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Six Ways MLB The Show Needs to Improve in the Future

MLB The Show 19

Six Ways MLB The Show Needs to Improve in the Future

MLB The Show has long been my favorite sports franchise. For all its faults, it’s still the franchise that immerses me the most in the experience of being a player on the field. Perhaps that’s partially because the sport of baseball more easily translates to a video game, but the developers at San Diego Studio deserve credit either way. Their suite of options, camera angles and sliders allow you to cater your experience so you can fully slip into the role of star player, struggling prospect or hard-nosed manager (or all three if you so choose). However, stagnation has reared its ugly head in the vaunted series. The sweeping changes of past generations have slowly fallen away, leading all the way up to 2018, which was a fine entry in the series but felt more like a refinement than a totally new game. Changes, both big and small, need to come. Here are some of the most important changes MLB The Show needs to make going into the future to prevent being labeled as a stagnant series.

Really? REALLY?

Have Different Physics For Offline And Online Play

Aaaand it’s gone!

Rocket bunts. Every year you head to the forums and it’s the same complaint. Rocket bunts. Bunts just rocket off the bat far too often, leading to an easy pickup and an easy out. I get it, it’s to prevent people from cheesing bunts online. But making concessions to account for things like lag online does not mean you need to ruin things that affect the single-player experience as well. Players in the field also move too fast, especially when compared to their baserunning counterparts. Again, in an online environment that makes sense. Bunting and general shenanigans with base stealing and “small ball” plays are annoying enough as is online. But again, these things should not be the case for single player, and MLB The Show should play differently offline.

More Sliders, More Options

Options need to be added for a lot of things, some obvious, and some not so obvious. MLB The Show should be praised for its robust and effective slider set, but that just makes the omissions all the more confusing. CPU manager hook needs to be separated into the starter and reliever categories. Position players need a slider that changes how fast their stamina is drained, just like pitchers do. Adding an “emotion” slider would be nice too, as we could bring back the ability for players to argue calls and get kicked out.

More of these things

Options are always nice, and again, MLB The Show should be praised here. But again, the omission of some options is baffling. The game has rightfully been accused of having terrible weather. As a Canadian, I’m a little insulted when I see people in parkas on an early August day at the Rogers Centre. I can choose to have a sunny day with the dome open, why can’t I choose what the temperature is? And how about more options for the rules? A mercy rule would certainly be nice, especially for the casual player. Or how about adding in a “no stealing” option? Being able to pick DH/No DH/Default per game would be nice. And can you imagine if we had custom made schedules that could be uploaded just like sliders and rosters, and then downloaded and applied before your season started?

Please, Please, Please Improve Franchise Mode

I can’t stress it enough. Franchise mode comprises of some of the most hardcore and loyal fans, and yet last year’s “improvements” were insulting. They were lip service, a mere bone to throw franchise fans so that section of the features stream wouldn’t be completely empty. The issues that need solving in franchise are many, and the requested features list is even longer. I swear if the developers come out on stream and announce for a third year in a row that they’re “trying to make franchise less intimidating,” I’m going to pull my hair out. You’ve done enough of that. If people still aren’t playing it, it’s because it’s so stagnant and far behind the times that people can’t find a compelling reason. Don’t tell us that franchise is intimidating. I think you’re the ones intimidated by it, not us.

Oh yeah, and give us back a season mode, or at the very least let us reduce the number of games in a season of franchise. It seems hypocritical to claim to be making franchise less intimidating, and then take away the option to reduce the most intimidating thing about franchise.

Expand The Rosters

This could be rolled into the last point, but I feel it requires a special mention because it’s such a seemingly small thing on the surface, yet it creates problems that resonate throughout the entirety of franchise — and to a lesser extent Road to the Show. Part of the reason franchise mode can be so intimidating is because roster management has such a low margin of error. Don’t pay enough attention, and suddenly you don’t have enough players to field a position. Injury rates need to stay at an unrealistically low level, otherwise it becomes a major issue trying to staff teams. Trades need to be scrutinized to a ridiculous degree, or else one could easily cause an imbalance on the roster, or create issues with current roster limitations. Every team needs to flirt with the roster limit in order to properly staff its team, and it creates this rigidity to the worlds created in franchise and RttS that is very limiting.

