Over the past few years I have been a staunch supporter of NCAA Football over Madden NFL. EA Sports has truly dropped the ball on both games in multiple ways over this entire generation of consoles (PS3 and 360). Many can blame the glitches and problems on the apparent dependency that developers have on releasing software updates and patches through online interactions. While these kind of ‘hot fixes’ are vital to software (including games) it seems to have left the door open to sloppy development over the course of a year. This isn’t even the biggest problem facing EA’s NCAA Football at this point – it is the college football landscape itself.
In case you haven’t paid any attention to college sports over the last few years, there have been teams moving from conference to conference more than Bobby Petrino switches teams (and women). On top of conference changes and re-alignments, the NCAA has recently approved the move to a new playoff system (finally). This is welcome news to the people that still pay attention to the NFL’s minor league affiliate, but for gaming fans it is a dreaded issue that is too far into the future to allow them any sort of desire to want to invest in more broken games without any sort of tournament or playoff system for college football gaming. Why waste time and money on a game that changes faces so often?
College football is a joke in many ways but when it comes to the hypocritical billion dollar deals for the services of ‘amateur’ athletes with coaches that make millions of dollars a year over networks like ESPN – why is it that the gaming end of things is so strangely broken as well? College football is a farce and NCAA Football is a digital farce that continues the NCAA’s views that making money off of college football is paramount. The broken BCS system is just as broken in the video game as it is in real life but now there are gamers clamoring for something worse than fixing issues that plague a game… they want options.
Gamers want to edit players, names, conferences, polls, ranking calculations, awards, coaches, CPU intelligence and many other facets of their game. This is all simply because that whenever EA Sports slaps together their annual sports titles they are constantly closing off customization more than opening it to users for a better experience. Maybe they should take a look at how much games like Counter-Strike can become huge in the PC market – all because of modders and an active user base.
NCAA Football 13 went from $60 to $45 rather quickly this year. It was as if it was a hyped up movie that hit theaters for a week before going to DVD and your local Big Lots bargain bin. EA Sports has proven over this generation of consoles that there is no level too low for them to stoop in terms of laziness and development to keep your money coming in with their effort consistently falling. This isn’t to say that Madden NFL doesn’t have issues mind you (we will hit that later) – but with the NCAA season coming to a close and many college football fans looking to next year we must wonder – what is EA going to do in NCAA 14 that will keep gamers from thinking “I’ll just wait until next year – if at all.”?
It has been just over a month sense E3 and there are still people waiting to hear more details about Franchise Mode/Connected Careers in Madden 13. There are a few things we can deduce from details that have either been given to the community straight up or through videos that leave you to draw some conclusions. Not to mention the fact that some of the good people that were invited to Community Day at EA Tiburon have given a lot of great feedback.
This is one of the biggest changes for Madden in years. The issue we are facing is that the details have become rather muddled.
Here is a list of answers and a few thoughts (after the facts) so you can have your questions answered.
Is Franchise Mode dead?
In name, yes. In practice, no. Franchise Mode still exists and it will be under the selection of being a ‘Coach’ – you will still have the same control over your team, etc. Also, you will have the ability to get fired as a coach. Everything you have been able to do in Franchise Mode in the past – you can still do in Madden 13.
What about Superstar Mode?
Superstar Mode is still around. You will ‘Be A Player’ and in the process you will only control yourself. You will get to choose plays as a QB, etc.
Legends, what’s the deal?
Legends (Coaches and Players like John Madden and Barry Sanders) are not coming into Connected Careers as 99 OVR versions of themselves. Their presence in Connected Careers is also up to you as the main user to turn them on or off (off is default as of E3).
How does XP work for Connected Careers?
XP is a two tier process –
1– You have to earn it through performance and milestones. However, you won’t be able to earn more XP if you cheat or run up the score on the CPU. (IE – If your goal is a 300 yard passing game in week three for 1000 XP and you pass for 900 yards, you still only get 1000 XP)
2– Leveling up costs increase as your ratings get higher. You will earn XP as you accomplish certain goals, but as you try to make your player either faster, stronger or simply better all-around you will see ratings cost more as you go. (IE – The cost to go from 85 to 86 SPD as a QB could cost you 6000 XP, but the cost to go from 86 to 87 SPD could cost you 7000 XP, etc.)
Do Coaches Matter?
Not really. Coaches simply get put into one of four levels. You can grow your created coach into a ‘Level 4’ but it really doesn’t mean anything. (Unfortunate)
Do player ratings change depending on a team’s scheme?
Yes, there are finally ratings that dynamically change to reflect the player’s overall value to your team or coach and what type of offense or defense you run. A 6’3″ 349 lb DE won’t be valued highly by a 4-3 Defensive Team, etc. This doesn’t mean his ability ratings ‘change’ but his displayed OVR and value to your team will be.
Can I make existing players retire if I control them?
No, you technically ‘stop’ using them. However, if you have a created player and retire they will be removed from the game.
Can I still control all 32 teams?
No, you can only control one team or player at a time.
