1. Which mode are you giving the most time to this year thus far?
Chris Sanner: Thus far, Road to the Show is winning my heart. With me also knee deep into GM'ing on OOTP, this offers the absolute best balance for me. The new advancement features, and the ability to realistically play a positional player and be able to see movement through time makes the mode feel new again.
Millennium: I've dabbled in every mode to some extent, but currently Road To The Show and Conquest have my heart. Big Daddy Spoonybarger was just traded from my beloved Orioles to the Phillies, so my life mission has become sticking it to Dan Duquette every chance I get. Once rosters are completed, I still see the majority of my time going into a deep franchise mode.
Ben Vollmer: Without a doubt, franchise mode will be getting 95 percent of my playtime this year. The introduction of several advanced statistics, including the ever popular WAR stat, is enough to keep me busy well into the year. Paired with the new budget tweaks, these elements are certainly going to provide a more thorough and analytical experience.
Jayson Young: Conquest's and Battle Royale's three-inning matches are the best thing to happen to baseball video games since the invention of zone hitting. I love being able to complete a game in 15 to 20 minutes like I could back in baseball's 8-bit and 16-bit eras. And unlike the frustrating Quick Counts option, I don't feel like I'm missing any important action since it's as if the game is starting at a 0-0 score in the seventh inning. I'll still get to hit a full at-bat with everyone in my lineup, and my pitchers will get a chance to throw their full arsenals without being limited by arbitrarily difficult starting counts.
Mike Lowe: Right now, I'm playing mostly Diamond Dynasty Battle Royale. I hope this doesn't skew "the data" that shows more people play these modes than franchise when the truth is that franchise is either busted (carryovers), or folks are waiting for OSFM rosters before playing franchise.
2. Which mode do you see yourself not really playing this seeason?
Chris Sanner: I'm probably going to stick with Road to the Show, though I am also going to try very hard to like Diamond Dynasty this year. I keep saying this is the game and this is the year that a card mode will change my mind -- maybe it will, maybe it won't. We'll see.
Millennium: I'm not playing a ton of the base Diamond Dynasty. I love Battle Royale (With Cheese!) and Conquest due to the ability to play with fantasy squads that I built in short bursts. Playing full 9 innings online almost seems like a chore at this point.
Ben Vollmer: I really need The Show to adopt a similar mode to Ultimate Team because I just can't get into Diamond Dynasty. I will definitely give it a go, as I do every year, but I'm not sure that it will stick. For now, it will remain the mode I play the least.
Jayson Young: I will never spend much time with Road to the Show until it becomes less about and "leveling up" and more about storytelling. The mode focuses on the worst part of role-playing games (grinding for experience points) while completely excluding the best part (telling a compelling story). I wouldn't have spent 40 minutes, let alone 40 hours, playing a game like Chrono Trigger if it was nothing but random battles, and that's exactly what playing Road to the Show feels like: mindless, repetitive action with zero emotional involvement.
Mike Lowe: The only modes I'll play are franchise, online franchise and probably some more Diamond Dynasty. Sometimes a weekly challenge, but until they lock the hitting camera in that mode to something reasonable, it's pointless. I actually like to work on my card collections and missions as well.
3. Thoughts on the new Conquest/Battle Royale modes?
Chris Sanner: I have only played a little bit of both. Conquest seems so expansive and massive. Some people are probably going to throw A LOT of time into that mode to try to conquer the map, I doubt that person is me though. Battle Royale seems interesting, it's the new twist on the card modes with a quick draft and battling through stages -- but again, I just haven't been able to get into those modes just yet. Maybe this is the year...
Millennium: Love both of them. Battle Royale (With Cheese!) allows you to draft and use players you may never get your hands on in base Diamond Dynasty, and it evens the playing field for online matches. Conquest is an entirely new monster that incorporates board game strategy with video game baseball. Those two combined just hit all the right buttons for me.
Ben Vollmer: I'm with Chris. I think the modes will hold a lot of appeal for people who haven't found their "mode" yet, but franchise mode will occupy so much of my time that I don't see myself getting into anything as expansive as Conquest. Battle Royale could be a big winner for me, as I love to draft and play competitively. It will be interesting to see how well both modes play with dedicated fans of the sport.
Jayson Young: The board game and fantasy draft are two great concepts that need to become options in online franchise mode next year. I fear that I'll be done with Conquest mode in a week or two since there's no reason to continue playing after capturing all 30 strongholds. And whenever Battle Royale is working (I'm still getting lots of "challenge failed" errors), it forces you to face so many trolls and try-hards that the mode is always going to be inconsistently fun.
Mike Lowe: I really enjoy Battle Royale a lot, and have enjoyed the team building and strategy. I haven't touched Conquest mode outside of maybe five minutes, by which point I thought it was...not very fun.