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Madden NFL 20 Developers Detail the Player Ratings Stretch

Madden NFL 20

Madden NFL 20 Developers Detail the Player Ratings Stretch

A new Madden NFL 20 Gridiron Notes has released today, featuring Associate Designer Andrew Weingarten and ratings guru Dustin Smith, as they detail the player ratings stretch in this years game.

The team looked for ways to make players feel different from each other, not only for the Superstars and players with Superstar X-Factor abilities, but with players that don’t have abilities, as well.

Going deeper into it, they divided players players into tiers, based on their on-field performance.

  • Elite/near elite players
  • Quality starters
  • low level starters
  • backups
  • and low-level backups
By increasing the ratings of the elite/near elite players, and decreasing the ratings of everyone else, the stars began to stand out even more than they did before. We went through every single attribute in the game and stretched them by position. For example, in Madden 19 there were 53 corners with 80 or better Man Coverage. There are 42 in Madden 20. We also raised the ceilings on some of those ratings to further the gap between the elite and the rest.

Next, we re-defined what is considered “starter quality,” which is probably the biggest change of this system. In Madden 19, 54% of the roughly 2,900 players (including free agents) were 70 OVR or better. In Madden 20, 41% of the players are at 70 OVR or better, which means that both low-level starters and depth players can be rated in the 60s—and maybe even 50s. From a gameplay perspective, this creates a drastic drop off from starter to backup. This solves a big issue. In previous Maddens, backups were almost plug-and-play if a starter was injured. But now, with the severe drop off in ratings, starters will have a distinct feel, while you will struggle much more with their replacements.

Furthermore, we slightly tweaked the overall formulas for every player archetype. With the changes we made to the QB (the West Coast archetype has been changed to Improviser) and WR archetypes (changing Possession to Route Runner and changing Red Zone Threat to Physical) we wanted to ensure that players were being labelled correctly. We created new overall formulas for these archetypes and adjusted the weights on the existing overall formulas to put a greater emphasis on the more impactful ratings per position.

Lastly, the greatest ratings stretch occurred for QB Throw Power, which is paired with the gameplay changes to pass trajectory. Without getting too deep into the pass trajectory mechanics, we lowered the maximum velocity for passes to help add more trajectory to all throw types. Because of this, players with high throw power will have less trajectory than QBs with weaker arms. In Madden 19, 53 QBs had a Throw Power of 90 or better, with 80 being the lowest. In Madden 20, 18 QBs are at 90 or higher Throw Power, with 72 as the lowest at the position. Every single QB is still a viable gameplay option, but you will need to pick your passer carefully to ensure they fit your playstyle.

Watch Ratings Stretch Coming to Madden 20 with Dustin Smith from EAMaddenNFL on www.twitch.tv

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  1. I'm sure they'll be a certain percentage of folks saying, "Not stretched enough", but that can' t be helped. The change from 53 QBs with 90 plus throw power to only 18 would seem to be pretty significant. I really want to see some weaker armed QBs struggle with the deep out or deep crosser.
    I expect the best gameplay experience to be in Franchise mode. All their work will eventually be rendered meaningless in MUT when everyone has souped up players across the board. Players asking for the correct salaries should make things even better in Franchise in prevent the User from building super teams.
    One thing that I'm worried about is the CPU not recognizing that they have a severe mismatch with one of their 65 OVR olinemen against a SS/XF dlineman, so they don't make any adjustments. I don't want to have 3 or 4 six sack games during the season if I have one of those elite dlinemen.
    jfsolo
    One thing that I'm worried about is the CPU not recognizing that they have a severe mismatch with one of their 65 OVR olinemen against a SS/XF dlineman, so they don't make any adjustments.

