Draft Logic And Custom Draft Classes – Madden 19

As the news about custom draft classes hit me I could hardly stand it.  Being happy about a CFM Feature was new to me.  Any work on CFM that wasn’t surface level was something I had yet to see.  However, certain things take time to marinade and allow logic to creep through instant happiness.  Suddenly, I felt the pain of reality and the question hit me like a ton of bricks.

Have they fixed draft logic?

NFL: 2014 NFL Draft

The biggest problem with all Franchise Modes in almost every game is that they are flawed from the outset.  The user can see good players and snatch them up whenever they want to when it comes to free agency.  Once you get to scouting (what scouting?) and then the draft itself in Madden the AI doesn’t really seem to put as much thought into the most important off-season aspect as it should.  It’s generally pretty easy to find hidden gems and such in the draft through the broken scouting system (for reference, take a look at the house rules developed for Madden 18).  I have come up with a theoretical fix as we wait another two months for Madden 19 to come out.

Normal Should Be The Default Development Trait

While most of this depends on how often a development trait will change during a season, I would suggest that all players be changed to Normal as well.  This will be one of my goals in Madden 19.  I have been wishing for custom and shareable draft classes for quite some time.  While some of you will undoubtedly be looking for real-world draft classes, I will be editing and creating fictional classes for multiple reasons.  The development trait being set to normal is a big part of that. The other is that it will take away a lot of wasted time editing names, schools and such just to create a subjective rating that would be debated and scrutinized.  I will be happy to try out a few of those classes, but that won’t be my focus.

Rookies Should Never Have A Default Overall Above 84 In CFM

Rookies are unproven talent.  That’s it… period.  I will be editing my rookie classes to not only have Normal development traits, but also in a manner that will see an even spread of OVR ratings that won’t pollute the CFM with a bunch of 90-99 players by season three or four.

I will be keeping a close watch on what else is announced in regards to CFM and especially fixes to the logic engine that I fear will still see minimal effort for yet another year.

Stay Tuned

Franchise Mode Team Selection Guide – Madden 19

Now that we are preparing for NFL Training Camps and Hard Knocks with my beloved Cleveland Browns it is time to start planning which teams we want to use in Madden 19 Franchise Mode.

This season, we will be putting teams into one of three categories – Ready To Build, Super Bowl Contender, and Tear It Down.

Ready To Build 

cleveland_browns – What used to be the novel pick as a tear it all down has become the biggest team to pick as ready to build.  The pieces are there – Taylor, Mayfield, Johnson, Hyde, Chubb, Garrett, Gordon, Landry, Ward, Kendricks, Kirksey, Bitonio, Ogbah… The Browns are going to be a lot of fun to use in Madden 19 and hopefully a bit more fun to watch than the 0-16 Preseason Champs of last year. GO BROWNS!

chicago_bears – They are close to still being in tear it all down mode, but they have some nice pieces to build around, including Trubisky and now Roquan Smith to help lift the defense.  They did bring in Allen Robinson, but outside of him the WR squad isn’t much to look at.  Give them a year or two and some good drafting, you will have a solid team in due time.

buffalo_bills– Okay, they pulled the trigger on Josh Allen and even brought in McCarron to help him along.  You have McCoy for a year or two before his regression will inevitably set in as well.  They have Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones which is quite nice in terms of WR talent.  They also made Edmunds a 1st Round pick at LB – not a lot of flash, but they also made the playoffs last year… they are a threat to shock the world again, assuming they don’t rue the day they got rid of Tyrod Taylor (weird to say that and believe it, I know).

arizona_cardinals– Rosen and Kirk come into a situation that could make the Cardinals into quite a fun build.  Fitzgerald is aging, but seeing the pieces that are ready to put together is promising to say the least.  The real question is how you will build them on defense. There really isn’t much left to tear down at this point in Arizona – just start building with what you can.

i – Sorry, but we know you won’t be using Case Keenum for more than the 2018 season at most.  Which QB will you sign or draft for the 2019 season?  Outside of that decision, you have one hell of a team to build up from a disappointing 2017 season.  Chubb was one heck of a pick, and pairing him with Von Miller is almost criminal.  Add the other pieces that are both aging and young with good drafting and this is a fun team that could get you to the playoffs in 2018 if you are smart.  This is a quick build.

chargers– Rivers is most likely walking into the sunset, who do you replace him with?  Figure that out and you will have one nice team for the next decade.  My guess is that this is a team that will try to trade up in the draft in 2019 to grab the top QB available.  You have the pieces you need on defense, you have the young players on offense in Gordon, Allen and Co.  Make the right moves and you will be competing in a tight AFC West.

