Official Review of Madden 18

Madden 18 – Hiding Behind A Bad Movie

Everything is falling into place as we prepare to enter August.  The Dallas Cowboys have another problem with a star player just as the season is getting ready to start and they might have to place all of their hopes and dreams on the back of their one year wonder at quarterback.  NFL Camps will start very soon, and with that excitement blowing in the soon to come autumn wind – we have another year of Madden NFL only a few weeks away.

The crazy part about this is that up until this point there hasn’t been any gameplay footage released by EA.  With the fans clamoring for some proof of life in that regard it is hard to have a lot of pity for them.  They should know what the game looks like by now.  EA is trying their best to market their version of NBA 2K’s My Player Mode with The Longshot.  I wish I could say that this was going to be some sort of huge jump in sports gaming – but it quite simply won’t be anything close to that. According to some of the tweets and interviews, this mode has been in development for around three years. To think they have been working on this for three years and we still don’t have functional Challenges, sideline detection, real-time injuries, and many other simple football gameplay needs… Longshot had better be a masterpiece with zero bugs.

The problems that Madden NFL has faced for over a decade involves more than not measuring up to 2K’s basketball story mode experience.  It is everything that 2K would have done if EA didn’t have the monopoly on NFL Football.  It’s hard for me to think about how great an NFL 2K18 would be and by how much it would most likely outsell Madden 18. Madden has made some strides in recent years, no doubt… but, compared to where either game could be had there been competition?  We would have seen gameplay footage by E3, if not sooner.

Madden continues to push the line that they are leading with their new Longshot Mode for marketing.  I find it interesting that this is their strategy.  This is mostly because I can see through their thin veil of BS.  They aren’t showing gameplay footage because, frankly… they don’t have to show anything and the game will still sell.  Madden hasn’t changed in any major way since Madden 10.  Now that we have come to the point where they don’t even have to market the game itself with any actual gameplay footage it does beg one to ask yourself as part of the Madden horde… why are any of you pre-ordering this game?

Why Bloodborne and The Witcher 3 Are The Best Games of This Generation

The best part about having the base 500 GB Hard Drive on my PS4 is that it serves as a nice tool to let you know which games you actually play the most.

For myself, this is often a mix between a sports game I might be binge-playing (MLB 17 The Show), an adventure game (The Witcher 3), a shooter (Battlefield 1), a game to jack around in (Grand Theft Auto 5), and maybe a party game for when we have friends over (Tetris).
The one game you don’t see is Bloodborne.  It isn’t because I got rid of it or sold it.  It isn’t because I don’t like the game.  It’s simply because I beat the main story (finally) months ago and it took a lot out of me.  I had embraced dying – finally.  The worst part about it was that I couldn’t fully change my play style for a long time.  I grew up in the world of Atari, NES, Sega and other console/PC iterations of games that didn’t care if a game was fair or too difficult.  Once PlayStation and other consoles came out and eventually they tried to make games more ‘accessible’ (easy) and ‘less frustrating’ (stupidly easy).  Bloodborne was a violent shift from both of those things for me.  I had played more shooter and sports games than anything since 2005.  To say that I had been conditioned to play impatiently is an understatement.

This is one reason why Bloodborne and The Witcher 3 are among the better games out there.  It is simply because they force you to dive into the game you are playing and embrace what it is.  Bloodborne might have some of the deepest lore in any game I have ever played that doesn’t actually tell you openly about the lore.  You can go through and kill a bunch of nightmarish monsters and infected people if you want to look at it that way.  It doesn’t change the fact that their is something far darker and more terrifyingly deep in story than the world you wake up into in Yharnam.

The Witcher 3 is an interesting twist because it is the third game of a trilogy that many people have probably never played up until this point.  Not to mention, there are books and graphic novels, etc. that have been around for some time as well.  The story of Geralt and Ciri is a great one to play through, but this game is so much bigger than that story – quite literally.  If you really wanted to pour hundreds of hours into a game to read up on lore, make potions, battle monsters, and complete numerous side-quests – this is the game for you.  Did I mention that both DLC Story Add-Ons (Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine) are among the best DLCs ever created for any game?  Did I further mention that they add at least another 20-30 hours to the game on top of it?

Both of these games are distinctly beautiful in drastically different ways.  The Witcher 3 looks like a constantly updating, living world where even bad weather can make you feel like you’re at a national park.  I challenge anyone to find a more beautiful sunset in a video game than those in The Witcher 3.

Bloodborne’s dark and picturesque gothic/victorian/Lovecraftian world is a thing of its own creation.  It is awe inspiring and terrifyingly engrossing.  I can’t help myself from wanting to see what is coming next – even if there is a creature waiting to bite my head off.  That says a lot about what this game really brings to the table in so many ways.  If you start to realize that you will get killed at any inopportune moment you will finally be able to play this game patiently and enjoy the view as much as the challenge.

Also, Bloodborne doesn’t give you a waypoint to follow.  The Witcher 3 can actually be customized to take away a lot of the hints and helper for getting around in the world as well.  I tend to leave these things on in The Witcher as the world is so huge it would be virtually impossible to navigate otherwise. This is still a decent change from a lot of games that send you on a linear path of ‘Go Here, Press X, Buy This Camo Pack for $0.99 to see next cinematic.)

