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Future Playbooks designed for Competitive play

Many of the passing concepts and running plays in today's playbooks are essentially unusable in competitive play. There are a variety of reasons for this:

1. Defensive Users are still over powered and capable of covering more ground than offensive AI can cover. For example, a defensive user is still quite capable of shooting a run gap on a play action pass, while still being able to run back and cover a TE on a streak or a crossing route. This makes many of the PA passing plays a waste of time.

2. Both the defensive and offensive AI do not position themselves to tackle or block effectively against subtle adjustments by players with near limitless paths of input. What I'm saying is, a HB Plunge play probably works well against a stock defense, but when your opponent runs field goal block, puts defensive backs in contains and shoots the B Gap with a safety that was supposed to be playing man on the other side of the field, the computer isn't really prepared for that, and the results may not be intended.

3. The way people play Madden is very different than the way people play football in real life. There are countless examples of this, but perhaps the best one is punting. People don't punt the ball in Madden because if they don't get the first down no one fires them, they don't have to leave town and coach at a high school making minimum wage. They just turn the game off and start up a new one where maybe they'll be successful on 4th and 32. My point here is that a play as simple as punting the football means something different than it does in real life.

And that's why I think our playbooks are not designed well and need major rethinking/reimagining. Don't get me wrong, I love the work Anthony White has done on the playbooks. But when it comes to competitive play in the Madden reality, we are doing this the wrong way.

Here are some things I think we should change as soon as possible. Maybe this can't really be a thing until next year, but I urge the development team to give this serious consideration.

1. No player wants to use auto motion that commits them to running a play that may not hike the ball until after the play clock is expired, and may immediately tip of their opponent making it easy to defend. Therefore, all auto motion plays should be removed or redesigned so that there is no auto motion within the play.

2. Plays should be more static and not allow the snap of the ball at any point in time. This is to create less paths of input, making plays easier to QC and design correctly. All plays should work under a stricter set of rules. For example, all motion should be the same. The ball should be snapped at the same time, there should be no exceptions.

3. There should not be 20 different types of crossing routes. There should not be special routes. There should be a very specific set of routes that are common throughout all playbooks. There makes it much easier to design, test, and implement a well balanced game versus having little one off plays that glitch out the defense in ways that were never intended.

4. Plays should be first designed with the mechanics of the game in mind. I love the idea behind plays being similar to what we see the NFL doing, but if the game doesn't support making a sprint pass to a WR on a 5 yard out, what good is the play if almost any defensive coverage will intercept that ball? Furthermore, if a defensive user can cover just about any hi-lo concept from a 2 back set, why would all the playbooks have this kind of play?

It's really beyond understanding why we have these playbooks if the mechanics are not going to support them. If I were designing my own playbook based off the META defenses used in competitive play, I would design balanced formations that would run crossing routes forcing the user to pick one side to cover on every play, while also having inside and outside runs that sent a blocker to the middle of the field where the user was sure to be. I would also sprinkle in screen passes with imbalanced lines to stress smaller defensive fronts.

I would also design all my running plays to double team the contain players at the snap, and wall off the back side pursuit. I would make running plays that didn't care so much about the amount of players in the box, and instead just tried to get outside contain, or to run inside when the defense is spread out. Although I understand that this is normally what happens in football, it does not happen often enough in M21. Instead, the awkward alignments and angles of the defense will consistently ruin the blocking schemes of the offense (with few exceptions). And the result is that the defense can rely on a small front to stop or contain many of the running plays while getting the benefit of 5 or 6 defensive backs on every play.

Right now, Gun Bunch uses a lot of these concepts, which is why it's been so popular over the years. But many of the other formations do not successfully use these concepts, and have very limited value in the type of game that M21 is. That is why we either need to fix these mechanics, or fix the playbooks to support what this game actually is...

A crossing route, inside zone, out flanking offense defended by a super user that dares the offense to throw over the middle and run the ball consistently.
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