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Topps Now August Moments (Week 5) - We Out Here Jumping Sharks

Topps Now Michael Conforto

MLB The Show 21

Topps Now August Moments (Week 5) - We Out Here Jumping Sharks

So, yeah, power creep is in full effect, and we have to talk about it. This is not shocking nor is it really that out of the norm for where Topps Now cards have been going, or where they usually end up as we approach every card being a 95+ overall. It’s just striking to see this many amazing cards dropped one week before Monthly Awards and the next Team Affinity set. I can’t believe I have to say it, but are these cards too good? Even the quirks on some of the Topps Now August players this week are still good. Basically, what SDS did was just lower the vision on some of these cards (which does matter), and then lower some other stats that don’t matter while boosting hitting stats to an insane degree.

The awkwardness arises because what constitutes a good game worthy of a Topps Now card slowly changes as the power creep continues on through the year. Does Yoshi Tsutsugo need better power numbers than Milestone Miguel Cabrera because he hit one home run to win a game? No, probably not. Does Joey Wendle need to have comparable numbers to Awards George Brett? No, probably not.

And if it were earlier in the season, these things would not be happening. This is just the nature of power creep.

On some level, SDS has been so good to us in terms of providing free, good cards, that the developers are almost undermining themselves when the cards you do legitimately have to grind for aren’t even as good as these Topps Now cards. There becomes a “what’s the point?” element to it all.

There is a balancing act here, but I do think SDS has to get more comfortable with the idea of giving us more gold and silver cards in the future. Sure, they would need to design some more reasons for those cards to matter here and there (hint hint, a salary cap mode, more single-player focus), but you don’t really provide a quality endgame experience by doing this style of release either. Every card-collecting mode runs into this same issue each season. I assume it’s because you’re trying to keep people engaged as the number of users dwindles, and so you keep showcasing better and better cards as a way to keep people around. Still, at a certain point every card becomes more or less the same. (There is also the side issue of how many diamond versions of X player do we really need, but that’s only tangentially related here I think.)

That said, SDS has different calculations to make than most other studios making these card-collecting modes. Diamond Dynasty is in a league of its own when it comes to providing free cards that are good. I’m not saying that needs to change, but MyTeam and Ultimate Team (in part) up the power level because they inherently want you to buy more packs and spend more money. You can spend money in Diamond Dynasty if you want, but it’s so much more optional than in those other modes. The “free” team you can put together in DD can more or less stand up to a person who spends thousands on stubs. Again, this is not a bad thing.

But it’s just we’ve come to that point yet again where we at least need to have the “power creep” discussion, so I wanted to get it out there and give my two cents. I don’t think there would be backlash if the Topps Now style of releases from the beginning of the year (a low-end diamond or two, a couple golds, a couple silvers) would be out of place as a mode to keep most of the year. You need these cards either way for the Monthly Awards players, so it’s not like you need many more reasons to get them even if you don’t want to use silvers or golds. I don’t need six 97+ overall players every week. I’m good. I would love more legends in the game, sure, but I don’t need a fourth Yasmani Grandal diamond or whatever.

Topps Now Yasmani Grandal

In short, I understand the desire to provide more variety so every team isn’t just using Schwarber behind the plate for months on end or whatever, but ya know, most teams are using Trea Turner at some position right now. Most teams are using some form of Edward Cabrera/deGrom/Nolan Ryan/Felix Hernandez/Cliff Lee now in their rotation. Regardless of how many 99s you put in the game, people will still basically funnel to a very particular set of players. So, instead, I would think variety should matter more for creating cards from a designer standpoint, especially with Topps Now releases. To put it another way, don’t try to simply overpower our senses with power creep, it’s a losing battle (plus, it usually makes the gameplay worse).

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m totally off-base here or you don’t mind the creeping power levels. I won’t be shocked if some are perfectly fine with this set of players since, again, free stuff is cool. I just wanted to put it out there because I don’t think every card that gets released always has to be a tick above the one that came before it for each series in the game. Topps Now players maybe only need to top out at 89 overall no matter what because it’s one way to make them different from Milestone cards and so on.

Anyway, here are the six new cards.

