Building A Team In Madden 13 – More Than Just ‘Overall’ Ratings

Now that Madden 13 finally has the patches needed to make it a truly complete game we can start talking more about how to approach different modes.  In the case of Connected Careers Mode there are numerous ways to approach how to build your team as a coach.

Building your team starts with getting the right pieces in place.

I started a career with the Kansas City Chiefs and somehow took them to a Super Bowl victory with Romeo Crennel in my single player Online Franchise ‘Romeo’s Thinkin’ Arbys’.  After winning the big game in my first season I wanted to move on with a new coach in a new (and more challenging) situation.  Naturally, I went with the Browns and started my first off-season by trying to get players to fulfill stop-gap roles for my first season.  Then finally, I got to the draft… aka – the best part of building your team.

Drafting Your Team

It is more than simply taking the best-available player.

You need to consider what your team truly needs when you start drafting players.  This includes scouting during the season as well.  As a coach, you will need to pay close attention to the contract statuses of your players and how they are performing for you.  Taking a Quarterback when you really need a Defensive End or Linebacker could make your team suffer.  In this same breath, you should also compare the players by their ratings and their size.

Also, if you want a cheap way to scout for players that will be highly rated on your team, make sure you spend the 25 scouting points on ‘Scheme’.  This will be something you can use as you go through the year to set up your potential draft picks.

Free Agency

Over the course of my current CCM I have come across a few free agents that intrigued me.  The best pick-up I have made is WR, Leonard Hankerson for the Browns in 2013.  He came in as a replacement for my injured rookie WR and ended up leading the team in receiving yards, TDs and got himself a huge contract in the off-season.  Keep your eyes open for players that perform well when playiing for you.  Sometimes a player might not be ‘a good fit’ but he could end up becoming exactly what you need to turn things around.

Release Failed Project Players

One of the hardest things to do in sports games is to part with players that you either like in real-life or simply want to develop in the game.  Some of them just don’t pan out or under-perform over the course of time.  You have to make those tough decisions and understand that the betterment of your team is the long-term goal.

Pick A Starter… and stick with him

One of the parts of CCM in Madden 13 is progressing players based on their performance on the field.  Make it your mission to look at the goals being set for all of your starters and try to develop your players through that system.

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Fantasy Drafts In Sports Games – Are We Really Missing That Much?

Now that the reviews are pouring in from publications and regular users all over the internet, we are looking at the comments that many of our readers are leaving.  Many of these comments are focused towards the lack of a Fantasy Draft or roster editing before starting Franchise Mode (what is now called Connected Careers).  For those of you that don’t know what Fantasy Drafts are, we will break it down for you now.

Fantasy Drafts essentially take every player off of every team and put them into a pool in which you will pick any of those player for your team of choice.  Every other team will follow suit in this 53-Round draft.  This has been in Madden for over a decade – until now.

The developers of Madden 13 have decided to remove the Fantasy Draft (as well as some other roster editing abilities for career modes).  While there are serious questions about roster editing, it is puzzling why so many people are angry about Fantasy Drafts from the aspect of longevity in career modes.  It isn’t because someone can’t have a long-lasting career mode with a fantasy draft, but more along the lines of trying to figure out how much of a challenge it is to build a team in a Fantasy Draft – in Madden no less.

When I was between the ages of 12 and 14 I was a big fan of being able to trade players between teams and make my own ‘all star’ or ‘fantasy’ team in Triple Play Baseball on Playstation One.  I would build a team to play against my friends and their ‘fantasy’ team in exhibition games.  Outside of that, I also built a team in the fantasy draft in Madden, years later.  When you could bring this fantasy drafted team into a Franchise Mode it made some people think that it would be the best thing that ever happened to the mode. 

While it seems there are a few people out there that prefer to run an offline franchise or online league with a fantasy draft – I have yet to personally finish a season with a fantasy team in any sports game (especially Madden).  There are a few reasons behind this, at least from my point of view. 

·         If you build a team of dominating all stars – where is the challenge?

·         Doing a fantasy draft for career modes often results in the user taking younger players with higher speed ratings (speed has always been the most important rating in Madden)

·         Knowing which players are on other teams involves going into the player management screen and scrolling through the players. 

