MLB 12: The Show Diamond Dynasty Impressions

by
Posted March 8th, 2012 at 10:15 am

In terms of modes the central addition to MLB 12: The Show comes in the form of Diamond Dynasty. Similar to Ultimate Team in EA Sports titles Diamond Dynasty puts additional focus on team personalization and introduces more depth to the structuring and building of them. Conceptually the mode works but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. 

In general Diamond Dynasty is overwhelming and confusing. From the very start there is no sense of direction given and the menu structure is not conducive to learning on the fly with various tasks split up in different sections. There is no explanation of what should be done, when, and the benefits of doing so or even what is already available to take advantage. Unfortunately those early struggles alone will make the mode inaccessible for many.

The first thing done in Diamond Dynasty is setting up a team. The name (of which no duplicates are allowed), colors, and location are the options presented initially. Once into the mode the ability further personalize with logos and uniform designs become available.

There is no web application or way to transfer images so logos and uniforms must be completely created in-game. There will be some detail oriented or graphically talented individuals who will love the depth offered in this regard. Others though will find it to be discouraging. It took some digging just to find where generic logos are located and even then I struggled with placing them and getting them to look right. In the end I just decided to craft the color scheme and be done with it and I suspect many others will do the same.

There are so many options that have to be changed with the uniforms too. Again, this is a plus for those who want to tinker with every option, but for others there is no simple way to copy things across the various configurations making it an incredibly tedious process to complete.

Like in Ultimate Team “card packs” drive advancement in Diamond Dynasty. They can be purchased with “coins” that are earned by playing games in the mode (whether against the CPU or head-to-head online) or with real world cash. There aren’t tiers of card packs so no guarantee any certain quality will come out of them. After gaining additional players they can be placed on the “active” roster where generic players have a longer shelf life than MLB players who will only last 10 games. Replenishing talent will be constant as there are no “contacts” that can be extended. Coins can also be spent to “train” generic players and improve their stats.

One of the biggest gaffes in design is that pitchers lose a game of eligibility even if they don’t make an appearance simply by being on the “active” roster. What this means is there’s no reason to have anyone but the best starting pitcher active and only a handful of quality relievers – and then to use them at every opportunity. There’s no incentive given to actually utilizing a rotation of active starters or conserving players in the bullpen.

New teams do get some MLB player cards to start while the majority of the roster will be populated by generics. Since the mode doesn’t make the inclusion of MLB players in the card collection at the start especially evident – one has to dig into the manage cards option and go through the sets – my first game I played with all generic guys not realizing I could have had a number of MLB players in the lineup.

Adding players involves activating the cards to the roster in one menu section, moving to another and choosing players to go from “active” to “reserve” so those new ones can go from “reserve” to “active” and then heading to another area to set the lineups. It’s a lengthy and unintuituve process that is just a pain to manage with so many changes expected to be made along the way. Moving players into lineups is also incredibly frustrating. Each lineup (vs RH/LH/wDH/woDH) has to be set individually and there seems to be no way to change defensive positions. Maybe some creative maneuvering can be done to get the players in their proper positions but I was unable to do so. The result was guys like Miguel Tejada playing center field.

When playing the CPU the difficulty level and quality of MLB team faced determines how many coins are earned from a win or loss. The coin rewards seem to be fair enough that teams should be able to constantly churn their roster as intended.

There is no option to sim games and once started there is no way out but quitting (no in-game saves) making for another downside to the mode. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to play a friend online but instead only the ability to play random opponents.

In what would be a devastating problem for Diamond Dynasty users are finding some games are not recording. When that happens the time invested in playing the games was essentially wasted. So far half of the games I’ve completed have failed to register. That means no stats updating and no coins earned – all progress goes out the window. This would seem to be a server issue since a constant online connection is required for the mode. Poor online performance will also affect how much enjoyment can be had in Diamond Dynasty.

Baseball would seem the ideal sport for a card collecting and team management heavy mode. Diamond Dynasty shows some of that potential but its confusing nature and the lack of direction makes it fall apart almost immediately. Nothing about it is user-friendly and results not recording could be enough to turn users away from investing their time in the mode.

