The first iteration of the sliders is ready and I have a feeling we will have to tune these throughout the year as EA makes their own adjustments. The main aspects of gameplay I feel need tuned the most are Pass Defense and the Running Game (too easy for human while CPU can’t figure it out on offense).
11 Minute Quarters
Accelerated Clock set to 15 seconds
Staff Talent Cost = Slow
Progressive Fatigue = On
Practice Settings = Backups Only (Half Pads or Full Pads) – This is strategic in that it keeps your starters fresh with some practice XP, but allows your backups to get some training. I changed this to be Half or Full because I think getting XP to some of your sleeper picks that don’t get into the game is a big part of a lasting Franchise Mode.
QB Acc – 54
Pass Block – 50
WR Catch – 54
Run Block – 15
Fumbles – 50
Pass Def Reaction – 50
Interceptions – 18
Pass Coverage – 35
Tackling – 50
QB Acc – 35
Pass Block – 45
WR Catch – 47
Run Block – 85
Fumbles – 55
Pass Def Reaction – 4
Interceptions – 6
Pass Coverage – 0
Tackling – 55
Set Punt Accuracy to 100 and Punt Power to 55 all others at 50
Game Options –
Injuries – 10
Fatigue – 60
Min Player Speed Thresh – 45 – This creates the slight gap for the super fast to matter and some slow LBs to get burned in some coverage, etc.
Over the last 10 years (Holy Sh*t!, a decade!?) I have posted articles regarding Madden Connected Careers, Franchise Mode, Etc.. I have been critical and somewhat verbose with a little bit of my over the top (or off the top rope, if you will) – schtick.
More recently, I have noticed the toxicity of the Madden community on Reddit and Youtube in particular has become worse than the game they love (to hate). There are times I have posted on Twitter and on this site my level of disgust with the lack of attention to Franchise Mode since Madden 2005 – 07. As much as I feel like the current status (pre-scouting update) of Franchise Mode is indeed – the same as last year, I also believe that we need to do a few things as a community and then make demands as consumers for the mode that gets little attention.
Being an A-Hole Gets You Nothing
When was the last time you changed a behavior because someone was a jerk about it? If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of getting yelled at or called names you might remember some of the effects later on in life. The first thing you realize is that the desired outcome wasn’t achieved by the yeller. The next aspects are what resulted going forward.
You avoided future encounters with the person
You ignored what they said if you couldn’t avoid them
You found them to lack credibility
You resented them and would tell others what to expect from your experience
The YouTube channels, Twitter and Reddit threads out there that claim to want a better game are filled with nothing but awful comments. Some are quite offensive in their lack of originality, lethargic profanity, and most especially – in their weak-ass grammar. If you are going to complain and want someone to actually pay attention you need to use tact and give someone a reason to believe you. Obviously, this is slightly tongue in (maybe through) cheek – but, hopefully you get the drift.
YouTube Football Experts Are Actually Click Bait Wastes of Time
Yes, I have a YouTube channel. No, I don’t post many videos anymore. Why? Here are a few reasons why I don’t post Madden critique videos anymore. There are also a few things
1 – They don’t matter, EA doesn’t have a position that watches YouTube channels that want to ‘fix’ the game. Most people that watch the videos do so because they noticed a bug or a broken quirk in the game that ruined immersion. It’s a sports game with 22 characters that have to react to numerous changes in code presentation in a high resolution digital environment – and quite honestly, most of you don’t know the first thing about how to program any of it.
2 – The videos you see posted almost daily from some of the channels that aren’t the Ultimate Cringe Pack Openers of Ultimate Team are from those that are sick of the lack of attention to Franchise Mode and/or Gameplay. If social media and the last few years of political/social/Covid turmoil have taught us anything it is that OUTRAGE SELLS! All it takes is one stupid headline to grab your attention and you are falling into the rabbit hole of youtube videos that give money to these ‘content creators’ for doing nothing but triggering you.
3 – I also stopped sharing videos with bugs because there are already a ton of them out there. I see no reason to further pollute the internet with old news. Do I have a problem with some of the legacy issues we see in the videos I used to share? Sure. Honestly, I am tired about complaining about something that either won’t or can’t be fixed. Recently on NoobTubeTV.com I have even posted articles that in retrospect probably helped nothing change for the better – so I will take my own ‘L’ there.
