Madden 19 Will Continue To Be MUT Focused

For those of you that joined in my cheers about the initial announcements regarding Madden 19’s Franchise Mode – please don’t get too hyped.  If you look at the pre-order bonuses and such, this game is still obviously focused on the cash cow that is Ultimate Team.  In being focused on MUT, there are things that quite simply will NEVER change in terms of gameplay. madden 19 cover

If you watch any of the YouTubers or Twitch guys that post pack opening reactions and footage of them playing online MUT matchups you will see that there is good reason for EA Tiburon to keep the game as loose and arcade-like as possible.  I will admit, I have watched a few of the pack opening videos from various YouTube personalities and I feel like I am basically watching a hyped up commercial on EA’s Home Shopping Network.  I’m not hating on what makes these people happy or gives them YouTube success – keep doing you and get that YouTube money before they decide to find a reason to kick you off the pay platform.

What I find disconcerting is when Madden continues to push a mode that doesn’t encourage gameplay to become more realistic by default.  MUT is not and will never be a mode that encourages Tiburon to make Man to Man coverage a true representation of what we see on Sundays (Thursdays, and Monday’s) in the fall.  I can appreciate this aspect as sometimes it gets frustrating in any game to feel like you aren’t controlling the actions of the primary character at any given time.  MUT has to remain focused on player control and the arcade style that brings the money well after the game has released.

However, why is it that spin moves and jukes from players result in locked animations from tacklers three yards away?  Why do we continue to see AI make gameplay decisions that would baffle a 5 year old?  It’s a continuing sign of what EA Tiburon has a true problem replicating – 11 on 11 football.  Every time you play against a human opponent it becomes a 1 on 1 matchup, not a true football game.  Consider this the next time you switch to the DB in coverage during a long pass down the field.  Sure, it’s supposed to be a game that you play, but it doesn’t bode well for those of us that want some semblance of real football.

The spin, juke and other break tackle functions in Madden 18 were so overpowered and glitched simply from the interaction and animation system that I stopped playing the game in early December.  I played a few MUT games and even won a championship, etc.  At the end of the day, I wanted to play simulation football in CFM (OFFLINE) and I was greeted by such an artificially weak CPU opponent that I couldn’t justify booting up the game.

What do you think?  Are you a MUT player or a Sim Football purist?  Will the history dictate your purchase of Madden 19?

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Franchise Mode Team Selection Guide – Madden 19

Now that we are preparing for NFL Training Camps and Hard Knocks with my beloved Cleveland Browns it is time to start planning which teams we want to use in Madden 19 Franchise Mode.

This season, we will be putting teams into one of three categories – Ready To Build, Super Bowl Contender, and Tear It Down.

Ready To Build 

cleveland_browns – What used to be the novel pick as a tear it all down has become the biggest team to pick as ready to build.  The pieces are there – Taylor, Mayfield, Johnson, Hyde, Chubb, Garrett, Gordon, Landry, Ward, Kendricks, Kirksey, Bitonio, Ogbah… The Browns are going to be a lot of fun to use in Madden 19 and hopefully a bit more fun to watch than the 0-16 Preseason Champs of last year. GO BROWNS!

chicago_bears – They are close to still being in tear it all down mode, but they have some nice pieces to build around, including Trubisky and now Roquan Smith to help lift the defense.  They did bring in Allen Robinson, but outside of him the WR squad isn’t much to look at.  Give them a year or two and some good drafting, you will have a solid team in due time.

buffalo_bills– Okay, they pulled the trigger on Josh Allen and even brought in McCarron to help him along.  You have McCoy for a year or two before his regression will inevitably set in as well.  They have Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones which is quite nice in terms of WR talent.  They also made Edmunds a 1st Round pick at LB – not a lot of flash, but they also made the playoffs last year… they are a threat to shock the world again, assuming they don’t rue the day they got rid of Tyrod Taylor (weird to say that and believe it, I know).

