Madden NFL 16 Primer: Why 'Draft Champions' Matters

Madden NFL 15 Franchise Details Revealed

Madden NFL 15 CFM details have emerged.
Madden NFL 15 CFM details have emerged.

Madden 15 Franchise details were finally revealed yesterday, and we were so busy with the full player ratings that we didn’t quite have the time to get around to it. Now, however, it’s time to dig into what’s new in CFM a big way.

There was a lot of concern leading up to the big Franchise mode reveal that happened yesterday, as many fans showed early worries that the rather late information on CFM meant that we wouldn’t be seeing many substantive changes this year. Typically, EA will push out its most significant information early in the hype cycle to help drive pre-order sales, so seeing CFM info detailed basically last this season rightfully had some concerned.

While it’s certainly true that nothing revealed for Madden 15’s Connected Franchise mode was staggeringly significant in the same sense that Owner’s mode was last season, there are still some things we really like about yesterday’s information release, and we would liken this season’s CFM changes to something more significant than the scouting changes that occurred back in Madden 13 — it’s important, it matters, and it will change the way you play Franchise mode.

In many ways, the changes to CFM this year matter much more than those that took place last season, because the changes are much more pervasive and will impact more players than Owner’s mode might.

So, what is Madden NFL 15 doing in Franchise this season?

Madden 15 Franchise Mode Details

Before we dig into some of the more interesting details that stood out to us, here’s a few resources we really recommend you gloss over, because they are key sources in the information we will be discussing today.

• Madden NFL 15 Franchise Mode Deep Dive (EA Sports)
• Everything Commissioners and Owners Need To Know (MyMaddenPad)
• 40 Minute Interview on CFM With Josh Looman (Virtual Sports Network)

Alright, now let’s get started.

Game Prep is Changing How You Develop Players

“Game Prep” is something we knew a little bit about thanks to a leak from GameStop just a week ago, however this is the first time we’ve heard mor about its details. As many suspected, Game Prep is replacing the previous practice mode in Franchise (which was really more of a monotonous, required endeavor) and putting in its place what appears to be a much more logical, and fluid experience.

Rather than simply making XP gains through Game Prep, EA has also introduced something called “confidence,” which will force players to make decisions on which one they want to focus on building up for a player. XP is typically something you want to do with young players with long-term aspirations of becoming something special, while confidence allows players to receive boosts for upcoming games, and is often a better choice for stars that are already established on contending teams.

This new XP vs. confidence dilemma adds a new layer of strategy to player development that previously never existed, and in some sense gives more week-to-week strategy options in that, if you wanted, you could choose to give more confidence to each player on your defensive line if you are set to play a really tough running team that week, or enhance your top corner when you know he’s got a real tough cover against one of the top receivers in the league.

In a lot of ways, the choice between XP and confidence will be a difficult one with long-term ramifications. How important is it for you to win now, and how much are you willing to sacrifice to do it? Questions like these will haunt players at every turn, and that’s a great thing, because what Madden 15 Franchise mode needs more than anything are tough, significant decisions.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the key facets of Game Prep

Game Prep
• Each week you have a certain amount of “time” you can spend on development.
• “Time” is more or less available depending on how long until next game (BYE is useful!).
• You can choose to focus on building up player XP, or confidence.
• How much XP or confidence earned depends on a player’s development trait, as well as coach traits.
• XP/confidence activities vary between in-game and out of game, with in-game being potentially worth more.
• Players can ignore Game Prep if they want, and see gains consistent with those of computer teams
• Actively using Game Prep, though not required, simply offers more control over development
• CPU: Bad teams will typically focus on XP, while contenders will mostly focus on confidence.

Game Prep (XP)
• Players can earn XP from skills drills in game prep, with how much XP varying on success.
• XP can be spent at a later time it appears, just like previously. Which means you can save for big changes.
• XP can now be spent in bulk, which is something we learned last week.

Game Prep (Confidence)
• Confidence is a player rating of 1-99 and fluctuates regularly based on different factors.
• If confidence is “high” key ratings increase temporarily, if “low” those ratings drop temporarily.
• Confidence can be impacted by trades, wins/losses, draft, performance, depth chart, consistency, game significance etc…
• Confidence is default to 50 for all players at the start.
• Once confidence dips below 25-30 or above 75-80 ratings will start to be impacted.
• You can track the rise and fall of confidence for each player which sounds like great feedback.

Individual Skills Drills

As a part of Game Prep, individual skills drills are now in the game, which will allow you to dictate how to improve a player in a way that not only enhances player abilities through ratings, but also helps groom you as a user-controlling player for that specific position group.

Skills drills are said mimic scenarios found in Skills Trainer, with the focus being on drills that make sense for a particular position. So for example, if you wanted to gain more experience for your linebacker, you might want to bring him into the Tackling Drill and while you are earning XP or confidence, you are also learning better fundamentals for tackling in the process. And, frankly, depending on how well it’s executed these sort of mini-game drills could be pretty fun as well.

Much like in Skills Trainer, the success of your drill depends a lot on your own performance. Each skill drill will have a varying level of XP that can be earned, and exactly where you fall on that reward line will depend on how well you complete the objectives within the drill. This means as you get better as a particular drill, so too will the experience you earn for your player.

