Suggestions to Make the Sway Relevant for NCAA Football 14
BY HELLISAN – JAN 3, 2013
All of the features within a sports game are not only tenuous with respect to the next release, but constantly in flux. You never know what a company plans to do with a feature next year. With that being said, one of the suggestions I mentioned in a recent article was making the sway pitch more of a risk-reward type of proposition. I want to expound upon that thought here.
Let’s backtrack and describe what the “sway” feature does, for those who don’t play NCAA 13.
When you call a player, the end goal is to sign him, competing against other teams that are also calling and recruiting him. During the call you get points by addressing several pitches that relate to your football team such as Academic Prestige, Championship Contender, Fan Base, and so on and so forth. The better the quality of the pitch, and the more interest the player has in the pitch, the more points you get and the faster you sign him.
When addressing one of those pitches, you get the following options: Find Interest, Hard Sell, Compare to Other Schools, and Sway Attempt. Once you know what the player’s interest level is, you can try to sway the pitch to improve his outlook on the pitch, making it more important to him. If you choose a sway attempt, you get a certain number of points (slightly less than hard selling) and there is some random chance his interest in the pitch will improve one notch. The pitches go from Least – Very Low – Low – Average – Above Average – High – Very High – Most. When you successfully sway a pitch, the reward for the successful sway is a one-notch improvement in that pitch for the remainder of the recruiting process (from Least to Very Low, for instance). The next time you call, you will get more points for selling that pitch. If you fail, there’s really no penalty other than the fact that you get a few less points than if you were to hard sell the pitch.
It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that it really isn’t worth it to sway pitches most of the time. The success rate for swaying seems to be somewhere in the 25% to 40% range, meaning that you’ll fail about 6 to 7 out of 10 times, and during each of those times get a certain percentage fewer points. When you succeed, you don’t get any more points than if you had failed, but the next week you’ll get a few more points. On the whole, you probably come out even at best. When big-time teams are signing players in 4-5 weeks, it simply doesn’t make sense to dabble in it with the reward being a one-notch improvement.
My suggestion is to change this up completely. Make it something that could totally change the player’s outlook on the pitch if you’re successful. If you’re not successful, make it hurt a little.
Recruiting is sales. You have something the players want and you’re trying to sell it. It’s the ideal sales job, like selling a car. He wants a car, you just have to get him to buy one of the ones you’re selling. Swaying is sales too in a way, but it’s selling something the player usually doesn’t want. It’s more akin to rolling up on somebody’s door with fund-raising chocolates. The player already had an outlook on the pitch, now you want to change up what he thinks about it.
When somebody tries to get you to change the way you view something, it typically will either result in a “Eureka!” moment or more likely, make you think the other person is pushy and overbearing. That is, and should be, risky stuff.
So here’s my suggestion:
When you “find” a pitch, have the player respond in a number of different ways. Since it’s all text based, put hundreds of responses in there, not just a few. Let’s say we’re talking Academic Prestige as a pitch. Go on some kind of scale to indicate how open minded the player is about the pitch. If you “find” the pitch and it’s his least important with the response being: “I’m interested in Real Estate, but right now all my focus is on football” then you know he’s at least somewhat open-minded and it should be less risky to sway. The coaches sway text could be something like “even though you’re concentrating on football, it’s always good to have a backup plan.”
If he says “With all due respect coach, I’ll worry about my Academics and you worry about the football team” when you find the pitch, then it should be a much lower chance for sway success. Again I stress, it should have a lot of levels of risk and a lot of different text comments that a player will say for a given pitch, indicating the risk to the player beforehand.
The reward for swaying should be some random number of pitches up the ladder toward the average to high range. If it’s the player’s least pitch, then make it jump into at least the average range as the reward for the successful pitch, and give the points that would correspond to hard selling that pitch during the sway call. Finally, make the quality of your coach prestige improve. If your Coach Prestige was a C for him before you swayed some other itch, it should jump up a notch or two, to the B range. People hold you in high regard when you take the time to show them new things and in this case successfully change their way of thinking. This way, if you successfully sway the player on multiple issues you could end up with a vastly improved coach prestige (that player only) in addition to more immediate points.
The downside for failing to sway the pitch should be way fewer points, and a downswing in your Coach Prestige rating for that player.
The basis of all these suggestions is to make the sway process relevant and interesting. Something that could truly turn the tide, and something that has a little skill involved if you can remember some of what the player said. For certain players you put on your board, you don’t have much in the way of good pitches to sell them. With this system in place, you could decide that certain players are going to come off the board if you can’t sway them on certain things. That feeling out period could last through week 2 and you make your decision then whether to continue recruiting somebody who now likes what you’re selling a bit more, or dump a guy who still doesn’t have interest. It would add some new strategy and dimension to the call/pitch process.