Madden Needs A Coaching Carousel

The biggest aspect that seems to be missing from Madden that was one of the most enjoyable aspects in NCAA Football for years is a coaching carousel.  Throughout the year without fail all sorts of coaches meet their doom.  Whether it is on Black Monday after the final week of the regular season, or just after the halfway point of the season as we saw with Hue Jackson this week (THANK YOU, FOOTBALL GOD!).

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Madden NFL needs to add two aspects to their Franchise Mode if they hope to continue building it up.  They need to bring in offensive and defensive coordinators as well as position coaches (some of these can even be fictionalized).  Once you bring this aspect into the game it can more easily flow into opening up a coaching carousel like that in the NCAA Football games of yore.

Imagine opening your career as an offensive or defensive coordinator and building your resume after a year or two.  Maybe you can take the Bills or 49ers defense from the depths of terribad and build them into a beast with your amazing skills.  The unfortunate aspect is that your team is doing poorly and the head coach gets fired in week 12.  Suddenly, the ownership wants to bring you up a notch to coach the team and make the big decision on both sides of the ball and determine the depth chart in full.  As you make a splash to finish the season with a few wins you might not want to stick with the team you’ve been struggling with.  The end of the season comes and the Jaguars have finished a lackluster campaign and you are now their number one target.  What do they have to offer you outside of a great defense and some weapons on offense (that aren’t named Bortles… *shudders*).  That would be pretty awesome.  What would make it better?

I think the next step in making it an experience to build multiple seasons and truly view it as a career mode would be making the role of General Manager something you have to earn.  Instead of being the owner, GM, and coach from the get-go, you should be given different offers from different teams as you play through your career.  One of those options should be GM/Coach offers (much like what Belichick does and some other coaches have done in some cases).  You would pay so much more attention to the draft if you weren’t put in charge of the scouting as just a head coach that had to take the players you got… or deal with players being traded.

Until that day comes, we will have to continue to create and maintain house rules to make our career mode more interesting.

Do you have other ideas for franchise mode?  Hit up the comment button to share!

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You Are Your Own Best Weapon In Blackout

Keep in mind that there are some weapons of choice in Black Ops 4’s Blackout Mode that are indeed wonderful finds almost no matter what.  That said, the focus of this article is on your own presence in Call of Duty’s first version of Battle Royale.

The best way to get better at this mode is by playing it.  That sounds obvious, but in reality, it is a battle type that changes almost every single time you spawn.  The deployment point changes nearly every match and no weapon or item is typically found in the same spot from match to match.  When you play as a team with the same group of gamers in Quads you might start to notice you have a landing point that serves as a default.  That seems to be a common goal for most as the named areas on the maps certainly serve as great spots to find enough loot for your entire team.  The issue with that is every other team knows that as well!

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Playing solo or even duos is a different beast.  You can generally find any spot on the map near a building that could house enough weapons and items for you (both) if you are fortunate.  The difference I have noticed with Solo compared to the two team-based aspects is that you will immediately find yourself taking one of two strategies – collecting gear in relative safety (if you are lucky) or picking up any gun or weapon you can and trying to mow down the multitudes of other gamers in your vicinity.  I personally have developed a growing enjoyment for jumping into more populated areas because it can be a great way of finding hiding spots as well as getting some relatively easy kills before everyone finds armor and better weapons.

Some of the best things you can do as you start learning Blackout’s intricacies is to start experimenting with your weapon choice on top of your preferred landing zone.  There are some weapons that you might find work well for your aiming ability or play style.  This might actually differ highly from what you use in multiplayer modes like Team Death Match or Domination, so don’t necessarily go into it thinking you will only do well if you find the Swordfish or another weapon you use in the other modes.  That said, you will also become accustomed to getting shot from quite a distance by the Maddox with a 3x scope.  The same can be said when you land in a populated area and get one-shotted by someone with a shotgun of any sort (they won’t keep those in their inventory for long, as shotguns are certainly some of the worst weapons in blackout, by far).

One perk you will want to take a bit more seriously is ‘Brawler’.  It doesn’t only work for bare knuckles as you might initially believe, it also works for melee with weapons and will put an opponent down with one good hit – it’s a great feeling now that they have nerfed melee for everything besides hits from behind.

