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.
This morning I logged into Twitch to catch a few minutes of the Cold War Beta before jumping into my work day. I didn’t see many people streaming the new demo so I checked in on a dude that had 127 viewers at the time (I won’t name him because he doesn’t deserve free marketing). Before I go on let me make one thing clear. I don’t begrudge any *pro-gamer* (I use this term loosely, as many streamers typically use their platform to showcase how great they are at whatever game) for making a living off of streaming. If you have found your audience and it provides you with all you need to survive – good on you.
Where I separate from supporting streamers is when they become grumps sitting in their digital ivory towers spouting verbal vitriol at casual gamers and noobs – people like me and basically 99% of gamers out there.
The complaint from these holier than thou tough guys usually involves making a point of how the game is seemingly designed for casual gamers. What does this mean? It usually means referencing tools that can even the playing field for those that might not play the game 12 hours a day. More often than not, it usually involves however the streamer was killed most recently in the game. If you tune in for even 30 minutes in a Battle Royale and the streamer gets killed you will notice that their death is rarely their fault and the other player was a casual, noob, bot or camper.
If you get killed by a camper as your team slaughters all the ‘casuals’ I applaud the camper. Even if they get killed in return, it was a life well lived to teach you a lesson in humility (which you never actually learn – because, well, you’re you).
I know I haven’t posted here in some time. Life is crazy and I wish I had more time and motivation to make gaming videos, post new content, talk about the next generation of consoles – etc. The reason I can’t do these things as much as I want to is because I am a casual gamer. I have been playing video games to have fun for over 34 years. I have a real job. I try to contribute to my actual community. I interact with people (at a safe distance) and enjoy doing things that don’t involve gaming all the time. For those of you that do get to game all the time – cool. I genuinely hope you get awesome joy and fulfillment from your day to day.
For those of you that have a platform and make a living off of the hobby that has brought me joy for decades – please use your platform and skills knowing a few things.
1 – Your audience is almost entirely casual gamers.
2 – Your gaming skills are of limited value outside of your ‘profession’ and they are a diminishing and depreciating asset.
If you have visiting NoobTubeTV at any point since 2011 you have most likely come across a Madden article of some sort. The efforts I have made to improve roster quality, gameplay, and franchise mode experiences are quite apparent. Now, in the age of Twitter and hashtag social movements, we have finally poked the bear that is EA Sports. The #FixMaddenFranchise hashtag was trending in late June after what was supposed to be the long awaited Franchise Mode “upgrade” only to once again be another kick in the “goal post”. Then came the most empty apology I’ve heard from a game developer (https://twitter.com/EAMaddenNFL/status/1278795979924344834).
Moral of the story is this – Madden 21 will not have an updated Franchise Mode. They have no details about what they are going to do because they have NO PLANS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THIS MODE BETTER! They have said this same garbage for over a decade. It’s honestly pathetic and I am done with buying Madden until I see true growth in Franchise Mode. It simply isn’t worth my money or your money anymore.
The thing is – it isn’t a surprise to see such a high potential mode get neglected year after year. For almost a decade Josh Looman was put in charge of Franchise Mode in some way or another. His acumen was supposed to be related to the NFL Head Coach games that sold a whopping 17 copies… okay, maybe they sold more than that – be honest, you didn’t buy it new – you got it used in the GameStop bargain bin if you did buy it. There was some good stuff on those games to be sure, but the Franchise Mode fanbase didn’t want Head Coach – we wanted Franchise Mode to be a living world of NFL History of our own making with intelligent CPU decision making both in the front office and on the sidelines. We got neither of those things over the last 15 years.
I have always held out hope that EA Sports would wake up and see what they had back in Madden 2005’s Franchise Mode. That never happened because the onset of online gaming and the Ultimate Team cash cow that has overtaken sports game culture. The pay to win and play/grind to build a team of superstars might be great for those that can afford the money or time. There are a lot of other gamers out there that want to play a sports game without having to worry about facing an online opponent that will do anything to win rather than play a good game of football.