arizona_cardinals– Rosen and Kirk come into a situation that could make the Cardinals into quite a fun build.  Fitzgerald is aging, but seeing the pieces that are ready to put together is promising to say the least.  The real question is how you will build them on defense. There really isn’t much left to tear down at this point in Arizona – just start building with what you can.

i – Sorry, but we know you won’t be using Case Keenum for more than the 2018 season at most.  Which QB will you sign or draft for the 2019 season?  Outside of that decision, you have one hell of a team to build up from a disappointing 2017 season.  Chubb was one heck of a pick, and pairing him with Von Miller is almost criminal.  Add the other pieces that are both aging and young with good drafting and this is a fun team that could get you to the playoffs in 2018 if you are smart.  This is a quick build.

chargers– Rivers is most likely walking into the sunset, who do you replace him with?  Figure that out and you will have one nice team for the next decade.  My guess is that this is a team that will try to trade up in the draft in 2019 to grab the top QB available.  You have the pieces you need on defense, you have the young players on offense in Gordon, Allen and Co.  Make the right moves and you will be competing in a tight AFC West.

Chiefs– They spanked the Patriots in Week 1 of 2017 and looked like a monster before they basically shrunk in the light of pressure towards the end of the season.  They have a young QB they think is the next big thing in Mahomes.  Add in a great WR threat in Watkins, Hill and Kelce with the amazing Kareem Hunt and you have a team that needs you to make some smart defensive moves in order to dominate soon.

Giants– Considering both Manning and Rivers were drafted next to eachother, you shouldn’t be shocked to see this.  Combine that with the idea that you will have Saquon Barkley and OBJ on the same team with Engram?… Wow!  Now you just have to get the pieces you want on defense and replace Eli Manning in the 2019 season.  It will be fun for Giants fans to see this team grow – too bad it in a division with Dallas and Philly.

49ers– They have Jimmy G and a base that is finally looking like a football team again.  It’s about time and not a moment too soon.  You will want to invest in some more pieces and maybe trade down in the next draft to pick up pieces, but they will be a great team with a solid QB guiding them.

ravens– I hate to say it… They are poised to compete every year.  They are still trying to build what they had with Ray Lewis, but now they have Lamar Jackson and a nice TE in Hurst from the Draft.  Add Orlando Brown as a new OL and Michael Crabtree on offense?  You have a powerful set of guys on a team that needs you to add a few pieces at WR and on defense.  They will be fun to build – please take it easy one my Browns.

Bengals– I can’t stand the Bengals.  That said – they are a team to contend with if you can figure out what you want to do with your QB and potentially with your LB corps.  They have good CBs and a solid DL.  Add a healthy AJ Green and few other pieces and you will have a team to fight for the playoffs soon.

Raiders– Carr and Cooper had a bad year.  You will need to find a couple HBs to replace Lynch as he declines.  You also need to get some guys to compliment all world LB Khalil Mack.  Do these things and you will have a great team.  Your time to build is now – do it wisely.

SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS –

For those of you that either have a favorite team that happens to be great or you don’t want a challenge in building a team in 2018, here are the teams to choose.

Texans– Get Watson healthy at QB and you will have a team that can basically pick up where they left off… to think they will be in this position without having a 1st or 2nd Round pick in 2018 is insane.  However, they have the talent to give every team a headache.  Have fun with this team as they are primed to be great… not to mention, they will have a full slate of draft picks in 2019.

Rams– They are all in… flat out.  Trading out of the first and second rounds of 2018 in order to add pieces to contend now they are stacked.  The Rams have Suh and Donald on the DL.  Add Gurley, Goff, Cooks and the rest… They won’t be a surprise in 2018 like they were in 2017.

Packers– You will still have Aaron Rodgers.  That says enough in most cases.  However, you have a team that drafted a great CB in Josh Jackson, a good WR in St. Brown and found a way to sign Jimmy Graham.  Figure out how you want to replace an aging defense pretty fast because after 2018, who knows what will happen with this team. You have the bonus of an extra first round pick in 2019 as well – so be daring.

