Madden Community – We Have a Problem

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.

Madden 22 Franchise Mode Guide, Tips, Notes, and New House Rules

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.

Fatigue Matters!

The Season Fatigue Bar for each player is buried in the player card under ‘Health’. I think this should be more readily available in the lineup section with a simple color dot on the player card.

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

By the end of the first season I was able to max out the Personnel Department Trade Section (and make progress on some coaches as well). I think it was a little too easy.

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.

Be on the lookout for live streams on Twitch www.twitch.tv/noobtubetv and new videos that will be uploaded to the Youtube Channel www.youtube.com/officialnoobtubetv. Give me a follow over on Twitter twitter.com/NoobTubeTV as well if you want to see and read more of my snarky irreverent quips and gifs.

Let me know what kind of settings you are finding success with in the comments or on the platforms listed above. Happy Gaming and GO BROWNS!

Madden 22 – Franchise House Rules

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.
  • ScoutingNEW – 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 BoardNEW – 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.

Madden 22 – Franchise Mode House Rules and Thoughts for This Season

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.

Are you ready for some football?

What’s In The Patch? – The Horror of the Unknown In Gaming

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.

It’s Been A Hot Minute

We are firmly in the doldrums of game releases as well as the lame duck sessions of our current generation of consoles.  The simplest way to talk about the gap between updates to NoobTubeTV is to say that I have found myself rather busy with a new job that has had a steep learning curve.  In some ways, the lessons of past jobs and even some games have given me some decent scaffolding upon which I currently stand to rock this new job the best I can.  I wouldn’t say it is the Dark Souls of jobs.  It’s more like the Metal Gear Solid 4 of jobs.  There’s a lot of loading and cut-scenes to deal with before you can get on with your day and finish the game.  That said, it is providing me with a career and a nice compensation to keep on trucking.  It also helps that the people have been quite rad so far as well!

To that I say (once again) – Kept you waiting, huh?

So, what is there to cover at this point in the world of gaming and how can some of the Noobs out there be helped along?  Here is a smattering of what I have on tap for NoobTubeTV in the coming weeks and months.

Whether we like it or not – Madden 20 is coming out at the beginning of August.  They have announced some of the ‘improvements’ to Franchise Mode and to say they are underwhelming is old-hat and cliché at this point.  They seem to think that we want to have more of the My Player feel from 2K or Road to the Show from MLB the Show.  While I am sure a few gamers out there enjoyed playing the story mode over the last two years, it really didn’t do much for me as someone that wants to have a franchise mode experience where I run a team instead of some half-assed RPG.

The new scenario system is the same as the old system of trying to accomplish statistical goals for coming games, etc.  Once again, EA misses the point entirely when it comes to franchise mode.  It isn’t all about stats!  Franchise Mode needs to have EMOTION to drive the plot of our team’s story!  Why is it so important to them that we have a broken owner mode where a player has Personality that only matters when it comes to selling jerseys in a part of the game that literally doesn’t matter at all?  Why don’t they see that what should really be happening in this mode is an attachment between the fan bases and the players, coaching staff and ownership of every team in the league?  Owners should have approval ratings right along with coaches.  They should be judged on wins, losses and personnel decisions such as free agency and draft picks – not to mention trades (Giants fans might have something to say about that… also, thanks for OBJ! J).

I will be posting more about Madden 20 in the coming months, but suffice to say I am not looking forward to it in the least.  There are some games that have my attention and I have to wait a lot longer for those to make their way onto my console.

Death Stranding and Modern Warfare are my most anticipated games of 2019.  Those will each get their own articles very soon.

What have I been playing lately?

I am still playing a lot of Blackout on Black Ops 4, but it is nowhere nearly as competitive in my mind as it was prior to the new job.  It’s actually quite refreshing to play a game and lose without getting upset or bent out of shape over it.  They finally implemented some of the changes I wanted to see, but it took so long that I don’t really care.  Not to mention, the announcement of Modern Warfare basically made me cry digital tears of joy – it is my favorite COD franchise.