There are all sorts of manifestos out there about what would make Franchise Mode a perfect mode for those of us that want it to be more enjoyable. I’m almost positive that EA Sports has made the corporate decision to trash Franchise Mode because it makes them no extra money. That is the corporate way and the demands of stock holders. Face it – the truth hurts when you have to realize that the things you like don’t make them worthwhile to those providing them.
I have given input on what Franchise Mode needs to do in order to improve. I am going to post a new exhaustive article soon to outline everything Madden needs to do in order to get my business.
For those of you that try to find the little joy that there is to be found in Franchise Mode there is some good news about sponsorships.
They give you money while simming!
There are some sponsorships that are better than others.
The best sponsorships are for offensive categories or the Game Played/Won sponsorships.
While the Silver through diamond ratings are simply levels of money for any given stat – the one thing that matters is that you know your playstyle and your team. If you are one of the few that plays every single game you might have a good reason to switch it up based on those specific aspects you know about your team and playstyle.
There are some things that are worth your time to know. The first is that offensive categories are generally limitless. You get as many hits and home runs as you can – there is no stopping you! However, the same can’t be said for strikeouts or double plays.
Let’s assume all the sponsorships we have are diamond (they are among the cheapest cards in the game compared to Diamond Dynasty Players and Equipment). Let’s say you strike out 10 batters with the strike out sponsorship ($3,500) – that ends up bringing you $35,000 – not bad. If you strike out 20 – $70,000. Usually you have 9 innings to play with and that ends up being $94,500 if you strike out every player in a perfect game.
To make playing defense even less desirable, Double-Plays are worth $20,000 on the diamond tier. These aren’t incredibly common and they aren’t exactly something you ‘try’ to get each game as it means you need to allow an opponent to get on base.
By far, your best option is to either stake your sponsorships with Diamond Home Runs or Runs Scored.
The second thing to remember is what we mentioned first… SIMMING COUNTS YOUR STATS! This is free money for your franchise mode team – don’t throw it away!
When you start your Franchise Mode in any sports game it usually comes with the hopes and dreams of playing multiple seasons and creating an experience filled with drama, intrigue and a team that will DESTROY EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE LEAGUE!!!!… Ummm, excuse me.
The hardest part about keeping your Franchise alive is making sure it doesn’t get dull or cumbersome. Some of the best I have had in recent memory involved using a team that might not be my favorite, but at least one I could cheer for in some way in real life. You’d never find me running a Michigan Dynasty or using any AFC North team that isn’t the Browns.
This will be the second time in three years that I have chosen to use the Cincinnati Reds as my team. This time I wanted to show you how I go about setting up my MLB Franchise Mode (FM) to provide my baseball fix as well as a lot of fun (don’t tell the FM demigods at Operation Sports you’re having fun – it isn’t allowed over there).
The video below will walk you through my initial setup and thoughts – skip around a bit as I was busy doing other things at a few points.
At some point you have experienced a ‘title update’ in your PC or console gaming experience. It has become a weekly practice for most developers of games with massive communities to implement ‘fixes’ for any number of issues or glitches in their software. While this wasn’t common for most console gamers until the dawn of Xbox 360/PS3 almost 15 years ago it has been around for PC gamers for some time. Regardless, when you are greeted with the screen or notification that you have to download an update before playing your game online – you know that means some things will be different when you restart the game.
The problems most gamers have with patching their games stem from not knowing that there is going to be a Godzilla sized patch designed to decimate your digital version of Tokyo (or wherever the hell Godzilla shows up in movies). The idea of a patch being over 15 GB has become normal – which is a terrifying thing to consider when you realize how much data that is (especially if your hard drive is now suddenly short on space). The true fear comes from gamers that have been playing a game that suddenly gets ‘fixed’ and all hell breaks loose.
For a quick moment in time Call of Duty Warzone had a glitch that allowed players with the full Modern Warfare version of the game to create custom gun loadouts with any attachment and save those blueprints for custom weapons they could use in Warzone without having to unlock the gun itself or attachments. This seems like a silly exploit to some, but it suddenly evened the playing field for those that are casual gamers or those that have the free Warzone game and not MW. What made matters worse? The discovery that akimbo .357 Magnums are the most over-powered secondary weapons in the game (after RPGs, maybe). With the proper loadout, the dual wielded weapons make you into a two-shot beast. I was among those that went to make my own OP Magnum class the other day only to see that the loophole was now gone. The patch came and destroyed my dream to join the hypocrite ‘pro’ gamers that use exploits but cry when they fall to their own creation.