Panthers– They had a down year, but the Panthers are set to come back in a big way.  DJ Moore was a great pick for the late first round.  Couple the pieces that basically haven’t changed since their recent Super Bowl run and another smart 2019 Draft and off season – you will be in the playoffs in 2018 and for the next few years.

Falcons– This almost isn’t fair.  The Falcons now have Calvin Ridley AND Julio Jones to go with Freeman and Ryan.  Put that together with a defense that continues to over-perform in some ways.  Draft a couple defensive studs in 2019 and this will be a Super Bowl winner in the next season or two.

Cowboys– The Cowboys should compete in the NFC East and for a Super Bowl this year.  They have tremendous talent on both sides of the ball and Elliott will most likely seek to punish every team he faces after such a bumpy 2017.  Look to draft a couple WR and a DB in 2019, maybe a DL/LB to top off a dangerous situation on Defense… The Cowboys will be good if they stay healthy.

Eagles– They have to be the favorites to win it all again in 2018 and contend with Wentz being the all world star Iggles fans hope he will remain after a terrible injury in 2017.  This team will be a monster to contend with.

Steelers– They got robbed in 2017 by a bogus replay decision.  The Steelers will have to decide on a replacement for Roethlisberger in the next season or two.  Find a way to bring back Bell and you will have a team destined to push for the title.  You will want to find a way to replace the huge hole left by the Shazier injury.  Win now and make smart moves – otherwise this could be a two year window… win now and build or win now and lose later – it’s a risk, but if you’re smart about your moves it could be a long term WINdow.

PAtriots– They seemingly always have a spot here.  The Patriots have a window that is closing on Brady and The Hoody.  If you can find a way to replace Brady and keep the rotation of talent on this team you will have a Super Bowl contender in 2018 for sure, but the tough decisions will dictate your future winning and that might mean parting ways with Brady in the off-season.  The 49ers did it with Montana – I believe in you!

Saints– Much like the team above, as goes the QB, so goes the season.  The Saints will be leaning heavily on Kamara and their WRs to help carry the team with Brees as Ingram is suspended (probably not in Madden… if it’s in the game, it’s probably not politically correct to put in the game).  The Saints picked up a risky DE prospect from UT San Antonio and gave up a 2019 First Rounder to get him in Davenport.  If he is as dominant as the Saints hope he can be this will be a monster.  If not, you better find a way to get a good replacement for Brees and in short order.

Vikings– They added Kirk Cousins to a team that got smacked in the mouth by the Super Bowl champs.  The Vikings are a team that was truly a QB away from possibly being in the Super Bowl.  Their defense is second to none and their offense now has a real threat and talent in Cousins.

Jags– That escalated quickly!  The Jags took a huge leap in the same way the Browns are hoping to this year.  This team is stacked in terms of young talent on both sides.  Fournette, Bortles, Ramsey, etc.  The Texans will put up a hell of a fight, but this team is a threat, no doubt.

Tear It Down

The moment you were waiting for… these are the teams I think need to be gutted in some dangerous ways.  If there is anything left to gut.

Lions – I don’t know what the hell they are doing.  Trying to build from the trenches is a good idea, but if you don’t have answers elsewhere, what’s the point?  This feels like a team destined to win three games this season.  I wish you luck in your pursuits.

Colts– I challenge you to trade Andrew Luck and build this team in the vision of someone with courage to be crazy.  This team desperately needs a direction that doesn’t involve a guy that has a bumb shoulder.  I will be curious to see what his injury rating looks like in Madden 19.  You should be ready and willing to trade him to a team that is crazy enough to take his contract and give you a 1st Rounder or maybe even two of them for a chance to win now.  My suggestion – see what you can get from the Broncos.

Titans – But they were in the playoffs?!?  You’re stupid… maybe.  I see this team as one destined for the biggest regression from 2017.  A new coach that I happen to like in Vrabel, doesn’t change the fact that I think Mariota is destined to be an above average game manager that gets injured more than a starting QB should.  I love their situation with Henry at HB, but outside of him and a WR corps that is destined to be average at best – this is a team to look at rebuilding in YOUR image.