    This is key.
    jfsolo
    I'm sure they'll be a certain percentage of folks saying, "Not stretched enough", but that can' t be helped. The change from 53 QBs with 90 plus throw power to only 18 would seem to be pretty significant. I really want to see some weaker armed QBs struggle with the deep out or deep crosser.
    I expect the best gameplay experience to be in Franchise mode. All their work will eventually be rendered meaningless in MUT when everyone has souped up players across the board. Players asking for the correct salaries should make things even better in Franchise in prevent the User from building super teams.
    One thing that I'm worried about is the CPU not recognizing that they have a severe mismatch with one of their 65 OVR olinemen against a SS/XF dlineman, so they don't make any adjustments. I don't want to have 3 or 4 six sack games during the season if I have one of those elite dlinemen.

    I think it’d be the normal if they struggle, especially vs the elite. Aaron Donald doesn’t get to 20 sacks without a game like that
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    jfsolo
    I'm sure they'll be a certain percentage of folks saying, "Not stretched enough", but that can' t be helped. The change from 53 QBs with 90 plus throw power to only 18 would seem to be pretty significant. I really want to see some weaker armed QBs struggle with the deep out or deep crosser.
    I expect the best gameplay experience to be in Franchise mode. All their work will eventually be rendered meaningless in MUT when everyone has souped up players across the board. Players asking for the correct salaries should make things even better in Franchise in prevent the User from building super teams.
    One thing that I'm worried about is the CPU not recognizing that they have a severe mismatch with one of their 65 OVR olinemen against a SS/XF dlineman, so they don't make any adjustments. I don't want to have 3 or 4 six sack games during the season if I have one of those elite dlinemen.

    This is one of those things that should be a no brainer, that the AI will function properly with the new changes. But as we know, when video games add new features there is always a good chance they only pay attention to the feature and not to how it will affect other aspects of the game. I just hope it was tested and we have nothing to worry about.
    jfsolo
    I'm sure they'll be a certain percentage of folks saying, "Not stretched enough", but that can' t be helped. The change from 53 QBs with 90 plus throw power to only 18 would seem to be pretty significant. I really want to see some weaker armed QBs struggle with the deep out or deep crosser.
    I expect the best gameplay experience to be in Franchise mode. All their work will eventually be rendered meaningless in MUT when everyone has souped up players across the board. Players asking for the correct salaries should make things even better in Franchise in prevent the User from building super teams.
    One thing that I'm worried about is the CPU not recognizing that they have a severe mismatch with one of their 65 OVR olinemen against a SS/XF dlineman, so they don't make any adjustments. I don't want to have 3 or 4 six sack games during the season if I have one of those elite dlinemen.
    From what I saw in the beta on All-Madden sim, the reason that CPU QB's got sacked is because they never scrambled. I even saw a CPU QB stare down their X-Factor WR when the WR was in the zone, and he ended up getting sacked because it took the WR 6 seconds to get open. Take my anecdotes with a grain of salt.
    I'm all in on this. EA's devs know how to make a good game. Now it's just time to put it into action and continue to execute. The beta really made me excited for just how far this stretch is going to... well... stretch
    I am really looking forward to seeing these adjustments play out.
    Even if you draft a a player with Superstar Abilities, you still have to grind and hit each Threshold to unlock said ability opened at that level.
    So it’s like Ratings Tiers within Ability Tiers. (Love it!!!)
    In the Beta, my 1st Rd MLB required “500” Snaps to reveal what abilities he possessed (took a whole season + 3 games the following year).
    I’m really looking forward to M20.
    For CFM, it’s going to be a question of how this impacts generated draft classes and player development. If classes aren’t tuned to match new base rosters, and dev doesn’t align with a wider spread, it’s gonna be huge issue. I’m hopefully hey got this part right
    schnaidt1
    The beta certainly didn't have the stretched out ratings...or at least it didn't look like it... Hopefully these ratings were kept fresh for the full game release
    https://www.youtube.com/user/schnaidt1

    Yeah the beta rosters felt as though they were just madden 19 rosters ported over for the beta. I have no idea if that were true but based on some of the ratings it sure looked like it. I am happy that they are stretching the ratings for the final release.
    schnaidt1
    The beta certainly didn't have the stretched out ratings...or at least it didn't look like it... Hopefully these ratings were kept fresh for the full game release

    It was stated multiple times that the roster in the beta were nowhere close to final.
    Like Sphinx said, I also thought the non-rookie player ratings in the beta looked suspiciously similar to the final roster update from Madden 19.
    CM Hooe
    Like Sphinx said, I also thought the non-rookie player ratings in the beta looked suspiciously similar to the final roster update from Madden 19.

