The Sports Desk – Bringing Franchise Features Into Madden Ultimate Team
Normally I'm a franchise player, but recently I've been diving deep into Ultimate Team and definitely enjoying the experience. This got me thinking: What franchise features could be used in Ultimate Team? Connected Franchise Mode's strengths (CFM) are its regular season/playoff/Super Bowl structure and offseason activity, while Madden Ultimate Team's allure (MUT) lies in opening packs to constantly refresh your roster. Surely there's a way to get the best of both these worlds together.
CFM fans shutter at the thought of MUT microtransactions invading CFM, but what I'm proposing is a mode within MUT that also allows both the existing structures of CFM and MUT to remain as they are. Instead, this would be a persistent online league, and everyone starts with a team built out of startup packs of weighted odds or uses the existing MUT Draft Champions feature.
Spending coins (earned through victories and accomplishments) and/or points (bought by money) for packs whose odds and contents are weighted just for this mode is a key component since it's crucial to Ultimate Team in general. At the same time, you shouldn't just be able to buy a high elite player and slot him into your team at any time since this would violate the spirit of league parity. A salary cap would control overall team costs, and a coin/point spending cap could also limit anyone simply buying their way to the top. Of course, there would have to be an equivalent path to the good cards via simply putting time into the game, whether that involves some form of CFM's current weekly gameplanning feature or solos specifically designed for the mode.
The key would be to preserve MUT's team-building factors: time invested (i.e. the grind), money spent, and pack luck, and balance them with a league structure designed around parity. Perhaps limiting when new cards can be added to your team (like at the trade deadline, end of the regular season, or during a bye week) is another way to offer balance. There could even be the ability to import some of the cards you've earned from your regular MUT deck. The mode could also have its own programs and cards to try and preserve the distinct nature of MUT.
The offseason could be used to redeem mode-specific sets, and this year's contentious MUT Power Up system could be made easier and used for year-upon-year player progression (or to counter regression). Drafting wouldn't involve CFM's current scouting component, but drafting would be a way for bad teams to get packs weighed in their favor to improve their roster. Meanwhile, free agency could revolve around a simpler, less time-dependent version of the auction house, and players' contracts could expire every year or whenever the commissioner decides in order to spur roster turnover. Free agency could even preserve the existing CFM's offseason A.I. player personalities, contract negotiations, and their preference/fit for some teams, so some players might cost more/less coins to resign or pick up in free agency.
Other MUT wrinkles can be added that riff off of CFM like coach's XP skills adding to cards' chemistry boosts, persistent card stats, and perhaps even injuries which are treated via coins or consumables.
Madden Ultimate Team and Connected Franchise mode are often thought of as distinct modes catering to two different audiences. However, at the end of the day football is football, and no matter what form it takes, there are always ways you can make your team better.
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A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week
MLB The Show 18 Gameplay Twitch Stream
The developers at San Diego Studio discuss the game, including aspects touched on in this previous Sports Desk.
Legend Johan Cruyff Joins Pro Evolution Soccer Console & Mobile
The game is also getting its third data pack including new Premier League player faces.