·         Longevity of a fantasy drafted team in a career mode is something I have  yet to see go more than two seasons. 

That said, it remains that fantasy draft is gone with the wind and many people are stuck wondering why.  This is one of the more confusing situations that is happening across the board in Madden 13.  Between roster editing and importing draft classes and superstars from NCAA Football – a lot of users are left wondering if there is any part of career modes that will be left to their own customization or personal preferences.

The fact that EA Tiburon has tried to do something so vast with Connected Careers should make most people happy to see some sort of attempt to change from the same old and dry franchise and superstar modes. 

Where do you stand on fantasy drafts and other customization?  Are you among the group of people that hates everything about the changes or are you part of the faction that are happy to see some sort of originality, even at the initial cost of user customization?

RPGs In A Sports Game? – Madden 13 Has Gone That Direction and It Is Looking Good

RPGs are typically the types of games and genres that will earn you a swirlie in the school bathroom from your typical jock/bully swine.  Now it seems that they will finally have a chance to see what they have been missing.  As well, it might be time for some of my fellow nerds to step out of their realms of wizardry and into the arena that we sports nuts also call – The Gridiron.

Madden 13’s Connected Careers Mode is something we have been featuring on NoobTubeTV quite a bit over the past few months.  While this is no doubt because it is one of the biggest parts of the game – it is also one of the biggest changes to how gamers will be approaching career modes in sports games.  While some games have done a great job (see MLB: The Show) with bringing gamers into a more centralized experience of actually ‘being’ a player in the game, football has been missing out for years – until now.

An example of how they are implementing story and background into this mode can be found in the Connected Careers Manual from EA (Although, they could use a lot of help on the editing front) – We will use the Cleveland Browns as an example.

Cleveland Browns
Scheme: West Coast / Base 4-3
Salary Cap Room: $9.62M
Strengths: HB, LT, DT, MLB
Weaknesses: QB, WR, LG, RT, FS

Playing as a Coach
The Cleveland Browns are a tough franchise to play with in Connected Careers. The roster is in need of improvements in multiple areas and they play in arguably the toughest division in football. The Browns are hoping they got on the right track with the drafting of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden and addressing an offense that did not strike fear in its opponents.  The defense will be the key in determining how well your season turns out. The Browns have a young defense that is only going to get better. MLB D’Qwell Jackson is the leader and Joe Haden and T.J. Ward provide playmakers in the secondary. Prepare to go out each Sunday knowing you need to bring your A game.

Playing as a Player
Pat Shurmur is searching for a West Coast QB and that’s exactly what you can do to step right in and start from day 1. Trent Richardson will be tough to overtake in the backfield, but a Red Zone Threat WR should see significant playing time, if not the number 1 spot on the depth chart. The same could be said with a Receiver TE. Your best chance of starting right away on defense will be as a Run Supporting FS or SS. Get on the field and help turn this franchise around!

A New Hope?

It seems like we finally have a reason to hope for Madden NFLs career modes to take off and maybe even bring in a new audience.  Get your twenty-sided dice ready all you nerdy football fans!  It is time to build XP and level up into one of the most fearsome players or respected coaches in the NFL!

Madden 13 – Connected Careers – Player Types and Coaching Schemes (From The Manual)

About Player Types

It is important to understand the scheme in which your team runs and what player type they look for at a specific position.  Since each NFL team evaluates players differently, it’ll be essential to know what peaks their interest and in turn, value you even higher. For example, if you’re a receiving back looking to crack into the Arizona Cardinals starting lineup, you may find yourself buried on the depth chart. The Cardinals are a Power Run offense, looking for a Power HB. Your overall rating will be lower in that system than it will be in Miami, who is looking for a Receiving HB.

