Monday Tip-Off: The State of Official Rosters

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Recent Should Retro Teams Be?

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:15 pm

Monday Tip-Off: How Recent Should Retro Teams Be?

As we speed towards the release of NBA 2K21 Current Gen, we're receiving the final tidbits about this year's game. On that note, the official NBA 2K Twitter announced the inclusion of two new classic teams - the 2017 Toronto Raptors and 2019 Golden State Warriors - in NBA 2K21. As I noted in my bulletin, this follows on from the addition of six retro teams in NBA 2K20, along with the return of the All-Decade squads. While we haven't had a dedicated retro challenge mode outside of MyTEAM since NBA's Greatest in NBA 2K12, the games continue to add throwback content.

And yet, there's something a tad unsatisfying about the announcement of those two teams. As former champions with some big names in their lineups, they're obvious choices to join the ranks of classic squads. At the same time, they are very recent teams. Given the odd situation that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed the NBA in, the 2019 Raptors are being added as a classic team before they've even been officially dethroned as the reigning champs. It isn't the first time that a new retro team in NBA 2K has felt a bit too recent to truly be considered "retro" or "classic", which therefore raises the question: how recent is too recent when it comes to retro teams?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Recent Should Retro Teams Be?

Postby [Q] on Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:48 am

I don't mind recent historical teams if they are memorable or fun to play with. Plus all players on the tram should be in the game still
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Recent Should Retro Teams Be?

Postby Andrew on Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:34 am

Well as I said, sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. Sometimes those teams end up being thinner after a year or two because they're made up of players who aren't on Legends deals, so once they're out of the league, they're out of the game.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Imperfections Don't Need Imperfect Solutions

Postby Andrew on Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:26 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Imperfections Don't Need Imperfect Solutions

There's a running gag when it comes to Bethesda's Fallout games: "it just works". This sarcastic jab at bugs and other imperfections in the series is a reference to Executive Producer Todd Howard's declaration that Fallout 4's "dynamic game engine" would ensure that everything about it "just works". And, to be fair, while I didn't enjoy Fallout 4 as much as I did Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas, the game does indeed work. Does everything work as well as it should? Not exactly, and that's why Todd Howard's utterance of those words has become a meme.

In all fairness to Todd Howard and Bethesda though, they're not alone in that regard. To be completely fair to the Triple-A gaming industry at large, achieving perfection is easier said than done, and the scope of their products is going to result in issues such as bugs and oversights. As gamers, consumers, whatever we want to call ourselves, we do understand that. However, some things are just poorly planned, designed, and implemented. Although we do criticise these issues and suggest solutions, I've also seen many gamers defend these imperfections. Not because of the difficulty of game design, mind you, but the notion that imperfect solutions cancel out valid complaints.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Do We Need Those Stinking Badges?

Postby Andrew on Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:12 am

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Need Those Stinking Badges?

Sim games have long sought to properly differentiate between players, beginning with detailed ratings. Those base attributes alone haven't always been sufficient though, and so developers have experimented with mechanics such as Freestyle Superstars in NBA Live, and Signature Skills in NBA 2K. Signature Skills have given way to Badges, which like their predecessors, grant boosts and represent special abilities that the standard ratings can't account for. As with Signature Skills, or the similar Traits system in NBA Live, they're available to real players and career mode avatars alike.

These days, Badges are probably more important than ratings/attributes. You can max out a player's ratings in a certain area, but it takes the effects of a Badge to ensure that they're sufficiently levelled up. On one hand, this does make the exceptionally skilled stand out from the very good, much as Freestyle Superstars in NBA Live once aimed to achieve. On the other hand, it also means that high ratings - which are theoretically only given to the best real players, and take a long time to grind for our MyPLAYERs - are far less powerful than they should be, if they aren't paired with the various boosts afforded by Badges. Given these issues, do we need those stinking Badges?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The State of Official Rosters

Postby Andrew on Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:17 pm

Monday Tip-Off: The State of Official Rosters

No matter whether you're a developer working on the official rosters or a gamer who's making unofficial updates for the community, it can often be a thankless job. There's no chance of pleasing everyone when it comes to player ratings, especially given the overinflated importance that Overall Ratings are often ascribed. With over 400 active players along with historical content, it's very easy to overlook a detail here and there, no matter how meticulous you are. I'm not sure that I've ever released a roster for NBA Live PC that didn't have at least one small oversight.

The feedback that you'll receive as a roster maker in the community, or indeed as the developer in charge of handling the official rosters, isn't always constructive or very pleasant. We're quick to sneer at a perceived bias or lack of knowledge, forgetting that we're all prone to the same biases and knowledge gaps, to say nothing of human error. At the same time, we're slow to give credit where it's due. With that being said, there are some troubling trends when it comes to the official rosters in modern games, in particular NBA 2K. Without meaning to be insulting or self-righteous, it doesn't feel like the rosters in recent titles have the same level of authenticity as they once did.
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