EA SPORTS NCAA Football 12: New Online Dynasty Details Revealed
Ever since we first had our taste of what a coaching carousel can be, we’ve been clamoring for it’s inclusion in EA SPORTS NCAA Football 2012. In my opinion, no other sport is so singularly impacted by a single man. The coach is the heart of any NCAA program and can turn a small program into a contender or drive a historical program into the ground. That’s why I’m excited to bring you the news on how the coaching carousel will be implemented in this year’s title.
First of all, be assured there is some depth to the process and tangible impacts on the teams being coached. This isn’t just rotating names and meaningless movement. There are Offensive Coordinators and Defense Coordinators (no position coaches) to go along with the Head Coach and the coach prestige has a direct impact on the progression of players for the length of time he coaches the team. It’s not as deep as it could be, but for the first implementation, it’s more than I expected.
At the beginning of a Dynasty (this all applies to online as well) you will be able to create your coach using a few screens and several options. It’s not the most robust create a character interface but enough to provide a little variety and I’m sure the amount of options will increase in the future. You can select your body type, specify some clothing and facial features.. just basic stuff. One interesting option is a choice of Alma Mater. This is where you basically define what your dream job would be. Are you a USC alumni or a Michigan man? Your selection here will play a small role when your prestige improves a bit and your specified school is on the hunt for a new coach. The fact that you favor them will bode well for you when competing for that job. In an Online Dynasty, the commish can setup restrictions and force the members into certain type of setup. (ex: every coach has to start out as a 1* coordinator etc..)
After creating a new coach you then begin to look at what initial job you are going to want to start your career with. There is no “closed” or “legacy” mode that requires you to start at a low level position and work your way up, but there are job expectations for each individual position and they are progressively more difficult to meet as you move up the team prestige charts. You want the to be the top dog at Alabama? You better meet the booster’s lofty expectations quickly because you won’t be given much rope with a low prestige rating. If you start at a lower tier school, the goals are more reasonable and it’s easier to stay off the proverbial hot seat. If you decide to start as a Head Coach you do not get to hire coordinators, they are just assigned to you.
Once you have decided what position you are interested in you will be presented a contract screen that will detail out the expectation the each school has for potential coaching candidates. The importance and impact of each goal is displayed by red or green errors. The quantity of arrows signifies the level of importance and the colors dictate whether their are positive, negative, or potentially either, ramifications for the achievement or failure of each individual goal. There is also a job security bar graph that shows you where you stand as you take over the program.
You also have the ability to designate yourself as an offensive or defensive coordinator at a school and take the reigns on one side of the ball to really put your individual stamp on the style of play for your school. The type of goals in the contract screen will reflect your selection and you will only be able to control your side during games though, so make sure you have the mentality to accept that role and give up control to the head coach and other coordinator when your squad is on the sidelines. Users can change what side of the ball they can coach during a dynasty in order to keep the experience as flexible as possible. I understand keeping it open for that reason, but i expect some leagues to implement house rules restricting coaches to one side of the ball for the duration of their careers.
At the end of each dynasty season there will be a coaching carousel session to participate in. Before it starts your will get to review your goals and how you measured up to expectations during the year. You will either bet retained, get fired or you will be given the option to renew your contract if you are in your final year before you view the positions that are opening up. There are a ton of different goal scenarios. Some are single season based and some are measured and tracked throughout your tenure at that specific school. If it’s a career goal and you fail to accomplish it during one season, you have failed that goal for the entirety of your employment at the school.
If offered a contract renewal you can accept and then just watch the carousel unfold or you can decline for the moment and test the market. If you decide to participate in the carousel you can watch as the CPU teams work through filling their positions, hiring and firing their coaches, and watch how it dynamically affects the jobs that become available to you and other coaches in the market. You will know what teams have you on their radar when your name appears in the top three candidates window. The specific order in that window can be random, so even if you appear to be third on their list, you could be their first choice. That’s a nice touch.
You will also be able to look at where coaches have gone and what unexpected jobs might be opening up that your were not necessarily rumored to be a candidate for as you follow along the carousel selection process. You can also skip ahead during the process to the first team that is offering you a position. If it’s your current team and you pass on the extension at that point, your current school could go in a different direction leaving you searching for a new gig. Don’t worry though, no matter how low your prestige rating falls, as a user you will always have at least one job offer allowing you to continue in the dynasty.
The best thing about this coaching carousel is that the coach prestige rating will fluctuate based on the coach’s performance throughout the dynasty and that rating has a direct impact on the progression rate of the players on the specific team he coaches. This is critical in creating a dynamic environment in which teams will progress and regress based on the decisions they make when hiring a new coach. This makes every dynasty you ever participate in different and unique in it’s own way.
Well, there’s a quick breakdown of the new coaching carousel. I believe it to be a solid addition for the first year of implementation and it sets the groundwork for a more in depth, realistic dynasty experience this year and to grow with in further game titles down the road.