The seventh (and final) Feature Premiere for MLB The Show 22 was for Diamond Dynasty, esports, and live content. If you didn’t already know, I’m quite fond of Diamond Dynasty, and it’s the one card-collecting mode we focus on a lot here because we think it’s the best one — and also exploits users the least. Coming off last year, I think the general consensus was it was another step forward for DD, but folks were hoping for more single-player content and some amount of discussion around “freeze offs” and other legacy issues that hampered online play at times.
Coming off the Feature Premiere, I think single-player users should be much happier, and in general it seems like the quality of life should be improved in this mode. There are a couple new concerns we’ll be monitoring, but let’s get to the news and talk about it there.
MLB The Show 22 Diamond Dynasty Deep Dive
SDS started the stream with a look at Mini Seasons in MLB The Show 22, and rightfully so since it’s the biggest change for single-player users in years. This will be an 8-team league (with home and away games) where you battle seven other CPU teams. The seasons are 28 games long, there are four playoff teams, and then you have two playoff rounds that are each best of five. SDS did not say whether the games were 3 innings or more, but I would assume the games are still 3 innings each. The fact that the games are presumably 3 innings will probably be the only negative for some folks since there are not many ways to play “full” offline games in DD, and that is probably even more true now if Extra Innings is gone.
Still, this is a great addition, and it will be a repeatable mode just like Conquest or things like that. The CPU rosters will change for every Mini Season (the mode will grab other DD teams from across the world), and there will be persistent goals (win the World Series) versus other goals that will be one-off goals (get X number of hits). Again, the structure feels like what you might expect when doing a Conquest map, just with more rewards.
The plan is to have the Mini Season change around every four weeks, and there’s also a new concept of a “mystery mission” that was introduced here. SDS gave no hints, so it’s just something you’ll have to figure out first or wait for someone else on the internet to tell you about. You can also play Mini Seasons on any difficulty, though there will be some “extra” goals if you want to do certain things on certain higher difficulty levels.
The only other “negative” I really see here is that there’s no “stats” page for your Mini Seasons that I noticed. So while it will be fun to build a story of sorts as you go through one of these seasons, you can’t keep track of the stats and see who is crushing it during a stretch. Still, you’ll be earning XP and Parallel XP and all that other good stuff during the run.
Programs Have Been Changed
SDS is moving towards a structure where you don’t have Team Affinity programs, Daily XP programs, Showdown programs, Inning Boss programs, etc. Instead, there will be a “Featured Program” and then the section with “other programs” in it — this seems to include stuff like the Starter programs to get you used to DD itself. It’s not that Daily XP and Showdowns, and so on are vanishing, but SDS has tweaked the structure so any XP you earn (in any mode offline or online) will count towards whatever the Featured Program is at the time — much like it would for Inning Programs last year.
Within the Featured Program itself — the first one is the Faces of the Franchise program — there will still be XP-based missions that tie into things like Showdowns and so on, but it’s basically trying to simplify the process so you’re always looking in just one section to figure out what you should be doing during that day/week/month to earn XP.
The biggest downside people are latching onto so far is that the Team Affinity programs won’t exist anymore as that sort of “bigger” content drop that happened between some of the Inning Programs throughout the year. The other factor that ties into that is you will only be able to earn 12 of the 30 Face of the Franchise cards by playing through the entire program. All the other cards you will need to buy on the Marketplace (as of now) — again, much like the Inning Programs last year.
There will be some blinking “pay to win” lights flashing here, but I do think it’s too early to say anything with too much certainty. I would consider myself as a “top end” DD user: I had every card last year, constantly had millions of stubs that were not being used, and never spent a dime on in-game currency. I am not the normal user, but I would also say some of the people talking about “pay to win” are not normal users either.
I would finish Team Affinity in the first day or two, getting 30 cards by just grinding Showdowns and doing the exchanges. As cool as the content was to get, it wasn’t exactly a long-lasting aspect for me. Plus, it’s not like all 30 of those cards were even really that good or went in most lineups. It usually still dwindled down to 10-15 of the cards mattering. So when people say “pay to win” with this change, I don’t think that would be right way to even frame it. If you want to be negative about it, I would call it a “pay to collect” tax, or you’ll simply need to get used to not getting all 30 cards day one unless you “pay” to get them.
The Featured Program concept, in part, seems to be about just getting you playing like a more “normal” user rather than being a crazed “power” user, and I say that as a “power” user. Again, it’s hard to know whether this escalates the FOMO or lessens it as of now, but I would think it stops people from feeling like they need to do 20 Showdowns in a row to get all the cards the first night.
I think the bigger potential concern here is for those who simply are not playing the game enough during certain moments and miss out on some rewards. The Featured Program will take on the features of the old Inning Programs in that they do expire — Team Affinity did not expire. I don’t really have any doubts we’ll continue to get “old” players in the newest Featured Program (I would be shocked if we don’t get more Faces of the Franchise packs in the new Featured Program and elsewhere), but you might not be able to get the game in July and have months and months of content to grind through at your leisure like you did last year.