Chiefs– They spanked the Patriots in Week 1 of 2017 and looked like a monster before they basically shrunk in the light of pressure towards the end of the season.  They have a young QB they think is the next big thing in Mahomes.  Add in a great WR threat in Watkins, Hill and Kelce with the amazing Kareem Hunt and you have a team that needs you to make some smart defensive moves in order to dominate soon.

Giants– Considering both Manning and Rivers were drafted next to eachother, you shouldn’t be shocked to see this.  Combine that with the idea that you will have Saquon Barkley and OBJ on the same team with Engram?… Wow!  Now you just have to get the pieces you want on defense and replace Eli Manning in the 2019 season.  It will be fun for Giants fans to see this team grow – too bad it in a division with Dallas and Philly.

49ers– They have Jimmy G and a base that is finally looking like a football team again.  It’s about time and not a moment too soon.  You will want to invest in some more pieces and maybe trade down in the next draft to pick up pieces, but they will be a great team with a solid QB guiding them.

ravens– I hate to say it… They are poised to compete every year.  They are still trying to build what they had with Ray Lewis, but now they have Lamar Jackson and a nice TE in Hurst from the Draft.  Add Orlando Brown as a new OL and Michael Crabtree on offense?  You have a powerful set of guys on a team that needs you to add a few pieces at WR and on defense.  They will be fun to build – please take it easy one my Browns.

Bengals– I can’t stand the Bengals.  That said – they are a team to contend with if you can figure out what you want to do with your QB and potentially with your LB corps.  They have good CBs and a solid DL.  Add a healthy AJ Green and few other pieces and you will have a team to fight for the playoffs soon.

Raiders– Carr and Cooper had a bad year.  You will need to find a couple HBs to replace Lynch as he declines.  You also need to get some guys to compliment all world LB Khalil Mack.  Do these things and you will have a great team.  Your time to build is now – do it wisely.

SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS –

For those of you that either have a favorite team that happens to be great or you don’t want a challenge in building a team in 2018, here are the teams to choose.

Texans– Get Watson healthy at QB and you will have a team that can basically pick up where they left off… to think they will be in this position without having a 1st or 2nd Round pick in 2018 is insane.  However, they have the talent to give every team a headache.  Have fun with this team as they are primed to be great… not to mention, they will have a full slate of draft picks in 2019.

Rams– They are all in… flat out.  Trading out of the first and second rounds of 2018 in order to add pieces to contend now they are stacked.  The Rams have Suh and Donald on the DL.  Add Gurley, Goff, Cooks and the rest… They won’t be a surprise in 2018 like they were in 2017.

Packers– You will still have Aaron Rodgers.  That says enough in most cases.  However, you have a team that drafted a great CB in Josh Jackson, a good WR in St. Brown and found a way to sign Jimmy Graham.  Figure out how you want to replace an aging defense pretty fast because after 2018, who knows what will happen with this team. You have the bonus of an extra first round pick in 2019 as well – so be daring.

Panthers– They had a down year, but the Panthers are set to come back in a big way.  DJ Moore was a great pick for the late first round.  Couple the pieces that basically haven’t changed since their recent Super Bowl run and another smart 2019 Draft and off season – you will be in the playoffs in 2018 and for the next few years.

Falcons– This almost isn’t fair.  The Falcons now have Calvin Ridley AND Julio Jones to go with Freeman and Ryan.  Put that together with a defense that continues to over-perform in some ways.  Draft a couple defensive studs in 2019 and this will be a Super Bowl winner in the next season or two.

Cowboys– The Cowboys should compete in the NFC East and for a Super Bowl this year.  They have tremendous talent on both sides of the ball and Elliott will most likely seek to punish every team he faces after such a bumpy 2017.  Look to draft a couple WR and a DB in 2019, maybe a DL/LB to top off a dangerous situation on Defense… The Cowboys will be good if they stay healthy.

