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labguy's Blog
Wishlist for Madden 16 (emphasis on CFM) 
Posted on March 16, 2015 at 11:43 AM.
Been following @Shopmaster on Twitter and appreciating his efforts to keep Madden’s Connected Franchise Mode (CFM) relevant in the eyes of EA’s developers. I have been playing in Madden leagues since the spawn and merge days on the PS2, so needless to say CFM is a big priority for me. I am in a league (BFSL) that plays year round. We are currently heading down the backstretch of our 4th season, so I think I have spent enough time with the current game to re-visit my wish-list for Madden 16. Not everything is specific to CFM, but a heavy portion is. So if you are so inclined, please check out the breakdown below.

1. Ratings – Every year I bang my drum for ratings to matter more. I do think EA has made some strides in this arena, but there is SO much more that can be done. Specifically WR's versus the defensive secondary. Football is a game about match ups. Leaving an average CB out on an island all day with a stud WR should be able to be exploited without having to rocket catch or manually trigger animations. On the flip side of the coin, I don’t think an average WR should break away from a stud CB who is in man coverage almost every time he runs a crossing pattern.

2. Run/Pass commit – I still like the run/pass commit feature. I just wish it was implemented better. Run committing makes your defense look like an arcade came. I thought the goal is to be sim. I also still find my LBs falling for play-action when I pass commit. If you hit me with a draw on 3rd down and I pass committed then I expect my LBs and Secondary to respond slowly, so I get what I deserve if you break off a nice run. On the flip side though, I expect my DL to ignore ball fakes and get after the QB and my LBs and secondary in coverage to also ignore the run fake on play-action and get their drops into coverage. I just wish EA would spend some time fine tuning this system and help make the play-calling a little more of a chess match in this regard.

Presentation (my wishes remain unchanged for this area of the game)
1. Would love multiple broadcast teams that each have their own unique intros and overlays. Maybe bring Madden back for playoff games or just the Super Bowl. How sweet would that be? Surely in this day and age this is possible.

2. Highlight show - Can't believe a weekly highlight show is not available for online and offline franchises.

3. Milestones - I do not play an offline franchise, but I know these are missing in the online games. Announcers never mention if a guy is approaching 2,000 yds rushing, if he made the Pro-Bowl the previous year, if he was a #1 pick, etc etc.

Connected Franchise Mode
1. Disconnects - Most people in the online franchise (BFSL) I play in have the fastest residential internet service available in their area and it is a league rule that all connections are hard wired. With that said, we all still experience disconnects from time to time. Nothing more frustrating than having a 3 point game get terminated late in the fourth quarter after both players have invested the time to play. I do not understand why EA can not create a solution to allow the two users to pick up where the game dropped. Usually only one opponent has dropped the connection. Let the other user take a snap shot of where the game was and then give them the option to re-start from that point.

2. Playbooks

a) Stock playbooks - I would like to see playbook selection restricted in online franchises. You have to use the playbook that is associated with your coordinators. To be fair not everyone is on board with this so make it an option for the commissioner as he starts up the league. I am sorry but every year it seems a few playbooks are most popular. Not every team in the league should be able to run Chip Kelly’s Eagle offense.

b) Custom playbooks – Similar to the idea above with limiting the choice of a stock playbook, if custom playbooks are allowed then the user should be restricted in the formations and types of plays he can add to his playbook based on his coaches.

3. Coaches- As I stated in the past years, coaches should be treated like free agents and bid on. Not only head coaches, but offensive and defensive coordinators as well. See my example above about Chip Kelly’s offense. Say Chip’s contract is up or the offensive coordinator under him is available, how much fun would it be to have a bidding system similar to free agency? To make it really good though (which I admit would take some programming effort) external factors like the team’s talent level or location could play a factor besides just the contract length and money offered. Say Chip takes into account you don’t have a good QB already on your roster so he takes a little less money to coach elsewhere. This would really add an entire missing dimension for the CFM.

