Hey guys, long time lurker of this sub. I'm a huge fan of single-player gaming these days, and that includes PvE style sports simulators. I originally posted this to r/madden (obviously was appropriate lol), but I think you folks (assuming some of y'all are sports fans, or maybe you'll appreciate the approach in general idk) may be interested, so here goes:
Apologies in advance for any awkward phrasing/typos, I’m currently experiencing the damn “fog” as a residual effect of a recent covid case. Fair warning, this is a longish text post (TL;DR at bottom).
I’m a 25-year-old engineer living in the mid-atlantic, and have always been interested in networks and systems (both in my engineering work/studies and just in general); basically I’m weirdly really into inputs and outputs lol.
I recently had a bad covid case sidelining me from my remote office job for a week, and in that time I only had energy/focus to sit on the couch and watch tv and play video games. I love Madden, buy the new version at least every other year, mostly just because the NFL is my favorite of all the American sports leagues and this is the official video game.
As many current and former madden players will likely tell you, EA is supposedly trash when it comes to making Madden. I used to be in that boat, but after this week of playing madden full-time basically (checkout my upcoming madden youtube channel: c4fatguy), I learned that EA actually made maybe the best (or at least the most popular) strategy video game of all time.
I like to play franchise mode mostly, and as an eagles fan, I used to focus on building my dream birds roster. So going into Madden 21, the version I just recently purchased, I was anticipating doing just that but decided to start a franchise using the a fantasy draft prior to the upcoming NFL draft (that way I can see who the eagles select). I used that functionality combined with player-created downloadable future draft classes to build my dream roster in general (as the dolphins, s/o my grandpa who was a fan and those throwback unis are cleeeean).
Right now, my team is led by Justin Fields (with a playstyle that’s basically a suped up Jalen Hurts lol, go fucking birds baby), Waddle (please Howie get him or DeVonta at 12 I beg you), and Micah Parsons (Id be cool with this for the eagles too lol). I also have a stacked o-line anchored by Quenton Nelson and Tristan Wirfs.
I’ve always dreamt of a way for me to take my dream rosters I build for the eagles (that are also semi-realistic due to drafting and cap management), and having the in-game results match the realism of the GM aspect. I always played “simulation” rather than “arcade” (I think that’s used for online and ultimate team but I rarely play those) mode, but for some reason I could never get my games to turn out realistically at all. It turns out the option was always there, I just didn’t have a basic understanding of the x’s and o’s of NFL style defensive coverages.
Luckily there was a way for me to crack this code: practice. I went into the free training mode and basically taught myself how to read NFL style defensive coverages (turns out the base x’s and o’s ain’t that hard to master with a little training, still very much a layman when it comes to technical details like footwork tho lol), and also mastered the audibling and hot route pre-snap functionalities in order to make what I’m certain is a scheme that has never been tried in the NFL before (lol).
I basically run a power zone scheme using my stacked line, but using my Peyton Manning-esque brain (if only I had the height, build, work ethic, and reaction time smh), I now read the defensive coverage pre-snap and have created a hybrid west coast-power zone quadruple option scheme, where Fields has the option to hand off or scramble with 2 receivers running different level slants across the field in the direction of the scramble, which Fields (i.e., me) can choose to throw to or just run it himself. I can then adjust the gameplay sliders after committing to this scheme to make the in-game experience as realistic as possible, which I had never done before as I never properly made these connections before.
You may be asking yourself at this point “ok c4, I get that your whole thing is setting up a simulation style madden franchises with game results that are realistic, but how is that possible if you’re so good on offense?” Well the answer is simple really: defense.
My defense ain’t that good, decent line that can generate a pass rush but the LBs/DBs are no bueno. Luckily madden also has an answer to this: in game coaching adjustments. Basically, since you only control one player on defense (and not a decision maker like the QB on offense), you’re seemingly in charge of stopping an NFL style simulated offense of 11 guys while controlling only one. But, using the in-game coaching adjustment functionality (which EA does not properly advertise in the game at all smh), I can tell my LB and secondary position groups to play conservatively pre-play call, and also audible into different coverage styles in-game pre-snap (e.g., press vs lax coverage). I can also simulate specific snaps after making those adjustments (I love madden, but is there anything more boring that playing first and second down defense against the cpu? lol). By combining these functionalities, I now only play the exciting parts of the game, offense and 3rd down. I basically have the “what-if “ Chiefs with Lamar instead of Mahomes and a “bend-don’t break” defensive philosophy, and depending on the skill (i.e., attributes of the players) of the AI opponent offense and defense, I end up with games that are high scoring but still close.
So in short, all that you need to do to make as realistic an NFL simulation as possible in madden is focus on all the functionality the game has to offer (i.e., take a look at the system from all angles) and focus on the inputs and outputs. So I guess my question for EA is: what gives?
I know EA has implemented trainings and other pre-game coaching preparation options (such as schemes as discussed above etc.), but there was nothing close to enough tips/information directly available in game to do what I accomplished this week. I literally needed to put in the equivalent of a 40 hour work week to fully figure this all out. The way I see it, Madden now has 3 target demographics:
1) Ultimate team/online players who enjoy competition against live opponents. 2) Players who like franchise and would like to accumulate good stats for players they like (this was me before this week). 3) Players who would like to set up a simulation style Franchise mode as accurate as possible to real life (regardless of difficulty, commit to one and the schemes you like then adjust sliders as needed for realism) both pre-game via scouting, player development, and coaching adjustments, as well as users who would like the in game experience to match said realism. I belong to this group now which I truly believe is an untapped demo for EA to hit, not just in madden but for all EA sports video game series.
In future versions (probably starting with Madden 23 at the earliest), can you please do your job EA and conduct proper market research into potential target demographics, and implement functionality in your game that appeals to all types of players? It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved the way I see it.
TL;DR: EA does a terrible job of advertising (at least coaching/in-game, I’m already aware of the sub for GM-style players who simulate in-game action) the simulation functionality of Madden, and doing so in subsequent versions will benefit both EA and Madden fans alike.
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