Jets– Sure, you have Darnold.  You also have basically nothing else on offense.  You also need to figure out what you want to do on defense with Jamal Adams as your loan star.  It will be a long ride and you should probably be willing to part ways with Powell and a couple guys to get some picks.  Take your time – you will need it.

Bucs– What in the hell happened to this team? Winston took two steps back and there doesn’t seem to be much on the horizon.  It might be time to part ways with McCoy and Desean Jackson in order to get some picks in 2019 and 2020.  Make a couple moves, tear it down fast if you must, because there isn’t much of a reason for this team to be so bad.

Seahawks– It’s time to tear things down on defense.  You have a good piece in Shaq Griffin.  Outside of that, this legion of boom has died a slow death.  Make this quick and gut the players you can for whatever value you can get.  Wilson is all world at QB and needs a lot of help.  Do this and the tear down will be fast and painless.  You might even make the playoffs regardless!

Washington– What in the hell?  They picked up Alex Smith, sure… okay, that was enough to make people applaud quietly.  Who else do they have?  What else do they have?  Gruden will be fired after this year and you should do it before you start 2018 in Madden.  Washington is a team that needs a new everything… starting with Owner.

Dolphins– They are a team with as close to nothing as you can get.  Tannehill will be gone soon.  Fitzpatrick was a good pick in the first round, but chances are good that he will be chasing guys everywhere as the Dolphins go 2-14 at best this year.  Gut the team for what you can and focus on 2019 and 2020.

Madden 19 – They Finally Get It Right On Franchise Mode

After years of begging through my own little piece of the internet EA Tiburon has finally granted some of my wishes.  The release of a new trailer and information about CFM has me anxiously waiting for the game to release in August.  This is primarily due to the inclusion of editable draft classes as well as a slowly overhauled draft experience.  Add the refinements to player progression and regression and you have a mode that might keep CFM gamers interested for more than a few months.  Madden-19-Gameplay-1024x576

Here is a quick rundown of the released information on CFM.

Schemes – 

While this isn’t actually ‘new’ here are some of the factoids coming out.

  • Offense has Spread, West Coast Zone Run, West Coast Power Run, Vertical Zone Run, Vertical Power Run, Multiple Power Run, Multiple Zone Run, Run and Shoot.
  • Defense has Base 4-3, Multiple 4-3, Base 3-4, Multiple 3-4, Tampa 2, 46.
  • Players will have indicators to show scheme fit (this goes for the draft as well) which is an improvement in terms of simplification.
  • New Player Ratings will also take effect for some positions – QB has Throw Under Pressure, Break Sack, Break Tackle, WR has Short, Medium and Deep Route Running, and O Line has Run & Pass Block Power/Finesse, and Lead Block.

Archetypes – 

  • Each position has four archetypes (this is much like MLB The Show 18 in Road To The Show, for those that need a reference point)…
  • An Example = QB can be Scrambler, Strong Arm, West Coast or Field General (you will notice that these were part of scheme fits over the last couple years of Madden).
  • An archetype that matches a scheme gets an XP bonus.
  • Each Archetype has its own build under the hood to dictate ratings growth and bonuses (this will be solved on day one).
  • Some players will have multiple archetypes (unknown if this will be something a player can progress in or be customized into in draft classes, or otherwise).
  • Skill points can build any archetype, this includes building a player into the archetype you need in your scheme if he doesn’t fit at first (this seems unnecessary).
  • You can choose Team Captains, which probably means nothing in terms of actual gameplay – the players will have the patch on their jersey.  (This is another place for the implementation of my ideas come into play… see below).

