Franchise Mode – Play The Game Or The Game Will Play You

It really doesn’t matter which sports game you are playing. The moment you start Franchise Mode you had better be ready to make some moves in your omniscient role as owner/general manager/coach/manager/player. If you aren’t controlling every team in the mode you will see the CPU make some trades and sign some players that cause you to wonder if there was a glitch in The Matrix.

blink.gif

I recently started a new Franchise Mode in MLB The Show 18 with the Orioles and had planned on going through the season with the primary roster from a combination of my NoobTubeTV Roster and OSFM. Once I made it out of Spring Training I thought I was ready to rock. I was going to set up a trade block just in case a team wanted to make an offer for a few of my players. I decided to take a look at the Transactions section just to see if any moves had been made by the CPU. There were a couple… but one made me rethink my entire approach.

MLB 18 Trade Reds

The Reds traded away their top prospect, Nick Senzel. Not only did they trade their top prospect with ‘A’ Potential, but they traded him in the division to the Cardinals for a first basemen in Rangel Ravelo that is 25 with ‘C’ Potential. As much as I could chalk this up to the Reds being the Reds, I had a moment that made me realize that trying to keep my roster moves ‘realistic’ would only hurt my franchise experience in the long run. This isn’t the case if the CPU keeps trades down for the most part, but when there are big trades that involve top prospects for nobodies – it’s on like Donkey Kong!

I made my own moves soon after I saw the Reds trade. Seeing that the rumors already have the Orioles shipping Manny Machado by the trade deadline this season (in real life) I decided I would pull the trigger earlier in the season – and I would add a few other players to my rebuild of Baltimore.

MLB 18 Trade Orioles

Some of the elitists on sports gaming forums would be shouting from their ivory towers as wanna-be experts that these trades would never happen. Guess what…? They did and it has been fun as hell to play my Franchise over the last few games with this remodeled Orioles team.

I managed to trade Machado, Britton, and Davis to the Rangers for Nomar Mazara, Roughned Odor and Ronald Guzman. Yes, it was a steal when it comes to obtaining young players that I be the bedrock of the Orioles for a few years. Yes, I feel like this could happen in the real world (why not?). I then also made a trade with the Nationals to bring in a prospect to eventually take over for the absense of Machado in Kieboom. You could say realistically and be correct in the statement that I basically rebuilt my entire roster during the first week.

Yup, I did – and that’s the point. Franchise Mode is YOURS. You don’t have to abide by anyone’s rules if you don’t want to. For myself, I like to play through mine like a story. I have all sorts of different ideas for how I want to see my team develop for my initial three year contract. Everyone should have the same view on their own franchise mode. I think having some house rules is always a good idea. I do have another Franchise Mode that uses my original house rules for MLB 18 (with the Reds of all teams!) and it is a great time as well.

The point of all of this…? When you play sports games from the franchise mode perspective you have to take every moment with a grain of salt. I have had all sorts of crazy things happen…

  • 700 yard passing game by DeShone Kizer
  • 5 HR game by Carlos Santana
  • The Browns won a game

The world is a crazy place. Don’t get upset when your franchise loses its mind – roll with it and make it your own crazy world.

Advertisements

MLB 18 – Franchise Mode Batting – Directional FTW

As we approach the release of MLB The Show 18 I believe this is a discussion that needs to happen for the sake of many that will be starting a Franchise Mode in hopes of seeing a more realistic performance from their batters. (This does not take sliders into consideration as I believe that has more impact on what happens after the bat hits the ball… this isn’t totally the case with User Timing and Foul Frequency – just go with it.)

mlb-the-show-18

I have been using Zone Batting for most of my MLB 17 experience. After finishing a couple seasons with two different teams I felt that Zone Batting providing me with more personal immersion in some ways, but it took away from other aspects in terms of franchise mode in general.

