Home
Feature Article
NCAA Football 14: Breaking Down the Recruiting Skill Tree

There is no true right or wrong way to fill out your coaching skills. Some of you will want game management if you have a high ranked coach. Some will start at the bottom of the skill tree and work your way up. This is a mini-guide on the Recruiting Tree only from level 1. This is not a Game Management guide.

Basics

Know the skills. Each skill is self-explanatory, but it’s good to know which skills help you at the beginning of the year, middle, and off season. That will help you determine which skills to acquire and which ones should take a priority in earning.

Understand the Tiers. There are 4 tiers in the Recruiting Tree. Tier 1 is unlocked at level 1. Tier 2 is unlocked at level 3 (but you need to be a level 4 to put a point in it). Tier 3 unlocks at level 10 (but level 11 is when you can put a point in) and Tier 4 at level 20 (again, you need to be level 21 to put a point in).

Tier 1 consists of Locksmith and Scouting.
Tier 2 consists of Royal Treatment, The Opener and The Closer
Tier 3 consists of Pipelines, Letter of Intent and Kitchen Sink
Tier 4 consist of Insta-Commit

Opinion on ranking up

Please note this is my personal assessment of how I will personally recruit. You may find more suitable uses for your style of recruiting.

Tier 1 – To unlock the next Tier, you need to spend 3 points in 1 of the bottom 2 options. Personally, I throw all my points in Scouting. Matter of fact, if you recruit the right way, Locksmith should never really be used (and if it is used… chances are you’re not going to land that recruit anyways).

With 3 points in Scouting, you get 100% scouting reports and a recruits final rating. You get to unlock the Gem or Bust status of the recruit and most importantly, you ONLY spend 50 points per recruit. Without putting points into scouting, you would spend 200 points to unlock their full potential and Gem/Bust status.

With Locksmith, you can unlock a recruiting battle candidate, however, if you’re already locked out, chances are that you’re so far behind in recruiting that you won’t catch up anyways. I honestly see no use to this item in landing a recruit. You will have far more important features to spend your points on.

Tier 2 – When you hit level 4, you can place a point in any of the 3 choices available. All 3 are quality options, and you can’t go wrong with either one. Although, I would recommend The Opener as the first point.

The Opener gives you more recruiting points for the first half of recruiting. The closer gives you more points for the second half of the year of recruiting. Pending on when you unlock this, you should (hopefully) unlock this early in the year to take advantage of The Opener.

Royal Treatment is excellent to get a boost on recruit visits. Since you will have more visits towards the end of the year, you won’t have to worry about a major investment in points early in the skill tree. However, when you notice that recruit visits are coming up, then you will want to get some points in here because the bonuses are significantly higher the more this is ranked up.

Tier 3 – When you hit level 11, you will be able to place a point in 1 of these 3 options. Kitchen Sink is probably the best option depending on when you hit this tier. You will have the ability to give more points per recruit which will help add value to your prospects.

The other 2 options are beneficial only during certain times of the year. Letter of Intent is entirely focused on off season recruiting. There is no need to invest a point in this until very late in the year, right before you end the season. If you unlock this early in the year, spend your points elsewhere… but at the end of the year, this is a CRUCIAL upgrade to get as many recruits you can for signing day.

Pipelines reduces the amount of recruits you need in a state to be a pipeline. The default is 6, and pending on when you unlock this feature, it might be a moot point. You gain 50-100 points for pipeline states, which is not an incredible amount of points during the recruiting process mid year. This upgrade makes it’s best use in Pre-Season recruiting where pipeline state recruits will look at your school more. If you’re already in mid-season, you won’t need to invest too much into this, but before heading into the off season and pre-season, you will definitely want this fully upgraded. Needing only 3 recruits per state is a HUGE boost when you first target recruits.

Tier 4 has 1 upgrade that unlocks at level 20, but you need to be level 21 to enter a point. Insta Commit gives you the ability to have a chance at landing an immediate commitment if you’re the recruits top school.

This skill is ONLY helpful at the beginning of year essentially. When you’re mid-season or late season, chances of finding someone without a scholarship offer that has you as the top school will be rare. So there is almost no use for this item after week 2 or week 3.

