Monday Tip-Off

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K17’s Virtual Currency Problem

MyPLAYER Store in NBA 2K17, with prominent button to purchase Virtual Currency

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Since the release of NBA 2K17, an issue that’s come up a couple of times on the NLSC Podcast is the general reduction in the amount of Virtual Currency that can be earned in a single game. Having spent most of my time so far playing MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am, this is certainly a problem that I’m very familiar with. Although the MyNBA2K17 app offers additional opportunities to earn Virtual Currency, it doesn’t do much to contribute towards the cost of the various in-game items that are purchased with VC.

We’re not the only ones complaining about Virtual Currency in NBA 2K17, either. A petition is currently circulating in an effort to get Visual Concepts to re-work or eliminate the VC system in NBA 2K. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the complete removal of Virtual Currency in future iterations of NBA 2K, but given the issues with VC in this year’s game, I’d definitely agree that some changes need to be made. While I do have a lot of good things to say about NBA 2K17, the problems with Virtual Currency absolutely need to be highlighted.

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Monday Tip-Off: Why We Give Credit & Ask Permission When Modding

Charles Barkley & Hakeem Olajuwon on the 1997 Houston Rockets in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

In the twenty years that the NLSC has been around, we’ve developed our own sense of etiquette in our modding community. For a long time, many of these rules were unwritten, the “done thing” that everyone was expected to know about. That’s not really the best approach however, so in my most recent revision to our Forum Rules, I made sure to include information about procedures and etiquette when it comes to modding. To be honest, those unwritten rules were long overdue to be written, in order to cut down on any ambiguity and ensure new modders know about them.

Two of the most important rules in our modding community are giving credit where it’s due, and asking permission before using work that isn’t open source. Most people seem to agree with the spirit of these rules, but others are occasionally puzzled by our adherence to them, especially if they’ve been a part of other modding communities that have approached the matter differently. Continuing my series of articles on our modding community here at the NLSC, I’d like to explain why we place so much emphasis on asking for permission and giving appropriate credit when using someone else’s work.

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Monday Tip-Off: How To Choose Teams in Franchise Modes

Selecting when you want to start your franchise experience in NBA 2K17's MyLEAGUE & MyGM

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

I’ve been away camping over the weekend, so it’s been a few days since I played NBA 2K17. However, I can guarantee that it won’t be long before I’m picking up the controller once more, and returning to the virtual hardwood. So far, I’ve been playing a lot of MyCAREER and meeting up with the guys to play 2K Pro-Am, but I’m still very keen to return to my roots as a franchise gamer and begin a MyLEAGUE game. Of course, that’s something I might still hold off on until the opening night rosters have been pushed through.

In the meantime, I’m still mulling over a few ideas for what I’d like to do with MyLEAGUE. My first choice is always the Chicago Bulls, and their offseason acquisitions have made them an interesting option. I’m intrigued by the possibility of taking control of the Philadelphia 76ers, and I also really like the Charlotte Hornets’ branding. The team you choose to play a franchise game with obviously plays a huge role in how much you enjoy the experience, so I thought that for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’d discuss the selection process and offer up a few tips.

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Monday Tip-Off: When EA Sports & Visual Concepts Can’t Win

John Wall dunks in NBA Live 16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

When it comes to basketball video games, we have a responsibility to ourselves as consumers to be honest in our feedback. While it’s important to be constructive and refrain from childish insults, we don’t do ourselves any favours if we hold back on all negative criticism. Visual Concepts has a quality product in NBA 2K, but there are still areas in which the game can improve. With NBA Live, EA Sports still has a long road ahead of them. In both cases, our suggestions and criticisms can help in the development of future games.

In a previous Monday Tip-Off article, I discussed what it means to give constructive feedback. It’s important to keep that in mind when we’re talking about what we want out of future releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts, and I believe that for the most part, we do a great job of compiling useful feedback for both developers. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain issues, it’s hard for us to have a unified voice and reach a consensus, due to polarised opinions on certain features. When that happens, it’s tough for EA Sports or Visual Concepts to win with basketball gamers.

