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Twelve Ways to Improve Dynasty Mode

NCAA Football’s dynasty mode is one of sports gaming’s most heralded career modes. Not only has the mode been the most popular mode in NCAA Football for nearly a decade, it also took it’s act online to great success beginning last year.

Unfortunately, after just over a decade of incremental improvements, the mode has began to suffer from a lack of innovation and ultimately, it just feels stale.

Outside of the presentation, dynasty mode is one of the biggest reasons why NCAA Football 10 ultimately falls short of being praised as a great title. The mode itself is still technically good, but long-time players of the series are quick to remark how little the mode has seemed to change over the past few years.

Recruiting has taken some big steps forward since the series arrived on the 360 and PS3 consoles.  However, the rest of the mode has largely been unchanged and untouched over the years.

A lot of fans of the series have clamored for an AD Mode to spice things up, but I have never been one of them. I am still waiting on NCAA Football to properly emulate the dynamics of being a head coach of College Football. If NCAA would do that, I think the call for an AD mode would diminish for quite awhile given the plethora of new options which would be available.

 


Making it tougher to play with the big boys by playing with a smaller budget would make things more interesting.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake dynasty mode has made the past few years is making the entire experience less personal while complicating the interface to a level where you have to wade through layers upon layers of menus.

Starting with NCAA Football 11, EA Tiburon needs to redo how Dynasty mode is approached. This will require a rework of the interface as well as the addition of a few much needed features. In the end, many of the core tenants will be the same, but a fresh approach would do wonders. Here are my ideas:

  1. Make being the coach the central aspect of the mode - Let’s just solidify this right now. You should be the coach of the team you control. Being the head coach of a college football program should be the focus of the mode from the get go. What we have right now is something in between, where you aren’t quite the coach, but you aren’t quite anything else. Along with this, when you create your coach, you should give yourself attributes to determine what kind of a coach you will be.  It's a bit RPG-ish I know, but I think there is nothing wrong with mixing the two if done right. This is point number one, and it’s kind of the establishing point for the rest of the points below.
  2. Create a real coaching market - This is long overdue. Even if the coaches are generic, this has to be done. Different schools should value different things in their coaches, and they should have loyalty ratings and the like. This would make coaching for a school like Ohio State, where the stakes are high, much different than coaching for Nevada. This has been done somewhat, but the generic prestige ratings are rather bland and repetitive nowadays.
  3. Make Coordinators part of the coaching market - Coordinators are a very important part of College Football. At the very least, these coaches should have a direct impact on player development and awareness from week to week as well as the style of offense and defense you play in NCAA Football. Of course, all of this should be viewable and could be automated if you want so you don't have to do it if you don't want to. Also, hiring coordinators should be done with a budget given to you by the Athletic Director.
  4. Interaction with the AD, Fans, Boosters, Press, etc. - FIFA has done this somewhat in the past. You should be given random events or something of the like where you can shape what kind of a coach you are going to be. You can blow off Boosters, media, etc. which can effect your public perception, teams readiness, etc. Imagine being given a choice between schmoozing with top boosters or a film session with your quarterback when your job approval has hit an all-time low. That would be epic.
  5. Make attendance more dynamic - The easy way to gauge in game how you are doing as a coach is by seeing how many butts are in the seats. Dynamic attendance needs to be much more dynamic.  You should also get a report on the attendance figures and, as the coach, the attendance should effect your budget.  You shouldn't set ticket prices, coaches don't do that.  But you should feel the direct results of a poor fan following.
  6. Scheduling Contracts/Future Schedules - You should have to deal with this aspect of college football properly. Playing a big opponent is usually done years in advance. I’m willing to compromise and forgive EA if only one year in advance is available. But please let us deal with scheduling contracts if we want.


    Imagine if this game was going to seal your fate or make you a legend.

