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MLB The Show 18 Franchise Mode: Some Impressions After A Few Days

MLB The Show 18

MLB The Show 18 Franchise Mode: Some Impressions After A Few Days

I’m always impressed by how San Diego Studio manages to improve MLB The Show every single year. This year has been no different, albeit it comes with some ups and down as it relates to franchise mode.

I’ve always been, for the most part, a franchise guy in the MLB The Show series. This year, the obvious — or at least loudest — exclusion from The Show 18 is online franchise.

Sure, I get it. SDS announced that online franchise would be removed from the game three weeks before the game’s release (if you preordered it) on its blog on a Friday night after it did a Diamond Dynasty stream. It sucks. But for now it’s time to look at what’s here and leave the online franchise discussion for another day.

So What Is Here?

Alright, now that I’ve got you here, let me talk you through my early impressions of this year’s franchise mode.

Once you boot up franchise and select your team, there’s the usual screen that lets you toggle on and off things like GM contracts, fantasy draft, legend free agents, force trades, etc.

Then there’s the capabilities screen, where you can set things like lineups, rotations, scouting and free agency to auto manage or perform manually. Just like last year, all of this can be toggled between auto and manual at any point after booting up franchise mode.

Now, after getting to the start of the regular season — whether it be simming through spring training or choosing the regular season as your franchise’s starting point — you’ll notice the first major difference is the menus:

Under the home tab on game days there’s a big panel on the left that shows animated pitchers that are scheduled to start on the mound for the day’s game, with some other things like team records, pitcher records, ERAs, and who’s leading the series (if it’s not game one).

The top right small panel leads you to the calendar, but the bottom right panel is the main element here. It features a to-do list with, well, things that need doing. There’s the top option, which is playing the next game, then some things like scouting, sponsorships and setting the trade block.

But the bottom option of this menu is the biggest difference here, and something new this year. SDS introduced phases this year, splitting the season up in to parts, including draft day, All-Star week, trade deadline prep, the non-waiver trade deadline, September call-ups and, finally, the postseason.

It’s sort of minor in the grand scheme of things, but this feature is cool for both new and veteran fans of the sport. It allows new people to learn what the season’s rough timeline is, and the more hardcore franchise players can more quickly churn and burn through seasons.

 

Play Ball!

Trades can be very whacky. For instance, in the White Sox sim that I operated while writing this (with custom rosters) I had everything set to auto for time’s sake. Just before the trade deadline we traded Yoan Moncada for Amed Rosario, Derrick Randolph and Jackie Ortega. At the time of the trade, Randolph and Rosario were A-potential players younger than 23 and overalls less than 75. Ortega was 19 with a C potential. Sure, not a terrible trade. The White Sox are at least two years away from competing with the Indians and Twins.

But, just a few days earlier the defending champion Houston Astros traded Dallas Keuchel, the team’s only starting pitcher over 82 overall (Justin Verlander declined to a 79), to the Reds for Billy Hamilton. He joined an outfield that included Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick. This just doesn’t really make sense.

Then there’s scouting. I’m honestly not as experienced in this regard because I spent all year in The Show 17 on auto-scout. However, I’ve learned early on it’s extremely fun and challenging, especially when you find a player you end up drafting in the second round that winds up with a potential in the 90s but was passed up on because of his low durability.

The last big thing I’ve noticed early on is something yearly The Show franchisers should notice: free agency chaos. Offering a big free agent a mega deal can still lead to your offer going away the next day while being tied to a message that says “you can no longer afford this contract.”

There’s seemingly no rhyme or reason for it; but with the massive free agent class coming up after the season (in the handful of franchises I’ve played/simmed through a full season so far, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have been available every single time, plus Josh Donaldson and Paul Goldschmidt occasionally being available), this is an issue that can be a massive pain for franchise players.

Final Analysis

Overall, SDS has found ways to make franchise mode better, but it comes with some of the usual issues. There’s a “maybe they shouldn’t have spent so much time putting Retro Mode into franchise” joke to be made here if you want to make it, but I won’t do it. Its an incremental step up for sure, but one that has some meaningful additions to enjoy with some imperfections along the way.