Twitter Wars Are Lame
I try my best to keep my Tweets somewhat clean and mostly respectful. Sometimes, I lose my patience and hit the Tweet button when I should delete instead. That said, some of you out there have a serious problem when it comes to your level of toxicity and disrespect. You add nothing to the community. You lose all credibility you think you had. You basically sound like an ass hat and make every point I am trying to get across in this article for me. Sharing videos of angry Madden players or bugs in a game seems to get some people the attention they want. In some cases, it brings clicks and money their way. I block more people than I follow and my experience is still 2 out of 5 stars on Twitter.
In closing – I am done arguing with people on any digital format. I am done with all of the negativity being used as click bait. Let’s make our community better together.
As promised, I had some time to play through most of the first season in Franchise Mode. I simmed the last few weeks and played some moments in the divisional round. My Browns lost to Tampa 38-20 in the Super Bowl. Here are a few things I noticed and of which I would like to bring everyone up to speed.
As I played through every snap of from week one through fourteen I noticed a couple instances where some players (Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry and OBJ) were all magically removed from the field and I couldn’t do anything to bring them back. Due to a few things being difficult to find in the Weekly Strategy section I totally forgot that there was a way to adjust practice methods from intensity (full vs. half pads) and which players were the focus of the training (Starters, Backups or split). In order to change these you have to manually go to the Cross Symbol (ON EACH PREP PAGE!!!! The first will be defense and the second will be offense). From there, you will want to change it as you see fit. As I wait for the next update to come out with a better scouting system I have already decided that my global settings for this will be Split/Half Pads for the first 8 weeks and then Backups/Half Pads for the last 10 weeks. I choose this for now because backups need the XP far more than the starters will as they will earn it in game. I will also never make my team practice during the Bye Week as it doesn’t seem to be worth the risk of injury or fatigue (you do you on that end).
Staff Points Might Need to be Turned Down
I absolutely love the new coaching trees and overall effort to bring Coordinators into the game (even in simple ways like this flashback to NCAA 14). However, before the season starts you might want to slow down the XP growth for staff as it might build too fast if you are performing at a high level all season. I was able to max out the trade upgrade tree before the first offseason. This gave me the ability to fleece teams for draft picks and such with even more ease than before. The trading has been tuned somewhat (from the later update in Madden 21), but there is more to be desired on this end in my opinion.
Here are a couple of trades I made that weren’t AWFUL, but they weren’t great in terms of fairness (IMO, as always).
Coaching Carousel/Staff Moves Has Some Bugs
After the first season, the Seahawks fired their staff. Pete Carroll was looking for a job, and apparently he was so sought-after that two teams hired him. This is simply a bug that I hope will be ironed out before the big scouting patch, but it’s worth mentioning and showing you nonetheless.
Auto-Sub with Season Fatigue Could Be Tougher To Tune Than Sliders
As mentioned at the beginning, I love the idea of season fatigue as a concept. Once it is better understood and tuned by the community I think we will have some of the best depth in player development that we’ve had in Madden. As it stands, I have found that my old Auto-Sub sliders won’t perform well in 22. I will be tuning all Sub In and Sub Out to be lower (I may even start with default 80-60 in the coming weeks before the patch, just to test it out). Be on the lookout for other people to release their own ideas as well. The more input we have, the better.
All Madden vs All Pro
All Madden cheats and All Pro is tough-ish (not really) for the first 1.5 quarters (sometimes). This leaves me with a situation I have to get used to again and that is not switching players on Defense (ever). The second change I have to make is not user catching passes with WRs. The second issue is something I have serious issues with as it feels like WRs sometimes simply don’t make the slightest attempt to catch the damn ball – especially on deep routes!
The running game is still too easy, but I think it feels the best it ever has. We need to make some changes to User Run Blocking (down) and CPU Tackling (up) and the opposite the other way around.
The passing game isn’t bad from the user perspective, close to default for user passing feels good and CPU INTs will punish you if you’re sloppy. However, CPU Robo QB is alive and well at default. This will need to be tuned with User Pass Rush, Pass Coverage and INTs – CPU Pass Blocking needs bumped slightly (maybe 55 or 60?).
Backup CPU QBs – Oooof…. In a Good Way (I think?)
So, I injured Lamar Jackson in the first game we had against the Ravens (ruptured disk – 6 weeks! W00T!). In comes Tyler Huntley and good lord was it a different feel. He turned the ball over 6 times (2 picks and 4 fumbles – should have been 5, but his LG recovered). Suffice to say, poorly rated QBs will play – poorly most of the time. Robo QB is still a factor, but wow – they are lacking in the ball security department.
Player Stats/Performance Elephant in the Room = Colin Kaepernick is signed by Philly and proceeds to be a Top 3 QB after 9 Weeks.
CPU/AI Biggest Issues = CPU Playcalling and QB decision making is unchanged. Ball carriers still suddenly stop or change directions instead of going for the endzone or simply downfield.