    Yeah, I did a 10 yr sim during the Beta and it seemed quite consistent with the ratings stretch they are talking about here. The player overalls came in a tad under these numbers, but that's to be expected since the Beta used a higher rated roster (which left the draft class picks in a tougher spot to develop). I think it is going to mesh well. Ultimately, this is the best addition to franchise mode made by the Madden teams in years
    On the field, it really made the gameplay shine with the wider/lower ratings. I know people here were whining and moaning about QBs being too accurate - I call BS on that because they weren't with the final roster/improved roster design. With the lower/stretched ratings post-sim, they were much better.
    I'm really hoping that EA does not listen to any gameplay tuning suggestions from the Beta - I honestly feel that not having the final roster during the beta makes them all 'null and void'.
    Since work on the actual game, which can't be undone, continues on before the Beta was made playable I don't know why anyone would think user submitted feedback could or would have that much of an impact on what happens next. The full game is dropping in about a month.
    The beta is probably done for marketing/hype purposes more than anything. If it was being used as any sort of serious test they are probably relying on data collected by the game to inform their decision making. Anything submitted by users that doesn't specifically address a potentially game-breaking bug is probably ignored.
    Is the stretch going to apply to cdm draft classes?
    I could totally see madden hyping this up and then after year 1 of a cfm you now have 7 new starters....
    wodi
    Is the stretch going to apply to cdm draft classes?
    I could totally see madden hyping this up and then after year 1 of a cfm you now have 7 new starters....

    try reading a few posts above you.
    I do not play on the current genration of consoles, but this is not the first time this was done. This goes back to Madden 10/11 days.
    The problems from back then is likely going to repeat themselves. The game (on 360/PS3) was not coded to deal with stretched ratings very well. If a rating was much lower than 85 or 80, then they played as bad or worse than a high school kid out there. Dan (I forget his screen name) had his rating system which reflected what real scouts rated players like, and when you edited your roster to reflect it, the level of incompetience looked like a game of XFL.
    I edited my rosters on Madden 12 and 25 to make the game play better. For example, TEs had run blocking ratings which were way too low. Even the best blockers like Gronkowski and (at the time) Vernon Davis would get she instantly against LBs with 82 block shedding. It was disgusting.
    Also, at that time, LBs were completely disrespected in their man and zone coverage ratings. To be an NFL linebacker, you had better be able to play zone. It is asfundamental to the position as tackling. They are not as agile and fast as a CB, but LBs can still cover. In the older games, once I increased zone by +15 to every LB and man coverage by +20, you still had guys with sub 70 skills, but a good amount of starters could at least cover a TE or back coming out of the backfield. That change, which I wrote about in my blog years ago changed the game play for the better. Suddenly the middle of the field or "seam/curl/flat" zone rules were respected a lot better and made game play against the CPU and playing as a user a much better experience. You had to actually read a play and work route combinations. It also caused coverage sacks against the computer.
    I just hope for current gen players that this is good for game play rather than hurt it.
    JoshC1977
    Yeah, I did a 10 yr sim during the Beta and it seemed quite consistent with the ratings stretch they are talking about here. The player overalls came in a tad under these numbers, but that's to be expected since the Beta used a higher rated roster (which left the draft class picks in a tougher spot to develop). I think it is going to mesh well. Ultimately, this is the best addition to franchise mode made by the Madden teams in years
    On the field, it really made the gameplay shine with the wider/lower ratings. I know people here were whining and moaning about QBs being too accurate - I call BS on that because they weren't with the final roster/improved roster design. With the lower/stretched ratings post-sim, they were much better.
    I'm really hoping that EA does not listen to any gameplay tuning suggestions from the Beta - I honestly feel that not having the final roster during the beta makes them all 'null and void'.
    Josh... Did you feel like the pass rush was nerfed as the beta went on... That first day was insane but i liked it... On Sunday it felt like Madden 19, qbs had all day .... At least for me
    https://www.youtube.com/user/schnaidt1
    schnaidt1
    Josh... Did you feel like the pass rush was nerfed as the beta went on... That first day was insane but i liked it... On Sunday it felt like Madden 19, qbs had all day .... At least for me
    https://www.youtube.com/user/schnaidt1

