MLB The Show 23 diamond dynasty

MLB The Show 23 Diamond Dynasty Feature Premiere Analysis

Another week, another feature premiere for MLB The Show 23. This week, we got a detailed look at features and modes within Diamond Dynasty. Typically, SDS saves all things Diamond Dynasty for the final feature premiere of the pre-release period. MLB The Show 23 is getting a massive change to DD’s structure, which warranted its own premiere. We’ll still get a big live content stream the day before early access launches, but for now we’re going to dig into all the changes coming to Diamond Dynasty.

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MLB The Show 23 Diamond Dynasty: What’s New

Sets And Seasons

The first major change to Diamond Dynasty this year is Sets and Seasons. SDS is extremely focused on team building in MLB The Show 23, and the addition of Sets and Seasons play a huge role in that endeavor. Seasons will be 6-8 week periods that govern the pool of eligible cards that can be used across various modes. Season Squads will consist of those eligible cards, which means you’ll have to rebuild your squad every couple months to maintain eligibility for Ranked Seasons (Solo and Co-Op), Events (event-specific), Conquest (time-limited maps require season squads, permanent maps do not) and Mini-Seasons.

Each season will bring new and unique sets to Diamond Dynasty. During the feature premiere, SDS revealed that we’ll have access to 99 overall cards on day one and every day throughout the year. We’ve always had 99’s in the game at launch by way of the live series collection rewards, but SDS is really trumpeting this point which makes it sound like we’re getting a steady diet of elite cards from launch to endgame. We’ll most likely have to wait for the final feature premiere on March 23 to learn more about the kind of 99s we’re going to get, but this is a huge development of its own.

I love the theory behind releasing 99s early and SDS spoke to it directly. The elite cards typically come out at the same exact time every year, usually around August and beyond. That means a slow and steady “power creep” throughout the year, which is mostly fine but becomes monotonous.

Every time a card is released, it’s the hot topic within the community for a couple days before a newer and more juiced up card comes out. Rinse and repeat and that’s basically been the main Diamond Dynasty formula for years now aside from the bigger program grinds. I personally love that SDS is changing things up this year and this is a huge change to make. SDS is radically challenging the competitive card collecting mode status quo and trying something completely different. We won’t know the fruits of that labor until we get the game in our hands and see the content pipeline, but I’m extremely excited to see how this plays out.

MLB The Show 23

In essence, Diamond Dynasty will feature a rotation similar to competitive card games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. Every card released will belong to a Set, which corresponds to the active season. For example, cards released during Season 1 will be Set 1 cards and cards released during Season 2 will be Set 2 and so on. All Live series cards, including the collection rewards, will be considered Core set cards and will be Season Squad eligible all year, while all other cards will follow a two-set per rotation format.

Season 2 will feature Sets 1 and 2 along with the Core set. Season 3, however, will feature Sets 2 and 3 along with the Core set. The two most recent Sets will be eligible along with the Core set each season. There will also be a Wild Card slot that allows you to add any card from any Set to your squad. That means you might have a Set 1 card that you absolutely rake with that you can bring along into Season 3 and beyond. This will be another aspect encouraging variety over the course of the year. As an avid CCG (collectible card game) fan, I love this change in Diamond Dynasty.

The ultimate success of this change will entirely depend on how SDS doles out the cards each season. If they do a great job of balancing the available cards, we’ll get lineup diversity the likes of which we’ve never seen. Ranked Seasons will no longer be a “meta-fest” and will feature wildly unique lineups, especially considering the addition of Captains. However, if SDS only releases a couple legit 99s each Season, then we’ll quickly end up in a stale meta as everyone uses the same 99s stacked with potential Captain abilities. This will be an intricate test for SDS and there’s plenty of risk here, but the reward is stellar. I’ve theorized in the past that a CCG-style rotation format would keep games like MLB The Show more engaging, and we now get to test that theory.

It’s also entirely possible there isn’t a huge change overall. If SDS doesn’t release a swath of playable cards each Season, then Sets rotating out won’t really mean much. Everyone will simply use the best Set cards each Season, which is no different from lineups adopting the newest cards as they’re released. With the typical power creep supposedly disappearing, this frees up SDS to really pump a ton of elite cards out without upsetting too much balance. Considering CCGs like Magic face meta issues all the time, SDS’ first foray into this kind of design will be spectacular to be a part of and I hope they absolutely crush it.

Captains In Diamond Dynasty

We saw some information about Captains leak during the Tech Test when Brooks Robinson gave us our first unofficial look at tier boosts. Speculation is no longer required as SDS talked in-depth about Captains and how this addition will affect Diamond Dynasty.

Captains are unique cards that feature a “Captain patch” embroidered into the card art. Each Captain will provide boosts to your entire team as long as you meet the required criteria. Looking at the Captain Willie Mays above, you can see the potentially massive boosts you can earn by adding hitters from the 1950s and 1960s to your squad. The brief glimpse we saw in the Tech Test sounded kind of flat, as it specifically wanted great fielders that had poor speed to be the framework of your squad. However, the details SDS dropped in this feature premiere illuminate that true theme team building is finally here in Diamond Dynasty and serves a real purpose.

We know that we’ll definitely see team-specific Captains like this Miguel Cabrera. That means you actually have a reason to build a squad of your favorite team, slap a Captain in the lineup and go into Ranked Seasons with competitive attributes. Hopefully we see stronger-rated Captains as the year goes on, allowing us to truly mix up our squads and maintain true theme teams. Regardless, the inclusion of era-specific builds is also massively fun and already seems like an amazing way to truly rank up the offline experience in Mini-Seasons or even Conquest. We know that Captains will all have unique criteria and boosts. Miggy showcases that we’ll see buffs and debuffs depending on the Captain, and I think that’s an awesome wrinkle in the system.

