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Madden NFL 21 X-FACTORS AND SUPERSTAR ABILITIES

Ea Released all you need to know about this years X-FACTORS AND SUPERSTAR ABILITIES check them out below.

Superstar X-Factor abilities are built to reflect authentic skills and characteristics these athletes display in the real life NFL. They allow players to strategically earn and re-create moments where our favorite NFL superstars get into ‘the zone’ and become very difficult to stop that we see every Sunday. These Superstar X-Factor abilities continue to grow and evolve in Madden NFL 21, and we’d like to take a moment to share some of our design philosophies around the improvements we’ve made to this area, and share some of our process. We’ll also be sharing all the new X-Factor and Superstar abilities coming to Madden NFL 21. The advancements you’ll soon get to experience in Madden NFL 21 primarily consist of additions, re-balances, and removals. Let’s break these topics down in a bit more detail.

ADDITIONS

It was inevitable that we would want to add new abilities for Madden NFL 21, and in doing so we decided to focus our efforts on enhancing new mechanics and features throughout core Madden gameplay. Moving forward you will mostly see us continuing this trend of adding or reworking gameplay features, and those features being accompanied by a host of new abilities to improve them. Using abilities like this allows us to give you, the player, a bit more control and customization around how you interact with new additions to the game. Not every new ability will fall into a specific category like this, but we’ve highlighted a few of the major themes below.

Pass Rush

In Madden NFL 21 we’ve completely reworked the user defensive line play with a brand-new system, and as a result of that, this area accounts for the largest collection of new abilities. The abilities in this space revolve around improving your effectiveness with specific moves, granting you more opportunities to perform moves, and even go as far as rattling the entire offensive line ahead of an aggressive blitz.

Blocking

We can’t give the defense a ton of new rushing abilities without having ways for the boys on the O-Line to fight back. Offensive Linemen will see a host of new abilities designed to hold up against the tireless assault of the new pass rush mechanics and abilities. These range from stopping a bull rush in its tracks, to clearing the path for the perfect screen pass.

Stamina and Fatigue

This is an area that we are continually looking to improve upon, and one way we’re doing that is by introducing a few abilities that take advantage of the existing stamina and fatigue systems. In Madden NFL 21 you’ll see a few abilities that can help you regain stamina during a play like the new Energizer ability. This ability allows you to replenish all of your spent stamina following a successful skill move, hopefully allowing you to continue that breakaway run into the end zone. On the other side of the coin, you will also see some defensive abilities that punish their target’s fatigue levels, such as the new Bench Press ability. This causes successful man coverage press attempts to tire out the receiver, reducing their performance and bringing them closer to being temporarily benched.

New X-Factors

While not a new mechanic, we felt like we didn’t provide enough variety in the X-Factor Abilities that Madden NFL 20 launched with. While we managed to add a few new X-Factor abilities in title updates, we’ve decided to up the ante for Madden NFL 21 by adding even more options to take advantage of the next time you happen to enter The Zone.

RE-BALANCES

Anyone who follows these Gridiron Notes knows that balance is very important to us, and Superstar-Ability balance is a key factor of that ongoing effort to achieve balance. Below you’ll find some details around key areas and abilities that we reworked or re-balanced, along with some rationale behind the decisions we made. We’ll continue to monitor the balance of all the various Superstar Abilities and make any adjustments we need to in title updates.

Route Running

In Madden NFL 20, we had a large variety of “Route Specialist” abilities that would improve your route running and catching on a designated route. On paper these seemed fine but out in the wild they resulted in a couple of big issues. The first issue was that the bonuses were granted based on your assigned route at the time of the snap. This led to intrepid users hot routing a receiver to their specialized route, then taking control of the wide receiver and running whatever route they felt like, while still being granted their bonuses. The other issue with these abilities was that they were difficult to use. To get the benefits you either needed the specialized route as a hot route (and then you needed to repeatedly hot route your receiver), or you had to comb the playbook looking for specific plays, that used the specific wide receiver, on that specific specialized route. Ultimately these two issues made these abilities cumbersome and easily exploitable. In Madden NFL 21, we’re seeking to change these abilities by granting their bonuses based on where the pass is being caught on the field, rather than the route you are running. The field is split up into a few zones based on the distance to the line of scrimmage and if you catch a pass in the required zone you will receive the benefits of the ability. This should allow for a lot more freedom and creativity in how you take advantage of these benefits, while also requiring a lot less effort to see some returns.

Defensive Coverage

On the other side of the ball, we essentially made the opposite mistakes. Defender Coverage abilities like Man Up, Zoned Out, and Universal Coverage were too easy to benefit from and acted as “One Stop Shops” for shutting down receivers. Where a receiver might need to have multiple route specialist abilities to be effective, a defender could get a single ability to shut them down while still having room to take another powerful defensive ability. This only served to increase the divide between weak receiver abilities and powerful coverage abilities. Madden NFL 21 seeks to mend this divide by breaking up Man Up and Zoned Out into a few separate abilities each. These abilities will function similarly to the new receiver route running abilities in that they grant their benefits based on the area of the field the pass is being defended in. This should force defensive players to specialize a bit more and prevent them from effectively covering the entire field. Additionally, Universal Coverage, as it existed in Madden NFL 20, will be converted into an X-Factor ability of the same name.

