We certainly love our basketball games here at the NLSC, so when it comes to modes like Dynasty, Association, and MyCAREER, some of us like to share the experience with our fellow gamers. In the Basketball Video Game Stories section of the NLSC Forum, several gamers maintain story threads chronicling their adventures and achievements in the virtual NBA. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of interviews with some of our most prominent storytellers, to get an insight into their experiences and discover why they enjoy maintaining story threads.
It’s been a few months since our last feature, but we’re back today with a new interview. This time we’re chatting to Vespasian92, who has been around the Forum for a couple of years and is currently maintaining an NBA 2K15 story thread featuring his favourite team, the Sacramento Kings.
For those who haven’t checked them out yet – and for those who have followed them, for that matter – please tell us a little about your story thread(s).
My first Association thread was for 2K13 and I managed to get into a second season before an issue with my files and my own unhappiness with my format and progress closed it. Armed with 2K14 and some things I learned since then, I started again and am enjoying my current Kings Association much more. I am currently in the second year of this Association. I ended up making 3 or 4 deals in the first season to stay caught up with the Kings’ real life trades for Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay. Now I’m finally at a point where I can start making my own trades to build around Cousins and Gay.
What motivated you to begin and maintain a story thread?
A large part of it was probably the exciting revival of the Kings franchise with the new owner, front office, and arena deal. My increasing enjoyment in 2K games from 2K11 to 2K13 and 2K14 also contributed to me starting a thread. Hova’s Kings/Sonics 2K11 Association was the first story thread I read on the Forum and it inspired me to start my own.
What drew you to the mode you chose to play?
I have always enjoyed Associations far more than most other game modes. I like how playing a game and whatever stats your players get means something in an Association, instead of just a quick match. Considering the new management in Sacramento, I have hope of a return to the playoffs and the excitement of the 2000 era glory days of the Kings. It is fun for me to work towards these hopes in the virtual world.
Has maintaining a story thread enhanced your enjoyment of the games? If so, how?
Certainly. In the time it takes to play the games and work on the recaps and stories for my thread, I find the seasons going by at a slow, steady pace. I get to enjoy the journey and the challenge of gradually improving my team. I find myself thinking far ahead in terms of lineups, needs, and trades. Sometimes I have 2 or 3 future trade ideas already formed. I also second guess my ideas and go back and forth if I should keep considering a certain trade. Even though it doesn’t seem that way considering the number of real life trades I conducted, I like to plan ahead and not make too many hasty trades right away.
How did you decide on the style that you use for your story thread?
Initially, I decided on most of my formatting based on visual appearance. I try to find a good balance between the amount of text and the size of any images. In my first thread, I learned a lot about what worked well in my presentation. Some parts of the format changed a few times as I found better ways to post things, but other things were successful from the first try and didn’t need to be changed much.
What’s your favourite part of running a story thread?
I like the fact that keeping a thread helps me stick with it and to not exploit the AI with unbalanced trades. I enjoy sharing my progress of building a team realistically, instead of mortgaging the future by using my draft picks to trade for a star right away. The changes in other teams is also fun for other members to notice, such as Lance Stephenson joining the Heat in my Association.
What’s your least favourite part of running a story thread?
Of course, there will be lulls in the amount of comments on your thread, but I sometimes get tired of posting game recaps for the middle parts of the season. Between the beginning of the season and ASW/trade deadline, there are times when there isn’t anything new going on in the Association and, as a result, isn’t much for others to comment on. I think All-Star/deadline week and the offseason are so enjoyable in Association threads because they easily generate comments and input from other members.
Tell us about some of your favourite moments from your story thread(s).
I have always been someone who enjoys using his bench, and having a reserve step up and make me reconsider his place on my team is fun. In my first attempt at a thread, Will Barton did that for me. Right now I enjoy using Quincy Acy and Allen Crabbe more than their ratings and roles would suggest. I like finding underrated players and helping them exceed the expectations of the roster makers, other members, or even myself. My favorite moments would include a 21-17 game from Acy and a 30-point night from Allen Crabbe. Of course, I’ll have more moments to choose from once I get my team back into the postseason.
Which other story threads do you enjoy reading?
As I mentioned, the first thread I enjoyed was Hova’s Kings/Sonics story. Now, I like Phil’s longstanding Wizards Association and Martii’s Rockets. I’m really looking forward to Lamrock’s new Sonics Association too. I try to read most of the active ones though.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own story thread?
Most of this has been regurgitated before by the more experienced members, but I would say always pick a team and/or players that you enjoy using. It is easier to generate stories and to make trades if you are familiar with the personalities of your main players and the skills of your team.
Don’t be worried if you aren’t happy with your format or presentation style. It can always be changed later, and there is no single right way to maintain a thread. Some post paragraphs about every game, some only write monthy recaps, some simulate conversations between coaches, GMs, and players to tell the story, while others use lots of stats and images. Take a few ideas you like and try mixing them in together until you see what works best for you.
Comments aren’t the only way to know if people are following your thread. The number of views is probably a better indicator that people are enjoying your thread and keep checking back for any updates. But ultimately, having a “successful” thread shouldn’t be determined by comments or view counts. You will likely find yourself enjoying your Association much more than before.
Thanks again to Vespasian92 for taking part in this series of storyteller profiles! Be sure to check out his NBA 2K14 thread here, and his NBA 2K15 thread here. We’ll be posting more Story Thread Interviews in the future, so stay tuned!