More Major and Minor Changes

Free Agency Will Look & Act Different
The look of Free Agency has changed drastically, with more information regarding a player’s desires being available, and the players making decisions based on more than just money. Unfortunately, from the screenshot below it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to dig into the player ratings of FAs as many might have wanted. It would be nice if they introduced a feature to “flip” the player & contract info over to see some key ratings of a player, similar to how you might in Madden Ultimate Team.

Random Draft Classes Have Arrived
This topic deserves an article of its own (and we’ll get to that), but in short: Random draft classes are finally in Madden NFL. This is a hugely significant change that will even out the landscape in online leagues, and give Franchise mode a much deeper level of replayability. This has been requested by fans year after year, so I think it’s important we acknowledge its arrival.

If the the draft classes are truly unpredictable, then Madden 15 draft guides will be obsolete, which is a huge boon for the online community.

XP Can Be Spent in Bulk
We touched on this a bit earlier in the article, as well as in its own story last week, however it’s worth another mention. XP can now be spent in bulk, which is a huge quality of life change that the game has sorely needed for a while now, and one that will hasten the tedious task of developing numerous players at the end of the season. This is a feature that is hard to “sell” to fans as important, but it’s one that I know fans won’t be able to live without once they’ve used it. This is something we’ve requested for the last few years in our regular offseason wishlists.

Sim To Date
If you’re a player that likes to sim franchise seasons, you will love the new “Sim To” feature, which will allow you to essentially pick a time into the future to sim to. EA has even added the ability to sim 10 years into the future if you so desire, which will likely be excellent for data collection geeks and those that want to immerse themselves in a franchise world unlike the NFL we see today.

Multiple Commissioners
Online leagues can now have more than one commissioner assigned, which means the task of running a league is easier than ever before. With the ability to add more than one commissioner, teams no longer have to wait for the commish to get online to advance a week, or jump on to invite and accept new teams. This is a seemingly small change that will likely be widely used by the most active of online leagues, and make life easier for everyone in the community.

What Do You Think of This Year’s Changes?

There are plenty more changes to CFM this year than those listed above, however those are the few that stood out to me the most when looking over all the information. I’m curious, however: What do you guys think of the new changes? Were your concerns of a weak franchise mode this year alleviated, or substantiated?

I personally think a lot of the changes this year will be underrated by fans, but will be more appreciated once players load up franchise for the first time. A more engrossing and natural player development system with Game Prep should make week-to-week actions much more interesting, while truly random draft classes (if they really are unpredictable) is a big addition that you can’t exactly sell as a feature on the box, but matters a ton for online leagues.

Toss your thoughts in the comments below.

What do you think of the Madden 15 CFM changes?

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  • AsTro

    Hmmmm…I really hope they have more…I really hope for Custom Draft Classes that we can download from Community Shares. Cause we all know Operation Sports guys will get straight to work!

  • LUBBOCK-TX

    Gonna love the fact that this year seems like your gonna have to put in work to build your team no more of this build a monster team in half of season.

  • LUBBOCK-TX

    LOTS OF MORE DIVORCES DUE TO TO MUCH TIME ON MADDEN FOR US MARRIED MEN THIS YEAR….LOL

  • Logan

    Free agent ratings would be good idea incase we wanna sign players & cut others

  • FiddleSticks

    Why can’t we have a simple Season mode??? Pick a team play a season schedule, see if you can win it year after year, that’s it! I don’t want any of that managerowner crap..

    • Joshua Hurdle

      Agreed…I bought a used copy of 25 and returned it a couple of days later because of this shit…when I found out it was still there in 15 I refused to buy it. Season mode is all I care about…I dont play online nor do I want to do all this manager training crap.

  • Jaye Haaland

    NO OTP or community? Who in their right mind would think this is okay? Was going to buy it in 2 days now im officially boycotting it.. what a stupid company EA is to take a huge step back thinking im gonna spend money on MUT.. completely disappointed. .. YOUR NOT GETTING ANY MORE OF MY MONEY BASTARDS

  • Franklin Braxton III

    Know it going to be sweet be can still have a lil more stuff to it

  • MH11

    How many years is franchise mode.. Last year was what 25 or 30 years.

  • Joshua Hurdle

    Madden will not be getting my money ever again if they dont stop taking away season mode and putting this damn connected career shit. I bought madden 25 pre-used and found out they took out season mode. I was ok with it and decided to create a quarterback. Well lets just say I was never in the game for more then 1 play at a time and that was just me holding the ball for the PAT. The games were nothing but the super sim and you had to go thru all that training crap just to get to the next game. I dont care if they keep connected career in the game for those that do enjoy it but alot of us old school madden players just want a basic season mode where we pick out favorite team *or if we are feeling frisky a random team* take then thru the 4 pre season games onto the superbowl. Until they bring that back ill just keep the madden game I have now.

  • Jack Black

    I bought the new Madden 15. I went to play the franchise mode and it’s a shell of its former self. I used to collect draft picks through trades and draft a whole bunch of good players. You can’t do that anymore, so it’s not as fun for me. Will sell to GameStop and never buy Madden again. First got rid of College Football, now Madden blows. Dang it’s getting harder to find good reasons to buy new video games at all.