Madden Ultimate Team is More Predatory Than Ever

Ja'Marr Chase celebrating in Madden 24

Ja'Marr Chase celebrating in Madden 24

Madden Ultimate Team is a money-spinning game mode for EA and has been for a long time. Some might think such a profitable mode wouldn't change over the years, but MUT has been slowly morphing away from what it was and into something completely different, and it's leaving players behind.

Madden 24's launch has only drilled that home for many players as a lack of content has continued into the first full week of release.

MUT isn't what it used to be

Madden Ultimate Team has changed a lot over the years. Some of it for the better like the removal of contracts, but other changes have been for the worse. One change that has been slowly creeping into Madden is the move toward competitive PvP rather than solo play. As recently as Madden 20 you could get a decent team and pick up a few high-performing cards through completing challenges and solo battles. That is not the case now though.

If you want to even sniff the best cards in the game you need to spend money on packs or crush the PvP modes like MUT Champs or House Rules. And what's the best way to do that? Have the best cards already!

Madden 24 opened with the Headliners promo, giving players an Odell Beckham to level up and the chance to get a bunch of 87 OVR players. But if you aren't buying packs you can't earn one of those 87s. Instead you top out at an 84.

The small amount of solo challenges in Madden 24 Ultimate Team
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This wouldn't be too bad if you could earn yourself a solid Legend card in the early game, but no. The first round of Legend solos give you plenty of tokens and then a 78 OVR card. Sure, you are earning coins that you can use to buy packs or go sniping in the Auction House, but the days of actually grinding yourself a good card in solos seem to be long gone.

Empty at launch

The launch for Madden 24 wasn't particularly smooth, but if you didn't play MUT you might not have noticed. Pre-order rewards were bound to the previous-gen version of the game or missing altogether, while the Madden 24 servers struggled to get online. But the biggest issue was the complete lack of content.

This was highlighted on Reddit by u/Bradleyharheez who shared just how much content there was on day 1 of MUT in Madden 16.

The day 1 Ultimate Team content in Madden 16
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All of these amazing challenges and programs are gone. There wasn't even a proper pre-season program in Madden 24. Instead, there was a handful of solo challenges, some solo battles, and all the PvP modes. Solo battles don't even have the weekly rewards anymore, so grinding them for packs and coins is out. Instead, you are grinding for Field Pass levels.

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Field Pass problems

Ultimate Team has morphed from completing challenges for immediate rewards to a slow drip feed of rewards by grinding out levels in multiple battle passes, or as they are called in Madden Field Passes.

This system has only increased the predatory feeling of Ultimate Team within Madden. You aren't getting rewarded directly for winning games, instead the grind is in amassing stats so you can earn XP for a pass that then might give you 5,000 coins or a fantasy pack as you move up through the levels.

Madden 24 Ultimate Team field passes
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The Field Passes have increased the grind to the point of insanity, which only incentivises the shortcut of buying points to get more packs so you can actually win games and advance your passes quicker.

This added delay to the gratification of play is just increasing the predatory feeling of Madden. You can't build a good team with just offline play anymore. As a result, when big events like Harvest or Zero Chill roll around No Money Spent and offline squads will be miles behind when they inevitably try H2H to win side dishes or presents.

It has become impossible to be an offline player in Ultimate Team, and even harder to keep up without spending money. It's either pushed casual players out or turned them into paying customers. In that sense, I'm sure EA is happy with how their changes to Ultimate Team have worked out, but it's just another dagger to the heart of Madden players. After their neglect of Franchise Mode, the naked money-grabbing of Ultimate Team could well be the last straw for many in the Madden community.

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