I have also been playing far more Diamond Dynasty than I ever have in MLB the Show.  I must say there are some aspects that I violated my rules in order to have a good time.  I spent more than I care to admit on stubs in order to buy packs.  The results?  I ended up getting a team full of diamond players that actually allow me to have competitive games.  The downside to this is knowing that Diamond Dynasty is a pay to win or a grind to win mode that forgives no one that plays other games.  My team is currently close to .500 (36-37 or so) and it feels like every time I feel like my team should dominate I come across another gamer that is 300 levels above me with a team full of 99 OVR players.  I am done spending any more actual money on this game, but I must say it was entirely necessary in order to get a team that could compete at all – which is criminal, in my opinion.

Taking advantage of the Days of Play sale was another choice I made.  I ended up coming away with NBA 2K19, NHL 19 and Batman Arkham Knight for about $20 total.  I absolutely love NHL 19’s presentation and feel.  NBA 2K19 has yet to be fully played as I only buy NBA games when they are cheap or free.  Basketball has been dead to me for quite some time.  Batman just finished installing the other day and I am very excited to jump into it when I feel like I can give my attention to it in full. 

As I finish this article I am filled with a sneaking nostalgia and it feels wonderful to post about the hobby I love.  I know this has been a long read with yet another Madden rant, but to be as straight-forward as I can be, I am super excited about the future of NoobTubeTV.  There are some things on the horizon and some ideas being floated.  Thanks to those of you that keep stopping by and asking me where I have been.  I look forward to posting some new updates for you very soon.

Disposable Teammates – The Downside of Apex Legends

If you haven’t noticed, there is a new kick ass game out there on PS4, XBox One and PC and it also happens to be free to play.

Apex Legends still hasn’t lost its luster in almost every way but one. Unless you have a lot of friends that have adopted this game as their primary go-to FPS Battle Royale you are essentially doomed to get paired up with random players. My experience to this point as a level 20 player has been getting paired up with level one and two players that don’t use mics. Usually I don’t mind being on a team with noobs. In case you haven’t noticed the name of the website – I understand noobs and the plight of being one.

The worst part about the current matchmaking is that if you find a couple gamers you enjoy playing with Respawn hasn’t implemented a way for you to stick together. One thing Blackout has done a decent job of doing is having a section of ‘Recent Players’ that you can access between rounds. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal as so many teammates go by the wayside when you get into a match and die in the first 20 seconds – but on those few occasions you get paired up with a couple decent Apex players, it would go a long way to be able to team up with them or even add them to your friends list after the match.

Hopefully this is something they can take care of in the near future. Rumor has it that they are already working on things like this for the game. If only the developers at Call of Duty listened to the community as much as Respawn seem to… for now, we can still smile about the fact that at least we have Apex to play instead of the Blackout which has suddenly become more stale than your grandmother’s Christmas candy.

Apex Legends Just Killed Blackout – In Three Days

I didn’t know what Apex Legends was last week. I didn’t know it was in development, let alone coming out on consoles and PC – for free. I was knee deep in Call of Duty Blackout shrugging off multiple 2nd and 3rd place finishes after getting concussion grenades to the face with a quick burst of fire to finish me off.

Then I saw the Titanfall community on Reddit talking about some sort of non-Titanfall (yet, still kind-of Titanfall) Battle Royale game. I chalked it up to gaming nerds complaining about something that didn’t exist. Suddenly, I start seeing the game Apex Legends marketed and talked about more and more over the next 72 hours. I ended up on my smart phone as I was blasting my quads on the spinning bike at my local gym (it’s my passion… if you don’t get the reference just google it).

I logged on and started by playing a couple matches on February 6. I was so bad at the game after having played Blackout for months that I ended up going back to Blackout for the rest of that night after getting my teeth kicked in and voicing my displeasure on the live stream. The next day something changed – I wanted to give Apex another try, but I wanted to go at it more slowly and methodically just to get a feel for how it worked. It was the best decision I’ve made in gaming in quite some time.

The best comparison I can make for Apex is that it is a cross between Titanfall (gunplay/aiming), Borderlands (general looting feel), Fortnite (albeit in first person), and a splash of Overwatch (players with unique abilities).

Apex had over 10 million players in the first three days of release. That is amazing. That’s not even the most shocking aspect to me. For what it’s worth I got the most out of the reactions from David Vonderhaar on Twitter over the last 24 hours or so – he is the studio design director for Blackout. While I generally appreciate the pressure and the hard work that goes into keeping a game like COD/Blackout running with such a massive following, his tweets scream frustration and desperation just days after Apex released.