Zone Batting (for those that don’t know about it) is when the user controls the eye/swinging zone (Plate Coverage Indicator – PCI) of the batter in the predetermined area of the strike zone with the left analog stick. As the pitch approaches the plate the user then moves the PCI to the correct area and either swings with the Right Analog Stick or presses the swing button of choice.
The other batting style I have used in the past is Directional Batting. It takes the PCI out of the picture completely for the user. Using this type of batting you simply press the left analog stick in the direction you’d like the batter to hit the ball if contact is made. This leaves much of if not all of the actual contact and overall hitting to be determined by the batting ratings of the batter in question. This is why I feel that a debate is necessary in terms of which aspect provides a more simulation experience from the point of view of batting.

This year I will be conducting my franchise batting exclusively with Directional Batting. As much as I love to have my team dominate and win with a lot of home runs, etc. I also think a Franchise’s longevity is based on the immersion of player development and performance. More ratings come into effect when you take away the user implementation and I argue that that is a good thing for modes that generally require a bit more thought in team building and player ability than user ability.

Taking the use of the PCI out of the picture is only a part of what I will be doing. This season I will also be taking away the ability to ‘guess the pitch’. Again, I want my players to perform based on their abilities and other such things that will hopefully cause me to take a bit more time in deciding who I want to draft, sign, release, and/or trade.

I managed to take the Athletics and Reds to a 2017 World Series primarily because I was good enough with zone batting that it didn’t matter what a batter’s ‘vision rating’ was. I hit over 30 home runs with 6 of my 8 position players during the Oakland Franchise. I am excited about the prospect of taking multiple seasons to build a team into a contender. I have yet to decide which team I would like to use. Up until this point, zone batting made it a bit easier no matter who was on my team. Directional batting will change everything this year, and I look forward to sharing a new NoobTubeTV feature with all of you once MLB 18 comes out.

—- As an aside, I fully support using Zone Batting in Road to the Show and in all Online formats as the interaction is a bit more user focused in and of itself.

Sim Sports Gaming Vs. Casual Sports Gaming (Remember The Titans)

We have been focusing on Madden 13 and football gaming quite a bit over the last few months.  One of our more recent articles was about the complete subjectivity in what makes someone a “Sim” sports gamer.  After considering my own personal views and then looking at my own advise to the NTTV community (…have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to…) I was left to wonder what the other people within the sports gaming community thought about this rather trivial but somehow vital prescription for how games should play and be played.

The ultimate showdown between the Casual Sports Gamer and The ‘Sim’ Nazi… Where do you stand?

it was at that point that I came across this post on operationsports.com from community member, Big FN Deal

…I will suggest this again, for all the good it will likely do. We are all aware that the game is not tuned for optimal realism, it is tuned for a “fun”/realism balance. So they should release two separate optional tuner sets, one “balanced” for casual Madden play, the other for the “hardcore” tuned for optimal realism. …” (click the link for the full post)

What made my mind explode was the mention of the word ‘FUN’. In case you don’t remember what that is; it was that thing you used to do when you were younger and playing games that made you laugh and enjoy the moment because you were just having a good time.  You wanted to smile your way through whatever happened and breath in that fresh air of innocence.

Then something happened… you can’t pin-point it, but chances are good that it happened when you started playing high school sports and the coaches started screaming at you and you thought every moment was live or die.  You stopped wanting to have fun and just wanted raw, unadulterated, anger inducing competition.  You stopped smiling.  You stopped playing the game for fun.  It became a chore to even go home and relax with a game of Madden football because there is NO WAY someone can rocket catch in real life!

The Definitive Movie Reference

This clip can be viewed from a two sports gamer perspectives/comparisons…

1- Casual Gamers That Play For Fun (The Players) VS. Sim Gamers That Play Strictly For Realism (Coach Boone)

or

2- Madden Fanboys (The Players) VS. 2K Fanboys (Coach Boone)

Hopefully you are laughing at this point, because you are supposed to be… if you are angry, that is okay too.  Just remember to think back to when you used to have fun.  Once upon a time when there was no such thing as a ‘patch’ for the 100-Yard pass in Tecmo Super Bowl.

‘Simulation’ – The Ultimate Level to Measure Subjectivity In Sports Games

Press ‘A’ to hike the ball.

As soon as you start playing a sports game – whether it is the tip-off, first pitch, face-off or even kick-off… it is never a true simulation and it will never be.