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Monday Tip-Off: Realism in Franchise Modes

MyLEAGUE & MyGM, NBA 2K17's Franchise Modes

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

As I mentioned in last week’s Friday Five, one of my goals for NBA 2K17 is to return to my roots as a franchise gamer, and spend a lot more time in MyLEAGUE. I’m still deciding which team (or teams) I’ll control, what kind of moves I might make, and whether or not I’ll experiment with league expansion and relocation in my primary MyLEAGUE game. As I mentioned in this thread, I generally prefer to maintain a certain level of realism when I play franchise modes, as I’ve discovered that making too many trades or using the fantasy draft options quickly leads to boredom, due to the more rapid departure from reality.

Of course, the very nature of franchise modes means that there will generally be some deviation from reality. Whether it’s a player’s stats, a team’s record, or the odd trade here and there, most of our franchise games are not going to be one hundred percent realistic. For many of us, it’s those small changes – or if we so choose, big changes – that make franchise modes so fun and enjoyable. At the same time, however, many of us do believe that franchise modes should be as realistic as possible, and are frustrated when our desired level of realism isn’t achieved. The question is: what actually constitutes realism in a franchise mode?

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Monday Tip-Off: Why We Don’t Charge For Mods

Modding the 2016 NCAA Tournament into NBA 2K14

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We have a good thing going here at the NLSC, especially when it comes to our modding community. Although the changes to the file formats beginning with NBA 2K15 PC have presented some challenges, our community remains dedicated to creating some outstanding mods. Fantastic work is also being done to keep old favourites up to date, and breathe new life into the retro basketball gaming experience. We can be proud of the work we do here.

Of course, every hobby or “scene” has its issues, and modding is no different. I’ve written about some of those issues in previous Monday Tip-Off and Friday Five articles, because I do want to see our community continue to get better and better. With the release of NBA 2K17 and a brand new season of modding looming on the horizon, I thought that I’d dive deeper into the reasons behind some of the rules and procedures in our modding community. This week, I’d like to discuss an issue that came up just the other day, which I realised we’ve never really explained in detail: why we don’t charge for mods.

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Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K

Dirk Nowitzki shoots the basketball in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

By now, you’ve probably heard that NBA 2K17 will feature revamped shooting controls on the Pro Stick, with the angle of the stick now determining whether or not your attempt is on target. While many of the early impressions suggest that it’s not as complex as it may sound, it’s something that basketball gamers will ultimately decide for themselves upon getting their hands on the game. Fortunately, for gamers who prefer to use the Shoot button, Mike Wang made it clear in his developer blog that it’s still going to be a viable option in NBA 2K17.

One of the things that made it difficult for me to get into the NBA 2K series all those years ago was its controls. I was accustomed to dribbling controls on the right stick, I didn’t care for the original approach to Isomotion, and I felt like the Shot Stick was overkill. With the Shot Stick becoming the Pro Stick in recent editions of NBA 2K, combining dribbling and shooting controls, I’ve definitely warmed up to the concept. However, when it comes down to it, I still prefer using the Shoot Button. With the changes in NBA 2K17, I now find myself wondering if I’ll change my approach.

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Monday Tip-Off: Stephen Curry Layup Glitch in NBA 2K16

Stephen Curry with the layup in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

A few weeks ago, I talked about having fun with glitches in basketball video games. I posted a video of an amusing glitch that occurred while performing a mid-air adjustment with Stephen Curry’s layup package, which saw the ball zoom off the screen before dropping straight back down and through the hoop for two. Since then, I’ve been able to trigger the glitch on more than one occasion. Quite often, the result is just an unrealistically high arcing adjusted shot, but a few times the ball has once again rocketed off the screen, presumably into the rafters.