User Gameplay = It is still way too easy to run the ball and it seems like sliders only help marginally as it feels like all or nothing for run blocking.
CPU Gameplay = Some instant turn around interceptions are too numerous.
Questionable Animations = Twice I have experienced a catch in the back of the endzone where my WR catches the ball seemingly keeps both feel in bound and lands on top of the DB who is out of bounds. This seems like an animation that was created on purpose and should be an amazing TD, but it isn’t. (Will read up on rules)
Trade Logic = This seems to be unchanged from Madden 21’s final update. However, as you increase your staff points and invest in Trade Discounts, etc. There is a possibility that this is going to become a problem for immersion.
Gameplay Pointer – Don’t use your sprint button while doing a running play. Use juke, stiff arm, spin, etc. but don’t sprint – you will find that the run game feels amazing and you break a lot of tackles naturally! While this needs to be tuned as a whole (see above) the overall feel of running the ball is actually amazingly good IMO.
There will be more aspects to come from gameplay, as I am quite busy with real world jobs and life I will update as I am available.
This is a new year with an update coming to Scouting in September (allegedly). Here are my new rules going forward for Madden 22 Franchise Mode.
Draft Picks – Some of these will be different as I try to make it feel more like what transpires in real life.
Trading Down – You can trade down once in the first two rounds and three times total.
Scouting – NEW – You can now scout the first block and leave it as I believe many teams and scouts will hear something about a player and all it can take is one glance to say ‘Okay, nevermind.’
Big Board – NEW – You must draft according to your big board within the Top 10 Picks.
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 – NEW – 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 10 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 – the rule above still applies.
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 attempt to re-sign. This will allow CPU teams to have access to quality QBs and drive realism.
Staff Points –NEW –
Each upgrade you purchase must rotate between each section (Coach, Off Coord, Def Coord, and Personnel). This means you can’t throw all of your points into making trades easier and you can’t put them all into your Head Coach either. Spread them out and it will add depth to your experience.
Trading – NEW – 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.
In addition, if the CPU declines a trade offer you can make one more counter-offer. If that offer is declined you cannot offer them another trade that season.
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. (looking at you Slant/Drag abusers!)
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 55 yards of the endzone.
It’s that time of year again. While there have supposedly been a litany of improvements made to Franchise Mode there will most assuredly be some things we will have to self-police when it comes to our own conduct in the little imaginary worlds we create in Madden 22.
The big part that is missing for now and will be added later is regarding the supposed update we should get for Scouting in September. This update will require a complete restart of your Franchise in order to implement the changes. This is why I plan on using the first month of gameplay to basically play-test and tear down the CPU logic for a couple seasons of simulation/active playing, etc. For those of you that plan on jumping in without waiting for the update here are the house rules I have played with since Madden 18.
My new thoughts on where I see my playstyle going in Madden 22 involve the possibility of running two Franchise Modes as I am a Browns fan and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of challenge building up my favorite team these days. With the Browns I will most likely make that my casual mode. This year, I am pondering a few low rated teams to build up after the mode update is implemented.
My personal feelings are that football is not meant to be played in a dome, so it’s difficult to pick dome teams from the start. There are some teams that are so dysfunctional and downright bad that it’s tempting to try out anyway.
1 – New York Jets
– Easily the worst team in the game with an Overall of 72. They have a rookie QB and a few pieces that could be fun to run with, but it is easily a team that you can also build as you see fit.
2 – Detroit Lions – The perennial suckfest that is Detroit has a coach in Dan Campbell that I can’t help but see as a WWE guy disguised as a football coach, he cracks me up and I think it would be fun to start a fictional dialogue with him in a franchise mode. They have Jared Goff and an extra First Round Pick in 2022 and 2023! It’s hard to think of a more fun experience to start a franchise mode – other than that damn home dome!
3 – Houston Texans – When I said dysfunctional I have a feeling everyone thought of the Texans first and maybe the Jets or Bengals as well. The Texans are a dumpster fire of hot Houston trash. Deshaun Watson is amazingly still on this team and could be easily traded in Madden before the roster update that eventually removes him completely or a real life trade sends him elsewhere (looking at the Patriots or Dolphins). If you want a team you can build a fun story around and move Watson for a trove of picks – this is your team.
4 – Chicago Bears – This is my second favorite team in the NFL. I love their stadium, I love their fanbase and the history of this team is as great as the Browns. You have Justin Fields and a few great pieces to bring this team to the next level. The Bears are my dark horse to challenge for a surprise trip to the Super Bowl this year. I can’t help it, I just love the idea of playing with an NFC North team in the snow in December/January – it’s awesome.