We also know that every single MLB team will have at least one Captain available at launch with more to come. One very important note about hitting Captains is that they must remain in the game for the first 6 innings of a game. After that, you can substitute them out however you might like, and you’ll maintain the boost they provided for the rest of the game. It was stated that hitting Captains must be in the starting lineup, and you will not be able to physically take them out of the game until that 6th inning is complete. Variety, freshness, and strategy!

Pitching Captains will provide boosts for simply being in your rotation or in the bullpen. So we don’t have to worry about our rotation being compromised because we want a pitcher with boosts, but he doesn’t have stamina. We can also designate either a SP or RP as our Captain and gain boosts the same way. Another fun detail is that the loading screen before each game will detail all the information we need to know about Captains. The active Captains will be displayed, along with all the players receiving a tier boost and the total boost being applied. Inventory management will give us a Captain boost filter, helping us quickly build relevant teams with our Captains.

MLB The Show 23

One final, incredibly important note on Captains is that SDS will be monitoring team builds throughout the year. They stated in the feature premiere that if the same Captains and team builds are being overly used by the community, they’ll go in and adjust that Captain and the boosts in order to better balance the meta. This will be a key element to balance tied directly to the cards SDS releases all year. If they aren’t quite getting the release balance right, going in and tweaking the actual Captains could alleviate some stale meta states.

I saw a lot of distress during the livestream when SDS announced 99s day one and every day. For some, that slow grind is the entire reason they play Diamond Dynasty. SDS is shaking that up in a big way and it remains to be seen how they travel these uncharted waters. Captains, however, seem to be universally loved and breathes so much variety into Diamond Dynasty, and I cannot wait to use this feature and see how it’s supported throughout the year.

Diamond Dynasty – Best Of The Rest

MLB The Show 23

The Diamond Dynasty feature premiere covered a couple other areas as well. Mini-Seasons 2.0 is a revamped version of the mode introduced last year. The new iteration features theme seasons with team building goals (all lefties as an example in the premiere), and those themes run for two seasons each. A cool addition this year is all the CPU teams having their own unique stadiums. Last year, the CPU teams played in random stadiums we’ve seen a million times, which meant our away games felt uninteresting. Having unique stadiums tied to the CPU teams will spice up offline in a simple but welcome change.

Ranked Co-Op got some extra details pumped out as well. We already knew that the Ranked Co-Op ladder was identical to the normal Ranked Seasons ladder. We did finally learn about the rewards, and they will be identical to the Solo Ranked rewards that we’re used to. In addition to the Ranked Program returning, that gives players a whopping three chances to earn the coveted World Series choice pack. That choice pack features typically solid cards that can only be obtained by reaching World Series.

Another nice detail is the fact that your Ranked Program progress combines your Solo and Co-Op Ranked adventures. That means you don’t have to spend ages grinding each mode separately and can bounce back and forth seamlessly. Finally, it was confirmed that you can queue into Ranked Co-Op with anyone at any time no matter what your respective ratings are. That should not only make the actual matchmaking process easier, but will really encourage people to play with like-minded individuals without worrying about an overly competitive mindset.

SDS also unveiled a wicked new twist to the program grinds.

Previously, once we reached the end of a given featured program we simply stopped earning rewards. Capping out the XP meter meant that any game you played afterward paid out absolutely nothing. Often, that led to players feeling like it wasn’t worth the time playing more games as you earned XP for no reason. I certainly fell victim to this myself and would max out and wait for the next program so that my games were generating XP towards rewards. With this new change, SDS is removing that restraint and rewarding players for playing as much Diamond Dynasty as they possibly can.

Once you reach the maximum XP level in a given program, you’ll have a chance to earn additional XP to get a chance to earn some more rewards. A “Press Your Luck” style board will light up, and you’ll choose when to stop the light. Whatever tier you land on will determine the reward and these rewards will change throughout the year. This is a massive win all around as it rewards those who want to play Diamond Dynasty a ton and gives everyone else a reason to play a little bit more. This “infinite loop” can be reached multiple times, which means you’ll never have to worry about “useless” XP ever again.

Finally, in a Marvel-like post-credits reveal, it was announced that Team Affinity is back.

Team Affinity was removed in MLB The Show 22, which was met with a lot of negativity by the end of the year. Team Affinity was a core component of Diamond Dynasty for years, allowing us the chance to earn team-specific rewards, stubs, packs, and elite cards for free simply for playing. The return of TA will almost certainly be universally well received, but I’ll be curious if we see wholesale changes there as well. We’ll probably learn more about that on March 23 during the Live Content feature premiere.

Bottom Line

MLB The Show 23 is fundamentally changing Diamond Dynasty. A complete reworking of the way cards are released, including 99 overall cards on day one. Sets and Seasons creating a rotation-style format that should breed creativity and variety. Captains finally bringing legitimate team-building purpose to Diamond Dynasty. Ranked Co-Op, Mini Seasons 2.0, unlimited program rewards, and the return of Team Affinity. SDS pulled out the big guns today and successfully increased the hype level yet again.

To this point in the pre-release cycle, SDS has hit home run after home run in the Diamond Dynasty department and my excitement continues to grow. The execution of these new changes will be paramount, but innovation is always welcomed and we’re getting an entirely new experience in Diamond Dynasty this year.

What did you think about the Diamond Dynasty feature premiere? Are you excited by the changes coming or will you miss the tried and true formula?

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