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.
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.
As we approach the release of MLB The Show 18 I believe this is a discussion that needs to happen for the sake of many that will be starting a Franchise Mode in hopes of seeing a more realistic performance from their batters. (This does not take sliders into consideration as I believe that has more impact on what happens after the bat hits the ball… this isn’t totally the case with User Timing and Foul Frequency – just go with it.)
I have been using Zone Batting for most of my MLB 17 experience. After finishing a couple seasons with two different teams I felt that Zone Batting providing me with more personal immersion in some ways, but it took away from other aspects in terms of franchise mode in general.
Zone Batting (for those that don’t know about it) is when the user controls the eye/swinging zone (Plate Coverage Indicator – PCI) of the batter in the predetermined area of the strike zone with the left analog stick. As the pitch approaches the plate the user then moves the PCI to the correct area and either swings with the Right Analog Stick or presses the swing button of choice.
The other batting style I have used in the past is Directional Batting. It takes the PCI out of the picture completely for the user. Using this type of batting you simply press the left analog stick in the direction you’d like the batter to hit the ball if contact is made. This leaves much of if not all of the actual contact and overall hitting to be determined by the batting ratings of the batter in question. This is why I feel that a debate is necessary in terms of which aspect provides a more simulation experience from the point of view of batting.
This year I will be conducting my franchise batting exclusively with Directional Batting. As much as I love to have my team dominate and win with a lot of home runs, etc. I also think a Franchise’s longevity is based on the immersion of player development and performance. More ratings come into effect when you take away the user implementation and I argue that that is a good thing for modes that generally require a bit more thought in team building and player ability than user ability.
Taking the use of the PCI out of the picture is only a part of what I will be doing. This season I will also be taking away the ability to ‘guess the pitch’. Again, I want my players to perform based on their abilities and other such things that will hopefully cause me to take a bit more time in deciding who I want to draft, sign, release, and/or trade.
I managed to take the Athletics and Reds to a 2017 World Series primarily because I was good enough with zone batting that it didn’t matter what a batter’s ‘vision rating’ was. I hit over 30 home runs with 6 of my 8 position players during the Oakland Franchise. I am excited about the prospect of taking multiple seasons to build a team into a contender. I have yet to decide which team I would like to use. Up until this point, zone batting made it a bit easier no matter who was on my team. Directional batting will change everything this year, and I look forward to sharing a new NoobTubeTV feature with all of you once MLB 18 comes out.
—- As an aside, I fully support using Zone Batting in Road to the Show and in all Online formats as the interaction is a bit more user focused in and of itself.
We have been focusing on Madden 13 and football gaming quite a bit over the last few months. One of our more recent articles was about the complete subjectivity in what makes someone a “Sim” sports gamer. After considering my own personal views and then looking at my own advise to the NTTV community (…have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to…) I was left to wonder what the other people within the sports gaming community thought about this rather trivial but somehow vital prescription for how games should play and be played.
it was at that point that I came across this post on operationsports.com from community member, Big FN Deal –
“…I will suggest this again, for all the good it will likely do. We are all aware that the game is not tuned for optimal realism, it is tuned for a “fun”/realism balance. So they should release two separate optional tuner sets, one “balanced” for casual Madden play, the other for the “hardcore” tuned for optimal realism. …” (click the link for the full post)
What made my mind explode was the mention of the word ‘FUN’. In case you don’t remember what that is; it was that thing you used to do when you were younger and playing games that made you laugh and enjoy the moment because you were just having a good time. You wanted to smile your way through whatever happened and breath in that fresh air of innocence.
Then something happened… you can’t pin-point it, but chances are good that it happened when you started playing high school sports and the coaches started screaming at you and you thought every moment was live or die. You stopped wanting to have fun and just wanted raw, unadulterated, anger inducing competition. You stopped smiling. You stopped playing the game for fun. It became a chore to even go home and relax with a game of Madden football because there is NO WAY someone can rocket catch in real life!
The Definitive Movie Reference
This clip can be viewed from a two sports gamer perspectives/comparisons…
1-Casual Gamers That Play For Fun (The Players) VS. Sim Gamers That Play Strictly For Realism (Coach Boone)
Hopefully you are laughing at this point, because you are supposed to be… if you are angry, that is okay too. Just remember to think back to when you used to have fun. Once upon a time when there was no such thing as a ‘patch’ for the 100-Yard pass in Tecmo Super Bowl.