The good news is that patching a game is necessary and one of the biggest fixes I have seen in Warzone is the implementation of finding the hackers and cheaters and making them all play against each other. The only thing I can think that would make this better is if Infinity Ward decided to limit the map for cheaters to be in the Prison section of the map.
If you are among those that see updates for your favorite games downloading and want to know more about what has changed you can usually find out most of the changes with a simple Google search or hit up the sub-Reddit for the game and see if the details have been posted. Developers know how important their games are to their fans, the good ones do a great job of letting you know when things have changed.
First, let me say I am truly excited about this new mode. They did a great job of trying to ignore the rumors while also making it look like they intended to let this game go the way of Ghosts (the only COD I ever bought and sold before the next came out). Even then, I probably could have kept playing Blackout until November, 2020 if I really had to. The problem with this is the fact that Modern Warfare has some really great foundational function but when it comes to the modes involving large amounts of players there are some serious issues.
The most glaring issues can be found in Ground War. There are constantly new exploits and broken map locations. Sometimes you will spawn into one just because your teammate is a cheat. Other times you find it on accident. If only the problem was just map function – that could be fixed over time. What has been covered is the two sided issue of cross-platform match making and the inherent unfairness of allowing PC gamers to play with console gamers. This isn’t to discard the other aspect that plagues Ground War, frame rate.
I don’t have issues with the philosophy of cross-platform at its core. I think the idea is wonderful in a vacuum. The problem is PC gamers generally have better hardware than console gamers. This isn’t always the case, but more often than not it is and it can give PC players a leg up. Add the fact that I still find myself in matches with people that are using keyboard and mouse, it becomes an instant lobby exit when I see that icon.
The other side is the fact that Ground War has some serious frame rate issues with just small maps. If you’ve played Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode you have no doubt noticed some occasional laggy player movement as long distances through your scope. I challenge anyone playing Ground War to use a sniper rifle and tell me that sniping at a long distance doesn’t feel clunky. Put that into a map like we have seen for Warzone with 100 to 200 players and you have a clunk fest of laggy opponents jumping and ducking around like it’s North Korean Whack-A-Mole. If Warzone has the same problems on a bigger scale that plague Ground War, it’s going to be a quick move back to Blackout for a lot of people.
I pulled the trigger and got one month of EA Access for PS4 the other day. It was a nice way to rent Madden 20 and get a feel for what changed in Franchise Mode this year. The verdict is rather mixed. I was pleasantly surprised by the feel of the gameplay as a whole. There were some obnoxious animations that did happen in my first game or two that made me roll my eyes and even got a bit of a laugh as well. The real eye roll happened after I got a message from Jarvis Landry following a big win (more on that to follow). The worst part I experienced was seeing that the Pro Bowl game existed as a playable feature. Seriously – NOBODY CARES!!!! Why is it that we have more concern about the Pro Bowl than we do about players being named All Pro? If you look into the actual accolades that truly matter in the NFL it is whether someone is considered to be the top performer at their position – not if they are voted onto an all star team that no one cares about.
Starting the season with my beloved Browns was a great feeling. Finally, if I take my team to the Super Bowl in the first season of Franchise Mode, I won’t have the ‘realism nazis’ telling me I need to adjust sliders or play the game with my toes. The change to overall ratings was one of the first aspects I noticed. The available free agents don’t make you drop half of your roster to pick up new guys like in past iterations of Madden where you might find a few guys in the upper 70s or low 80s that you can build into monsters. This year, it really is a matter of picking through a garbage heap if you need to find a replacement – Quarterback is the most noticeable in this endeavor. Having a great backup QB is going to be a nice commodity if you find a gem in the draft. However, you should fully expect to lose a future star if you aren’t willing to pay him.
One thing that hasn’t changed in Madden is the terrible trade logic. I was able to move Duke Johnson to the Eagles for a 1st Round Pick. I was also able to move on from other players and acquire mid to late round picks with ease. This is definitely another year where we will have to implement house rules just to keep ourselves honest.