  7. Budgets - I miss the budgets you used to get in NCAA. These should be back to make it tougher to play with smaller schools. Most smaller schools should have small budgets for coordinators, scheduling, and recruiting. Imagine this choice: Florida wants to play your Sun Belt school and will pay you $300,000 to come play. It’s a for sure loss, but you could certainly use the money to recruit a little farther away from home.  Little things like that would do wonders for the mode.
  8. New and Dynamic Prestige/School Ratings - Central to this whole idea is a new ratings system for schools. Your boosters, fan base loyalty, administration loyalty, national perception, facilities etc. should all be rated. All of them should be able to change over time based upon your successes on the field. So, for instance, if you had 10 straight years as a 10-11 win team as North Texas, you should build up a bigger fan base with more boosters over time which should result in an increased budget and possibly facilities upgrades to attract recruits to your school.
  9. Differentiate TV Games - I know having more than one announce team is impractical, and it's understandable. However, why can't the broadcasts for regional, national, and game of the week type of games all be handled differently? One little touch is different intro music for each type of game. Another thing you could possibly do is have some sort of a different ESPN branding for each type of game. There are a lot of little things you could do to make big games seem bigger and lesser games seem more normal.
  10. More situation specific commentary - I would really like to see a lot more situational specific commentary added for dynasty mode. Especially commentary that has to do with your team's current situation either in conference standings or in bowl standing, or any number of other specific situations. Little touches like this make you feel as if what's on the screen is really happening. It'd also solve the problem of a stale commentary team, at least for another year.
  11. Simplify the Interface - For some reason, there are a lot of buttons on the PS3 and 360 controllers which are not used when navigating the menus in dynasty. In my opinion that is a huge mistake. Why NCAA doesn’t utilize the different buttons to quickly navigate through important menus (or any EA Sports game for that matter?).With the new additions you'd be making, the interface would have to be redone, all of this two clicks to a meaningful screen business needs to die this year. I’d really like to see the navigation through different menus simplified and streamlined, for all of our sake. 
  12. Give users the option - Despite everything that I just said, some people just want to play games and recruit much like how dynasty mode is set up now. With that said, there should be a 'simple dynasty mode' or something similar to where you can turn off all that I said above (minus the interface) so you can enjoy the game how you want. Let’s not relive the camera debacle from this year.

So those are my dirty dozen ideas, all of which I think are very capable of being done in a year's development cycle. I think making those changes and including them for online dynasties would spice things up a lot.  What do you think? Are your priorities different from mine? What changes would you like to see?


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Member Comments
# 1 deucepoppi17 @ 07/14/09 12:34 PM
Great read! I want it exactly how MLB09:The Show is setup to where u can designate different parts of dynasty to USER/CPU....is it really that hard? Does EA ever look at other games to get some ideas?

The "coaching aspect" should be done like CollegeHoops 2k. Work ur way fromt he bottom up and u have to be attain certain goals to get that next big offer....

Ur ideas are great, a little tinkering and it would be perfect.
 
# 2 BadAssHskr @ 07/14/09 12:44 PM
i wish they'd take dynasty to the next level, and somehow allow you to view/update/recruit online. something similar to CAS this year.
 
# 3 doctorhay53 @ 07/14/09 12:48 PM
I made the statement that dynasty was getting really boring, and people said that it's already deep enough. It was suggested to me many times that a deeper dynasty mode would have to be an entirely new game mode because people would be overwhelmed by too many things to do in dynasty. To me and my needs in the series, this is the single most important reason I will not buy the game. I can just play '07,'08,and '09 and the dynasty experience will be exactly the same. It's unacceptable in my opinion.
 
# 4 doctorhay53 @ 07/14/09 12:55 PM
I want to add something that I think is important though.....I don't think any complaining we do about dynasty mode will have much effect on this development cycle. They're likely already a month into NCAA '11, and I'm pretty sure the roadmap is made out already. I highly doubt many of these great suggestions for dynasty mode are in there.

Following the past 3 years of development, there will be 2 new game modes, making the game equally shallow but giving you more modes to shallowly play from.
 
# 5 Mr. Rad @ 07/14/09 12:57 PM
Great read. I'm an offline dynasty player, and I'm longing for some improvements.
 
# 6 deucepoppi17 @ 07/14/09 01:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorhay53
I want to add something that I think is important though.....I don't think any complaining we do about dynasty mode will have much effect on this development cycle. They're likely already a month into NCAA '11, and I'm pretty sure the roadmap is made out already. I highly doubt many of these great suggestions for dynasty mode are in there.

