The Biggest House Rules For Madden – Play Books and Playcalling

For those of you looking for a reason to continue playing Madden 19 I have a challenge for you.  Invest some serious time in two things – designing a playbook that doesn’t include the money plays you have come to find honestly (or … less than honestly?) and then go through that playbook and set up the Down and Distance star ratings for each play.  

I have found that All-Pro seems to become more challenging when my plays are limited to whatever shows up on my ‘Coach Selection’ rather than going through the playbook to find my go-to plays.  While this by no means fixes what is seemingly a consistently broken game, it does add a bit more fun in your gameplan and it also keeps you on your toes as some plays might become new favorites.

I am still at a point in Madden 19 where I am frustrated by the lack of difficulty in All-Pro and the annoying cheating of the CPU on All-Madden.  I don’t think there’s a fix for that at this point.  Slider sets and other such mechanics are less than desirable fixes for an issue that has plagued Madden for over a decade.  

I am to a point where this is my last go-round with Madden 19.  It’s sad to say, but I would probably get more enjoyment out of uninstalling than playing through another easy season of Franchise Mode.  I would certainly have more enjoyment in uninstalling rather than playing a single snap of the toxic Ultimate Team.

Advertisements

All I Want For Madden Christmas Is A Smarter CPU… And A Better Franchise Mode

I try my best to enjoy playing Madden every year.  As much as I gripe about the game every year in one way or another I truly go into each iteration with high hopes only to have them dashed by the time I get into my Franchise Mode.

I tried to play with the Bills on All-Madden after winning the Super Bowl with the Browns on All-Pro in the first season.  It was the same old story – All-Madden is artificially difficult while All-Pro wants to be challenging, it is still hamstrung with the same problems.  The CPU doesn’t adjust to certain plays being called on succession (HB Toss plays from a Twin WR set will almost always get you 7+ Yards if the CPU is in Man Coverage, for instance.).  Money plays are alive and well – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The other issue that plagues this game is the idiotic Free Agency process and logic of the CPU.  After the latest update you will see that LeVeon Bell becomes a free agent (which is nice), but then I see him get signed by the Cardinals… the same Cardinals that already have David Johnson.  I rolled my eyes when I saw the signing during this latest run with the Browns (I used the Cloud Franchise to start my season in Week 12 or so).  It doesn’t stop there, unfortunately.

By the time the draft comes around and after I see Bell get signed by the Cardinals the idiocy continues in the draft.  I am convinced that the CPU is programmed to look at your Draft Board and make picks that will push you to take certain players earlier than you should if you want them.  While I enjoy the idea of this at face value I am also annoyed by the relative troll mentality.

Furthermore, Franchise Mode continues to gut the experience and immersion that should be the primary focus of the mode itself.  There is no living breathing league for you to enjoy – its as stale as the cereal at your grandparents’ house.  The ‘News’ section is hidden in the depths of the CFM menu and it’s basically a bunch of crappy tweets from Captain Obvious with a few half-assed tips about the draft class.  I don’t understand how this mode continues to be included in the game if they obviously don’t care about it from the revenue perspective.  The effort all goes into Ultimate Team and the cash cow that it has become.

Madden continues to be the distant second place in sports games for me as MLB The Show maintains a clear advantage in consistent efforts to improve.  Both games are going towards the Ultimate Team/Diamond Dynasty slippery slope, but I still have hope that Franchise Mode will become what I have dreamed for over the years.  I doubt I will get this for Christmas… but I can always hope.

Madden Needs A Coaching Carousel

The biggest aspect that seems to be missing from Madden that was one of the most enjoyable aspects in NCAA Football for years is a coaching carousel.  Throughout the year without fail all sorts of coaches meet their doom.  Whether it is on Black Monday after the final week of the regular season, or just after the halfway point of the season as we saw with Hue Jackson this week (THANK YOU, FOOTBALL GOD!).

carousel

Madden NFL needs to add two aspects to their Franchise Mode if they hope to continue building it up.  They need to bring in offensive and defensive coordinators as well as position coaches (some of these can even be fictionalized).  Once you bring this aspect into the game it can more easily flow into opening up a coaching carousel like that in the NCAA Football games of yore.

