Earning and Spending XP In Madden 15

Just like any other sort of currency, you need to save, invest and spend your XP properly if you want your players to develop into juggernauts.  In some ways you may also want to spend XP differently on players you know you won’t keep or can’t keep.

Game Prep

Earning XP –  You will want to look at each player’s development trait in the ‘Progress Player’ screen before spending lots of points on them.  This will largely determine whether or not they will earn more points by performing extraordinarily.  Also, there is the ‘Consistency’ rating – this is key in helping players progress if they don’t get a lot of playing time or targets in games.  There is something you need to consider and determine on multiple levels before you spend your allotted hours on certain players – Do their expensive ratings warrant future investment?

If you are wanting to upgrade a WR, do you really want to spend XP on one that has 85 SPD?  Will it be cost effective to spend money on increasing his SPD?  Some may say that it is totally worth it – and that is fair and good.  Go for it.  However, if you really want to make the process easier you will want to check and upgrade their ‘Development and ‘Consistency’ ratings, respectively.

Upgrading development will increase the amount of XP a player earns for achieving goals in game – this includes obtaining awards, reaching milestones and other performance objectives.  Development costs 15,000 XP for each rating (from Slow to Normal to Quick to Superstar) – so keep in mind that it might take a season or two to build your favorite player into a Quick or Superstar Development rating.  However, once they are there – they will stay there and that is why it is worth upgrading quickly.

Upgrading consistency will increase the amount of XP your players will earn during weekly training in Game Prep.

Finally, earning XP is as simple (and difficult) as performing well in each game.  Once you have the necessary prerequisites (Development and Consistency) upgraded to your liking you will notice far more XP for each player you upgrade.

(Note: I argue that the confidence rating doesn’t matter nearly as much as the actual long-term ratings of players.  It could be because confidence simply needs tuned or patched to have a more dramatic effect – but with EA’s track record – I doubt it.)

Spending XP – This is one of the easier things to do once you follow the guide in earning XP.  It is entirely dependent on the player’s position and what type of player they are.  Here are the best ways to increase the OVR ratings or performance for each position (outside of ‘Consistency’).

(Note – I rarely/never increase player SPD or ACC ratings.  They are often too expensive to consider upgrading – and it helps with what little can remain simulation about picking ratings to increase for players in Madden.)

QB – Awareness, Short, Medium and Deep Accuracy, Play Action, Injury and Toughness.

HB – Awareness, Truck, Juke, Stiff Arm, Elusive, Agility,  Strength, Injury and Toughness.

FB – Awareness, Run Block, Pass Block, Strength, Injury and Toughness.

WR – Awareness, Catch, Catch In Traffic, Release, Agility, Spectacular Catch, Jump, Injury and Toughness.

TE – Awareness, Catch, Catch In Traffic, Run Block, Release, Spectacular Catch, Jump, Pass Block, Injury and Toughness.

OL – Awareness, Strength, Run Block, Pass Block, Impact Block, Injury and Toughness.

DL – Awareness, Tackle, Pursuit, Finesse and Power Moves, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

LB – Awareness, Tackle, Pursuit, Play Recognition, Finesse and Power Moves, Hit Power, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

CB – Awareness, Man Coverage, Zone Coverage, Play Recognition, Tackle, Agility, Catch, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

S – Awareness, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage, Play Recognition, Tackle, Hit Power, Agility, Catch, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

K/P – Awareness, Kick Power, Kick Accuracy. (Note – Kickers and Punters can’t get injured in Madden… Because EA – well, you know.)

EA Sports Could Lose The Exclusive License For NFL Games – But They Won’t

The deal that ruined football gaming for almost a decade is scheduled to expire this year.  EA Sports and Madden have been synonymous with declining quality and innovation ever since coming to an agreement with the NFL and NFLPA to have exclusive rights for an NFL video game.  This essentially did away with any of the NFL games you might have played instead of Madden over the years before that fateful day in 2004.

While there is no doubt that Madden’s sales have been impressive for the 25 years that it has been around, there is cause for concern when there is a consistent feeling among consumers that the game is nothing more than a roster update every year.  To call Madden a simulation experience would be like calling Call of Duty a military simulator.  On the surface there is ‘football’ but once you boot the game and start playing it will feel more like a half-scripted arcade game with decent graphics, canned animations and poor physics.

When the exclusive license expires it will be more of a ceremonial expiration than anything to get excited about if you are a 2K Football fan.  This is because the NFL and the NFLPA (Players Association) are going to renew the deal.  Electronic Arts (EA) is like the New York Yankees of game development.  They are easily the most hated team in sports, their fans tend to be loud and obnoxious and they really don’t have to worry about sales every year… because they are the Yankees.  There is a big problem with the Yankees and that is starting to show on the field and in the front office (See A-Rod, etc.), much like EA and their overall performance as a game developer by and large.

