Fans of Madden’s franchise mode finally got a chance read about the new features and improvements to this year’s game in a blog post on the official website. While there are plenty of minor fixes, the biggest addition is the draft board, something fans have been wanting for a long time. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new.
Franchise Draft Board
The draft board is the biggest new feature and online franchise players will especially appreciate this. In the past, players could add draft prospects to a watch list but the CPU would not auto-select players from this list. That’s changed and now, if for some reason you can’t make the draft, the CPU will draft for you based on your draft board. One concern I have is that the CPU might not follow your board exactly how you ranked the players which is unfortunate.
There is also improved draft logic so the CPU will not draft for the same position multiple times in one draft. There is nothing more frustrating than having a pick wasted on a position you don’t need.
Whether you miss the draft in your multi-user league or sim past one playing solo, the CPU will make decisions based on your draft board. For a more authentic drafting process, we’ve added a max drafted player per position limit and a cooldown per position when the CPU is drafting. Expect the CPU to draft more authentically in Madden 18.
Some of the EA Game Changers got an exclusive change to check out Madden 18 and posted videos of the game last week. I highly recommend subscribing to MoonlightSwami’s channel if you are a franchise fan as most of his videos have revolved around franchise mode tutorials. Check out his tutorial on the draft board:
Changes to Injuries
There are a few big changes to injuries this year. One of the most notable being that off-ball injuries to positions such as the o-line are now possible. In years past, having depth at the o-line wasn’t really necessary. This will add a new layer of managing your salary cap and maintaining adequate back-up offensive lineman. This will be especially important for the center position since having a center with high awareness will be very important to the overall rating of your offensive line. The awareness rating of the center counts twice – for the center and also for the lowest tackle or guard in your group of lineman.
Besides the off-ball injuries, the frequency of injuries has been increased while the severity of injuries has been decreased. Hopefully this means you won’t lose stars for entire seasons quite as often and instead will just have to deal with guys missing 4-6 weeks.
- Reduced rate and severity of all injuries.
- Added off-ball injuries to gameplay as random events.
- Tuned injuries to allow for more variance among position.
- Reduced the frequency of severe injuries to be more in-line with real-life injury occurrences.
- Reduced relative frequency of long-term injuries of six or more weeks substantially.
- Increased relative frequency of short-term injuries of two weeks or less substantially
For fans who want a true sim franchise experience, these changes to injuries make things more realistic.
There have been quite a few tweaks to XP and progression. The main ones are in the quote below. Most importantly the costs of physical ratings such as speed and strength have increased quite a bit. Notice in the screenshot above that it costs 30,960 XP to increase Sidney Jones’ speed just one point and he is only 21. This is going to make it quite expensive to upgrade physical rating and it becomes even more costly for players over the age of 27.
- Decreased age-related bonus XP by 25 percent for youngest players. Oldest players unchanged.
- Pro Bowls give more experience to offensive linemen, wide receivers, and defensive backs.
- All awards are capped at 32,000 XP.
- Increased WR seasonal and weekly XP goals.
- Increased QB, OL, CB, and DE season XP goals.
- Adjusted DE season goal requirements, making it easier to complete.
- Training rewards have been doubled for superstar and quick players.
- Increased XP cost for physical ratings — Speed, Strength, Acceleration, and Agility.
- Increased physical ratings cost ramp at higher ratings. Upgrading from 95 to 99 in a physical rating costs about 200 percent more than last year.
- Younger players get an approximately 33 percent discount on physical ratings until age 27.
- Reduced Elusiveness cost to align with similar ratings.
Wondering if it’s worth it to buy the development trait? Check out this article: Should you buy the development trait?
Changes to Regression
Some of the changes to regression are controversial. The biggest one is that older players, over the age of 30, will not regress on speed due to age. Players that have a speed rating above 90 will not fall by 2 points every year like they did in Madden 17. The blog post says this is true for the WR, CB, and RB positions. These players are still subject to other ratings such as awareness, especially for under-performing teams.
I view this change as a positive so star players don’t become irrelevant simply because they are too slow to start. Last year, some of the slower, possession type wide receivers such as Larry Fitzgerald would be 80 speed after a season. He will start at 84 speed this year and if he makes it another year he should keep that rating so he doesn’t become completely unusable.
Retirement Age Adjustments
This one had to be addressed since Tom Brady is now 40 and will be starting another season. QB’s can now play longer and possibly won’t retire quite as early.
Some of the other changes include updates to commentary, CPU trade tuning, and free agent contract offers. They also announced the companion app, which can be used to update the DaddyLeagues website, will be returning. Hopefully it will be ready to go soon after launch so we don’t have to wait until December again to use it!
What are your thoughts on the changes to franchise mode this year?