Madden 16 – Info Release Coming In May

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Starting on May 8 – it will be time for Madden news.

Some of it has already started as EA Announced the August 25th release date.

For many sports fans it is either the first month of baseball or playoff season for basketball and hockey.

For the rest of us it will always be football season.  This might be why as soon as the Super Bowl is over people are already in full ‘NFL Draft Mode’.  For people like myself (Browns fans) we are already prepping for the next draft before this draft is even over.  It seems that Madden is following the guidelines of those kinds of teams when it comes to improving the game.  Sure, they might have a decent season that surprises us (Madden 10 and Madden 25), but largely they are expected to finish with a losing record (Madden 06-09 and 11-13).

Madden seems to to take one step forward and two steps back annually.  While they implemented much needed changes to Connected Franchise Mode last year, it was still sorely lacking once you got into the guts of the mode.  Many of the contract negotiations were too easy and some of the retirements and signings were just flat out strange.

My biggest pet peeve as a staunch CFM player was the player progression.  By the time you get to your 5th or 6th season you will have on average 4-5 players on every team rated 90+ OVR.  It is frustrating for me to so easily build the Browns into a contender and 4-time Super Bowl winners by the 2019 season.

Second biggest pet peeve…?  Easy – The in-game NFL Draft.  It seems that every year that goes by they throw little changes into this and it is still disappointing.  The presentation is lacking as Schefter seems to say the same stuff about players every 2-3 seasons.  Then there are the teams that take a QB after already having two that are 80+ on the roster.  The list goes on and on, but what makes it hilarious at this moment is the fact that EA released their own Mock Draft (which doesn’t even exist on any Madden game).  There seemed to be logic in some of those picks – of course they took Crab Legs Winston #1 Overall.  He sounds like a generated rookie from Madden after all.

Stay tuned for the Madden 16 info as it is released!

Madden Ratings System Unveiled

A recent article on FiveThirtyEight.com has helped us understand a bit more about what goes into Madden player ratings.  I wish I could say I am impressed.  Madden is one of the most stale and non-simulation sports games in existence, yet it gets touted as being true to the game.

It has always bothered me that Donny Moore seems to have full power to subjectively up someone’s rating because of one big catch, run or block.  I truly miss 2K Football more and more as I read about Madden and the NFL in general.

Here is the breakdown from FiveThirtyEight –

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Madden 15 – How To Keep CFM Fresh Until The Next Release

As much as I find it easy to troll EA and Tiburon for their annual cloneware – Madden 15 was the best Madden to date.  That said, it still gets to me that they don’t update rosters after the Super Bowl.  This has left many users to create roster updates and even add newly drafted players to teams in order to replicate what is happening in the league as far as rosters go.

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If you have followed NoobTubeTV over the last few years you will know that I almost exclusively play Offline Connected Franchise Mode.  Moreover, you will know that I almost always use my Cleveland Browns.  Even after finding the perfect sliders and gameplay tweaks CFM will get rather boring after a few seasons.

It is incredibly easy to build up a team into a juggernaut.  You simply need to invest in players that are between 20-26 years old that fit your play-style and keep them to minimum contracts until they are 30.  It is a widely known fact that EA has told Madden gamers that players will start to decline once they hit that age threshold.  Knowing how easy it is to relatively deal with the age issues of players and dominate with your team after a season or two of development it won’t be much of a shock to hear about people trading Madden in while they can still get some decent credit for it or simply leave it on the shelf to collect dust.  Here are a few tips on how to keep your CFM fresh.

  1. Max Contacts – Figure out your favorite players on Offense and Defense and make them fixtures on your team for the rest of their career.  In my case I had to choose between Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel.  Both players were 99 OVR by the time I got to the 2016 season and I decided to sign Johnny for the biggest amount of money and years (I believe it was 7 years, $140 million).  This will help make your salary cap management a bit tougher as you choose who to build your team around.
  2. Don’t Scout Draft Prospects – It really is this simple.  Don’t scout a single prospect during the season and you will quickly realize that what was once an incredibly easy draft process is more like real-life.  It will become more of a lottery system for your team and you won’t be able to find those ‘not so hidden’ gems in later rounds.
  3. Give The CPU More In Trades – It seems that trade logic in sports games has decided to take a nose-dive in realism.  NBA 2K actually has a trade difficulty slider (Madden needs this in the worst way!).  Do not shirk the CPU for their Draft Picks or certain players you know are franchise quality.
  4. One Draft Pick Per Round (At most) – It is far too easy (as stated in #3) to load up on 10-15 draft picks every season.  Make it a personal rule that you will not have more than one pick per round for every draft.  This will prevent you from pwning the draft year-in, year-out.  Madden has some of the dumbest draft logic in all of sports gaming, so don’t act like you really have to worry about the CPU.
  5. Coach Mode – This is something I have yet to do myself.  Simply call the plays for your team, snap the ball and let the AI take care of the rest.  This will make you look at your players in a different light and might even change the way you build your team.

