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 – PS4 – Franchise Mode Launch Review Part 1

Player Stats/Performance Elephant in the Room = Colin Kaepernick is signed by Philly and proceeds to be a Top 3 QB after 9 Weeks.

CPU/AI Biggest Issues = CPU Playcalling and QB decision making is unchanged. Ball carriers still suddenly stop or change directions instead of going for the endzone or simply downfield.

User Gameplay = It is still way too easy to run the ball and it seems like sliders only help marginally as it feels like all or nothing for run blocking.

CPU Gameplay = Some instant turn around interceptions are too numerous.

Questionable Animations = Twice I have experienced a catch in the back of the endzone where my WR catches the ball seemingly keeps both feel in bound and lands on top of the DB who is out of bounds. This seems like an animation that was created on purpose and should be an amazing TD, but it isn’t. (Will read up on rules)

Trade Logic = This seems to be unchanged from Madden 21’s final update. However, as you increase your staff points and invest in Trade Discounts, etc. There is a possibility that this is going to become a problem for immersion.

Gameplay Pointer – Don’t use your sprint button while doing a running play. Use juke, stiff arm, spin, etc. but don’t sprint – you will find that the run game feels amazing and you break a lot of tackles naturally! While this needs to be tuned as a whole (see above) the overall feel of running the ball is actually amazingly good IMO.

There will be more aspects to come from gameplay, as I am quite busy with real world jobs and life I will update as I am available.

Hashtags, Lip Service, and What Could Have Been #FixMaddenFranchise

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.

I am skeptical that they will ever deliver.

Don’t buy Madden 21.

Madden NFL Is The Perfect Simulation of NFL Officiating

After watching the lowlights of Championship Weekend in the NFL just a few days ago I realized that we have been neglecting proper credit for the programming of the officials in Madden NFL. One thing can be said when you take a look at the penalty sliders in Madden – they are right on the money.

As someone that hasn’t booted up and played through a full game of our only NFL football option on console or PC in over a month I felt almost nostalgic for it when that helmet to helmet epic pass interference penalty wasn’t called or reviewed. It was like playing a big game in Madden (as big as those can feel, I guess) and having your own player get throttled in the same way. If you really want to see broken pass interference you should look at it on the offensive side of the ball – oh boy, that is some good simulation football right there.

Madden has been trying desperately to push their marketing through Twitter with all sorts of shout-outs and retweets of all things Madden. This includes NFL WR, Torrey Smith scoring 100+ points on his kid. Sure, we have probably all scored over 100 in Madden at some point on rookie. Sure, this is all in good fun and I don’t begrudge someone for playing the game however the hell they want to. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Madden is not improving or playing in the way it would be if it had competition – yes, it always comes back to that.

The officials in the NFL have been exceptionally bad this year. So bad in fact, that I think many fans have decided to stop watching NFL football in general. This was actually the first year in some time that I didn’t sit down and watch most of the playoff games. I don’t know how interested I will be in the Super Bowl as it is once again another appearance by Tom Brady playing against a team that seemingly was in the plans for the Super Bowl before the NFC Championship took place.

I’m not saying the NFL is fixed. I am saying the NFL IS FIXED. The same can almost be said for Madden in that MADDEN NEEDS FIXED.

Flag on the play! Too many complaints on the webpage.

Well, I guess I saw that coming.

The Legend and Tragedy of All Pro Football 2K8 – And What Could Have Been

In our office/spare room there is a secondary TV with my XBox 360 hooked up just in case some gaming needs to happen and the PS4/Big TV aren’t available. I had about an hour of free time where I found myself looking at my old 360 games and saw All Pro Football 2K8 shining in it’s nostalgic glory. Having just finished another season of Madden 19 Franchise Mode with the same stale feeling that I keep thinking will go away – I decided to boot up 2K8 for a random game. As I expected, I somehow emerged from this game happy with the 2K8 but annoyed by the current (on-going) situation that is the Madden Monopoly.

The Original ‘Legends Game’ can be had for cheap. You will be amazed with the gameplay and animations that might not even be in Madden this year… or ever.