Following the past 3 years of development, there will be 2 new game modes, making the game equally shallow but giving you more modes to shallowly play from.
I want to agree with you, but I remember when they revamped recruiting 2 years ago and took everyone by surprise. then they came out and said they had been working on it for 2 years already. I wouldnt doubt that they have some stuff prepared already for 2011 or 2012.

But I also wonder if we will even be on these same consoles that far down the road.
 
# 7 rudyjuly2 @ 07/14/09 01:03 PM
I really miss player discipline. They really need to add that back to the dynasty mode.

We need a coaching carousel where coaches get fired, hired and retire.

I'd like to see some freshman come in early (make it random) and be able to participate in a spring game (bring back) and offseason training improvements.
 
# 8 br_andrew @ 07/14/09 01:07 PM
Great read. Those ideas would really help dynasty mode majorly. Coaches need to be fired for losing seasons and coaches retire, etc. I really hope to god they focus and revamp dynasty mode and presentation for '11. These two things need to get done.
 
# 9 doctorhay53 @ 07/14/09 01:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudyjuly2
I really miss player discipline. They really need to add that back to the dynasty mode.

We need a coaching carousel where coaches get fired, hired and retire.

I'd like to see some freshman come in early (make it random) and be able to participate in a spring game (bring back) and offseason training improvements.
By 'training improvements' you mean 'let us have anything to do with it whatsoever.' Why is it that team prestige is the ONLY factor in how much players improve? I can't even set more of my budget to improving my players (I miss that alot). This should have something to do with your coach, and we should have some control over it.
 
# 10 JkA3 @ 07/14/09 01:20 PM
Very well put together. I'm sure EA will view this, and hopefully take something away.
 
# 11 jyoung @ 07/14/09 01:27 PM
The sad thing is, a lot of these features were in past NCAA Football games.

I remember how awesome it felt to finally get a TV game for your small school back in NCAA '05 after playing most of the season off the national radar.

A lot of this stuff has also been featured in College Hoops 2K8, which for my money, has the best dynasty mode in the history of college sports games.
 
# 12 geezmeister @ 07/14/09 02:05 PM
Its sad that we have to beg for these things. All of these features should have already been in the games and getting better each year. Its a bit ridicoulous that you have features like college gameday etc on last gen systems and we arent even close to that on next gen.
 
# 13 cowboy_kmoney @ 07/14/09 02:54 PM
Sad is truely the word.
 
# 14 sportzbro @ 07/14/09 03:21 PM
Here's my pitch: My AD idea with tons of presentation & a simplified menu system. It incorporates everything.
 
# 15 VincentGrier15 @ 07/14/09 03:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by deucepoppi17
Great read! I want it exactly how MLB09:The Show is setup to where u can designate different parts of dynasty to USER/CPU....is it really that hard? Does EA ever look at other games to get some ideas?

The "coaching aspect" should be done like CollegeHoops 2k. Work ur way fromt he bottom up and u have to be attain certain goals to get that next big offer....

Ur ideas are great, a little tinkering and it would be perfect.
exactly i;ve always felt this way cuz 2k bball had great dynasty feature there should be diff ratings for diff coaches for example the Gophers coach Tim Brewster has pulled down some pretty good recruiting classes like after they were 1-11 he still had #17 class so he should be easier to recruit with but maybe have players not improve as quickly or something like that.
 
# 16 MattP598 @ 07/14/09 03:38 PM
Some good ideas here. I would definitely buy this game. The game we have now.....not so much.
 
