The following supplemental document was submitted along with the NBA Elite 11 Wishlist.
In previous Wishlist Supplements, I’ve gone into great detail about certain aspects of the game the community would like to see improved. Looking back, I realise that this approach was often long-winded and repetitive, with the Wishlist already explaining the things that we want to see. With this year’s supplement, I felt it would be more appropriate to provide a more concise rundown of the community’s reaction to NBA Live 10 while touching upon what we feel are the most important issues and necessary improvements looking ahead to NBA Elite 11.
NBA Live 10 made a lot of strides in terms of gameplay and the product out of the box was a huge improvement on NBA Live 09. Amongst its strengths were definitely the greater use of playbooks and the refinements to Dynamic DNA which saw teams and plays playing as you would expect them to in real life. Scoring distribution seemed accurate for the most part and the general consensus seems to be that it’s a fun game to play. Gameplay-wise, NBA Live 10 did a great job out of the box.
However, there are a few issues both pre and post patch which should be cleaned up in NBA Elite 11. Among the most obvious and frustrating gameplay quirks is the CPU’s ability to intercept passes and knock the ball loose on drives. The CPU seems to have an unfair advantage here, catching passes blindly or taking advantage of the user throwing an unnecessarily sloppy pass or being unable to maintain control of the ball on a drive attempt. The user has a tough time returning the favour at the other end, especially post patch.
The fix that allowed the CPU to “improvise” when the play broke down added by the first update unfortunately didn’t work as well as intended as it often led to the CPU flat out ignoring its playbook and improvising too early, with too many out-of-range jumpshot attempts by big men with over sixteen seconds left on the shot clock.
Another troubling issue is the way fouls are called in NBA Live 10. The CPU is able to draw shooting fouls too easily and ends up shooting a lot more free throws than the user (the reverse of a problem seen in earlier Lives where the CPU would hardly get any free throw attempts). Ideally there should be a bit more balance here. Balance is probably the name of the game when it comes to describing a lot of the gripes offline players seem to have with NBA Live 10 especially following the updates, as it feels like the CPU has an unfair advantage on the difficulty levels (while the easier levels are too easy for seasoned players). There’s still a bit too much of the CPU seeming to play with superhuman abilities and doing things that the user cannot, which leads to more frustration than a feeling of being properly challenged by the AI.
Obviously the AI needs help to keep things interesting and give it a chance against human intelligence but things like the CPU hitting a decent percentage of desperate turnaround threes to beat the shot clock, breezing through the user’s defense while putting up a wall in the paint at the other end and benefitting from significantly more foul calls suck a lot of the fun out of the game.
A lot of the gameplay wishes come down to NBA Live 10 being a solid foundation that should be able to be effectively built upon with tweaks and fixes here and there. From my own experience and judging from the posts I’ve read in the NLSC Forum, I think it’s fair to say that while the updates helped with online play some of the intended fixes didn’t work out so well for offline play and Dynasty gamers. Going back to NBA Live 10’s out of the box gameplay and building upon it would, I feel, satisfy online and offline gamers alike in NBA Elite 11.
NBA Live 10’s main weakness was a Dynasty Mode in desperate need of an overhaul/update and a general lack of game modes. All-Star Weekend Mode in particular was missed and while there were imperfections and room for improvement, its absence removed some of the variety from the game as well as depth of experience in Dynasty Mode. Even if it returned as it was or with some very small upgrades, I think most gamers would appreciate having it back and make use of it.
A quality Dynasty Mode is a must for the NBA Live series as it remains one of the most – if not the most – popular offline gaming modes. As I mentioned in my NBA Live 10 review, Dynamic Season is a welcome addition and I’d love to see it say because it caters to a different desire than Dynasty Mode but many of us still want to live out our own NBA fantasies with trades, free agency, scouting and drafting players, all of that. It’s what keeps our interest going until the next NBA Live comes out.
We’ve gone into a fair amount of detail with the Wishlist itself, so I’ll basically just give a rundown of the most important issues: realistic simulated stats, better trade logic, multi-player options, options for shorter season lengths, the traditional reorder roster menu, menus without too much back and forth, improved rookie generation, more front office/owner tasks and training facilities are, in the simplest terms, amongst the things most fans want to see in Dynasty Mode. With NBA Live 10 making strides in gameplay, a lot of people (myself included) seem to feel that NBA Elite 11 would benefit from similar attention to the game modes, starting with Dynasty. That way, NBA Elite 11 should be an excellent all-around game.
From a presentation standpoint, NBA Live 10 showed a lot of improvement with the different atmosphere settings, arena specific chants and so forth. All of that stuff has been pretty well received and should absolutely be a part of the game as atmosphere is definitely important. However, seeing what NCAA Basketball 10 was able to accomplish with its ESPN and CBS Integration, there is a desire to see further improvements made in NBA Elite 11 to truly create an authentic broadcast feel.
Touching on the subject of a PC release for a moment, we realise there are certain business challenges and the like when it comes to the PC platform, but we feel that there is certainly a market for PC gaming as evident by the other popular titles that have seen PC releases as well as the reception to NBA 2K9 and NBA 2K10, both of which have received PC releases. There is a rabid fanbase of basketball gamers who are anxiously awaiting the game to be ported to the PC and would be very supportive of such a release. Having said that, we are also keen to bring the patching culture to the consoles by way of official tools, facilities such as the EA Locker to share files and expanded creation modes including Create-a-Team and Create-a-Jersey.
There are a myriad of other additions and fixes that we’d like to see that are already covered in depth by the Wishlist, so it would be redundant for me to repeat them here. In closing however, we hope that our Wishlist will be useful in the development of NBA Elite 11 and that careful consideration can be given to as many wishes as is feasible within one production cycle. I feel confident in saying that there are plenty of people within the community – myself included – who would gladly provide constructive feedback on any number of aspects of the game in the interest of helping to make NBA Elite 11 the best game it can be and would be grateful and eager of any opportunity to do so.