Feat. MUT10 VETS EJnfl24, DJ Mateo, Medusa, MrNICEGUY and Proxytron.
Madden Ultimate Team was first available on January 7th 2010 as an update to Madden 10 which came out the previous August. Before EA [Electronic Arts] released MUT on Madden they first tested Ultimate Team on FIFA09, five months after releasing FIFA— similar to the Madden drop mid cycle. Reasoning behind this mid cycle drop was by then players had already started drifting away from the game, as shown by last years usage data and this would keep the game “Fresh” as Adam Shaikh stated.
This update was the start of what has become the biggest hit in EA’s history, and when I say hit, I mean money maker. Lets be honest here, EA has never seen returns from a project like this, ever! No game or mode has had jumps in player returns from previous years as this one has had. Madden Ultimate Team is growing at over 90% per year, and this last year EA profited over a billion dollars, yes a billion.
From 1990 to 2012 EA has taken over many franchises, 36 to be exact, with 20 of those since 2000. EA has had some what success with these acquisitions (that can be debated at a later date) from Command and Conquer, the Sims, Sim City, Need for Speed, Bejeweled, Playfish (Mobile), Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Star Wars, Medal of Honor, the Settlers, Outlaw sports, MTV vs, Battlefield, and many others. For the most part, with the exception of Battlefield and EA sports giants like Madden, EA has seen dropoffs on player returns and very limited success on these franchises. That’s why the future of Madden Ultimate Team is so crucial.
Earlier I stated that last year EA made over a billion dollars, over 380 million of that coming from Ultimate Team. It’s fair to say what is big daddy at EA. Any good business would have seen this years ago and maximized its profits in future versions. While this is great for the investors and shareholders at EA, it is not so good for us the customer or gamer. To maximize profits EA has created many ways to earn money from the gamers playing MUT. From charging to give cards away, to charging for the auction house use, to adding points (a currency to be bought only with real cash), why do we get charged to give our already paid for cards away? Why make the game about how much money you can add for currency vs being about game play to earn currency in game?
The biggest problem in my eyes is the method of making changes to player distribution in packs. Players who you could previously get in one pack are placed in new higher level packs the next year, and each and every year since. From Gold, Silver, Bronze at start to Bronze, Silver, Gold, Elite, Legendary, Ghost, Fantasy, BCA, Playoffs, and Bonus now. When MUT started in 2010 you could very easily maintain a good team simply by winning, earning coins to buy new packs. Now its almost impossible to keep a team without spending real cash on it, so much so that there are hundreds of videos if not thousands on youtube on how to make coins without spending money. Over this holiday season we saw packs on the market place for 90$. This is getting crazy.
From a game that was so easy to play and fun to experience with your friends in a unique way, building your own team up from your favorite players and playing with it, and even sharing its greatness with your friends! To now a game where its almost required that you use real cash at some point to keep your team going. Ask any MUT vet who has played for more than a year if they have spent money on the game, it would yield an overwhelming 95% yes answer.
As a MUT10Vet I held many pack parties with fellow gamers. (EJNFL24, DJ Mateo, Proxytron, MedusaMission, JohnDee, MRNICEGUY) Pack parties is one of my favorite memories of MUT10 and 11. Gaming is about a community, it always has been and always will be. I dont know what to expect from the future of MUT as they cant keep moving players up and increasing costs for the gamers. Sooner or later it will cost us more than Madden its self. Maybe it already has, I know I have spent more on MUT then the 55 I paid for Madden 15. THAT IS CRAZY.
Maddens future is secure with the hundreds of millions of dollars MUT will generate. Lets just hope EA will realize gamers want to play the game to earn rewards NOT buy the rewards.
I took a little time to reach out to some fellow MUT vets and friends, who all have been playing MUT since the start in 2010, and can offer some various points of view. Some of these guys are heavily involved in MUT and some are just hardcore players, but all are MUT professors in my opinion. Thanks for taking the time to answer these DJMateo, EJNFL24, MedusaMission, ProxyTron, and MRNICEGUY!
- MEDUSA @xmedusamissionx Former UMF/UTF MOD, Member of MUT HOF
- PROXY @Proxytron #MUT 10 veteran
- EJNFL24 @EJ_NFL_24 Invitee of EA Sports 1st ever MUT Invitational
- MRNICEGUY @MrN1CEGUY1337 MUT 10 VET
- DJMATEO @djmateo904 US Marine | Official EA Sports GameChanger | MUTHead Staff
Q) You have been playing since the start correct?