    I don't know man....I never thought the rush was THAT great to begin with. I mean, it was better than 19 but was still lacking at times. I mean, we never got a patch or an obvious tuner during the beta (I reckon it could've been buried in the playcalling file since we know they can make tweaks there).
    I think it was more of people just adapting after the day 1 hysterics and they got into better habits.
    I'm shocked that this thread hasn't gotten way more discussion. The ratings stretch is crucial for so many reasons. Here some of my thoughts...
    1. THP ratings are much more stretched (with only 18 QBs over 90 THP). Do NOT underestimate this change as it has been a major bugaboo in Madden for years. People always complain that throwing was "too easy" and that "coverage wasn't tight enough". Using a lower THP QB means; a) you can't gun in every throw and have to time throws well and b) defenders have more time to react. I've used QBs with <80 THP ratings in past Maddens (usually aging vets)...it's tough, but it's still possible to be successful with smarts and good anticipation on throws (it's also way more satisfying). This also adds a lot more in terms of forethought into the type of scheme you want to run.
    2. Given that physical ratings are more-or-less intact (and we can see that with the rookie ratings), that means that the ratings stretch is going to come from the skill-based ratings. This is huge on so many levels. First, far fewer players are going to have elite ratings in an area, which is going to greatly tone-down the number of ridiculous arcade-like plays. Second, it should mean that a lot of players will have secondary archetype ratings muted a lot more (i.e. you aren't going to see a ton of power backs with high ELU/SPM ratings). In the past, guys who should have been 'one trick ponies' had high enough ratings (in an effort to boost their overalls) to make them at least semi-usable all the time. This is something that constantly contributed to the "samey" feeling we have all felt.
    3. Digging for role players. Welcome to 'Franchise immersion 101'. Being forced to dig through your roster and get production from lower-level players is a huge part of franchise. Finding those one-dimensional guys and the optimal roles for them can really amp-up a person's interest level in franchise. This is something I think is going to be critical this year. I think we'll see opportunities where smart tactical deployment of a marginal player can lead to some surprise production and storylines.
    4. We may actually have some true 're-builds' this year. I mean, c'mon, were 'bad' teams ever really THAT bad in past versions of Madden? I get that the separation in talent between good/bad teams in the NFL isn't all that wide, but it isn't as narrow as past versions of Madden would lead us to believe. I'm not expecting poor teams to have all their starters in the 50s or 60s. But, I also expect something better than having 8-10 starters on a 'bad' team be 80 or above like we did before.
    5. Franchise longevity. From what I saw in the beta, progression will occur more frequently for low level players. This is key for the ratings stretch as a 60 overall rookie will not be completely useless if he has the right physical tools. In the new paradigm, he has a chance to contribute and gain on-field experience. This will allow for franchise mode players to take a much longer 'burn' approach vs "rebuilding" in a year (or two). We're already seeing with the rookie ratings that many rookies will likely have limited roles/impact in year 1 of a franchise. This also creates a conundrum that real teams face; throw the raw kid into the fire or find a stopgap veteran? All of these things force you to make decisions, to have a plan and tend to take-on a life of their own in generating storylines.
    6. Speaking of the draft. Fewer high end players means that the draft becomes more critical. One, nailing your top picks will be vital and two, finding usable players in the mid-rounds to fill out the roster is going to be more key (much like it is in the real life NFL).