What a game it was at the time for those of us that had only too recently seen the decline of quality in NFL football games after the Madden monopoly happened in 2004/2005. We will start with some of the basics that Madden didn’t flesh out until years later (if at all).

Double-Team Blocking was something that we had never seen carried out in the way that 2K8 introduced it. Add in reach tackles, kickers slipping, long snaps going off course and even late hits on defense (that would result in a penalty). Also, let’s not forget the interactive players on the sideline and injuries that occurred in real time – and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Sure, the wonky Field Pass and player models were the typical hilarious mess that we especially see in retrospect. “Let’s get out there and crack some heads!” was something that got old pretty fast every game you had to hear (and see) a player say it. That’s also one of the smallest aspects of the game that would have been removed in future iterations.

The best part about All Pro Football was and remains the one thing that can’t be denied – it was real football. The weight and motion of the players when you controlled them from quarterback to linebacker felt real and it still does. The tackles on nearly every play looked like their real-life counterparts – and some of the tackles were downright wonderfully brutal. Add in the running mechanics that would make your jaw drop when Barry Sanders turned a juke into a double spin and was off to the races. Also, the way in which Okoye and Campbell would truck defenders was simply nasty.

All Pro Football 2K8 was ahead of it’s time and basically gave Madden the blueprint for what would eventually destroy sports games in general – using all time great players to build dream teams must have stuck because only three years later Madden 10 introduced Madden Ultimate Team and the rest is micro-transaction history. Say what you will, but ultimate team modes have completely gutted the dreams of many sports gamers that have no desire to play online modes with other people that pour money into their teams or pick exploit plays at every turn – sports gaming has died and gone to a fiery hell reserved for all corporate hacks.

There are two reasons All Pro Football 2K8 failed in terms of sales and as a game. The first reason it failed from a sales perspective was that it didn’t have any of the rights to NFL teams. This was an obvious downer, but it should have been fully expected as EA and the NFL decided to wreck things with the monopoly as mentioned above. The second reason APF 2K8 failed was because it was such a stripped down game to begin with. The options for customizing your team uniforms and building a squad with a limited amount of real players were cool, but hardly worth bragging about as a ‘back of the box feature’.

I believe to this day that had 2K Sports continued their football development after 2K8 with fictional rosters and a full-fledged franchise mode they would have challenged Madden in terms of game quality and eventually surpassed them. If you see what 2K was able to do with the gameplay of NBA 2K it makes a football fan look up to the sky and say ‘Why, God… Why must we only have Madden?’.

As we enter the last five days until Christmas I want to once again share my one gaming wish with the wonderful people at 2K Sports.

Please… I beg you. Bring back 2K Football with the following features.

A fully fictional roster of 32 teams with players of different ages, etc. would be a nice start. Couple that with a franchise mode that can be played for 30+ seasons. Give us an experience for scouting players that involves more depth than pressing an unlock button for three attributes. Give us real football that we can enjoy – with late hits, concussions, broken bones and real time injuries in general. Give us an improved football experience based on the great start that 2K8 had in gameplay (which I can only imagine how great it would be after 10 years of development…).

Release the game on a 2 or 3 year development rotation with fixes and patches for gameplay and exploit issues as you won’t ever have to worry about roster updates.

Please, just give us a sign that you haven’t forgotten about 2K Football fans. We are still out here and we are still waiting for a decent football game.

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.

NCAA Football 14 and Beyond

The first time a game franchise was taken away/cancelled was after College Hoops 2K8 was cancelled.  NCAA Football 15 was recently cancelled after the O’Bannon case against the use of collegiate player likeness in games without proper compensation, etc.  Now that the bad news has been released it is time for the gaming community to rise to the occasion – like they always do.

ncaa-football-presentation-2

Just because NCAA Football 15 is cancelled doesn’t mean that there can’t be some sort of editing to make it possible – albeit on ‘older’ software.  By editing the roster files in the game and even possibly using hex-editing skills to really make it feel like a new game.