# 17 doom41 @ 07/14/09 03:53 PM
I've been wanting Coordinators fo a long time. Since this is basically a wishlist let me add to it.
-Your yearly Budget would be determined by your final ranking, your Team Prestige, your Coaching Prestige, your Home Attendance, and your Conference (ie. The teams from the big conf. would get more from their conf. than the teams from the smaller ones) The amount of money given by each conference would be determined by how the teams in those conf. are ranked (ie. the conf with the Nat. Champ gets so much, the Runner up gets a little less, the rest of the top 5 gets a little less, then #6-10, #11-25, #26-50, #56-75, and #76-120.) This money would be added up and divided between all the teams in that conferece.
-You would then use that money to hire Coaches, upgrade training facilities, send coodinators to coaching clinics, upgrade equipment, recruit.
-You would have to hire four(4) coaches: OC, DC, QB Coach, and Strength CoachCoaches would be hired to 3,4,or five year deals and have their own attributes that would effect your players training in certain areas. (ie. one O Coordinator might boost your players awarness, and break tackle more while another O Coordinator would boost receiving, and jumping more) OC's and DC's would only leave for the same position at a more prestiges school or a Head Job at a less prestiges school. QB Coaches would leave to be an OC, and Strength Coaches would leave to be a DC. OC's and DC's would effect training of awarness, and all offensive and defensive atributes eccept QB specific atributes, those would be effected by the QB coach, and Strength Coach would effect the attributes that apply to all positions (ie. strength, speed, agility etc..) Coaches would also have recruiting attributes that would effect your teams recruiting.
-Your training facilities and equipment would have to be either maintaned or upgraded. There would be different levels of of facilities and equipment (ie. Level 1-10 for both) and each level would have a level of condition. The condition of you facilities and equipment would go down each year, and you would have to either maintain it to keep it in good condition or it would eventually drop down to the lower level. You would also be able to upgrade at a higher cost to raise you facilities/equipment to the next level. The level and comdition of your equipment would then effect you recruiting.
-You could also send your coaches to Clinics that would boost their coaching attributes, add plays to your playbook (as long as they are coaching for you), and eventually make them attractive to other schools. Different clinics would focus on different things (ie. effect different attributes) and the would be different levels that cost more to attend, but you would have to attend them in order (ie you could't go to the 3rd option running clinic if you havent been to the first two.)
-You would also have to use money to visit recruits. Instate recruits would be reatively cheap, border state recruites and pipeline recuits would be a little more, and all other state recruits would be a little more.
Now I know this is way too detailed, and would never happen. But a guy can dream right.
 
# 18 Roggie @ 07/14/09 04:13 PM
Well, since they make NFL Head Coach, why not take that as a base, and make NCAA Athletic Director?

Throw the CH2k8 stuff on it (I just simmed 35 seasons recruiting and managing a team, and even with the boring recruiting on that game, I enjoyed it), put some of their own touches on it, and boom. Most fun I'll ever have.
 
# 19 CurryStorm @ 07/14/09 04:17 PM
"I've been wanting Coordinators fo a long time."

You're not the only one. That list as a whole is great but there is one thing that I've always wanted. I wish that you could start off as an offensive or defensive coordinator for a school and only be able to play that part of the game; with the way you can sim through whatever part of the game you want on the PS3 and X360, I don't see why this can't be done. So if you decide to be offensive coordinator for Oregon (or whoever), you would only be able to actually play the offensive part of the game for Oregon but the rest would be simulated.

After your first season is over, the game would take into account what size school you coached for and how well your offense/defense did statistically. It would then give you a list of colleges that would be willing to hire you as their head coach. So if you had an amazing offense with Oklahoma (or a team of their caliber), you would have offers from bigger schools than if you did so-so at a team like Tulsa for instance. Or even if your offense/defense didn't do so well, no schools would offer you a head coaching job, and you could just stay another year at the school you're at and try to get better.

I feel you could do so much with this, and it would feel like you actually had a reason for becoming a head coach instead of just selecting it at the beginning of the game. You could get an offer to become the offensive/defensive coordinator at Florida or become the head coach at Buffalo. I always thought it would be neat to do something like this- create me as the offensive coordinator and my brother as the defensive coordinator for a school like Utah State. We both do well and get job offers from other schools to become their head coaches. Then I could keep up with what my brother is doing at his school and see who ends up with the better career.

Here's to wishing...
 
# 20 MSU ILLEST @ 07/14/09 04:39 PM
These are the best ideas I have seen. I know it may be a long shot, but it would be great to see these things. I would even wait for a two year period (as long as I get roster updates) to get them.
 

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