Sunday, February 12, 2012

Attribute spotlight: Awareness and Play Recognition.

    I have been thinking about how to determine the effect of the awareness (AWR) trait on gameplay for some time now.  This is just the beginning of my in-depth look into AWR, but I wanted to get some information out there along the way.

    I picked a few players from the following positions:  QB, RB, WR, MLB, and CB.  Due to the large amount of time this takes, I couldn't do very many players.  I do think the information does show valid trends when it comes to AWR.

    After reviewing the statistics for the defensive players, it was clear that AWR didn't impact the statistics.  That is when I decided to look at play recognition (PRC) for the defensive players selected.  The results were surprising to say the least.  I will note my observations in between each position covered.  Again, this is just the beginning of this "study".

The following is how I did this:

1.  I went into player edit mode for the selected players and set the AWR to 99 for all of them, while leaving all other attributes alone.

2.  I saved and used this same roster in a offline franchise.

3.   I turned off injuries and preexisting injuries in the offline franchise.

4.  I simulated the first season of the offline franchise and recorded the statistics for each player after the season.  I verified all depth charts to ensure that all of these players remained starters for the simulated season.

5.  I than repeated this process with 50 AWR and 0 AWR for the selected players.  I started a new franchise each time and simmed the first season only.

6.  I did one additional simulated season for the defensive players, where I set AWR to 99 and PRC to 0.

P. Manning99625367584477341489.6263

QB Observations:

-  AWR had a clear effect on the QB's completion %, TD passes, and the number of times sacked.

-  Passing yards went down due to reduction in completion %.

-  With 99 AWR, Tony Romo was below his career QB rating (96.9) and career completion % (64.5).

-  With 99 AWR, Payton Manning was below his career QB rating (94.9) and career completion % (64.9)

-  In a simulated season, QB's completion percentage seems to be unrealistic, even at 99 AWR.

-   For Madden Fans who like to use the offline franchise mode, realistic stats are important.  Since awareness has a big impact on the simulated stats for QB, it's extremely important that this attribute be rated accurately and consistently.  

-  These numbers are only based on simulated games, I plan on playing games and collecting data to see how much AWR effects accuracy when a human is in control.  My guess is that AWR will play a role in QB accuracy even with a human playing (BTW - I was wrong here per 2/14/12 update).  If that is the case having accurate AWR attributes for QBs in Madden is even more important.

**** 2/14/12 UPDATE FOR QB'S:

    I have played some games against the CPU using Drew Brees with a 0 AWR and had the CPU use him as well with 0 AWR. I can now be certain that AWR does not affect the completion percentage of a human controlled QB. That is exactly how it should be.  Although the my 99 AWR QB had a slightly higher completion percentage, I don't think it's enough to say AWR had any impact.  It did seem like the CPU was more aggressive when it came to bringing pressure on my 99 AWR QB.

Sack % = Total sacks/(Attempts + total sacks)

Human  0 AWR
1 45 28 62% 1 2%
2 34 21 62% 0 0%
3 37 27 73% 1 3%
4 35 29 83% 2 5%
AVG 151 105 70% 4 2.6%
Human 99 AWR
1 30 21 70% 3 9%
2 44 30 68% 1 2%
3 40 32 80% 0 0%
4 37 29 78% 3 8%
AVG 151 112 74% 7 4.4%

    Against a human, the CPU QB with 0 AWR actually holds onto the ball longer than the 99 AWR QB, which does result in more sacks. The CPU QB with 99 AWR actually forced the ball more to get rid of it before the pressure got to him.

1 15 8 53% 8 35%
2 23 17 74% 8 26%
3 15 8 53% 9 38%
4 18 13 72% 7 28%
AVG 71 46 65% 32 31.1%
1 22 13 59% 9 29%
2 28 11 39% 6 18%
3 19 13 68% 4 17%
4 27 19 70% 7 21%
AVG 96 56 58% 26 21.3%

    Early indications are that the CPU QB with 99 AWR actually had a lower completion percentage than the CPU QB with 0 AWR. Of course, there was the very bad game #2 for the 99 AWR CPU quarterback. Game #2 throws of the average and it would be a lot closer if they game wasn't included.  I didn't ignore that game because it was the worst game for a CPU QB regardless of awareness.  
At times it seemed like the QB with 0 AWR had a slower release, but again the completion percentage was better because the QB took the sacks instead of forcing passes. 