Do you ever feel like the harder you try to do the right thing the worse you do? That feels awful.— Lord Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) February 8, 2019

I love this tweet because it illustrates my point. You are diverse. You don’t all agree. You are not made up of just Twitter or Reddit communities. You are beautiful. You are complicated. You are right. You are wrong. https://t.co/7zZ5dm0bAT— Lord Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) February 8, 2019

The best part about Apex coming in out of left field and slapping Call of Duty in the face isn’t even about the games themselves. It’s about the developer of Apex.

Respawn Entertainment created Apex. You might recognize the bigger names of Respawn (Jason West and Vince Zampella) as the original names behind Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare back when they were at Infinity Ward. These guys had a very public falling out with Activision and after a few years they ended up coming back as Respawn and creating the Titanfall series. They lost their ability to create Call of Duty games and were forced to make something new and different with Titanfall – and they succeeded. Titanfall 2 is still widely played by the close-knit community and now to have Apex come out of the blue and take the hearts and minds of so many Blackout players from Call of Duty is some of the best schadenfreude I can think of from the perspective of Respawn and the developers over there.

MLB The Show Franchise Mode Has Its Own Demons

If you have been on NoobTubeTV for the Madden CFM coverage over the last few years you will see that there has been little mercy on the shortcomings of the Madden Franchise Mode. I have largely talked up the depth of MLB The Show and the Franchise Mode in general. However, after playing through five seasons of Franchise Mode with the Cincinnati Reds it can’t be understated how broken the game becomes on multiple levels.

Building A Dream Team Is Far Too Easy

By the time you get to 2023 – this can be possible

Like other games, I think you should be able to do whatever you want in your own sports universe. However, for those of us that want a reason to play our franchise with some realism and some challenge, this shouldn’t be able to happen.

I will say this. One thing that definitely happens on top of all of this is big time players sign big time contracts – for the most part. There was one HUGE caveat I noticed and will get to that in a bit. For now, I will show you the reverse Babe Ruth move that happened in one off-season.

This happened in my Indians Franchise.

Age Regression Is Ridiculous

When I played through my first couple seasons with the Reds I actually kept the team pretty true to what they were when I started. I will have to go back and take a look at certain moves that had been made, but in the end I will say that Joey Votto carried us to the 2018 World Series. He was by far the best player I have used in any season of The Show. The worst part was the very next season his production dropped along with this ratings. I ended up trading him to the Braves and decided to see how he was doing before we started the 2023 season.

To say I was disappointed for him is an understatement. Sure, he is 38 at this point and by no means is he a spring chicken, but he seriously has one job to do. Oh well, not my problem anymore.

Being The GM Is Just Too Easy

One of the things that happens as you play through Franchise Mode is your status as the GM will bounce around in terms of Job Security. The only thing is that once you realize how many teams are willing to make a deal with you for their future stars it is written in the stars for you to create the greatest team of all time.

For instance, I made the trade in 2022 to get Mike Trout on the Reds. His $30 million annual salary was something I thought I could deal with until the next off-season came around and I realized I didn’t have the ability to sign half of the players I needed in order to run the franchise. What ever could I do?!

Well, for one thing – I could trade Trout at 31 years old and 99 OVR for anyone I wanted – as long as the salary involved was comparable. So, this basically meant I had to do a bit of creative trading that would see multiple teams contacted on the same day and many players being a Cincinnati Red for a little under five minutes before they got moved again.

Prospects, Minor League and Renewable Contracts and The Wonders of the Potential Rating

This might be the biggest downfall of Franchise Mode. Trading for those prized coveted prospects on other teams is generally the first move many of us make. The second move we make is to sign them to the cheapest contracts they will accept under the current MLB rules that still manage to function similarly to indentured servitude in terms of sports contracts.

When you get one of those coveted players on your team it is going to be a sweet ride for five to seven seasons before they demand a free agent deal that could break your bank. There should be more safeguards for those of us that want a simulation feel for our franchise mode experience.

Now that the first trailer is here it is only a matter of time before the hype gets even bigger. Here is hoping they actually made some big and much needed changed in MLB 19.