MEDUSA – Yes, MUT10, but not at the launch. I got heavily involved w/ MUT11 and that is when & where I started making my name in the MUT community. My MUT10 team stunk, I didn’t have a ton of time to put into it and really anything good I had was thanks to gifts from EJNFL24 who I originally met in sports card trading on the Beckett online trading site.
PROXY – Pretty much from the start, yes. I think I started playing within the first few days of release.
EJNFL24 – Not from day one, but I did participate quite a bit in MUT10. I downloaded it probably a month, maybe two, after it’s release.
MRNICEGUY – Yes from the start
DJMATEO – Yes, Jan 2010 back when it was DLC
Q) What has changed the most since January 7, 2010?
MEDUSA – 2 things top my list honestly 1. I’d sadly have to say the MUT community: In short, forums are not really needed or used anymore – I miss the days of just chatting w/ fellow players and not always about the game but just life in general. I’ve always tried to live by 1 rule in the community and that is to just keep it real. Also, The community doesn’t seem as strong as it use to be, it may be strong in numbers but not strong as in helping each other out. I really appreciated alot of the community helping me out while I was in Afghanistan and that includes none other than EA’s Josh Looman. Times have changed, the community has become GREEDY as a whole, still lots of good people out there tho, community just has blown up to an unreal size. 2. Again I have to use the word sadly, cuz sadly I have to say how EA operates. By this I mean while I get that EA is a business that has to make money, EA no longer has to cater to its customers as it use to because the game, format, and community has gotten so BIG, you should NEVER stop catering to some degree to your customers, this is where America as a whole is failing. I fight for this country for a living, so this disappoints me to see where we were and where we are now, because I Love America. With that said, I partially blame EA for what people call money grubbing & I partially blame the fact that MUT got so BIG that the shear size of the community made it easy for EA to do, plus you simply can not listen to everybody.
PROXY – What’s changed the most to me has been the community, for better or worse. I think at the start of MUT, it was definitely a tight-knit community where everyone knew everyone and we all helped each other out. Today, everyone seems to only know the players who are active on Twitter or do giveaways constantly.
EJNFL24 – It’s hard to pinpoint one thing in particular to be honest. The mode has changed a ton in just about every aspect. Packs, coin making strategies, the Auction House as a whole, etc. It’s all changed. Some for the better, some for the worse. Packs, as most would agree, have gotten worse. It used to be so much fun hunting for cards in packs without having to blow crazy amounts of coins, or spending a decent amount of money. A lot of people focus on that, because it’s most people’s most enjoyable part of the mode. The thrill of the hunt. There are a lot of aspects that have seen marked improvement though. From adding collections, adding a trade feature (however flawed it may be), streamlining our collections, and increasing the amount of cards that we can have at any given time. Almost everything has changed in some way shape or form.
MRNICEGUY – In a positive way their are many more solid cards to build a team with, In a negative way pack odds are damn near pathetic, you could spend $100 at any moment and if your lucky 1-2cards might be over 83ovr.
DJMATEO – The entire premise of the game… it used to be to just buy packs and build the best team possible… Now it was turned into a task related gamed to obtain the best team possible. I like that, because it makes the grind that much more fulfilling
Q) Why did you start playing MUT?
MEDUSA – I started playing MUT because I have always been a HUGE football fan, fantasy football player, and football memorabilia collector. I’ve played Madden since the very first one & by that I mean 22 years before MUT and before alot of the community was even born. Ever heard of Commodore 64? Yes, I’m the OLD GUY. Anyways, I was at a card shop & some guy was talking about the game mode being like fantasy football so I downloaded the MUT game add-on to see for myself & the rest is history!
PROXY – I was actually just browsing the Xbox Live store and came across a download for MUT. Back when Madden 10 first came out, MUT wasn’t even on disc, it came out at a later date. So when I came across the download and read about what the game mode was, I was intrigued by the whole idea of owning cards of my favorite players and putting together whatever team I wanted, so I gave it a shot. The rest is history.
EJNFL24 – I started playing purely out of curiosity. I saw the DLC advertisement just about every day while playing Madden, so one day I decided to give it a shot, and the rest is history, as they say. I liked the idea of combining card collecting (I do have a collection of actual football cards I’ve bought/pulled over the years) along with playing my favorite game, Madden.
MRNICEGUY – The ability to create a fantasy lineup and play online without the commitment of sticking to a league schedule
DJMATEO – LOL Because it was there on my screen. I played FUT back in 09 so i wanted to see how Madden handled it. (and it was free DLC, unlike the first FUT)
Q) And why do you play now?