    It's hard to be sure what caused the decrease in completion percentage in the simulated seasons. Could it be the response to pressure?  Maybe.  When simming a season; maybe the pressure does decrease the completion percentage. When I actually played the CPU with 0 AWR this was not the case, the QB with a 99 AWR had the lower completion percentage with more attempts. 

    Also, once there is less than two minutes left in the half or game, both the 0 AWR and 99 AWR quarterback became SUPER accurate and better at avoiding sacks. I believe this is due to traits and the fact that Brees has the "Clutch" trait.  Unfortunately, outside of the clutch trait, traits have been neglected in Madden 12 and are very inaccurate. 

    Anyway, I am still working on it. There is definitely a difference between playing the CPU and Simming.


RB Observations:

- Even with 99 AWR neither RB came close to their career average per carry (McCoy 4.8 and Foster 4.7).

- AWR has a clear impact on yards per catch and it wasn't until AWR was set to 50 that either player was close to their actual career averages per catch (McCoy 7.3 career YPC, Foster 10.3 career YPC).

- In general the yards per carry is to low for RB's when simulating a season in Madden, even with 99 AWR.  Also, in general the yards per catch is too high for the higher awareness RB's in Madden and unrealistically low for the RB's with a lower AWR attribute.

- Fumbles for RB's also seemed a little high when compared to the actual fumble numbers for these two.  Foster has 9 career regular season fumbles and McCoy has 5 career regular season fumbles.

- Again, I plan on playing games with these AWR settings and seeing what the difference is when it comes to gameplay.

A.J. Green9982128715.68212

WR observations:

- AWR did not seem to have any effect on the number of catches, both players were very consistent all three seasons.  It also didn't have any effect on drops.

- AWR had a huge effect on YPC for both players, similar to that of the two RBs.  Notice how close the averages are for the RBs and WRs with the corresponding AWR attributes.  This should not be the case.  During the 2011 regular season.  ALL of the top 34 WR's in receptions averaged over 10 yards per reception.  During the 2011 regular season, only 6 of top 34 RB's in receptions averaged over 10 yards per reception.

- For simulation fans, realistic statistics are very important.  Due to the connection YPC and TD's have with awareness, realistic statistics will be hard to achieve when simulating games.  Rookies and role players tend to have very low AWR attributes in Madden, this will result in poor YPC statistics and therefore lower receiving yards.  If you look at the top rookie WR's in the NFL over the last several season, you will see that their average per reception is very close to that of veteran WRs.  In my opinion, AWR should not dictate the yards per catch when simulating a season in Madden.  With the current system, AWR clearly does dictate YPC.

-  Again, I will play some games with these same attribute settings and record the results.  To do that accurately, I will set the attributes the same for all WRs, TEs, and RBs.

99 AWR/0 PRC5923200010
99 AWR/0 PRC6817401110
99 AWR/0 PRC7627300020

MLB Observations:

- This is where things got really interesting.  This is actually the biggest thing that came out of this research.  AWR had no effect on the simulated stats for the MLBs.  There was little fluctuation in the stats when you compare the average against each of the three seasons.

- When I realized that AWR had NO effect on these defensive players,  I decided to take a quick look at the play recognition (PRC) attribute instead.  I did one additional season with 0 PRC and 99 AWR for each of the three defensive players.  This not only reduced their number of tackles and assists when looking at the average, it drastically reduced their interceptions and pass deflections.

-  With 0 PRC these three MLB's totaled 0 INTs and only 3 Pdefs.  Prior to adjusting the PRC to 0, the average season for these three players would have produced  3 Int's and 18.5 Pdefs.

-  So with AWR clearly not having an impact for defensive players in a simulated season, why even have that attribute for defensive players?  Right now AWR is the 2nd highest contributing attribute for a MLB's overall (OVR) rating, tied with PRC.  Why is AWR needed in this case and why does it contribute to the OVR when it doesn't appear to effect performance?

- As with the offensive players, I will be testing these attributes in real games that I play and blog about my findings.

99 AWR/0 PRC146000000
99 AWR/0 PRC255001000
99 AWR/0 PRC97000000

CB observations:

- As with the MLB's, AWR did not effect the simulated stats of the CBs when compared to the 3 season average.

