How To Draft In Madden

NFL_Draft

With the NFL Draft right around the corner and speculation growing on what every team will do once they are on the clock we are going to shift to our only option of NFL Draft Day in gaming.

Madden’s draft and draft presentation has improved over the last few years.  Are there some short-comings?  Sure. Regardless, today we are going to focus on how to make your team better through the draft in Madden.

First Up Is Scouting.  Personally, I am hoping for a drastic change to this in Madden 15 as Madden 25 basically lets you ‘buy’ individual scouting reports for players throughout the season.  Here is your best bet for good scouting.

Spread The Love – I am all but convinced that if you put more scouting into one prospect over others that the AI takes that into account and will have a team swipe that player from under your nose.  This happened to me with numerous players (and drafts) while running my Browns.  Make sure that you are scouting only the initial ‘Grade’ for players in order to make it cheaper (and more realistic) to get an idea of their THP and THA.

Awareness (?) – If you take a look at our last article you will see that awareness is key in terms of how a player performs.  One of the things about the AWR rating is that while it almost always makes the player play better – you can also upgrade this rating with relative ease until you get into the 80’s-90’s.  I personally make it a house rule to never scout awareness.  Why?  Because I have always felt that it is a window to the Overall Rating and I never liked knowing it until after the draft.

Position Specific Ratings – This is and should always be the first thing you look at when it comes to any player.  Why is it third on this list?  Mostly because I feel that the categories above are more holistic in terms of how to look at scouting as a body.  When it comes to position specific ratings you can simply check out the article posted for Madden 13 (as we said, not much has changed).

Finally we come to the actual draft.

Write Your Own Big Board Down – For some reason, you can’t rank your favorite players scouted in Madden 25.  I can promise that every team in the NFL does this as it is basically the most important aspect of the draft outside of determining your weaknesses/needs.  Get a piece of paper and pencil and at the end of the season (after free-agency) go look at your scouting screen.  Take the time to write down and RANK your favorite players as they fit your needs.  You should take into account where you think they could be taken ahead of you and whether you would want to trade up for them if you must.

Determine Your Needs – As you play through each season you will start to find that certain players might become your favorites.  On the other hand, you might start noticing how many times your QB is getting sacked because your Right Guard is such garbage.  These are the moments when you need to either write down on your big board (see above) or take a mental note as you enter scouting/the draft.  Do you really need that QB?  Do you really need another 6’4″ 220lb WR (that seem to over-populate the Madden draft classes)?  Decide what you need and stick to that list.  If you don’t see anyone of value – trade down.

Trading Down – This used to be a more broken feature of Madden games in the past.  Trading down should always be an option if you don’t see a player you truly want/need in the draft.  If you think you can take that player only a few picks later you might want to consider trading down.  On the other hand, you might want to reconsider how far down you trade if you do see players you want.  The way Madden’s drafting logic seems to work it is as if they are reading your mind and that player is always gone just a few picks from your own.

Strike While The Iron Is Hot – One of the biggest lessons I learned in Madden (and in real life) is that if a team likes a certain player and truly wants him on their team – even if he is projected a round later… or two?  Take him.  Madden is a video game and you should enjoy these risks.  There are numerous prospects that are ‘projected’ to go in the 3rd or 4th round that always get taken by the CPU in the 2nd or 3rd round every single draft.  If you see ‘Leon Sandcastle and realize that it is the Deion Sanders clone projected to go outside of the first round and you need a CB… Take the guy – please.  This will be the same for Jerry Ricecake in Madden 15, I can almost promise this.

Top Needs of Madden Connected Franchise Mode (CFM)

There are all sorts of needs when it comes to Madden from a game-play perspective.  As many of you know by now – I almost exclusively play Offline Madden Franchise Mode.  There are so many aspects of the NFL that keep us interested all year and today we are going to focus on some of the things that Madden (or any other future football game… Are you listening 2K?) needs in Franchise mode.