Over the last few weeks EA has been ridiculed for their terrible release of the new SimCity game on PC.  They flubbed the launch in so many ways that you had to almost ask yourself if someone sabotaged them.  They had server issues that prevented people from playing the game when it came out.  Then they had numerous other issues that stemmed from their use of DRM (Digital Rights Management).  DRM being put into the game is a sign that EA fears piracy, and why shouldn’t they?  Gaming has slipped into a realm of Catch 22 that few other industries have had to deal with outside of music and movies.  What you will start to notice is that when people want to support a business or a certain way of doing things they will speak with their wallet’s/purse’s/allowance.

The sales of Madden have been relatively stable over the course of the 360/PS3 generation of consoles.  This is coupled with the fact that the NFL has been bringing in billions of dollars as the favorite sport and form of entertainment of the United States.  It is going to be hard to tell either party that they should change what is going so well for them financially.  This is the primary reason why the exclusive license will carry on between EA Sports, the NFL and the NFLPA.  Money talks and so far the football gaming community has been speaking EA’s language.

The glimmer of hope can be found in the fact that EA lost exclusive rights to NCAA and Arena Football.  While the AFL is about as popular as VHS Tapes – college football is a huge business and a potentially open market for a developer like 2K Sports to take advantage of if they wanted to bring some sort of competition to EA’s doorstep.  There is a somewhat large group of football gamers that prefer NCAA Football over NFL football and EA’s NCAA Football has been less than stellar over the last few years.  Hopefully we will see a company like 2K Sports step up to the plate and work on a football game once again.  Lord knows they haven’t stepped up to the plate for hockey this year and they keep striking out on their baseball titles.

The best thing for Madden NFL is competition and they know it will make them have to step up their game.  Which is exactly why they will continue to hold the exclusive license for NFL gaming.  You can have hope that it will expire and not be renewed, but don’t hold your breath.

EA Sports and Madden Exposed – Former Developer Vents On Twitter

Madden NFL has been scrutinized more by hardcore fans over the last few years of the XBox 360/PS3 era than at any other point.  This is largely because the ability to communicate over the internet via forums and social media has taken off, but it isn’t just because of the ease of communication. However, there are some things that are said that come straight from people ‘on the front’ that can’t be ignored.

Over the last couple years we have seen some of the top names at EA Tiburon (Madden’s development group) leave for greener pastures.  When Madden 10 was in development it was one of the first times Madden Fans got the chance to truly interact with the developers.  Ian Cummings opened a lot of doors for the fan-base to openly communicate have have a voice (even if just the illusion of a voice).  By the time Cummings left EA and Phil Frazier took over as one of the primary HNICs (he was already one of the top guys on the team) there were people from the Madden community hired by EA to help make the game better… or were they?

Mr. Dembroski was/is a tremendously informative hardcore football fan with valuable input for the Madden team during community days that were largely started by Cummings.  He was eventually hired to work on Madden in an official capacity.  If you take a look at the chain of posts he has recently made and many of the comments from other past Tiburon developers; you have to wonder if the complaints we are seeing are simply because communication is easier or because the game’s quality and innovation is truly being held back.

It was interesting to read about the people getting lied to in such an open manner.  After reading that tweet I had a moment of clarity.

We (hardcore gamers and corporate consumers) already know we are being lied to by the companies in question. 

It doesn’t matter which game you are talking about.  By the time your favorite game goes ‘corporate’ or ‘mass market’ it is no longer a question of how to make the game better.  It is a question of how to sell more games to more people every. single. year.  The worst part about this is the fact that the consumer always loses when companies start using statistics and metrics to determine the development of any product – especially video games.

While some people might look at the comments from past developers of any game as ‘sour grapes’ (which would be easy to do); it should be understood that when it is one person leaving under bad circumstances it is highly probable.  On the other hand, when you have multiple people leaving EA’s development studios on all fronts with bad things to say about the company – it isn’t just sour grapes.  It is a sign that something is terribly wrong with the company.

The biggest sign I saw that EA Sports was going the wrong direction was when they started pushing Ultimate Team.  This is one of the biggest cash-hoarding schemes I have seen in gaming.  It isn’t too dissimilar from Call of Duty or any other shooter releasing map packs other than the fact that with Ultimate Team you are sinking money into created players that expire after using them for so long.  So in reality – it is totally different!  EA Sports is not a company focused on giving the gamer a better experience or a new direction for sports gaming… it is a company dedicated to making money and putting out annual cash cows that can be patched between two and four times because it is easier (more cost effective) to put out a half-finished piece of software and fix major issues than it is to release a quality (and slightly more time consuming) product.