Player Types Explained (By Position)

Quarterbacks
Strong Arm QB: Elite Arm Strength
West Coast QB: Short Accuracy and Mobility
Field General QB: High Awareness, Throw on the Run, Play Action
Balanced QB: Decent Arm Strength, Speed and Acceleration
Pocket Passer QB: High Accuracy and Arm Strength
Halfbacks
Balanced HB: Decent Speed and Acceleration
Power Back HB: Strength and Trucking
Speed Back HB: Speed and Acceleration
Receiving Back HB: Elusiveness and Catching
One Cut HB: Acceleration and Ball Carrier Vision
Fullbacks
Runner Receiver FB: Catching, Speed, and Ball Carrier Vision
Blocking FB: Strength, Run and Impact Blocking
Balanced FB: Decent Speed, Agility, and Run Blocking

Wide Receivers
Possession WR: Catch in Traffic
Red Zone Threat: Spectacular Catch and Catch in Traffic
Route Runner: Agility and Route Running
Balanced WR: Decent Speed Acceleration and Agility
Speed WR: Speed and Acceleration
Tight Ends
Balanced TE: Decent Speed Acceleration and Agility
Blocking TE: Impact, Run and Pass Blocking
Vertical Threat: Speed, Agility, and Route Running
Receiver TE: Catching and Route Running
Offensive Linemen
Run Blocker OL: Run Blocking, Strength, and Acceleration
Big Mauler OL: Run Blocking, Strength, and Impact Blocking
Zone Blocking OL: Run Blocking, Agility, and Acceleration
Balanced: Decent Strength, Awareness, Pass and Run Blocking
Pass Blocker: Pass Blocking, Strength, and Awareness

Defensive Ends
Balanced 4-3 DE: Decent Speed, Power and Finesse Moves
4-3 Run Stopper: Strength, Block Shedding and Tackling
3-4 Run Stopper: Strength, Pursuit and Tackling
3-4 Versatile: Decent Physical and Intangible Ratings
Speed Rusher: Speed Acceleration and Pass Rushing
Defensive Tackles
Pass Rusher DT: Acceleration and Pass Rushing
Prototype DT: Agility, Strength, and Acceleration
Nose Tackle DT: Strength and Tackling
Run Stopper: Strength, Block Shedding, and Tackling
Balanced DT: Decent Physical and Intangible Ratings
Line Backers
Cover 2 LB: Zone Coverage Decent Speed and Agility
Run Stopper LB: Block Shedding Pursuit and Tackling
3-4 Pass Rusher LB: Acceleration and Pass Rushing
Prototype LB: Speed Agility, and Acceleration
Balanced LB: Decent Speed, Acceleration, and Agility

Corner Backs
Man to Man CB: Man Coverage, Speed, Acceleration, and Agility
Run Support: Press Coverage, Tackling, Decent Speed and Agility
Balanced CB: Decent Speed, Agility, Man and Zone Coverage
Prototype CB: Speed, Strength, and Acceleration
Zone CB: Zone Coverage and Play Recognition
Safeties
Zone Safety: Zone Coverage and Play Recognition
Playmaker: Pursuit, Play Recognition, and Awareness
Balanced Safety: Speed, Agility, Coverage and Tackling
Prototype Safety: Speed, Agility, and Acceleration
Run Support Safety: Block Shedding Pursuit and Tackling
Kickers
Clutch Kicker: Kicking Accuracy and Awareness
Accurate: Kicking Accuracy
Balanced: Decent Kicking Power and Accuracy
Power: Kicking Power

———————————————————————————————————–

Schemes

OFFENSE

Balanced Offense
A 50/50 mix of running and passing. Offense is build around having players who can do multiple things well. (Balanced Players for a Balanced Offense…makes sense)

Power Run
Offense is built upon running the ball right at the defense. The scheme values a Power HB and offensive linemen who excel at run blocking.

Spread
Offense is built on having a deep WR core and players who excel at making plays in space. Speed and acceleration is much needed in this scheme.

Vertical Offense
Offense is built around a Strong Arm QB who can get the ball down the field. There is a premium placed on players who are tall and can jump up to make plays on the football.

West Coast
Offense is built on a quick, short passing game to complement the run game. Getting a West Coast QB who excels at accuracy and throwing on the run is vital.

Zone Run
Offense is built on running the ball and attacking the edge of a defense. Getting smaller, athletic offensive linemen is key as well as having multiple, One Cut HB’s.

DEFENSE

Attacking 4-3
Defense is built around four down linemen and linebackers and
defensive backs who can blitz to pressure the opposing offense.

Base 4-3
Defense is built around getting pressure from the four down
linemen and having linebackers and safeties that excel in
coverage.

Attacking 3-4
Defense is built around three down linemen and having two
outside linebackers who can rush the quarterback. The secondary
must excel at coverage.