Benjamin TD

Player Contracts, Morale and Agents 

If you have paid attention to any of the contracts signed by NFL players in the last few years you will see that many of these contracts are not nearly as simple as just throwing out a number and having it accepted or declined.  Madden has always had a problem with making contracts too simplified.  In that regard it has also made Franchise Mode exceedingly easy from a management perspective.  You can always low-ball a player or get someone on the cheap if you know your way around the salary cap.  Here are a few ideas on what would make this a bit more realistic and more challenging as you advance through multiple seasons.

  • Tiered Contracts – We should have the ability to front load or back load contracts for players just like in real life.  (NBA 2K has been doing this for years)
  • Incentive Based – There have been numerous contracts in recent memory laced with performance incentives.  (See Ben Tate’s deal with the Browns for an example).  This could be something that gamers need to focus on as they are building their teams around specific players.  You want that young WR you have made into a superstar to sign an extension?  Make it worth his while with money up front and incentives based on performance or staying healthy.
  • Battling Through Injuries – In this regard I like to see it being somewhat tied to the incentives listed above.  If a player tweaks his hamstring or maybe has a sore shoulder and needs to play a certain % of snaps to earn an incentive.  A good example of this is the contract of Jason Campbell for the Browns in 2013.  He did an admirable job trying to tough it out and play.  When it comes to staying healthy and getting paid to play a certain % of the snaps – you bet that is an important aspect for some players.
  • Morale – Something that never ceases to annoy Madden gamers is the thought that many features have been added and taken away as the wind blows at EA.  Morale was in Madden 2005 and played a large role in realism.  Players in the NFL have serious egos and morale swings almost daily.  In this case, a simple morale bar would be nice to see when it comes to making players happy to be on your team.  In that same breath, it should effect their performance as well.
  • Holdouts – Yet another part of the game that was removed is player holdouts.  This happens quite often and has at times caused many teams to lose important players or show them the money they demand in order to stick around.  This needs to be back in the game.

Another part of Franchise Mode that has been getting better incrementally over the last couple years is the NFL Draft.  As we enter the final week before the NFL Draft (in real life) there are many things that are becoming more apparent when looking at the draft and scouting in Madden.

  • Big Boards – I’m not talking about the main screen where they have thrown up the top players based on the CPU’s programming.  I am talking about as the GM/Coach/Owner making your own Big Board.  This could be as simple as taking a lesson from the NCAA Football team when they made a recruiting board for up to 35 players to recruit.  In this manner it should be expanded quite a bit (maybe to 50-70 players) so you can work your way through the draft like real teams do.
  • Measurables and Grades – I am  sick of the simple scouting method of paying to find exact ratings.  At most there should be grades or maybe a rating range made available through scouting.  When it comes to the combine in real life it is the biggest part of the pre-draft experience.  I want to see 40 times, bench press reps, interview notes, etc.
  • Coach Input – If you have seen the movie Draft Day you will know what I am talking about when I refer to Denis Leary’s portrayal of the Browns coach that basically tells the GM he is quitting if he takes a certain player or doesn’t help him fill the missing pieces in the draft to fit his system.  This is very important needs to have a greater presence in the game (perhaps Coach Morale as well?)
  • Scouts – This is something that is desperately needed in Madden for the sake of realism.  It would be great to not only streamline the process but also to add some variation to how players are rated based on what qualities that scouts have.

Top Rookies Gamers Will (Ab)Use In Madden 15

While we still have two weeks until the NFL draft and everything about it is uncertain, it is with almost total certainty that a lot of fans are curious if their team will draft certain players and game-changers.  This is quite literal in the case of Madden 15.  So, who are the players that will most likely jump up the depth charts and be instant starters?  Better yet…  Which players are gamers going to trade almost everything to get on their team in Madden 15?
manziel-cutout#1 – Johnny Manziel – Face it, Madden is and always has been about speed and Madden 2004 showed that when it comes to having a speedster at QB your team will almost be unstoppable.  On top of Manziel being a fast QB and simply running around with him, Madden now has the read option and Manziel will be a monster to deal with in that way as well.  The Texas A&M prospect and former Heisman winner will be the most hyped QB since Tebow.  The question is – Will Johnny Football suffer the same fate as Touchdown Tebow?