The more I have read about and watched videos regarding the ‘updates’ for Madden 22 the less impressed I am with what’s being touted on PS5 and XBox Series X. This also goes for most other games currently offered. On top of that, the supply is non-existent because scalpers have a stranglehold on the market.
The fortunate aspect is that those of you that think you’re missing out really aren’t missing out on anything. Here are a few reasons why (both Madden related, and non-Madden related):
1 – Not many people have a PS5 right now. The price gouging from scalpers is keeping a lot of gamers out of the market. I don’t see this being an issue in the long term, but I can see it being something Sony and Microsoft will move to combat as we get closer to the holiday season and as HOPEFULLY more people get vaccinated and the supply chain starts to open up again.
2 – The game library isn’t impressive by any stretch. Like any initial console release, most new games end up being a steaming pile (Looking at you The Order – 1886). Outside of some remakes Demons Souls, etc. and a couple suped up titles (Battlefield 2042 being the only FPS that makes me think about wanting next gen) I just don’t see any reason to rush out and drop a grand-plus.
3 – The PLUS mentioned in item #2 is that if you really want the full experience of these new consoles, you need to have an Ultra 4K TV with HDMI 2.1, etc. While you don’t HAVE to have a new TV (Just to be clear), it would be like getting a used Honda Civic with a V-12 engine. TVs are coming down in price all the time, but even if you got a PS5 and a new TV at retail prices it would still end up being around $1200+ (minimum).
4 – Madden 22’s Next Gen offerings aren’t worthwhile. Minus Player Movement, there is no real reason to feel like you’re missing out. The momentum meter and Star AI both add an arcade feel to games against the CPU that don’t need to feel any more detached than they have. Couple that with what they are claiming to be better crowds and you can call me skeptical. I remember ‘Create a Fan’ and that’s what it looks like to me. I also remember the camera flashes from Madden awhile back trying to add ‘a real feel’ and it was tremendous-ly bad. Not to mention, they can’t even render real time teammates or decent reactions on sideline players, why should we believe they know how to make the crowd seem alive?
5 – The Scouting System for Franchise Mode IS A FUTURE PATCH! The fact that we have to wait a month in order to use one of the touted features they talk about pre-release tells me I have more than enough reason to wait it out and maybe even buy this game during a flash sale (which almost always happens after launch). If you are a Franchise Mode player there is no reason to pre-order this steaming pile.
If you have played Call of Duty Warzone on console with crossplay turned off this whole time you have found the secret. However, the growing popularity of using hacks without any sort of fear of banishment from Activision is making it harder and harder to find a lobby without turning crossplay on to begin with.
PC gamers were certainly a large group prior to 2020. It is my belief that PC gamers (specifically in Call of Duty Warzone) have more than doubled over the last year or so. Why is this? The answer is simple and there are multiple levels to get the full explanation.
First – Warzone is ‘free to play’. This means there is no front-end cost to the user, therefore no fear of losing out on any monetary investment.
Second – There is no anti-cheat in Warzone. Most users will go through undetected. They can be reported, but in the end it doesn’t matter because there is no way to catch them before the damage is done.
Third – Hack creators aren’t going away. While some of these groups are using their hacks as Trojans to access the operating systems of cheaters (they are all on PC) it doesn’t really matter to the end users as they are set on destroying the experience for all other gamers.
Fourth – PCs have the ability to outperform even the newest consoles easily. The nature of having a finely tuned PC with a little knowledge on how to put them together and make them comparatively outperform console by a factor of 3:1 or 4:1 isn’t out of the question. Couple that with the control and precision already provided by keyboard and mouse over a controller and easy access to cheats… You have a perfect storm for destroying the experience for console players.
The third point brings us back to the title. Console players do have access to some controller mod cheats in some cases. However, nothing on the size, scale, or complexity that those on PC have and use constantly. Aim-bot, wall hacks, and every other manner of cheating are simply a Google search away.
How do we fix this? The first step in doing this is to make turning on PC Crossplay a secondary choice. We should have three choices in our experience preference.
1 – Crossplay Off
2 – Crossplay Console Only
3 – Crossplay PC and Consoles
Crossplay with PC needs to come with a warning during each login that PC gamers have access to cheats and advantages over those on consoles and the experience may not be fair or fun for console users.
Until we have better options – you need to turn off Crossplay.
Bug 1 =Trade Logic (especially CPU prospects) The big trade logic bugs will most likely not be fixed if we are going to base expectations off of past updates and patches. This means you will have to take extreme measures to maintain a reasonable team building process. As it is, you can literally get ANY prospect you want for almost nothing of value on your end.
