The "Ultimate Team" concept has become a major part of the entire EA Sports lineup. Every year the mode expands, and Madden NFL 25 is no exception to the rule. As popular as it has become, there are probably still a few gamers who aren't entirely sure what it is.
Even some gamers who are aware may not know the best ways to be successful and, most importantly, how to have fun with the mode.
Here's a brief description and a few key things to know about Ultimate Team in Madden NFL 25.
In a Nutshell
Ultimate Team blends three themes into one potentially addictive package: card collection, fantasy sports and video games. When you combine those passions, they form a virtual Voltron of hobby awesomeness. Gamers start out with one virtual pack of cards filled with enough moderately rated players to field a team.
Each of these player cards serves as your ticket of ownership to that player in the game. He is playable for your team in all of your games. You'll have a starting lineup and a reserve unit that you'll have to manage moving forward.
There are even contracts attached to players that must be maintained to keep control of each. You're not just accumulating player cards to use them on the virtual field; you're also trying to complete various collections in your virtual collector's album.
You'd be surprise how excited you can get when you finally get the card for which you've been searching for weeks.
In addition to player cards, there are also cards to acquire your home stadium, uniforms and the contracts you need to keep the players you want. This entire process can become quite involved, fun and addictive.
Is It Free or Not?
The mode itself is free, and you can progress through every aspect of it without spending a dime. However, there are situations in which spending money will improve your team more quickly.
Every time you win a game in Ultimate Team, you earn coins. Those coins can be used to purchase packs of cards that contain players. The system functions on a simple progression format: bronze, silver, gold and elite.
If winning games and accumulating coins is something you can't wait for and you want to fill your team with stars now, you can use real currency to purchase packs with elite players. Packs can be obtained by cashing in the virtual coins you earn, which is free, or gamers can pay anywhere from 120 ($1.50 in cash and on PS3) to 5000 Microsoft Points ($62.50).
There are no major limitations either way. It is up to you to decide which is best for your experience.
Online or Offline?
Some gamers don't play online, and Ultimate Team appears to be strictly an online mode to some. However, you can progress through the Ultimate Team mode with escalating difficulty in offline games against the CPU.
The rules of openings packs and earning/purchasing coins still apply. There are two modes to play and earn coins in. You can play in the aforementioned offline games against the CPU, or you can compete in 10-game seasons against other gamers' Ultimate Teams.
Playing online is where you'll likely be tempted to spend real money to get better players. The competitive fire may begin to burn and entice you to spend to improve.
Both online and offline games have their pros, but one without the other in Ultimate Team makes the mode feel a little empty.
Picking the Right Captain
When you begin your Ultimate Team in Madden NFL 25, you'll be asked to select a captain. This player will decide your style of play or team identity to a degree.
The player you pick should embody the style of play you want to employ. I chose Robert Griffin III because I wanted to run a little read-option, but I also wanted the accuracy to go down the field.
If you're a defensive guy, you may want to snag J.J. Watt.
Why is this important?
Because in Madden NFL 25, chemistry and relating skill sets affect the performance of your teams. There are eight types of gameplay chemistry players can have, per EA Sports:
• Short Pass – PBLK Pass Blocking and CINT Catch in Traffic
• Long Pass – PBLK Pass Blocking and RRUN Route Running
• Ground and Pound – RBLK Run Blocking and TRCK Trucking
• Speed Run – RBLK Run Blocking and ELUS Elusiveness
• Zone Defense – PREC Play Recognition and ZCOV Zone Coverage
• Man Defense – PREC Play Recognition and MCOV Man Coverage
• Pass Rush – BSHD Block Shedding and PUR Pursuit
• Run Stuff – BSHD Block Shedding and TCKL Tackling
Don't ignore these ratings. If a player carries one of these characteristics, it will appear in a hexagon on the back of his virtual card. Try to stockpile players with similar chemistry traits to maximize your team's effectiveness in those area.
Play the Auctions
EA Sports has established auctions for player cards among the Madden community using virtual coins. It is pretty awesome. If you have players you can spare, you can put their cards on the auction block, take bids and set a "buy now" price.
Think of it like Madden Ultimate eBay, as it works very similarly. These auctions are a great way to acquire specific players that have eluded you in the card packs.
Save your virtual coins, and monitor the auctions to add significant upgrades. To give you an example of what to expect, as I'm writing this article, I can glance over at my monitor and see that a Joe Flacco card is being auctioned with a bid of 8,000 coins and a buy now of 14,000.
Ultimate Team has grown leaps and bounds from where it was just a few years ago. It has evolved into one of the most engrossing modes available in Madden NFL 25 and the other team-sports games in the EA Sports lineup.
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