Monday Tip-Off: A Stop Sign on the Road to 99

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Planning a Return to Franchise Modes

Postby Andrew on Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:39 pm

October 23rd, 2017: Planning a Return to Franchise Modes

My recent Wayback Wednesday series on franchise modes in NBA Live and NBA 2K served to remind me of just how much fun I've had with them over the years. I've wanted to return to franchise gaming for a while now, and writing those articles only added to my enthusiasm. I've gravitated towards MyCAREER and other modes in recent years, which is funny given that in MyLEAGUE and MyGM, we now have some of the deepest franchise experiences in the history of basketball video games. There are reasons why my habits have changed, of course, but I do feel like it's time to make a return to franchise modes.

Now that NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 have been out for over a month, receiving multiple official patches and roster updates, it's an opportune time to dive into the franchise experience. With the 2018 season tipping off, my interest in creating a fictional reality on the virtual hardwood has also been piqued. I do still have an interest in the card collecting modes, online team play experience, and MyCAREER, so I'll have to ration my basketball gaming time accordingly. Beyond that, however, I do have a few other matters to consider as I plan a return to the franchise experience that I enjoyed so much as a younger basketball gamer.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: A Call For More Nicknames

Postby Andrew on Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:46 pm

October 30th, 2017: A Call For More Nicknames

When I finally succeeded in getting my face scanned into NBA 2K18 - or more specifically, The Prelude - it didn't turn out anywhere near as good as my NBA Live 18 scan. As I noted on my Twitter at the time, it ended up looking a little like a combination of young Adam Sandler circa Billy Madison, and young Alan Ruck from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Once the full game came out and I was able to visit Doc's barbershop - expensive haircuts and all - I was able to add a beard. While it still isn't a great likeness, at least it looks a little less like a Sandler-Ruck mash-up.

A few weeks back, I ended up giving my MyPLAYER longish hair, in the process making him look a little like Jaime Lannister from the early seasons of Game of Thrones. I briefly reconsidered renaming him, and even went so far as to outfit him with some yellow wrist tape, in an effort to imitate Jaime's golden hand (uh, spoilers for anyone who still hasn't gotten into GoT yet). I also looked at changing the audio nickname, but the most appropriate choice was probably "Cold Hands". It got me thinking that the selection of nicknames for MyPLAYERs in NBA 2K could definitely stand to be much larger, and more varied.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: A Call For More Nicknames

Postby [Q] on Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:59 am

I think it's a good idea to have the option to do 2 initials and their jersey number as that's the formula for most nicknames nowadays (PG13 & CP3 come to mind)
It wouldn't require a lot, just recording all 26 letters and all the numbers should already be in the game
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: A Call For More Nicknames

Postby Andrew on Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:50 am

That's what I was thinking, too. As generic as I find those nicknames, they'd be better than Freq, Pres, and D.J. (unless of course, your initials are D.J...but then, you still might not want that backstory).
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Value of Virtual Currency in The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:38 pm

November 6th, 2017: The Value of Virtual Currency in The Neighborhood

Yes, I'm writing about Virtual Currency and NBA 2K18 again. I guess I'm a hater, a biased NBA Live fanboy looking to bash 2K at every turn. According to at least one disgruntled former reader, that's exactly what I am. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm simply a dissatisfied consumer who believes that all of us who play NBA 2K18 deserve to be treated more fairly. Whether it's NBA 2K, NBA Live, NBA Playgrounds, or any other game that we play, we do ourselves a disservice by not speaking up when there are issues. There's no guarantee that we'll get the result we want, but if we don't speak up, we can pretty much guarantee that we won't see the changes we desire.

Frankly, I'm still talking about Virtual Currency because it's an on-going issue. After dropping the prices of hairstyles, facial hair, and hair colours in an early patch, Visual Concepts haven't made further adjustments to VC earnings and in-game prices. Well, that's not entirely true. They've reduced the reward for Player of the Half and Player of the Game in 2K Pro-Am. What they haven't done is increase the VC rewards, bring back the difficulty multiplier, or reduce the prices of clothing and consumables. This is particularly infuriating when you consider the actual in-universe value of Virtual Currency. Thanks to our MyPLAYER card, that's something we can easily figure out.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Value of Virtual Currency in The Neighborhood

Postby [Q] on Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:41 am

No difficulty multiplier? So does that lean you play everything on rookie difficulty?