MEDUSA – Why stop? I love football, I love Madden and I don’t care about playing H2H games. I’m a CPU guy and just like “working” to make my Ultimate Team. Nothing worth a DAMN comes easy. But you can just make your own “Ultimate Team” in Franchise Mode you say, Where’s the challenge in that? I say! It is about fun for me and not about bragging or showing off, only person I need to impress is the person who matters most to me – MYSELF!
PROXY – What keeps me playing is the collecting aspect, and the constant drive to improve my team. I’ve always been a big fan of the collecting aspect of the game, getting my favorite players’ cards and putting them all together on the same team. This year is much more fun to me so far because it’s the first year where I won’t be spending any money on packs, so it’s even more challenging to get the cards I want.
EJNFL24 – I play now because I’m an admitted football junkie. I still enjoy building up my team and taking it online to test my skills against other MUT gamers. It’s a shame though, since with the integration of Twitch/YouTube into Madden moreso than ever that it’s having a large negative impact on the online H2H community in my opinion. Just about every game you play on the upper tiers of the H2H ladder is the same old same old. This has little to do with the mode of Madden Ultimate Team itself, but having increasing H2H rewards toward the top tiers certainly doesn’t help. I’m not sure if there’s anything the MUT Dev Team can do to address this, but as it stands, the H2H aspect of the mode is less enjoyable than at any point before in my opinion.
MRNICEGUY – Its the only mode in madden were I can use my own version of a complete squad and play online h2h
Q) Will you play MUT next year if things stay on the current course?
MEDUSA – I’ll be as honest here as I can be. Yes! People say they will stop and it is EA’s fault cuz of them being so money grubbing, well I say – look in the mirror. Could EA do some things better? Sure, but here’s the honest part – EA doesn’t force anyone to spend money and that’s the look in the mirror part cuz the only person to blame for spending money is the person you see in that mirror. I’m more disappointed with gameplay in MUT15 honestly than the money grubbing. Life isn’t always fair, you can’t have everything you want. I sure as hell don’t have World Peace yet, try buying that!
PROXY – I think I’ll keep playing MUT for the foreseeable future, unless they make it necessary to put money in the game. I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of how the game is now and how hard it is to put together a really dominant team, but to me, this way is necessary to add to the longevity of the game. If everyone were able to get their favorite players right off the bat, they’d play for a month then get bored and never touch the game again.
EJNFL24 – I’m going to be honest, I’m having serious doubts for several reasons. My main issue, as stated in another answer, is with online H2H. That’s where I have the most fun and where my main coin income is from. Right now the H2H is almost unplayable at the top tiers. You literally see the same 5 plays 8/10 games anymore thanks to people biting schemes off of Twitch and/or YouTube. Packs are becoming less and less fun, and more and more of a money grab. The odds are considerably worse than in any year prior, and the cost of packs is higher. It’s almost impossible to enjoy ripping packs and chasing certain cards without spending a ton or getting unbelievably lucky.At the end of the day, a lot of my friends have quit playing already and I probably won’t be too far behind if the game mode continues it’s current course.
MRNICEGUY – Maybe but I wont spend as much time and damn sure less money.. or any
DJMATEO – Absolutely, MUT is the future of Madden, I had been trying to express that when it started, but no one took me seriously. Now look at it.
Q) Do you remember when we had to fight EA to give cards away?
MEDUSA – No, really I don’t. Plus, if I want to give cards away – guess what? I WILL! I’ve done my fair share of bitching, moaning, and venting about MUT and EA over the years as well as disagree with how some things are done but in the end those are my opinions & my rights to do so, just like it is EA’s right to run their company however they do. I’ve also done my fair share of praising EA for stuff and things they have done for me. It’s the nature of the BEAST!
PROXY – I do remember that, and I’m not sure why it was a problem.
EJNFL24 – I don’t. I’ve done it in years prior and this year and haven’t had issue with it.
MrNiceGuy – They dont really know.. as long as customers dish out money and dont voice their opinion EA dont really care
DJMATEO – I do, but that was at the time of no trade block.
Q) Why do you think EA did not want us giving cards away?
MEDUSA – No idea because I don’t remember this unless it is paypalling or selling on EBay that you are referring to and that is because that is against their TOS agreement and I’ll leave it at that because I have my own opinions on that matter that I’ll leave at that. (And No, I do not sell or buy cards or coins for that matter – I have, however, given away alot to the community by the way of time, cards, and coins)
PROXY – The only thing I could think of is that maybe they wanted the other players to earn their cards rather than getting them for free. Clearly it’s not a problem to them anymore though, with giveaways happening constantly over Twitter.