One last tip for this article and how to make yourself the best weapon is all about Situational Awareness and Tactical Advantages.

You have to be ready for enemies to literally be hiding anywhere on the map.  This includes coming out of the blue storm as they try to take out any stragglers on the edge of the white safe circle.  I fell victim in the worst way this week to an enemy at the top of some stairs in a house because I was looking down at the floor for items rather than seeking out safety and clearing the entire house first.  The same can be said about running through the landscapes of as well.  Look and listen for enemies firing weapons (their tracers can be easy to follow and their steps can be heard if you have good headphones… SIDE NOTE!!!! GET A GOOD PAIR OF HEADPHONES!!!  They make a huge difference in game and are totally necessary for teaming up with other people in Quads and Duos).

One more bonus tip is to avoid making your movements along the top of hills and ridges that make you into silhouettes against the skyline.  This makes you incredibly easy to see and if you’re moving as a team along a ridge in this manner you will be easy targets for anyone.  Instead, try to make your movements occur from elevated positions that are just below the ridge line/skyline.  This doesn’t mean that you will be invisible to opponents, but you will be a lot less easy to spot as you move to new areas.

There is more to come, but for now be sure to follow NoobTubeTV on Twitch as the broadcasting will become more regular.  Maybe we can even team up for some Quads or Duos!  Subscribe and Follow on Twitch for a chance to team up with me and some of my friends.

Happy Hunting!

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 – Welcome Back Old Friend

Call of Duty – Black Ops 4 has brought me back to the franchise in a strong way.

I hadn’t planned on buying Black Ops 4 at all.  Not simply because the lack of a story mode (the last three iterations of Call of Duty games had some of the worst campaigns of the entire franchise).  I was holding back because I was skeptical when it came to how they would provide $60 of fun out of the box (or, digitally, in my case).

My first dive into the game was Blackout, the clone of Fortnite and PUBG in terms of open map Battle Royale.  I had played this mode in the beta only a month or so prior and was underwhelmed.  It felt like it was simply a sniper fest and it made me wonder if Treyarch would have the follow-through to support the game in a way that meant balancing some aspects.

They did.

Sniper rifles are still powerful weapons (rightfully so) but, they are also somewhat challenging to come across.  Then you have the task of finding a good scope for the weapon on top of all the other aspects you need to take care of – backpack, armor, ammunition, health packs, etc.  The best part about this is that it is all relatively enjoyable to do once you have played a few games of solo.  The real fun begins when you start to team up with other gamers.

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Blackout is at it’s best when you are playing as a team (both Duo and Quad are enjoyable in different ways).  Teams will live and die by communication and skill.  Develop a strategy before you deploy and execute that strategy once you land.  It seems simple when stated like that, but it can prove to be difficult if you have a team member that decides to go rogue Rambo.  I have played my fair share of matches in both Quads and nothing is more frustrating from the team angle than having someone that either doesn’t communicate on their microphone or simply goes out and tries to shoot at every enemy they see (most of the time, I have found that those that do one of these do both).

The most refreshing aspect of playing in Quad teams and Duos is you suddenly meet all sorts of friendly people that would probably be saying nasty things to you in other modes like Team Deathmatch and Domination.  At first, I was a bit worried about how the interactions would go, but I was more than pleasantly surprised when it came to how often I have had great teammates in terms of being generally easy to get along with – talk about a change from the norm that ends up being a great thing.

While I have had a great time with Blackout and will continue to play the mode it does leave a bit to be desired when it comes to customizing your character with the stock game.  Regular multi-player is a different beat altogether.  You get all of the weapon camo and appearance customization you want (whether you buy some or simply earn it through the natural progression of the game is up to you).  I’m not the type of gamer that lives and dies by getting diamond bling camo on my weapons.  I simply try to live and not die in the game.  I will take skill and victory over decoration any day of the week.  However, it is still a difference worth mentioning when it comes to Blackout vs. Multiplayer.