Eagles– They have to be the favorites to win it all again in 2018 and contend with Wentz being the all world star Iggles fans hope he will remain after a terrible injury in 2017.  This team will be a monster to contend with.

Steelers– They got robbed in 2017 by a bogus replay decision.  The Steelers will have to decide on a replacement for Roethlisberger in the next season or two.  Find a way to bring back Bell and you will have a team destined to push for the title.  You will want to find a way to replace the huge hole left by the Shazier injury.  Win now and make smart moves – otherwise this could be a two year window… win now and build or win now and lose later – it’s a risk, but if you’re smart about your moves it could be a long term WINdow.

PAtriots– They seemingly always have a spot here.  The Patriots have a window that is closing on Brady and The Hoody.  If you can find a way to replace Brady and keep the rotation of talent on this team you will have a Super Bowl contender in 2018 for sure, but the tough decisions will dictate your future winning and that might mean parting ways with Brady in the off-season.  The 49ers did it with Montana – I believe in you!

Saints– Much like the team above, as goes the QB, so goes the season.  The Saints will be leaning heavily on Kamara and their WRs to help carry the team with Brees as Ingram is suspended (probably not in Madden… if it’s in the game, it’s probably not politically correct to put in the game).  The Saints picked up a risky DE prospect from UT San Antonio and gave up a 2019 First Rounder to get him in Davenport.  If he is as dominant as the Saints hope he can be this will be a monster.  If not, you better find a way to get a good replacement for Brees and in short order.

Vikings– They added Kirk Cousins to a team that got smacked in the mouth by the Super Bowl champs.  The Vikings are a team that was truly a QB away from possibly being in the Super Bowl.  Their defense is second to none and their offense now has a real threat and talent in Cousins.

Jags– That escalated quickly!  The Jags took a huge leap in the same way the Browns are hoping to this year.  This team is stacked in terms of young talent on both sides.  Fournette, Bortles, Ramsey, etc.  The Texans will put up a hell of a fight, but this team is a threat, no doubt.

Tear It Down

The moment you were waiting for… these are the teams I think need to be gutted in some dangerous ways.  If there is anything left to gut.

Lions – I don’t know what the hell they are doing.  Trying to build from the trenches is a good idea, but if you don’t have answers elsewhere, what’s the point?  This feels like a team destined to win three games this season.  I wish you luck in your pursuits.

Colts– I challenge you to trade Andrew Luck and build this team in the vision of someone with courage to be crazy.  This team desperately needs a direction that doesn’t involve a guy that has a bumb shoulder.  I will be curious to see what his injury rating looks like in Madden 19.  You should be ready and willing to trade him to a team that is crazy enough to take his contract and give you a 1st Rounder or maybe even two of them for a chance to win now.  My suggestion – see what you can get from the Broncos.

Titans – But they were in the playoffs?!?  You’re stupid… maybe.  I see this team as one destined for the biggest regression from 2017.  A new coach that I happen to like in Vrabel, doesn’t change the fact that I think Mariota is destined to be an above average game manager that gets injured more than a starting QB should.  I love their situation with Henry at HB, but outside of him and a WR corps that is destined to be average at best – this is a team to look at rebuilding in YOUR image.

Jets– Sure, you have Darnold.  You also have basically nothing else on offense.  You also need to figure out what you want to do on defense with Jamal Adams as your loan star.  It will be a long ride and you should probably be willing to part ways with Powell and a couple guys to get some picks.  Take your time – you will need it.

Bucs– What in the hell happened to this team? Winston took two steps back and there doesn’t seem to be much on the horizon.  It might be time to part ways with McCoy and Desean Jackson in order to get some picks in 2019 and 2020.  Make a couple moves, tear it down fast if you must, because there isn’t much of a reason for this team to be so bad.

Seahawks– It’s time to tear things down on defense.  You have a good piece in Shaq Griffin.  Outside of that, this legion of boom has died a slow death.  Make this quick and gut the players you can for whatever value you can get.  Wilson is all world at QB and needs a lot of help.  Do this and the tear down will be fast and painless.  You might even make the playoffs regardless!

Washington– What in the hell?  They picked up Alex Smith, sure… okay, that was enough to make people applaud quietly.  Who else do they have?  What else do they have?  Gruden will be fired after this year and you should do it before you start 2018 in Madden.  Washington is a team that needs a new everything… starting with Owner.