BUT, when you have this unlocked during pre-season recruiting and week 1, this is a lifesaver! And a major point saver. Any instant commit recruit means less points you will need to spend week to week on them, and more to spend on the other 24 scholarships. If you max out this perk, you get a 20% chance of insta commits.

Think about this for a second, if you fill your board with 35 recruits who have you as the top school, the odds say you will land 7 of them. 7 scholarships filled in week 1 is an INCREDIBLE boost, which will turn you into a recruiting juggernaut.

Play First Game or Recruit First?

Another fascinating element is whether to recruit first, or play the opening game. If you start at level 1 in recruiting, I suggest playing the opening game, before starting to recruit to see if you can unlock a few points or upgrades for your coach in game. That way you can setup Scouting to level 3 before starting your recruiting adventures.

The subsequent weeks will not have too much of an affect since your point totals per recruit carryover... and by time you unlock The Opener, The Closer and Kitchen Sink, you won't need to worry about whether to play or recruit or not. But ideally, you will want to play your week 1 game before entering the recruiting section at level 1.

Skill Tree Progression

Fastest or Slowest. Again, this is personal preference as to how you want to rank up. Before starting a dynasty, you can select the pace at which you rank up. Keep in mind, this pace will last your entire dynasty and can never be changed.

There are 5 speed levels, Normal, Fast, Fastest, Slow, Slowest. I don’t have any statistical data on the actual XP amounts needed per level, but as a general rule of thumb from level 1:

Normal = 15-20 levels in a regular season, depending on how much you point whore during games. You can certainly make more than this, but if you were to play with “normal” every day stats (you know, no 150-0 games with 1,000 yards of offense each game), you will hit 15-20 levels.

Fastest = 25+ levels. Again, depending on how much you point whore, but you could hit some 30 levels in year #1.

Slowest = less than 10 levels. Again, people can certainly go over those 10 with abnormal statistical games… but in an average environment, you will get about 10 levels on slowest.

Now just to reiterate, there is no right or wrong way of building your skill tree or your progression rate. You control your own path and should determine your own methods. But these general guidelines might help you make the choices that work best for your dynasty.


NCAA Football 14 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 DetroitStyle @ 07/09/13 10:41 AM
Nice write up. I would want to choose slowest. I mean, there's only so many skills and it would feel dumb to max everything out after your third or fourth year. Also I don't think you lose skill points or unlocks so you basically reach max level and then are done.
 
# 2 Dogslax41 @ 07/09/13 10:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DetroitStyle
Nice write up. I would want to choose slowest. I mean, there's only so many skills and it would feel dumb to max everything out after your third or fourth year. Also I don't think you lose skill points or unlocks so you basically reach max level and then are done.
I am playing slowest on my Hawaii dynasty and just hit level 2 in my fifth game of the season with a 3-2 record. Seems like the speed I want to progress, given if I stay just about 500 and play like I have I would expect to finish 10 years as an average to above average coach. If I can coach my way to better teams, stats and performance will go up and so will my levels per season. The skill tree has some major boots in it and I would like to make sure I feel like I earn them rathen than finish one season with 9 wins at Hawaii and have half my skills unlocked.
 
# 3 DetroitStyle @ 07/09/13 10:58 AM
That's exactly how I feel. It needs to feel organic kind of like CH2K8 where it would take years and tons of success to max out all the coach attributes. I really don't want it to feel like a gimmick where you max everything out within a couple years and then dominate.
 
# 4 jmik58 @ 07/09/13 10:59 AM
Great job on this Loco ... I think I want to go with the slowest setting. My goal is to build a juggernaut, but once I get there I get tired of it.
 
# 5 rhodeisland1982 @ 07/09/13 11:26 AM
Great read. I might dictate the speed I go based on my plans/what school I'm at. This guide helps a lot.
 
# 6 Nick_Wilhite @ 07/09/13 12:09 PM
Great guide, great write up, great everything. Helpful in countless ways. Thanks so much!
 
# 7 Executor @ 07/09/13 12:17 PM
When you set a skill tree progression to a certain level, will CPU coaches progress at the same rate too? E.g. when I set it on slow, do the CPU coaches progress on "slow" as well?
 