Pass Leading

The Pass Lead line of abilities (Pass Lead Elite, Set Feet Lead, and Pocket Lead) are another area we decided to rework for Madden NFL 21. Previously, while effective in certain scenarios, these abilities would frequently result in accidental (and frustrating!) overthrown passes. With their rework, these abilities will no longer increase the degree to which you can lead passes and will instead grant throw power and speed benefits to any precision bullet pass. These newly re-imagined Pass Lead abilities are a tremendous boon to pocket passers and should also prove much easier to play with.

QB Pressure

The QB Pressure system has seen its own share of reworks between Madden NFL 20 and Madden NFL 21. Quarterbacks no longer have a chance to resist pressure based on their Throw Under Pressure (TUP) rating. This rating now shrinks the range at which a Quarterback will be affected by pressure from an unblocked defender. As a result of these changes we modified the pecking order between the TUP rating, Pressure Causing abilities, and Pressure Ignoring abilities. Pressure Causing abilities, such as Under Pressure and Fearmonger, trump the TUP rating and treat the QB as if he has a TUP rating of zero. On the other hand, Pressure Ignoring abilities like Fearless, trump all Pressure Causing abilities and result in the quarterback never experiencing pressure penalties. Due to these updates a couple of changes were made to these abilities. First, the Pressure Causing abilities have had their ranges reduced slightly. Next, Fearless and Gutsy Scrambler have been converted to passive abilities. Fearless will ignore all pressure when in the pocket while Gutsy Scrambler ignores pressure while throwing on the run.

Powerful Outliers

Madden NFL 20 also saw a few abilities rise over the tops of others as powerful outliers and general contributors to imbalances. This year we have sought to re-balance a few of these abilities.

Fastbreak

Fastbreak now limits the quarterback to maneuvering in more restricted angles after receiving the snap. The ability to immediately begin cutting up field before the defense had a chance to react was ultimately too powerful, even with the added fumble risks that designed QB runs brought to the table.

Escape Artist

Escape Artist now only provides its benefits if the user is close to full stamina. This will prevent undesirable situations where a QB could continually stop and start behind the line of scrimmage at a moment’s notice.

Dashing Deadeye and No-Look Deadeye

These abilities frequently violated the “eye test” when they resulted in perfectly executed deep passes while on the move. To prevent this unnatural looking behavior, these abilities now have a pass yardage threshold where they will cease to function.

Weaker Choices

It wouldn’t be fair to tone down the powerful abilities without also improving the weaker ones. A few of these buffed abilities can be seen below.

Pro Reads

This ability provided very little in the way of bonuses for users who didn’t need any help making their reads. In order to make it more appealing to more users, Pro Reads now additionally makes you immune to any and all pressure penalties.

Gambler

Like Pro Reads, Gambler wasn’t valuable to a large percentage of users that primarily play against others online. Gambler now has the added benefit of slightly increasing throw speed and power when you’re in the zone.

Blitz Radar

Once Threat Detector made its way into the game, Blitz Radar seemed a little outclassed before the snap. In Madden NFL 21, Blitz Radar will now show blitzing defenders both before and after the snap.

REMOVALS

Sometimes re-balances just aren’t enough and certain abilities need to be removed from the game entirely. This could be due to balance reasons or simply because the mechanics of the game have changed, and they are no longer relevant.

Guru Abilities

These run type specialist abilities granted powerful benefits to the entire O-Line whenever the specific run was called. Due to reworks of the Blocking/Pass Rushing systems, these abilities no longer made sense and needed to be removed. At some point in the future we may look towards an alternative means of highlighting running backs that excel at certain types of run plays, but for the time being these 

NEW X-FACTOR ABILITIES

Below is a list of all the new X-Factor abilities coming to Madden NFL 21:

Ankle Breaker
Truly devastating receiving threats are the ones that catch and can’t be caught. When they enter the zone; they have increased fakeout rates on spin/juke/hurdle after the catch.

Avalanche
There are tacklers and then there are these guys. When they enter the zone any successful hit-stick made while running towards the line of scrimmage will result in a fumble.

Blitz
Effective D-Line captains aren’t just examples to follow; they are motivators. When they enter the zone; all opposing blockers have their resistance bars wiped out.

Bottleneck
Bottleneck defenders realize that the best way to stop a route is to act early. When they enter the zone; they are highly likely to dominantly win any man press encounter.

Grab and Smash
Not all receivers need fancy footwork. When they enter the zone; they have increased success chance on stiff arm and truck attempts following the catch.