Dolphins– They are a team with as close to nothing as you can get.  Tannehill will be gone soon.  Fitzpatrick was a good pick in the first round, but chances are good that he will be chasing guys everywhere as the Dolphins go 2-14 at best this year.  Gut the team for what you can and focus on 2019 and 2020.

Madden 19 – They Finally Get It Right On Franchise Mode

After years of begging through my own little piece of the internet EA Tiburon has finally granted some of my wishes.  The release of a new trailer and information about CFM has me anxiously waiting for the game to release in August.  This is primarily due to the inclusion of editable draft classes as well as a slowly overhauled draft experience.  Add the refinements to player progression and regression and you have a mode that might keep CFM gamers interested for more than a few months.  Madden-19-Gameplay-1024x576

Here is a quick rundown of the released information on CFM.

Schemes – 

While this isn’t actually ‘new’ here are some of the factoids coming out.

  • Offense has Spread, West Coast Zone Run, West Coast Power Run, Vertical Zone Run, Vertical Power Run, Multiple Power Run, Multiple Zone Run, Run and Shoot.
  • Defense has Base 4-3, Multiple 4-3, Base 3-4, Multiple 3-4, Tampa 2, 46.
  • Players will have indicators to show scheme fit (this goes for the draft as well) which is an improvement in terms of simplification.
  • New Player Ratings will also take effect for some positions – QB has Throw Under Pressure, Break Sack, Break Tackle, WR has Short, Medium and Deep Route Running, and O Line has Run & Pass Block Power/Finesse, and Lead Block.

Archetypes – 

  • Each position has four archetypes (this is much like MLB The Show 18 in Road To The Show, for those that need a reference point)…
  • An Example = QB can be Scrambler, Strong Arm, West Coast or Field General (you will notice that these were part of scheme fits over the last couple years of Madden).
  • An archetype that matches a scheme gets an XP bonus.
  • Each Archetype has its own build under the hood to dictate ratings growth and bonuses (this will be solved on day one).
  • Some players will have multiple archetypes (unknown if this will be something a player can progress in or be customized into in draft classes, or otherwise).
  • Skill points can build any archetype, this includes building a player into the archetype you need in your scheme if he doesn’t fit at first (this seems unnecessary).
  • You can choose Team Captains, which probably means nothing in terms of actual gameplay – the players will have the patch on their jersey.  (This is another place for the implementation of my ideas come into play… see below).

Progression –

  • Players that match schemes progress faster than players that don’t match (this is a bad sign for fans of progression based on production).
  • Skill Points will give random bumps to player ratings.  This is a good thing for online leagues and for those that enjoy some semblance of balance in offline CFM.
  • You can no longer dictate player traits through XP use!!!  This is huge in terms of stopping the abuse of creating a team of under-the-hood All Stars!
  • Development no longer has ‘Slow’, but it still has Normal, Quick, Star, and Superstar.  A small amount of players are supposed to have Superstar development and it can still change from season to season.
  • Gameplanning and Training is still a thing… Why?  Who knows.  I have yet to see anyone actually use this as if it were necessary or enjoyable. (Hint to EA Tiburon – Make every game during a CFM season an event unto itself… give us a reason to gameplan or train our team to face someone like Antonio Brown, OBJ, JJ Watt, etc… then maybe we will focus on this!)
  • Regression has been changed to continue the fix from Madden 18 that saw Speed Ratings for players take a nosedive after hitting 30 years old, etc.

CUSTOM DRAFT CLASSES!!!!!!!!

  • Can you tell this is my favorite Madden news in over a decade?!
  • You can choose which draft class you want in Week 3.
  • You can use a pre-made, created, or imported draft class.
  • Determine hidden gems, etc. (This kind of thing is a possible game breaker and it makes me wish they would overhaul scouting to make it a bit more realistic and/or difficult to find a gem in late rounds.
  • The Draft presentation has been changed a bit, there will be a stage with players being introduced, which is a cool add-on.

The custom draft class feature is a huge move that truly opens the mode for more realism.  Some might say that it opens up the game for people to scope out Superstar potential or create some sort of all star class laced with a bunch of top talent.  Sure, if that is what you really want – go for it.  For those of us that want to create a better spread of talent with more realistic depth – it seems that our wishes have been granted by the CFM genie.