I get worried any time a first baseman coughs

Come Back To OS

Like most video game developers, San Diego Studio has backed off from fan interaction in various forums (for the most part) to centralize its message via Twitter, Twitch and so on. It’s not a surprising trend, as the ever-increasing pressure from a demanding work schedule and the volatile nature of interacting with a community puts too high a risk on people for such a little reward. However, there are answers the community needs. I’m not asking developers to make more promises or answer those “hey dev” type threads, but the way the game works has become convoluted, leading to the creation of fan-made guides. While the guides are great, developer silence on the issues leads many in the community to rightfully question the validity of the guides. Simple, straightforward comments in these threads would go a long way for the community, as right now there are many aspects of the game that fans are struggling to understand.

Bring The Forums To The Game

Have more integration between helpful message board threads and the game. While I would not expect OS to be there as it’s not officially tied to The Show, having a front-end section that links directly to MLB The Show official threads would be great. Threads are a great community resource, and being able to search threads for solutions to problems or guides would be a massive help for people new to the Show. Have trouble understanding franchise? Search for answers on the threads directly through the front end, or hopefully some of the best threads have been floated to the forefront by the developers themselves so they can be seen by everyone. This would be a great way for the community to disseminate knowledge from the veterans to the new people, and would help generate and keep interest in game modes.

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Discussion
  1. great article/write up. 
    I agree with your point about franchise mode.   The only reason I do not play franchise mode is because of the 162 games.  not because of all the gm/managerial tasks.
    fatigue for relief pitchers positional players... things us users have always requested or thought about.
    also player/pitcher fatigue needs to be tuned for us who play less innings.  In the past Ive spent days editing roster fatigue to reflect 6 innings played.  
    I like the idea of a mercy rule.  but how would that be applied in a franchise/ season mode without affecting stats. 
    surprised you didnt mention commentary/play by play.  its time they abandon that lazy saturday/sunday afternoon feel.   it makes the games feel longer than they actually are.  
    I didnt get  and had limited time with MBL THE SHOW the past two years,  so I dont know if some of the things I mention were added.
    I do plan on getting THE SHOW this year though.
    I was hoping to see improvements like AI and Player Lock/RTTS defense make the this list for a OS article.
    I feel like the video below demonstrates the "Movie Clip" feel of the Game Play Side. I expect to see the same instances in MLB The Show 2019 unfortunately!
    Improved organic CPU gameplay on both defense and offense. This would be my number one improvement for the future.
    Agreed with most of that, one thing you missed off the sliders is the option to have different sliders for simmed games and games you actually play, otherwise you're stuck changing the sliders after every single game before simming the remaining games that day. A huge hassle that simply doesn't need to be there
    1) Fix the animations -or- interaction between the defensive players on the field and the wall.
    2) There has to be a better pick-off/lead-off system. I don't really know how to fix it but there has to be something that is more engaging and fluid that how it is now.
    3) On screen stats, in one of the lower corners of the screen. Why they don't have the option for this blows my mind. Heck the original RBI Baseball gave me player stats on screen. Baseball is a game of stats, why can't I easily see them?
    4) Fix the rockets bunts, my god please fix the rocket bunts. Every time I bunt a screaming line drive to the 3rd basemen into double play I want to throw my controller. This is an easy fix, just make the bunt placement dependent of how well you line up the cursor and the players bunt rating. Easy.
    5) Classic teams would be nice (Like NBA2k has). 86 Mets? Big Red Machine? Imagine the possibilities.
    The rest of the game is outstanding and in terms of sports games it's arguably one of the best if not the best as it is. Small "Fixes" like these are all they need. I just pray they don't go the EA route and change things that aren't broken and screw up what does work.
    1. Pitching fatigue / bullpen logic
    2. Proper use of the closer and set up men
    3. AGREE!!  More options in sliders
    4. AGREE!!  Expanded rosters...once injuries occur my minor league teams get too thin
    5. Rain outs!  Give me the ability to manipulate the schedule to match up with real life schedules.  Double Headers would be nice!  Late season is tough IRL because of prior rainouts and added games.  Bullpen use is more critical when there are fewer off dates.
    6. More realism in momentum.  Pitchers don't go from throwing a shutout to getting shelled very often, but in the game it seems much more prevalent.
    Great read...
    I just want The Show to be a game I want to play, more options the better.
    If I want to edit a player, a team, a stadium, or any aspect of the game, just let me do it and don't restrain me because it's what you want.
    As the great Joe Dirt once said,
    "It's not about you, it's about the consumer."
    Power to the player!
    Sent from my SM-G955U using Operation Sports mobile app
    They stopped listening to the fan base years ago. Their front man doesn’t even program and prefers to talk about things that have no purpose in baseball. I will continue to call them out for not having the option of rain delays, postponed games, rescheduled double headers that are in real life baseball. Was told nobody wants that but in reality they don’t want it themselves .  There needs to be competition or a change in their programming team as the game went stale and has gone off track with baseball in general.  Can’t follow along day by day with my home team in real life. Rain delays happen, double headers happen and these basic options should have been a higher priority instead of these pointless cards, gimmicks that have taken over.  
    All 6 would be welcome, but if they expanded the rosters, (which of the 6, thats what I'd want most) I'd spend a lot more time in my franchise instead of doing so many 1 & done seasons.
    Caulfield
    All 6 would be welcome, but if they expanded the rosters, (which of the 6, thats what I'd want most) I'd spend a lot more time in my franchise instead of doing so many 1 & done seasons.

