By: Ian Butler | Average Rating: 4.76 | Game version: PCM14
Be a Pro is the new mode in Pro Cycling Manager, it allows you to take control over one rider throughout his career, starting as a young gun between 19 and 22 years old. The new mode is not perfect yet, but it's very popular and wildly addictive.
I have played it in a few different manners, this is my account of how this mode works out the best. This was the case for me, but I think lots of people will agree with me.
My tips are few and simple, but do them and you're guaranteed to have an amazing career!
Rule 1: Pick a good character!
If you know exactly what you want, create that cyclist. Choose a specialisation but don't hold back to use an editor to create a unique starter. What I do when I edit my Pro is the balance-rule. Which means, if I add a point to one stat, I take away a point of another stat.
However, what I have found to be incredibly exciting is to pick a random pro. You'll be surprised at the result and you'll end up with a career you never would've picked for yourself. Be careful to check height/weight ratio before accepting, though. If you randomize, those can get out of whack!
As an experiment, I started out with a randomly picked pro. He was a 22-year old stage racer from Canada. Decided to let fate decide about the team, too. I didn't play the career for too long (if only I had the time), but it turned out to be an interesting season, to say the least. Had Hesjedal on my mind so decided to focus on time trials.
Whoever you go with, try to connect with the Pro and see him as a character in a book. This is a mode heavy-based on one rider, so connecting to him is essential.
2: Don't simulate!
Trust me. Don't simulate a single race, 3D play everything! Just a couple of advantages:
1. Your career will last much longer.
2. You might end up with legendary stories in stages you normally would never race
3. You suffer when your rider suffers. With a sprinter, mountain stages are all about survival. Or plan intermediate sprints. Your climber might have a hard time catching up in the super-fast flat lead-out to the sprint in the Tour de France.
4. Excitement. You connect with your character and after a while, you'll get excited when in the position to win. It almost feels like you're in the race yourself, and you'll try hard not to screw up. Unfortunately for me, I usually do
5. Rolling-snowball effect. Once you start simulating, you set the bar lower and lower. At least that's the case for me. For example with a stage racer: the first season you simulate some flat stages. Second season even more, and hilly stages. After five seasons, you only play the GT mountain stages. You win many races in simulation. In season 6, you simulate the entire season. This is not the case for everyone, of course, but it's a fact that once you simulate one race, it'll turn into more and more.
In my career with a Belgian puncher, I entered the last race of a stage race and it was a flat criterium. My GC wasn't very good but my rider was just coming into form, so I decided to go in the breakaway. To my surprise, the peloton gave me way too much time and started to chase late. In the final 10 kilometers, it was my guy against the peloton. By some miracle, I made it, barely. I was happy as a little kid with candy. I never would've played that stage without this rule.
Anyway, it might sound crazy, but I'm in my 5th season with a Pro now, played every singly stage. I've known some pretty amazing victories (or even failures) on stages I never would've played. But:
3. Try to race as a real person!
An important rule for me. Difficulty doesn't matter much to me, pick one you feel comfortable with. More important is how you race. If you play every single stage, you'll feel tempted to breakaway a lot, try something in every race, go for every sprint, go for every KoM in every single stage race...
If that's your thing, go for it. But you would be surprised at how great it is if you try to race as a real person. And if you want: your real person can be a Peter Sagan and you'll race full gas in most races anyway. Find your own balance.
In my career, I'm playing with a rider modeled after Philippe Gilbert. So a puncher, but with cobbled abilities, some sprint speed, a decent time trial and even abilities to go up a mountain (in a breakaway, not with climbers).
But despite all those qualities, Gilbert hasn't won 200 races (yet) in early season races, I like to build up form by riding inside the peloton or even pull the peloton for 100 straight kilometers. This ruins my potential chance at winning, but you'll find that riders like Boonen or Gilbert sometimes do this when they need to build up form.
On days with -4 or -5 form, I also decide my Pro has bad legs, so I almost never attack and might try to follow. If in an unimportant race, I don't even bother anymore and just finish. With +4 or +5, my Pro has good legs to is more eager to atttack himself.
These are all just examples of how you can manage your Pro. The point I'm trying to make is just that no rider goes for every single race. Unless it's Merckx. If you're playing with Merckx, forget this rule.
4. Editing is okay!
Editing is definitely okay. I use it quite a lot, actually. At the start of the career, I edit the stats (I put the main stats lower because they'll raise fast enough as it is) and the potential of each stat (if you want to set them yourself).
Then, I try to limit the progression. The Be a Pro mode allows for a fast progression, so I try to keep it a bit slower. When I level up, I take away some stats. Be careful to do the same with some of your competitors, though, or they'll turn into world beaters in no time. (hint: use the Kent's PCM14 Young Rider XMLs to keep it as realistic as possible).
But, as I keep progression lower, once you'll turn level 26 in Be a Pro, you've reached the end. In some cases, your Pro is only 23 or 24. That's when I keep editing. Pick your own rule, but for me, I usually do it twice in the season. At least until the age of 28 - 29, a rider will keep progressing slowly. So I continue to let him develop, by editing.
And then, equally important, the final rule for this "guide":
5. End your career!
PCM 15 Be a Pro allows you to keep racing until you're 100 years old (not checked this myself yet, but it just keeps going!).
I like to set an age of decline for myself and edit my Pro's stats from then on. (this differs from specialty. A northern classic specialist will lose acc like everyone else but his cobbled abilities stay good for longer. A sprinter will lose sprint speed at a younger age...)
Then decide to retire, still unavailable in this game play. But do it yourself. After your 10th Tour de France victory, for example, decide to retire. Career over.
Additional note: With editing, it's possible and quite fun to turn around your career near the end or halfway. Examples:
- A sprinter can turn into a cobbled classic at the age of 31.
- A time trialist can turn into a GC rider at the age of 27.
- A GC rider can train hard to try and win Paris - Roubaix (sounds familiar?)
(hint: a change of heart can also bring a drastic change of team)
Finally, I want to thank you for your attention. I hope some of this helps you create even greater gameplay. Remember that this is just an account of experiences I had, and I just wanted to share this with you all. You play any way you want, these are just ideas.