Don’t Be That Guy – Blackout Etiquette

Yes. Before you question one of my earlier articles on whether there is a ‘right way’ to play Blackout – I do realize that this might seem hypocritical. I promise you – it isn’t.

I stand by my belief that there is no right or wrong way to play Solo battle royale – do your thing, by all means. Camp your heart out or run through the world like Rambo – the world is yours Mr. Montana.

However, one thing needs to be covered right now and it will help make you a better teammate on all other modes of Blackout that aren’t Solo. First and foremost, you need to remember you are part of a team. Here are some tips for any of you that are either new to Blackout or want to have a better overall experience. This is especially important for those of you that join random teams in Quads or Duos.

Be Nice When You Jump Into The Game

There isn’t anything more annoying to a team than having one teammate come in talking smack or being rude. Blackout Quads and Duos is a great way to make new gaming friends and you should look at every match as an opportunity for this to happen. When you load up and arrive in the deployment screen give your team a friendly shoutout and ask where they’d like to drop. Something as simple as “Hey guys, how’s it going?” is one hell of a nice ice breaker. Keep in mind, you will depend on these teammates to pick you up if you get injured during the match – so, be cool to start and they will be more willing to run into the fight for you.

Keep Your Background Noise Down

We get it, you love your trap music and your children. Sometimes we can tell that they are in the same room and they are both cranked up to 11. Do everyone a favor and turn off your mic – it is just too difficult to mute individuals in Blackout and hearing your music or daily banter is the last thing any of your teammates want or need in their ears.

Death Stash Goes To The Guy With The Kill

The ultimate disrespect to your teammates is raiding the death stash of the opponent they killed without their go-ahead. While I think most of us have committed this cardinal sin – it is something I feel needs to be talked about. This is especially true if a teammate comes to your aid and takes out an opponent that has you pinned down. If you manage to run away from the fight and your teammate pulls off the clutch kill for you make sure you ask if they want something in particular out of the bag – especially level three armor.

You will find that more often than not your teammate will tell you to go ahead and take a look. However, if this happens at the beginning of a match it is better for you to let them have first dibs. They are just as thin on ammo, weapons, and equipment as you – maybe even worse off than you. So, do everyone a favor and just ask before you go and raid a bag from the kill of a teammate. There is nothing more dickish than running away from a fight and letting your team do all the work only for you to run back after the fray to vulture all the goods. So, if you want it broken down to be that simple – don’t be a dick. Oh, and also – if you do that to someone that finds it to be insulting – don’t be shocked if they team kill you for the sake of righteousness.

Don’t Hoard Trauma Kits, Sensor Darts, Barricades, Attachments

One thing a lot of noobs don’t realize is that one player can only deploy one Sensor Dart or Barricade at a time. So, having three of each in your inventory won’t help your team as much as each person having one of each towards the end of a game. If you can strategically distribute and use these pieces of equipment your team will be in great position to win.

In the same breath, please don’t take all the Trauma Kits and hold them while your teammates are looking for health throughout the map. A team with 200 HP across the board is far better off than 150 or less for three teammates and you with 200 and four Trauma Kits. Seriously, offer these to your teammates – they will return the favor in the future.

Go ahead and pick up all the attachments you need for your weapons. However, if you have a few pieces in your inventory that you have no use for give them to a teammate or drop them. You are literally wasting space if you hold onto attachments you don’t plan on using. Let those things go and grab all the grenades and throwables – that’s where the winning happens.

Tell Your Team Where You’re Going

If you haven’t found any loot to start a match and you go away from your team to explore another building, etc. Do the decent thing and just tell them ‘Hey, I need to check this place out. I have no health and no gun.’. Also, if someone else is in this situation, make it a point to go with them if they are empty handed – be a good teammate, ya know?

Call Out Locations of Enemies

Keep in mind that the number locator is great for pointing out an enemy if you are right next to your team. The flipside is that it might not be the same if you are separated from your team. Use the North, South, East and West function as well as calling out the place you see enemies.

“They are over here!” is no way to get anyone to help you out.

“They are on my right side, up the hill, behind the rock.” is a much better callout.

As you play Blackout more often you will learn the sounds and firing rates of certain weapons. If you can figure that out it will help your team even more. Don’t be afraid of calling out an enemy if you hear them as well – that is a life saver for your team in close quarters.