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[Suggestion] How to improve the fun of playing MUT Solo Challenges?

by Neo_Novalis
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Original Post

[Suggestion] How to improve the fun of playing MUT Solo Challenges?

My thoughts and suggestions in this post are based on how I experienced playing MUT Solo Challenges in the last few years. Except some very few cases, I played almost all Solo Challenges Madden 19 to Madden 21 but I have to say that playing them became more and more boring and it was actually not challenging at all to achieve all the bonus goals. That’s why I would like to suggest revising this mode but would like to summarize pros and cons of this mode (from my perspective) first in order to provide some reasons for my suggestions.

 

Pros and cons of MUT Solo Challenges

 

  • [PRO] First, from my perspective the most important feature of Solo Challenges is its relatedness to MUT promos introducing new items and sets.
  • [PRO] Solo Challenges have been the only Solo MUT mode (besides Solo Battles) allowing you to play with your own MUT lineup. If you do not want to play H2H, there does not exist any other Solo mode allowing you to earn rewards (packs and coins) while playing with your own team.
  • [PRO/CON] Sometimes, Solo Challenges allowed you (or from a different angle: forced you) to try out new player items (by integrating them into your lineup) or playbooks. The downside of being able to try out those players: the opportunities to play with your own lineup was further limited. I would have preferred to be allowed to choose whether I wanted to play with my own lineup or try out the new items as well.
  • [CON] From my point of view, the most improvable aspect of Solo Challenges (as they have been in Madden 21, 20, 19, etc.) is their imbalance in terms of difficulty and challenge. The Solo Challenges are way too easy once you have a halfway good team or are halfway experienced in the game. On the other hand, this mode should be playable for beginners too. In other words, it should provide fun for 1) all players covering the range from less experienced players (“newbies”) to highly experienced players (“pros”), as well as 2) both for players with a weak team (low OVR lineups) and for players with a very strong team (high OVR lineups). Generally speaking, challenges are fun precisely when they are sufficiently difficult to be challenging (otherwise they would become boring soon), but not too difficult to fail at (otherwise it would be just frustrating). I assume that this goal of providing challenging fun is impossible to accomplish given the very heterogenous combinations that results from the wide range of player skills (beginner vs. “pro”) combined with the wide range of team strengths (i.e. lineup OVRs).
  • [CON] Another imbalance within the Solo Challenges mode results from heterogeneous rewards and requirements to successfully complete all objectives. From my perspective, the balance of rewards and requirements across Solo Challenges could be more balanced.
    • Rewards to be earned from Solo Challenges are both limited (i.e. it is not possible to regain rewards by repeating the Challenges as soon as all objectives have been completed) and unbalanced.
    • Some Solo Challenges might end after one play while others require completing a full game of 4 quarters. Having to play a full game might become very boring if you had been able to complete all objectives of the challenge very early in the game (or if you have to wait for a certain time in the game (e.g. the 4th quarter) to reach an objective). In this case, the rest of the game degenerates into just running down the clock as fast as possible. In particular, since the AI did not adjust to whatever you had been doing …
    • Sometimes, bonus objectives might be automatically completed as soon as the main objective is fulfilled, while on the other hand some objectives are out of control of the player (e.g. if you have to get an INT on a drive but your opponent’s QB starts to scramble all the time).
    • Moreover, while completing some of the Challenges result in comparably high rewards (either in terms of coins, packs or items), others are not even worth the time playing.
  • [CON] A huge disadvantage of Solo Challenges are loading times, in particular if Solo Challenges are very short. Playing a series of challenges might become very annoying when loading times between games last longer than the actual gaming time. I would have prefered if Solo Challenges were usually longer while offering multiple objectives (from which you don't have to achieve all of them; or you can't even achieve all of them). The more of the objectives you accomplish, the better the rewards. This way, a lot of loading times between challenges could be spared.
  • [CON] In Madden 21, many series of Solo Challenges had been available for a limited time only. If you missed them, you could not play them at all. Given the fact that some promo deadlines had been confusingly communicated (or in worst case either had not been communicated at all or had been wrongly communicated), I've read many reports of players missing out on rewards just because they had not been aware of the deadlines. I would have preferred if you got special promo-related rewards for the Solo Challenges if you complete them within a certain limited time window (depending on the promo). If you missed the promo / deadlines, the challenges should be still playable but rewards are more general and not related to the promo. These (non-promo) rewards could have been similar to the packs to be rewarded from completing H2H Seasons, Weekend League or Solo Battles.
  • [CON] A huge con of Solo Challenges in Madden 21 had been the broad range of bugs (e.g. missing x-factors and or abilities in many Solo Challenges; players have been locked out of Solos, missing options in the play calling menu, etc.). Based on my observations (and what I’ve read from other players as well), many of these bugs have been based on the huge range of potential lineups causing several issues. Given this enormous heterogeneity of lineups, it was not surprising to me that the dev team struggled to both identifying and solving these bugs (obviously a very challenging and unthankful task…).
  • [CON] Finally, at least some (maybe many?) of last year’s Solo Challenges could be completed without usering a single play, at least if your lineup is strong enough. I came across this by accident when I was interrupted during a Challenge and had to get up from the PC quickly while missing the pause button. When I came back, the challenge was successfully completed (including all bonus objectives). This holds in particular for Challenges which require playing defense only. If your lineup is strong enough (compared with your opponent), your defense most likely will be able to stop your opponent without user inputs. I’d strongly prefer it if the successful completion of a Solo Challenge depended on you doing something right as a player, and not just benefiting from your team just being so superior. This is otherwise simply not a “challenge”!