Topps Now Moments August (Week 5)

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  • Topps Now Michael Conforto
  • Topps Now Joey Wendle
  • Topps Now Brandon Belt
  • Topps Now Lars Nootbaar
  • Topps Now Yasmani Grandal
  • Topps Now Yoshi Tsutsugo

Moments

  • August 24th: Belting Pair Of Homers For Grandma
    • Difficulty: Rookie
    • Hit 1 home run
  • August 25th: Lars From Mars
    • Difficulty: All-Star
    • Win 1 game
  • August 27th: Grandal’s Grand Return
    • Difficulty: Rookie
    • Tally 8 total bases
  • August 28th: Can’t Contain Conforto
    • Difficulty: Rookie
    • Hit 1 home run
  • August 29th: Wander’s Setting The Table
    • Difficulty: Veteran
    • Get on base 2 times
  • August 29th: Tsutsugo’s Tslam
    • Difficulty: Rookie
    • Hit 1 home run
  • August 29th: Mendle Wendle
    • Difficulty: Veteran
    • Tally 2 XBH
  • August 29th: Salvy Settin’ Records
    • Difficulty: Veteran
    • Hit 1 home run
12 Comments

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Discussion
  1. I've been thinking this the last couple of weeks, but I have to say it now; the content doesn't justify the reward here....
    Just a handful of moments to get relatively comparable cards that you may have to spend dozens of hours grinding to get a slightly better one (just of a more famous player).
    These cards should require more than just a few measly moments to complete....increasing rewards, increasing content/challenge.
    Too much of the content in the mode is too short and/or easy. They need to up the ante a bit more.
    There's always been a part of me that didn't like the fact that random one-game cards rivaled Hall of Famers. But at the same time, it's always cool to have a variety of cards and at least have a temptation for the community to not run the same stock cards.
    But when you pair up these cards versus the Inning bosses we just got, it really just feels...bad. Not even taking into consideration the grind for inning bosses and how easy Topps Now are by comparison, it just feels off having cards almost become obsolete immediately.
    The lack of modes is Diamond Dynasty's biggest flaw in design. They only want you playing Ranked. So making these cards to entice people with shiny, new cards to play Ranked is their MO. If they had salary cap modes or perpetual gold tier events etc then it wouldn't really be TOO big of a deal. Then they wouldn't have to release elite diamonds at this point.
    But then again, Milestone can cover single games. These Topps Now almost act as Milestone cards themselves. In a way, it SORTA takes away from the luster of those major games that might be represented. But while being relative at the same time.
    It's a tough thing. SDS has put themselves into a corner with how great content is. But when weekly cards are going to be better than Monthly cards, it almost feels like they're just too far ahead of themselves.
    JoshC1977
    I've been thinking this the last couple of weeks, but I have to say it now; the content doesn't justify the reward here....
    Just a handful of moments to get relatively comparable cards that you may have to spend dozens of hours grinding to get a slightly better one (just of a more famous player).
    These cards should require more than just a few measly moments to complete....increasing rewards, increasing content/challenge.
    Too much of the content in the mode is too short and/or easy. They need to up the ante a bit more.

    That's a good point. Imagine the Extreme rewards being comparable, similar or worse to Topps Now cards.
    JoshC1977
    I've been thinking this the last couple of weeks, but I have to say it now; the content doesn't justify the reward here....
    Just a handful of moments to get relatively comparable cards that you may have to spend dozens of hours grinding to get a slightly better one (just of a more famous player).
    These cards should require more than just a few measly moments to complete....increasing rewards, increasing content/challenge.
    Too much of the content in the mode is too short and/or easy. They need to up the ante a bit more.