EJNFL24 – I’m not sure what might’ve caused their issue with it, as I don’t remember it being an issue in the first place. There definitely shouldn’t be an issue with people helping other MUT players by giving away cards.
MRNICEGUY – Same reason, if they dont really know.. as long as customers dish out money and dont voice their opinion EA dont really care
DJMATEO – Im pretty sure they didnt want us giving away cards because of the chance of them being taken by people lurking. Thus creating a hassle for them when the users call customer support and complain. Hence the introduction of the trade block
Q) Our pack parties were so much fun were they not?
MEDUSA – I didn’t really do a ton of pack parties, but they def were cool when I’d join XBL parties. I loved wishing ppl good luck & MOJO. I stayed away alot cuz big parties seemed difficult to sneak in talk time, but pack parties lead to ppl helping each either w/ trading & Doing collections. Pack parties need to come back & I guess they still happen via Twitch and all. So,yes – when I was in them, they were FUN. I do remember those days w/ ppl like T1P,Clutch City,&Buhfalo. Pack parties also built lasting MUT friendships & reps. Miss da good old days.
PROXY – Those pack parties were the best! There’s so many things I miss about the MUT10 days.
EJNFL24 – They’re one of the most fun things I’ve participated in while playing MUT. I wish pack prices were more reasonable so we could still do ’em!
MRNICEGUY – The thing that made the awesome was the odds didnt suck .. getting great value for decent content
DJMATEO – I was just about to mention that in the last answer. Pack Parties were definitely the cat’s pajamas. And back then it was only limited to the 8 people in the party. But now with social media and twitch becoming SUPER popular from the days of justin.tv Giveaways have more power and community interaction.
Q) What could you change about MUT if you had the abilty to change one thing?
MEDUSA – I think you meant what would I change if I could. First & Foremost I’d listen to the MUT players more despite the fact that you’ll NEVER be able to make everyone happy. EA has in fact listened to some of my ideas, if you read this EA, you are welcome (cough cough Pat Tillman). Anyways, like I was saying… I’d listen to the vast majority of the community which would fix simple issues like lacking gameplay, recycling of promos, multiple versions of the same player, and all the DAMN collectibles. Well, at least I’d like to think I could, some times when the shoe is on your foot it is NOT as easy as you think it is. Now, while I say that… Let’s also give some credit to the changes that EA has made over the years because they have made positive strides and listened to “us”. Some times with positive strides come negative ones & with negative strides come positive ones. Trust me, for every constructive criticism someone like AirWolf (MutGuru) gets, he gets a ton of hate mail, think that over for a minute. I, for one, appreciate what Josh Looman did and what AirWolf (MutGuru) is working on.
PROXY – I’ve thought about this so many times, and I feel like I always come up with a different answer. If I could only change ONE thing, I would make trading multiple cards a possibility. It’s an obvious feature that would fix lots of issues with scamming and just make trading as a whole easier.
EJNFL24 – Man, that’s a tough one. If it had to do with just the mode of MUT itself, and wasn’t inclusive of the gameplay aspect I’d have to say pack odds/prices. Some of the most fun I’ve had in MUT was ripping packs in years passed. This year it’s impossible to have fun ripping packs unless you have insane luck. Pack prices have become a joke as well. With the release of “Ultimate Packs” we saw a single pack that cost roughly $30! That’s insane! A 3 pack bundle for $90! Even then you weren’t guaranteed any cards that would make a marked improvement to either your team or your coin total. If you spent that much in years prior you could make your team better in just about every aspect.
MRNICEGUY – More gold or higher players per base pro pack or lower the price on premium packs, Certain sets like team of the week you should always get the collected versions of players back . It was like this in mut12
DJMATEO – TBH, every year they bring something different. And it’s usually a good change from the year before. We asked for a trade block, we got a trade block, we asked for no caps on the Auction House, and we got no caps on the AH, we asked for more collections, we got more collections. We asked for more ease of use with the “reserves/pending/Active” and we got that… But one thing I’d like to in future MUT’s is stat tracking on cards. If i am buying a Calvin Johnson Jr. I’d like to know how many TD’s hes had, how many yards hes gained, the date the card was pulled. Things like that for each player. QBs, HBs, defensive players… That would be great. Oh yeah and also a DNF% for my opponent at the load up screen so i’ll know whether to expect a quit from him. OH! And also BRING BACK “Continue vs. CPU” if the opponent quits on you