The downside to Draft Champions

Posted August 31st, 2015 at 2:00 pm


Draft Champions mode in Madden NFL 16 has earned near universal praise. It’s a compelling concept involving the selection of players and construction of a team without the necessity of a long-term commitment or investment of money. Unfortunately what has become apparent in recent days is that the lack of stakes affects how people play the games online. 

While the benefits to Draft Champions are obvious the drawbacks have started to stand out more over time. Because losing a game just means starting over with a new draft, there’s no reason for people to play out games to completion. The quit rate is much higher than ranked games because there’s no penalty for dropping out or incentive to stick through to the end.

Worse though than the quitting is how play styles are altered, because there’s nothing on the line and the gameplay slant this year leads everyone to believe they have a shot at a big play in any situation. People are constantly going for it on fourth downs and bombing away all game in an attempt to pull in aggressive catches. No matter how good you are defensively, you can’t stop every one of those, and they only need to complete one out of four in a set of downs and then they’re suddenly in scoring range.

I played one person who, by the end of the game, was 5/16 for 164 yards, all of which were deep bombs with the exception of one screen pass. That was with me playing coverages designed to prevent the deep ball from being successful and converging on the intended receivers with multiple defenders that included a “legend” free safety. I was only able to win because of two clutch second half scoring drives, a stop on fourth down (of course on their own side of the field with 30 seconds remaining in a tie game), and the field goal as time expired.

So while Draft Champions has proven popular in these early days of Madden NFL 16, its fair to wonder whether the mode will wear thin with people over time as the importance placed on winning games erodes even further. The novelty of the concept may not sustain as complaints continue to stack up over how people play in the actual games.