At the end of the day, sports games are RPGs and MLB The Show 18’s franchise mode is what you want to make out of it.

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  1. Line Up Based On Performance
    Has anyone seeing this feature in use? I am batting .137 AVG and am still in the lead off spot! About 14 games in and all task settings set to auto.
    Maybe it will take more games for the CPU to move the lineup around. Also thought this feature was announced in either MLB 16 or MLB 17.
    I hope it's not due to using the Player Lock selection from the launch screen. Because when you do stamina does not work and you can play a infinite amount of games with no stamina affect resulting in poor performance. Now wondering if this affects line up performance as well.
    jada855
    Line Up Based On Performance
    Has anyone seeing this feature in use? I am batting 1.37 AVG and am still in the lead off spot! About 14 games in and all task settings set to auto.

    if we're being real, if you're batting 1.37 you're a mathematical fluke and the best player in the history of sports.
    ^Yeah, I'm fairly certain the lineups are generated purely on attributes and not stats, even once the season is underway, which is why I have manual everything but scouting.
    Also, a small thing but much appreciated by me, I'm glad they doubled the soundtrack size this year. With how much time I spend in the menus, I'm glad it takes a little while longer to hit the playlist loop.
    tfcfan4life
    The trades are a problem and needs to be addressed in a the next patch. I'm not even touching Franchise mode until this is addressed.

    Have trades ever been worked on? They've been broken for years.
    Trades and free agency sound scary. I recommend turning the trade slider way down that first year as really this is an issue when a game is simply trying to reorganize itself at the start of a new franchise.
    Another Issue: Simulated stats will require manually adjusting your sliders to compensate for inflated CG/S) and too many innings being pitched by RP, especially LRs still.
    Biggest Positive: I was happy to see how clean the carryover saves worked this year. I haven't noticed anything other than having to rename those guys that legally can't be carried over. Everything else was very clean.
    I'm at the point where I'm going back to 17. The young star players bug is back where they go unsigned and I easily get 7 or 8 seasons or more into franchise. My guess is with more higher potential players introduced in osfm it will be worst.
    I'm seeing a few things that are really ruining franchise mode for me.
    1. Teams are running out of money and not signing 90 plus overall rated players 5 to 6 years in future.
    2. Budgets do not make sense and you cannot tell if you have an increase or decrease in budget each year.
    3. Teams are offer salary arbitration less than what they made the previous season and free agent contracts are less than what they receive in arbitration.
    4. I like the idea of closers moving out of the position but it is way too fluid now.
    5. Roster logic still has holes. Some teams do not carry extra catchers.
    6. Playoff eligibility is still not correct. Unless player is physically on 25 man roster they are not eligible for playoffs.* This is not the rule and hamstringing teams who sometimes carry 23 or 24 players in playoffs due to not being able to add a player to.roster after injury.*
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    tabarnes19
    I'm at the point where I'm going back to 17. The young star players bug is back where they go unsigned and I easily get 7 or 8 seasons or more into franchise. My guess is with more higher potential players introduced in osfm it will be worst.
    I'm seeing a few things that are really ruining franchise mode for me.
    1. Teams are running out of money and not signing 90 plus overall rated players 5 to 6 years in future.
    2. Budgets do not make sense and you cannot tell if you have an increase or decrease in budget each year.
    3. Teams are offer salary arbitration less than what they made the previous season and free agent contracts are less than what they receive in arbitration.
    4. I like the idea of closers moving out of the position but it is way too fluid now.
    5. Roster logic still has holes. Some teams do not carry extra catchers.
    6. Playoff eligibility is still not correct. Unless player is physically on 25 man roster they are not eligible for playoffs.* This is not the rule and hamstringing teams who sometimes carry 23 or 24 players in playoffs due to not being able to add a player to.roster after injury.*
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

    Thanks for pointing these out, Hopefully they can take a look at this for the patch in the near future, i also play many seasons of franchise mode
    Mike Lowe
    Trades and free agency sound scary. I recommend turning the trade slider way down that first year as really this is an issue when a game is simply trying to reorganize itself at the start of a new franchise.
    Another Issue: Simulated stats will require manually adjusting your sliders to compensate for inflated CG/S) and too many innings being pitched by RP, especially LRs still.
    Biggest Positive: I was happy to see how clean the carryover saves worked this year. I haven't noticed anything other than having to rename those guys that legally can't be carried over. Everything else was very clean.

