Throughout the years the speed rating in Madden has not only largely dictated success on the field but also been the biggest point of contention from athletes in terms of getting their perceived respect. Overall rating of course was the first thing looked at but beyond that it always seemed to be the speed rating that players argued over.
As soon as I started posting up images of the new ‘Player Traits’ being implemented in Madden NFL 12 it became evident that they were where the debate would be taking place in the future. Not in simple numbers but in how the individuals would be differentiated based on the manner in which they actually play. It’s one thing to have a low number in a ratings category but a completely different beast to see weaknesses spelled out and visible to all.
The discussion around the player traits picked up immediately by fans and that was not unexpected. Ratings talk has always been prominent and fans just love to talk and argue about the NFL in general. Comments came in at a rapid pace on Twitter, Facebook, and the articles with back and forth about what the players deserved or didn’t deserve in regard to particular traits.
It wasn’t limited to just fans though. Several athletes responded on Twitter upon seeing what they had been given.
My favorite came from Matt Hasselbeck who replied succinctly with:
Surprisingly Chad Ochocinco did not respond – though maybe he just didn’t see it – as his traits were not particularly favorable. NO to being ‘Clutch’, NO to ‘Fights for Extra Yards’, YES to ‘Drops Open Passes’, and only two stars for ‘Consistency’. Descriptions such as those are sure to conjure up emotion different than just numbers would in a ratings category.
One misstep may have come with the ‘Confidence’ rating however as every player has been initially locked into three stars and that will be adjusted through roster updates or based on performance in Franchise mode. The confusion about it however continues and it may have been better represented by a ‘momentum’ or ‘current streak’ type category. ‘Confidence’ implies a certain leadership quality or an ego and not so much simply how well they are currently playing.
‘Player Traits’ are far more personal than ratings numbers and that is going to lead to more arguments for or against amongst fans and athletes. EA Sports will eat that up given all the extra attention it brings Madden. They’ve always benefited from the game remaining relevant throughout the year, and while player ratings have driven much of that in the past, the ‘traits’ will do so even more in the future.