Hey, so we made it. MLB The Show 21 officially launched at midnight EST for the Xbox and PlayStation platforms. The servers decided to take a dump for much of the night, but that was not unexpected considering the influx of people who probably took advantage of Game Pass to download The Show on Xbox consoles. SDS has actually been relatively solid on the servers front during the past couple seasons (SDS used to have a rough go of things here), so hopefully this is just a minor bump in the road. Regardless, we just want to highlight some community concerns that relate to MLB The Show 21 at this early stage, and also use this as a launch day guide of sorts to help veterans and new folks get acclimated by mentioning some tidbits here and there.
MLB The Show 21 Launch Day Guide And Community Concerns
Gameplay (And Graphics)
The biggest change here is the implementation of Pinpoint Pitching. It’s a callback to MLB 2K in many ways, but the thing to understand with Pinpoint is that it cares most about tempo and finish with your gestures. You can use the refined practice mode to get in some reps — I recommend practicing with a runner on base so you have to practice from the stretch — but focus most on your tempo and finishing with a flourish. This means after you select a pitch, really watch the motion that is repeated on your screen and try to follow that tempo. It’s actually okay if you don’t totally nail the accuracy of the motion as long as your tempo is not too fast or too slow. The yellow and red indicators will show you where you’re going wrong in terms of your tempo.
Finishing with a flourish means it’s very important — probably most important — to try and time that downward motion to throw a pitch in perfect synchronization with your pitcher’s release. If you can get that timing down (and accurately pull down in the correct direction as well), you’ll be in great shape in the long run. If you end up not liking this system, you can absolutely change to one of the older pitching styles as well. However, I do recommend trying to tough it out because it really does lead to the most accuracy on your pitches if you get a handle on it.
Beyond that, fielding has been tweaked to make it feel “smoother” with the addition of tons of animations, and there are some new fielding indicators you can use or turn off. Either way, pitching is the only area where veterans and rookies will really need to lab it up a bit.
In terms of community concerns, it’s funny to say to some extent but one of the hottest topics relates to bat sounds. Some folks think they sound more realistic this year, and others passionately believe they’re worse than last year and sound too tinny and lack some punch when you really nail that perfect-perfect timing. I oscillate between both camps, and I think it has more to do with certain audio samples just being worse than others, but it also will depend on your setup. Anecdotally, folks with headsets seem to like the bat sounds more than those rocking standard stereo setups thus far.
Another dirty trick some rascals online are utilizing involves holding the R2 (RT on Xbox) while you try to pitch. This is an old stall tactic that has been around forever when you’re on the mound, but now it actually can mess up your motion when you’re using Pinpoint Pitching. This will most likely need a patch, and you just have to sort of hope you’re not playing dishonorable scum to avoid it. If you are in a match with an evildoer, then your best bet is just changing to another pitching method for that game.
Otherwise, I’m leaving the “concerns” section mostly TBD for gameplay. I don’t think we really start to get to the bottom of true gameplay concerns until launch week is behind us and we’ve had a good amount of time to lab.
One other discussion point strictly on the graphics front revolves around the “darkness” of some stadiums. This pops up mostly in night games or in domed stadiums. It also seems to be strictly a next-gen complaint. My guess is this has to do with the HDR settings on some televisions. I don’t personally see much of an issue (the closest is Globe Life Field when the roof is closed), but I’m not surprised to see discussions cropping up here considering some oddities around HDR in other next-gen sports games.
Franchise mode did not get a ton of love this year, and we all sort of knew that going into things. If you have never played The Show, you will probably have a good time, but veterans are relatively down on franchise mode since carryover saves being gone has not been replaced by something big enough to make that omission sting less.
Beyond that, one weird bug right out of the gate is it seems certain teams (perhaps teams in the Pacific time zone most notably) have almost all day games on their schedules.
Sounds of the Show is a big thing for franchise mode, but you do not have access to this on Xbox. In addition, it’s really only fully featured on the PS4. On the PS5 version, you have a limited pool of sounds — and can’t upload your own music — and there also seems to be a bug with playing the PS4 version on a PS5 where certain Sounds are not sticking. In general, I don’t believe this feature is working perfectly on any console as of now. In the long term, the hold up with Sounds of the Show will be whether Sony and Microsoft make it any easier to upload music that you can use on the next-gen consoles. In the short term, I would keep an eye on the OS forums and see how folks troubleshoot the current issues.
Trade logic was something SDS said it focused on a lot this year. The community so far questions that as it does appear teams are still not cherishing young players enough. We’ll need to keep an eye on this moving forward, but you might need to try and avoid swindling the AI or keeping an eye on trades throughout your franchise between CPU teams.
If you’re looking for the Full Minors, Ridin’ and the team gave an update on how that is coming together here. 93-man rosters will be available for all teams in the first official update.