Progression –

  • Players that match schemes progress faster than players that don’t match (this is a bad sign for fans of progression based on production).
  • Skill Points will give random bumps to player ratings.  This is a good thing for online leagues and for those that enjoy some semblance of balance in offline CFM.
  • You can no longer dictate player traits through XP use!!!  This is huge in terms of stopping the abuse of creating a team of under-the-hood All Stars!
  • Development no longer has ‘Slow’, but it still has Normal, Quick, Star, and Superstar.  A small amount of players are supposed to have Superstar development and it can still change from season to season.
  • Gameplanning and Training is still a thing… Why?  Who knows.  I have yet to see anyone actually use this as if it were necessary or enjoyable. (Hint to EA Tiburon – Make every game during a CFM season an event unto itself… give us a reason to gameplan or train our team to face someone like Antonio Brown, OBJ, JJ Watt, etc… then maybe we will focus on this!)
  • Regression has been changed to continue the fix from Madden 18 that saw Speed Ratings for players take a nosedive after hitting 30 years old, etc.

CUSTOM DRAFT CLASSES!!!!!!!!

  • Can you tell this is my favorite Madden news in over a decade?!
  • You can choose which draft class you want in Week 3.
  • You can use a pre-made, created, or imported draft class.
  • Determine hidden gems, etc. (This kind of thing is a possible game breaker and it makes me wish they would overhaul scouting to make it a bit more realistic and/or difficult to find a gem in late rounds.
  • The Draft presentation has been changed a bit, there will be a stage with players being introduced, which is a cool add-on.

The custom draft class feature is a huge move that truly opens the mode for more realism.  Some might say that it opens up the game for people to scope out Superstar potential or create some sort of all star class laced with a bunch of top talent.  Sure, if that is what you really want – go for it.  For those of us that want to create a better spread of talent with more realistic depth – it seems that our wishes have been granted by the CFM genie.

Some questions persist and once they can be answered they will be featured here on NoobTubeTV.

  1. Has scouting been overhauled in any way?  CFM needs to add a Scouting Department to every team just like coaches and coordinators.  I would like to see more depth in this regard and make it more like MLB The Show – whether it be a letter range, number range or a simple +/- rating for players.
  2. Player Morale and Personality needs to play a larger role.  There should be badges or sub-categories for players of all types.  Someone like Tom Brady should have ‘Leader’ and/or ‘Competitor’ qualities, Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. should have ‘Diva’ traits or the like.  It is an integral part of the game to have these types of players.  While I believe a lot of this kind of labeling would be denied by the NFLPA in terms of labeling players as anything other than a position player – it would add much needed depth.
  3. Team Schemes still need work.  The idea that a team is going to have the same desired setup for certain players at certain positions is questionable at best.  For instance, the assigning of a Left Tackle with Pass Blocking to a Vertical Zone Run scheme leaving the rest of the line as Agile is oversimplifying a scheme at best.  This also doesn’t seem to take into account whether or not a QB is left handed – the entire scheme would have to flip in this regard – have they done that?  I think not.M19_CFM_Scheme_Fit_01
  4. User Persona is something they could add to this game and almost make the suggestion for Morale and Personality a thought of the past.  Give the user a chance to choose or create a persona within the game.  Owner Mode should have labels such as Tyrant (Jerry Jones), Clueless (Jimmy Haslam), etc.  The same goes for coaches if that is the route you want to take.

As more information is released expect to find it on NTTV!

Dark Souls – Git Gud or Git Evin?

As I play through Dark Souls Remastered I can’t help but understand the nostalgia some Souls enthusiasts have had for the first of the Dark Souls trifecta.

As someone that started his FROM Software gaming with Bloodborne and then moved to DS3 and now DS Remastered I must say I am not a purist in terms of playing any of these games with honor when facing the AI.  I have been killed by more swords through walls, stairs, and other hit box shenanigans that only SoulsBorne fans can really appreciate.

Last night I faced off against the Capra Demon for the sixth time.  Whether I got killed by the dogs or the first epic sword swing, etc… I ran out of patience when it came to dodging swings from this a-hole only to get hit through a wall or a pillar.

Capra
The Capra Demon

Finally, I decided it was time to come through that mist wall ready with a fire bomb for the puppies.  After getting rushed and nearly pummeled to death I climbed the stairs and took out one of the evil doggos.  Then I jumped down from the ledge with my fire bomb equipped for the other evil pup… Boom! – one quick victory.  Now, for the dual bladed horned jerk – two can play at this cheesy game.  I climbed the stairs and then took the wall ledge as far as I could and with my target locked I drop attacked (held my R1 Attack button as I fell on top of the demon).  Bam!  A chunk of health came off.

