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Madden 15's Ultimate Team Mode Is Streamlined For Speed

The Ultimate Team mode is huge across the EA Sports lineup, and it's been slowly building for Madden. This year's iteration takes things further thanks to some much-needed simplification.

We spoke with the mode's producer Joe Alread about why this year's version is more user-friendly. "In years past, managing your team was always kind of a bit of a headache," Alread says. "This year, that's not the case."

EASIER AND BETTER

  • The Item Binder is a one-stop place to organize everything you own. No longer is there a distinction between your current lineup, a reserve pile, and pending collections.
  • In the Binder you can compare players against each other, see if players are eligible for any collections (more on that later), auction/trade players, quicksell them, make them a starter in your lineup, and add contracts.
  • I asked why card management hadn't been simplified sooner, and Alread explained that the old structure was previously necessary because of how the game's backend was technically structured.
  • If you want a guided path through the mode, you can follow the suggested objectives, which are various milestones to complete for rewards.

CHEMISTRY BECOMES STYLE

  • Your team's chosen play style (like west coast offense, run stuffing defense, etc.) is no longer called Team Chemistry, but Style. Despite the name change, the concept is the same – choosing a Style and using players who fit that mold gives them ratings boosts in a few relevant stats.
  • The Best Lineup button has been extended to select the best players based on the Style you've chosen. This creates the best starting lineup based on a few germane player stats instead of just their overall rating like last year.
  • Your team's Style currently cannot be changed, but Alread says there will be a way to do this once the season starts. To me that sounds like an Style change item card might be offered as part of a reward for completing a set, but we'll have to see.

COLLECTIONS BECOME SETS

  • Collections are now known as sets, although the function is the same: Cards that you collect can be applied to a set, which is a predetermined grouping of cards (such as every member of a specific team). Completing sets nets you big rewards.
  • EA says that some of the sets released during the season will no longer task players with finding random bronze players, but pertain to collectibles focused on scores from the previous week's NFL action. 

BADGES

  • Badges are a versatile and valuable item you get in packs, as a reward for completing gameplay challenges, or as an award for completing a set. These can be applied to any set. 
  • Players can cash in badges for unique players in the mode.

INJURIES, CONTRACTS & ITEMS

  • Injuries now only last for the game in which the injury occurs. Naturally, this means injury items are gone.
  • Player cards still come with a predetermined contract length, but usable contract items have been removed from Madden 15. Instead, when you get a contract card in a pack it dissolves and accumulates in a single pool from which you can allocate contracts to your players. 
  • You can assign any amount of contracts, and you can even assign them to your entire team at once. Unlike in FIFA, the number of contracts you can apply is not related to the tier of the player card.
  • There are no new item types this year.

MOBILE/BROWSER

  • The mode's browser functionality returns, but there will be no mobile app.

If you're interested in Madden Ultimate Team this year, or are already a big fan of the mode, you should definitely consider Madden 15's Ultimate Edition, which will give your Ultimate Team quite the boost.

Madden NFL 15 comes out for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on August 26.

Here's a quick teaser for this year's Ultimate Team.

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