To date, I’ve only encountered and tried to trigger the glitch while shooting around on Arcane’s MyCOURT, but I’d love to make it happen in a game of 2K Pro-Am, just to see if it does occur elsewhere. Whenever it has happened while shooting around in MyCOURT, I’ve made sure to capture a clip, which has allowed me to put together a short reel that I’d like to share with you today. Watch the compilation below, or check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

If you’d like to try and trigger the glitch yourself, I’ve had the most success pushing straight up on the right stick to execute one of Stephen Curry’s high arcing layups, and then hitting the Shoot button to perform the mid-air adjustment. However, simply using the Shoot button and pressing it again to adjust the shot has also worked. While glitches like this aren’t exactly what we or the developers are hoping to see, they’re certainly amusing, and fun to try out. As I said, I’d love to make the glitch happen in actual game of 2K Pro-Am. I have to imagine that doing so and making the shot would likely induce a ragequit; perhaps a justified response, in this particular instance.

Monday Tip-Off: Clickbait & Basketball Gaming

Paul George in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

At long last, we’re on the verge of getting trailers and substantial information on NBA 2K17! It’s been a quiet preview season, with gamer frustration coming to a head on social media last week following some ill-advised trolling by 2K community representatives. Many of us have been frustrated at the lack of news and previews, but with less than a month until the Early Tip-Off Weekend, it would seem that the wait is finally over, as the first gameplay trailer is reportedly set to be released this week.

Without much in the way of news, all we’ve been able to do is wish, want, and speculate. Even in the busier preview seasons of years gone by, a significant part of covering basketball video games has been wondering what if, and talking about what we want to see. When there is news, it’s going to be posted and analysed. Should anyone that’s producing basketball gaming content secure some kind of an exclusive – a tidbit of information, a developer interview – they’re obviously going to push and promote it, us included. All content creators want to build their audience and brand, but there’s an underhanded way of doing so.

It’s the bane of the Internet, and the basketball gaming community is certainly not immune from it. Today, we’re talking about clickbait.

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Monday Tip-Off: When Is It Time To Shelve Basketball Games?

DeMarcus Cousins dunks the basketball in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Last Friday night, the regular NLSC 2K Pro-Am crew got online to play a few games, as we usually do. As we’ve mentioned on the NLSC Podcast, and in the Forum, our record isn’t exactly stellar across our three Pro-Am teams, but we still enjoy getting in some games each week, picking up the occasional win here and there, and joking around on the party chat. We started our most recent session in high spirits, but after only a few games, we were feeling disenchanted and ready to call it a night.

I’m sure that Arcane, Kenny, and I will discuss it in more detail on this week’s Podcast, but in short, it was one of our worst sessions of 2K Pro-Am. Aside from our own mistakes – and the usual MyPARK cheese that spills over into 2K Pro-Am – we really seemed to be battling some gameplay quirks in all three contests. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but when we decided to call it a night early, I found myself wondering if I wanted to keep playing 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16. Mulling that over led me to ponder another question: when is it time to shelve basketball games?

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Monday Tip-Off: Pre-Order Bonuses & Basketball Video Games

Final NBA 2K17 Pre-Order Bonuses

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

By now, you’re probably aware that the 1992 Dream Team will be among the pre-order bonuses for NBA 2K17. While a lot of the pre-order bonuses are more or less cosmetic, adding the Dream Team for the first time since NBA 2K13 is offering users an enticing expansion to the game’s historical content. For at least some basketball gamers who might have been on the fence about pre-ordering the game, it’s a genuine incentive to put their money down. To that end, it’s certainly a smart business decision on the part of Visual Concepts.

However, from the point of view of the consumer, it’s also a disheartening practice that is all too common with video games these days. Whenever content is restricted to being a pre-order bonus – particularly content that feels like it should be included out of the box, and especially if it’s been featured in a previous title – there’s going to be controversy, and goodwill is going to be tested. It does lead me to ask the question: should content like the 1992 Dream Team be pre-order exclusive? For that matter, should basketball video games have pre-order exclusive content at all?

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Monday Tip-Off: Fun with Basketball Video Game Glitches

Headless Utah Jazz Players in NBA 2K11

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Although glitches are generally seen as a problem in gaming – and for good reason – they’re not always a bad thing. Sure, they aren’t a lot of fun when they cause games to crash and lock up, or ruin features and functionality, but when glitches are relatively harmless, they can be pretty funny. I wouldn’t say that it’s as common in basketball video games as it is in other genres, but there are even times when bugs and glitches can be advantageous, making certain tasks easier, or even completely bypassing difficult and tedious sections of a game. TV Tropes calls them Good Bad Bugs, and the speedrunning community obviously knows them very well.

