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MLB The Show 19 - March to October: What Can Sony Do With It?

MLB The Show 19

MLB The Show 19 - March to October: What Can Sony Do With It?

Well, I made it out alive. For the benefit of those unwilling to make the commitment, I braved through March to October to investigate the twists, turns and perks for the curious franchise mode hybrid.

All told, each regular season month takes roughly an hour depending on mission difficulty and how the games turn out. Variety is king, and that is where the mode shines the brightest. Sure, the full-on condensed game scenarios are fine, but it was much more fun to be thrown into the seventh inning player locked as Gerrit Cole gunning for the no-hitter. Mixing player lock scenarios (such as performing well in a single game as a single player for a season-long boost) with real scenarios (such as closing out the top of the ninth with a one run lead and a man already on second) also work well together in the mode.

If you win or achieve the goals from the key moments, your team gets a boost in performance in games that are simulated. For the most part, the season is manageable — albeit time consuming. You can exit the mode between each game, but there is no way to save during a game, and the game warns you about rage quits (you get zero rewards at the end if you quit). Outside of games where you are not player locked, there are zero managerial aspects until July.

When July hits, the trade mechanic kicks in. While a fun idea to break up the action, its execution is somewhat of a letdown. In line with the mode’s lack of managerial options, there is no way to change players involved or tweak the team’s needs. The Astros were met with curious trade packages that forced me to trade away Joe Smith, A.J. Reed and Framber Valdez for the likes of Josh Harrison, Nicholas Castellanos or Dee Gordon. I would have loved the option to acquire an extra left-handed reliever, but I was stuck with the pre-chosen options. I suppose this would be more welcome if March to October took a fraction of the time to complete that it does, but I wound up skipping the lone trade entirely as no deal presented a positive gain for the team.

The season is simmed to the playoffs once you clinch your division, but the playoffs get the key moments treatment as well. Instead of, say, starting a game 0-0 with quick counts on, I was down 0-1 in the fifth inning. This was very welcome when the randomized score score was in my favor, but as the playoffs progressed, this became terrifying when it was the other way around.

And the playoffs is where the mode took a turn for the peculiar. Each series wound up the same way: cruising to a 2-0 lead, a dramatic increase in difficulty over the next few games, and a suddenly surprisingly easy must-win series clincher. The jump in difficulty was otherworldly and tangible. Extraordinarily nerfed hitting made the playoffs downright unpleasant to grind through. Lineouts and flyouts were constant regardless of count and timing. It felt impossible to squeak a single run across home plate even after squaring up hanging breaking balls.

I became petrified towards the end of the campaign as I did not want to come all this way and have spent so much time just to get bounced out of the playoffs on a random difficulty spike. Too many mid-series games were skunked as 2-0 losses. The next game? I threw a no-hitter with Justin Verlander while the offense tagged the Giants for 11 hits. The difficulty swings killed the experience at times and make it difficult to recommend in some respects. Make no bones about it: March to October is a grind for Diamond Dynasty rewards. I was thrilled to see the Team Affinity rewards at the end of my successful run to the World Series, but I can’t imagine I would have ever played the mode again if I had been booted in the ALDS by the overpowered AI.

On top of that, if I had known for sure that I was going to win the World Series, I would have really enjoyed the back-and-forth of some of the more stressful playoff games. But the idea of burning eight-plus hours just to lose in the very end has certainly discouraged me from an additional playthrough. Randomly impossible difficulty and the fear of being able to slog out a Game 7 just to keep your progress alive is a colossal repellent. Obviously, the random spikes in difficulty are problematic altogether, let alone in a mode that does not allow players to continue if they lose. With that being said, potentially extending a second or third chance to losing players via some sort of retry could encourage more participation — at least until the random swings in difficulty are remedied.

Increasing the amount and quality of rewards is always nice, but it is not the go-to plan here. March to October still feels like a basic franchise mode regardless of the bounty that awaits at the end of October. Perhaps that is the best answer to making this mode more interesting: moving key moments into Franchise Mode, allowing players to make managerial changes, and maybe some difficulty-based DD rewards from franchise mode accomplishments. Sony would have to lock in some safeguards to prevent exploits, but fusing March to October with next year’s franchise mode may altogether be the best solution going forward.

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  1. 1) unlink. 2) unleash. 3) enjoy.
    unlink it from rewards so that you can choose whatever roster you want. there is nothing worse than having zero to little say about the team makeup. one minor thing I'd also like is when its time for your next game, give you two choices of whats next. because I hate player lock missions unless its a pitcher mission. I would choose any alternative over player lock.
    “Fusing....it to next years franchise mode” maybe the best solution going forward? I honestly don’t know what to think of this. It appears, as it is, it can be a frustrating mess??????
    If this suggests they might mess with the existing franchise mode to somehow incorporate this.....SDS, if you aren’t going to update franchise mode as it exists, keep your hands off of it.
    KnightTemplar
    “Fusing....it to next years franchise mode” maybe the best solution going forward? I honestly don’t know what to think of this. It appears, as it is, it can be a frustrating mess??????
    If this suggests they might mess with the existing franchise mode to somehow incorporate this.....SDS, if you aren’t going to update franchise mode as it exists, keep your hands off of it.