On the content front, the other question becomes how is SDS “filling the gap” as it relates to not having these giant Team Affinity programs throughout the year. We know the second Featured Program will “only” have five players, and you will be able to earn two of them by playing through that program. Are we getting more players in other sub-modes and such, or will we be relying more on the Moments cards (I hope not) to fill these gaps on a weekly basis?
In short, it’s something worth monitoring, but I do think some of the outrage is overblown as of now. You don’t need all 30 players on day one, and if a person is so concerned about “pay to win” then you should still be able to get the 12 “best” players and be just fine. One other question I have will be whether this leads to more lineup variety or less online. Again, I think a lot of people talking about “pay to win” mostly had same-y lineups anyway, so I would think this won’t do much to lineup variety one way or the other, but I do hope a bit more variety comes into play.
One component that sort of falls outside the umbrella of a Featured Program to some extent relates to the online-only programs. I’m not sure if Events/Ranked Seasons/Battle Royale programs will be in the Featured Program menu or “other programs” menu, but there are small but important changes coming here now.
First off, Battle Royale and Ranked Seasons programs have more XP goals now for the sub-program that would get you to the “Flawless” or “World Series” rewards even if you never could do those things last year. So this means wins no longer matter as much for these programs, rather now it’s just about innings and XP. To put it another way, quitting should be less frequent now in Ranked Seasons because just playing out games gets you just as close as anything else to getting that World Series reward. Yes, you still will get the extra rewards if you go Flawless or reach World Series, but you don’t have to “optimize” your gameplay sessions anymore and feel like you’re just wasting your time if you’re not racking up wins (or stats in BR) in an efficient manner.
The other nice part for BR specifically is you will now have mission-specific rounds. Last year, I would basically “reset” and do another draft if I didn’t get one of the mission-specific players to help push my way through the BR program. Now, there will be specific rounds where you know you’re going to be able to pick one of these players.
As it relates to Events, these will still be based purely on wins. However, this is fine because my favorite change — and, yes, it’s absurd to say that — is that Events lineups can be saved. I swore off doing many Events last year because I simply did not want to build my lineup again between runs, so this is a great quality-of-life change.
It sounds like BR and Ranked Seasons programs will continue to refresh every four weeks or so, and Events seem like they will continue to change every week or so.
Other Small Changes
There will be no DH in DD, so you still need to worry about making those pitcher changes for this year. Beyond that, Parallel XP is a new mission type, but really all it seems to mean is there won’t be as many “hit five home runs with Player X,” and it’s more earn XP with Player X. If you hit home runs, you’ll earn the XP faster, but it’s SDS sort of trying to get people to just play the game normally I think.
March to October now has XP gates for the Featured Program rather than earning points towards Team Affinity. I think this is another logical change because March to October should be an offline mode first and foremost. While the idea was to get people from DD playing the mode, MtO needs to just stand on its own two feet and be worth playing because it’s fun or not.
Conquest simulation speeds have been cut in half, which is great news. The simulations were the worst part of the mode, so hopefully this change is noticeable.
Collections and so forth seem to be about the same, but I’m not really going to get into the cards and all that here because it’s better to just start putting all that together once we have the game.
Related to collections is your general inventory and the marketplace. The biggest change to the marketplace is probably the Quick Sell values being altered. Much like certain cards had more value for exchanges based on their overall within diamond/gold/silver/bronze tiers, now the QS values should reflect that as well. So when you invest in certain players, you might not just sell them when they hit gold or diamond, you can wait it out longer and potentially earn even more.
The last change worth noting relates to the Chase pack. These are packs that will show up as a “topper” in the 50 The Show packs, and also can potentially show up in every normal The Show pack. The Chase pack does not mean you will get the “mystery card” in the pack, but the point is that’s how this card gets found. It seems like it might be the most rare card that cycles through DD as of now. More than anything, this sort of feels like the “dirtiest” way to get people to buy stubs in order to buy the biggest bundles to at least get a guaranteed Chase pack opportunity.
It’s hard for me to come out of that Feature Premiere and not be excited. Beyond the potential concerns of maybe leaving some folks behind who can’t play often enough during a set time for a specific Featured Program, it’s a lot of what I love about Diamond Dynasty now just optimized and improved. I feel like the changes this year were all about getting people playing the game more as a “normal” person rather than trying to min/max every little aspect of gameplay to make sure you were being as efficient as possible about earning cards.
Beyond that, offline players should now have a consistent way to play through the mode with Mini Seasons, and that was probably the biggest complaint outside of “freeze offs” last year. I do hope/wish that SDS maybe puts in a 9-inning option at some point for this mode (and some light stat tracking), but even if it’s just 3-inning games, it’s a great add.
We’re hours away from the Early Access launch of MLB The Show 22, so it’s time to play the game.