 

dri-archer-campus-union#2 – Dri Archer – He ran a 4.26 40-yard dash in the NFL combine.  Who cares if he is only 5’8″?  Archer is going to be moved to either starting WR or HB on Madden 15.  All you need to do is hot route him in the slot and watch the amazing Madden arcade gameplay do the rest.

 

NCAA Football: Missouri at South Carolina#3 – Jadeveon Clowney – This guy is going to be moved to LE and beat RTs in Madden almost every single play.  For years Madden has had an issue with terrible blocking and especially on RT/LE interaction.  Clowney has the athleticism to take advantage of Madden’s atrocious gameplay.  Look for him coming off the edge on almost every passing play in Madden 15.

Madden 25 Cover – Barry Sanders

Sanders Madden 25

For the second year in a row, Madden fans have decided to curse the Detroit Lions.

How you can curse a team as dreadful as the Lions is beyond me.  It hasn’t stopped them from ‘voting’ Barry Sanders to be the next cover-guy for Madden.  Comment below and let us know who should be on the cover in your opinion.

 

Madden 25 – The Hype Train Is Leaving The Station

Now that we are getting ready to start football season in the minds of most NFL fans with the coming NFL Draft this Thursday there are a few things we can start sorting out when it comes to what Madden 25 will be pushing from the marketing end of the annual title.

The first thing we can plan on is the inclusion of some sort of ‘interview interface’ when it comes to CCM.  This is primarily due to the fact that NHL 13 is taking up where NBA 2K has been for a couple years now.  The idea of interacting with the media and having a simulation experience

It has been twenty-five years since John Madden demanded a true simulation football game. We are still waiting on EA Sports to provide us with one.

isn’t really new but EA is starting to take more of 2K’s features to heart.  My personal hopes are that Madden’s CCM (which is still going to be in the next iteration) will feature an interaction for people that prefer to be a ‘coach’ rather than a single player.  This will add depth to a mode that was off to a decent start last year.

Better physics and refined tackling are something that people have been clamoring for ever since the 360/PS3 released.  Last year we got the Infinity Engine and got to see some interesting animations play out (a lot of Gumby motions, especially).  Regardless, we can be almost certain that Madden 25 will have more refined player physics and tackling animations assuming they keep working with the same engine.  This leads us into one of the more intensely discussed topics on hardcore Madden forums – OL/DL interaction and blocking in general.

While it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a true end to ‘suction blocking’ it has been mentioned for NCAA 14 that there has been serious work put in towards improving blocking decisions and interactions.  This has been highlighted in discussing the inclusion of a deeper CPU intelligence that focuses on second-level blocking.  What is ‘Second Level Blocking’?  Second level blocking is basically any blocking that occurs after an initial block has been made.  So, if the Right Tackle blocks the defensive end and then starts running up the field – they will actually look for the next opponent to block rather than running blindly past a defender that will be looking to bring down the ball carrier.  Sounds like something that should have been in the game for years, right?  EA Sports isn’t exactly on top of things to pay attention to what seems like fundamentals sometimes.  Hopefully they will make good on the improvements in blocking for Madden 25 as this will be a positive direction for the direction of the gameplay in general.

 

Madden 25 and Infinity Engine 2.0

As many sports fans finish watching the Final Four tomorrow there will be a new direction for their attention to go in the coming weeks (assuming they are NFL fans).  The NFL Draft is this month and while there aren’t any real high profile ‘must draft’ prospects out there there is plenty of hype to be started for some teams and especially for Madden 25.

NCAA Football 14 just announced through their typical trailer promo that it would have Infinity Engine 2.0.  While this isn’t much of a surprise as Madden had it first (last year), it is something that should make Madden fans wonder what is coming this year.  Now that EA has started to push yet another cover vote (as if it really matters) they are once again pushing the old players into the mix with a bracket that seems to be played out after the Peyton Hillis cover debacle – why I voted for him to curse my

I wonder if they will still keep brittle QBs damn-near invincible...?
I wonder if they will still keep brittle QBs damn-near invincible…?

