Unlike past seasons, EA is hell bent on differentiating players based on their individual skills, abilities and traits.
And although a ton of time has been focused on Superstar X-Factors, it is worth noting that the remaining group of players also received a makeover in Madden 20. This new ratings system adds parity from one team to another. Furthermore, it allows elite players to play like their real-life counterparts, which is something we have long yearned for in Madden. No longer will a starting offensive lineman be removed from a game, only to have lower-rated player pick up exactly where he left off. Each player will feel different, and EA deserves a “tip of the hat” for the effort.
Here’s a look at the new player ratings system in Madden, and how it affects this year’s rookie class
What We Like
- Each roster is now broken down into five tiers. Elite/near elite, quality starters, low-level starters, backups and low-level backups. This creates a great disparity between the top-tier players and those at the bottom, which is one of the things Madden failed to do in the past. Players should no longer feel the exact same or generic. Instead, a great deal of time has been taken to break each roster into tiers, bringing some added realism to EA’s popular game. It has been said EA went through and adjusted each rating based off of this new system. Great players will finally feel like elite players, and this was something that was ever apparent in the beta.
- Additionally, with EA’s revamped ratings system, no longer will backup players be plug and play. This just reaffirms that the new system works. And although it seems like a flawless idea on paper, there’s still some concerns I have which I will touch on later in this article. However, this is something that has been a glaring issue in previous games and many are happy EA finally found a way to separate the starters from the career backups.
- The creators of Madden also made some small refinements to player archetypes. This new system is a bit more accurate than what we were accustomed to in last year’s game. For example, a “west coast” quarterback is now labeled as an improviser. Possession receivers are now route runners, and so on. This allows EA to really hone in on each player’s skills and categorize them as realistically as possible.
What We Don’t Like
- My biggest gripe with the new rating overhaul is how it will affect some of the lesser-rated teams in Madden 20. If last year a player on the lowly Cardinals had a 70-overall rating and was a starter, that player very well could find himself with a 55-60 in this year’s game. This means that player won’t be very good and may also play like a perennial backup. Nevertheless, it is something that fans of the lower-rated teams should be very much aware of this season. After all, everyone is going to use the teams at the top of the virtual totem pole.
- As you can see, EA has made a ton of gameplay adjustments to this year’s game. And whether it is the new and improved ratings, player archetypes or X-Factors, the age old saying “if it’s in the game, it’s in the game” may finally hold true. However, not everything is perfect. And after reading about the changes EA has made to a QB’s throw power and passing trajectories, I’m a bit more skeptical than I may have been previously. I say this because while scaling back QB throw power and adjusting the trajectories needed to be done, I’m just not sure this was the right way to do it. In a recent Madden blog, the developers discussed lowering the passing trajectory of those QBs with a higher throw power, and vice versa for those with less arm strength. This is all well and good, but how it ultimately looks and plays could pay great dividends.
How They Affect This Year’s Rookie Class
- The average overall rating for the top-32 rookies in this year’s class is a 73.1 overall. This is quite a difference compared to past seasons, and continues to show you the great divide between the top-tier rookies and those selected later in the draft.
- For example, aside from some first-round draft picks, the rest of the rookie class falls somewhere between the low and mid-60s. Again, in previous installments, some teams would have multiple rookies with superstar potential. And although every player can develop through CFM or have their ratings updated in a future roster update, this is a huge change from what we are used to. However, it is worth noting that these changes have been made to every player in the Madden 20. So, it should balance out accordingly.
- In conclusion, the most important thing to keep an eye on is whether or not players come with a potential superstar trait entrenched in their virtual counterpart. For example, Daniel Jones is rated a 65 overall. Does he have the potential to get Superstar X-Factors and Abilities naturally? Or is this something that will need to be implemented in a future installment.
Below is a screenshot with each rookie’s overall rating and the respective average at the bottom:
Here’s a summary of all 32 1st round picks and their Madden NFL 20 overall. Your thoughts? pic.twitter.com/cPGnWpZ83P
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) July 1, 2019
For better or worse, EA has spent a great deal of time altering player ratings this offseason. And as we saw with the rookies, and as we will see again later this month with the veterans, players are affected a great deal by these changes. Unfortunately, for teams with less talent, it could be much harder than in the past to compete with some of the higher-rated teams. Additionally, users might avoid some of these teams due to their lack of superstars. Online could slowly turn into FIFA, where the same juggernaut teams are all anyone plays with game to game. Sure, lowly teams like the Dolphins and Cardinals will be fun to build over time, but in head-to-head online play very few will be able to compete while using those teams.
In the end, EA has made some big changes to this year’s game. And in just a few weeks, everyone will get a chance to weigh in on the revamped ratings system.