One of the most compelling aspects of Pro Cycling Manager 2019 is the in-depth Pro Cyclist campaign. In this mode, players control the fate of a single rider, taking them from their earliest races to multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals. However, getting from point A to point B can be a bit daunting, as there are myriad different ways to kit out your rider, and a seemingly innumerable amount of things that can go wrong.
The point of this guide is to help newcomers hit the ground running… erm, pedaling. These handy tips will help you make the most out of your rider in Pro Cycling Manager 2019, and hopefully help steer them to victory.
Name and Number(s)
Right off the bat, you’ll be faced with the option to pick your cyclist’s name, age, and specialty – as well as their place of birth. You can also import a custom image for their portrait, so long as you format it correctly.
What’s most crucial here are your age and your field of expertise. A rider’s age will greatly affect the longevity and viability of their career. A younger rider will have lower base stats but a longer career with more potential, while an older rider will be more developed but unable to race as long. While it’s ultimately up to personal preference, we’d recommend starting younger if you want a more in-depth experience that you can tailor to your own liking.
Your “strong point,” i.e. your area of expertise, will also play a large role in how you play the game. There are different roles to take on, from cyclists who excel at short sprints to ones who are masters at maneuvering hilly terrain. Ultimately, this choice is on the player, and how they want to experience the game. It’s a matter of personal preference, so just think what the most fulfilling option for you might be.
Other important variables are your potential, your team selection, and to a lesser extent, your nationality. Your potential is, by default, selected as Grand Champion, and it’s there that the developers recommend you start. While tougher options offer greater potential to develop different attributes, they’re a good deal more challenging. Similarly, your team selection will affect the challenges you face. Divvied up into three different categories, each difficulty ramps up the amount of races, the challenge of those races, etc. Essentially, personal goals for your rider will be much easier to reach on a minor team, whereas a major team will present more opportunities for growth in exchange for more demanding challenges. If you're a first timer, picking a minor team is a great way to get a feel for everything.
Once you've done that, you'll move onto the bread and butter of the game.
Let's Get Physical
Before you get into the brunt of it, you'll want to establish all the nuts and bolts of a successful career upfront. What does this look like, though? There are plenty of places to click, menus to sift through, and fluctuating numbers to keep track of. It's easy to get overwhelmed.
First and foremost, after checking the initial in-game emails, you'll want to head over to your fitness tab. It's here that you'll be able to determine the trajectory of your rider - their amount of training, how they'll grow, what they'll specialize in, etc.
Now, here's where you'll start seeing the effect of your initial decisions. Let's say that you decided to have more easily achieved goals from the outset. This means that you'll be racing a lot less upfront, and spending a lot of time in menus. Consequently, it frees up plenty of time to ramp up more intense training, which means you'll have more opportunities to crank out gains between races. That said, you'll also have fewer chances to get actual on-the-ground experience, which is vital for keeping your manager happy and getting good contracts.
Basically, the less time you're on the track, the more time you should be training. Ideally, you'll be able to strike a balance between actual race time and prep time, so that you're not over-prepared and under-experienced, or vice versa. It's important to determine that balance by your rider's age, however, as the older you are, the easier it is to injure yourself. Keep that in mind as you choose the intensity and frequency of both your training and races.
Put The Time In
It may be tempting to skip out on the 3D race simulations. They're time-consuming, kind of finicky to navigate at first, and a bit repetitious - as we pointed out in our review. But one of the biggest mistakes you can possibly make in Pro Cycling Manager 2019 is to just simulate your races and move on.
For starters, the races really do get more enjoyable once you figure out what you're doing. There's some deep satisfaction to be found in learning the proper times to take rests, engage in sprints, and attack your opponents. The game itself spells out how to do all these things for you, but actually figuring out the best time during certain races to do them is up to the player. It's dependent on the role you've chosen, the risks you want to take with a character, and the requirements that come with each race. Races will play out differently for every player, and that's the beauty of it. So stick with it! It becomes more rewarding the more you play.
Another reason to stick with it is that your character won't grow the same in simulated races. Their experience points will be docked, their skill tree won't grow as easily, and certain stats will stagnate. Your rider will be weaker and have a shorter career, and in terms of player satisfaction, you just won't feel as connected to your rider. So put the time in to grow your character into a pro, little by little. It takes time, but most good things do.
Jack (Or Jill) Of All Trades
New to Pro Cycling Manager 2019 is the skill tree system. This allows players to kit out their rider however they see fit, with different areas of specialization to focus on. Now, ideally, you'll be maxing out this skill tree eventually. Unlike a lot of RPGs, this isn't a game in which min-maxing is necessary, nor exactly rewarded. Plus, the skill system isn't really in-depth enough to merit that level of thought.
However, there are definitely some skills worth investing in early on to maximize your chances at success. The first option you'll see in the skill system is the Performance tab, which focuses on the physicality of your rider. You'll be able to increase the duration of your peak each season, reverse a predicted negative outcome for a race, and tire less from training each season. These are all strong foundations to build off of, and should be focuses early on.
But that's not what you should get first. No, the first tab you should take a peak at is Personality. While Information and Observation will be useful in the long run, what you'll want to put your first skill point towards is Attentiveness. This perk gives you a boost to all XP you earn in a month - starting with a 1.1x multiplier, going up to a 1.3x. It's good to start with this, as it makes it a little easier to level up, and a more expedient process to get where you want to be.
After this is where Performance will come in. While it's tempting to boost your rider's ability to have more contacts, or to have more influence on the team, it's best to buff your base stats right off the bat. That way, you'll have a stronger rider by the time you get around to those other perks. We'd suggest starting with the Training perk, as it allows for more training with less physical exhaustion.
Ultimately, you will want all of these abilities if you can get them before ending your career. There's nothing here that will hinder your progress - it's all gravy.
The Long Haul
The last important bit of advice is to play your cards wisely. This means focusing squarely on meeting your objectives to maintain a good relationship with your manager, negotiating contracts that advance your career versus ones that let you stagnate, and knowing when to retire your rider.
The name of the game here is caution, at least for newcomers. Push yourself, but not to the point of breaking. Ask for what you deserve, but don't get cocky. Put yourself out there, but don't overbook your schedule. As you get more comfortable with the game, putting yourself in unique situations is a great way to keep things fresh, but can be kind of daunting and discouraging for newcomers.
These are some of the more basic tips on how to get started in Pro Cycling Manager 2019. There's a lot to learn, and plenty of systems to master in place, but these are all good habits to get into to ensure a long, illustrious career in the world of professional cycling!
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