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NLSC Podcast #284: The Long and Winding Road to 99

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Episode #284 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Kenny and I are discussing the Road to 99 in MyCAREER, and the player progression systems in both NBA 2K and NBA Live.

We tip things off with a quick recap of some recent NBA Live 19 news, namely the return of LIVESTRIKE Events. Following the news round-up, we dive right into this week’s discussion topic: the Road to 99. Our conversation includes an update on our own journeys on the Road to 99, the way Cap Breakers differ between Archetypes, and the rewards at each tier. This also leads to comparisons with NBA Live 19’s progression system, as well as the progression systems from previous NBA Live and NBA 2K games. By the end of our discussion, we have a few thoughts on what we’d like to see in both career modes moving forward.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on the Road to 99 in career modes? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: Masking the Inner Workings of Gameplay

Clipping issues create canned moments that require better masking (NBA 2K19)

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on a challenge that basketball titles are still facing: masking the inner workings of certain gameplay mechanics.

Game development isn’t easy. It’s something that is all too easy to forget when we’re grumbling and making snide remarks about a game we’re unhappy with. That’s not to say that we cannot and should not be critical, and then channel that into constructive feedback. After all, that’s how we can take an active role in the development of the games that we play. However, we do need to keep in mind that creating a realistic and enjoyable basketball game isn’t as simple as typing plain English into a file, and then saving it as a program. Unfortunately, coding just doesn’t work that way.

Indeed, there is a certain amount of trickery when it comes to designing video games. Like a magic act, various techniques are used to create illusions and cover up how it’s done. Of course, a magic trick is ruined if you spot wires, gimmicks, or the moves that make it happen. Similarly, the special effects in older movies can be very distracting, whether it’s the strings holding up puppets, or primitive CGI. The analogy here is that sometimes when we’re playing a basketball game such as NBA Live or NBA 2K, we can spot the strings, see through the sleight of hand, or notice the shortcomings in the special effects. Masking those tricks is an important challenge in future games.

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NLSC Podcast #283: A Chat With Izzy Snow

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Episode #283 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, my guest co-host is Izzy Snow, long-time community member, content creator, and the NBA Live 14 Gamer of the Year!

Izzy Snow joins the show to discuss his recent experiences with the full version of NBA Elite 11. This leads to a discussion of whether it was better for EA Sports to cancel the game outright, or if it would’ve been less damaging to release it and weather the bad reviews. We also talk about the current state of NBA Live and offer up some further thoughts on the issues with game modes, particularly Ultimate Team. In addition to revisiting NBA Live 06 on Xbox 360 and the question of where NBA Live needs to go from here, we also talk changes in the community, the need for competition, gaming habits as we get older, PC gaming and modding, NBA Playgrounds, and how Izzy became the NBA Live 14 Gamer of the Year back in 2014.

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Thanks once again to Izzy for joining the show this week, and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics that we discussed. Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: What NBA 2K Can Learn From Mortal Kombat 11

Start-Up Frames Explanation in Mortal Kombat 11

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how NBA 2K could stand to take a few cues from Mortal Kombat 11.

The fact that I’ve been running a site dedicated to basketball gaming for eighteen years may lead you to believe that hoops games are all that I play, but in fact, I do enjoy quite a few other genres. As a gamer growing up in the 90s, there weren’t many games as cool (or should I say, kool) as Mortal Kombat. The MK series has obviously been very popular and successful through the years, and like many other gamers, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Mortal Kombat 11 last week. My copy arrived, I finished story mode in a single sitting, and am now looking forward to new kontent.

Fighting games and basketball games don’t have a whole lot in common – the cameos by Mortal Kombat characters in NBA Jam aside – but as I was going through all of the advanced tutorials in MK11, I was struck by their depth compared to NBA 2K’s 2KU. In addition to explaining the basic controls, Mortal Kombat 11’s tutorials provide a deep dive into the game’s mechanics, teaching gamers the fundamentals for playing competitively online and offline. With NBA 2K leaning so heavily on meta-gaming and mastering the minutia of its mechanics, there’s much that it could – and should – take from NetherRealm Studios’ latest release.