Multiplayer is still in need of some balancing when it comes to certain weapons.  My experience with assault rifles has been less than enjoyable most of the time.  It seems that the stopping power of assault rifles is on par with side-arms, making them more like longer range pistols than assault weapons.  The opposite can be said in general for pistols (oddly enough).  I have been one-shotted by more pistols from a long range than I care to number in Hardcore TDM.

The other aspect of frustration that seems to always exist is getting spawn camped by teams that know how to take advantage of relatively small or bottlenecked maps.  I have been killed within 2 seconds of spawning quite a few times.  More often than not, it will result in simply quitting out of the game rather than subjecting myself to going 3 and 17… that kind of Kill:Death ratio is quite frustrating to deal with as a noob, as a seasoned player – it’s ridiculous.  The other point of annoyance that seems to be a mainstay for COD is quick scoping.  It is back and annoying as ever.  Just go in to your games knowing that there will most likely be a sniper camping for you with a quick trigger finger ready to deliver rage quits.  My best advice for this is to learn each of the maps, find the sniping spots and learn how to flank or avoid them.  While I have experienced some of the YouTube montage clowns I have been happy to see that most of the snipers are at least using mid to long range attacks for the most part to this point.

The specialist abilities and kill streaks are quite a bit of fun to roll with this year.  I must say you will quickly come to despise Ajax and his shield as well as Prophet and his Roomba from hell.  There are some rather enjoyable experiences from these specialists that I didn’t typically appreciate back in Black Ops 3 as they do seem well balanced for a game that has always tended to breed exploiters that find any way to cheat to gain an edge.

If you were on the fence about buying Black Ops 4 (or if you were totally against it because of the last couple games) you might change your mind this time around.

Just remember that this game is primarily online multiplayer and there is no story mode/campaign.

If you need a new teammate in Blackout on the PS4, feel free to send me and invite at PSN = Outspoknpoet!

 

Happy Hunting!

Madden 19 Sliders and House Rules

It’s been a rather busy month or two leading up to the release of Madden 19.  That hasn’t stopped me from getting some much needed slider adjustments and tuning done for Franchise Mode.

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Madden has continuously put me in a position where I feel like I should be playing on All Madden for difficulty.  The problem with that is All Madden forces you to cheese and play in an un-sim sort of way because the CPU resorts to cheating and thus resulting in the paradox of who cheated who first?… or is it ‘whom’?

Regardless, these sliders are for

Franchise Mode

All Pro Difficulty

13 Minute Quarters

accelerated play clock set to 14 seconds.

Human Sliders

QB Acc – 50

Pass Block – 55

WR Catch – 50

Run Block – 51

Fumbles – 50

Pass Def – 50

Interceptions – 50

Tackling – 45 (I might take this slightly lower as it seems to directly correlate with Run Defense)

CPU Sliders

QB Acc – 50

Pass Blocking – 53

WR Catching – 50

Run Blocking – 100

Fumbles – 50

Pass Def Reaction – 50

Interceptions – 50

Pass Coverage – 50

Tackling – 50

Special Teams 

Set Punt Accuracy to 100 all others at 50

Game Options –

Injuries – 10

Fatigue – 70

Min Player Speed Thresh – 45

Auto Subs 

Position   In/Out

QB = 95/65

HB = 100/95

WR = 94/80

FB/TE = 90/77

OL = 95/70

DT = 100/90

DE =96/84

LB = 96/85

CB = 95/83

S = 98/82

 

House Rules Are Simple.

You can’t trade for any first round pick without including at least an 80+ OVR player under 30 years old and a 2nd and 5th OR a 3rd and 4th rounder.

No editing players in the draft class with intent of drafting them late in the draft.

Pick as many different plays as you can throughout the game.  This will give you a better experience rather than using money plays.  It will keep games close and give you a bit more information on which players you have that you might want to keep or let go.

Make your own rules if you have to in order to stay honest and keep the game fresh.

FINAL THOUGHT

Madden 19 is probably my favorite Madden to date.  There are some things that need to be tuned and patched, no doubt.  However, it is excellent in terms of player movement and is getting better with playcalling, it still has a lot of room to grow, but it is growing.

Also, please don’t user control your WRs.  Let the AI make the catches and you will be amazed at some of the great animations.  I am about 50/50 on controlling DBs on passing plays.

IT’S MADDEN SEASON!!!!