Here we go!

Eventually it turned into a merry-go-round of sorts as I baited the baddy up the stairs and off the ledge.  I would race up and take advantage of when the beast was once again below my original attack place.  The demon still found a way to get me a couple of times.  Finally, I managed to get it to a point where one more attack would finish the fight.  I jumped off the ledge and waited for the follow-up.

The beast jumped down… and died on impact.

As much as I felt cheated in terms of striking down the beast I felt more joy in knowing that this game has (and continues to) dulled out more punishment than I have given to it and finally getting a small victory in the same way it finds ways to beat me – it was awesome.

Some of the purists will say I cheesed the game and I need to ‘git gud’ (Get Good).  I disagree… I will continue to git evin (Get Even).

Get out there and fight, demon slayer!

 

Madden 19 Franchise Mode – Only One Direction To Go

As we near the NFL Draft in a matter of days it is starting to leak out of the rumor mill that Madden will be focusing on ramping up the quality of Franchise Mode.  Hopefully this means we can expect a bit more depth in terms of how the mode is represented in a few different ways.

madden-nfl-15-screen-19png-e0e9e8
Because EA is the Johnny Manziel of sports game developers.

They have tried to change how free agency works from the Auction system a few years ago to making offers before advancing and hoping the guy you wanted chose your low-ball offer.  Between bad financial logic and worse player and team logic – Madden hasn’t exactly been a beacon of realism for wanna-be GMs.

They must find a way to push gamers in this mode to eventually spend their money on veterans without looking at every 28 and 29 year old player like they are going to become Stephen Hawking at the age of 30.  Yes, there is certainly a youth movement in the thinking of NFL General Managers.  Yes, this means that drafting top talent over keeping ‘aging’ players is a common strategy.  It doesn’t mean that Madden should get a pass in making players in their late-20s and early 30s relevant in Franchise Mode.

On top of the age nosedive in terms of player ratings, the other aspect that needs the most help in Madden is the Draft and Scouting.

Scouting has quite simply been a lazy effort by the developers.  It isn’t difficult to find the superstar players later in the draft.  It isn’t hard to find the busts in the first round.  By the time you figured out the scouting dynamics in Madden 17 you were more than okay with the point reversal in Madden 18 that was supposed to make that aspect more challenging.  All you need to do is look for the first rating to be a B+ or higher and you are on your way.  It’s not rocket science… and that makes for an insanely boring experience that is arguably one of the most involved and talked about in all of sports.

They must address the lack of immersion in our experience week by week.  There is ZERO immersion in Franchise Mode from an overall league perspective.  There is no feeling for the salary cap when it comes to managing the team.  There is no excitement in Franchise Mode… NONE.  The Super Bowl has been the same stupid celebration and musical experience for years.

Madden 18 was the final straw for me as a Madden fan in a lot of ways.  It was the only Madden I have stopped playing before the Super Bowl was over.  It says more about the staying power of Franchise Mode than anything else.

Madden Ultimate Team has killed what made Madden a fun experience for those of us that don’t enjoy online sports gaming.  I am hoping that Madden 19 will make good on their chance to convince me to buy this game as a pre-order for the sake of giving my annual guides for all of you out there.

The Downfall of Potential Ratings In Sports Games

After more than a few years playing through numerous Franchise Modes in Madden, MLB The Show and NBA 2K it is apparent to me that the only truly important rating for a young player in Franchise Mode is ‘Potential’.  It is also one of the more argued about topics on sports gaming forums as well.

Madden_NFL_16

I have found that in simulating multiple seasons of MLB 18 (as well as older iterations) that the primary decider for a player becoming a superstar is potential.  It often has nothing to do with performance or statistics – take a look at the performance of some older players like Nelson Cruz as you play through a few seasons.  While they are still performing at a high level, they will suddenly see a huge drop off in ratings like contact and power as they age by a year… even if they hit 50 home runs the season before.