    That's a ton of depth added to franchise mode - frankly, I think this is the biggest addition to the mode that they've made in years.
    JoshC1977
    I'm shocked that this thread hasn't gotten way more discussion. The ratings stretch is crucial for so many reasons. Here some of my thoughts...
    1. THP ratings are much more stretched (with only 18 QBs over 90 THP). Do NOT underestimate this change as it has been a major bugaboo in Madden for years. People always complain that throwing was "too easy" and that "coverage wasn't tight enough". Using a lower THP QB means; a) you can't gun in every throw and have to time throws well and b) defenders have more time to react. I've used QBs with <80 THP ratings in past Maddens (usually aging vets)...it's tough, but it's still possible to be successful with smarts and good anticipation on throws (it's also way more satisfying). This also adds a lot more in terms of forethought into the type of scheme you want to run.
    2. Given that physical ratings are more-or-less intact (and we can see that with the rookie ratings), that means that the ratings stretch is going to come from the skill-based ratings. This is huge on so many levels. First, far fewer players are going to have elite ratings in an area, which is going to greatly tone-down the number of ridiculous arcade-like plays. Second, it should mean that a lot of players will have secondary archetype ratings muted a lot more (i.e. you aren't going to see a ton of power backs with high ELU/SPM ratings). In the past, guys who should have been 'one trick ponies' had high enough ratings (in an effort to boost their overalls) to make them at least semi-usable all the time. This is something that constantly contributed to the "samey" feeling we have all felt.
    3. Digging for role players. Welcome to 'Franchise immersion 101'. Being forced to dig through your roster and get production from lower-level players is a huge part of franchise. Finding those one-dimensional guys and the optimal roles for them can really amp-up a person's interest level in franchise. This is something I think is going to be critical this year. I think we'll see opportunities where smart tactical deployment of a marginal player can lead to some surprise production and storylines.
    4. We may actually have some true 're-builds' this year. I mean, c'mon, were 'bad' teams ever really THAT bad in past versions of Madden? I get that the separation in talent between good/bad teams in the NFL isn't all that wide, but it isn't as narrow as past versions of Madden would lead us to believe. I'm not expecting poor teams to have all their starters in the 50s or 60s. But, I also expect something better than having 8-10 starters on a 'bad' team be 80 or above like we did before.
    5. Franchise longevity. From what I saw in the beta, progression will occur more frequently for low level players. This is key for the ratings stretch as a 60 overall rookie will not be completely useless if he has the right physical tools. In the new paradigm, he has a chance to contribute and gain on-field experience. This will allow for franchise mode players to take a much longer 'burn' approach vs "rebuilding" in a year (or two). We're already seeing with the rookie ratings that many rookies will likely have limited roles/impact in year 1 of a franchise. This also creates a conundrum that real teams face; throw the raw kid into the fire or find a stopgap veteran? All of these things force you to make decisions, to have a plan and tend to take-on a life of their own in generating storylines.
    6. Speaking of the draft. Fewer high end players means that the draft becomes more critical. One, nailing your top picks will be vital and two, finding usable players in the mid-rounds to fill out the roster is going to be more key (much like it is in the real life NFL).
    That's a ton of depth added to franchise mode - frankly, I think this is the biggest addition to the mode that they've made in years.

