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MLB Dugout Heroes

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MLB Dugout Heroes is a massive multiplayer online baseball game for the PC. MLB Dugout Heroes was created by WiseCat, a Korean based game developer. The game is the first fully licensed and online-based PC baseball game in North America. The game is known as Slugger in South Korea, and is hosted by Pmang, a subsidiary of Neowiz Games.[1]

History

GamesCampus signed a licensing deal with MLB Advanced Media in January 2009,[2] so they have rights to present actual ballparks and real baseball players in the game but this is restricted to Canada and USA only.

As of March, 2010, the game includes all current teams in Major League Baseball. It also includes eight professional playing fields; Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners), Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees), AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs), Angel Stadium (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), and Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros). Additionally, it includes a field called "Practice Field" for batting and pitching practice.

Selecting a team

Every team starts with a fairly even playing field in terms of skills and attributes. Some teams will be strong in one area, but weak in another. An example: The San Francisco Giants begin with the best pitching staff to start, however they have no power hitters. The New York Yankees have great power hitters, but their speed is very low. The default team can not be changed once selected, so new players should choose a team they are fans of, and with which they will enjoy playing.

Gameplay

Games can be played for 3 innings, 5 innings, 7 innings, or 9 innings. Players can also choose which stadium to play, the time of day, allow people to watch, or turn extended innings on or off. Rookie players begin in the rookie server, only for players levels 1-2. The amateur server is for players level 3-19, and the Pro server is for players level 20 and above. Pitchers will fatigue throughout the game based on how many pitches they throw, and how many runs they give up. Batters will also fatigue and will need to be rested or else their attributes and chances of an error will increase.

Players

All baseball players in the MLBPA from the years 2000 to 2009 are included in this game. Players can be purchased from cards in the item shop. There are many different types of cards that can be purchased:

  • Level 1,2,3 NL/AL Yearly Cards: Select either batter or pitcher from years 2000-2008. Level 3 cards have a chance at selecting an All-Star or World-Class rated player.
  • Level 1,2,3 Team Cards: Only players from a specific team throughout 2000-2009. Level 3 cards have a chance at selecting an All-Star or World-Class rated player.
  • Prospect Cards: Randomly generates a rookie or second year player from the 2009 season, all players will gain 20% more experience than the normal rate.
  • Fergie Jenkins Bundle Pack: Only contains 'S' rated players, and a chance at an All-Star '71 Fergie Jenkins. This item is only available for CC.
  • Gold Glove/Silver Slugger Cards: Contains all players who won Gold Glove or Silver Slugger award throughout 2000-2009.

In addition to the draft cards, there is a daily recruit which can be purchased.

World-Class rated players are extremely rare, and only include the MVP's and Cy Young winners of their respective year. These players begin with the highest combination of attributes than any other player in the game. The player's name is highlighted in purple.

All-Star rated players are also very rare, and include the best batter and pitcher from every team, per year. In some instances, there is only one all-star rated player for the team. The player's name is highlighted in blue.

Every batter has 5 attributes. Power (POW), Accuracy (BAT), Speed (RUN), Defense (DEF), and Throw (THR). Players can increase their attributes by playing games, and specific attributes will be increased differently based on the batter's position in the lineup and their performance. Batters in the 1st and 2nd spot will increase speed, batters in the 4th and 5th spot will increase power, and batters in the 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th spot will increase accuracy as well as their overall stats.

Pitchers will have between 3 and 5 pitches. Every pitcher has a 4-seam fastball. The other pitch types available: 2-seam fastball, changeup, slider, curveball, sinker, forkball, and screwball. Pitching attributes will increase based on how many times a certain pitch is thrown, and there is a bonus for getting a strikeout.

Certain World-Class rated players begin with specialty pitches such as: rising fastball, sinking fastball, power curve, slurve, cut fastball, splitter, vertical slider, and circle change.

Players can now purchase most of these specialty pitches and equip them on their pitchers with Nuts.

Items

MLB Dugout Heroes contains an item mall and an item shop. The item mall is available in-game and on the MLB:DH website. The item mall only consists of CC Items, which can be purchased with real money or from filling out surveys. The item shop is only available in-game, and players can purchase draft cards, or items that will boost their performance.

Items that can be purchased in the item shop: Uniforms, undershirt, bat, batting gloves, shoes, baseball gloves, glasses, goggles, accessories, coaches, logos, etc. All of these items will impact the players in different way based on what item is purchased and equipped.

Aging, stamina, and retirement

Every player's default contract is for 8 seasons. One season is 50 games. After a player's 8th season is over, the user has the option to release their player or re-sign them for 1, 3, or 5 seasons. As the player gets older, his stamina will decrease at a faster rate, therefore will require more time to rest or the use of stamina increasing items. Likewise as the player gets older, the amount of nuts required to re-sign him will increase.

When a player is released, the team will be awarded a replacement card. This card will not be nearly as good as the player who has been released.

Home Run Derby

In March 2010, Gamescampus included a Home Run Derby mode. This allowed the player to compete with up to 5 other players in a best of 10, 20, or 30 pitch home run derby. Shortly after the debut of this new game mode, Gamescampus released a new event that rewarded players with 5 million nuts for going 15 of 30, and 1 million nuts for going 10 of 20. They also ran an event that rewarded players with up to $200 worth of CC.

Publishing

The game launched closed beta testing in March 2009 and soon after four weeks went into open beta. The publishers announced it went commercial in beginning of May 2009. The name "MLB Dugout Heroes" is trademarked, owned and copyrighted by the MLB.

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
GameZone 7.5/10[3]
IGN 7.4/10[4]

IGN gave MLB Dugout Heroes a 7.4 overall rating and called it a "well-built, fun and – perhaps most importantly for this sort of effort – accessible version of America’s pastime.” [4] GameZone gave the game a 7.5 overall rating and wrote that the "players met in competition all seemed nice enough and the games ranged from extremely tactical, with base stealing and such, to blow-outs – both for and against this gamer.”[3]

References

  1. [1] Official home page for Slugger
  2. Operation Sports GamesCampus secures MLB license for online baseball game
  3. 3.0 3.1 [2] MLB Dugout Heroes is not without flaws, but it is still entertaining
  4. 4.0 4.1 IGN A quirky and fun day at the ballpark

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