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NCAA 12: Well, looks like you can close the book on Kellner.


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I think I need to watch Major League again.

Anyway, I’m almost ready to close the book, not on NCAA 12, but on NCAA 12’s Dynasty Mode.

Yesterday I wrote about the really slick gameplay changes for NCAA this year; in fact I think NCAA 12 plays a pretty good game of football and is clearly the best the series has ever been on the field.

OFF the field…well…guys look. There are a lot of people out there (just read the forums at EA.com, Operation Sports and any number of other popular sports game forums) that want Dynasty Mode to play as close to the real thing as possible. I know the guys who work on NCAA are college football fans. I know they know that this isn’t right. They have to know. So why are things so screwy every year?

So, what’s wrong with Dynasty Mode?

Let’s walk into the future — to the fall of the year 2013…

In 2013 we see…

42 quarterbacks rated 90 or higher

41 running backs rated 90 or higher

The country is filled with B+ to A+ rated teams, as progression has simply gone insane. You can make the case that the overall score for these players doesn’t matter, that it is the individual ratings that carry more weight and this argument would hold more water if EA shipped rosters that reflected this. They didn’t. This CLEARLY can’t be how it’s meant to work. EA can’t possibly mean for Ohio U (not Ohio State, but the Bobcats of Athens) to finish 12-0 in 2013 and have an 81 rated HB win the Heisman. That can’t be right.

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What this does is effectively make your NCAA Dynasty a crap shoot when games are simmed as truly great programs are likely to go 6-6 because everyone is rated so closely together (unless you are truly a bottom feeder team.) A team might go 11-1 one year, still have a great team the next and lose 5 or 6 games due to randomness.

This isn’t 2018 we’re talking about, which is time enough for a smaller school to turn into a great program. Boise St. and TCU didn’t turn into great teams in one year. By 2013 we see a lot of small schools simply “get good” because of player progression. I have seen teams go from a C- offense into a B+ in one year — and not due to freshmen, but due to huge leaps in player progression.

By the end of 2013 we’re looking at a top 15 that includes Ohio U, Indiana, Utah, and Houston. Florida? They have fallen off the map by the end of 2013. Texas? Ditto. Auburn remained a powerhouse. Ole Miss is now a 11 win juggernaut. Wisconsin and Iowa are now the cream of the B10 crop as OSU, Penn State and Nebraska have fallen into the ranks of mediocre teams.

We see the preseason poll with Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State all graded out as either an A- or an A. Their preseason ranking? #50, #53, and #71, respectively. FSU is graded a solid “A” and is ranked *71st* in the nation. That is …just plain weird.

Some of this stuff will likely not bother many NCAA players, and that’s fine. But for those of us who want our Dynasty mode to resemble what real college football is like, it’s terribly frustrating that EA can’t — or won’t — fix this.

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I realize that with a 70 player roster limit that you are changing the entire landscape of the sport because if that were a real rule you’d see a lot of changes in the world of big time college football, but player progression is a seperate issue and one that EA needs to take the time to fix. Please. I beg you.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

10 thoughts to “NCAA 12: Well, looks like you can close the book on Kellner.”

  1. They screwed this up last year too (or th eyear before).

    Sounds like the best option is, again, to play one season with various teams or join an online league with a lot of guys to fill a conference.

    EA Sports: One Step Forward, One Step Into a Ditch

  2. It’s too bad EA has not given a higher priority to fixing these types of flaws with the dynasty mode. I’m sure they have accurate data on what percentage of their players play in online dynasties. And they probably have a general feel for the amount of single player time spent in dynasty mode from players’ online profiles and achievements earned. Given those factors they have decided that putting a lot of time into development and testing of dynasty mode just isn’t worth the return on investment. With no real competition and solid sales every year it’s hard to blame them I guess.

    That being said if you want to play in a multiplayer league with some friends on a console, NCAA is still your best bet IMHO. NCAA is much better than Madden and FIFA where the player management is pretty much nonexistent once the season starts. And MLB The Show, while a great game, had tons of problems with lag and CPU team AI even over the course of one season. On the PC OOTP and FoF are great. But sometimes nothing beats being able to play the games out head to head and trash talk over the headset while you break away for the winning TD.

  3. on the player development front as 1 and 2 star recruits, just with higher numbers to start off with. It speaks to a deep ignorance of where those recruit evaluations come from. Scouts don’t grade high school players based on their ability to walk onto an FBS squad tomorrow and contribute as a starting player- the preponderance of highly-rated recruits require at least a season to grow physically and adjust to the way the game is played at the college level.

    Where scouts make their money is identifying which of those players have potential to improve physically and mentally past where they start as incoming freshmen, and which ones have more or less already topped out in the high school game. I don’t office with the NCAA dev team, but I’d be willing to bet that if you were to dig into their system, you would find that a 2 star recruit is just as likely to morph into a beast during an offseason as a 5 star recruit, and that means their system is broken.

  4. “This year we’re taking our responsiveness to fan input to the next level and adding FMV of Erin Andrews stroking a microphone suggestively!”

    /EA Sports impression

  5. I haven’t messed with the coaching thing much yet.

    As to the rest, it’s safe to say we have a differing opinion. Let’s leave it at that.

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