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NLSC Podcast #282: A Tale of Six MyCAREER Stories

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Episode #282 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Arcane and I are discussing the story-driven approach to MyCAREER that was introduced back in NBA 2K14.

After a quick round-up of the news, including an upcoming NBA Street event in NBA Live 19 and the latest patch for NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, we dive into this week’s main topic: MyCAREER stories. We begin with our overall impressions of the story-driven approach to MyCAREER over the past six games, and then move on to discuss each game’s story in detail. Along the way, we identify what we’ve liked and disliked the most about each tale and MyCAREER stories in general, and suggest ways that the approach could improve as a new generation looms.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on MyCAREER stories? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Empty Neighborhoods of NBA 2K PC

Deserted Cages in NBA 2K PC

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on the lack of online activity in NBA 2K PC, as evident by the empty Neighborhoods outside of the US servers.

Since the launch of the current console generation, I’ve been picking up NBA 2K on both PC and PlayStation 4. This has led to a balancing act that usually results in one of the platforms being largely neglected. Because I’ve played a lot of 2K Pro-Am with the rest of the NLSC squad on PS4, the copy that’s usually gone to waste for me is the PC version. This year, I’ve made a better effort to play both of my copies, and had a lot of fun doing so. I’m almost at the point where I have a second MyPLAYER on PC at 90 Overall, and I’ve built up decent MyTEAM squads on both platforms.

However, while both platforms have been viable in terms of providing an enjoyable single player experience, it’s a different matter when it comes to online play. In short, if it’s a multiplayer experience I’m after, I’m choosing the PS4 over the PC every time. The simple reason for that is with the way The Neighborhood in particular functions, I’ve found it impossible to get a game. Firing up MyCAREER and loading into The Neighborhood drops you into an eerily empty and quiet game world, with no one in sight to play with or against. It’s not quite the same on the US servers, but for those of us in other regions, NBA 2K PC is a ghost town online.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Evolution of MyCOURT

Lodge MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the evolution of MyCOURT in NBA 2K’s MyCAREER.

When MyCOURT was first announced for NBA 2K15, it struck me as a gimmicky premise that wasn’t really worth getting excited about. In all fairness, my reaction was partly due to NBA 2K14 souring me on MyCAREER after really enjoying the mode in NBA 2K13, but even putting that aside, it sounded like a superfluous feature that was banking on 2K’s ever expanding “My” branding. As it turned out, MyCOURT has proven to be both a visually appealing hub for MyCAREER, and a means to get a hang of your player, try out custom jumpshots, and play some fun games.

Even as MyCAREER has adopted The Neighborhood as its primary game hub, our MyCOURT remains an important part of the game world. It’s also been revamped and renovated since its debut in NBA 2K15, with some cool designs and new mini-games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Repaving the Road to 99

Level Rewards on the Road to 99 (NBA 2K19 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. This week, I’m tipping things off with some ideas on how to improve the Road to 99 in future iterations of NBA 2K’s MyCAREER.

The Road to 99 is a smart concept. From our point of view, it’s a good incentive to keep playing and levelling up in MyCAREER, providing both rewards and a feeling of accomplishment. Not unlike the Trophies and Achievements, we can get a high from unlocking new rewards, and seeing our Overall Rating climb higher and higher. From 2K’s perspective, it’s a brilliant way of encouraging engagement, and of course, microtransactions. After all, the quickest way to level up and get all that cool stuff is to buy VC for some quick boosts!