Browns is beyond me.

Now that the Madden 13 cycle is almost over (most Madden fans will put this game on the shelf until July, when NFL Camps grab their attention and they can’t help themselves) we are looking to the next iteration of the same game we buy in droves every August.  With NCAA’s announcement there are some things we can all but assume for Madden 25’s improvements.

Better tackle physics are something that happen incrementally every year for Madden.  However, now that the NFL is making rules against certain player centered moves (tucking your head when running the ball – IE, The Truck Stick) we will most likely see a trend for Madden to be even more toned down as time goes forward.

Another hope for Madden is better O-Line/D-Line interactions.  This has as much to do with physics as it does with how the game is programmed.  It has been shown on numerous occasions that Madden’s blocking system is broken at best.  There have been multiple occasions in the past where I have had a punter or kicker mysteriously jump into the O-Line and easily handle a 350 lb defensive lineman.  While this goes beyond the infinity engine, it is something that should be made apparent regardless.

Pass Interference has been non-existent in Madden for almost the entire generation of 360/PS3 titles.  There are high hopes that Madden 25 and Infinity 2.0 will actually have this often-called penalty fully functional this year (on both sides of the ball).

As far as gaming goes in 2013, it has been a surprisingly dull start with little to look forward to in terms of games and even the new consoles.  It seems that we have hit a bit of a lull when it comes to this generation’s games.  Everything is a sequel, prequel or some other sort of half-assed effort with a big name company stamp on it (I am looking at you SimCity).  I always start out my year by saying I won’t buy Madden because it is the same game every single year.  Now that we are firmly set to start draft season, I am sure my tune will change for a few months before we are once again asking for patches the day after the game comes out.

As more Madden info comes out we will have it here for you – with completely honest opinions and reactions.

If you are curious about the roster update for Madden 13 – it is in progress and will be out in a couple weeks.
The draft is often a busy time for roster updating, so it will be a good time to get that work started.

Our Madden 12 Sliders

A few people have sent messages about what sliders we are using/recommending for Madden 12.

Here you go!

That isn’t White Castle’s delicious sandwiches you smell… It is our very own set of sliders… In May no less!

NTTV Sliders/Settings
Settings –
10 Minute Quarters
Playcalling – Conventional
Acc Clock – 15 Secs
Cam – Standard
Auto Sprint and Strafe – OFF
Injury – 15
Fatigue – 55
Game Speed – Slow
Speed Thresh – 5

Penalties
Offside – 99
False State – 54
Holding – 52
Facemask – 55
DPI – 99 (Rarely Called)
OPI – 99 (Even more rare than DPI)
KR/PRI – 99
Clipping – 25 *Down this low because many kickoff returns will get called back because your blockers are stupid.
Int Grounding – 99 (CPU Is Never Called for this)
Rough Passer – 55
Rough Kicker – 99

USER/CPU
QBA – 40/30
PBK – 15/75 *You will have between 2.5-4 seconds to get a pass off most of the time.  Sometimes less, sometimes more.
CTH – 20/55

BRKTKL – 25/0
RBK – 25/40
FUM – 25/50

Pass Defense
React – 10/10
INT – 25/15
PRSH – 40/30

Rush Defense
React – 18/30 *This is being actively looked at.  Stopping the run can be a slippery slope in either direction easy or hard.
BLKS – 18/22
TAK – 25/10

SPECIAL TEAMS
FGP – 50 *With the right wind, you can kick a 65 Yarder with a 99 KPW.
FGA – 50
PPW – 55
PAC – 70 *Makes it a little bit more realistic to get kicks to the corner.
KPW – 50

…and now for the little disclaimer for all the slider/sim nazis out there.

Yes, these sliders have faults and no they aren’t perfect.  They are set up for the user to have an enjoyable yet challenging game.  It may take a little bit of tweaking for you to find your perfect settings, but we hope these are a good start for you!