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MLB Manager Online Preview (PC)

MLB Manager Online (www.mlbmanageronline.com) is a new browser-based baseball management game from Sega. And while one might want to categorize it as a “text-sim,” it plays more like a Facebook game without the Facebook. Still, for a “sim-lite,” it’s a fun, addictive and quick way to experience the joy of managing a big league team.

Gameplay

MLB Manager Online reminds me a lot of a card game I played in college called MLB Showdown. In both games -- one paper, one virtual -- you collected player cards, organized a lineup and rotation, and simulated games, all while staying under a “salary cap.”

MLB Manager Online adds a lot to this formula though, too much in fact to mention completely in a single article. Layered on top are training cards, expiring contracts, a morale system and a neighborhood that grows based on your success.

Another great aspect is that you are not playing in isolation; MLB Manager is a multiplayer experience. There is not a lot of required human-to-human contact, but it is nice to know that there is a human on the other end of the line. That said, you never actually manage in a game -- they are simmed at the start of each hour.

The game also does some nice things to keep you coming back. Your "salary cap" or points limit, goes up each day, so it becomes easier to squeeze in those high-value players. There are daily specials on cards, so there is always reason to check in. Games happen frequently enough, and if you happen to be between games, you can always play an exhibition versus a real MLB team. Additionally, you are promoted or demoted through various levels based on your standing at the end of a “season.” Seasons move quickly too, lasting just a little over a week.



Everything Else

The game looks good enough, and it has a retro baseball card feel. The in-game simulations look nice for a flash game, but they move a little too slowly. The fast-forward button is your friend! Why, though, must the game run in such a small window?

The game features over 900 MLB players, and it does offer connections based on your favorite team.

The sim engine does not seem to be too deep, and the in-game manager does some strange things. Basically, the game plays almost entirely station-to-station. However, there is a limited opportunity to adjust your strategy. This is not any kind of ultimate simulator, but more a functional and fun team-building game -- think a step above fantasy baseball.

The best part not mentioned so far is that, as of this writing, this game is completely free. However, Sega has just added some optional micro-transaction-type additions, which, depending on your opinion, may help or harm this game. I think it's probably the only way for the game to remain around seeing as there are very few advertisements. It's not like you need to spend money; I haven't and I have finished no lower than third place in my first three seasons.



Final Thoughts

MLB Manager Online is a great way to get your baseball management fix. It’s quick, addictive, easy and runs in a browser. It’s not going to replace Out of the Park Baseball or your favorite traditional text sim, but it is still a pretty deep title. I would say it’s a little more engaging than even your standard fantasy league.


Member Comments
# 1 gigadkc @ 04/27/11 06:34 AM
big con: not available to Europeans

I played the beta and really liked it. Of course it's no OOTP but the game is pretty addictive and easy to play.
 
# 2 choadler @ 04/27/11 01:33 PM
Having great fun with this game. Highly recommend it.
 
# 3 Roggie @ 04/27/11 01:51 PM
Been playing this for a little over a month. Good, solid fun.
 
# 4 ubernoob @ 05/12/11 08:29 AM
I'm having a blast with this game... I got lucky and got a CH+1 ticket from the arcade, so im using my CH David Ortiz. Currently only in single A, but I'm in first place by 4 games at 91-16. Anyone else playing and wants to add me to their friends list shoot me a PM We can help each other get some of the albums done.
 
# 5 choadler @ 05/12/11 11:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ubernoob
I'm having a blast with this game... I got lucky and got a CH+1 ticket from the arcade, so im using my CH David Ortiz. Currently only in single A, but I'm in first place by 4 games at 91-16. Anyone else playing and wants to add me to their friends list shoot me a PM We can help each other get some of the albums done.

Yeah, good times. I am not getting the arcade tickets anymore. You used to get one free everyday, which obviously sucked. I liked that as it could help you compete against people that were paying money for tickets.
 
# 6 ubernoob @ 05/15/11 02:44 PM
Agreed. I got lucky with that, it took me a time or two until I figured out when to click to score more tickets.

I have a hard time getting on the site sometimes, dunno if its my new laptop or the site.
 
# 7 shnuskis @ 05/30/11 01:09 PM
I have been playing this game for about a month now and also love it. Do you guys watch any games or just sim them. I just had back surgery and am layed up all day, so this game, with a game every hour helps me get through the day. It really helps with the emersion and attachment to my players.
 
# 8 Cyphre @ 05/31/11 03:25 PM
Yeah, I'm having fun with this game to......had some success even without spending a dime (will never do so).....anyhow, I've been in Major Class for the past couple cycles....but got dropped to AAA after the last season (SUCKS)......But I most likely make it back to majors after this season....currently in 3rd in league with 3 days left...

Has anyone else have been growing impatient with how the city "growth" slows down as your percentage gets higher?....been stuck in the 90's for a while now (currently 92.4%) and I'm doing a lot of training and other stuff to help it grow (just want to see what happens at 100%) but this growth pace is slower than a caravan of snails crossing a sea salt road.....

Hey uber, I have 1 friend slot left....if you want to look up my team and send an FR.......CUBS4LIFE is my team name
 
# 9 Cyphre @ 05/31/11 03:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shnuskis
I have been playing this game for about a month now and also love it. Do you guys watch any games or just sim them. I just had back surgery and am layed up all day, so this game, with a game every hour helps me get through the day. It really helps with the emersion and attachment to my players.
That's pretty cool that this game is serving as therapy for you during hard times.....being under the surgical blade myself (5 times)...I surely know the slow road to recovery and how hard it is most of times...

I like to watch the games when I have time.....other times I just quick sim to get the points to buy player or training/support cards....

Anyhow, have a fast recovery.....Godspeed
 
# 10 EL_GABE @ 06/16/11 06:28 PM
add me guys =D team name is gambles owner name is los doyers
 
# 11 davis420 @ 02/01/12 07:57 AM
I had to bring this thread back to the light. This game is a fun game to pass time, if you want to add me, my team name is Lebanon LongBalls
 
# 12 Cornwallus @ 07/13/12 07:28 PM
To bad MLB Manager was recently shut down. Apparently the MLBPA liscense wasn't worth the cost as they were not making enough money to sustain the game.

Really a shame... it was such a unique game to the baseball sim market. I have enjoyed it more than Strat, PC action, or OOTP.

I hope something comes along soon to replace it. There was truly nothing else like it
 

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