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Monday Tip-Off

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Still Have Fun with Basketball Games?

NLSC Thrillho in a 2K Pro-Am game 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.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of basketball video games. It’s what we cover here at the NLSC, so unless you’re a Forum veteran who’s mostly sticking around for the chatter in the off-topic sections, basketball gaming is probably why you’re (hopefully!) visiting us on a regular basis. And if content related to basketball video games is what you’re after, then it’s quite likely that you’re very much into the hobby. In short, it’s probably safe to say that most of us around these parts are having fun with basketball games, in one way or another.

Or are we? Discussions about a game’s problems seem to have more steam than topics talking about how much fun we’re having. There are times when it seems that most of the conversations that aren’t related to modding are concerned with troubleshooting and complaints. Those are obviously valid and important issues to talk about, of course, but I do wonder why we’re not as eager to talk about our more positive experiences with hoops titles. As such, there are times when I think it’s fair to ask: do we still have fun with basketball games?

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Monday Tip-Off: Rethinking Basketball Game Reviews

Andre Drummond shoots the basketball 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.

Welcome to a new year of columns and other original content here at the NLSC! There should be plenty to talk about when it comes to basketball video games in 2017 as we continue to play NBA 2K17, await the release of NBA Live 17, and dust off old favourites from time to time. Whether it’s sharing advice or tales of our basketball gaming experiences, discussing ideas for upcoming releases, or critiquing certain aspects of the games, there should be no shortage of topics of conversation in our community and elsewhere.

I’d like to tip things off this year by talking a little about one of those topics: critiquing basketball video games. As consumers who want to get value for our money and the most enjoyment possible out of basketball games, we do need to be able to look at them with a critical eye to identify issues that we want to see fixed, and aspects that we’d like to see improvement in. However, I also think that we should always try to improve the way that we critique basketball games, so that we can make the most of the contact we have with the developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts. Of course, I’d like to see professional reviews improve as well.

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Monday Tip-Off: 30 Shots from Mid-Court in NBA 2K17

Shooting from mid-court on MyCOURT 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.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season, and managed to catch a couple of the Christmas Day games! As we wrap up the year here at the NLSC, I thought that I’d have some fun with this week’s Monday Tip-Off, and set myself a challenge in NBA 2K17. While shooting around in MyCOURT, I attempted three sets of thirty three-pointers from mid-court: thirty using the Shoot Button, thirty with the Shot Stick down, and thirty with the Shot Stick up. With the relatively low three-point ratings of a Playmaker point guard, and no Limitless Range Badge to help me out, would I be able to knock down some really long bombs with any kind of consistency?

Let’s take a look and find out just how many threes I was able to make from mid-court, and which method seemed to work best for me. Watch below, or tune in here over on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

Want to try out this challenge yourself? If you do give it a shot, be sure to post your results (and a link, if you make a video) in the comments section below, or join in the discussion in this thread over in the NBA 2K17 section of the NLSC Forum. I’m interested to see how much of an impact higher ratings have on mid-court heaves, and just how “limitless” the Limitless Range Badge really is! Have fun with the challenge, and thanks for checking out Monday Tip-Off throughout 2016; more columns, videos, and other fun stuff will be coming your way every Monday in 2017!

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Monday Tip-Off: Enjoy Basketball Games the Way You Want

Kyrie Irving dribbles the basketball 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.

Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us! We’re just six days away from Christmas, and for many of us, the season brings us a chance to kick back and relax with friends and family. Being gamers, I’d suggest that many of us will also be spending a bit of time in front of a PC or console, enjoying some new releases and old favourites alike. In this community, that probably means playing a basketball title or two. I’ll be spending a few days away with friends over New Year’s, but when I do have some time to myself, you can be bet that I’ll be playing some virtual hoops.

As we gear up to play basketball video games during this holiday season, and in the year ahead, I want to put something out there for the community to consider. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but considering how passionate we gamers can get about the hobby, I feel it’s worth mentioning from time to time. No matter what your skill level, preferred style of gameplay, or game mode of choice, please keep this in mind: you should enjoy basketball games the way that you want.

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Monday Tip-Off: Nothing’s Coming Up THRILLHO

NLSC Thrillho in a 2K Pro-Am game 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.

