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MLB The Show 22 Road to the Show & Ballplayer Deep Dive

MLB The Show 22 Ballplayer

MLB The Show 22

MLB The Show 22 Road to the Show & Ballplayer Deep Dive

The sixth Feature Premiere for MLB The Show 22 was for Ballplayer and Road to the Show. I was interested in this one going into it because Road to the Show and Ballplayer took some lumps last year. Franchise mode got the most heat, but many folks did not like some of the structural changes to RttS and Ballplayer. While most everyone agreed the mode felt stale, how SDS went about updating the various aspects of Road to the Show did not hit the mark for many people.

So after the Feature Premiere today, it will be interesting to gauge the response. I will be the first to admit Road to the Show and Ballplayer are the aspects of The Show I use the least, so I’m a bit out of my element here as it relates to gauging these updates because I just don’t have strong feelings on them. That said, I still have some general thoughts on the updates, so let’s jump into things.

MLB The Show 22 Road To The Show

MLB The Show 22 Road to the Show narrative

Road To The Show Narrative

SDS started out talking about narrative updates to RttS, and it seems the general focus was to add more depth to the scenarios while trying to be more dynamic as your Ballplayer goes through the journey from the minors to majors. Joe Mauer and Rachel Balkovec are among the new faces for the podcast feature used throughout the mode, but it does not look like any major structural changes have impacted the narrative overall. Instead, it’s more about trying to just hone in on those highs, lows, and the general grind a player goes through on that quest through the minors.

I do think it’s cool that SDS jams so many talents into this podcast feature, but I do suspect many (most) people click through these segments because they are just talking head segments. I do wonder if it would be better served just being purely audio rather than even doing much with visuals for this, but then it would mean you need more stuff to do within the RttS menus to give you a reason to listen in the background like you did way back when with the Tony Bruno segments in Madden. That show was novel because it was just nice background color while you were looking to pull off a trade and so forth. I don’t find it very engaging to watch these segments in The Show, even if I think Sean Casey can be a humorous goof or that it’s all about my Ballplayer.

On top of that, there is just a layer of “generic talking head” that radiates through a lot of this. I understand not being able to say my name or having to talk in generalities rather than get too specific because you’re setting up various parameters to make any of these moments trigger in RttS, but it remains the reason narratives in these “player” modes just rarely hit with me. While I’m the “center” of the story, I’m really not the center of anything because they’re not saying my name, and they’re never really talking about me — if you get what I’m saying. They’re talking about general accomplishments or failures I pulled off, but the way Ken Griffey Jr. hit 600+ home runs is different than how Albert Pujols hit 600+ home runs, and I don’t think there’s that level of nuance here.

That said, the focus also appears to be trying to teach folks about baseball in a general sense, and then also provide more color for things like major MLB rivalries, and even how to approach the mental side of the game. I do think the teaching aspects of Road to the Show are a smart way to add flavor because talking about real baseball is a logical way to go about things in these modes focused on being a professional.

Regardless, I felt like this was the weakest part of the presentation, and I did find it a little odd they started with this aspect of things.

MLB The Show 22 Ballplayer

MLB The Show 22 Ballplayer

Community Feedback

SDS started out here by talking about how the changes to Ballplayer this year directly tie back into community feedback about not liking that you really only had one Ballplayer last year, that the progression was inconsistent, and that your Ballplayer could basically be great at everything. These guidelines were the basis for a lot of the framing around changes made elsewhere, so it was important to point these out from the start.

Starting with the singular Ballplayer, now it will be easier to have multiple Ballplayers. In addition, changing how they look, and also deciding what each Ballplayer will do is more easily pulled off. This means you do not have to start as a two-way Ballplayer anymore before either deciding to stick with it or pick pitching/hitting. From the start, you can now decide to just be a pitcher or hitter again if you want.

MLB The Show 22 Ballplayer

Church And State Progression

One of the biggest complaints last year — and this ties into the “inconsistent” progression — was that online/Diamond Dynasty were clearly favored last year for progression. SDS has changed that now so offline folks no longer get shafted. Road to the Show is now where you progress your Ballplayer. All the missions and such are inside RttS now rather than being this mix and match approach where Diamond Dynasty ended up being the best spot to go.

On top of that, you should progress at a faster rate now than last year when playing RttS, and you will now have multiple archetype items that you can use while doing a program rather than having to go back to the start of one if you swapped to a different archetype item. Other quality-of-life improvements to progression tie together with each pitch now being something that levels up on its own. So if you want to use a cutter for a bit and upgrade it before using a 2-seam and upgrading that for a couple games, you can do that now.

MLB The Show 22 Rewards

One other key way online and offline (Diamond Dynasty vs. Road to the Show) are being split back up is certain aspects of RttS can just be for that mode now so as not to upset the online balance. This means you can now use a knuckler again, but then you just can’t take that pitch type online for DD games. And, again, DD and RttS feel like they will be more separate than joined at the hip, so hopefully more offline changes can occur moving forward without a fear of ruining online games by having annoying Ballplayers running around online.

