On top of both video aspects, there will be a new persona taking over the Franchise Mode blog updates. Harry Doyle III will be taking the over the writing in spirit with monthly updates regarding how the Guardians have performed on the field and some of the crazy things that happen off the digital diamond.
The house rules will be flexible to better fit an enjoyable experience as well as provide a competitive balance.
Trades = Depending on how the team performs at certain positions and as a whole there will either be very few trades or numerous in order to mimic what would transpire if a team looks like they might show signs of competing for a title.
Free Agents = No Sign and Trade, any player signed must remain on the roster or be cut.
Gameplay = All Star Difficulty with possible tweaks to sliders.
Quick Counts = This will start as the default setting as it helps speed up games and also provides more opportunities for walks, etc.
Scouting = Scouting will be handled manually and I will provide a walkthrough for how to best scout for talent and post the video on youtube.
More to come, but I am very excited about taking The Guardians away from Dolan and turning them into the feared sentinels of baseball.
For anyone that has tried and failed to get a handle on scouting in MLB The Show it can be super frustrating. Depending on how you want to experience your game and how much input you want scouting prospects your franchise mode experience will vary. As we discussed briefly, Franchise Mode is dead to SDS – they aren’t talking about any improvements or features for the mode in any of their feature videos prior to release. In that spirit, as a Franchise Mode ‘purist’ I am sad, but also want to help you bring life to your experience. Today the focus is on the scouting system that has existed for quite some time.
Depending on your team needs you will want scouts that better fit your target areas.
As you can see, the Pirates have needs virtually everywhere. You will want to look deeper at your minor league rosters and see your highest potential players and possibly move your scouting efforts if you plan on bringing them up to the big leagues – less work is always better!
In the case of the Pirates in MLB 21 (using the late season version of Ridin Rosters) the Pirates need a lot of pitching help and they also need corner outfielders (RF/LF). One aspect that seems low at first glance is SS, but if you look at their depth in the minor leagues there are two ‘A’ potential players, so you can move forward with a scout focus initially on Pitching and Outfield.
The first thing you will want to do is look for scouts that have the highest Discovery Rating – these scouts will increase the amount of players you can actively scout. In the case below, we see that Marc Weilman has a high discovery rating and his focus for positions is position players (non-pitchers), but that is only 51, which is fittingly bad for the Pirates. The real point of concern is Efficiency which is 41. Compare that to MacKenzie McManus’ 89 Efficiency and you will see that the problem becomes obvious.
Upon setting your scouts up for discovery, you will want to make sure that they are allowed to go until you get a notification that they have discovered all available prospects for their assignment. After that, you will have a choice to make depending on their best scouting ability. If you are fortunate, their efficiency rating will be at least 75. This will allow you to scout players faster once you have assigned them to individuals which can be strangely clunky.
Once you have a player you think needs more focus, you need to put assign a scout to them by pressing square. Depending on your need, you will want to focus on their Potential and Overall. The scouting scale which is on the 80/20 range lets you know that anyone under 50 is most likely better off unscouted unless you look at their ratings such as Overall or a desired ability like hitting power or pitching command and decide they are worth a look.
EFFICIENCY IS EVERYTHING!!!
The most broken aspect of MLB The Show Franchise Mode is in how scouting is handled and built from the start. Anyone that pays attention to baseball scouting will tell you that it’s a year-round cycle. The Show makes it into a 2 1/2 month drive-through at White Castle experience. This means that if you keep Weilman assigned to discovery like I did, you lose 3.5 weeks to him simply finding right handed pitchers in the West Region. Meanwhile, McManus fully discovered lefties in the west and then fully scouted 4 pitchers by the time Weilman was finished only discovering. To this end, you want to make sure that you sign scouts that have high efficiency if at all possible.
While the region of a scout might play a role, I have found this to be nominal for the most part – so, buyer beware on trying to diversify your regions over everything (it doesn’t really matter much, if at all).
That said, and keeping this as short as possible here is my recommendation on how to handle scouting.
1 – Prior to any assignments, make sure all of your scouts have a 75 Efficiency rating. If they don’t, go into Contracts under the Acquisitions menu and find someone to replace them with.
2 – Assign two or three scouts with the highest discovery ability to discover players in their region in which you have the biggest need. Once they finish their area, move them to another region. You can also do the ‘scorched earth’ approach and assign your high discovery scouts to the same region and try to cover it even faster, the choice is yours.
3 – I recommend assigning your highest efficiency scout to your most noteworthy prospects (starting with 80 potential and working your way down).
4 – Once you’ve exhausted discovery, start assigning your scouts to different prospects (again, start with 80 potential). As the potential/overall changes you can decide if you’ve seen enough of a prospect. Generally, once a prospect drops below 65 Potential you can move on confidently looking for others.
5 – This really 4A, but have an idea of what matters most to you as you build your franchise. I have found that having high velocity against the cpu matters less for pitchers than command. Better control has been far more beneficial for me than simply throwing fire. This is similar for batters with contact ratings vs. vision. Do yourself a favor and press Triangle (Y on XBox) and look at the players a bit more closely.
6 – Keep a scouting diary/notebook! SDS has abandoned Franchise Mode and it’s sad but true that Madden at least has the ability to build a big board in the prospect menu. The Show basically forces you to try and remember every top player and the draft is an afterthought. You don’t have to do this, but it will help you as your franchise mode progresses.
7 – Scout intriguing low-rated prospects from May 15 until the draft starts. Give your scouts a day or two to get a rating together before you move on as this will give you a chance to find hidden talent and a reason to pay attention to the rounds 3-6 of the draft.
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.