Increasing The Longevity of Your Franchise Mode In Sports Games

In any sports game it is often the most desired game mode but it is also one of the hardest to have any sort of real longevity with – Franchise/Association/Connected Careers Mode.

Sports gamers often have to deal with a few different issues that keep them from playing more than one season (or even just one season).  If you are one of the many gamers that suffer from these issues we will supply you with a few different solutions for giving you a more successful and longer lasting personal career/franchise mode.

Winning Too Much, Too FastMost of the typical elitists out there will get on your case if you are winning ‘too much’ and tell you that you need to turn your sliders up a few notches.  While this might be the case (and often is) there are other means of making your game a bit more challenging.

The first is playing the game in a manner that takes your superior decision-making out of the equation and allowing the game to provide a decent challenge.  In football games you will often see either an ‘Ask Madden’ or ‘Suggested Play/Pitch’ option – use that to the utmost and avoid making any changes to that play in order to keep the AI functioning.  You will often notice that the CPU ‘cheats’ as you change plays on the fly.  This is often a function of the game trying to challenge you.  The AI doesn’t have the complex decision functions that you have in your head (yet), so be sure to let the game give you the challenge it is trying to give you.

Secondly, you may want to stop turning off the system before you lose a game.  Losing sucks but you know what sucks more?  Playing and winning every game, every season and then losing interest because your team is ‘so amazing’ that it is boring now.  Do yourself a favor and be honest about your infatuation with winning every game.  No NFL team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins has gone undefeated and one the Super Bowl.  No Major League Baseball team has ever gone undefeated and the same can be said for pretty much every other league and sport around.  Build your team and allow for the game to challenge you.

Thirdly, turn up the difficulty (there I said it).  If this means turning the human sliders to ‘0’ because you are the greatest Madden gamer of all time, do it.  Really the only person you have to answer to is yourself and it is mind-boggling to me how many people will say the game is too easy when they really aren’t challenging their gaming abilities past what they feel is ‘fair’.

Broken ProgressionThis was and is an issue with the hardcore Madden community as well as every other sports game.  No one is ever happy with the way players grow in sports gaming – ever.  It is much like anything else with people – you can’t make everyone happy all of the time.  The best approach can be found in 2K Sports games and Madden 12 where you can go and edit the ratings of any and every player in the game to your heart’s content.  Yet, there are still people out there that want to complain about that even being an option because they expect some sort of magic progression system for players.

Sadly, outside of the option to edit every rating for every player you will have to take it upon yourself to learn how the progression system ‘works’ and make it work for you.  Madden 13 is largely dependent on production and XP growth based on what your players are doing on the field.  While this makes a lot of sense to people it is totally wrong in the eyes of others that think some sort of mythological ‘potential’ rating is the way to go.

Too Easy To Build TeamDo yourself a favor and unleash your inner Billy Beane.  Start building your team as if you’re on the strictest of budgets.  Limit your potential contract offers to a set amount and you will quickly find that quality players are much harder to come by.

Another direction is to build in the exact opposite manner – spend big money on big players.  A good starting point is to determine/find a franchise player.  Whether it is a quarterback in football or a cornerstone like Albert Pujols in baseball, put your money where your hopes are and make it a big contract.  This will help limit your spending in other parts of your roster.

Can’t Pick A TeamThis is something that most people find to be a common problem and it is often the primary reason why a single-player career mode/franchise mode ends within the first three seasons.  You have a few options that can help you in this journey to finding longevity in franchise mode.

The first option is finding a team that needs a lot of work.  Often you will find the most fun in building one of the worst teams in the game.  In Madden, you will often find that a team like the Browns needs quite a bit of help.  In that same breath, you can use teams like the Indians, Marlins or Astros in a baseball game or a team like the Sacramento Kings in basketball games.

The second option is changing your team after a few seasons.  Thankfully, in most sports games this is an option after every season.  If you win a few championships with a team and you want a change of pace, quit that team in the off-season and take the worst team in the league and try to build them into a contender that will last long after you leave.  The best way to see if you have truly built a great team is to build them up and then find a new job.  Track the progress of your old team and it will be like watching a Chia Pet grow wild.

Yet another direction you can go with a team in franchise mode is setting up an online story for people to follow.  This will allow you to have a deeper connection to the team you are using and a bit of ownership to keep other people updated on what’s going on.  In many cases, you will find that it gives you the ability to become a better storyteller.  Also, you should take this as an opportunity to completely change the team to your liking.  While this is certainly something that most people think when going into their career mode they usually let their interest go by the wayside.

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Developing Players In Madden 13

We recently talked about building your team in Madden 13.  There are many different ways to do this strictly by picking up talented players that

You can help save these players without a team. Please just make sure you take the time to play with them!

are rated as such.  On the flip-side, there are also many other players out there that are diamonds in the rough.  You can make it your mission to take some players out of the late rounds of the draft or even pick them up during the preseason as other teams give up on them because of low overall ratings.

You need to take some chances on players you might not know about and that will often mean scouring the free agent market during the pre-season for a player that could make all the difference for you in the current season or simply develop him into a future star.

There are a few different ways to look for a player that might ‘fly under the radar’.  The first is to look at position specific ratings and determine if they are what you are looking for in a player at that position.  Assuming you even need someone at that position.