Fear not NCAA Football fans.  All is not lost as long as you take an active role in the community and work to keep your favorite game alive.

Madden 25 – The Hype Train Is Leaving The Station

Now that we are getting ready to start football season in the minds of most NFL fans with the coming NFL Draft this Thursday there are a few things we can start sorting out when it comes to what Madden 25 will be pushing from the marketing end of the annual title.

The first thing we can plan on is the inclusion of some sort of ‘interview interface’ when it comes to CCM.  This is primarily due to the fact that NHL 13 is taking up where NBA 2K has been for a couple years now.  The idea of interacting with the media and having a simulation experience

It has been twenty-five years since John Madden demanded a true simulation football game. We are still waiting on EA Sports to provide us with one.

isn’t really new but EA is starting to take more of 2K’s features to heart.  My personal hopes are that Madden’s CCM (which is still going to be in the next iteration) will feature an interaction for people that prefer to be a ‘coach’ rather than a single player.  This will add depth to a mode that was off to a decent start last year.

Better physics and refined tackling are something that people have been clamoring for ever since the 360/PS3 released.  Last year we got the Infinity Engine and got to see some interesting animations play out (a lot of Gumby motions, especially).  Regardless, we can be almost certain that Madden 25 will have more refined player physics and tackling animations assuming they keep working with the same engine.  This leads us into one of the more intensely discussed topics on hardcore Madden forums – OL/DL interaction and blocking in general.

While it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a true end to ‘suction blocking’ it has been mentioned for NCAA 14 that there has been serious work put in towards improving blocking decisions and interactions.  This has been highlighted in discussing the inclusion of a deeper CPU intelligence that focuses on second-level blocking.  What is ‘Second Level Blocking’?  Second level blocking is basically any blocking that occurs after an initial block has been made.  So, if the Right Tackle blocks the defensive end and then starts running up the field – they will actually look for the next opponent to block rather than running blindly past a defender that will be looking to bring down the ball carrier.  Sounds like something that should have been in the game for years, right?  EA Sports isn’t exactly on top of things to pay attention to what seems like fundamentals sometimes.  Hopefully they will make good on the improvements in blocking for Madden 25 as this will be a positive direction for the direction of the gameplay in general.

 

Will New Rules In NFL Change Madden?

In case you haven’t been paying attention.  The internet almost blew up yesterday when the NFL announced that they were implementing a new rule against players lowering their heads in the open field to either run over a defender or tackle an opposing player.  It was then that I started to wonder how this would effect Madden NFL games, in this case primarily the ‘Truck Stick’.

The Truck Stick was added into Madden 06 after the Hit Stick was put into Madden 05 (back when EA still cared about defense in their games).  The Truck Stick is essentially pressing the Right Analog stick forward while running the ball with a power back in order to run over an approaching defender.  If you consider the fact that this animation has been in Madden for around eight years it is going to be interesting to see if they get rid of the truck stick in Madden 25 (aka – Madden 14).  If they don’t get rid of the animation they will have to implement some sort of

penalty detection in the game to keep the NFL happy.  Chances are good that they will simply remove the ability altogether in order to 1) Avoid more work in an already broken penalty system and 2) Make their exclusive license partners happy.

Now that the tuck rule is being taken away, should we see more actual fumbles in Madden?  Chances are good that you will still see your defenders get hurt while sacking the QB but to think that you will be able to get a fumble call on a big hit ‘while throwing’ might just be a pipe dream.

You might say that I am jaded and totally biased against EA Sports and Madden.  In some cases I would say you are 100% correct… but in reality, I have bought the game every year on release day since Madden 08.  In some cases I have actually enjoyed some aspects of the game.  Madden 13 kept me happy for the most part, but it was the little things that turned me off.  Little things include bad animations, poor blocking, non-existent real injuries, bad playcalling, etc.  I am like many football fans out there that are considered to be 2K fanboys or Madden haters – we just want good and more importantly real football.

As the NFL works harder to make football into some sort of human bumper car game I am hoping that at some point we will get real football video games again.  2K – where are you?