I have noticed that players with A potential are almost certain to be a lock for being s superstar in all three sports games.  Madden has a bad habit of making their franchise overall rating system as broken as anything else they put a number on in terms of ratings.

In the end, my view of the Potential Rating is not that it should go away completely.  I believe it needs to be molded to fit each game and sport.  Players generally fit into a few different categories of being high potential.  While Andrew Benintendi is no doubt a top level young talent, I don’t see him the same way I see Aaron Judge.  I believe that potential needs to be weighed more towards player type and player role in all sports games.

It shouldn’t be as simple as saying Player A should be a 99 Overall and Player B should be a 91 Overall in terms of potential.  There are some truly once-in-a-generation athletes like LeBron James that defy almost all limitations and are great at almost every aspect of their respective sport.

While a baseball player might look like a 5-Tool prospect, the reality of this is usually that they will be more like a 2 to hopefully 4-Tool guy.  As we play through more seasons of our favorite sports games it becomes easier to focus on the potential rating as the most important number by which we judge a player… unless you are talking about age… quite possibly the most lopsided and biased determiner of ratings decline in any version of a sports game.

Although we are able to edit the ratings of players manually in many of our Franchise Mode experiences, we shouldn’t have to take over where the number crunchers have failed us.  It is really as simple as applying a new descriptor to each player that highlights their role to a team.  This should be a fluid and dynamic description that also serves as a way to lift morale for players on the team.  I would like to see the death of potential ratings as numbers and have them become more in-tune with how we look at the changing landscape of players in every sport.

The Witcher 3 Will Still Grab Your Heart Strings – And That’s A Good Thing

As I play through The Witcher 3 – The Wild Hunt for the second time I am paying more attention to side quests and taking a new direction on the main quests as well. That is the best part about New Game + (the option some RPGs are giving to play the game again with some new quirks added to the successive playthroughs of the story).

For those of you that haven’t played The Witcher 3 please take this as a warning that…

SPOILERS ARE AHEAD SPOILERS ARE AHEAD SPOILERS ARE AHEAD

SPOILERS ARE AHEAD SPOILERS ARE AHEAD SPOILERS ARE AHEAD

Bloody Baron
When you play through The Witcher 3 and make the less sympathetic decisions this is the general response from most characters… especially The Bloody Baron.

As much as I wish I could play through a game the first time as a complete a-hole and do most of the things that we reserve for the sociopathic tendencies some people exhibit digitally or in gaming – I just can’t do it. Maybe that’s a sign I am a bit more sympathetic and empathetic than I sometimes think I am. Either way – I just started playing through the initial quests and came across the questline with the Bloody Baron… the botchling in-particular.

I decided to attack and kill the botchling this time around. Not only was it incredibly difficult (even on the easiest difficulty level) but it was the exact opposite in terms of rewards and overall effects on the relationship you have with the Bloody Baron. I had no idea that it would take such a reversal from what I had experienced on the first play-through when I saved the botchling.

That is part of the benefit of playing through a second time. The biggest downside to this is that I have been using one primary save file while doing this because I felt that it would keep me focused on one path of decisions throughout the second play-through. While that is true, I found instant regret in saving the game after this battle. It left me with a sour taste in my mouth and real questions about what this choice really does that provides any good outcome for Geralt immediately after. The loot from the botchling wasn’t anything special and the Baron’s reaction when I told him to ‘calm down’ wasn’t exactly surprising either – but it also left me thinking that he will not be much of an ally for me later on as I play through the other quests.

I think I have the heart to play through the game and continue making the opposite decisions from what I normally would, but I can’t help to already look forward to my third play-through just so I can finish playing this game with a clean conscience.

What’s the worst decision you made while playing an RPG in terms of feeling bad about the outcome or how you had to go about doing something?

The only one I can think of off the top of my head is when my decision led to Jack’s death in Mass Effect 2… that one still gets me.