A lot of people are probably familiar with the “Jesus Bynum” glitch that drew a lot of negative attention to the NBA Elite 11 demo. Although most people probably never experienced the glitch for themselves, it became a symbol of the game’s problems. While NBA Elite 11 was shaping up to be a disappointing game for other reasons before it was ultimately cancelled, the Bynum issue is really more of an example of a glitch that is fun and amusing; something weird that obviously shouldn’t be happening, but certainly funny when it does. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk a little about some amusing glitches today, and share a few of my favourites.

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Monday Tip-Off: Reflections on NBA Live Community Events

At EA Tiburon for the NBA Live 16 Community Event

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

When I logged into Facebook this morning, “On This Day” presented me with a look back at previous posts that I’d made on July 25th. As it happens, on this day last year, I made a post letting my friends and family know that I’d be heading to the United States in the near future. The trip was for an NBA Live 16 community event that was being held at EA Tiburon in Orlando, but as I didn’t have clearance to talk about it openly just yet, I held back on the details and simply posted a teaser photo. I also had to be very coy on the NLSC Podcast, when discussing upcoming playtesting sessions and expressing a desire to be a part of them.

The NBA Live 16 event was one of the best that I’ve ever attended. While the game still had a ways to go – then and now – it was fun to get some early hands-on time with it, and experience the improvements. I also really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with the developers and provide feedback to them directly. On top of all that, the whole event was extremely well-organised, with every detail taken care of, and maximum time allotted for gaming. Past events were fun and productive, but several years of organising them have definitely given EA Sports’ community managers the opportunity to make them better and better.

Since it’s been almost a year since the last one I attended, I thought that I’d reflect a little upon the NBA Live community events that I’ve been a part of. Hopefully, last year’s won’t be the last.

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Monday Tip-Off: Where Is The Preview Season?

Paul George with the layup in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

If you’re a regular listener of the NLSC Podcast, you’ll have heard me describe the current time of year as a very quiet period. After the initial flurry of deals, all of the major free agent signings are over and done with. There’s been Summer League play, of course, but here in the basketball gaming community, we’re anxiously awaiting the start of the preview season. With NBA Live 17 being pushed back to early 2017, we’re obviously not going to hear much about it for some time. NBA 2K17 will be dropping in mid September, but details on that release are similarly scarce.

That isn’t anything too out of the ordinary, though. Even when both titles have been released around the same time, Visual Concepts has often waited until almost the last minute before finally revealing the juiciest details on the next NBA 2K game. I would suggest that a lot of the time, the information has been worth waiting for, and the success of the series certainly speaks for itself. At the same time, I miss the days of getting a steady flow of information, and feeling really hyped about the upcoming releases.

As such, I find myself asking: where is the preview season?

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Monday Tip-Off: Enjoying a Flawed Basketball Video Game

NBA Live 16: Basketball

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

With message boards and social media providing us with a plethora of platforms to speak out on, we gamers are not shy about expressing our opinions on the games we play. It’s a key part of being a gaming community, and it serves an important purpose, given how much contact we now have with video game developers. It’s usually a bit easier to talk at length about the things that we don’t like rather than the things that we do, but in doing so, we are able to provide constructive feedback. While we may be a niche demographic compared to other genres, the basketball gaming community is no different in that regard.

The basketball games that we play have come a long way over the past couple of decades, and generally speaking, most of us have at least one release that we enjoy. We do have high expectations however, and when a particular title doesn’t measure up, we’ll certainly express our disappointment. The interesting thing is, although some basketball gamers will indeed put aside a game that they find disappointing, many others do continue to play games despite their frustration with glaring flaws. In short, even when a title is problematic, we often find a way to have fun with it.

So, how do we find ways to enjoy flawed basketball video games?

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