Honestly the prices for gear and haircuts wouldn't be that bad if that's the only thing to spend VC on but when you have to choose between that or improving ratings or the tons of other stuff to spend it on, it's a bit ridiculous.
Capcom has the same model for Street Fighter V where the in game currency is nowhere near enough to get stuff or at least the full game experience without paying. They give you an opportunity to earn 6000 points once every week but there's a dozen new DLC characters at 100000 each plus new stages for 40000 or 70000 and even new costumes for like 30000. If you only want new characters you would have to wait 14 weeks and do the challenges every week to get the points.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Value of Virtual Currency in The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:23 am

The lowest difficulty level available in MyCAREER is now Pro, but yeah, it seems to have discouraged people from playing on higher difficulty levels while grinding for Badges.

Yeah, you could possibly ignore the absurd in-universe prices if there was a separate currency for upgrading attributes, but as it stands, it just compounds the frustration.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Battlefront II Events in NBA Live 18

Postby Andrew on Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:54 pm

November 13th, 2017: Battlefront II Events in NBA Live 18

As you may know, EA Sports recently introduced some crossover content in its sports titles, promoting the upcoming release of Star Wars: Battlefront II. For NBA Live 18, this took the form of Live Events challenges, all of which take place on a fictional Star Wars-themed court (located in Orlando, of course), with various Battlefront II-inspired gear and accessories available in the reward crates. As it stands, there's currently a last call for the Battlefront II Challenge, giving gamers one final chance to earn some Inferno Squad-themed gear for their players to wear in The Streets.

I must admit that with all the grinding I've been doing to improve my NBA 2K18 MyPLAYER for 2K Pro-Am, I haven't taken part in as many Live Events in NBA Live 18 as I'd like. However, having caught the trailer for the Battlefront II events, I wanted to make sure that I at least played a game or two before the promotion was over. The fictional court certainly looked cool, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to stock up on some extra gear for my player to wear in The Streets. As such, I jumped online in NBA Live 18 last week, and managed to take part in a few games.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: NLSC GrindTime vs. Elite Team in 2K Pro-Am

Postby Andrew on Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:47 pm

November 20th, 2017: NLSC GrindTime vs. Elite Team in 2K Pro-Am

As Arcane and I discussed in Episode #228 of the NLSC Podcast, our 2K Pro-Am squad for NBA 2K18, NLSC GrindTime, has been having some competitive games as of late. Although we had a rough start to this year's campaign, our record has been improving, and we've had some enjoyable sessions in recent weeks.

We're at the point where we're starting to get matched up with some Elite teams, which naturally puts our stick skills to the test. One of our recent matchups with an Elite tier squad turned out to be quite a game right from the opening tip. I present to you that game in its entirety, accompanied by some classic NBA Live menu music.


phpBB [video]

https://youtu.be/svtDCtqI538
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Fans, Not Fanboys; Critics, Not Haters

Postby Andrew on Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:33 pm

November 27th, 2017: Fans, Not Fanboys; Critics, Not Haters

In one of the earliest Monday Tip-Off features that I posted, I discussed the issue of fanboys and haters in the basketball gaming community. Glancing back at a couple of the comments, I perhaps didn't explain my point clearly enough. Needless to say, it's virtually impossible for anyone to be completely impartial. We're all going to have our own preferences, and a bias that's tough to completely put aside. To a certain extent, a strong devotion or aversion to a brand is a justified reaction to continued enjoyment or disappointment. Taken to the extreme, however, we just end up getting on each other's nerves, and ultimately doing ourselves a disservice.

The motto I've adopted in regards to the NLSC is "fans, not fanboys; critics, not haters". In other words, we should look to enjoy basketball gaming and celebrate our hobby, but at the same time, we shouldn't shut down criticism and pretend that there aren't any problems. Similarly, we should point out the things that we dislike and make constructive criticisms, but we shouldn't blindly bash the games, nor tell our fellow gamers that they shouldn't enjoy themselves. It's easy to forget that enjoyment and criticism aren't mutually exclusive, and that we're not all divided into fanboys and haters. At least, we certainly shouldn't be aiming to be in one of those two groups.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Projects Fall Apart

Postby Andrew on Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:36 pm

December 4th, 2017: How Modding Projects Fall Apart

Although I'm not as involved with modding as I once was, I won't deny the lure of working on roster updates. I've previously discussed some of the mods that I'd like to make, should I be able to put aside the free time and get sufficiently motivated. That certainly still holds true, and as previously mentioned, I do have a list of modding ideas, similar to my lists of topics for the Monday Tip-Off, Wayback Wednesday, and Friday Five features. Every so often, I might do a little bit of preliminary work on one of those ideas, but aside from one or two beta releases, a majority of them haven't progressed any further than that.