It comes across as though Diamond Dynasty was maybe just dumped now to cut losses after having been worked on for a few years. For those that do stick with it there will probably sufficient value to be had long-term with the worthwhile variety it provides compared to a standard Franchise mode but its appeal in general is more limited than anticipated.

  • TimERR

    Totally agree. I like Ultimate Team so I thought Id have no trouble with this but Ive pretty much  given up on it already. Several of my games didn’t post either which just made me angry. Im not going to play a mode that does that to me.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Z6WW2CMFG5UYRV3P77MWCGYPRY Jason O

    another annoying thing is i can’t get my default batting settings to transfer into DD mode. My pitching transfers but i’d like to use Timing batting but i get stuck with the cursor instead meanwhile my brother gets to play on his settings. there seems to be no way to change this, anybody have any ways to fix this? it ruins the mode for me

  • Knick9mm

    I haven’t had a problem with games not recording but I am liking the mode. I do agree that, the game just throws you into though and doesn’t really tell you what to do or what is going on.

    I also had no idea I had MLB cards during my first game

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Funny how many people had a similar experience to me at the start. I mentioned on Twitter and got a bunch of replies in agreement.

  • Muleyman79

    I think it adds tons of fun and value to an already fantastic game , best out there.

  • http://twitter.com/eammon eammon

    I agree that it’s overwhelming and confusing. Would rather see the developers put more time toward improving franchise logic and the core of the game instead of this feature.

  • Geeznutz

    Best Baseball game ever maybe best sports game ever….one mans opinion

  • Davee

    Not having in game saves bothers me a lot. spending an hour on a game is not something i can always do.

  • paul

    Didn’t the creators say that this mode is unlike any other mode in history? They basically copied NHL and changed pucks to cards.. Very creative! 

  • Dougacker345

    Why don’t they allow you to create a team for franchise, season or exhibition? They don’t even have tournament mode.. Awful. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000612404232 Nick Marsden

    I remember the first time I played MLB The Show.  I think it was with 2007.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what all the stats meant, which player stats affected what aspect of the game or anything at all.  I’m a big RTTS player, but it took me about 2 years to figure out how player creation worked.  There was nothing in the manual or any strategy guide to help with RTTS or Franchise or Season.  There still isn’t.  It’s par for the course with Sony and I don’t think it will change anytime soon.  That they did the same thing with DD is not surprising. 

  • Keith.

    Lol @ pasta for just looking for ways to rip the Show.  Wish you’d spent the last 8 years going after Tiburon football the way you’re always going after SCEA and 2k.  Maybe then we’d have an NFL game worth talking about, instead of the mess that is Madden.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Evaluating a game or mode fairly is not “ripping” a game in any sense. Interesting how everyone who’s played the mode seems to agree with the general assessment. If there are problems they get pointed out and justifiably so.

      • Keith.

        Ok, pasta.

        Btw, must be killing you to see NBA2k coming in 6th in the new NPD data — couple of more months and it’ll be passing Madden12, which as you know is unheard of.

        When can we expect on Grand Slam 2′s abysmal sales? Man, I just read that in 3 weeks, it’s sold less than 15,000 copies on the 360 and PS3. Guess we won’t be seeing GS3 anytime soon. EA made a huge mistake skipping Vita for that one and Fifa Street. Now that’s a news story.

        • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

          Why would that bother me? I’ve stated that 2K12 recovered well in sales. It’ll never reach what 2K11 did but post-lockout it’s done well.

          Because who cares about Grand Slam Tennis? No one thought that would sell here. But the consideration has to be made that tennis sells overseas and not in the US. 2K’s Top Spin series doesn’t sell in the US either but does well overseas which is why that one is still around.

        • Ricky Rodent

           it may pass Madden, but it will not pass FIFA, which is EA’s best worldwide seller.  Keith, your trolling attempt is byfar the worst.  2K12 has more glitches and idiots will still go buy it at SRP, just like Madden.

  • tom

    Just played 15 innings game freezes wow what a joke!

  • guest

    christ! it is a good mode which you have just destroyed, just take some time and read the handbook or have a look round and it all soon makes sense. It can be a lot of fun and you give it nowhere near the credit it deserves.

    • richie

      sony employee right here. probably that russell jackass

      • guest

        i assume richie you are one of the stupid people who can’t handle the mode

        • richie

          lol handbook. 

          and whats it got to do with “handling” the mode. oh right its my fault that games arent counting.