Base 3-4
Defense is built around three down linemen, especially the nose
tackle. The rest of the defense must be versatile enough to cover
as well as making the occasional blitz.

Hybrid Multiple Front
Defense is built around giving the offense multiple looks. This
includes both three and four down linemen alignments so having
versatile players is key.

Tampa 2
Defense is built around getting a good pass rush from the front
four linemen and having linebackers and secondary players who
excel at zone coverage.

Zone Blitz 3-4
Defense is built around three down linemen and two outside linebackers
that can rush the quarterback. Both middle linebackers
and secondary players must excel at zone coverage.

 

Connected Careers – Fully Exposed (Don’t Make This Weird) Pt. 1 – Backstories

What is Connected Careers?

You can choose to startup a Connected Career as a player or coach. In both cases, you then select whether or not you want to take over a current NFL player or coach, create a player, create yourself using EA SPORTS Game Face, or as a NFL Legend.

Coach Backstories

When creating a player or coach in Connected Careers, you’ll also select a backstory in order to distinguish them. This backstory will affect your character during your career so it’s important to understand what each one does.

Create your ‘GameFace’ for Madden on EASports.com… This is how they see me digitally… Looking at becoming an undrafted QB for the Browns. Looks like they will be as good as they already are at this point!

Motivator

You’ll be cut from the same cloth as John Madden and Vince Lombardi. Your players will lay it all on the line for you and you’ll attract free agents as well. Being a motivator will also give you a 25% discount on packages that increase a free agent’s interest in signing with your team as well as 25% off packages to decrease the odds of a player retiring.

Strategist

You’re one of the smartest men in football when it comes to the X’s and O’s, perhaps the next Bill Walsh. Being a strategist will give you a 25% discount on XP boost packages, the Coach XP package, discount packages which reduces the XP cost for your players, and the Predictability Package.

Team Builder

Being the head coach is only one of the hats you wear. Scouting and roster management are also key components of your abilities.  Being a team builder will give you a 25% discount in packages that increase the interest of a player re-signing with you, the Expert Scout Package, and Trade Influence Package.

Coach Progression

Each coach in Madden NFL 13 will have a Coach Level. It begins at Level 1 and will go up to Level 4. If you create a coach, you’ll enter the league as a Level 1. This will give you easier team goals, but you’ll be paying full price for packages. As you begin to have success, you’ll begin to level up. A Level 4 coach will have extremely high team goals but will be able to purchase packages at a discounted price.

Player Backstories

High Draft Pick (We don’t know if you will get bonus points for naming your player ‘Ricky Williams’)

You’re essentially a first round draft pick. You’ll come in with the highest ratings but will also have lofty goals that will be tougher to meet. Choosing this backstory gives you the quickest way to crack the starting lineup and contribute right away.

Low Draft

You’ve been drafted near the end of the draft. You’ll have mediocre ratings and will have to really excel in practice and in the preseason just to earn a few snaps in your first year. However, your
goals will not be set quite as high. Choosing this backstory makes it less likely to see significant playing time in year one, but has the chance to develop later on

Undrafted

You’ve been completely ignored and were not selected in the draft. Your ratings will be much lower than the other backstories and you’ll have to scratch and claw for every piece of XP you can get. Choosing the backstory will provide the toughest grind and you can expect to not see much playing time in the first season.

Madden-ing: How Finding Madden ’93 In My Parents’ Garage Made Me Re-Think EA Sports and the Direction of the Madden Franchise

20 years ago I was a nine year-old sports fanatic.  I was lucky enough to get a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1992.  After playing many great games like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 I was still hoping to have a chance to play a sports game.  Eventually, my mom and dad came home with a copy of John Madden Football ’93.  It was a gift for my 10th birthday and I cherished it.  I had played the same game while visiting my cousins in Georgia on a trip to the Citrus Bowl where I saw Garrison Hearst run over my beloved Buckeyes in Orlando.  It had hooked me from the first snap.

After years of asking for Tecmo Bowl for Christmas I had found a game of ‘real’ football.  You had to run ‘up’ the screen and call all sorts of different plays.  There was a manual that seemed to be 1000 pages long with player ratings and explanations of how to play every facet of the game.  I digress, my play-style was far from what many in the hardcore community would call ‘sim’… but dammit, I had a blast!  I could circle the field 3 times with Thurman Thomas before either getting tackled or scoring a touchdown.  So yes, before we get into the nitty gritty of this reflection – there are some incredibly arcade-like things about JMF93.