Full Minors 21 Roadmap 🔥⚾️ pic.twitter.com/6N8d2HuiH5
— Scout Scoops (@RidinRosters) April 20, 2021
Otherwise, head to this thread on OS to share your franchise progress and chat about the mode itself.
Lastly, custom sliders no longer provide XP. This is a bummer for many of us because we like our sliders, but we also still like accruing XP. My guess is that SDS did not want people grinding out XP in a place like franchise mode with super easy sliders, but I think SDS should have overlooked that here because it only aggravates a portion of the user base that is already feeling salty about their lot in life.
Road To The Show
RttS is the most hotly debated mode right now on OS. It’s a couple factors coming together here in a perfect storm of sorts. The mode did go through some structural changes, both on a holistic and more mechanical level. I contest that some of the complaints fall a bit in the category of “old man yells at cloud” where folks who have played the mode forever just are angry about things that are different but really not the main problems. For example, Loadouts are a new mechanic, and I do think they’re forward thinking in the grand scheme of things, but how progression works with them right now is a bit buggy and the progression is a little too slow. On top of that, a lot of folks were freaking out about every story beginning with your Ballplayer being a two-way player. This is true in that the tutorial portion does start the same way every time, thus you will technically be a two-way player at the start of your career. However, this is quickly pushed aside if you have no interest in being Ohtani.
Speaking of Ballplayer, that is another issue for some because they miss being able to have multiple different players. And what I mean there is that they want to have a 5-foot-6 shortstop and then a 6-foot-4 pitcher, and so on. You have one Ballplayer now and all the XP and such that you grind out ties back into that Ballplayer. I’m mostly indifferent on this aspect, but I do get the beef.
To be clear, I’m more on the side of folks who are upset than not, but my general point is that some of the complaints being discussed are not really the root of the problems. A lot of the bigger issues stem from some bugs that were missed that mess up program progression (among other bugs), and that things do feel a little too slow in terms of how quickly your Ballplayer is moving up the ranks. You can find plenty of breakdowns from people who are unhappy with RttS right now if you want to dig deeper, but I just think it’s important to note overall that this is the area of the game with the most controversy and chatter surrounding it.
My suggestion is get a feel for RttS and come to your own conclusions if you’re new. If you’re a veteran, SDS has come out and talked about some things they’ll be tweaking moving forward in future patches.
Stadium Creator (And The Vaults)
Stadium creator is a next-gen only feature, and it’s certainly awesome but new. What this means is there are quite a few bugs, but you can still put together some awesome creations while dodging them. On the negative side of things, you can only play day games in created stadiums, there are no domes, and there are no ad boards — this is all by design. On top of that, there is no search feature so it’s a big mess trying to find any stadium right now in the Vault. There is also some horrendous bigotry and other insensitive stadiums littered throughout the Stadium Creator Vault. Our hope is SDS, Sony, and Microsoft will be on top of this with bans from The Show, and hopefully something more on the console end of things as well.
If you want help with Stadium Creator, we have a thread on OS where folks are sharing insights and pieces of wisdom.
Oh, and if you’re looking for the Stadium Creator Vault, you actually have to go into Stadium Creator itself, it is not with the other “Vaults” in that area of The Show.
As for the other vaults, the Roster Vault also has some gnarly bugs right now that are still sort of being deciphered based on the platform. In a general sense, downloading a roster is not working correctly. This may have something to do with trying to download a roster uploaded by an Xbox user and then it’s not being downloaded correctly by a PlayStation user, but the point is on next-gen consoles you can’t download rosters with any consistency (if at all). And then on PS4 (and presumably Xbox One), when you download a roster and load it, it’s not sticking. So, in effect, you’ll still be playing on default rosters even though you downloaded something from the Vault. All of this is a little strange because the Logo Vault and other Vaults seem to work fine.
As for DD, if the servers are up and down, you’re better off staying away during those times. You will lose progress, games won’t count, and other standard-issue stuff you see with online modes in other sports games all apply here. If the servers are up and running, feel free to check out our 1st Inning Program guide, and just sort of have a good time. On top of that, you can also head to the DD sub-forum on OS as many of us hang out there and dish on the latest updates and talk about our teams.
I don’t think there’s any one place you need to start if you’re jumping into DD for the first time, and you’ll be rewarded regardless of where you want to spend your time.
We’ll have plenty more on MLB The Show 21 as we move forward. We got our hands on the game just before early access started, so we don’t have much more time with the game than most of you. This means our review and deep dives into features are still in progress overall. We’ll have plenty more on The Show in the coming days, so we recommend just heading to the forums and chatting about the game as we have threads for just about every aspect of MLB The Show 21 at this point. Whether you want to talk about DD, gameplay, franchise mode, Road to the Show, or whatever else, there’s no question you can find what you’re looking for there. And if for some reason you don’t find what you need, then by all means start your own thread and try to get a conversation going.