    Hey Mike the trade slider you made for 17 apply to 18 as well? Wondering if you got a chance to test them or tweak them.
    5 for Spring Traning
    1 for April
    3 for May
    4 for June
    5 for July 1-29
    10 for July 30-31
    5 for non-waiver trades set (past July 31)
    4 for offseason
    I've been running a few tests franchise until OSFM drops, and here is a few things I have noticed.
    1) players do not develop as quickly as years past, and maybe not quick enough. Example Dominic smith of the mets is rated a 55 overall with A potential at age 22. By year three (age 25) season he is still only rated a 63 and is nowhere near major league ready. A little dissapointing considering he is a top prospect. I have no problem with lower rated guys taking a while to develop but top guys should be major league ready by age 25 season minimum.
    2) training absolutely does not work. Does not matter what excercises you choose to focus on. It is completely random and I would even say has no effect at all. This may be leading to the prospects not developing issue as it may not be working correctly. This leads to a couple of problems. A) you cannot shape your your prospects into being the type of players you want. B) I honestly don't think it's working at all. I guarantee you if I worked on contact hitting for six months straight I would at least see incremental progress. As of right now you may see absolutely no progress on a given category. I would be happy with even a two point increase with training over a year. But it really needs to be at a 5 point increase a year minimum if A potential. This would allow prospects to actually develop and allow you to shape your future roster.
    3) Trades are still absolutely horrendous. I saw one in year 1 of my franchise where the Rockies traded Nolan arrenado while still in contention for a couple of low overall high potential prospects. If any of the prospects had at least an overall of 70 or more I could try and rationalize this. But none of them were rated over a 62. There are a lot more examples I could provide but this one stands out the most.
    In closing, even with all of the touted "improvements" in the pre release franchise stream franchise mostly feels the same. I would even go as far as to say it has taken a step back as at least training somewhat worked last year and I could shape my roster the way I wanted. To me progression also seems to be a problem this year and may be a problem for someone using a team that is looking to rebuild. Rebuild could take 5 plus years where as a team like the Astros was able to do a full rebuild on 3-4 years (they didn't win the World Series until year 5 after rebuild, but they made playoffs after year three from when the rebuild started)
    Just my observations
    *sorry for spelling and grammatical errors as I was typing this on my phone
    Honestly the only way I can play franchise is with 30 team control and budgets off. I am constantly undoing trades because they are horrid most of the time.
    Every start of spring training I have to go through and sign the maybe 20 or so 70+OVR free agents to teams because the rosters fill up and don't get signed. If i dont, previously they would sit there all season and good players would retire the next season. I usually go through and release the cpu generated players with D potentials to make room.
    Its a little more work on my end but allows me to enjoy my franchise a bit more as good players don't retire every year.
    I hope when they patch all this i dont have to restart my chise im 39 games deep playing each game with   to keep pitch count realistic. I havent seen anything too crazy yet
    Closer logic needs to be tweaked. I dont mind some switches through the season, but I'm seeing April and closers in bullpen roles who are having decent seasons.
    It should be extended bad performance. Here's an example.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    My first impression is...its the same thing as last year except a new "menu" they did nothing to improve or add new features which is highly disappointing. My wish list for franchise is the longest of all game modes..every year keeps growing
    tabarnes19
    Closer logic needs to be tweaked. I dont mind some switches through the season, but I'm seeing April and closers in bullpen roles who are having decent seasons.