    I cringed when I read that. since the Studio wanted to do that with the m2o originally but weren't able, I just cant see it working going forward
    Caulfield
    I cringed when I read that. since the Studio wanted to do that with the m2o originally but weren't able, I just cant see it working going forward

    Well, it sounds currently like it needs much more “work”, which takes time. So go ahead and do it, release a new franchise mode so unappealing to those who love this mode and just start the cycle of patches all over again. Is this sort of a carrot dangled?
    I would think we who play franchise are rare these days. So why not?
    KnightTemplar
    “Fusing....it to next years franchise mode” maybe the best solution going forward? I honestly don’t know what to think of this. It appears, as it is, it can be a frustrating mess??????
    If this suggests they might mess with the existing franchise mode to somehow incorporate this.....SDS, if you aren’t going to update franchise mode as it exists, keep your hands off of it.
    'Fusing...best solution'? I seriously hope this is a joke...if that's the case, we can kiss true franchise goodbye...but it's something I'm kind of expecting anyways, sadly.
    Sent from my SM-G965U using Operation Sports mobile app
    “You can exit the mode between each game, but there is no way to save during a game”
    This is incorrect. I have exited and saved mid game many times in my Rockies March to October. In the pause menu under exit, it gives you the option to save and exit.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I never bought them saying more people play Diamond Dynasty over Franchise. Maybe, what they're really saying is they get some people wasting an additional $25-50 bucks from people who play Diamond Dynasty who want to get specific cards.
    I won't get this game if Franchise is removed.
    This mode quickly paints itself into a corner. On one hand people will be pissed if their team makes the playoffs only to have the game sim them a series loss. On the other if your team always advances it takes any credibility away from the mode.
    And users have to invest hours to find out how the cpu will aim their teams fate.
    If only there was a mode where the user could decide when to sim and when to play the game with a franchise of their choosing.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I know I am probabley in the monority, but as an offline player, I wish they kept Season mode in the game.
    Much simpler to navigate, play as one team, keeping up with the real life trades. Much less faffing.
    Caulfield
    1) unlink. 2) unleash. 3) enjoy.
    unlink it from rewards so that you can choose whatever roster you want. there is nothing worse than having zero to little say about the team makeup. one minor thing I'd also like is when its time for your next game, give you two choices of whats next. because I hate player lock missions unless its a pitcher mission. I would choose any alternative over player lock.

    Exactly this.
    Also let us use custom sliders.
    I’ve yet to even touch this mode because of this and I never will. Maybe next year I guess.
    I had a bit of fun with the mode and I could actually see the use of it to quickly get through season 1 to then continue with franchise but without custom rosters I just can’t imagine anyone wanting to do that.  Part of the reason anyone would want to get through a season quickly is to get prospects developed and into the MLB but MTO as it is , just means you’d have a bunch of fake players in your system.
    Honestly everything else about the mode is kinda cool but no custom rosters is a deal breaker for me.. 
    Just leave it to fester and die like retro mode, put the developers on it back where they are supposed to be, on franchise mode.
    De-link it from DD so you can have custom rosters/sliders and the like, meaning it can work as a springboard to a 2nd season in franchise mode.
    I really do like the concept of this mode and I strongly think that it will be de-coupled from DD rewards next year as they seem to change-up the DD paradigm each year (and hopefully they also get away from moments and get back to the far more engaging stat grinding - but I digress).
    MtO - In my opinion, it needs a couple of things to make it more than a novelty:
    - customization (i.e. sliders and rosters)
    - the usual franchise stuff (minor leagues, trading, drafting, etc.)
    - way more variety in moments selected (maybe I drop-in in the first inning of a game to try to get an early run on the board and once inning is over, that is it). The "drop-in at end of game" thing is what killed it. I would also suggest a moment for each game....with some "play the whole game".
    - make the momentum system optional or at the very least tone it down. I have a love/hate relationship with it (it's cool but also a bit cheesy)....let's just give a people a choice to use it or not.
    - More storylines, more personality-driven stuff....heck, assign each player a personality based on the RTTS paradigm...make that matter.
    I think this mode would be a nice compliment to the fantastic franchise mode that's already in the game and should remain untouched.
    Make the mode a la carte. Let the user determine how involved they want to be instead of SDS determining how involved they feel you should be. There is no replayability in this mode after you go through it with your team, have the ability to stay in the mode after the season.

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