Madden 16 CFM – Pre-E3 Part I | Confidence, Goals, and HUB

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In a couple of weeks we’ll be heading into E3 where a lot of our expectations for Madden 16 will either come true or fail in some minds in one weeks time.  In my continued effort to help make Madden NFL 16 CFM better (http://cfmmovement.com) I got a chance to talk with developers first hand about the communities wants, desires, must-haves, and wishes for this year’s game which is scheduled to launch August 27th, 2015 but will be on the showroom floor at E3 in a couple of weeks.  It’s still unclear if CFM will be available to play on on the showroom floor (years past it hasn’t), but I do know that someone from EA SPORTS will be talking about the new features going into this year’s game and there will be plenty of coverage on it.

A couple of weeks ago EA SPORTS put out a blog detailing some of the new features in CFM and it was met with some very high praises and some who were very disappointed.  While I continue to think the mode is progressing into what the hardcore guys ultimately want I still feel we are missing some very key elements that the community has been begging for years.

I got a chance to see Madden 16 CFM up close and personal recently and am able to talk about my initial thoughts as I gave my feedback with developers Kolbe Launchbaugh and John White.

Confidence and Regression

Let’s first talk about confidence because that to me is the one question I had going into this year.  I’ve always had the mindset that confidence and regression should have been fixed during the year because they were broken.  So it’s very important before anything else that these two things were fixed in my opinion.  There are two developers in Austin that do nothing but tune stuff like confidence and regression and I feel better about confidence in this year’s game.  I still felt some of the events that make you gain and lose confidence needed some tuning but that’s why I was down there.  I just feel like if you throw 3 INTs you shouldn’t get -3 confidence and if you throw 3 TDs you only get+1 …. to me, this is the balance that the confidence system needs.  A lot of people in the community feel confidence just needs to go away but I just think it needs tuning, need balance. They have also added some pre-season activities in Game Prep so that you can improve your team’s confidence before the season starts.  You also get a little bit of xp everytime you complete a play.  So if I run up the middle with Alfred Morris and get tackled by Bobby Wagner, both Morris and Wagner will get a +1xp appear beside them in a faint rising animation.  Reminds me of how players in RPG let you know when you get xp.  I know guys out there who are not fans of RPG are upset but I feel it does nothing to take away from the game and gives you an indication that your player did do something and got rewarded for it.

The other issue was regression and I didn’t see any very bad regression patterns.  Again this is a tuning issue and if we can get it tuned right early on, then I don’t think it will be a problem in Madden 16 CFM.

 

Dynamic Drive Goals

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The other reason why I think confidence will be fine is because you can gain confidence through dynamic drive goals as well.  Some people in the community feel as if the dynamic goals will just mean the rich will get richer but I never felt like the Dynamic Drive Goals were taking over the game.  So yes, when you see it initially, you’ll try to change your offense to try to complete those dynamic goals but as I continued to play I didn’t care too much about them and it didn’t influence how I called my plays.  There are over 600+ Dynamic Drive Goals according to John White and they vary depending on the score and situation of the game.  Here are just a few examples of the Dynamic Drive Goals I experienced during my time with the game:

1. Put a Bow on it! – Get two first downs to end the game (Presented at the end of the game when you have the lead and there is little time left.)

2. Get into a Rhythm! – Complete 6 passes with RG3 to start the game

3. Run the ball 3 times with Alfred Morris

I just remember the title of a couple but for the specific player Dynamic Drive Goals you’ll get anywhere between 50-100xp on average and/or +1 or +2 confidence.  So even people that lose the majority of their games can still gain confidence during the game.  This should help balance out the confidence system in my eyes.  I have also heard people say the better players will just rack up on XP with these Dynamic Drive Goals and I’m here to tell you that you will not be able to complete everyone every game.  In fact it’s very hard sometimes on defense, cause they want you to get 2 sacks with a specific player, or they want you to hurry the QB 4 times, or get a 3 and out, or even get a ball hawk interception by your DB.  So with it only being 100xp on average at the most, that’s still not going to be enough alone to separate the higher tier people and with the confidence, it will help balance things out so guys that lose 5 straight games don’t feel like they can never get out of the hole.