Imagine opening your career as an offensive or defensive coordinator and building your resume after a year or two.  Maybe you can take the Bills or 49ers defense from the depths of terribad and build them into a beast with your amazing skills.  The unfortunate aspect is that your team is doing poorly and the head coach gets fired in week 12.  Suddenly, the ownership wants to bring you up a notch to coach the team and make the big decision on both sides of the ball and determine the depth chart in full.  As you make a splash to finish the season with a few wins you might not want to stick with the team you’ve been struggling with.  The end of the season comes and the Jaguars have finished a lackluster campaign and you are now their number one target.  What do they have to offer you outside of a great defense and some weapons on offense (that aren’t named Bortles… *shudders*).  That would be pretty awesome.  What would make it better?

I think the next step in making it an experience to build multiple seasons and truly view it as a career mode would be making the role of General Manager something you have to earn.  Instead of being the owner, GM, and coach from the get-go, you should be given different offers from different teams as you play through your career.  One of those options should be GM/Coach offers (much like what Belichick does and some other coaches have done in some cases).  You would pay so much more attention to the draft if you weren’t put in charge of the scouting as just a head coach that had to take the players you got… or deal with players being traded.

Until that day comes, we will have to continue to create and maintain house rules to make our career mode more interesting.

Do you have other ideas for franchise mode?  Hit up the comment button to share!

Madden 19 Sliders and House Rules

It’s been a rather busy month or two leading up to the release of Madden 19.  That hasn’t stopped me from getting some much needed slider adjustments and tuning done for Franchise Mode.

DkLHPm2W0AE3lKN

Madden has continuously put me in a position where I feel like I should be playing on All Madden for difficulty.  The problem with that is All Madden forces you to cheese and play in an un-sim sort of way because the CPU resorts to cheating and thus resulting in the paradox of who cheated who first?… or is it ‘whom’?

Regardless, these sliders are for

Franchise Mode

All Pro Difficulty

13 Minute Quarters

accelerated play clock set to 14 seconds.

Human Sliders

QB Acc – 50

Pass Block – 55

WR Catch – 50

Run Block – 51

Fumbles – 50

Pass Def – 50

Interceptions – 50

Tackling – 45 (I might take this slightly lower as it seems to directly correlate with Run Defense)

CPU Sliders

QB Acc – 50

Pass Blocking – 53

WR Catching – 50

Run Blocking – 100

Fumbles – 50

Pass Def Reaction – 50

Interceptions – 50

Pass Coverage – 50

Tackling – 50

Special Teams 

Set Punt Accuracy to 100 all others at 50

Game Options –

Injuries – 10

Fatigue – 70

Min Player Speed Thresh – 45

Auto Subs 

Position   In/Out

QB = 95/65

HB = 100/95

WR = 94/80

FB/TE = 90/77

OL = 95/70

DT = 100/90

DE =96/84

LB = 96/85

CB = 95/83

S = 98/82

 

House Rules Are Simple.

You can’t trade for any first round pick without including at least an 80+ OVR player under 30 years old and a 2nd and 5th OR a 3rd and 4th rounder.

No editing players in the draft class with intent of drafting them late in the draft.

Pick as many different plays as you can throughout the game.  This will give you a better experience rather than using money plays.  It will keep games close and give you a bit more information on which players you have that you might want to keep or let go.

Make your own rules if you have to in order to stay honest and keep the game fresh.

FINAL THOUGHT

Madden 19 is probably my favorite Madden to date.  There are some things that need to be tuned and patched, no doubt.  However, it is excellent in terms of player movement and is getting better with playcalling, it still has a lot of room to grow, but it is growing.

Also, please don’t user control your WRs.  Let the AI make the catches and you will be amazed at some of the great animations.  I am about 50/50 on controlling DBs on passing plays.

IT’S MADDEN SEASON!!!!

Lamar Jackson and How EA Continues To Screw Up Franchise Mode

EA recently released a list of the top rookie quarterbacks in their annual hype train countdown to the release of Madden.  This year, they slipped up and unintentionally commented on their simulation formula for Franchise Mode.

‘Lamar Jackson could be the most interesting QB to play as in Madden 19. If you sim a lot of games in Franchise, he’s likely not the best pick at the moment. But holy hell, his base ratings make him fun…’ for more, go to the page here.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp

The issue with this isn’t that Lamar Jackson shouldn’t be rated higher or lower than anyone else.  It is simply the fact that they reference his effectiveness in Franchise Mode to his ratings.  What should continue to worry CFM players is this continuing problem with CFM being tied to overall ratings.  This would be like saying that Michael Vick would be fun to play with but he wouldn’t do much for a team in a simulation.  I’m not saying that Lamar Jackson is Michael Vick, but he is damn close.