Yes, I’m going to talk about 2K Pro-Am again, and the ongoing attempts of NLSC THRILLHO to unlock logo importing. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles and on the NLSC Podcast, we’ve been enjoying the mode enough to get online for several sessions per week, but we’ve also had our fair share of frustrating moments. While we have to take responsibility for some of them – we’ve definitely made our fair share of mistakes, after all – there have been times when it’s felt like the game is out to get us. Maybe it’s the “NBA Live Series Center” text on our court; perhaps we should change that, if we want fairer treatment?

In all seriousness, I’ve made a point of saving clips of many of those moments, usually for the purposes of bug reports and Wishlist feedback. However, it’s gotten to the point where I can put together a “Shaqtin’ a Fool” type of reel, showcasing the times where NBA 2K17 made our jaws drop for all the wrong reasons. Since THRILLHO is a blatant reference to The Simpsons, it only made sense to title it after another memorable Milhouse quote. Without any further ado, please enjoy a highlight reel of the best of our worst, from bloopers to bugs, and several other frustrating and bizarre moments in between!

For some of the more positive moments we’ve had with NLSC THRILLHO, be sure to check out this thread in the NBA 2K17 section of the Forum. We’ll be posting more highlights there as soon as possible. Stay tuned for other video content as well, including Wayback Wednesday retrospectives, commentary in Monday Tip-Off, and a few other features that I hope you’ll enjoy.

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Monday Tip-Off: Fixing NBA 2K’s MyPLAYER Archetypes

Choosing MyPLAYER Archetypes 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.

When the concept of MyPLAYER Archetypes was first announced for NBA 2K17, it struck me as being a very good idea. It seemed like a great solution to the issue of gamers creating maxed out 7’3″ players, a practice that frequently upset the competitive balance in modes such as MyPARK and 2K Pro-Am. On top of injecting a little more realism into MyCAREER, MyPLAYER Archetypes seemed to be a logical answer to egregious min-maxing and gaming of the upgrade system in order to create overpowered players.

I maintain that it was a very good idea in theory, and something that should remain in future NBA 2K games. However, MyPLAYER Archetypes haven’t been quite as effective in preserving competitive balance as I would have hoped, as some gamers are still creating cheesy players. Conversely, in other ways they’re too restrictive, allowing for little variation between certain playing styles. Since we’re in the thick of Wishlist season, I thought that I’d throw out a few ideas that could possibly improve MyPLAYER Archetypes in NBA 2K18 and beyond.

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Monday Tip-Off: Crafting NBA Live’s Comeback

Derrick Rose on the New York Knicks 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.

Last week, we received a very small snippet of news about NBA Live 17, courtesy of a brief interview with Senior Producer Mike Mahar. While we still don’t know a lot about what’s happening with NBA Live, we do know that the development team is still working on a console version of the game, and that a release is slated for the first quarter of 2017. We also know that there’s a different team working on NBA Live Mobile (thus its development does not affect the console version), and thanks to Mike’s interview, we’ve discovered that gameplay, animations, and new ways to play certain game modes have been a focus.

Of course, when it comes to future NBA Live releases, the proof will be in the pudding. After all, we’ve heard those promises before, and while the series has made progress since its rocky return with NBA Live 14, there’s still plenty of untapped potential and room for improvement. I would really like to see NBA Live get back to where it once was, and I hope that whatever EA Sports is working on right now will be a big step in the right direction. What do I consider the “right direction”? Well, here’s how I would craft NBA Live’s comeback.

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Monday Tip-Off: Decorating MyCOURT & Mulling MyCAREER

Shooting around on a Chicago Bulls MyCOURT 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.

My NBA 2K17 MyPLAYER is currently sitting at 92 Overall, which means I’m getting close to hitting all the level caps and maxing out my ratings (at least without levelling up MyPARK rep, anyway). This also means that it takes several sessions of Doin’ Work to unlock the next upgrade. With only one Playmaker Badge left to unlock and upgrade through the MyPLAYER Store, and new ratings upgrades only becoming available every other in-game week or so, I’m currently earning more VC than I can spend on improving my abilities.

As such, I can spare more VC to spend on frivolities such as MyPLAYER clothing, and decorating MyCOURT. Having purchased a few of my favourite jerseys and outfitted MyPLAYER with Michael Jordan’s shoes and uniform, I decided that MyCOURT could use some rebranding. I definitely like the changes I’ve made and I’m enjoying MyCAREER a lot, though I have to admit that I’ve been thinking about my future. Normally, I’d prefer to stay put with the team that drafted me, but as of late, I can’t help thinking that I should keep my options open.

