Monday Tip-Off: The Online Experience We'll Never Have

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Free Content in Basketball Games

Postby [Q] on Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:37 pm

Oh yeah I forgot about rocket league too. Those are two games that have balanced loot boxes with pure cosmetics along with new free content

Hell, even popular free to play games have become hits like Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, and Apex Legends.

I had even considered buying a battle pass for season 2 of Apex since the game was free and I was enjoying it
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Free Content in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:37 pm

Not to mention proper matchmaking and rep systems, with successful eSports leagues.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Dumbing Down of MyTEAM

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:10 pm

Monday Tip-Off: The Dumbing Down of MyTEAM

I'll occasionally see a comment on Twitter or Reddit to the effect of "Who even plays MyTEAM?" It's your standard "I don't like it, therefore it sucks and no one else likes it either" rationale that's all too common among toxic gamers, but it comes off as especially ridiculous when you're talking about a mode like MyTEAM. After all, its popularity rivals MyCAREER and its connected modes, and thanks to the content that comes through all season long, it makes Take-Two a lot of money. It is possible to play without spending any money, of course, but many who do spend, spend big.

I like the idea of modes like MyTEAM and Ultimate Team. I never thought they'd be for me, but I've had fun with them in NBA 2K and NBA Live over the course of this generation. I've generally avoided spending money and in NBA 2K19 and NBA 2K20 in particular, I've still managed to pick up some really good cards. However, there are problems with MyTEAM, and it's safe to say that it's affecting the quality and appeal of the mode. On the whole, it feels like 2K has been dumbing the mode down with the special cards they introduce every year, along with a lack of attention to detail. The mode hasn't been completely ruined, but it could be in much better shape than it is.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Arguing For & Against Green Releases

Postby Andrew on Mon May 04, 2020 10:09 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Arguing For & Against Green Releases

Back in May 2017, I discussed the future of Green Releases in NBA 2K. Three years on, the mechanic still remains an issue. It's funny to look back and see that Mike Wang was talking about weaning gamers off the concept of Green Releases, only for them to still be in the game, relatively unchanged. I say relatively because NBA 2K18 attempted to artificially nerf them with a "Good" release actually only having a 5% chance of going in - less than a Slightly Early or Slightly Late release - and other games have also seen Beluba and co tinker with the perfect release windows.

Apart from that, the basic idea remains the same. Green Releases result in a made shot every time, unless it's blocked or you're too far behind the backboard. If you can learn the precise timing of a jumpshot animation and pay attention to the rumble feedback cues, you'll be greening attempts with ease and regularity. We're still as reliant on the approach as ever, and it doesn't look like it's something that NBA 2K - or NBA Live, now that it's adopted the same style of shot mechanics and feedback - will be able to move away from. The question is: should it? It feels like we're at a stalemate on the issue, so let's go over the pros and cons of Green Releases once again.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Arguing For & Against Green Releases

Postby [Q] on Wed May 06, 2020 3:39 am

I'm kind of torn on the subject. Playing NBA Live 18 and 19 has kind of jaded me a bit, especially when the developers literally change and break the game mid season due to a few players' complaints. These players complained that there were too many people online hitting every shot. I felt myself relying on watching the meter too much that I wasn't really watching or enjoying the game. It felt like I was playing NBA Meter 19 lol. I think the meters and feedback should be all off by default. You can turn on to practice but I think it would be more fun without focusing on all that. That being said, I think balance is definitely needed with the system. Maybe a green release shouldn't be 100% make all the time. maybe randomly it'll be like a 95% chance of going in or something. I mean, there are times in real life where you do everything perfectly and you just get an unlucky bounce.
I think the way it is now, some animations are easier to shoot with and that leaves an unfair advantage for some. People can simply pick the easier animations to shoot with. This reminds me back in NBA 2K7 and how frustrating it was to play against the Pistons and have Ben Wallace shoot like 90% from the line due to an easy animation and Yao Ming shooting like 50. Stuff like that makes me feel like in a more controlled environment like a free throw where defenders are not in the equation, ratings should definitely be in play. Even if you time everything correctly with a 50% free throw shooter should you be able to hit 10/10 from the line in a game? I'd say 70% at best. but it would be tricky to implement without arbitrarily capping success rates like that.
i found it difficult to consistently time faster release animations but the problem was, like in you mention in your article, it gave the defender more time to recover. Maybe if you hold turbo when you shoot you can do a "quick release" shot animation (much like someone under duress or on a time constraint) with lower chances of going in than a regular shot but still someone who's got high enough ratings should still be able to hit most of the time. I think the biggest problem is that the NBA is such a fast game that the time needed to "fill up" a meter can be too long at times or can leave too little room for error. Maybe there needs to be more details in the timing and the numbers in calculating it all, down to thousandths, ten thousandths of a second.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Arguing For & Against Green Releases

Postby Andrew on Wed May 06, 2020 11:26 am

Balancing shooting between online and offline play is a big issue. It's what's ruined NBA Live 19 for me as the changes in the last couple of patches addressed shooting online being too easy, but with the way AI defenders can rotate and react much quicker, it's made offline shooting too difficult. The shot meter in NBA Live 19 is also way too long, giving defenders way too much time to recover to begin with. Even if the meter is disabled, the underlying mechanics are the same.