The Death of Battlefield 3 or ‘How EA Will Screw Over Their Most Loyal Gamers’

NoobTubeTV has come to the side of Battlefield 3 on many occasions over the past gaming year.  It had its own issues with matchmaking and other strange glitches that eventually get fixed with 1.2GB patches(!) but it was still an excellent game that demanded your attention for in depth gameplay and multiple ways to level up as any of four classes with tremendous detail to weapon differential, etc.

The Expected Route of ‘Premium’ Content

Then EA decided to push Battlefield Premium after nearly 9 months of being released.  Premium isn’t much different from Call of Duty Elite in price or content.  It is $50 and you get guaranteed early access to DLC and Add-Ons for Battlefield 3.  That isn’t the issue at this point – it was an expected route for them to take because it essentially ‘saves’ their dedicated fanbase the same $10 that Elite ‘saves’ COD gamers.

The Unexpected Ultimate Middle Finger To Their Previously Dedicated Fans

In case you didn’t come across the latest substantiated rumor hitting many outlets, Battlefield 3 looks like it is set to release a new retail game of ‘Battlefield 3: Premium Edition‘ for $70.  In case you don’t want to do the quick math…

The more dedicated fanbase of Battlefield 3 purchased the game for $60(plus tax) in October, 2011.  Then they bought Premium for $50.  This adds up to approximately $110 of hard-earned money poured into a game that will now (almost one year later) will come with all of that same content for $70.

Is EA trying to tell us something?  Is it really possible that their message is – “Don’t buy our games on release day because eventually you will be able to get all the DLC in some sort of ‘Ultimate Edition’ a year later?

It certainly seems that way.

The Death of Battlefield 3?

It might not kill the game completely, but the notion that EA would do something like this is a bad way to treat the gamers that have been playing their game constantly over the last year.  Sure, it might be worth the extra money to most of the gamers out there, but the bottom line is that this is in bad taste as they already released word of a Battlefield 4 Beta that will be included (for later access) with Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

EA has never really been in the business of treating consumers well.  So, really – are you surprised?

Building a Franchise In Madden – NFL Draft Week Edition

There are many reasons to be excited about the end of April.

The end of the school year, warmer spring weather, baseball season in full swing, etc.

However, for me there are few times of the year I cherish more than NFL Draft Week.  As a Cleveland Browns fan I always have some sort of broken sense of faith that makes me believe we have a chance to make the playoffs… or at least finish .500.

In the first season of my Browns Franchise Peyton Hillis ran for 2213 yards and broke the single season rushing record as the Browns beat the Cowboys for their first Super Bowl!

By the time September comes along it is usually a long foregone conclusion that the Browns will be terrible.  This is where Madden’s Franchise Mode can be one of the more enjoyable parts of the NFL season for a fan of a terrible franchise much like my Browns.

The trick to having a franchise last longer than one or two seasons is what most people look for and today we will give you a few different ways to get some longevity out of your Madden Franchise.

First – Make sure you pick a team you either cheer for or want to build in the long-term.  In my case, I chose the Browns and luckily they are both my favorite team and a team that is a long-term project.

Second – Have a set of challenging sliders and house rules going into your Franchise.  This is vital because nothing can derail a Franchise Mode faster than having your difficulty too high or too low.  In my case, it was way too easy in my first two seasons with the Browns as we won two straight Super Bowls in 2011 and 2012.

*Note* If you have  something similar occur and can’t bear the idea of starting your Franchise from scratch you might have to invent a story.  In my case – I came up with a story that the Pat Shurmur (Cleveland’s Coach) was caught up in a scandal to pretty much buy and cheat his way to Super Bowls in order to assure his position as Cleveland’s coach, he was then fired and kicked out of the league for a season (this is all months before the now famous ‘Bounty’ situation with Sean Payton, mind you!).

Third – Get to know your players and their abilities… Madden is more than just  OVR (Overall) ratings.  While Speed is still king in this game, make it your mission to build a team based on player skills or maybe even some sort of desire to take low OVR players and build them into budding superstars that came out of nowhere.

Fourth – This is actually the most important part, but it is last on the list because it won’t take shape until at least 2 seasons into your franchise mode. Develop and create a storyline and share it with the gaming community!  If you are one of those people that lose interest because there is no one to talk to about your team and you feel annoyed telling your significant other that you just drafted an A Potential QB in the 5th Round of the Draft and all they do is shrug… Tell the sports gaming community about it!  Make a thread, develop some talent for Photoshop and story telling and make it your mission to be the best Coach/Team President and Reporter for your own enjoyment!

Don’t get upset if you don’t get a lot of comments either.  You must post the story for yourself and invest in your franchise mode for your own enjoyment first.  As your talent and devotion grow you will have a greater audience. As an example, we will be starting a new Franchise Story on our Forums as well as posting updates and videos on Youtube as the story progresses.

If you are getting that football itch like many others are it might be time to start a new franchise mode that will take you into early September for the next Madden and the beginning of a new football season!

An example of one of my past franchises is here