Some questions persist and once they can be answered they will be featured here on NoobTubeTV.

  1. Has scouting been overhauled in any way?  CFM needs to add a Scouting Department to every team just like coaches and coordinators.  I would like to see more depth in this regard and make it more like MLB The Show – whether it be a letter range, number range or a simple +/- rating for players.
  2. Player Morale and Personality needs to play a larger role.  There should be badges or sub-categories for players of all types.  Someone like Tom Brady should have ‘Leader’ and/or ‘Competitor’ qualities, Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. should have ‘Diva’ traits or the like.  It is an integral part of the game to have these types of players.  While I believe a lot of this kind of labeling would be denied by the NFLPA in terms of labeling players as anything other than a position player – it would add much needed depth.
  3. Team Schemes still need work.  The idea that a team is going to have the same desired setup for certain players at certain positions is questionable at best.  For instance, the assigning of a Left Tackle with Pass Blocking to a Vertical Zone Run scheme leaving the rest of the line as Agile is oversimplifying a scheme at best.  This also doesn’t seem to take into account whether or not a QB is left handed – the entire scheme would have to flip in this regard – have they done that?  I think not.M19_CFM_Scheme_Fit_01
  4. User Persona is something they could add to this game and almost make the suggestion for Morale and Personality a thought of the past.  Give the user a chance to choose or create a persona within the game.  Owner Mode should have labels such as Tyrant (Jerry Jones), Clueless (Jimmy Haslam), etc.  The same goes for coaches if that is the route you want to take.

As more information is released expect to find it on NTTV!

Madden 19 Franchise Mode – Only One Direction To Go

As we near the NFL Draft in a matter of days it is starting to leak out of the rumor mill that Madden will be focusing on ramping up the quality of Franchise Mode.  Hopefully this means we can expect a bit more depth in terms of how the mode is represented in a few different ways.

madden-nfl-15-screen-19png-e0e9e8
Because EA is the Johnny Manziel of sports game developers.

They have tried to change how free agency works from the Auction system a few years ago to making offers before advancing and hoping the guy you wanted chose your low-ball offer.  Between bad financial logic and worse player and team logic – Madden hasn’t exactly been a beacon of realism for wanna-be GMs.

They must find a way to push gamers in this mode to eventually spend their money on veterans without looking at every 28 and 29 year old player like they are going to become Stephen Hawking at the age of 30.  Yes, there is certainly a youth movement in the thinking of NFL General Managers.  Yes, this means that drafting top talent over keeping ‘aging’ players is a common strategy.  It doesn’t mean that Madden should get a pass in making players in their late-20s and early 30s relevant in Franchise Mode.

On top of the age nosedive in terms of player ratings, the other aspect that needs the most help in Madden is the Draft and Scouting.

Scouting has quite simply been a lazy effort by the developers.  It isn’t difficult to find the superstar players later in the draft.  It isn’t hard to find the busts in the first round.  By the time you figured out the scouting dynamics in Madden 17 you were more than okay with the point reversal in Madden 18 that was supposed to make that aspect more challenging.  All you need to do is look for the first rating to be a B+ or higher and you are on your way.  It’s not rocket science… and that makes for an insanely boring experience that is arguably one of the most involved and talked about in all of sports.

They must address the lack of immersion in our experience week by week.  There is ZERO immersion in Franchise Mode from an overall league perspective.  There is no feeling for the salary cap when it comes to managing the team.  There is no excitement in Franchise Mode… NONE.  The Super Bowl has been the same stupid celebration and musical experience for years.

Madden 18 was the final straw for me as a Madden fan in a lot of ways.  It was the only Madden I have stopped playing before the Super Bowl was over.  It says more about the staying power of Franchise Mode than anything else.

Madden Ultimate Team has killed what made Madden a fun experience for those of us that don’t enjoy online sports gaming.  I am hoping that Madden 19 will make good on their chance to convince me to buy this game as a pre-order for the sake of giving my annual guides for all of you out there.

Madden 18 CFM and Gameplay House Rules

House rules for Madden 18 are here for you to start planning your Madden NFL experience!

Madden 18 – Franchise Mode and Gameplay House Rules

As most of the Franchise Mode players out there know, sometimes we have to make our own unwritten rules in order to keep our team from dominating the CPU in every facet of the game.

