‘MLB The Show 18’ throws some heat at in-game microtransactions

Over the last few years, we’ve seen several well-established franchises add more microtransactions to their core gameplay, often undermining what made the games so engaging in the first place. Luckily, MLB The Show 18 is not doing that — in fact, you’ll be visiting Michael Transaction less frequently than in the past.

The single-player “Road to the Show” mode, which tasks you with bringing a new ballplayer through the minor leagues on his way to the titular “Show,” previously allowed players to spend real money in order to further progress their player. This option is being removed in MLB The Show 18, which senior game designer Steve Merka said would allow players to focus on a “more pure experience.”

Progression in Road to the Show is split into two segments this year. First, you’ll gain awards to improve your statistics through your on-field actions, with your accomplishments corresponding to the categories you raise — hitting a homer, for instance, could increase your power. Secondly, you’ll be given “focus training choices” in place of a pool of points to allot as you see fit. You’ll have access to four different facilities, each with different boosts to your statistics, and you’ll naturally progress in your chosen areas by training there.

Unlike past games, you’ll won’t be given a blank slate to distribute points at the beginning of your career, either. Instead, you’ll pick an “archetype” with particular strengths and weaknesses. “Ball Hawk,” for instance, is a defensive-minded player based on Dee Gordon and Kenny Lofton. Though weak in power, they’re great fielders with impressive speed.

There will be temporary attribute caps, as well, to stop you from raising a few statistics at a lightning-fast rate. These caps can be raised by observing a teammate, and it’s necessary for you to do so if you want to continue making progress toward the Major Leagues.

MLB The Show 18 isn’t completely dropping microtransactions. They’ll still be included in the Diamond Dynasty mode, which is similar to the Ultimate Team mode found in EA Sports games. But removing them from the single-player Road to the Show mode represents a change we’re hoping to see from other AAA publishers.

MLB The Show 18 launches exclusively for PlayStation 4 on March 27.

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