Madden NFL 16 Primer: Why 'Draft Champions' Matters

Madden 25 Hoping To Deter “Draft Guide” Cheaters

I'm not sure an angry hand will be enough, but let's hope so.
I'm not sure an angry hand will be enough, but let's hope so.

Playing a franchise online in Madden 13 was great in theory, but the lack of truly randomized draft classes resulted in quite a lot of “draft guide” cheating in leagues. Now, Madden 25 Connected Franchise designer Josh Looman says they’re hoping to deter that, but truly random drafts don’t appear to be a part of it.

We learned months ago that random drafts would be unlikely in Connected Franchise, and now a new reveal by Josh Looman on Game Changers Radio has all but confirmed its absence. Instead, Looman hopes to resolve the cheating issue in online scouting by introducing pseudo-random stars.

Josh Looman: “In an online league if you have a 10 man league and 9 people are abiding by rules and not looking on the internet, and you have one guy that does anyway and starts to take some 5th round sleeper in the first round just to kind of rip off the league, it’s frustrating…

So I talked to my programmers about that… We have this whole massive branching storyline system… it’s a very full-featured powerful system that allows me to kind of do whatever I want. So I went to my lead programmer and I said ‘I’ve got an idea, I don’t know if I can do this or not, but tell me what you think. Let’s say we identify 10 guys in a class as busts or sleepers or late round guys, all the guys people are trying to find on the internet…’ I said ‘Can I go into the system, can I take those guys, and can I actually change their ratings without actually firing off stories about it?’

… I think by doing that, what that’s going to do is you’re never going to know what you’re going to get, unless you go and actually scout the guy.”

The idea is simple: Looman will be sneaking around the pre-made draft classes to create more variance among the “sure-fire” picks in each season’s draft. The hope is that by making the top or key players in the draft each year less predictable, that cheaters will be forced to spend scouting points, and in effect will only have the edge of having an “idea” of who might be good, rather than simply knowing for sure.

Unfortunately, Draft Guides Aren’t Going Anywhere

The problem with the solution that’s in the works for Madden NFL 25, is that we can’t imagine how it would curtail much of anything. Sure, it might make the development of draft guides a trickier task, but it will still be done, and there will still be a massive advantage for those that use them. There was already reason for draft guide cheaters in Madden 13 to spend scouting points, because storyline players could still change from year-to-year. And even with added variance to specific players, that still doesn’t change the fact that cheaters will have an absurd amount of unspent points that they can use to confirm their selections.

There’s really nothing to stop players from using draft guides in Madden 25, if the only safeguard in place is some added variance around key players in the draft. It’s not particularly difficult to scout your draft guide selections and see whether they fit the mold for that year, and simply move on to other “boom or bust” draft guide options once you’ve found out.

Until Madden has a system in place to adopt truly randomized draft classes, cheating will remain rampant in online Connected Franchise. It’s unfortunate that they don’t have the infrastructure in place to randomize players correctly, because it’s the only real way to secure the integrity of online leagues.

In Looman’s defense, he did sound visibly frustrated with cheaters online, and sounded as interested as anyone else about finding a solution that would deter those draft guide users. And he did qualify his statements by saying he knows someone (that would be me) would come out and say it’s not going to resolve the problem. There’s also something noble about the fact that Looman has admitted in the past that putting random drafts in Connected Franchise is technically not feasible at the moment, and yet he’s still working on a way to curtail the online cheating that comes from it. Unfortunately, I just don’t think the plan they have for now will be able to do much.

For now, it appears that the draft guide era of online leagues is not going anywhere.

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