    Well said, Josh! The poor representation of the differentiation of players in past Maddens was really the elephant in the room for me. I’m going to hold final judgment until the game is in the wild, of corse but to all those that have been screaming from the rooftops that simply spreading out the players ratings improves the game a great deal may be about to have their day in the sun.
    Sphinx
    This is one of those things that should be a no brainer, that the AI will function properly with the new changes. But as we know, when video games add new features there is always a good chance they only pay attention to the feature and not to how it will affect other aspects of the game. I just hope it was tested and we have nothing to worry about.

    Well, we know it wasn't tested during Beta.
    JoshC1977
    I'm shocked that this thread hasn't gotten way more discussion. The ratings stretch is crucial for so many reasons. Here some of my thoughts...
    1. THP ratings are much more stretched (with only 18 QBs over 90 THP). Do NOT underestimate this change as it has been a major bugaboo in Madden for years. People always complain that throwing was "too easy" and that "coverage wasn't tight enough". Using a lower THP QB means; a) you can't gun in every throw and have to time throws well and b) defenders have more time to react. I've used QBs with <80 THP ratings in past Maddens (usually aging vets)...it's tough, but it's still possible to be successful with smarts and good anticipation on throws (it's also way more satisfying). This also adds a lot more in terms of forethought into the type of scheme you want to run.
    2. Given that physical ratings are more-or-less intact (and we can see that with the rookie ratings), that means that the ratings stretch is going to come from the skill-based ratings. This is huge on so many levels. First, far fewer players are going to have elite ratings in an area, which is going to greatly tone-down the number of ridiculous arcade-like plays. Second, it should mean that a lot of players will have secondary archetype ratings muted a lot more (i.e. you aren't going to see a ton of power backs with high ELU/SPM ratings). In the past, guys who should have been 'one trick ponies' had high enough ratings (in an effort to boost their overalls) to make them at least semi-usable all the time. This is something that constantly contributed to the "samey" feeling we have all felt.
    3. Digging for role players. Welcome to 'Franchise immersion 101'. Being forced to dig through your roster and get production from lower-level players is a huge part of franchise. Finding those one-dimensional guys and the optimal roles for them can really amp-up a person's interest level in franchise. This is something I think is going to be critical this year. I think we'll see opportunities where smart tactical deployment of a marginal player can lead to some surprise production and storylines.
    4. We may actually have some true 're-builds' this year. I mean, c'mon, were 'bad' teams ever really THAT bad in past versions of Madden? I get that the separation in talent between good/bad teams in the NFL isn't all that wide, but it isn't as narrow as past versions of Madden would lead us to believe. I'm not expecting poor teams to have all their starters in the 50s or 60s. But, I also expect something better than having 8-10 starters on a 'bad' team be 80 or above like we did before.
    5. Franchise longevity. From what I saw in the beta, progression will occur more frequently for low level players. This is key for the ratings stretch as a 60 overall rookie will not be completely useless if he has the right physical tools. In the new paradigm, he has a chance to contribute and gain on-field experience. This will allow for franchise mode players to take a much longer 'burn' approach vs "rebuilding" in a year (or two). We're already seeing with the rookie ratings that many rookies will likely have limited roles/impact in year 1 of a franchise. This also creates a conundrum that real teams face; throw the raw kid into the fire or find a stopgap veteran? All of these things force you to make decisions, to have a plan and tend to take-on a life of their own in generating storylines.
    6. Speaking of the draft. Fewer high end players means that the draft becomes more critical. One, nailing your top picks will be vital and two, finding usable players in the mid-rounds to fill out the roster is going to be more key (much like it is in the real life NFL).
    That's a ton of depth added to franchise mode - frankly, I think this is the biggest addition to the mode that they've made in years.

    To your point #4, this is what I'm hoping for the most. The only team I roll with in CFM every year is San Francisco, and God bless 'em, but I absolutely should not be able to win the SB in year 1 every Madden release. There was a short window there during Harbaugh's tenure where winning it in season 1 was a realistic possibility, but that was it. Every time a new Madden comes out, the team is always good enough that you can win it all as long as you don't do something stupid on the sticks.
    I've been dying to see a Madden game where I actually struggle due to my roster and not just because I had to jack up the sliders to make it tougher. My house rule, going back to Madden 99 (the first one to have a Franchise mode), has always been to roll with the stock roster the first year. I'm not allowed to make any major changes and I use the real-life roster as best I can (once I hit year 2, it transitions into my fantasy world snd then I can do whatever). I'd very much enjoy a losing season here & there. Winning more games as I rebuild my team. To me, a season of 4-12 can be just as fun as going 12-4, it's all in the context. If I struggle because I have very few options for Jimmy G to get the ball to because the ratings are stretched and they work, well that just sounds like football heaven to me.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Honestly pretty excited about this. I just hope they don't revert to the old scale after a year cause casual's want higher ratings.
    I kinda like playing with bad QB's in Madden and trying to make it work. I've played many seasons with guys like Trevor Knight and Brett Hundley as my starting QB. It seems like this new scale will make it more interesting for me.
    ShadyFan25
    Honestly pretty excited about this. I just hope they don't revert to the old scale after a year cause casual's want higher ratings.
    I kinda like playing with bad QB's in Madden and trying to make it work. I've played many seasons with guys like Trevor Knight and Brett Hundley as my starting QB. It seems like this new scale will make it more interesting for me.