During my most recent visit with my parents we started going through some of the things I had packed away in the garage after getting married seven years ago (August 27).  In the process, I uncovered a bunch of old memorabilia and video games – including my Sega Collection with JMF93.  As I opened it up after years of storage and checked out the manual and case I was floored with how advanced this game was back in 1992 and perhaps more-so… how unimpressive the title has been in its growth during this generation of consoles.  That is where we will pick up the remainder of this article.

Why John Madden Football ’93 Is Better Than This Generation of Madden

Back Cover Game Features

Anytime you get a new game, the first thing you do is look at the back cover.  In this case, it is no different.  Upon finding JMF93 I took a look at some of the features in this game… and I was impressed.

Back Cover Features – How A Game Puffs Its Chest

“Buffalo’s No Huddle offense makes Washington scramble in the snow.”After seeing this quote, I started to think about some of the things the Madden development team has been championing over the last couple of years.  Teams playing like their real life counterparts and other such pursuits that sound great to anyone looking to have a great experience against their teams rival or the like.  Yet, how does this get so much coverage when almost 20 years ago – it was already in the game.  Granted, this is a small version of what we have now but the fact is that this is nothing new and even what we have tends to be broken from a logic perspective.

“Which four-time champion will dominate?” The next part of our back cover reveal is focusing on something similar to what we have this year – All Time Players and Teams.  This is one of those interesting things we commented in July when relating the inclusion of ‘Legendary Players’ for Madden 13 to All Pro Football 2K8.  In fact, if you want to go back 20 years, you will see that there are “8 Greatest-Ever Teams” that include teams such as the ’85 Bears, ’78 Steelers, ’84 49ers and more.  It tends to make us scratch our heads and wonder how original some of these ideas are or consider the notion that they have a tendency to recycle some of these old features as the games find new audiences.  It is a fine idea, but it seems somewhat off-base to call the inclusion of legendary teams or players anything but an expected inclusion at this point – rather than a ‘new feature’.

“Head butts, Clothesline Tackles and Shoestring catches”You would think that some of the animations from old games would make their way into future games with ease.  Well, clothesline tackles haven’t been included in Madden in almost a decade.  Head butts have gone the way of the Dodo with the NFL becoming more of a police-force trying to censor away the natural violence of their televised sport so Madden can stay rated-E… for the children.

Did You Know You Could Challenge Rulings In John Madden Football ’93?

There are a lot of things that Madden has that don’t really work well when it comes to actual in-game performance.  One of the things that people complain about almost every year is challenging calls on the field.  In JMF93 you could actually overturn penalties (see the picture to the right).  While this was limited to Head-to-Head games, it is still something to look back and snicker about because it probably worked better than the current system ‘works’.

Player Ratings Were Better 20 Years Ago, Kind of.

Another thing I noticed when browsing through the 79 PAGE manual was the listing of player ratings.  When you take a look at some of the ratings you might laugh, but most of the ratings when taken into further consideration come across as pretty fair and downright decent.  If you take a look at the pages we scanned you will see two teams with drastically different talent levels – Cleveland and Dallas.

Ratings have become some of the more contentious sticking points in Madden over the past 12+ years.  If you take a closer look at the ratings in JMF93 you will notice a few things.

– They are simplistic

– They are smaller (on a scale of 0-15 rather than 0-99)

– They are brutally honest

– They are somewhat wonky

For instance, Cleveland’s starting QB (Bernie Kosar) was given a Passing Range rating of 11 and a Passing Accuracy rating of 12.  He was a very slow QB when it came to running and scrambling and he was given a Speed Rating of only 4.  The interesting rating that is included is a Scrambling Rating… Kosar also had a 4.  His back-up on the other hand was given some rather strange ratings.  He was given a Passing Range rating of 0… yes… ZERO and then a Pass Accuracy rating of only 4 with SPD and Scrambling of 3.