Quarterbacks are some of the easier ones to look for as far as ratings go, but they will often be the first ones to go during the preseason.  Look at their Throw Power and Throwing Accuracy ratings.  If you run a West Coast offense you don’t need a QB with 95+ THP, but you do need them to have good-to-great accuracy when throwing short and medium routes.  If you prefer a more vertical passing attack, you will want someone with a higher THP (like 95+) and a better accuracy for deep passes.  The moral of the story is – If the shoe fits, pick up the QB you need.  As you develop a QB you should focus on improving their passing ratings first rather than some sort of speed increases.

Runningbacks are a different breed when it comes to determining what is a ‘steal’ (assuming you need one).  The first thing you will notice is that developing a runningback will be costly if you want to increase their SPD rating.  If you want a ‘fast’ HB, make sure he is fast before you pick him up.  As well, pay close attention to his ratings in Carrying and Injury/Toughness.  A decent HB can have his season and career derailed if he takes a shot from a powerful MLB or Safety.  The ratings for a HB that need to be increased in order to develop their market value are the AWR and Carrying ratings.  Use your XP on these and your HB will be a force to be reckoned with… or traded in his late 20’s.

Receivers are among the most common diamonds in the rough.  They are also the easiest to stock up on and never use… therefore, losing a roster spot just to carry a potential talent.  Receivers need to have the obvious CTH (catch) rating, but they also need to have a few others that you can easily build up if you get them enough playing time and touches.  The AWR rating is something that can effect a WR as he needs to be able to know when the ball is thrown and where to run his routes.  Also, there is an issue of getting your potential diva WR the ball often enough to build him up.  I am currently in a situation where I have eight (8) WRs on my team.  I have turned the Browns into a pass first team, but in the process I have also over-stocked my team with WRs.  Here are a few of my current project players –

Offensive Line is another easy place to upgrade players, but you should really make sure you draft them with great ratings first.  It isn’t often you will put an under-rated O-Lineman on the field to protect your QB.  On the other side of this argument, you can always grab a lineman with great strength and size, put him on the line and try to dominate with the running or passing game (whichever is his focus for XP) and develop him in that fashion. 

The hardest players to develop are Defensive Linemen and Linebackers.  The reason being that they develop most of their XP through tackling statistics.  The issue is that tackling stats are broken in Madden 13 and the interactions between defensive players and offensive blockers is shaky at best.  You will want to increase the Tackle ratings first and then move on to increase every player to ‘Big Hitter’ status so they cause more fumbles as well as increasing their Hit Power ratings.

Depending on what type of coverage you run for your defensive backs you will want to focus on their coverage ratings as well as their press ratings.  If you are running a lot of man-coverage with your CBs you will want to increase their MCV ratings first as well as their Press rating if they are a physical type of player.  Their XP is generally determined by how many INTs they get during the course of the year and if you can develop a talented defensive backfield you will be almost unstoppable.

When it comes to safeties you will want to look at how you have them playing as well.  I have a defense made up of ‘enforcers’ like Laron Landry and TJ Ward… if you come across the middle you will end up with a broken jaw because these are like Honey Badgers… they don’t give a s**t!  Make sure you up their Zone Coverage ratings as well as their tackling and hit power as they are often the last line of defense if someone does get past your front-seven.  The last thing you want are a bunch of DBs trying to ‘tackle’ like Deion Sanders.

Kickers require a lot of field goals in order to increase their stats.  The bad thing about this is that most people want to score touchdowns rather than kicking a lot of FGs.    Whenever you want to increase your kick power you will notice that it starts to get really expensive after awhile.  Your best bet is to pick up a kicker with a high kick power rating starting off.

Punters are along the same lines as kickers.  How many teams really ‘want’ to punt?  Try to pick up these players as you go and hope that they have the high kick power ratings that you need rather than try to build them up.

Madden 13 – What Makes This Game Amazing (Part 1)

We have been focusing a lot of attention on some of the primary gameplay and AI interactions in Madden 13 over the last 24 hours.  Now it is time for a couple quick reasons for you to look at Madden from the stand point of it simply being a great experience.

Don’t Skip The Intro Video

The first thing you usually do in a sports game is skip the introduction.  Usually it is some sort of random highlight collection from the sport you are waiting to play digitally.  You won’t want to skip over the one in Madden 13 when you first boot it up and maybe not ever.  It is that good and with that said, here it is for your enjoyment.

Connected Careers Storylines Don’t Just Involve Current NFL Players

As I started into the regular season with my Browns Coaching Connected Career I decided right away that Brandon Weeden wouldn’t be the starter for the long term and set my sights on the #1 Prospect out of Weeden’s alma mater – Oklahoma State’s Stephen Diaz.  I was excited about the prospect of going after what some were calling the next Andrew Luck, but then something happened when I advanced to Week 4.  There was a headline that said “Violation Issues” and I was thinking that I had misread the headline.  I hadn’t misread anything and now all of a sudden Diaz was no longer on scouting list and I was left wondering what the hell I could do to get the scouting points back that I had spent on him. 

It was a great feeling from the perspective of having a real living league…  for the first time ever you will really have some stories to pay attention to in Madden and trust me, you will want to make sure you diversify your scouting points to multiple players.  Just in case someone has an issue with violations.