Is Connected Careers Online or Offline?
It is both. If you hate playing against people online you don’t have to worry about it.
Can more than one person play a Connected Career on the same console?
Can Commissioners kick people out of the league?
Is there online Auto-Pilot?
Can Online Connected Careers have different roles?
Depending on your settings, you can make it so everyone has to be a QB, Coach RB, etc. It is totally up to the commissioner.
Can I play on the same team as a friend in Online CC?
More to come! Stay tuned to NoobTubeTV as Madden gets closer.
A few quick thoughts…
Madden 13 is really depending on Connected Careers being a high quality experience. There are a few things that it seems EA still needs to figure out for coaches especially.
In NFL Head Coach you would be able to say one of a few different things to your players at key moments. This added immersion and actually made coaches important. As well, the idea of a player fitting into a team’s scheme… it should be a coach’s scheme, nota team’s scheme. The Browns have switched coaches so many times in the last decade that the players change as often because they don’t fit what the coach wants to do and how his staff prefers to approach the game.
Making people earn XP to increase abilities is a great attempt to make the game a bit more involved and honest. By removing the ‘Potential’ rating you are now pretty much in charge of proving that a player is as good as you think and they will have to earn every bit of that OVR Rating you think they deserve. The nice part is that it is all on you to do this.
The overall closed nature of Connected Careers is a good thing for this year, but next year it needs to be opened up. There is a danger in allowing people to mess with time paradoxes, true simulation and that little thing called the game’s actual coding. This is something that can be improved upon with a more open approach in the future. Let the beta testers gamers mess with all sorts of things so EA can figure out the issues and fix them rather than avoid them because they are scared of problems with freezing and system crashes, etc.
All things said, Connected Careers is starting to look like a great mode for Madden fans that want to have a nice experience in growing a team or a player as they see fit. Even with some limitations that make you scratch your head.
There was a lot of flack after the announcement that Madden and NCAA Football would pretty much have nothing that brought them together.
For five years they both gave you the ability to pretty much continue the careers of players that you had used, faced or competed alongside during your seasons of NCAA Football. Not to mention the fact that if you downloaded fully-named rosters for NCAA you would also be getting to draft some of your favorite “real” college players in the future!
However, there was a big downfall to that ‘perk’.
When you wouldimport your draft class from NCAA to Madden you would notice that the best players in NCAA that were coming out in the draft would be scattered. Not to say that this doesn’t happen in real life, but the ratings simply didn’t translate well enough to be imported into Madden without scratching your head in wonderment.
This year it is different and it is a good thing.
After many articles and thoughts on the subject of Madden and NCAA 13 it has finally clicked that these games finally get to be games unto themselves. NCAA Football has a hardcore audience that either prefer college football to pro football; or they just can’t stand Madden football and choose to roll with NCAA every year. Regardless of the reasons for one over the other (or even buying both) you are now playing two different games this year and it is a good thing.
Madden’s Connected Careers is a good direction for at least a little bit of change in the formula for Franchise Mode, etc. NCAA has Road to Glory and Dynasty still going strong, but the fact is that you won’t be playing one of these games and wondering if it would be better if you had both of them instead.
Playing a game of video game football can take you anywhere from 40 minutes to over and hour (depending on your settings, play-style and bathroom breaks). It is difficult to play a Dynasty and a Franchise Mode at the same time. If you consider the fact that just in regular seasons alone there are at least 28 games that need to be played; then take into account all of the off-the-field duties you have to do in order to have any depth to your experience… it is one heck of a task to run careers on two different titles.
Madden finally gets a chance to step up and be the big brother the NCAA hasn’t had on this generation of consoles. NCAA finally gets a chance to be more than just a place to get draft classes from for Madden’s Franchise mode.
Either way it goes, this year is different for football gaming and both titles are better off for it.
While it hasn’t been officially ruled out for Madden 13, it has been stated that much of editing players outside of the XP System we mentioned a few days ago isn’t going to be an option when Madden 13 is released. So, it remains to be seen if it is a certainty that it will be removed this year… however, in regards to what this means for the gaming community it is three-fold.
EA Sports has once again ‘removed’ something that was in past iterations of Madden NFL. Which baffles almost everyone that pays the slightest amount of attention to the game. The reason this is so baffling is because EA Tiburon is constantly reinventing Madden. When will they decide that this game is powered by their dedicated community and the edits they make to everything from ratings to playbooks (also not editable this year).
Relying on Donny Moore for roster updates and his subjective ratings changes that vary depending on who had a good game from week to week. The Ratings Czar is going to be on the spot this year if they don’t allow roster and ratings edits. Not to mention the fact that this once again keeps offline gamers out of the loop entirely.
A promising amount of hype is being overshadowed by what is looking more and more like regression on the part of EA and their dedication to allowing the end-user any sort of autonomy with their game.
Madden is still looking like a game to put on your ‘must have’ list in late August, but this latest news is troubling on many levels and it doesn’t bode well for this game from the perspective of roster-editing.