Lamar Jackson and How EA Continues To Screw Up Franchise Mode

EA recently released a list of the top rookie quarterbacks in their annual hype train countdown to the release of Madden.  This year, they slipped up and unintentionally commented on their simulation formula for Franchise Mode.

‘Lamar Jackson could be the most interesting QB to play as in Madden 19. If you sim a lot of games in Franchise, he’s likely not the best pick at the moment. But holy hell, his base ratings make him fun…’ for more, go to the page here.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp

The issue with this isn’t that Lamar Jackson shouldn’t be rated higher or lower than anyone else.  It is simply the fact that they reference his effectiveness in Franchise Mode to his ratings.  What should continue to worry CFM players is this continuing problem with CFM being tied to overall ratings.  This would be like saying that Michael Vick would be fun to play with but he wouldn’t do much for a team in a simulation.  I’m not saying that Lamar Jackson is Michael Vick, but he is damn close.

This means that EA has not changed their formula of what is important in CFM.  It is still driven by OVR.  This means you won’t have any players that are low rated to start become anything close to superstars.  It also means that the CPU is actually at a competitive disadvantage.  As users, we are able to see certain players with abilities that we can take advantage of – speed, trucking, throw accuracy, hit power, etc.  We can turn a 6th round 67 OVR player into an absolute beast.  The CPU will either cut the player or never play them in a simulation.  Take a look at the practice squads in your Madden 18 CFM – the CPU has some BEASTS that never get a chance to play.  Many of us would snap up these players in a heartbeat.

Until EA makes Madden CFM more nuanced and less dependent on overall ratings I have a feeling we will continue to experience a rather mechanical and less organic CFM experience.

How To Use Scouting and Build A Franchise – MLB 18 The Show

Building your franchise in MLB The Show is a process that can be daunting if you decide to grab a terrible team.  This will serve as a guide for starting your franchise in the best possible way in your first season.  For the sake of commonality, I used the OSFM 1.5 Roster available in the online roster vault.

MLB(R) The Show(TM) 18

Make sure after you select your team of choice you press square on Player Development and General Manager Tasks, this will allow you to control every aspect of your team (on top of Coaching Tasks).

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Start your season during spring training and take a look at your roster ranks in the Trade Talks menu.  The only good spot for the Tigers is Miguel Cabrera – he is declining quickly and the 2018 season will probably be his last chance of productivity – so I am moving him during the spring.  Before that happens, you better find a replacement in the free agent pool or involve the replacement in the trade.  In my case, I found a nice free agent and signed him.  If you want to see potential in free agents press triangle on them and it will be right there for you to see.MLB(R) The Show(TM) 18_16.jpg

I traded Cabrera to the Yankees and in return for the 90 OVR first baseman, coupled with a couple disposable minor leaguers I managed to bring in a much needed reliever, a top prospect in Clint Frazier (I’m surprised the Yankees haven’t traded him in real life yet) and I grabbed their newly acquired Brandon Drury to be my utility guy.  This is the kind of trade you want to make if you have one good player that is over 30 with an OVR of 80 or higher… the same goes for even older guys.

TIME TO START SCOUTING!!!

Before you start thinking about scouting, you want to look at what players you already have in the farm system.  MLB(R) The Show(TM) 18

The current look of the Tigers for 2018 isn’t great.  However, once you take a look at the potential of some of the Starting Pitchers, the up and coming 1B that was newly signed as well as our future CF in Clint Frazier, suddenly those rankings aren’t so bad.  This is where you start looking at what you want to scout for in the draft in June.

For the Tigers, this means looking at 2nd and 3rd base as well as trying to find a great complimentary corner outfielder.  Add bullpen pitchers and there are some serious changes that need to happen.  This is how you do it.

GO TO CONTRACTS AND SIGN NEW SCOUTS

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Sign a scout in every region (East, West, Central, and International).

Invest in new scouts to replace your crappy ones.

Scout ratings are simple to understand and once you do, it will make the rest of your process easy.

Efficiency – This is how fast a scout can determine the ratings of prospects.  When looking at the scouting menu you will see players that are scouted fully with green bars and others that are not scouted at all in the red.  Focus on players in the region of your scout for even faster scouting results with higher efficiency (in 3 to 4 days a highly rated efficiency scout can fully scout a prospect in his region).