If you look at the other page you will see one of the greatest running backs of all time has almost top ratings in every meaningful category.  Emmitt Smith was given 15s in Speed, Agility and Break Tackle with a 4 in Hands or ‘Catching’.  If you take a look at the ratings given to the running backs for the Browns you would think that their players were taken out of a tar pit with Speed Ratings of 7 and 8.  Kevin Mack (#34) was actually a FB and had a 12 SPD rating.  So, it wasn’t a complete loss for the Browns.

This Article Isn’t Meant To Trash On Madden Football

Before any Madden fanboys (see our earlier post if you don’t know what that means) read this article, please take into account that we are giving honest opinions based on evidence from actual games.  Also, it should be considered that we do realize that Madden 93 is clearly graphically inferior and definitely has issues with player movement when compared to current Madden games.  Again, this article isn’t stating that people will enjoy Madden 93 more than Madden 10, 11, 12 or even 13, but it does put current Madden games ‘on the spot’ when it comes to pursuing greatness and innovation.

We want Madden to be great.  We want it to be able to make us turn off a game on Sunday because our digital experience on a console is more enjoyable.  We want to see pass interference and hard hits across the middle.  We want to see head butts, shoe string catches and even an ambulance come onto the field as Colt McCoy asks where he is.  We want better football on our consoles and hope that this can invigorate people to be more critical while still being professional.  You are allowed to be upset, but please remember that this is all in an effort to make people think about the past so we can improve the future.  Even if it means looking into the past and wondering what the hell is going on with current game development.

Madden 13 – Connected Careers Might Make Madden 13 Worth A Purchase

Just in case you are still on the fence about whether or not to buy Madden 13, you should consider it one of the safer sports titles to bet on this year.  The problem that most people face when it comes to buying a sports game is that they are usually just a roster update with some sort of half-cocked mode enhancement like ‘Mascot Mode’ (see NCAA Football).  Madden 13’s Connected Careers could be the mode that finally turns the game into a new direction… maybe even the right one.

When you retire as a real player (Tebow or RG3) they won’t be out of the league you will just not control them anymore.

A Brief History

While Madden has a tendency to suffer from playing like a glorified arcade game in the guise of a simulation football title, it also has the benefit of consistency in gameplay.  In other words – we usually know what to expect when it comes to Madden and how it will play.  Player movement is something that hasn’t really changed in Madden since the PS2/XBox generation – especially when compared to titles that were competing with Madden.  On the flipside – Career modes have suffered in Madden for years.

Madden 12 saw one of the biggest jumps in quality of Franchise Mode since Madden 05 (arguably the best Madden to date).  This mode still lacked any real sort of ‘stand-alone’ quality that would keep the end-user from wanting to take control of editing players or simply controlling all 32 teams in order to make the mode feel more organic – ironic, but true.

A New Hope

Connected Careers is designed to bring Franchise Mode and Superstar Mode (where you control a specific player) together as one.  You will be able to control a player or a team (as the Coach).  Some gamers are going to relish the chance to play as a specific player.  However, the real depth is going to come from being a Coach.

One of the more annoying parts of Madden 11 and 12’s Franchise Mode was the concept of ‘Potential’ ratings for players.  What made this so frustrating was that you could take a player like Derek Anderson and make him into (statistically) the best QB in the league but his OVR (and therefore, his value) would not increase.  Imagine Kurt Warner winning the Super Bowl with the Rams but never considered to be ‘great’ – that is what the potential rating did to Franchise Mode… it took away the feel that your players were any good unless they had a great potential rating.

This year, Potential Rating is gone.  You have to earn XP for each player like in a Role Playing Game.  So, if you want to make Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson your starting QB and develop them into a 99 OVR player – you can.  The crux… you have to earn it.   There are going to be some fun developments when people start making Connected Careers ‘their own’.

What To Watch For

As Madden 13 gets closer, there will be more details coming out of the woodwork.  The real details that people will notice are the glitches in the game after it comes out.  There are bound to be some things that happen in Madden 13 that make people cry foul and say that the game is broken.  It happens every year and this year won’t be any different – Madden 13 will have some things that need to be patched (fixed via an update).

Connected Careers will probably have some things that need to be tweaked and the one thing to hope for is that when these issues pop up you won’t have to restart your CCM.  Keep your eyes and ears open, your hopes up and you expectations grounded.  Madden 13 is almost here.