4. Draft boards - Not everyone can make the draft. It is just a given that a few guys have to work or are not available on draft night. They should be able to set up a comprehensive draft board. How this is not in CFM now is beyond comprehension.

5. Scouting – I actually have a ton of ideas of how scouting could be more realistic (think combine, player visits/workouts, and interviews). I am going to choose to leave this as is for now though because I realize EA is going to continue to devote much of its time to MUT and they are not going to put much energy into CFM. So if I had my preference, I feel the aspects added to coaching and playbooks I suggested should take precedence.

6. Award voting - League members should be able to vote for awards.

7. Player confidence – Another in a line of good ideas by EA, but implemented poorly. Not every guy in a league has the same skill level. Why punish guys year after year when they have poor record?. So they get to draft higher, but those top draft picks play at a fraction of their levels because their ratings suck because of the confidence factor. And they never get a chance to rebound because the confidence doesn’t reset after the season. It is just way too negative and dramatic. There has to be better balance of positive and negative outcomes and there HAS to be a neutral reset each off-season. If balance can’t be had, then scrap the whole damn thing. Too many other areas that need work to devote a ton of time to this. Baffles me how this could have been implemented before a draft board feature anyway.

8. Player progression – I REALLY like that EA has tried to give this elements of a role playing game. I wish though they would do a better job of making it a hybrid system of the old progression based on performance and playing time and still keep some of the XP elements. For instance, I like you can dedicate weekly practice time to individuals or groups and gain XP. This is a nice way to help out a few players without going crazy and letting you have a team of stars after a couple of years. I do think regular players should progress by other ways than just scoring TDs and getting sacks or interceptions though. The current yearly goals need to be scalable based on quarter length and also some XP should be awarded just based on playing time alone. Even if you limit the playing time XP gains to just adding to a player’s awareness level or play recognition level. There is no reason a young 3rd CB playing all year in the nickel should not progress some on his own. Even if his coverage skills do not increase his awareness and play recognition should go up some.

9. Play-calling restriction – I myself and my fellow league members love this idea. EA claims that plays become less effective if you consistently run them, but to be honest nobody I know who plays the game feels this is true. What we would like is an option for the commissioner to use when setting up a CFM to have is the ability to restrict a play call to a set number of times per game (a setting for each offense and defense would be preferable). Once a user calls his favorite shotgun play 3 times it now becomes grayed out on the play-call screen and he can no longer select it. Again this is not something every league would want, so make it an option for the “sim” leagues. I think the players in the league I am in do a wonderful job of mixing up their playcalls, but having a built in mechanism to assist would be great. I’d think it would be a good “fair play” feature for online games as well.

That is all I have for now. Perhaps down the road I will create another entry specifically on my ideas for scouting. Thanks for reading. Please comment with any of your own ideas for the Madden 16.
# 1 acemafia04 @ Mar 23
I like your list, I would like to add to it.

Player Regression
Do the majority of skill players have to have their legs fall off as soon as they turn 30? In my CFM, Eddie Royal went from mid 90s speed to speed 76 after advancing from the Super Bowl to the offseason. A lot of us think the drops in speed is too drastic and overblown. Speed may be one of the most important attributes in Madden, but these players become virtually untradable when they're 29 because everyone knows they'll be slower than a defensive lineman at the end of the season.

Defensive Graphics/Tackle Cone/Etc
Along with confidence, this has to be one of the most busted features in the game. Of often am I closing in on a guy thinking I'm going to make a key stop, only to see my defense run right past the ball carrier, simply because his "vision cone" is staring in one direction. Even when I strafe, the defender almost chooses not to react because of the cone. Not to mention there is no way to turn it off in the 3 CFMs that I am in.
# 2 labguy @ Mar 24
Good call on the player regression. Totally agree.

We don't have the tackle cone enabled in our CFM, so I think it is an option the commissioner can set when the league is created.
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