Last week, the Sony San Diego team detailed an intriguing new feature intended to make each player feel more unique in MLB The Show 17: Player Quirks.
Player Quirks are extensions of the current set of player attributes to set apart those who have special abilities. A few examples detailed last week were “Rally Monkey” for players who excel at hitting when the team is trailing, “Road Warrior” for players who perform better playing away from home, and “Night Player” for those who prefer performing under the lights.
Some Player Quirks have a stacking effect on the batter’s PCI (Plate Coverage Indicator), making it easier or more difficult for the batter to get contact (and quality contact) on a pitch. Pitchers also have Player Quirks as well, which can shrink the batter’s PCI and give them an advantage in the matchup.
This feature should add another layer of strategy and challenge to players looking to build their roster in franchise mode. Perhaps you are controlling the Chicago Cubs in your franchise mode. It may make sense to check out players who possess the “Day Player” quirk so you can ensure top performance in the unique day-game-heavy schedule at Wrigley. Or perhaps you aren’t much for patience at the plate -- it may be advantageous to load up on players who have the “First Pitch Hitter” quirk to back up your free-swinging style.
Somewhat disappointingly, several of the Player Quirks in MLB The Show 17 are merely a summary of the player’s attributes and do not impact gameplay. For example, a pitcher can have the “Control Artist” Player Quirk, but this is only assigned to pitchers who have a high BB/9 attribute and does not impact gameplay in any way beyond that. Other examples of these include “Hitting Machine” (players with high contact ratings) and “Speedster” (players with a high speed rating).
Although these “display-only” quirks may have been intended to give players a quick and easy way to summarize a player’s abilities -- since they don’t impact the gameplay at all -- it’s a bit discouraging that many of the Player Quirks fall under this category.
For a first-year feature, I think Player Quirks are absolutely a step in the right direction for the MLB The Show series. Franchise mode is better when there are a wide variety of player attributes that can make each player unique and make building a roster more strategic. Player Quirks also help better simulate the tough decisions a manager must make on a daily basis when filling out the lineup card. Do you keep a player with the Situational Hitter (excels at driving in a runner from third base with less than two outs) on your bench, ready to be called on in a crucial situation, or do you put that player in the starting lineup because it is a home night game, and he has both the Home Body and Night Player quirks?
There is certainly a lot of room for building and improving this feature. Currently, all of the Player Quirks are positive. It would be fantastic to see negative Player Quirks as well. A few ideas: players that don’t always hustle out of the box, pitchers who don’t do a good job of holding runners on (I’m looking at you, Mr. Lester), and pitchers who get emotional and lose focus after a few questionable calls from the home plate umpire.
More quirks for defensive players would also be a welcome addition. Some more ideas: players who take unwise risks such as diving for a line drive that can get behind them and become a triple or inside-the-park home run, defensive wizards who can make bare-handed pickups look routine, or outfielders who have a knack for robbing home runs.
Overall, I believe this is a solid new feature for MLB The Show 17, and can’t wait to dig into the game to see how Player Quirks add a new dynamic to already fantastic gameplay.