Miscellaneous Changes

MLB The Show 22 Ballplayer

Other additions for Ballplayer felt like the “narrative” additions for Road to the Show. More or less, SDS is doubling down on perks to make some that are now dynamic to situations, and then also adding in things like dynamic challenges for you to do for certain at-bats.

Bottom Line

This felt somewhat in line with the Franchise/March to October updates from last week, but just with perhaps a bit less juice. I think if people don’t like some of the major structural changes that happened with Road to the Show last year (perks/loadouts), then I’m not sure how much they’ll love doubling down on some of those changes. That said, making offline and online separate again is a good change to the “old ways” of doing things, and being able to have multiple Ballplayers is an important way to get back that era as well.

Ultimately, it seems like SDS is trying to win back some of the old fans they angered last year, while still believing in some of their new changes and wanting to follow those into the future. I don’t know how that balance will play out as of yet, but it’s good that at least SDS realized offline gamers should take priority when it comes to Road to the Show, which was always intended to be a single-player experience.

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Discussion
  1. Steve_OS
    Starting in a few, feel free to discuss here. Chase will be posting the breakdown after the show.

    Just want to say how much I greatly appreciated these follow-ups. Keep up the top-shelf work, Chase! :cheers:
    This is the one I’ve been waiting for. I’m very excited about a lot of the changes so far, but if RTTS is tied with DD and online again this year I’m out and sticking with 20.
    I usually play RTTS more than any mode, but completely skipped it last year due to the various bugs, issues, annoyances, etc. Sounds like they really listened to feedback from last year so I'm looking forward to diving back in.
    I see what they're trying to do with the narrative thing, but for me it's just not working. I skipped those videos all the time last year
    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
    I know it's a game but the loadout thing is so video game-y. That's not how sports or any skill in life work. You can't just swap out skills to fit the situation. Oh well unless I'm forced to use it i can just skip that mechanic.
    Sent from Operation Sports Xtreme Mobile App
    Not any earth-shattering elements coming to the mode, but it sounds like they went back to the drawing board so to speak and shifted a bit more toward what made the mode great in the first place: giving us the flexibility to make the player(s) we want. Lot of QoL changes, "passes", and general improvements. Hopefully it translates to a smooth experience this year (fingers crossed).
    jrnlgrn
    I know it's a game but the loadout thing is so video game-y. That's not how sports or any skill in life work. You can't just swap out skills to fit the situation. Oh well unless I'm forced to use it i can just skip that mechanic.
    Sent from Operation Sports Xtreme Mobile App

    Agreed. It feels like two diff people in one mode when you're switching "loadouts" to fit the situation. I have a 2-way player with one pitching loadout and one hitting one on '21, but I'm hoping I can just make one player and have a blank canvas where I can do whatever I want within one loadout in '22.
    The knuckleball situation & solution shows they realize online & offline are two diff experiences altogether. So there might be a glimmer of hope.. Guess we'll see if the flexibility they're championing is only within their parameters & view, or if you can really do whatever you'd like in the mode.
    Overall some good changes, albeit minor changes. Mostly just happy that we can create more than one ballplayer now and that we can choose whether or not we wanna be a 2 way player right off the bat. I don't mind the perks thing as I adjusted pretty well to them last year, but one thing I'm really happy about is that some of them are situation based and aren't on all the time. To me that makes more sense! Hurry up April 1st!
    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
    Finally something to crow about, more rewards based and perks for what you do on the field , making you want to continue with your ballplayer even more. I am liking it. Can't wait till next week..!!! And that new commentary is the bomb, like wow.
    Just finished the stream and well, it seems like they just tweaked a few things here and there and have left the rest alone. Still forced into attribute limits, which DD basically guaranteed it staying that way. Though the additional video episodes are nice for some, a great majority will skip them. It, in my opinion, doesn't bring any authentic reality to the mode.
    Looks like another year of only playing RTTS for DD purposes and not actually investing in my character and his story.
    Put the recap up earlier, just forgot to mention in the thread. But yeah, overall, felt like a light-ish stream but with logical QOL stuff.
    Looked more like a tweak to last year's model. The improvements that were made should make for a smoother experience with multiple ballplayers, no DD requirements and not being forced into Two Way.
    The podcasts just don't do it for me. They don't talk about your player specifically; it is so vague and unspecific that I end up skipping 99% of them.
    My only wish for RTTS is that it has a slower progression. Almost every time I start a new RTTS, I begin as an 18-year-old kid and end up in the majors by the second half of my first year.
    I would literally not play too well my first year, so I don't get called up until I'm at least 21 years old. I want to feel the grind of the minors. I limit myself to bronze archetypes, equipment and perks until my second year where I upgrade to silvers and then once I'm in the majors for a couple of years I will upgrade to gold and silver.
    Time will tell but all told it looks to be very similar to last year, hopefully it is just a bit smoother.
    This mode is still stale. The podcasts are a dumb idea for something that the majority of players will skip through.
    Add voice options like NBA 2k not a story but give us press conferences and interviews before and after games/trades/free agency. Not text based.
    Bring back the option to start off as a 45 year old.
    Add A ball...
    MetsFan16
    My only wish for RTTS is that it has a slower progression. Almost every time I start a new RTTS, I begin as an 18-year-old kid and end up in the majors by the second half of my first year.