I've really enjoyed producing my Wayback Wednesday content since I introduced the feature a couple of years ago, as it's been a way to reminisce about old favourites, and talk about some interesting modes, community history, and basketball gaming trivia. It's also provided an opportunity to indulge in some retro gaming, which I enjoy doing across a variety of genres. Of course, I sometimes find myself becoming drawn towards an old release, especially if it's one that I've spent a considerable amount of time modding. Such was the case with NBA Live 2003, where I recently toyed with the idea of a mod, only to be reminded of how easily projects can fall apart.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Worst Pass in Playground History

Postby Andrew on Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:36 pm

December 11th, 2017: The Worst Pass in Playground History

As discussed in Episode #230 of the NLSC Podcast, Arcane and I have been heading to The Playground for a few games after wrapping up our sessions of 2K Pro-Am with the NLSC squad. We've enjoyed a victory over a couple of Playground veterans, and after donning our Gatorade t-shirts, also managed to rack up five wins to earn some bonus VC. In some respects, our time on the online virtual blacktop in NBA 2K18 has been more enjoyable than our recent Pro-Am games, which have been rather rough. However, there was a moment of particular frustration after the ball was checked to Arcane, and his pass to me went completely awry.

I now present to you what may be the worst pass in the history of The Playground, and indeed, any mode of basketball gaming.


phpBB [video]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckRSFuvZ2Ec

Check out the full article for further commentary.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: MyPLAYER Dunk Envy in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:27 pm

December 18th, 2017: MyPLAYER Dunk Envy in NBA 2K18

I know today's NBA has become about three-pointers. Me, I'm still partial to dunks. It's a love that carries over to basketball video games, especially when it comes to the career modes. By equipping my player with flashy dunks that I could never perform in real life, I'm able to live out some fantasies on the virtual hardwood. I realise that dunking on every play isn't exactly sim, and that goes against my usual approach to basketball games. What can I say; it's fun to dunk as often as possible! Unfortunately, it's something that I'm missing out on in this year's MyCAREER mode.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER vs Reality; Bulls vs Celtics

Postby Andrew on Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:07 pm

December 25th, 2017: MyCAREER vs Reality; Bulls vs Celtics

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings, basketball gamers! I hope you're enjoying the holiday season with friends and family, and are looking forward to a day packed with NBA action. For those of you who are playing MyCAREER, 2K Pro-Am, or The Playground in NBA 2K18, be sure to take advantage of the double experience points on offer! If you've made a decent amount of progress on the Road to 99 and currently find yourself inching very slowly towards the next cap breaker, it may be a good opportunity to make some further headway. That's assuming, of course, that you can fit it in with the rest of your holiday plans.

I've been playing a bit of MyCAREER myself as of late. I'm not enjoying it as much as I did last year, but it's had its moments, and it's the best way to grind for the Badges that are essential to succeed in 2K Pro-Am. After hearing from 2K Support that there's nothing that can be done about my dunking problem, I'm also toying with the idea of grinding up a second MyPLAYER. For now though, I'm sticking with my original MyPLAYER, especially as the real season has caught up to my game. That gave me a fun opportunity to play the Bulls' latest game against the Celtics, the same day that I watched the real contest on TV. Here's how they compare.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Questions for 2018

Postby Andrew on Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:59 pm

January 1st, 2018: Basketball Gaming Questions for 2018

It's the beginning of a new year, which means we're heading towards the halfway point of the NBA season, and we're also a few months into the lifecycle of the most recently released basketball games. By the end of 2018, we'll have at least two new releases - NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 - but we've still got several months of basketball gaming before then. Needless to say, as we compile our Wishlists for the development teams at EA Sports and Visual Concepts, we're naturally hoping to see our most desired improvements in the new games come September.

