Three Questions For MLB The Show 19's Road To The Show Mode
More information for MLB the Show 19's Road to the Show mode has been revealed by developer San Diego Studios as the game approaches its March 26 release date. One of the mode's main new components – apart from the fact that there are no longer attribute caps for your player (yea!) – is the addition of a personality and relationship system, which is changing how perks work through interactions with teammates and rivals.
Giving players the power to take charge of their own story is a good move, but I have a few questions about how this new system might be expressed in the game.
The basics of this year's modified perks system are thus: You pick main, secondary, and tertiary personality types for your RTTS player from four choices – Captain, Maverick, Lightning Rod, and Heart and Soul. This influences the initial setup of the perks tree. From here, conversations with teammates and players on other teams during training days progresses you down the appropriate part of the tree tied to one of the personality types based on your dialogue responses.
How Will This Influence You as a Player?
I really like the some of the effects of the perks themselves. For instance, one of the second tier Captain perks entitled "Clear for Takeoff" gives you increased power on normal swings if you're ahead in the count. Sweet. It sounds valuable enough that I can easily see myself choosing dialogue responses not based on my player's personality or my relationship with another player, but solely on what perks I want to progress towards on the tree. Having the choice to direct my player around the tree is by no means a bad thing, but the natural consequence is that it makes you less of an authentic character in the game world and more of a schizophrenic jumble of dialogue answers made just for perks. This stands out particularly because the personality assigned to each branch is in opposition of each other. The Captain who has "respect among peers," as the game puts it, is different than the Maverick who likes to get under the skin of the other team. Yet you can be both since the entire tree is meant to be unlocked.
How Dynamic Is the Mode?
Since you gain favorable status with teammates by talking to them and rivalry status with opponents by trash talking – both of which influence your perks – what is the mode's potential for emerging dynamic stories? Can I actually lose standing with a teammate if they don't like what I'm saying to them? I hope situations in the clubhouse naturally surface because of the conversations I've had through the season, resulting in scenarios beyond just talking about whether we're on a winning or losing streak. This could be particularly important in giving the mode variety and interest since it's fundamentally the same story of going from the minors to the majors from year to year.
The game keeps track of your relationships with players on other teams, so if a rival is traded to another team the beef between the two of you remains, which is great. In a similar manner, I wonder if the game takes into account your personality when being traded, making it more or less likely you'd go to certain teams if you've been chirping their players all season long or they don't want a Maverick or Lightning Rod personality type on their team.
How Smart is the Game?
In the past, the A.I. governing the mode hasn't always been the smartest, such as asking you to switch positions (which is still a plot-point in the mode) even if you're doing well or blocking your progress through the system despite your stellar stats. With the conversation system more front-and-center, I hope the game gets the context of these talks with teammates and rivals correct since it doesn't look like you get to choose what you talk about. If the game decides my conversation with a teammate is about them being in a hitting slump, they better well be in one. On a related level, I wonder how effective the game is in choosing what's the most relevant and pressing thing to talk about that day, and if the various topics will be rotated so we're not continually talking about the same things day in, day out.
For more info on the mode, including the new player archetypes, removal of attribute caps, the revamped in-game challenges, and more, check out last week's Twitch stream.