Following six days of teasing, EA finally revealed the second portion of the Madden 19 Color Smash promo, this time featuring 19 players on the offensive side of the ball for PS4, Xbox One and PC users in Madden Ultimate Team.
While the main offensive master, Melvin Gordon, sports some promising attributes, the four 97 overall cards are downright dreadful - to the point where Color Smash may go down as one of the worst received promos in MUT history to start after April.
Along with the dreary offensive candidates, an uneventful House Rules ruleset has elicited negative feedback from at least one main MUT content provider, doubling-down on the troublesome decisions displayed as of late.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with the former Wisconsin product receiving a 99 overall item, as Gordon vastly outperformed expectations during the 2018 season, tallying over 1,600 total yards and 12 touchdowns. There just isn’t much of a need for a running back to be such a feature member of a given program considering the past two promos also featured RBs as the ultimate prize (Chris Johnson/NFL Combine, LeVeon Bell/NFL FA)
There are only 11 offensive positions on the field, with six (all offensive line + fullback) likely eliciting a far more negative response should any earn a high-tier promo spot, so in some ways, it’s difficult to really harp on EA’s latest RB schmooze-fest.
But Gordon is far from a sexy name for most MUT players, and his attributes certainly don’t drive the appeal any higher since 17 other RBs have 95 or higher speed. Were EA to have made Gordon significantly overpowered, the lack of balanced cards, which has been particularly and painfully evident in a variety of lackluster Ultimate Legends, would have been the topic of frustration instead.
That’s better than the absolute disgrace done to AJ Green’s newest card, a player who hadn’t been updated since the middle of August.
Green’s receiving stats are fine otherwise, and yes, of course, the obvious caveat “he’s good in a theme team” can be applied to the eight-year pro. But that’s not, and really never should be, the point for a player like Green, who up until this season made it to the Pro Bowl every single year of his career.
It’s frustrating to continue stating the obvious week in and week out, but if this is what the Power-Up program is about, EA seriously needs to rethink the gameplan for Madden 20.
Conversely, Ben Roethlisberger is a good example of how the Power-Up program can make an item more unique, as the veteran Steelers quarterback can get to almost mind-boggling 82 Speed when slotted into the aforementioned theme team. Along with more than respectable passing attributes, Roethlisberger would be an ultimate dream for Steelers theme teams --- if they didn’t already have the best quarterback in the game in the form of Michael Vick.
That, of course, is the point, and likely why EA decided to take some liberties with a QB that has ran for 215 yards combined in the past five years. There’s not much reason to switch from Vick at this stage of the season if you’re a Steelers theme team other than for fun, which if you’re playing Madden into April, is likely not of peak concern.
Two other offensive lineman earned 97 overall items, but to quote a wise Madden writer, diving too deep into the OL writeup would elicit a far more negative response, so we’ll avoid that cannonball for now.
Even with the latest update to House Rules, EA’s newest expansion to the head-to-head program, a repeat of “Green Rules” which gives 12 points for touchdowns scored from the 10-20 yard range, seems to have people longing for “more”.
Trust me, there is a loving embrace with House Rules. M19 House Rules are tagged as a beta because we wanted to experiment with them (they aren't trivial to make) and get community feedback like your tweet. We've got a long list of places to go in the future.— JP Kellams (@synaesthesiajp) April 16, 2019
Twitch and Youtube personality, Gutfoxx, has grown increasingly frustrated with the bland nature of the H2H initiative, on multiple occasions suggesting the rewards for partaking in House Rules have made users engage in the content as opposed to any of the situational rule changes.
This elicited a tweet which prompted an interesting back-and-forth with Madden Ultimate Team producer, JP Kellams, and was also acknowledged onstream during EA’s Tuesday rendition of Madden Daily Drops.
It’s clear these types of changes to the structure of the football game are not easy to code, and as a result, it seems likely EA will continue to dip their toes in the House Rules water.
That’s probably a safe call considering the litany of things broken during random updates throughout Madden 19 (who can forget the “fall forward” glitch), but for as much good as the H2H program has done to keeping this version of the game from feeling stale, the difference of “experimentation” cited in the two tweets is a fair representation of the player fanbase compared to the developers.
Perhaps the beta House Rules version will receive a fully-fledged upgrade in Madden 20. For now, it’s rinse, win whatever 97 overall player is featured in past promo, and repeat. Fun.