One addition that is supposedly going to be updated regularly in Franchise Mode (most likely in Cloud Based Franchises if I had to bet on it) is the dialogue options from your players that make demands like more targets or more attention as a whole in an upcoming game. One instance had Jarvis Landry ask me to target him in our game against Baltimore. We beat the Ravens by 20+ points and I targeted him on over 10 passing attempts. He caught four and went for 84 yards – he dropped two on crossing routes and missed an endzone grab in the corner. The others were batted down or overthrown. Here is a rundown of how that went after the game was over.
So it goes, Franchise has added some cool ideas. I hope they get fixed and polished up a bit, but in the long run, I think there are good things ahead.
Moving on to gameplay – here are the initial settings I will be using after play-testing sliders and penalties as well as stat checking some stupidly high scoring games.
The biggest changes from years past is going to most likely be the move of Facemask penalties, I saw over six in more than 3 games. It was happening way too much. Also, Robo QB is back and worse than ever in some ways. I recommend moving the slider down until you get the proper feel for the CPU completion % – currently, I have the slider at 39, but it might have to go to 35.
All of the sliders and settings are set to All Pro for now simply because All Madden still seems to cheat the user rather than provide a real challenge – a big difference, in my opinion.
Originally, I had planned on not buying Madden until I could get it on sale, but in the world of supply and demand – you all demand the Madden coverage, and I am happy to supply it to the best of my ability.
Also, I do not plan on playing MUT for any serious amount of time other than to get easy trophies out of it or to play solo grinds when I want a change from Franchise Mode. It is a pay to win game mode and I choose not to pay. Good luck to those of you that choose to continue with the dark side.
In just a couple weeks we will finally get our chance to boot up our annual dose of football gaming. With the typical cosmetic changes they like to call ‘improvements’ from year to year, we, the customers gamers are consistently let down when it comes to improvements in any mode that isn’t Madden Ultimate Cash Cow Team. In the process and over time the expectation has changed for this title. It has become almost acceptable in the eyes of sports gamers to have the same stale game presented with new colors of the same old glitter bedazzleing the same old mass produced massive disappointment that is Madden NFL.
Madden has become the litmus test for every other sports game to follow suit when it comes to ultimate team modes (a glorified playable fantasy football mode with a pay to win structure). NBA 2K (MyTeam) and MLB The Show (Diamond Dynasty) are similar in their own recent track records. All resources are being poured into ultimate team modes from the corporate level. One mustn’t forget that all of these games are produced and published by corporations like EA, Take Two, and Sony. The bottom line is we need to know what to expect as consumers when it comes to sports games (and first person shooters with an online Multiplayer focus) and it is incredibly simple. Our expectations should follow the psychological necessity to have better things than others and to win at whatever cost we are willing to pay.
If you aren’t the type of person to pay for any digital content outside of the game itself, you aren’t the focus of corporations like EA and Take Two. The profit margin they make on you is minimal compared to those that pour real money directly into the coffers of these corporations by purchasing add on content such as loot boxes, digital currency or cosmetic changes to your weapons. That means that for the most part I am actually not their target audience.
I have finally decided to stop taking it personally simply because I refuse to give them the satisfaction. Instead, we need to find ways to change the game to fit our own needs. As a friend once told me, ‘Play the game or the game plays you.’ – in this case it is 100% correct. I refuse to buy a single pack of digital cards for ultimate team modes. I will use in game currency I earn by playing and I will play every game with the intent of enjoying my time rather than under the perception that winning means anything different from losing when the playing field isn’t level to begin with.
Here we are, two weeks from Madden 20 and I haven’t ever been less excited about this title. Franchise Mode is getting no real improvements and Ultimate Team has all sorts of perks attached to it with pre-order bonuses. The only improvements they mentioned for Franchise Mode (CFM) involved using title updates later, after release. They didn’t even mention whether you’d have to restart your CFM in order to have the update in an existing save.
Madden 20 might have some shine to it in the first week or two, but there isn’t enough shine for me to buy this game on release day.