# 8 swimfunk @ 07/09/13 12:30 PM
Has anyone found a website for Online Dynasty? I can't find one.
 
# 9 BadAssHskr @ 07/09/13 12:40 PM
you guys choosing slowest, a fine idea i might add, how many dynasty games are you playing per week?

i'm just curious, my schedule is generally about 1, 8 min. quarter a night. may or may not play on the weekend due to recruiting which i like to do from my pc when we are slow at work.

anyhow, figure 5 games a week max. i'd love to choose slowest, but i may never get there at my game playing rate. i guess the new recruiting system may alter what i've become accustomed to, but just trying to feel it out.
 
# 10 JLoco11 @ 07/09/13 03:06 PM
You will notice that you get XP for a number of things in the game. Breaking school records, breaking NCAA records, win streaks, rival wins, etc.

Pretty much anything you do including recruiting, earns coach XP. Some as little as 10 points (kneel in the 4th quarter with less than a minute left) to winning the national championship (1,000 XP).

Out of curiosity, I set a coach at max level 54. The XP requirement to go from level 53 to 54 on normal was 17,000.

With each level, the XP requirement to advance increases. Low levels = less XP required. Highest levels = Much higher levels of XP required.

I honestly suggest simming a few dynasty seasons to see what you prefer. Then you will get an idea of the progression
 
# 11 DTucker06 @ 07/16/13 10:43 AM
Question on the Skill Tree Progression. Does the commissioner choose the speed or does each coach decide his own speed?
 
# 12 Timeetyo @ 07/16/13 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadAssHskr
you guys choosing slowest, a fine idea i might add, how many dynasty games are you playing per week?

i'm just curious, my schedule is generally about 1, 8 min. quarter a night. may or may not play on the weekend due to recruiting which i like to do from my pc when we are slow at work.

anyhow, figure 5 games a week max. i'd love to choose slowest, but i may never get there at my game playing rate. i guess the new recruiting system may alter what i've become accustomed to, but just trying to feel it out.
Here is some perspective for you.

I'm on slowest and have seen the following:
Year 1 ended at 3.75
Year 2 ended at 7ish
Year 3 ended at 9.5
Mid year 4 currently at lvl 10

I seem to be getting approximately 10K XP / season although this varies greatly on how well I play (well meaning hitting xp goals, not necessarily winning) and the recruits I sign. It seems to be going up slightly as my team gets better (was 1* GA State, now 3*).

Going from 10-11 was ~11k (from memory) so I am now into about a level a season and just into the 3rd tier of 1 tree but looking at being a LONG way off from the insta commits (I'm guessing 10-15 years).

Granted I haven't tested this, but based on others posts it is x2 for normal > slow and x4 for normal > slowest. 53-54 is 17k XP. That'd only be 1.5 seasons on normal, ~3 for slow, and ~68k or ~7 seasons for slowest. Yikes!

Needless to say, when I start up my OD in a bit it won't be on slowest. I am ok with my choice for slowest on my offline dynasty as I normally go deeeeep into it and this gives me some motivation to keep it going, but if you aren't planning on playing ~20+ seasons i'd stay away from slowest. Without knowing the increments it'd probably be 50+ seasons to max out on slowest. Although maybe if you are winning in the big leagues you'll be progressing faster (+100 sign 5*, +1000 win NCG, etc)
 
# 13 The JareBear @ 07/16/13 11:31 AM
I think slowest is best for offline, you have to work to be Bowden, it makes sense.

OD wise, when you're talking 12 seasons is a lot for even active leagues, I'd say slow or maybe normal to make everyone happy, but probably slow.
 
# 14 Timeetyo @ 07/16/13 11:35 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeetyo
Here is some perspective for you.

I'm on slowest and have seen the following:
Year 1 ended at 3.75
Year 2 ended at 7ish
Year 3 ended at 9.5
Mid year 4 currently at lvl 10

I seem to be getting approximately 10K XP / season although this varies greatly on how well I play (well meaning hitting xp goals, not necessarily winning) and the recruits I sign. It seems to be going up slightly as my team gets better (was 1* GA State, now 3*).

