Online Connected Careers Community Blog

Hey everybody, Jeff “RynoAid” Setzer here from Tradition Sports Online to break down a brand new game mode for EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 called “Connected Careers” or “CC”. To me, Madden NFL is a competitive, social game that thrives on matchups, rivalries and measuring yourself as a virtual coach amongst your peers. When I was growing up this was done through the traditional means of gathering your buddies in one dorm room or apartment and grinding through weeks of a Madden NFL Franchise in one night, ultimately to see who was “King of the Couch”.

Now that I have a family and my friends are spread across the country, those good times have been lost... until now. Madden NFL 13 Connected Careers will bring that familiar experience to the internet as EA SPORTS is set to revolutionize how we all play the game. CC will connect you and potentially 31 other coaches across the country into one fully functioning, unimaginably deep football gaming experience.

Offline Franchise, Online Franchise and Superstar mode are all gone. EA SPORTS has replaced them all with Connected Careers, which will put you in control of how you want to play Madden NFL 13. Be a coach or a player, play online or offline, it's all available in CC. Also, fully integrated draft, free agency andsalary cap are all a part of the experience this year. The tools have been put in our hands to fully realize the "online franchise" experience.

When starting a Connected Career you have several options. If you want to get on the field as a player, this year you will be able to import your Gameface and create yourself as a potential NFL star. You can also choose to be a current player or take control of a Hall of Famer and see if you can replicate their historic career. If you want full control of the team, you can also choose to be a current coach or create yourself in that role. And the great thing is, you can mix both modes within the same CC... that's right, I did not stutter. You can mix and match how the guys in your CC play the game. You can all be coaches, you can have some coaches and some players, you can even lock it down to QB’s only. You’re in control.

Once you decide the framework, let the fun begin. Online Franchise meets RPG; that’s about the best way to describe it. First of all, potential is dead. No more pre-determined ratings structure. You, as a coach, will get to decide how each player progresses in their career. XP (Experience Points) now become your life blood. I don’t want to delve too deep here because Dave Searles (RedZoned25) has broken it down for you in an additional blog, but the basic concept is that players will earn XP for their performance on the field. You can then allocate that XP towards ratings boosts across the different ratings categories.

You will also earn XP as a coach that will allow you to define the direction of your team. You can spend XP on all sorts of booster packages that target a myriad of situations or characteristics of a team. For instance, say your star QB is due to be a free agent at the end of the year. You can purchase a package that will give you more favorable odds of re-signing him. You can also buy packages that enhance your progression and a certain position or talk a guy out of retirement. There are literally dozens of way you can customize the growth of your team.

And trust me, it’s YOUR team. Styles really matter in Madden NFL 13. The style of offense you run, the type of coach you proclaim to be, all impact how players fit into your scheme. Players are rated dynamically based on the team for which they play. That’s right, a 3-4 OLB will no longer be plug and play into a 4-3 scheme without taking a potential ratings hit. It also makes trading more interesting. You have no idea what that player you have on your trading block looks like to the other team. He could be a 71 OVR WR for you, but he jumps to a 75 OVR in another coach’s scheme. It is the new aspects of the game like this that give you that unique organic feel to player movement.

Scouting has also become a much deeper part of the whole experience. With CC you are allocated a certain amount of scouting points each week that will allow you to slowly unlock attributes and ratings of college seniors throughout the season. You will also be able to follow storylines for players throughout the year leading up to the draft. This is not your typical Madden NFLdraft class however. There are a ton of variables this year that can impact any of the potential rookies all the way from week 1 of their senior year through the pro combine. Poor performance, injuries, decisions to play baseball, and other variables like these will impact the players you are scouting. There are no guarantees anymore when it comes to strategizing for the draft. The draft will be online as well and yes, you can trade draft picks. This is sure to be intense when it’s time to enter the war room against 31 other guys.

EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 will also come alive across your social media channels. The development team has contracted with multiple media and sports personalities to provide an internal Twitter feed that will focus on events and happenings in your CC. Adam Schefter, Rich Eisen and Skip Bayless are among a host of faces you will see commenting on the moves you and your buddies make as you go through CC. This feed is not just for internal use, however. It can also be setup to push the content to a real functioning Twitter account that all the coaches can follow to get real time updates pushed out to their mobile devices and computers. This just adds one more level of immersion to your CC.