 

The Goal Ticker

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The community is in somewhat of an uproar about the bottom ticker at the bottom of the screen that shows a players goal throughout the game.  Now I agree with the majority that I would love to see scores from around the league and other news scroll across the bottom of my CFM screen but I’m not going to boo boo this idea too.  I think this is a great idea and if they are able to add live score updates and news it would be phenomenal, but again I’m ok with this.  How many times have you completed a game and found out that your RB was two yards from completing his goal?  I know I have and with this ticker it tracks your game, season and milestone goals after every significant play is over.  Yes, at the beginning of the year it’s a little crazy to see that your guy is 800 yards away from a season goal, but as the season progresses you will see exactly what you need to meet those goals and may give your guy an extra carry to get it done.

 

Player Goals

Player goals have been re-worked as well to provide a new “quest-like system that chains goals together week to week.”  This didn’t really catch me as something big but when you notice that you don’t start off gaining a lot of XP.  For instance, in Madden 15 my weekly goal for CJ. Anderson (DEN) was “Get Two Combined Rush & Rec. TDs”.  If I completed this I would get 880xp and another 660xp if I got a combined 200 yards.  In Madden NFL 16 Alfred Morris was only asked to rush for 45 yards to complete his weekly goal to get 90xp.  Then his next goal because I completed the first one was to get 75 rushing yards. So as your player progresses, so do your weekly goals.  Again, I kind of felt this was maybe trying to keep the balance of boosting your players to a minimum, but I think more time and a closer look at goals is needed to see if this is effective over a course of 5+ seasons.  Even the season goals are a lot lesser than in Madden 15.

“As goals are completed or missed, player confidence will fluctuate. Some focus on negative stats such as fumbles and interceptions, and are tied to regression.”

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New CFM HUB and Navigation

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In many of the interviews you have heard Kolbe do over the last couple of weeks, you’ve heard him talk about getting the casual fan into the game.  The new UI hub may be designed for the casual fan but it gives us hardcore guys exactly what we need. One of the first thing you’ll notice is a very good looking CFM main screen once you get into your CFM.  I love the new timeline that let’s you see where you are in the season and when the Super Bowl and Draft are but there are some other things I’d like to see added to this timeline that I’ll discuss in another article.  Overall I thought the Main Hub was really done well and provided a number of tasks including upcoming game details, game prep, trades, players on the block, progress players, resign players, upgrade team, coaching XP, Scouting Points Available, and Game Prep Hours.

Last year Kolbe worked on MUT and was instrumental in coming up with the new UI improvements in that mode and you can see some of those same MUT UI characteristics make it into CFM this year.  The most noticeable is the new team management screen where you can manage your whole roster of your team from one central location.  When talking with John White he mentioned that from play tests and feedback that the majority of CFM players spent most of their time in roster screens.  In Madden 15 it was definitely a hassle when you would look in your depth chart and wanted to release a player and had to back out and go into another 2 screens to do this.  All of the functions you would do with a player has been incorporated in a drag and drop option and it works very well.  I’m a little worried about this being sluggish when the game ships but when I played around with it it was very fluid and I liked the + and – next to players who have received confidence boosts as the season progresses.

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The player card that you can access from this new visual depth chart is awesome.  You can progress your player, check out his goals, add to the trade block, check out his stats, trade, release and edit.  You still can’t see what teams that player has been on since entering the league but that was definitely one of the things we put in our feedback.  Now you can’t see all of a player’s attributes but you do see the one’s key to that position which is helpful.  Again, I can’t tell you how more efficient the new menu and visual depth chart are in Madden 16 CFM.

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” … we looked at usage data on what people were doing in the hub and how people were spending their time.  Everyone loves their roster and their depth chart, they spend a lot of time there. The Ultimate Team has a nice visual depth chart. You go and you watch Hard Knocks which I’m a huge Atlanta Falcons fan of so I was really into Hard Knocks.  In the Hard Knocks episode they showed the GM and the coach sitting there, looking on their big TV looking at their visual depth chart of their team.  So it’s a very authentic thing for real life coaches and owners to pay attention to.”

                                                                  – John White – Madden NFL 16 Designer (CFM)

I’m not one to write long winded articles so in my next article coming out Tuesday I’ll talk about my thoughts of the new scouting and the draft in Madden NFL 16 Connected Franchise.  Until then, please feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Shopmaster or comment below if you have any questions.  I will do what I can to answer everyone’s question.