My testing and research so far hasn’t provided a lot of markers other than the CPU possibly placing 3 to 5x more value on MLB players than top prospects. Even then – you can basically trade for anyone you want, but prospects (namely Top Prospects) remain far too easy to acquire. This is maddening for anyone that likes to make moves, but wants to make tough decisions to part ways with some of your best players to get a prized prospect like Jasson Dominguez, Andrew Vaughn, or Wander Franco.
Bug 2 = Switching to Quick Manage during a game deletes all stats prior to the start of Quick Manage. This morning, I was 4 innings into a game and wanted to quick manage to my next at bat with Milwaukee – after advancing to the bottom of the 5th I noticed that the three home runs my team hit and the 2 hit by the Twins were not showing up in the active batter stats although they were still in the game notes. After finishing the game out I checked the MLB Leaders and found that Travis Shaw (hit 3 HRs on opening day!) was only credited with 2 that were hit after Quick Manage was used. I am more confident that this can and will be fixed as it seems like more of a code issue where some aspects are simply in need of a couple small tweaks.
I will continue to post updates regarding bugs and workarounds as I uncover them.
I was excited about the idea that there were major overhauls in future depth charts based on player potential, etc. That had me ready to finally try to develop my own prospects and pay close attention to the scouting efforts in the first few months of each season before the early-June draft.
The goal was to be turned away when I offered almost any trade for top prospects as the GM of the Indians. My targets were three of the top outfield prospects, and arguably the best prospect since Griffey/Trout in Jasson Dominguez. It wasn’t so much about whether any offer would be taken, if the Indians were to offer Bieber, Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes I think there would at least be discussion – not much, but maybe some before they turned it down (if they would). That wasn’t the offer I made in MLB 21 Franchise Mode.
What might be even worse (if possible) is what I offered the Mariners for 2 of the Top 5 Prospects in baseball. I did all of this on the first day of Spring Training.
Below you will find a screen grab of the current Top Prospects in baseball. Jasson Dominguez is listed at #28, but is the most highly regarded.
I was also able to make similar moves for Wander Franco and Adley Rutschman. I didn’t make efforts for Torkelson, but you can probably guess how they would have gone. The fact of the matter is that MLB 21 Franchise Mode Trade Logic is still busted.
The fortunate aspect is we can institute trading house rules as users. This won’t keep the CPU from making trades and roster moves that are idiotic, but at least we can sleep soundly knowing that we aren’t cheesing the trade system to death (if we choose). Let me be clear on this – there is no ‘right’ way to play an offline single player franchise mode. You make the world of your experience anything you want – I will never tell anyone their playstyle is wrong. However, this is one of my worries when it comes to online multiplayer leagues, etc. on top of those that want to have a true simulation experience.
Here are the house rules I have been using since MLB 18 that gave me quite a bit of longevity (3 seasons in 18 and 19 – two season in 20).
Trades/Free Agents During Season –
You have to select the players you want from a specific team before offering your own player(s).
You may make one trade in the initial Spring Training (Two trades in following spring trainings).
You are permitted one trade before the All Star Game and it must not occur until at least May 1.
You are permitted two trades after the All Star Break.
You can only sign a free agent during your first season if your team suffers an injury on the MLB level that requires 60 Day – DL.
Scouting Prospects –
I generally prefer to take the scouting aspect as a personal project, but the more I look at how MLB 17 runs things, I tend to believe that leaving scouting on Auto allows your scouts to actually do what they will do based on their ratings. This also prevents the user from figuring out how to find all of the Top Prospects with ease.
NEW RULE – You have to immediately save the Franchise file once you have finished the draft the first time. This prevents the user from going through and looking at the draft position and potential of every player and simply time traveling to the day before the draft.
In-Game Rules –
There are only a couple basic rules I set for myself for MLB The Show. First, I believe that user control generally makes for a better performing team overall. Once you get settings/sliders that provide you with optimal challenge and enjoyment it is crucial to set up a system that you can follow without second guessing your rules.
Here are mine for MLB 18.
Pitching/Defense – Once you allow the first run you must Quick Manage the remainder of the defensive halves of each inning until the 9th inning. If you wish, you may use your closer if there is a save situation.
Batting – You get THREE strike outs per game. These can be offset if you draw walks. If you strike out twice and then draw a walk you can subtract one of those strike outs. Once you strike out three times you must quick manage each half inning your team is at bat until the ninth inning. You can also allow a home run to reset all strike outs.