How to improve the MUT Solo Challenges?

 

Based on the pros and cons listed above, to make this mode more attractive, the following questions arise for me:

  • How does a Solo Challenge really become a “challenge” in which it depends on one's own gaming performance and not on the current status of one's own team (i.e. lineup OVR)?
  • How do you prevent the remainder of a Challenge from becoming completely boring / pointless once you've completed all objectives? Especially with a 4-quarter-game, if you don't get anything out of it (except for Season Stats, while Season Stats are so long term that it's not necessarily motivating to want to play well because of it…).
  • How do you prevent Solo Challenges in general from becoming boring over time because the objectives keep repeating (or are at least quite similar across Solo Challenges)?
  • How do you prevent Solo Challenges from becoming too difficult so that inexperienced players (or players with less developed lineups) can still achieve the "base objectives" and thus get promo-related rewards?
  • How to design Solo Challenges so that you can play them as many times as you want while still having fun and gaining rewards, and at the same time prevent cheaters from using bots / algorithms to gain infinite rewards?
  • How do you achieve both allowing to play with your own MUT lineup and trying out newly released items?
  • How to reduce loading times?

Therefore, I would like to suggest the following:

  • Solo Challenges should be exactly the same for all players. In other words, the lineups to be used in Solo Challenges should be independent from the players’ current lineups but be defined by the dev team. Players could then adjust the difficulty settings according to their own Madden skills while the Challenge per se is the same for all players.
  • The rewards to be gained by completing Solo Challenges should depend on the performance of the human player. Objectives should refer to successfully usered animations (e.g. usered catches, completed passes, usered juke moves, etc.). Limiting objectives (and rewards) this way would avoid that players benefit from what the game does all by itself. Moreover, tying rewards to the user's performance would also render it impossible for cheaters to use bots or algorithms to play the challenge over and over again.
  • Solo Challenges should be repeatable in terms of rewards. Independent of whether you have already completed the base objectives, completing the Challenge again should result in rewards, at least in terms of coins. From my perspective, it would not be necessary to define bonus objectives if every meaningfully usered activity would be reflected in coins (at least) anyways. If only usered activities are rewarded, there would also be nothing against the Solos being repeatable. You would have to play them yourself to get anything out of them at all (and bots / algorithms would be useless!).
  • Solo Challenges should be full 4-quarter-games in order to minimise loading times. For these games to be fun all game long, everything you are successfully usering must translate into rewards. This would ensure that as a player, you have an interest in playing as well as possible from start to finish. Long series of Solo Challenges (with many different games) could thus be reduced to a few games, while ensuring the same fun and rewards with much shorter aggregated loading times.
  • In Solo Challenges, human players should only be allowed to control a given player, i.e. one of the newly released player item of the current promo. Players should not be able to select plays or control other teammates but it should be verified that the player is on the field (almost) all the time and the usered player is often the focus. For instance, if the human player has to play a WR, the QB looks first at the usered player. If the human player was able to successfully run his route and is at least halfway free, the QB will also try a slightly riskier pass as usual. Base objectives for a usered WR might be a specific number of catches or gained yardage etc. while the higher the number total yardage and catches, the higher the rewards in terms of coins. If the usered player is a HB, base objectives might be a minimum of yards per rushing attempt, a minimum number of rushing yards, a minimum number of successful juke moves etc. while the total number of juke moves, yards etc. defines the amount of rewarded coins. From my perspective, it should be feasible to create Solo Challenges for every position (incl. offensive linemen). Given very different potential objectives for each position, having to user completely different players (i.e. the player of the promo the Solo Challenge is build around) while not be able to select plays (incl. money plays which almost always work), Solo Challenges could offer a huge diversity of game situations. From my point of view, this would offer a lot of opportunities to get to know and try out the depth of the game.