To be honest, there is so much more depth to Connected Careers than I’ve ever seen in a football game, it’s still hard for me to get my arms around all the features after spending three days with it. It’s the biggest thing to ever happen for the online football gamer. As a member of a gaming community that has been anxiously anticipating updates to franchise mode, specifically online franchise mode, we can all relish in the fact that CC for Madden NFL 13 will deliver with all the depth, realism and connectivity we could ask for.Hello Madden NFL fans, I’m Dave Searles (RedZoneD25) from the EA SPORTS Game Changers, StickSkills.com and Tradition Sports Online. June 4th has been marked down on my calendar for weeks, and I’m excited to finally talk about the all-new Connected Careers in Madden NFL 13. For those who know me (or don’t), I have always been partial to the career modes (specifically, Franchise Mode) in previous games, and I place a premium on both long-term enjoyment as well as a realistic simulation of the day-to-day life of playing for or managing your own NFL team.

As a member of the EA SPORTS Game Changers, I was invited to participate in multiple Madden NFL 13 Community Events at EA Tiburon. More than anything else I was blown away by the entire Madden NFL development team’s willingness to listen, communicate directly and oftentimes implement ideas brought up by the attendees via the Madden community.  Markus “Emmdotfrisk” Frieske said it best in his Audio Community Blog, The year-to-year strides we are seeing in the Madden NFL franchise are a direct product of the feedback from the community and the development team’s ability to accept constructive criticism to truly commit to delivering the most authentic football experience possible.”

In years past, there were three main avenues for career mode enthusiasts like myself to live out their virtual dreams: Franchise Mode let you build a legacy through the means of running a team, and Superstar Mode allowed you to blaze a trail as an NFL player. If you wanted to be strictly a manager, and leave the on-field action up to the powers that be, that’s where NFL Head Coach 09 came in. Connected Careers contains elements of those three types of play, yet is so much more than simply putting all three modes under one menu. What Connected Careers is at the core is an experience built from the ground up allowing a user to play however they want, with the same capabilities shared between the offline and online versions for the first time ever.  Specifically, let’s discuss the finer aspects of what you can expect from Connected Careers on August 28th.

Being a head coach in the NFL is no easy task.  The bar should always be set high, and building a dynasty isn’t an overnight process.  Thankfully, the all-new XP system reflects that.  XP is gained in a variety of ways, from completing practices and playing games, to meeting Weekly and Season Goals. Players can then use these progression points on attribute increases for anyone on the team. This new progression system brings me to one of the most debated features in recent Madden NFL titles, the hard-capped Potential rating. Take a deep breath and repeat after me: Potential is GONE! I was thrilled at the idea of taking a 7th round quarterback and building him into a capable starter, and it’s finally possible to do that. 

As a player, you can enter the NFL by being a High Draft Pick (higher expectations in your goals), Mid Round Pick (average expectations), or Undrafted (lowest expectations).  What you select affects your entire career since your Goals are a direct result of your expectations. You still get to increase your attributes via XP, but you don’t automatically start anymore.  Therefore, it will be tough to get to the top of the depth chart if your chosen team has an entrenched starter already.  Those who prefer to use a real player can choose from the entire NFL’s supply of talent, so just imagine the sort of expectations placed on the shoulders of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and the like.  Whether you are coaching or playing, a main goal is to end up in the Hall of Fame, and one of my favorite aspects of Connected Careers is the ability to see how you stack up against both current players and NFL legends as you aim for the ultimate accomplishment in professional football.

A big difference in Connected Careers is that your job isn’t always secure. If you’re a player who had high expectations yet only minimal results, you could very well be cut. If no team wants to sign you then you can retire your current player and start anew. If you’re in charge of a team and you don’t meet your goals, you could be fired and have to rebuild your reputation in a different city. For years I have seen the community ask for a legitimate reason to play through practices and pre-season games and Madden NFL 13 embraces these elements, providing true incentives and consequences, and taking the experience beyond game day.

From a personal perspective, I’m incredibly excited about Connected Careers. I have always felt that while the old Franchise Mode was fun at the core, it took a decent amount of brain work to make your NFL feel unique. The XP system in Connected Careers ties you to your players in ways we’ve never had before, letting you dictate the flow of progress. Combining that new level of control with numerous other additions in depth, immersion and authenticity, Connected Careers and Madden NFL 13 are jam-packed with more to keep players busy than I’ve seen in my entire time as a football gamer.

Be sure to check out the official EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 Webcast and Blog on Connected Careers for even more information on what’s new this year. If you have any questions for me directly, you can find me on Twitter (@RedZoneD25) and remember to check back on July 9th for the Madden NFL 13 Ultimate Team Playbook.  Thanks for reading!