Discovery – This tells you how many players  scout can find.  When assigning a scout to discover players he won’t be able to look at individual prospects – keep this in mind as a large player pool is great, but if you have so many you can’t scout them all – it leaves you in a tight spot.

Position Players – These scouts will get you more accurate ratings on players that are non-pitchers.

Pitchers – These scouts are the best at accurately rating pitching prospects.

Look at prospects in positions you need to fill in a couple years.  Next year they will be young prospects and will need time to become big league ready.

The MLB ETA on the prospect list is important.  If you need a player soon, find a player with a MLB ETA year that is for the next season.  If you have time to develop a guy behind a current player you can draft someone that isn’t going to be ready for a couple years.

MLB(R) The Show(TM) 18_49.jpgThat covers the important aspects of scouting.  Make sure you jump on this on the first day of the regular season.  It will end up providing you with a great draft class in June.

 

Franchise Mode – Play The Game Or The Game Will Play You

It really doesn’t matter which sports game you are playing. The moment you start Franchise Mode you had better be ready to make some moves in your omniscient role as owner/general manager/coach/manager/player. If you aren’t controlling every team in the mode you will see the CPU make some trades and sign some players that cause you to wonder if there was a glitch in The Matrix.

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I recently started a new Franchise Mode in MLB The Show 18 with the Orioles and had planned on going through the season with the primary roster from a combination of my NoobTubeTV Roster and OSFM. Once I made it out of Spring Training I thought I was ready to rock. I was going to set up a trade block just in case a team wanted to make an offer for a few of my players. I decided to take a look at the Transactions section just to see if any moves had been made by the CPU. There were a couple… but one made me rethink my entire approach.

MLB 18 Trade Reds

The Reds traded away their top prospect, Nick Senzel. Not only did they trade their top prospect with ‘A’ Potential, but they traded him in the division to the Cardinals for a first basemen in Rangel Ravelo that is 25 with ‘C’ Potential. As much as I could chalk this up to the Reds being the Reds, I had a moment that made me realize that trying to keep my roster moves ‘realistic’ would only hurt my franchise experience in the long run. This isn’t the case if the CPU keeps trades down for the most part, but when there are big trades that involve top prospects for nobodies – it’s on like Donkey Kong!

I made my own moves soon after I saw the Reds trade. Seeing that the rumors already have the Orioles shipping Manny Machado by the trade deadline this season (in real life) I decided I would pull the trigger earlier in the season – and I would add a few other players to my rebuild of Baltimore.

MLB 18 Trade Orioles

Some of the elitists on sports gaming forums would be shouting from their ivory towers as wanna-be experts that these trades would never happen. Guess what…? They did and it has been fun as hell to play my Franchise over the last few games with this remodeled Orioles team.

I managed to trade Machado, Britton, and Davis to the Rangers for Nomar Mazara, Roughned Odor and Ronald Guzman. Yes, it was a steal when it comes to obtaining young players that I be the bedrock of the Orioles for a few years. Yes, I feel like this could happen in the real world (why not?). I then also made a trade with the Nationals to bring in a prospect to eventually take over for the absense of Machado in Kieboom. You could say realistically and be correct in the statement that I basically rebuilt my entire roster during the first week.

Yup, I did – and that’s the point. Franchise Mode is YOURS. You don’t have to abide by anyone’s rules if you don’t want to. For myself, I like to play through mine like a story. I have all sorts of different ideas for how I want to see my team develop for my initial three year contract. Everyone should have the same view on their own franchise mode. I think having some house rules is always a good idea. I do have another Franchise Mode that uses my original house rules for MLB 18 (with the Reds of all teams!) and it is a great time as well.

The point of all of this…? When you play sports games from the franchise mode perspective you have to take every moment with a grain of salt. I have had all sorts of crazy things happen…

  • 700 yard passing game by DeShone Kizer
  • 5 HR game by Carlos Santana
  • The Browns won a game

The world is a crazy place. Don’t get upset when your franchise loses its mind – roll with it and make it your own crazy world.