  • Finally, my suggestion actually goes against my preference to play with my own MUT lineup (which I love to tinker with). Revising Solo Challenges (as described above) would definitely require to amend them by alternative MUT Solo modes which allow you to play with your own lineup. So I would like to bring up again my thoughts about the revision of Solo Battles and the introduction of a MUT Solo Season mode. In my view, these two modes (revised Solo Battles and MUT Solo Seasons) would be a perfect complement to the Solo Challenges described here:
    • Solo Challenges as a challenge to achieve the best performance in a specific situation put together by the development team. To spice up the mode, you could possibly introduce a leaderboard (without additional rewards) to show the best scores of all players (per Solo Challenge).
    • Solo Battles as an opportunity to play a full game against very strong teams to find out the strongest opponent you can just beat with your own lineup.
    • Solo Seasons to play a full NFL season with your MUT lineup just enjoying the facets of the game while trying to win the Super Bowl and maximising your seasonal stats.

____________________________________________________________________________________
        Positive Play - Feel the emotions, but be aware what they are telling you!
Joy: you like it! Anger: you don't like it! Frustration: you don't like it but cannot do
     anything against it! Aggression: you don't like it and want to break something.
____________________________________________________________________________________
                   Tell everybody (@joy), give constructive feedback (@anger),
                    ask for help (frustration), and have a break (@aggression)!
                     I try to help out other players, but I'm not an EA employee

Message 1 of 3 (235 Views)

Re: [Suggestion] How to improve the fun of playing MUT Solo Challenges?

★ Guide

These are some great ideas!

 

Playing against the CPU in MUT has a lot of potential.

  • I think sometimes solo challenges can appear daunting, whether it's full games or lots of smaller tasks they look overwhelming.
  • I love the fact that you can continue onto the next challenge, but you're right loading each challenge for a 30 second mini-game doesn't make sense.
  • Earning players/coins/rewards.
    • If we can't play with our MUT lineup (because what you said makes sense), but are maybe assigned teams for challenges and if we do well with a certain player perhaps we can unlock them?
    • Assigning teams with different skill levels would be fun, like easy mode you get this ovr, and your ovr goes down as you raise the challenge (on top of the regular skill difficulty) would be a fun way to challenge the community. Including a solo battles like scoreboard would be fun! that way you could have different teams each week with their own challenge to face and bonus rewards if you do well.
  • solo seasons with your mut team that with a separate ui than solo challenges would be fun too. Easily repeatable, Every week, month, etc? updated rosters. each season you start can randomize a schedule. Solo challenges do have challenges where you have to work through a whole season, but like my first bullet, it's daunting looking at it that way.
Message 2 of 3 (110 Views)

Re: [Suggestion] How to improve the fun of playing MUT Solo Challenges?

@DyeusVita Thank you for your feedback! Standard smile

____________________________________________________________________________________
        Positive Play - Feel the emotions, but be aware what they are telling you!
Joy: you like it! Anger: you don't like it! Frustration: you don't like it but cannot do
     anything against it! Aggression: you don't like it and want to break something.
____________________________________________________________________________________
                   Tell everybody (@joy), give constructive feedback (@anger),
                    ask for help (frustration), and have a break (@aggression)!
                     I try to help out other players, but I'm not an EA employee

Message 3 of 3 (90 Views)
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