Online CFM (Connected Franchise Mode) in Madden has the potential to be the best sports video game experience available. 32 owners, players, or coaches facing off over a virtual NFL season for a chance to earn the prestigious Super Bowl title. In the process, realistic NFL events such as trades, injuries, and declining ticket sales factor into the decisions Madden players are faced with. Online CFM is a cross between the trash talk and trading of fantasy football, an MMO through “leveling up” your players as they earn experience, the sports simulation of football game play, and the drama of reality TV when “rage quit” owners dump every player on their roster into free agency.
Despite the potential, the focus of the development team continues to be the Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) mode and milking that revenue cash cow for all it’s worth. Even worse, they have began making a push into Madden e-sports tournaments that feature lobby-style (non-sim) players that run the same plays over and over. Is this really the type of football game play people want to watch?
While there were some improvements to Madden 17 franchise mode we were still left wanting more. Here are the top 3 improvements we need for online CFM in Madden 18.
Draft Board Needed in Online CFM
One of the most challenging problems of running an online CFM is scheduling games. Most leagues have found it makes things easier to use an app such as GroupMe, Facebook chat, Discord, ect. Trying to schedule a time all 32 league members can attend the rookie draft is an even greater challenge. One way to help alleviate this problem is allowing players to create a pre-ranked draft board. If Yahoo Fantasy Sports can do it, I know EA Sports can.
The scouting screens currently allow players to be added to a watch list. A simple draft board would choose the highest projected player from the watch list if the owner is not online to manually make the pick.
An even better draft board would let owners pre-rank the players by rating them from 1 up to 50 or 100 in the order of preference. Another option is to let players choose which position they want in each round and the CPU would draft the best available in that position. This way players who can not make the draft still get a chance to build their team.
The only work-around for this has been to have someone else log-on to the absent owner’s account to make the pick for them. While this is a solution, it is not the optimal solution.
Revamped Free Agent Bidding Process Needed in Online CFM
The Free Agent bidding process has become a snipe-fest. Commissioners typically announce an off-season schedule and there are three rounds of free agent bidding. In Madden 17, top free agents began signing earlier in the process rather than waiting until the last week which is how it went down in prior versions of Madden. What happens now is just before the commissioner is scheduled to advance to stage 2 of free agency, anyone who is available to be online will bid up the price of the free agent they want to ensure they win. Since the top bids are listed and ranked by the number of points, anyone can bid slightly more than the 2nd ranked bid to win.
The FA bidding points are mostly based on the money but there should be other factors that determine where the player signs. Other factors such as the coach signing influence adds a slight increase in points but should the highest bid always be the determining factor? Shouldn’t there be some randomness?
The point system should be replaced and maybe it shouldn’t be so blatantly obvious who is winning the bidding. There are plenty of idiots in CFM leagues that have no concept of math, salary cap, or signing bonuses who spend whatever it takes and then want to know why they don’t have any cap space the next season.
Companion App Improvements
The companion app for Madden 17 wasn’t made available until December. DECEMBER! By that time, most online franchises were well underway. Since the basic app has been developed hopefully it will be ready to go at launch for Madden 18 with additional features.
Commissioner Controls – I would like to see a few more options for the commissioners to adjust league settings such as turning injuries off before advancing for sims.
Stats/Standings/News – Where are the stats, standings, and league stories/Twitter feed that were included in the old CFM website? Have they just decided that DaddyLeagues is the best alternative?
Mobile Drafting – This is another way to address players not being able to attend the draft. Everyone who access to the app should be able to make their draft picks from their phone.
Spend XP – Being able to level up players on the fly would also be a cool feature
What Improvements do you want to see in online CFM?
Have better ideas for improvements to online CFM in Madden 18? Please post them in the comments and SHARE this page so we can get more feedback from the Madden community. Let’s make sure our thoughts and ideas are heard by the developers so the franchise mode doesn’t get left behind.