With the release of Madden 13 in only one week there are a lot of people huffing and puffing around the sports gaming forums about whether or not Madden 13 is a true simulation or (in many other cases) pouting in digital print that it doesn’t represent the game as they would like to see it on a video game.

I am not here to take sides.  If this were a war I would be the guy in Switzerland that is right on the border watching the idiotic fighting and on occasion maybe taking a few shots at either side if I get bored.  So, before you come clamoring at my comments section saying something like the visitor we had in early July.  Basically we are in a situation where there is no right answer to this multi-faceted question(?) or demand(?) – How can a company create a perfect simulation sports game?

To answer in short… they can’t.  At least in this regard they can’t create a game that is perfect in the eyes of everyone (or anyone).  As soon as you join a sports gaming forum or community you will see quite a few fanboys for certain games and then you will see the end of the spectrum that devote their sports gaming life to lobbying for certain features, animations, uniform colors, equipment and every other tiny detail to be the way they want it to be.  It isn’t a question of if they are right or wrong; it is a notion of their opinions holding any water at all.

Undoubtedly, you will eventually also start telling people in the community about a great game you played with the Cavs and you beat the Miami Heat; or how you want the Super Bowl with the Browns or the National Championship with Western Michigan and how you had a fantastic experience.   The response you will get almost every single time…

“Sounds like you need to up the difficulty or change your sliders!  No way in hell the Browns will win the Super Bowl!”

On occasion, I have even been guilty of making such comments or posting such news about my own career mode.  Either way it goes, the bottom line is that one man’s great time in gaming is another man’s slap in the face to all things ‘simulation’ or “SIM” as the community likes to call it.

What Is ‘Sim’?

There are multiple levels in which you can subjectively build your own criteria for what makes your experience feel like a ‘true simulation’ (for some reason I am picturing myself as the pretentious Dr. Frasier Crane when I say that).

We will start with some basics for football (American Football)

– Kick or punt on 4th down when out of field goal range

– Don’t run the same play more than (insert quantity here) times

– Don’t sub players out of position for speed purposes

– Don’t make trades that ‘wound never happen’ (we will cover this later in more detail)

– Don’t nano blitz

Now that we have our brief list of guidelines for how to play the game in a more simulated fashion we should be ok, right?

Wrong!  Because if you don’t have your sliders set up ‘right’ you won’t have the optimum experience with challenging opponents in the CPU.  We won’t go into the sliders – just know that there are groups of gaming intellectuals out there that smell and caress them like a fine wine that must be nurtured and built into perfection.  The moral of this brief trip into the social world of sports gaming is that it is full of opinion, conjecture and a bunch of gym class heroes that might have played division 3 college football with Uncle Rico… and they want you to love and respect their opinions.

Don’t Sign That Free Agent – It Isn’t ‘Sim’

As soon as you start a career in Madden 13 as a coach you will probably want to look at the Free Agents available.  However, you should probably keep in mind that if you are a Browns fan like me and you want to target someone like Shaun Merriman or Plaxico Burress you shouldn’t tell your fellow ‘sim’ nazis on the forums.

“They would never sign with your team in real life!” is usually the response you will get.

Welcome to the Sim Gaming Club – where we try to feel like we are important and know more about sports than anyone else.

The rebuttal should be (but not on the forums – that is how you get banned from their Empire Club) –

“No… really?  Who knew that the Browns would also hire ME to COACH THEIR TEAM and then make trades, sign players and even draft new players next season – STFU!?”

The point is that once you take control of anything in the game, whether it is as a coach or a player on the field and you are making decisions that influence the game it is officially a form of entertainment.  Don’t let someone else ruin your entertainment on forums.  You wouldn’t go to a movie and put up with some know-it-all behind you pointing out how Jason Bourne’s form of martial arts isn’t true ju jitsu.  You would either ignore him or tell him to shut his mouth.  This approach should be taken with ‘sim’ nazis as well.  Although, I highly suggest that you either ignore them or be polite if you want to stay in the community.

The Bottom Line

I am here to tell you to have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to.  If you want some help or guidance on either the finer points of the game or maybe you even want to know what my settings or opinion is on settings, let me know through our comments section, send us an email at officialnoobtubetv@gmail.com or send us a message on our Facebook Page.