I don't know about you, but whenever I hear that a developer is simplifying a certain game mechanic, I immediately worry it'll be for the worse — that the changes made will somehow subtract from the overall experience in the past. I mean, do you ever think anything positive when you hear the phrase "drastically reduced"? I didn't think so.
In the case of MLB 15 The Show though, simplifying Diamond Dynasty means a focus on "its most compelling pieces." That is, building a custom fantasy team, collecting cards, and competing against other users or the computer.
For those unfamiliar, Diamond Dynasty mode is similar to that of EA's Ultimate Team in Madden or FIFA. You collect cards that are used to build a sort-of fantasy team of players. With that team, you play against the computer or other players online. You then earn points to continue to grow your team.
In MLB 15 The Show, the overall premise is still there, but the scope has changed — for the better. Every change that Sony San Diego has made seems to be in an effort to streamline the entire mode, and I totally dig that. While I've always enjoyed the idea of collecting cards and putting together a team, the often complex systems and mechanics that go along with it are usually an annoying ordeal. To that end, Sony San Diego is offering players a "distilled" Diamond Dynasty mode.
Detailed today, a number of changes have been made to the system, some of which we are already familiar with. For instance, you can now continuously build your Diamond Dynasty team, even when you're not playing the specific Diamond Dynasty mode. As explained previously, a new Universal Rewards system in the game will reward you with MLB player cards regardless of what mode you're playing; however, the fastest way to improve your team will be to play the actual Diamond Dynasty mode since the mode's rewards stack on top of the Universal Rewards.
Sony San Diego has also removed the annoyance of having to manage expiring cards, something I'm thrilled to see gone. I've always hated the fact that cards I've bought or earned can go away if I use them. It turns me into a hoarder. In MLB 15, you have a permanent card collection, so you can instead focus on your team's exposure and not on managing cards. Additionally, the overall layout of the mode has been switched up with all of your team management pieces now accessible from a single "My Squad" screen. From here, you can slot players in position, set your lineup, and manage your rotation and bullpen. MLB 15 adopts a more simplified "fantasy baseball-esque" system that easily shows where a player can play on your team. The mode has also been simplified to simply add cards you earn to your collection; there's no more separate interface with a confusing mechanism. That's an annoyance I can definitely do with out.
In addition to a more streamlined process, the overall scope of Diamond Dynasty has been "drastically reduced." This year, every Diamond Dynasty team will only have one fully customizable dynasty player. It sounds horrible, but the way Sony San Diego has figured the system actually sounds pretty sweet. Rather than simply selling your excess cards, you'll use these cards to feed your dynasty player. Skills on the fed cards will directly influence the growth of his attributes. So for example, if you feed your player a bunch of power hitters, he'll gain points in his power attributes much faster than his contact or speed attributes. Also, your player is capable of switching to and playing any position at any time, even mid-game. While you may be limited to just one player, at least you aren't forced to pick a single position. Again, this is simplifying the game without actually removing anything or watering down the experience.
Lastly, as you may already know, MLB 15 The Show now has Legendary Players. By collecting an entire MLB roster, you'll unlock that team's Legendary Player Card. There's one Legend from each team in the game.
There you have it — all the new changes to MLB 15 The Show's Diamond Dynasty mode. Like I said, Sony San Diego has seemingly proved that you can simplify something without completely ruining the overall experience. Although I haven't personally played this year's mode, the notion that I can still collect cards and make a fantasy team without all of those other annoyances sounds like a dream. Honestly, I hope EA follows suit with some of these changes.
Check out other ways Sony San Diego is making baseball better with MLB 15 The Show.