Draft Picks – It has always been easy to horde draft picks as the CPU becomes dumber as the seasons go on.  This year, we saw the Browns end up with three first round picks.  It doesn’t happen often, but it also happened – so I understand the view of ‘I do what I want to the cognitively disabled CPU.’.

This year will be the toughest draft house rule set I have ever made.  Also, I highly recommend you create a Franchise Journal in order to track your yearly performance.  I will be posting updates of my own Franchise story this year.  It helps with immersion and also to keep you honest in your franchise!

  • Trading Down – You can trade down three total times during the draft.

  • Scouting and Draft Board – You must fully scout every player you begin scouting.  This will keep you from seeing the first rating being a C+ and moving on to the next guy.  It will also limit how many sleepers you can find every year.

  • Big Board – You must draft according to your big board.  This will make it necessary for you to plan through the season and off-season.  You must also take it upon yourself to rank your big board through the season and build your draft each year.

    • Top Three Rule – While you don’t have to pick the top guy on your board in any situation you must select from the Top 3.

    • Sleeper Rule – You can choose any player up to one round before their projected position.  This will keep you honest and give the CPU a chance to take these sleepers before you get the chance.

  • Draft Pick Limitations – You can only hold a limited amount of picks in each draft.  The rules for your draft pick amounts are somewhat complicated, but they will make for a better experience.

    • Maximum of 13 picks in any draft

    • You can have two first round picks for up to two years in a row

    • If you end up with three first round picks during any draft you must trade one of them to a division opponent for their lowest pick in the next season’s draft.

    • You cannot draft two QBs in two consecutive rounds

    • You cannot draft more than two QBs, HBs, or TEs in any draft

Free Agency and Re-Signing –

  • You can only sign one 90+ OVR free agent player per season

  • You can sign one player outside of each of your schemes during free agency bidding (1 on Offense, 1 on Defense).

  • You can make ONE offer to any player on your team with 90+ OVR during the re-signing period while in regular season.  If they turn down your offer they must be allowed to test free agency.

  • QB Specific – If you have two QBs with 80+ OVR you must allow one of them to test free agency when their contract expires.  If both are on expiring deals you must choose one to re-sign.  This will allow CPU teams to have access to quality QBs and drive realism.

Spending XP –

After finding a serious issue with some ratings creating a broken gameplay experience in Madden 17, which will most likely be the same issue in 18 (WR Release in particular) I have decided to stop spending XP manually.  XP will also be set to ‘Every Four Weeks’ to allow for a better development system for all teams. 

Trading –

During the pre-season you are permitted to make a maximum of four trades (one per week).  Two trades can involve acquiring draft picks.  Two more trades can be made that are player for player.  Any player you acquire must have a lower OVR than what you are giving up OR if they are a greater OVR they must be over 30 years old.

GAMEPLAY HOUSE RULES

  • Play Calling – You must pick a play from as many formations as possible during each game.  I recommend choosing a new formation for every play or every other play. This will add a tremendous amount of depth to your experience and how you play each game.

  • Hot Routes – You can use one hot route per series.

  • Money Plays – If you find a play that works often enough against the CPU that it becomes a go to play, you must either remove it from your playbook or stop using it immediately.

  • Running Up The Score – If you are up by 21+ points in the fourth quarter you must switch to Chew Clock and choose a running play while rotating new HBs as well as a new QB in the final two minutes.

  • Passing No Switch – Do not user control a WR until after the catch has been made. This will add realism, challenge, and more animations! 

  • No Huddle – This can be used only on the first drive of the game and during the final two minutes of either half.  It cannot be used to keep other personnel on the field outside of the situations above.

  • 4th Down – You can go for it if you are losing the in the fourth quarter or if there are fewer than five seconds left in the half and you are within fifty yards of the endzone.

One Step Forward – Madden 17’s Franchise Mode Takes Two Steps Back

It has been a rough ride being an NFL fan and having one option for video game representation.

Madden NFL has had a bit of a roller coaster existence since becoming the monopoly that it is.  Franchise Mode has been the primary victim when it comes to changes to the game.  It has also been the elephant in the room when fans are asked for feedback from EA Tiburon.  It seems that the Franchise Mode/CFM/CCM team has finally realized (for Madden 17 at least) that customized rosters and real world features are key to people enjoying Franchise Mode.  There are a couple changes new to Madden in general but the real changes seem to be the things that have been featured before or needed since the monopoly took effect.