- Even with 99 AWR, the number of pass deflections for CBs is WAY to low and unrealistic.  According to, 75 defensive backs (safeties and corner backs) had 10 or more PDEF'S this season.  During the 2011 NFL regular season, Revis had 25, Webb had 25, and Haden had 19 PDEF's.

- PDEF is clearly one of the worst simulated stats in Madden 12 and is absolutely unrealistic for CBs.

- Once PRC was reduced to 0 for the CBs and awareness raised to 99, none of them intercepted a pass or had a PDEF.  The PRC had a huge impact on the number of tackles the CBs made as well.  I also  confirmed that each one of these CBs was still CB1 on their team's depth chart, just to be sure.  They all played from the CB1 position for all 16 games.

- So when you add up the 3 CB's and the 3 MLB's with 0 PRC, they had a grand total of ZERO interceptions and 3 Pdef's.

- While I drastically moved the PRC to zero, I think it's clear the PRC matters to defensive players (especially in pass defense) and AWR has no impact.

- I am extremely excited to play some games with my defense having all 99 AWR and 0 PRC, to see the effect on human gameplay.  I expect to find out that 0 AWR will not reduce the performance of my players, but that 0 PRC will.

- When I did my breakdown of attributes that effect a CB's overall (OVR) rating, I found that AWR accounted for 13% of the possible OVR points and PRC only accounted for 9%.  If AWR doesn't matter in gameplay for defensive players, why should it matter in OVR rating.


- Remember, I only changed AWR and PRC, all other attributes where untouched.

- I know these findings are only based on simulated seasons, but I think it's pointing me in the right direction for how much impact AWR and PRC have on player performance in Madden.

- I also understand that until I play several games with these AWR and PRC attribute settings, I am only speculating with many of my observations.

- In future roster updates for defensive players, I think it's important for all of us to monitor PRC and AWR.  I have noticed this season, that in many cases the AWR and PRC are rated the same or very close.  It's quite possible that PRC is the most important attribute for defensive players when a human is not in control of that specific player, therefore the accuracy of PRC is extremely important to game play.

- It may take me some time, but I will have a followup blog to address the gameplay impacts of these attribute settings.

- I do believe that EA is aware of this already, but as consumers (fans) of the game we do not have easy access to this type of information.

Thanks for following the blog and a great week.


  1. thanks for posting this, man

  2. I can't imagine awareness would matter at QB when the USER is controlling the QB at all times anyway. I'm sure in simulated games it does make a big difference. I'm surprised that awareness has little effect on CB's though, because that's one position I emphasize when scouting. Maybe, from now on, I'll be more focused on play recognition, but I was always unclear on the slight differences and the effects that those two attributes had.
    I put much more emphasis on the awareness of OL when scouting though. Otherwise, I would assume they tend to not pick up blitzes and give up sacks.
    Could you tell me the attributes in which you would put in order of importance are for defensive tackles? I thought I picked up some good DT's this season that have mid to low 80's in block shedding, but I'm getting owned up the middle this season.

    1. For DT, I would go STR, BSH, PRC, TAK, ACC in that order. I would then throw in PMV and FMV. The reason I have PRC at 3rd, is because they will read the plays better. Having the STR and BSH to get off blocks is a must, even with high PRC. I hope that helps.

  3. Great work. I always look for detailed explanations on stats when it comes to Madden and NHL and usually have to do these kinds of experiments myself. This is GREAT WORK, a GREAT READ, and I can't wait to purely upgrade my players PRC on Madden 13 (assuming this stuff is still relevant, which I imagine it is).

  4. What happens if you set your defensive player's awr to 0 and prc to 99? Great informative read!

  5. I just stumbled on this report looking for an explanation on the difference between AWR and PRC for Madden 13. Needless to say, I'm impressed with the amount of effort that went into making such a report, and I commend you for a well-put-together breakdown. I'm going to do a similiar experiment for Madden 13 to see if they fixed some of the issues you referenced (PDEF averages, YPC (RB) averages, QB completion percentage, etc). The article is to be posted on Operation Sports and Virtual Sports Network forums within a week. If you'd like to collaborate, I'd be excited to have the help. Once again, thank you for your work!

  6. I agree with Robert Leake. Well done.