    I think in all the years I played I only got called up in the first year once and that was because of an injury. Normally takes me a few seasons to be called up.
    I really don't want it to be slower. Because DD was my main mode and RTTS was the backup I never even made it to the majors in last years game. Knowing that I could not carry over a save and faced with the prospect of having to play several more season in the minors again this year I just cut way back on my playing of this mode.
    jrnlgrn
    I know it's a game but the loadout thing is so video game-y. That's not how sports or any skill in life work. You can't just swap out skills to fit the situation. Oh well unless I'm forced to use it i can just skip that mechanic.
    Sent from Operation Sports Xtreme Mobile App

    The aspects of that I hated the most last year, was the loadouts for a 2way player didn't make sense.
    I had a power hitting 3rd baseman and the load out reflected it. Knock the cover off the ball/strong arm.
    When I pitched and hit, my player could barely get on base because the load out couldn't have my hitting badges. I went from a power hitter to a flame throwing pitcher who was a chump in the batters box.
    Something tells me that isn't changing.
    This mode is a slap in the face to consumers. I can’t believe how little this mode progressed. 2k done gave everyone the blueprint for over a decade and yet no company is in the same stratosphere as 2k. It’s so much u can do with this mode but instead of adding something fun. We got loadouts and FMV like we playing sega cd. This mode just feels lifeless even more on PS5 with no SOTS. I can’t believe not one type of back of the box feature for this mode. I bet the new commentary will be calling minor league games too lol
    We kill madden but give mlb a pass
    Quentin32
    This mode is a slap in the face to consumers. I can’t believe how little this mode progressed. 2k done gave everyone the blueprint for over a decade and yet no company is in the same stratosphere as 2k. It’s so much u can do with this mode but instead of adding something fun.

    People have also told them for years and years that we wanted something more like 2K's MyCareer/Myplayer (The good parts not the microtransaction cash grab parts) but they don't care.
    Quentin32
    We kill madden but give mlb a pass

    :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl:100% this
    It’s a small thing, but one of the features I miss the most is to be able to watch/play the result play of each at bat. Ever since they took it out I have a hard time feeling really immersed in the game. Because I want to progress through multiple seasons with my player I don’t want to watch every pitch of every game, but I never really feel involved in the game when it sims everything so quickly in between my appearances. I always thought the “result play” option was a great way to feel connected to each game on the whole while still getting through them fairly quickly.
    Quentin32
    We kill madden but give mlb a pass

    Because The Show still plays so well ON THE FIELD.
    Remember MLB 2K? It could be so, so, SO much worse.
    FOUL LANGUAGE WARNING!
    Can't help but think RTTS is worse than it was 3-4 years ago. Didn't even bother last year since it was so DD heavy and this year is more of the same but with more videos to skip. Seems like every decision the dev team has made for 2-3 years has been geared toward pumping people to DD or at least changing their gameplay to be more focused on online play.
    casbruce
    It’s a small thing, but one of the features I miss the most is to be able to watch/play the result play of each at bat. Ever since they took it out I have a hard time feeling really immersed in the game. Because I want to progress through multiple seasons with my player I don’t want to watch every pitch of every game, but I never really feel involved in the game when it sims everything so quickly in between my appearances. I always thought the “result play” option was a great way to feel connected to each game on the whole while still getting through them fairly quickly.

    What? They took out result play? I haven't bought a new version since 2014. I was thinking about finally getting the new version again to try out 2-way player in RTTS, but I don't like what I'm reading and removing result play might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
    I also wish there was a way to turn off the attribute pop ups after every pitch and play. As well as the in game missions.
    Really an eyesore as a clean screen player
    I don't know what to say?  My favorite mode keeps regressing further back.   SMH  Oh well, at least one positive is that it is on XBOX Gamepass again for this year.  Thx SDS!
    Formula1Racing
    I don't know what to say?* My favorite mode keeps regressing further back.* *SMH* Oh well, at least one positive is that it is on XBOX Gamepass again for this year.* Thx SDS!

    I don't think you can call it regressing. Regressing back to before archetypes were introduced would be seen as a good thing. The mode may be getting worse (in our opinions) but it isn't regressing.
    Rtts should be much further along by now! It seems the mode is taking a step back every year. I still can't believe we can't sign endorsement deals with certain brands for our players and earn equipment that way. Instead of having to hit the community market where everything is overpriced!!
    I enjoy the game play on the field, but the mode needs more bells and whistles similar to the good things in 2k's MyCareer.

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