    Depends on how much they expand rosters.
    I'd say only go up to 100 and have it come into effect after the current season in carried over franchises otherwise it would ruin the carry-over feature.
    bacon96
    Depends on how much they expand rosters.
    I'd say only go up to 100 and have it come into effect after the current season in carried over franchises otherwise it would ruin the carry-over feature.

    hopefully they'd do a "franchise lite" with 100 man rosters, then a mega-franchise with 200 man rosters and 40 round drafts. But I'm sure thats just a pipedream on my part lol
    AMEN!!!! Thank you very much for pointing out many of the issues us hardcore franchise players deal with on a yearly basis while largely being ignored by SDS.
    Mainly, I play franchise. My improvements are focused around there. Bullpen use is up there. A NBA 2K-like body/injury system would make it move for me. Guys pushing through injuries lead to all sorts of storylines throughout a franchise. Always improve gameplay. This was a solid list. I remember interacting back in the day with Ramone. This was back when I was lurking hardcore. The franchise improvements seemed to be the first move in a franchise overhaul. I'm also an optimist when it comes to this game. Let's see what happens...
    Something super minor, but I'd love to see them implement an equipment system like 2K has to choose the frequency a player wears a certain item. Set it to "sometimes" to have your player wear high socks every one in a while, or how often they wear eye black or sunglasses.
    Like I said, obviously really minor and I'd love bigger, more gamebreaking additions first, but it could help with the immersion.
    agree with your comments wholeheartedly......this game could be so much greater than it is. give us some creative options like 2k myleague, that game is light years ahead of the show. diamond dynasty is good but i want to customize the franchise mode......29 games, 58, etc.....let me create a custom team (or teams) and create my own league. (make my own world baseball classic, for example) also, changing weather conditions, (cold, rain, etc.) and rainouts please.  doubleheaders, please!!! classic teams a la 2k would be great as well.
    swimfunk
    Include Online Franchise please!* *Didn't even play it lst yr since they removed it.*

    Yep...same here. Bought the game early and then they announced there will be no on line franchise. It's just not a priority. If it's not Diamond Dynasty, it just doesn't matter to them.
    Just play OOTP for franchise mode - problem solved! ;)
    Seriously though, as a fellow game designer I have to cut SSD some slack. They do a great job overall and I personally enjoy playing The Show (although I suck at it completely). Of course, there are always more options that can be added (heck, OOTP has options that I don't even know about), but sometimes as a developer you simply forget to do it, or your focus is on a different areaof the game at the moment. I mean, we sometimes add options to OOTP that frankly should have been in the game years ago, but we simply didn't get to it before. Granted, we're only 4 programmers, and I have no idea how many work at SSD, but still.
    OK, back to work on OOTP 20 and PErfect Team 2.0. Sorry for the rant guys :)
    Cheers,
    Markus
    Out of the 6 things mentioned here, the most important thing to me is the expanded rosters in franchise mode. I really think expanding the rosters will cure a lot of the ailments that currently exist within the mode.
    Obviously there are more things I want added for franchise mode, but if the only thing we got was expanded rosters, I'd be content.
    As for the devs coming back to OS, I don't see that happening, at least not in the manner that they did before. They still visit, post scarcely, and read the forums. OS is still listed in the credits of the game. :)
    But having the type of interaction that we once did I think is long gone for various reasons. And that is unfortunate and disappointing all the way around.
    countryboy
    Out of the 6 things mentioned here, the most important thing to me is the expanded rosters in franchise mode. I really think expanding the rosters will cure a lot of the ailments that currently exist within the mode.
    Obviously there are more things I want added for franchise mode, but if the only thing we got was expanded rosters, I'd be content.
    As for the devs coming back to OS, I don't see that happening, at least not in the manner that they did before. They still visit, post scarcely, and read the forums. OS is still listed in the credits of the game. :)
    But having the type of interaction that we once did I think is long gone for various reasons. And that is unfortunate and disappointing all the way around.