Coaches Are The Least Important Aspect of Madden Franchise Mode - This isn't a big decision... it's a non-decision.
Coaches Are The Least Important Aspect of Madden Franchise Mode – This isn’t a big decision… it’s a non-decision.

First, the things that truly matter the most when it comes to Franchise Mode improvements.

  • Full Player Editing – This isn’t new as they might want people to believe.  It existed in Madden 12 and provided much needed customization for rosters.  The fact that this is available to online leagues is also a nice touch.  To add that any changes will be shown in the Transactions is a nice and necessary perk for league members as well.  The biggest curiosity for me is whether or not we will be able to edit Draft Classes before the draft or if we will have to draft players that are once again less than stellar prospects and edit them all to resemble legitimate rookies.
  • Practice Squads are finally entering the Franchise Mode universe.  It was always puzzling to me that EA would make claims about not having the resources to put certain small aspects into the game.  This was one of the many that was apparently a matter of time. Now we can have players on a practice squad as long as they have played fewer than two full seasons in our respective Franchise Modes.  It will be nice to know that I can take a flier on that 7th Round WR that can run like the wind but catch like Simple Jack.
  • Dynamic Development is one of the aspects that I am skeptical of when it comes to Madden.  They have tried and failed to implement all sorts of development and player growth from season to season.  Now they are putting the trait of Development into the front of how players grow in ratings.  The broken season awards system is going to play a strong role in how players are moved up and down in development traits as well.  It really makes no sense for players to be pre-rated in this way as Slow, Normal, Quick, and Superstar.  Make every player start each season with the same baseline and allow the season to determine how each player progresses.  Sure, Tom Brady is and has been a Superstar, but he isn’t too far from being done.  Then we have players like Robert Griffin III that have played up to par in their rookie year and then either fall apart or get injured.  Maybe he comes back and becomes a superstar after this season.  His slow development rating might say otherwise.

The other changes like ‘Big Moments’ and the ‘score ticker’ make me scratch my head.  I love the idea of a score ticker and believe it has been needed for years.  This doesn’t change the fact that Franchise Mode has yet to make it feel like anything more than a single team focus that misses out on an entire story outside of your own franchise.

Big Moments are rather insulting as it looks like they want to make the user think that every moment is a big moment.  ‘First Drive of the Game’ is probably the least impressive in-game ‘Big Moment’ I have read about.  The non-game Big Moments are laughable.  Injuries, Free Agents and Coach Re-Signings aren’t big moments.  Signing a coach is the least important aspect of Madden and they call it a Big Moment.  Give me a break.

Madden does seem to be making strides this year.  I am actually excited about it this season.

As jaded as I am and seem to always be about Madden, I am truly excited to play it this year.  I just wish 2K would shock the world and release a new football title.

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 Finally Releases Typical Hype Reel

So, EA Tiburon has finally unleashed the marketing train that they hope will catch football gamers by storm.  The best (and worst) part about these trailers is the graphical presentation.  What makes it awesome is rather obvious… go ahead and get the “Ehr Mah Gehrdddd!  He Looks Realzz!” out of your system.  Yes, sure – the faces of players in sports games is cool.  We always dreamed about it back when we were playing 8-bit Tecmo Bowl back in the day and now it is finally here… again.  Perhaps someone should remind you about the Madden 06 trailer that was complete garbage and meant nothing at all from the graphical or gameplay aspects of the actual game..

Now, another thing to consider is that after you watch the cut-scenes that might seem cool the first four times you play Madden during a game – you will most likely start smashing the A/X button repeatedly to play the actual game and skip the repetitious cut-scenes with “Ehr Mah Gehrdddd!  He Looks Realzz!” faces of players.  Then, it is back to seeing the back of the offensive players’ helmets and the front of the defenders from about 60 ft away if you use the default camera angle.  So, it begs the question… Why do we care about digitized faces with sweat, etc?