That's why I feel like it's going to be a delicate balancing act to ensure fair and realistic percentages. I believe there needs to be that reliable weapon if you're good enough on the timing, and fair odds if you're close to perfect, without it being cheesy. Easier said than done. It's also going to be hard to satisfy everyone. Based on the responses to the article so far, some people want a return to the old way, while others are firm in not wanting a dice roll to determine everything. Given those polar opposite stances, is a compromise possible? Hopefully some sort of balance can be achieved.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Belongs to Suits

Postby Andrew on Mon May 11, 2020 2:11 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Belongs to Suits

I know I said that many things aren't worth an angry rant, but this isn't going to be an angry rant. I'm feeling a certain amount of exasperation and pessimism, yes, but I'm trying to remain calm and not rage for the sake of it. As a new generation looms, many of us are wondering what it means for basketball gaming. The genre has already come a long way - a few backwards steps not withstanding - and it remains to be seen what can be accomplished with the added power of the forthcoming consoles. The problem is that that kind of innovation doesn't appear to be the focus.

Perhaps that's a harsh and unfair assertion, given that we're nearing the end of the current generation. We couldn't have imagined some of the things that we've seen over the past seven years, when the previous generation was seemingly tapped out after producing some outstanding basketball games. However, the difference this time around is that gaming has changed. Games are designed with recurrent spending in mind, and microtransactions are no longer just for free-to-play titles. Quality seems secondary to pushy recurrent revenue mechanics; a trend that's highly unlikely to end anytime soon. It's clear that the suits control the destiny of hoops games.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Right Direction for NBA Live

Postby Andrew on Mon May 18, 2020 2:37 pm

Monday Tip-Off: The Right Direction for NBA Live

Needless to say, the past decade has been tough for NBA Live. Through cancelled titles and skipped years, the series has seen only five releases during that span. There have been promising aspects and good ideas present in those five games, and it could be argued that at least a couple of titles have been solid, but EA Sports has failed to move the needle. NBA Live is still languishing far behind where it needs to be as a viable alternative to NBA 2K and the enormous gulf in sales speaks volumes. NBA 2K has its issues, but NBA Live hasn't been able to capitalise on gamer frustration.

The good news is that the door hasn't been slammed shut on NBA Live. Thanks to a combination of readily apparent potential and 2K squandering goodwill, there is still interest in seeing NBA Live return to its former glory. Unfortunately, the series' steps towards reaching that goal haven't been as large as many of us would've liked, and one of the main reasons for that is the direction of the series. More specifically, this includes both the particular choices that have been made, and the tendency to change direction too often. NBA Live needs to have the right focus moving forward, but that raises the question: what is the right direction for NBA Live to take?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: MyPLAYER in the Middle

Postby Andrew on Tue May 26, 2020 12:16 am

Monday Tip-Off: MyPLAYER in the Middle

My time playing MyCAREER regularly in NBA 2K20 has come to an end. After I ended up being drawn back into the mode, I finished a full season with my traditional point guard build, winning the championship and setting an assortment of records. The MyPLAYER build I chose has also proven to be suitable for online play, and while the online experience is as hit-and-miss as ever in NBA 2K20, when it has been good, I've really enjoyed playing my usual role. After starting the second season by averaging a quadruple-double, I'm going to try simming my way to the Hall of Fame.

That's not the only experiment I'm running in MyCAREER, though. Although I do want to put the mode aside, I have created a second player. I've enjoyed being a point guard since being thrust into the role back in NBA 2K13, and have learned the meta-gaming idiosyncrasies for my preferred build at that position. It's helped me rack up assists, which I've come to really enjoy doing. However, when I was playing in my local junior league many years ago, I was a centre that loved to rebound and block shots. I decided to create a MyPLAYER that reflected my actual playing style and position, in order to see what MyCAREER is like as the man in the middle.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Online Experience We'll Never Have

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:37 pm

Monday Tip-Off: The Online Experience We'll Never Have

Aside from some admittedly fun sessions of 3v3 Pro-Am and jumping into The Rec after spinning double MyREP on the Prize Wheel, I've not been playing online in NBA 2K20. I'd been dabbling with a session or two in The Rec every so often, but in order to finally let MyCAREER go, I've focused on finishing my rookie season and generally avoided taking part in any of the connected experiences. Thanks to so many hit-or-miss sessions, I no longer have the same enthusiasm for the online experience that I once did. It's made it much easier to abstain from those modes.

Even the satisfying runs in 3v3 Pro-Am had their annoyances. Despite playing well and even winning eight games in a single session, I somehow dropped from 99.9 to 99.4 Overall, spotlighting some of the major flaws with the MyREP and Overall Rating systems in NBA 2K20. Of course, the tendency to punish rather than reward is just one of the problems with the online experience in NBA 2K. It's unfortunate, as online play in NBA 2K should be so much better than it is. From issues with lag and matchmaking to meta-gaming and what it takes to get there, I can't help thinking about the online experience that NBA 2K should offer, but we're unlikely to see.
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