    This was my exact concern when they announced "dynamic bullpens." I had little faith this new feature would operate in a nuanced way. March 29th? Closer gave up a run? Time for a new closer?
    I don't think I'm buying next year. I buy every year because I love playing video game baseball but I'm beyond disappointed by all the issues. They took out online franchise and season mode. And yet they left in countless legacy issues, added a couple franchise breaking (at this point) glitches, and continue to not even be in the same ballpark (pun intended) of immersion/reality that NBA2k has for example.
    I mean how hard is it to let you see minor league stats on the cards? Or to have team/player options available on contracts? This is basic, basic stuff. I'm not even getting into faulty FA/trade logic.
    I've been playing franchise mode on The Show for years but I really feel they either dropped the ball in a major way (and last year too) or just don't care due to being all in on DD mode.
    Comduklakis
    I don't think I'm buying next year. I buy every year because I love playing video game baseball but I'm beyond disappointed by all the issues. They took out online franchise and season mode. And yet they left in countless legacy issues, added a couple franchise breaking (at this point) glitches, and continue to not even be in the same ballpark (pun intended) of immersion/reality that NBA2k has for example.
    I mean how hard is it to let you see minor league stats on the cards? Or to have team/player options available on contracts? This is basic, basic stuff. I'm not even getting into faulty FA/trade logic.
    I've been playing franchise mode on The Show for years but I really feel they either dropped the ball in a major way (and last year too) or just don't care due to being all in on DD mode.

    Absolutely agree. I've been playing the show franchise mode every year for over a decade now but this year I'm not sure I even want to waste my time. Franchise mode has been stale for a long time and left behind by other sports games. Things they put in like the radio recap and morale system seem to be poor efforts and then this year they basically streamline the season process.
    I really wish they did some good stuff in franchise mode because it's the one game I could play 300+ games in a franchise mode and still have the gameplay feel fresh.
    WaitTilNextYear
    This was my exact concern when they announced "dynamic bullpens." I had little faith this new feature would operate in a nuanced way. March 29th? Closer gave up a run? Time for a new closer?
    When have they ever implemented something new that actually works the first year they put it in?
    Sent from my SM-G900R4 using Tapatalk
    tabarnes19
    Closer logic needs to be tweaked. I dont mind some switches through the season, but I'm seeing April and closers in bullpen roles who are having decent seasons.
    It should be extended bad performance. Here's an example.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

    How many games are you into the season that you're seeing this?
    I'm 13 games in, give or take for other teams (roughly 2 1/2 weeks) and I haven't seen anything like this. The only team that may have switched closers during the season is the Pirates, but I honestly don't know if they started with their closer from last year (CAP William Schweitzel) or if they started with Neftali Perez as their closer. Everyone else is who I would expect.
    I am using a carryover save, so I don't know if that would have any barring (I wouldn't think so) but want to offer full disclosure.
    countryboy
    How many games are you into the season that you're seeing this?
    I'm 13 games in, give or take for other teams (roughly 2 1/2 weeks) and I haven't seen anything like this. The only team that may have switched closers during the season is the Pirates, but I honestly don't know if they started with their closer from last year (CAP William Schweitzel) or if they started with Neftali Perez as their closer. Everyone else is who I would expect.
    I am using a carryover save, so I don't know if that would have any barring (I wouldn't think so) but want to offer full disclosure.
    18 games in. Happens on most sims too.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Does it bother anybody else the the all star game is always at the same spot after every year in your franchise!? Or that we get no opponents? I’m in year 2 in my twins franchise and the all star game is still in Washington, and I play literally the same NL teams every year. (NL central) 
    Jlane2120
    Does it bother anybody else the the all star game is always at the same spot after every year in your franchise!? Or that we get no opponents? I’m in year 2 in my twins franchise and the all star game is still in Washington, and I play literally the same NL teams every year. (NL central)*

    The interleague schedule not rotating is a known issue...they apparently are unable to get that implemented in the game. They addressed it in a pre-release stream, saying that they can't put it in the game for technical reasons.
    But the all star game for me was in Cleveland in 2019, which is also the case in real life. So that is working for me.
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