There are bigger things for EA to worry about and there are bigger things they need to do to convince people to buy their annual roster update.  One of those things is to show the gamers that it is more than simply a roster update (if it is… it probably isn’t).  Will we finally have morale in franchise mode?  Will the challenge system be worth a damn?  Will there maybe be some sort of injury system that makes sense?  Dare I ask if they will put in realistic injuries for once?  Maybe even *gasp* real-time injuries?

Coverage of Madden is about to start going off the deep end shortly and any/all of the new additions will already be in the process of being finalized.  This means that any ‘new’ ideas we might have will have to wait for Madden 16 at the earliest.  Outside of the couple hopes I listed above, I have to say that I have a slight hope for Madden 15 this year.  While I have yet to decide on a next-gen console, I am hoping to find a reason to get one.  Hopefully Madden 15 will actually prove my skeptical nature wrong this year.

But I doubt it.

Is Madden NFL Still Relevant?

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This is one of the more risky topics I have covered for the sake of this site and the popularity of all of my Madden NFL coverage in recent years.  That being said – I am having a difficult time these days wanting to write or cover any sort of news from the Madden NFL front, let alone anything positive about the series.  It has been a journey of ups and downs covering EA’s football games and it has finally come to a point where I am questioning whether this title is worth anything more than obligatory coverage for the sake of web traffic.

It Is The Same Game – Every. Single. Year.

Madden doesn’t change.  There are roster updates and a few tweaks to gameplay, sure.  I don’t expect Madden to become a baseball game or something either.  While continuity and general similarities should be expected in a sports title I can’t help but wonder where the innovation has been over the last decade.  The last Madden game that really changed anything was Madden 2005 and that was the hit-stick that does nothing but aesthetic value for hits that cause no real injuries to occur (most likely because the NFL demands that such ‘violence’ not be realistically put into the game).

People Still Talk About NFL 2K5

Nothing should make a developer more upset than people still preferring another title that hasn’t existed for ten years over their current game.  While NFL 2K has a cult following among a relatively small group of sports gamers, it is still worth pointing out that not only do they exist, but they are quite devoted to never buying a Madden game.  Even if we were to look at All Pro Football 2K8 from this perspective.  It still holds up to the improved graphics and physics of Madden because it plays like a real football game.

EA Sports and the NFL Hold Madden Back

This might be the biggest issue that causes Madden to be such a dull experience.  EA Sports has exclusive rights to create the NFL in video game format for consoles.  This means that their goal has nothing to do with the game being innovative or realistic.  It has everything to do with the bottom line and whether or not profit is being obtained annually.  While this is clearly the goal of any ‘successful’ business, it remains to be seen where this will ever lead to any real innovation in the future.

The NFL has come under fire in recent years for concussions and injuries from the danger of playing football.  Rather than coming out and saying that the game has risks and standing firm on the grounds of the game, they have bowed under the pressure of lawsuits that have started to slowly ruin the game.  We have gotten to a point where in Madden, they can’t allow realistic injuries to occur because the NFL doesn’t want to market that aspect of the game for fear of being sued some more.  It is a farce and the political correctness is hurting the game on consoles and on the field.

The Community Is Dying A Slow Death

Madden 10 was the last time I was truly excited about a Madden title; and it was also the last time I pre-ordered the game.  The interaction with Ian Cummings and Co. made me feel like I actually had a stake in the game before it was released.  They took the opinions of sim sports gamers seriously and really tried to make the game realistic.  To their credit, they did make a damn good game that year.  There were a lot of signs that started to point in the direction of Madden becoming truly innovative and a game for ‘real football fans’.  That died in Madden 11 and 12 as EA tried to once again dumb down the game for ‘casual gamers’.  Again, it was and will always be about the bottom line rather than innovation.

The aspect that EA seems to have forgotten is that the sports gaming community is their primary ‘Day One’ sales target.  In this regard, they have been losing more and more customers over the last four years because they have taken away those interactions and decided to make the same game every year.  Madden 13 and Madden 25 are virtually the same game.  The commentary is the same garbage and the terrible gameplay and AI is still there.  The CPU still calls a timeout when they have the ball at the 1:01 mark and they still call the same pathetic plays at the end of close games.

Do you really think that this would be the case if there were some sort of competition?  Better yet, do you think these issues would still be around if EA still took an active approach to seeking the input of the consumer?

Where do you stand?  Are you sick of Madden yet?  Are you still playing and older version or a 2K title?

Comment below.