However, it's also fair to wonder about the current basketball games, and hope that they'll hold up until their successors are released. Personally, I do feel a sense of optimism about the future of basketball gaming, but at the same time, I also have a few concerns. I'm sure that I'm not alone in that regard, and with that in mind, it's crucial that we speak up when we have the opportunity to provide constructive feedback. The questions I'm posing here, I feel, cover some of the most pressing issues regarding NBA Live, NBA 2K, and NBA Playgrounds. Whatever the future holds, we're sure to get an answer to some of these questions by the end of 2018.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: To Be, Or Not To Be, A Developer

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:38 pm

January 8th, 2018: To Be, Or Not To Be, A Developer

For those of us who have grown up playing video games of any genre, the prospect of one day being able to work on them ourselves is very appealing. From what we've heard from people in the industry - including former community members who have been hired by EA Sports and Visual Concepts - it is indeed an amazing and exciting career, in many ways a dream job. It does come at a price, however: long hours, harsh deadlines, and intense scrutiny from a target audience that can often be extremely toxic. Much is demanded of a video game developer, and it's clear that you need to be all in on the job, as well as willing and able to weather the tough aspects of the gig.

I don't believe that I've ever told this story publicly, but around ten years ago, I had an opportunity to join the team at EA Canada as a developer on the NBA Live series. As my continued presence here and lack of in-game credits would indicate, I didn't take the job. It was a difficult decision for reasons I'll get into shortly, but beyond any personal issues or possible concerns about the direction of NBA Live, I had to ask myself one rather pertinent question: did I really want to do it? Would it truly be a dream job for me, one worth moving to the other wide of the world for? In short, and with apologies to William Shakespeare: to be, or not to be, a developer?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Returning to Ultimate Team in NBA Live 18

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:08 pm

January 15th, 2018: Returning to Ultimate Team in NBA Live 18

Since the reboot of the series with NBA Live 14, Ultimate Team has arguably been my favourite game mode. There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, the franchise modes in the last few NBA Live games haven't been as deep as I'd like, which limits their appeal. Having dedicated a lot of time to MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am in recent NBA 2K games, I also haven't felt inclined to double up with the career modes in NBA Live. Second, upon trying out Ultimate Team, I found the concept more appealing than I ever thought I would. As someone who collected basketball trading cards back in the 90s, it's felt quite nostalgic, and has been fun to play.

So far, I've spent most of my time with NBA Live 18 playing through the early stages of The One, several LIVE Events, and some Play Now games here and there. I've wanted to get back into Ultimate Team though, and looking at some of the lineups that my fellow gamers have been sharing here in the Forum, my eagerness to put together my own super squad has been growing. Since everyone on the NLSC 2K Pro-Am squad has lost their enthusiasm for the mode, I instead chose to spend a few hours last Friday evening playing Ultimate Team. I've got a long way to go in terms of building my lineup, but I'm already reminded of what drew me to the mode.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: A Stop Sign on the Road to 99

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:17 pm

January 22nd, 2018: A Stop Sign on the Road to 99

As I mentioned yesterday in my first attempt at hosting the NLSC Podcast solo - don't worry, I'm not intending on making that a regular occurrence! - I've lost my interest in MyCAREER and its connected modes. This is in stark contrast to last year in NBA 2K17, where I reached the second season. I even played twelve minute quarters and abstained from simulating, except for a few minutes of garbage time in a handful of games towards the end of my rookie year. Although we briefly took a break from the mode, the NLSC's official 2K Pro-Am squad was also active throughout the year. In short, I had a lot of fun with MyCAREER and the connected online experience.

That hasn't been the case this year. I've spoken before about the lack of goodwill, and the ridiculous in-universe value of Virtual Currency. On the Podcast, we've discussed our frustration with the lack of balance and proper matchmaking in online gameplay, as well as some of the gameplay quirks that bother us the most. Admirably, Arcane is already through to his second season, and currently sits at 92 Overall. I did intend to grind my way to at least 90 Overall - I'm presently at 89 - but right now, I can't see it happening. Forget about 2K Pro-Am; at this point, I'm not interested in playing the single player experience of MyCAREER. I've reached a stop sign on the Road to 99.
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Andrew
45? That's a bad luck number!
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