Producer Jason Villa shared some information on new features and improvements to the Online/SportsConnect area of MLB 09 The Show today via PS Blog as follows:
Along with improving the league system and layout, this year we focused on two major components of the Online League System...A) Draft System; B) Flex Schedules (with new Schedule screen).
We truly believe that the additions of these two components are what the Online Leagues needed. The goal is to allow users to customize as much as possible and to ensure that these league games get played!
Online League Draft System:
While online leagues are fun, there's nothing like hand picking the team of your team. And taking it one step further than Fantasy Sports, you can actually take your team on the field and play with them yourself.
The draft system rivals that of any fantasy sports system. It allows from 6-30 players to hold a FULL LIVE Draft, with the ability to set your draft day/time, pick timer/length, chat (and harass), view the Player Card/stats of available players, view the Player Card stats of other users in your league drafting.
Another integral part of the draft system is the ability to set you draft queue. No matter how much planning you do, there's always a chance you can't physically be at your draft, or you may not be able to stay for the entire draft.
That's when the Draft Queue becomes essential. Simply queue up all the players you'd like to be on your team, place them in order of preference, turn off your PS3 system and walk away. The server will handle the rest. Not only will it put priority on the picks you have queued, but it will make certain you have a logical team...25 players, equally balanced between starters, relievers, infielders and outfielders.
Once the draft is over, set your lineup, have the commissioner activate the league and start playing your league games!
Online League Flex Schedule:
Finding opponents and playing games should be much easier this year. We've incorporated a Flex Schedule for all leagues (Draft or non-Draft leagues). No longer do you only get one series and opponent to play when you log into your league.
Depending on the size and length of your league you can play ahead in the schedule. The Flex schedule is never smaller than 3 series/opponents, or never larger than 15 series/opponents (that's right, 15!).
Not only are we offering the Flex Schedule, but we're also offering a far easier Schedule Screen. The new online Season League Schedule screen has the same look and feel of the offline season schedule screen. We've added a Series countdown in schedule screen.
This lets the league know when the current series expires and how much time they have before the Commissioner can resolve games. Get those games played!
We've also added a true League Lobby. Upon entering the League Office, you will automatically be given a seat in the League Lobby of that particular league. It's called a persistent Lobby, and we're very excited about it.
Now you can hold a seat in a lobby, but navigate around the lobby. You'll see a new Lobby Icon in the hot bar this year. It's the text bubble with three dots. Once you see that blink, you know that chat is taking place in the lobby/game room you have a seat in.
There is also now the Draft Day and Time in My Leagues and League Office, which helps ensure league members won't miss the draft.
Along with the major changes to The Show League system, we've made a number of general online improvements. Each year we listen to community feedback and do our best to address every issue. Since most of these are relatively self-explanatory, I figured the best thing to do would be to create a bullet point list:
- SportsCast Live now with Live Play-by-play audio while viewing a game (fka View Game Status)
- Set Lineups in Online Season Leagues (vs. RHP, LHP)
- Ping indicator in Team Select screen, before entering an online game
- New Legend skill level, requiring a user to reach 4500 points
- 4 options for Guess Pitch settings (Default, Classic 1/4, Classic 1/6, No Feedback)
- Addition of 30 sec for each extra inning
- Square to forfeit opponent instead of X (not allowing accidental forfeit)
- Ability to select a jersey in an online game
- Ability to mound visit
- Access to Quick menu (up on D-pad)
- Online steals addressed
- Quick pitch exploit addressed with a delay
- Allow both players to view the replay when one player enters replay mode via pause menu
- No pausing when ball is hit in play
- Persistent Chat - ability to maintain a seat and interaction in a game room, even after leaving. This is perfect for League Chat rooms
- Online Player Options in far more areas in the SportConnect Lobby. This is the pop-up that allows for a Challenge, Send IM, Invite to Buddy, SportCast Live, etc.
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