This means that EA has not changed their formula of what is important in CFM.  It is still driven by OVR.  This means you won’t have any players that are low rated to start become anything close to superstars.  It also means that the CPU is actually at a competitive disadvantage.  As users, we are able to see certain players with abilities that we can take advantage of – speed, trucking, throw accuracy, hit power, etc.  We can turn a 6th round 67 OVR player into an absolute beast.  The CPU will either cut the player or never play them in a simulation.  Take a look at the practice squads in your Madden 18 CFM – the CPU has some BEASTS that never get a chance to play.  Many of us would snap up these players in a heartbeat.

Until EA makes Madden CFM more nuanced and less dependent on overall ratings I have a feeling we will continue to experience a rather mechanical and less organic CFM experience.

The Sprint Button Is Your Enemy – Madden 19

Out of all the buttons and functions that Madden NFL has implemented (even the half-hearted ‘read tackle’ in Madden 18) there are few that have caused the gameplay more quality than the sprint button (R2 on PS4 and RT on XBox One).

ramseym19

After playing too many games to count I decided to start playing with less use of the sprint button in my games against the CPU.  I couldn’t believe how much this little thing changed the entire experience.  All those times where I felt that my user controlled player was being cheated out of a presumably big play I realized that it was because I pressed the R2 button either too early or simply pressing it altogether.

A few things happen when you press the R2 button on offense.  If you are using a QB on a pass play it will put you into a scrambling mode where your passes will generally be less accurate (this is actually a good thing).  The other aspect that tends to drastically change your experience is that it seems to cause the CPU to rush the QB like a beacon.  While this makes some sense as most defensive players would start focusing on a dangerous scramble – it feels too much like a homing beacon.  This is where the real issue comes into play.

You will notice the biggest issue on offense when you are controlling the running back and press the sprint button.  It will cause the defense to essentially speed up and focus completely on the ball carrier.  The blocking from your AI teammates will break down faster and it will essentially dismantle your play before it ever gets up and running (no pun intended).

By using the left analog stick and staying away from the sprint button you will see a few things happen.  The blocks will be better and the defense will actually react in a way that feels realistic instead of some version of mind reading monsters from Dark Souls.

Where I actually noticed the best function change was on defense.  By using the left stick in tandem with the defensive engagement moves, swim moves, etc. it was like a different game.  It felt smooth and actually made defense enjoyable!

If you press the sprint button on defense you will see the QB do all sorts of crazy stuff (including intentional grounding that is never called by the atrocious penalty system that hasn’t changed since Madden 96).  Every aspect of your defensive experience is generally ruined by using the sprint button.  Even the truck stick is better without it!

Give this a shot as you prepare for Madden 19.  You won’t regret it!

Draft Logic Must Improve With Schemes and Archetypes – Madden 19

The one question no one seems to be asking is whether EA Tiburon has fixed the broken draft logic prior to Madden 19.  As everyone (including yours truly) got jacked about the announcement that Madden 19 would have custom draft classes we seemed to forget that there were quite a few issues under the hood that needed to be fixed before anything was added.Ezekiel-Elliott-Madden-NFL-18-Wishlist

 

First and foremost, one of the biggest problems that Madden CFM has faced since forever has been lackluster draft logic by CPU teams. A lot of this issue comes from what seems to be a lacking interaction between CPU logic between team needs and coach schemes.  If you pay attention in your CFM you will see what we see every year – coaches get fired and players age/retire.  The breakdown in Madden draft logic stems from this moment and then snowballs as each draft pick is made.

This means that no matter how great your custom draft class might be, it will most likely be thwarted by an AI that is too stupid to use it wisely.

Coaching schemes to this point haven’t changed how a team fluctuates between coaches.  If the CPU controlled Browns were to fire Hue Jackson and his West Coast scheme and bring in someone with a Power Run or Vertical Pass scheme it wouldn’t change their draft logic from the initial setting under Jackson.  This means scouting players by archetypes as the user will work nicely if you follow those relative guidelines.  The CPU will not follow that same logic if you go by what history has shown us.

It leaves me with a bit of a pit in my stomach as I think about how great Madden could be if the basic functions were sound.  Sadly, I have a feeling that we will have to pump the brakes on the hype train as it rolls into the station this summer.

It won’t stop me from creating draft classes that will be focused on OBJECTIVE FUNCTION through fiction rather than subjective replication of potential draft classes in real life.  I doubt many people outside of Tennessee Volunteer fans would have given a star or superstar rating to Alvin Kamara prior to the beginning of the 2017 season.  That same logic will be present in the NoobTubeTV draft classes for Madden 19.