    I wish they would just make another NFL street game for the people that want juiced up ratings and crazy things happening. Then madden can be sim the way most of us want.
    One of the reasons the stretch in ratings hasn't piqued my interest much, is we don't really know what it means. How do we know <80 THP means the same thing it means in Madden 19? does 1 rating unit mean the same thing? is it a curve, exponential, linear?
    It's interesting on paper but it's theoretically possible the engine was adjusted to compensate and produce effectively the same results.
    PGaither84
    I do not play on the current genration of consoles, but this is not the first time this was done. This goes back to Madden 10/11 days.
    The problems from back then is likely going to repeat themselves. The game (on 360/PS3) was not coded to deal with stretched ratings very well. If a rating was much lower than 85 or 80, then they played as bad or worse than a high school kid out there. Dan (I forget his screen name) had his rating system which reflected what real scouts rated players like, and when you edited your roster to reflect it, the level of incompetience looked like a game of XFL.
    I edited my rosters on Madden 12 and 25 to make the game play better. For example, TEs had run blocking ratings which were way too low. Even the best blockers like Gronkowski and (at the time) Vernon Davis would get she instantly against LBs with 82 block shedding. It was disgusting.
    Also, at that time, LBs were completely disrespected in their man and zone coverage ratings. To be an NFL linebacker, you had better be able to play zone. It is asfundamental to the position as tackling. They are not as agile and fast as a CB, but LBs can still cover. In the older games, once I increased zone by +15 to every LB and man coverage by +20, you still had guys with sub 70 skills, but a good amount of starters could at least cover a TE or back coming out of the backfield. That change, which I wrote about in my blog years ago changed the game play for the better. Suddenly the middle of the field or "seam/curl/flat" zone rules were respected a lot better and made game play against the CPU and playing as a user a much better experience. You had to actually read a play and work route combinations. It also caused coverage sacks against the computer.
    I just hope for current gen players that this is good for game play rather than hurt it.

    The same is still true. The distribution of skill abilities on several key attributes is way too low on the stock rosters, especially on defense. It really limits what you see on the field for exactly the reason you stated: at very low ratings players can't do anything.
    With some planning I can reliably build a franchise defense that will feature a back seven with all 80+ ZCV by the end of season 1 or maybe a few games into season 2. The difference on the field is stark. Once multiple guys get over 90 the windows get so tight that you need to bump the difficulty to All-Madden because All-Pro AI will throw way too many INTs.
    BSH is another one. There are so many DL in this game whose BSH is so low they can almost never beat a block in the run game. If you are going to try to run any sort of 4 man front and not resort to cheesy run D then you need two players with at least mid to high 80s BSH at the DT spots. Having at least one over 90 (so he can get instant wins and therefore split double teams) is better.
    Flip it around on offense. Just about every possession TE or WR in an EA draft class is going to be over 80 CIT which is good enough to win at a very high rate.
    The Red Zone Threat archetype was even better. You could easily land guys with elite SPC and CIT right out of school. Even low round guys with junk SPD can do work for you catching TDs once you get inside the 20-25, depending on how comfortable you are throwing into coverage and their SPC.
    TL;DR too many offensive players at the top end of the spectrum and too many defenders at the low end.
    schnaidt1
    Josh... Did you feel like the pass rush was nerfed as the beta went on... That first day was insane but i liked it... On Sunday it felt like Madden 19, qbs had all day .... At least for me
    https://www.youtube.com/user/schnaidt1

    It was definitely nerfed. Friday I was having some success with x-factor players but by Saturday it was back to being brick-walled most of the time by even the best x-factor players.

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