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.)

Madden 15 – Relocation Cities and Team Names

For those interested in a list of the cities and names of teams available for relocation in Madden 15 this is for you.

My initial reaction to some of the names is that they are so unoriginal it is almost painful to consider them at all.  The Mexico City Golden Eagles?  What happens when they play the Philadelphia Eagles?  Or when the Portland Snow Hawks, Oklahoma City Night Hawks and the Seattle Seahawks all end up in the same division?

Here is one of the better uniforms and logos - the Diablos.
Here is one of the better uniforms and logos – the Diablos.

Austin – Armadillos, Bats, Desperados

London – Bulldogs, Black Knights, Monarchs

Los Angeles – Crusaders, Red Dragons, Aftershocks

Mexico City – Diablos, Conquistadors, Golden Eagles

Toronto – Thunderbirds, Mounties, Huskies

San Antonio – Dreadnoughts, Marshalls, Express

Orlando – Wizards, Sentinels, Orbits

Salt Lake City – Elks, Flyers, Pioneers

Brooklyn – Beats, Bulls, Barons

Memphis – Hounds, Egyptians, Steamers

Chicago – Blues, Cougars, Tigers

Columbus – Aviators, Caps, Explorers

Portland – Lumberjacks, River Hogs, Snowhawks

Dublin (Ireland) – Celtic Tigers, Antlers, Shamrocks

Houston – Gunners, Oilers, Voyagers

Oklahoma City – Bisons, Night Hawks, Lancers

Sacramento – Condors, Miners, Redwoods

Madden 15 – The Most Pivotal Madden To Date

As we get closer to the release of Madden 15 it is becoming evident that the PS4/XBone version of the title might be the best evidence of what to expect in the coming console generation as far as Madden games are concerned.

Dick Sherman Doing What He Does Best... Opening his big mouth.
Dick Sherman Doing What He Does Best… Opening his big mouth.

With the 360/PS3 versions of Madden 06 through 09 basically being a throw-away after EA obtained the exclusive license to produce and distribute NFL games it seemed like we’d see real changes once Madden 10 arrived.  Thankfully, we did see some pretty nice changes through the effort of Ian Cummings and company.  A couple years later, Cummings was gone and Madden fell back into the rut of limited progress.

Madden 25 was a solid title that still suffered from the played out animations and terrible AI in many areas of the game.  It became evident that some sort of real change was necessary.  The last time Madden saw any sort of direction to make it a truly ground-breaking experience was in Madden 2005 with the hit stick and a focus on defense.  It helped to limit what Madden had started to become with the advent of tournament style play that nearly gutted the simulation style that Madden NFL was always supposed to be.

Madden 15 is finally bringing back what has been missing for almost ten years.  The focus on defense (even with the obnoxious Dick Sherman on the cover) is something that is more welcome than most simulation football fans can say.  Couple that with the news that wind in the game has been fixed and will even move the aiming direction during field goals, new catch animations, better variety in QB throwing, etc.  You actually might see a game worth getting excited about.

Why is Madden 15 the most pivotal version of Madden to date?

Because with the new additions and polish put on the PS4/XBone it seems like the Madden developers are finally trying to make it into a real simulation of NFL Football.

As for how realistic the Connected Franchise Mode might be?  We will have to wait and see.  Keep checking back on NoobTubeTV.com as there will be further updates and reactions to a very busy August-December in gaming.

2K Football Announcement Coming? – The E3 Rumor Mill In Full Swing

Every year in late-May and early-June we start hearing buzz about new games that will be or might be unveiled at E3.  (E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles, CA annually.)  It is much like the time leading up to the NFL Draft where there are so many rumors and baseless suggestions that you don’t know what to believe or who has the ‘inside track’.

2K_Sports_LogoThis year there are a few titles that are supposedly being shown at E3 in hopes that they will capture the next-gen console audience’s hearts and minds.  Some of these titles include Halo 5, Rockstar Games’ Agent and one game that a niche group of sports gamers have been longing for since 2008 – 2K Football.

Every year there is hope injected in the football gaming community that there will finally be some sort of football game released that isn’t made by EA Sports and that isn’t called ‘Madden’.  There have been a few youtube videos with people saying that they have ‘a feeling’ that there will be a new 2K football title unveiled at E3 this year.

It is something that I almost always have high hopes for when it comes this close to football season.  It seems that my hopes (and those of the sim football gaming community) are always dashed by the time E3 is over.  Hopefully the rumor mill will prove to be correct this time around.

That said – there is no official news one way or the other about a 2K Football title as of yet.  If there does happen to be an announcement, it will have to be a far deeper game than All Pro Football 2K8 was back in 2007.  Keep your attention focused towards legitimate news and releases as we get closer to E3.  The rumors will only get more ridiculous between now and then.