Going from 10-11 was ~11k (from memory) so I am now into about a level a season and just into the 3rd tier of 1 tree but looking at being a LONG way off from the insta commits (I'm guessing 10-15 years).

Granted I haven't tested this, but based on others posts it is x2 for normal > slow and x4 for normal > slowest. 53-54 is 17k XP. That'd only be 1.5 seasons on normal, ~3 for slow, and ~68k or ~7 seasons for slowest. Yikes!

Needless to say, when I start up my OD in a bit it won't be on slowest. I am ok with my choice for slowest on my offline dynasty as I normally go deeeeep into it and this gives me some motivation to keep it going, but if you aren't planning on playing ~20+ seasons i'd stay away from slowest. Without knowing the increments it'd probably be 50+ seasons to max out on slowest. Although maybe if you are winning in the big leagues you'll be progressing faster (+100 sign 5*, +1000 win NCG, etc)
I forgot to add - if you are playing as a coordinator expect this to be way slower. I am lvl 10 and the OC who started with me (and my offense does VERY well) just hit lvl 4.
 
# 15 gameface1324 @ 07/25/13 08:51 AM
Good guide, but the stat you stated on speed of progression isn't right. I dont think you considered later levels taking longer to level up. 15-20 levels a season on Normal? No. We are in week 5 of our current dynasty and no one is above level 4. Its only going to slow down. I figure everyone will be roughly level 8 by seasons end
 
# 16 WeFireThoseCannons @ 07/31/13 04:05 PM
Normal is like lvl 8. I have done about 3 different dynasties to see I start as oc or dc at 1 star schools didn't play but simmed. You can get to that level basically off recruiting and winning 6 games. Maybe 10-15 is if you go to a big school as a oc or dc they have more talent and win more games which can give more xp. I think i will just do slow, since normal can got fast once you are at a top school and slowest may take forever.
 
# 17 JLoco11 @ 07/31/13 04:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gameface1324
Good guide, but the stat you stated on speed of progression isn't right. I dont think you considered later levels taking longer to level up. 15-20 levels a season on Normal? No. We are in week 5 of our current dynasty and no one is above level 4. Its only going to slow down. I figure everyone will be roughly level 8 by seasons end
For year 1, starting at level 1, you'll hit all the year end bonuses.

You get bonuses for recruiting classes, landing top recruits, mid level recruits. You get bonuses for winning streaks, bowl games, championship games, players getting drafted, records being broken etc.

By the end of the year just based on gameplay, you will have 9-10 levels. But when you add in all the random XP you earn for things you can't imagine earn XP, you will get those extra levels. Winning the BCS alone is 5,000XP, which would be a level or 2 on it's own.
 
# 18 Duggy @ 08/01/13 05:57 AM
I was locked out by a recruit but out of all the teams had the most bonus points from pipelines and such.

I figured if i could get back into battle for him i could win so i used a key on him after that i gained about
1000 points and only was 200 away from his 1st choice.
 
# 19 ecfivester @ 08/13/13 03:01 PM
Locksmith seems to give you a bonus not just unlock the recruit. It can quite literally catapult you into to top spot but more like the 2nd or third spot, and leave you in great position to win the recruit. It is very valuable, as it allows the user to focus on other recruits and use the locksmith after potentially securing other recruits. (albeit you must stay within 2,000 points anyways).

I reccomend using this if you are within 1,400 points. or just outside the lock off.
 
# 20 thelasthurtknee @ 08/13/13 03:18 PM
im on slowest, in my 5th season as a O coordinator and im level 7. been to a bowl each year but only won 1. have won atleast 10 games a year with 11 being the most. my job offers after year one at army were weak. but i left for the Utah State O coordinator job. fullfilled my 3 year contract and was offered the Texas OC job after 2nd year at USU (3rd overall) but after that it was pretty bad schools. after this last season i got offered a few HC jobs that werent sunbelt for once but only 1 BCS team and that was 2-10 Duke. Hawaii was the only HC job that wasnt mac or sunbelt that had a winning record and wanted me as headcoach. Im at Duke now and i need 10,000 to get to level 8 and im getting around 1500 a game.
 

« Previous12Next »

Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.