So, recently Stern pushed out a new code update for Wrestlemania. In the theme of the recent Avengers update, the objective of the update is to remove old, repetitive scoring strategies and put in new avenues for gameplay.
While the full update (for the Pro, applies to the LE as well) can be found here, the summary is as follows:
Quality of Life Updates
Makes the game pretty.
- Improved SFX, speech, and music quality.
- Improved lighting effects and LED usage.
- New out-of-ring dots.
Praise the sun! No more top lanes!
- Top ring lanes no longer grant Bonus X, and grant 300k towards bonus instead.
- Ramps divert to the opposite ramp when a match is not underway.
- 3-bank completions now start a hurry-up on the center loop shots for Bonus X or Bonus Count increases.
- During the hurry-ups, the left orbit will be lit red for + Bonus X, and the right orbit will be lit yellow for +3 Bonus Advance. Both are on a ~15-second timer.
- A light plunge (not touching the ramp) skill shot has been added. Shooting any of the major shots grants 1 million * number of super skill shots made. Outlane ball saves have been changed to compensate.
- New pop bumper awards have been added, and are easier to achieve than previous awards.
- Increased Ring Fans progress on bottom lanes.
- Money in the Bank completion starts the respective championship on the next standard or Tag Team match.
Attack from the Top Rope.
- Similar to Attack from Mars, wrestlers now have an HP bar and a Pin Value.
- Wrestling moves in the ring do damage to opponents and add to the Pin Value.
- Signature moves do double damage, and doubles the base Pin Value (when complete).
- The Lower Playfield has shots lit, which double the base Pin Value upon completion.
- When an opponent’s HP bar is depleted, pinning your opponent will collect the Pin Value and end the match.
- Showboating now increases in value based on Ring Fans (from bottom lane completions).
- Showboating now plays the wrestler’s theme.
- Matches increase in difficulty per completion, and require more 3-bank completions to start. Default settings are 2 for each match.
There were other ref modes?
- Ref Scoring is removed, making Ref Multiball the only award.
- Ref shots increase the jackpot value out of multiball by 12.5k.
- Ref shots in multiball increase the super jackpot value by 250k (or 500k on a Double Jackpot).
- Matches cannot end during Ref Multiball.
- Reduced number of shots required to start subsequent Ref Multiballs.
More balls, bigger stakes.
- Ring targets now count towards Tag Team progress during the multiball.
- This also means that the previous Signature Move doubler is in play!
- Opponents tag out based on a 30-second timer.
- Completing the Tag Targets and shooting the Tag Team scoop gives a timed 2x playfield award and an add-a-ball.
- Reduced the number of shots required to start Tag Team Multiball. First multiball is defaulted to one scoop shot.
- Jackpots are now 10m + 2.5m per subsequent pin.
For those who want more detailed notes, I wrote the notes below to separate the LewisNotes version from the long detailed thoughts.
Quality of Life Updates
All of these updates were not 100% necessary, but nice touches. The new bonus hurry-ups (listed below) flash the inner loop in red and yellow, and match starts are now a solid gold. During matches, leaving the ring now shows a new out of ring DMD display, with new ways to pummel your opponent. Also I hope you like your theme music, because it plays more often now. Showboating will play the music, the music for each wrestler plays in the “choose a wrestler” menu, and a few other nice touches on the music end tie out the package.
With Wrestlemania moving towards a distinct “neutral game” between matches, drastic improvements were made to the lower playfield. Bonus advances and Bonus X now synergize with Standard Match advances, making the match process naturally lead into opportunities to advance your bonus (which can still be a major player in the game). All skill shots in the game have improved point values, with a new Super Skillshot being added for a million plus for those seeking raw points instead of utility. With gameplay styles leading to more Kick Outs or Break Holds and therefore more skill shots, having a raw scoring option can help tip the balance in your favor. The ramps now divert in a loop similar to the old Ref Scoring when out of matches, keeping the ring sacred for matches and action. Like Game of Thrones before it, the pop bumpers will now churn out contextually-useful rewards, including:
- Advance Fan Level
- 20 Second Ball Save
- Advance Tag
- Advance Bonus
- Advance Signature Move
- Light Extra Ball
- Light Special
- Big Points
Money in the Bank is finally seeing the light of day, being a scoring affix on your next match to make the points sweeter. While I shyed away from this in regular play, it can be a useful trick to start putting up big third-ball scores to stage a comeback.