    I feel like alot of the stuff is too easy. Like BR you gotta put alot of time into. I'm okay with those rewards. Leiter, Chapman, and story, etc
    Like the miggy thing I thought was insanely easy.
    The event I've just done for collections but don't think I've actually used any of those cards.
    I think the lightning monthly stuff is appropriate time/effort for reward
    Yeah the dual design issues are the card series themselves and then how to use the cards. I think I hit on both a bit in the article, but basically I do think capping Topps Now cards at X overall would probably be wise. Plus, yes, more single-player components and/or ways to use more lineup types that don't just involve using the best cards.
    I want more variety and all that with the players in the game (and hey, I like that there is a good Tsutsugo, but maybe just don't make it this good), but we never really get lineup variety after a certain point in competitive modes. Most teams use the same 10-20 players unless they are forced to do something different. I think that's fine, but it means there shouldn't be such pressure to keep upping the power level.
    Ryan McMahon and Paul DeJong maybe only get their moment in the sun at the start of the year in this scenario, or maybe they still get called CRACKED because, ya know what, those cards still rule even now. I still slap with them in BR when I get them.
    ChaseB
    Yeah the dual design issues are the card series themselves and then how to use the cards. I think I hit on both a bit in the article, but basically I do think capping Topps Now cards at X overall would probably be wise. Plus, yes, more single-player components and/or ways to use more lineup types that don't just involve using the best cards.
    I want more variety and all that with the players in the game (and hey, I like that there is a good Tsutsugo, but maybe just don't make it this good), but we never really get lineup variety after a certain point in competitive modes. Most teams use the same 10-20 players unless they are forced to do something different. I think that's fine, but it means there shouldn't be such pressure to keep upping the power level.
    Ryan McMahon and Paul DeJong maybe only get their moment in the sun at the start of the year in this scenario, or maybe they still get called CRACKED because, ya know what, those cards still rule even now. I still slap with them in BR when I get them.

    There's so many things they could do. It might not be POPULAR, but they could also do rotations every month similar to TCGs where they have banlists and stuff. Have like a Limited version of Ranked where they have cards rotated in and out. Not necessarily all year, but maybe for a Ranked Season DeGrom and Cabrera aren't legal so you have to use others. Then maybe like next month they rotate back in and so forth. Would at least break up the monotony of facing them literally all year. You could also run an Unlimited version of the same thing where it's just all cards legal all the time.
    Does another game do this? I feel like the terms "limited" and "unlimited" are familiar to me but not sure if that's a thing in other games. So I don't know how they might do elsewhere if it exists already.
    I think it would be cool having certain cards (especially pitchers) banned for a month to create even more diversity. Maybe people use cards they normally wouldn't even look at, do amazingly with them, then end using them more even when a DeGrom is unbanned again. And then if player x becomes just as overused, rotate them out the next month and create like a whole new ecosystem. Maybe do different rewards or something in that mode that refresh faster than others since the meta could be SUPER fast to change. Or do win programs like they do with the 40 pack but make it like 20 wins in Limited and 40 wins in Unlimited.
    Here's one of the issues.....
    Grandal's card was ostensibly for his 2 HR game. Both HRs were hit off of RHP. So why did they need to make his ratings vs LHP so high?
    You want to make his something crazy like 110/110 vs RHP, whatever. Then make his ratings vs LHP more in-line with his current live series. What's the basis for his insane numbers vs LHP? There is none....
    Let the Topps Now guys be a bit more flawed....folks (and I'd argue SDS and players alike) are a bit too obsessed with OVR....
    JoshC1977
    Here's one of the issues.....
    Grandal's card was ostensibly for his 2 HR game. Both HRs were hit off of RHP. So why did they need to make his ratings vs LHP so high?
    You want to make his something crazy like 110/110 vs RHP, whatever. Then make his ratings vs LHP more in-line with his current live series. What's the basis for his insane numbers vs LHP? There is none....
    Let the Topps Now guys be a bit more flawed....folks (and I'd argue SDS and players alike) are a bit too obsessed with OVR....

    Their inconsistency with ratings in this sense drives me bonkers. Like Freeman's Finest last year being unusable against LHP. Did he have splits? Sure. But guys with FEWER ABs and similar stats vs LHP had JUICED attributes vs LHP. It's just too inconsistent and always seems like a way for them to influence the meta one way or another.
    JoshC1977
    Here's one of the issues.....
    Grandal's card was ostensibly for his 2 HR game. Both HRs were hit off of RHP. So why did they need to make his ratings vs LHP so high?
    You want to make his something crazy like 110/110 vs RHP, whatever. Then make his ratings vs LHP more in-line with his current live series. What's the basis for his insane numbers vs LHP? There is none....
    Let the Topps Now guys be a bit more flawed....folks (and I'd argue SDS and players alike) are a bit too obsessed with OVR....

    Yeah I mean I mention overall as a general point, but I agree. They hide overalls by dipping some nonsense rating and so these 97s are basically 99s already is my other point about the Topps Now guys. I think this Grandal is even faster than usual too haha.
    I wish the standard for Topps Now was "almost certain to beat this player's live card into whatever lineup you'd use that in" not "in line with other current rewards." It should basically boost a guy to the next ratings tier, not to your god squad.

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