Relentless
The most tenacious defenders beat their blocks by sheer force of will. When they enter the zone; their rush move attempts are free.

Universal Coverage
The most physical coverage defenders prevent catches from happening even when their target has hands on the ball. When they enter the zone; they are nearly guaranteed knockouts.

Vanguard
Vanguard players are the reason running backs thank their blockers in the postgame interview. When they enter the zone; they are nearly guaranteed dominant impact block wins.

YAC ‘Em Up
The best physical receivers don’t just come down with the ball; they carry it home. When they enter the zone; they are nearly guaranteed to break their first post-catch tackle.

NEW SUPERSTAR ABILITIES

Below is a list of all the new Superstar abilities coming to Madden NFL 21:

Adrenaline Rush
Pass rushers with this ability will have all of their pass rush move points restored after sacking the QB.

B.O.G.O.
Defenders with this ability are granted a free pass rush move once per play after spending a pass rush point.

Balance Beam
Avoid stumbling when carrying the ball.

Bench Press
Defenders with this ability apply bonus fatigue to their man coverage target after a successful press win.

Chuck Out
Defenders with this ability apply bonus fatigue to their target after a successful zone chuck.

Closer
Locker room pep talks go a long way. Players with this ability can easily enter the Zone in the 2nd half.

Comeback
When playing from behind; players with this ability can easily enter the Zone.

Deep In Elite
Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 20+ yards from the LoS; inside the numbers.

Deep In Zone KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in deep zone coverage; 20+ yards from the LoS and inside the numbers.

Deep Out Elite
Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 20+ yards from the LoS; outside the numbers.

Deep Out Zone KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in deep zone coverage; 20+ yards from the LoS and outside the hash marks.

Deep Route KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in deep zone coverage; 20+ yards from the LoS and outside the hash marks.

Defensive Rally
Defenders with this ability will grant a bonus pass rush point to all defensive linemen on any 3rd or 4th down.

Double Or Nothing
Pass rushers with this ability must spend double the pass rush points to perform a move but are granted dominant wins.

El Toro
Defenders with this ability will receive dominant bull rush wins when their pass rush points are full.

Energizer
Ballcarriers with this ability will replenish a portion of their stamina upon successfully performing any skill move.

Extra Credit
Pass rushers with this ability are granted an additional maximum pass rush move point.

Flat Zone KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in any flat zone coverage; less than 10 yards from the LoS and outside the hash marks.

Fool Me Once
Blockers with this ability gain blocker resistance points as a faster rate.

Instant Rebate
Defenders with this ability are refunded a pass rush point when they successfully shed blocks.

Lifeguard
Blockers with this ability defend against swim/club pass rush moves as if they had an additional resistance point.

Matador
Blockers with this ability have stronger protection against dominant bull rush moves attempted by defenders.

Medium Route KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch tackle knockouts in man-to-man versus medium routes; 10-20 yards from the LoS.

Mid In Elite
Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 10-20 yards from the LoS; inside the numbers.

Mid Out Elite
Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 10-20 yards from the LoS; outside the numbers.

Mid Zone KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in any mid-field zone coverage; less than 20 yards from the LoS inside the numbers and 10-20 outside.

Mr. Big Stop
Defenders with this ability will start and 3rd or 4th down with at least half of their maximum pass rush points.

Natural Talent
Blockers with this ability start every new blocking encounter with built-in resistance.

One Step Ahead
Defenders with this ability generally react much faster to receiver cut moves when in man coverage.

Outmatched
Defenders with this ability are highly likely to win contested catches against running backs.

Quick Draw
Passers with this ability have faster passing animations when they are throwing under pressure.

Reach For It
Ballcarriers with this ability will frequently attempt to gain extra yards while being tackled.

Ripper
Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting rip pass rush moves.

Screen Protector
Blockers with this ability will dominantly win impact blocks on screen plays.

Second Wind
Players with this ability have a chance to replenish their stamina, once per play, when it is half depleted.

Short In Elite
Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes less than 10 yards from the LoS; inside the numbers.

Short Out Elite
Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes less than 10 yards from the LoS; outside the numbers.

Short Route KO
Defenders with this ability force more catch tackle knockouts in man-to-man versus short routes less than 10 yards from LoS.

Speedster
Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting speed pass rush moves.

Spinner
Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting spin pass rush moves.

Stonewall
Defenders with this ability will frequently prevent additional yardage gains while tackling.

Swim Club
Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting swim/club pass rush moves.

Tear Proof
Blockers with this ability defend against rip pass rush moves as if they had an additional resistance point.

Tight Out
Passers with this ability improve the catching prowess of all tight ends who are open on pass plays.

Tough Nut
Blockers with this ability have an increased number of blocker resistance points.

Unspun
Blockers with this ability defend against spin pass rush moves as if they had an additional resistance point.

Unpredictable
Defenders with this ability are less likely to increase their blocker’s resistance bars when performing shed wins.

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