After weeks of disappointing releases, the Madden 19 Ultimate Team community is once again pushing back against EA following the release of the latest NFL Draft promo.
It’s been a brutal 24 hours for the Madden 19 developers. Only hours after releasing one of the worst promos in Madden history - causing many at EA headquarters to frantically backpedal in order to salvage the program - a bug in the team’s shining crown jewel of #MUTSeason, House Rules, caused head-to-head wins earned by a player to vanish without any cause or reason.
Either problem could have arguably been one of the worst to occur in a startling poor month of content and errors, but together it might go down as one of the worst days in the game’s cycle.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that losing credit for wins in a 48-hour limited-time event entirely dependent on recording 10 wins to receive the penultimate reward is not a good look.
While the issue hasn’t exactly been solved, EA representatives evidently felt confident enough in the weekly H2H format to encourage users to still play their games, as evidenced by the information provided during April 24’s Daily Drops Twitch stream.
What happens to the users’ phantom wins seems destined to be resolved next week, but, of more importance, is the troubling lack of reason regarding the vanishing act. Considering many of the full-time programmers are already beginning work on Madden 20, leaving the majority of the contracted skeleton crew to patch together the remains of Madden 19, it’s fair to wonder whether this type of issue will happen more with just months remaining in the game’s cycle.
It’s a question that was essentially confirmed during an informative podcast with Gutfoxx, TheTexasBoy91 and social media manager, EA_Kraelo last week, seemingly foreshadowing the dark week to come.
Considering the actual format of the House Rules - two-point conversations will yield eight points if completed - has already been repeated before, and the reward - a 97 overall Color Smash player - has been replicated three weeks straight, it’s perhaps not as dire of an issue given many people simply haven’t partaken in the same-old, same-old.
Of far more controversy was the utter abomination that was the NFL Draft promo, which launched on April 23. Users were aware of the upcoming event thanks to a series of limited-time solos, each yielding a random NFL Collectible item which featured 80-83 overall players from the 2018 NFL Draft.
For 32 days, a new solo would come and go every 24 hours, with little rhyme or reason as to what the collectible players would be needed for.
It was revealed on April 23 that those collectibles would go into specific sets which needed 72 of the same item, (94 if a user wanted the much sought-after No. 1 overall pick) in order to earn a player drafted in that specific spot come the 2019 NFL Draft, which takes place on April 25.
It’s fair to say the reception was….ugly.
Besides the aforementioned solos and another string of 32 solos revealed in conjunction with the promo that would give 32 random NFL Draft collectible players, the only other way to acquire a certain number picked needed for the set was to buy a pack for 17,000 coins, or participate in a reroll set which would….you guessed it….give a random collectible for the small price of NFL Draft picks.
Reddit users such as u/stoic_bison would go on to do math - the odds of acquiring 72 of a certain player item via the reroll set would estimate to about 2,304 rerolls.
That doesn’t even include the time to do each reroll, which we generously averaged to about 21 seconds each time a user wanted to try their luck for a specific item. That’s AT LEAST 13 hours if you’re lucky to get just one player from the 2019 NFL Draft.
The backlash was immediate and strong, with representatives during April 24’s Daily Drops stream suggesting the feedback was obvious and intense. Very shortly after the release, Draft player collectibles were changed to become auctionable and a new store option was revealed allowing users to reroll for a specific set collectible, bypassing the acquisition of outrageously high set pieces.
Those changes ultimately made the NFL Draft promo actually achievable, but the damage had already been done, with many users reportedly refusing to engage with program altogether until the Draft actually showcased which players would go where.
The latter statement was always the best way to interact with this promo, as the possibility of trades during the 2019 NFL Draft means players can’t necessarily load up on their favorite team’s draft position.
But considering the entry cost needed even to reroll in the above pictured store option is 32,000 draft picks, and the 20-32 range yields just 20,000 picks return, the gamble may not be enticing even for some of the most aggressive MUT economists to participate.
That’s a pretty jarring realization for what figures to be the last interesting promo of #MUTSeason, and should be a major wake-up call for executives when planning out the future content of Madden 20. While the changes made to the 2019 NFL Draft promo may have made it more engaging, the decisions leading up to the utter release failure need to be addressed and corrected, if for no other reason as to avoid making the same mistake in the next version of the game.