    I think you're right, homie. It's also a different world here these days. MLB forums used to be a hidden gem with a lot of nice discussions. These days, it's a lot of complaining and just a bit more negative. Shoot, look at what happens each year with the OSFM thread. People start getting insane like it's the Fyre Festival or something. Drove Knight away. Card modes, with the added majority of people wanting to compete online has changed a ton of the gaming landscape. I love this game for how I can just take my time with it and play at a leisurely pace. Online, I feel rushed, and the competitive nutjob comes out in me. I do well, but just give me franchise, my Mets losses, and several hours. I'm good with that. It's a tough job with everyone having a voice, and thinking it's important. Just my take. This forum is still one of my favorites to interact with...
    The reason they're not coming back isn't because people complain . . . it's because they don't want to hear people complain about the same things over and over again that simply aren't their focus! You can't make everyone happy and when certain individuals start clamoring for inane things such as create a stadium (which would be an AMAZING addition, but unrealistic in that I imagine it would require multiple resources and almost an entire yearly development cycle at the very least to implement), you have to take that with a grain of salt and focus on the more realistic things that the majority of people are asking for, such as improved fielding logic, more control (less animations) when fielding, removing rocket bunts, rotating schedules, etc. The OS community has its share of complainers (hi), but we're also an amazing resource to improve gameplay being that many of us are very knowledgeable (probably more so than the developers themselves) about the game of baseball. You have to learn to value good advice and ignore bad advice instead of ignoring everyone, leaving the community, and focusing on twitter as your source of improvement.
    The throwing needs an overhaul. Too much animation when runners are taking bases and infield routine balls turn into close plays at first, while waiting for the player to throw it from that slow meter. Let the player determine when to throw immediately
    Ballgame59
    They say that Franchise is too "intimidating". Sure it is but DD is a billion times more. Both are pretty cumbersome.

    I'm sure that franchise mode is intimidating to quite a few people. I think you even made a post in another thread about not really liking to do the offseason stuff. That's fine. Phases doesn't do anything for me, but I can understand the utility for others.
    Where things get hazy is when they're under this mandate of added simplicity and then they go and remove season mode (which is the simplest possible version of franchise mode) at the same time. At worst, it's disingenuous and makes you question their real motives. At best, it's really inconsistent.
    WaitTilNextYear
    I'm sure that franchise mode is intimidating to quite a few people. I think you even made a post in another thread about not really liking to do the offseason stuff. That's fine. Phases doesn't do anything for me, but I can understand the utility for others.
    Where things get hazy is when they're under this mandate of added simplicity and then they go and remove season mode (which is the simplest possible version of franchise mode) at the same time. At worst, it's disingenuous and makes you question their real motives. At best, it's really inconsistent.

    I do think that their real motive has to be improving their money maker, DD. It's probably the only reason to buy the game each year .
    Competition is needed desperately, and I feel offline mode is dying due to the money being made in all the other stuff that I don't bother with.
    SDS has no incentive to improve the offline franchise and therefore they won't.
    billyo

    SDS has no incentive to improve the offline franchise and therefore they won't.

    If SDS didn't think they needed franchise mode, it would have been dumped with season mode. They know they need it therefore, like anything, they also know by extension they have to keep it fresh. Thats why they change the menu every year.
    Offline franchise free agency is broken. So many good players go unsigned because the computer can't manage the salary cap. If it can't be fixed, let us turn off the salary cap.
    johnnyg83
    Offline franchise free agency is broken. So many good players go unsigned because the computer can't manage the salary cap. If it can't be fixed, let us turn off the salary cap.
    Are you using real contracts? The system cannot handle that and doesn't have space to make trades or signings.
    I've taken the same roster. One with real contracts one with default contracts and simmed 50 times each. The one with real contracts will see 3-10 trades per year. Either contract for contract or prospect for prospect. The default will see 20-30 trades that are more "baseball" related.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    TheKnack
    Forums to the game is an interesting idea.*
    Yeah my thought was that if they truly want to make franchise less intimidating, why not provide easy access to the information that people need? The community is a powerful tool that we can use to make the game better. OS is proof of that.
    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Operation Sports mobile app

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