Whether it’s simply because these games are breaths of fresh air or just great meshes of art and music coupled with the bonus that you get to participate in the respective worlds – it doesn’t really matter. These are two of the best games out right now and you can get both games with all DLC for relatively low prices.

MLB 17 The Show – Running Your Franchise

As we near the All Star Break it is starting to become a bit easier to tell which teams are going to make a run for the World Series. Unfortunately, my Indians are sitting close to .500 and are seemingly okay with sharing the AL Central with the Twins.  The real question most of you might be asking if you are playing MLB 17 The Show Franchise Mode is how your team is going to do down the stretch. Unless you already know how things are going (for better or worse).  In that case, as you come into July and enter the second half of the season you will have some big decisions to make.

By the time I made it to the middle of the 2017 season with the Cincinnati Reds I had made a few roster moves and my team was sitting just five games behind the Cubs.  It was in the spirit of making a push to hit my contract goal (make the post-season) that I decided to take a few risks and make a couple moves.

If you are in the opposite boat and have a team that is under-performing at All Star Break you might also want to make some moves and focus on the coming year(s).  If you have a veteran that is under 29 and has a rating of 85+ and A or B potential – it might be time to see how many prospects you can get for him from a team making a run for the playoffs.

In my case, I had come into the 2017 season with a lineup that didn’t intimidate many pitchers. 

Billy Hamilton, CF

Eugenio Suarez, 3B

Joey Votto, 1B

Adam Duvall, LF

Scooter Gennett, 2B

Zach Cosart, SS

Scott Schebler, RF

Tucker Barnhart, C

My Pitchers were generally at the same level of ineptitude… although, I had a few prospects.

By the time I made it through Spring Training I decided that my pitching staff needed drastic help and so I signed the two Japanese pitchers (Otani and Fujinami) with the house rule that I would trade each player to a big market team by the end of my third year with the Reds.  This is primarily to allow them to make the kind of big money that both players will get in real life while allowing my team to benefit in the short term with better pitching on the cheap.

I also made deals that brought Evan Gattis in to rotate as catcher and 1B, sent Cozart and a Arroyo (old SP) away for some prospects and tried to find a replacement for Schebler – he would eventually win his job back and give me a prime reason for signing him to another contract (with a 507 FT home run that went under the right field score board and into the Ohio River during a game with the Pirates).  I also managed to pick up Adeiny Hechavarria to come in and play 2B and traded for 3B, Rio Ruiz to play AAA ball and hopefully improve his game enough to get called up.

By the time I realized we were making a push and over-achieving to a point that I could no longer ignore the needs of my team to succeed – I made a few big moves in my Franchise that might differ from your own.  I was buying at the All Star Break and there were a few teams selling (the Rockies were 25 games back in the NL West and were selling, but at a steep price).

I ended up trading Billy Hamilton, Gattis, and a Top 50 Prospect for Nolan Arenado. 

I wish I could tell you that he made all the difference in the second half of my season. He really didn’t help us much, and there were more times I could have used Hamilton’s speed over Arenado’s disappointing performance after the trade.

Regardless, the 2017 season finished with the Reds making the playoffs as a wild card team carrying a 92-70 record.  We lost to the Giants and suddenly the season was over.  The Dodgers beat the Astros in seven games to win the World Series and the off season started with a few interesting occurrences from CPU teams – primarily, the Yankees when they signed RF, Andrew McCutcheon and moved Aaron Judge to AAA.

They had agreed to a trade the year before that allowed me to bring in Clint Frazier who disappointed more than Arenado, but still having his A Potential and young age I was able to package him up with Homer Bailey and another player for Aaron Judge to come in and play RF.

The Dodgers offered a trade I couldn’t refuse during Winter Meetings.  Looking to remain a World Series favorite in 2018 and with far more money to invest in expensive players they offered OF, Joc Peterson, OF, Yasiel Puig and a Relief Pitcher for Arenado.  I jumped at this opportunity and then signed C.C. Sabbathia to a one year deal as well as Bud Norris.  Suddenly, the Reds were looking fantastic on paper and I was looking forward to 2018 more than 2017 at the All Star Break.

The lessons to take away from this brief story about the first year of my Franchise Mode are valuable for anyone looking for help to build a lower tier team as well as how to enjoy your Franchise Mode enough to keep going for years.

  1. ALWAYS play your franchise the way YOU want to play it.  If you want to make a lot of trades and find a way to field a team with players you want – do it.  Don’t go onto sports gaming forums and ask for Trade Advice from Sports Gaming Nazis that seem to think they know everything about ‘fair trades’.  Run your team the way you want to and make it your own story.

  2. Don’t worry about trading away aging veterans in order to invest in a player you believe in as a prospect.  Make the move and see what happens.  If you have to cut bait with a Prospect that has A or B potential you can usually get a nice amount in return with a trade as long as the prospect is 24 or younger.

  3. If you can’t afford to keep a star player when you know a huge contract demand is going to be huge you should wait as long as you can and trade him during the last year of his contract for a couple cheaper players that have attributes you need in the long term. (See the Arenado Trade for Pederson and Puig, above.)

  4. Read #1 Again. You decide what you want your Franchise to be. I will be tweaking mine quite a bit in hopes of making it through multiple seasons.