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Monday Tip-Off: Fixing NBA 2K’s Grading Logic

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.

Something that I’ve complained about on the Podcast, as well as in previous columns and most recently in this Forum thread, is the problematic nature of the grading logic in NBA 2K. Although there have been some subtle improvements in recent years, it’s extremely rare that I play a game of MyCAREER or 2K Pro-Am where I’m not hit with a deduction that leaves me grumbling, and wondering how the grading logic figures that I should be penalised. Even in situations where my grade should take a hit, there are deductions that seem needlessly harsh.

Of course, at a certain point you need to channel those complaints into something more constructive, namely suggestions and solutions. Since we’ve tipped off the NBA 2K18 Wishlist, it’s come time to start talking about some of the improvements and additions we want to see, and how we believe certain problems should be addressed. Since I’ve been playing a lot of 2K Pro-Am and MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, my issues with the grading logic sprang immediately when I was considering what I wanted to talk about this week. Without any further ado, here is an outline of how I feel the grading logic can be fixed in future NBA 2K releases.

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Monday Tip-Off: How Danilo Gallinari Became My Least Favourite Teammate

Danilo Gallinari in a MyCAREER game 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.

Playing through MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, I’ve learned a few things. One, never underestimate the importance of Badges; they really help give your player an extra boost. Two, when you’re a point guard playing for the Denver Nuggets and you’re looking to rack up a lot of assists, Justice Young and Kenneth Faried will happily oblige with baskets on catch-and-shoot and pick-and-roll opportunities respectively. And three, getting on the Italian cover of NBA 2K17 has clearly gone to Danilo Gallinari’s head…well, his virtual counterpart’s head, at any rate.

Halfway through my rookie season, the Nuggets are clearly the Orange Juice show. Yes, that still sounds a bit silly to say, but the point is, Justice and I have clearly taken over, and the team is thriving as a result. It seems that Danilo Gallinari didn’t get the memo though, because his play and attitude in practice and in games seems to suggest that he believes himself to be the star of the team. He still plays his role and he hasn’t cost us any games – yet, anyway – but there are times when it feels like he’s keen to impeach The President of Basketball. I have nothing against the real Gallo, but in MyCAREER, he’s become my least favourite teammate.

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Monday Tip-Off: You’ve Said That Already, We Get It

Kyrie Irving dribbles the basketball 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.

I have a revelation that’ll probably make a lot of music fans in our community chuckle. My favourite band is the Barenaked Ladies. What can I say? I was a teenager in the late 90s, “One Week” was a hit, and to this day, I like the stuff they’re putting out. Anyway, on the same album as “One Week” was another song that charted: “It’s All Been Done“. The lyrics deconstruct and critique clichéd romantic gestures, framed in the context of a relationship that spans across reincarnation (or possibly immortality), literally or metaphorically depending on your interpretation. Its conclusion is right there in the title: it’s all been done.

What’s the point I’m ham-fistedly trying to get at here? Well, when a community or fandom has been around for a while, long-time members are bound to suffer a touch of déjà vu when certain topics arise. The current NLSC Forum has been open since November 2002, so naturally there are going to be some recurring topics. That’s to be expected, and to be fair, they’re often given a new spin. Unfortunately, some of us do get carried away when it comes to certain subjects, and if we’ve been around for a while, chances are other people have grown weary of our beating the same drum over and over again. To borrow BnL’s lyrics, it’s all been done – or rather, said – before.

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Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER (So Far) in Pictures

Orange Juice Billboard in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

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 discussed in a recent Friday Five column, despite my resolution to return to my roots as a franchise gamer in NBA 2K17, I’ve been drawn into MyCAREER once again. I’m definitely enjoying the less intrusive storyline, getting to spend more time on the virtual hardwood instead of in cutscenes, and improving my MyPLAYER for use in 2K Pro-Am. With the 2017 season looming, I am looking forward to starting a MyLEAGUE game soon, but I expect that I’ll also continue to play MyCAREER over the next several months.

On top of the endorsement deals that result in billboards, advertisements, and so forth, MyCAREER includes opportunities to develop connections with NBA players and other personalities. Following the completion of your social and business obligations, photographs of magazine covers, advertisements, and certain events you’ve attended can be accessed through the in-game phone. Some of them are pretty funny, while others are somewhat terrifying. Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos so far, with a disclaimer that what is seen cannot be unseen.

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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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