Standard Matches, and their multiball brother Tag Matches, are now the meat and potatoes to scoring in Wrestlemania. Just like before, the objective is to wail on a guy and eventually pin him. Unlike before, you can keep going during the match, clowning around with your opponent and being a true crowd pleaser even after he’s marked as ready to pin to build up tons of points! You can tell when an opponent is ready to pin now by the health bar located at the far right of the DMD marking off progress and by the “1/2/3” lights being lit at the scoop when you can finish the match.
Scoring wise, the base value of a match is 5m + 1m for each match after the first. Shots in the upper playfield start at 150k, but grow by 25k or 50k as far out as you want. I’ve seen one of my friends run a match long (swearing that he can’t pin Cesaro along the way) and work up to 1m a ring target, which is a nice little touch to a game that is all about gladiatorial acts. For each move that builds up to the pin, the score is added to the base value as a Pin Total, which is awarded when your opponent is finally pinned. There are two ways to get 2x scoring on the base value (up to a 4x bonus!), which are to Advance Signature Move on the right 2-bank and bash your opponent with one (for a few million points as well!) or complete the lower playfield shots, which are a new addition to the code.
Speaking of the lower playfield, it is considered “out of the ring” and has its own set of theatrics. By hitting lit shots, you can advance towards a pin just like in the upper playfield at a similar scoring rate (100k with bonuses for combo shots), bashing your opponent on the ring steps, throwing them into the audience wall, or smashing their face off of the posts. Each has their own DMD animation, along with the DMD backdrop for being out of the ring itself and provides an alternative to wailing on the upper playfield.
Overall, the matches are now a “stored potential” with visible points on the table as the match goes on, with the excitement all pouring out as you cash in a nice chunk of change to the tune of at least 6m if not doubled and 11m if doubled.
Ah, Ref Multiball. You were a helpful friend in helping us pummel wrestlers and nothing else more. Ref Multiball gets its own sea legs in this update, being a non-stackable mode in which you shoot shots for Ref Jackpots at 250k or Double Jackpots at 500k to build up a Super Jackpot value (unknown base) at the pin scoop. A nice change of pace from a match, while being impactful to scoring. Ref Scoring is now removed, making Ref Multiball the only Ref Award on the game.
The addition of a meaty Tag Team Multiball match and the harder ability to start Standard Matches add an interesting “neutral game” in Wrestlemania. Do you go for the standard match, with its bounty of points if you can prove your showmanship and get a pin, or do you go for the riskier Tag Team targets and start a Tag Match, with a massive payout for each pin you can shoot in a multiball? Each has its own benefits, but I personally like to get immediately in a tag match after my 1st pin and try to smother out a score.
Tag Team Multiball works just like before to start: hit the 2 “Tag” targets on the ramps to light the Tag Team scoop on the left, and then shoot the scoop to advance to your multiball. Default settings have the first multiball to work off of one scoop, which makes a plunged ball a deadly weapon with “Advance Tag Team.” Once you qualify the Tag Team match, shooting a ramp will start the 4-ball Tag Team Multiball. Tag Team is similar to a standard match, in which you have to deal enough damage to a wrestler to go in for the pin and massive jackpots starting at 10 million. Your opponents will tag out every 30 seconds to put a fresh face in, so keep those pins coming!
A nice Metallica-esque feature is that during this multiball, a 2x Booster and an add-a-ball can be awarded by shooting the “Tag” targets again followed by the lit Tag Team scoop. Combined with Signature Moves for a net 4x pin, a ludicrous amount of points can be scored through this mode! My best multiball is 2 pins and 88 million, with the latter being a 2x Boosted, Signature Move Pin for 50 million!
Wrestlemania has shrugged off its old skeletons for a new face, and it shines brightly. The game provides options to match different playstyles and multiple options that are all viable while adding new bells and whistles to dazzle your newly-acquired ring fans (spectators who are wondering why you are playing this game). If you swore off Wrestlemania for the Ramp All Day strategy, I’d find a machine that has the update and give it a try!