          • guest

            i’m not saying that games not counting is v.bad but i’m just saying it is nowhere near as bad as this write-up makes out.

        • Amen_Ra

          LMAO, maybe so…

  • You’re Dad

    Wow you’re an idiot Pasta..Figure it out people and stop whining.Bunch of pussies.

    • guest

      100% agree

  • Gem_Hark

    I wasnt all that interested in this mode but I wanted to give it a shot. Complete waste of time.

  • 2-3

    Good writeup pasta. They definitely needed to put more time into this mode. Its a mess as it is right now.

  • Rnjones65

    I would have liked for the developers to invest their time in improving franchise mode. This mode is a waste of time IMO.

  • Garcon

    Waste of space

  • tom

    This is the worst mode ever.. I continue to shit on teams and they quit.. It gives you a win, but gives you no money so when you’re mlb players play ten games you have no money to replace them..  You should be given money if the other player quits that’s fucking ridiculous.

  • Henry Dyck

    Disappointing to hear. I loved the concept. But seeing as it wasn’t implemented properly, I would have liked SCEA to use that time to give us a full online-Franchise mode instead.

  • Henry Dyck

    Disappointing to hear. I loved the concept. But seeing as it wasn’t implemented properly, I would have liked SCEA to use that time to give us a full online-Franchise mode instead.

  • Hatter9924

    I love Madden Ulitmate Team, so when I saw this I jumped at the game.  I couldn’t find the otion to play a friend in Diamond Dynasty.  Is that a option.  Thats one of the reason that I got the game.  Has anyone from that option? 

    thanks.

  • Jmeister912

    “It took some digging just to find where generic logos are located” If by digging you mean selecting “Team Customization” and then “Edit Logos” then yes, you must dig. Do you mean finding logos within the edit logo area? Is it really that difficult to use L1 and R1 to scroll through the art types? There are instructional commands on the screen, use them.

    “There is no simple way to copy things across the various configurations making it an incredibly tedious process to complete.” Actually, there is that exact option to copy and paste things across the various configurations. If you look at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see there is an option to “Select Item” or “Select All.” If you want to copy one logo across all configurations, “Select All” then choose “Copy” scroll to whatever configuration and choose “Paste”. Not tedious at all.

    “Moving players into lineups is also incredibly frustrating. Each lineup
    (vs RH/LH/wDH/woDH) has to be set individually and there seems to be no
    way to change defensive positions. Maybe some creative
    maneuvering can be done to get the players in their proper positions
    but I was unable to do so. The result was guys like Miguel Tejada
    playing center field.” You couldn’t figure out how to swap a CF in for Tejada and then swap Tejada in for your 3B/SS/wherever you wanted to play him? That’s on you, not the game…

    Is it a perfect mode? Nope. Some of your criticisms are certainly justified. And personally, I’m still kinda disappointed this was touted as a “mode never seen in sports video game history” and it’s essentially something that every sport except basketball has done now. But some of your criticism seems to be a product of you not wanting to spend the time/not having the time available to really take advantage of what the mode has to offer. It’s geared towards those that REALLY like to dive into the customization aspects of the game, so if that’s not your thing, I can understand why this mode wouldn’t do much for you. As someone that does enjoy the customization aspects though, I feel like you’re selling the mode short.

    • Dollarsncents5

      I agree with u..i’ve it very much…it can be better but it couldve been way worse..the only thing I havent figured out is how to get logos..to each there own opinion

  • sandul

    when i started diamond dynasty i looked through the entire menu like i was opening up a christmas present, so i found everything eventually lol, then i played my first game, and have enjoyed it a lot.

  • Jdmelvin

    i have no money and not enough pitchers :(. wtf do i do?

  • Ryan2453

    Honestly i feel like they just put it all together. I was expecred like legend packs diff tier cards like having babe ruth n all the old greats in a legend pack n the ptchers omg ur lucky to get 10-15 inngs from a mlb pitcher even if u dont put him in active roster between starts takes forever to gain stamina. N the contracts i spenf 25m for albert pujuols n nows hes out of gms n i need a new firstbase either i overesimated or this game was just all talk

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