One Week of MLB 10: The Show -- Online Play

Our weeklong look at Sony's upcoming baseball entry continues with a look at the game's online features.

All this week we're taking a look at Sony's upcoming baseball game, MLB 10: The Show. Check out Part 1. Today we're taking a look at the game's online features.

Despite the sport's relatively sluggish pace, timing is more important in baseball than arguably any other sport. That goes double for video game baseball, where network lag or frame rate issues can severely spoil the pitcher/batter duel that is so integral to the sport. The team is looking to address these lag issues with tech that would better respond to bad network connections and a variable frame rate system that would keep the speed of the game consistent where lag would normally rear its ugly head. I didn't get to play the game online and can't comment on how successful those solutions will be at improving the online performance. One goal that the team has clearly met, however, is in improving the presentation of MLB 10's online suite of features.

The player rating of the past is gone for online play in MLB 10; it's been replaced by an automatically generated sportsmanship rating that will reflect how you play online.

The game's online menus have been expanded to be more in depth, which is more like the offline game, in fact. That means there are lots of options for league commissioners, including the ability to drop and replace league participants, as well as detailed statistics on not just all participants in the league, but also real stats for all of the MLB players that are in that league. The team is bringing back the full online draft, so you'll be able to hold a live draft with your buddies, set up your queue ahead of time, and draft the team of your dreams. An interesting wrinkle for this year's game is the addition of player energy. As a manager, you'll need to be aware of the stamina of all the players on your team; there are also injuries this year, along with a 40-team roster that should give you more options of depth should your team be hit by the injury bug.

One significant change to the online community in MLB 10 is the sportsmanship rating, which replaces the star-rating system of player rating used in previous versions of the game. In those games, players would have the option to rate an opponent on a five-star scale after a game. Producers told me they weren't big fans of this system because they don't feel it accurately reflected a player's experience with the game; in many cases, players were being rated poorly because they blew out their opponent (or lost badly), and there were a good chunk of players that simply clicked through the rating automatically leaving three-star feedback (which was the default). As a result, the team has removed the ability for players to rate one another and, instead, focused on the sportsmanship rating. This is a number that is defined less on your skill as an online player and more about your behavior in the game. Playing full games to completion will improve your sportsmanship rating, for example, while headhunting batters or quitting out of games early will negatively affect your sportsmanship rating.

When you couple these additions with multiple trade types (1-for-3 trades, 1-for-1, and the like, all of which need to be approved by other league members to prevent fire sales when someone decides to leave the league) and the ability to set custom sliders for your league (or download and use slider settings from others), it's clear that Sony has spent a lot of dev cycles on MLB 10's online suite. Here's hoping all of these additions are equaled by lag-free play on the diamond once the game is released in March.

Our MLB 10: The Show series continues tomorrow with a look at the Franchise mode and the game's presentation.

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Discussion

15 comments
Loon3rBoon3r
Loon3rBoon3r

there should not b a rating system..who cares who has a good rating or not...when i win or lose i always give my opponent a rating of 1 cause idc and its a videogame

riptorn13
riptorn13

Does the term "variable frame rate" sound scary to anyone else?

MAG--256
MAG--256

i have bought MLB the show every time and one thing that has yet to improve is FRANCHISE mode come on i can trade bunch of no name players for other teams superstars and sign whoever i want its like AI is not even there ONLINE LAG was also bad for last few games and its nice that they are fixing this fix online give us NHL 09-10 franchise mode settings please

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

If there is one flaw to this amazing game over the years... it's been LAG while playing online games! If they can finally get that lag issue fixed this game is a 10/10!

GrilledCharlie
GrilledCharlie

MLB 09 The Show was the worst online experience I have ever had. Which is a shame, because it is a great game. My friend and I both have awesome internet speeds, and we were only able to complete one game all of last season. It was so laggy and just unplayable. I hope that they fix it.

winner-ps3
winner-ps3

i dont care about online, make the game better! its good but still has many issues not addressed

KoolzKatz
KoolzKatz

I love the MLB 09 the Show but my experience with online wasnt fun at all. I still play it to this day because its a great game and the one game where the CPU is designed well. U can really tell the difference between facing a 5th starter and an ace. Great great game

lindseyiluvyou
lindseyiluvyou

I sure hope they fix the horrible lag that they had last year...

hold-em
hold-em

the sportsmanship feature is cool, stars are way overplayed.

Brugal_Anejo
Brugal_Anejo

I played a lot online last year it was laggy at times, so it will be nice if they improve the online play. However it's still a fantastic game TheShow influenced me in purchasing the PS3 over the other two consoles, and I couldn't be happier. Good luck this season!

maverick_76
maverick_76

I would play online more if they could improve the lag experienced; nothing is more frustrating when you see the perfect pitch and you lag and strike out instead of hit a HR.

Narutofan30
Narutofan30

I never liked 1v1 online games mostly sports because it you versue some guy who is probally much better than you. A find a game mode were you Choose an MLB All-Star or Create your own Character(Most likely) and then you join a random team. 9 player teams the pitcher plays as all the reliver spots(or maybe they could switch out with feilders) and bats as DH(AL). Everyone else plays there positions in a 3rd person pespective and Bats.Yes this could get boring but if you love the game It couldbe fun! All Stats are track from each game so your BA, ERA, and so on stays with you.

TheCarl
TheCarl

I've played online in each of the previous iterations of The Show; there is definetly room for improvement. Thankfully offline is where the bulk of the great experiences are to be found.

psownsxbox4life
psownsxbox4life

i dont care about online play exactly because it was too laggy. franchise mode preview is tomorrow. thats what im excited for