All cynicism over recurrent revenue mechanics aside, it is a fun concept, providing some added purpose to levelling up as high as you can. It gives the Overall Rating more meaning, and with some of the abilities that we can unlock, aptly represents the kind of influence players can have as they become stars and franchise cornerstones. Of course, while the Road to 99 is a great idea, it could be better implemented. Some milestones could be placed elsewhere on the Road to 99, while other logical rewards aren’t on offer at all. To that end, I’m taking a shot at repaving the Road to 99, with a few suggestions on how to handle the milestones and their rewards moving forward.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Annual Return to Square One

Starting a new MyCAREER in NBA 2K19

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at one of the biggest problems in basketball gaming: the annual return to square one.

Being that I’m a content creator within the basketball gaming community, I have an obligation to pick up the new games every year. Of course, the whole reason that I create content for basketball games is that I have a keen interest in the genre, so even if I wasn’t running the NLSC, I’m sure that I’d be buying them every year anyway; it’s not just content creators that are getting the games on an annual basis, after all. NBA 2K in particular continues to sell an impressive number of copies year in and year out, due to loyal gamers making an annual investment in the brand.

As a community, we do this because we generally get enjoyment out of the games. We want to be able to play in the current NBA season with up to date rosters, enjoy new content in the team building and career modes, and reap all the other benefits that the annual releases have to offer. However, there are drawbacks to the games coming out annually, with one issue in particular being guaranteed. Even if we put aside the possibility of a new game being inferior to its predecessor, even if we like the latest game just as much or better than the one that came before it, there’s no getting around the fact that we lose all of our progress when we go back to square one every year.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Improve NBA 2K’s Retro Teams

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five ways that retro teams could be improved and better utilised in future NBA 2K games.

I know I’ve talked about retro teams a lot over the past few weeks in The Friday Five, but there are just so many intriguing possibilities. I’m taking a break from suggesting specific squads that I’d like to see added, and instead taking a look at how retro teams could be put to even better use in future iterations of NBA 2K. The current approach is certainly satisfactory for the most part, and in terms of providing extra content, it’s a long way ahead of what NBA Live is offering. Nevertheless, there are ways in which the retro teams could be handled better.

Obviously, there are other priorities to consider when it comes to the quality of future NBA 2K titles. Refining player movement and physics is important. Achieving a good balance between online and offline play is an ongoing challenge. Addressing issues with the amount of grinding and fairness of recurrent revenue mechanics is something that absolutely needs to be sorted out. However, there is room to discuss ideas for the bonus content, and indeed, the prevalence of retro teams in NBA 2K has more or less established them as a key part of the experience, year in and year out. To that end, here are five ways to improve NBA 2K’s retro teams!

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 11)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is part eleven in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

It’s just about time for me to be moving on to some other topics with the Friday Five, as I’ve been covering retro teams I’d like to see in future NBA 2K games for a month now. However, I do have another five teams that I thought of while planning these features, so I figured I’d wrap things up for now and come back with new lists later on down the road. After all, this may be the last list for now, but I’m sure more teams will occur to me. As I’ve said, when you look beyond former champions, their opponents, and other noteworthy teams, you can come up with some fun and unorthodox ideas.

There are certainly some teams in Part 11 that fit that description! With the current decade drawing to a close, I’ve also looked to include a couple more retro teams from the past ten years, as some of them are becoming nostalgic in their own right. If I can talk about NBA 2K17 in Wayback Wednesday, then I can surely include a few teams from the early 2010s on these lists! As with my previous features, I’m making these suggestions in addition to the teams I’ve already mentioned; I’d still like to see those teams in NBA 2K as well. I’m also assuming that enough of the necessary players will be licensed, if they’re not in the game already. With that said, let’s get to the list!

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 10)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is part ten in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

With this list of retro teams, I’ve reached a total of fifty throwback squads that I feel would make fun additions to NBA 2K! Although I’ve already covered many of the obvious choices in previous lists, thinking back through over seventy years of NBA history offers up a continuous stream of possibilities. As I’ve noted in my previous articles, some of the recently added retro teams open the door for squads beyond former champions, their opponents, and other great teams of note. Just because a team didn’t achieve great success in real life doesn’t mean that they aren’t fun to play with.

To that end, here are five more retro teams that would be fun to have in NBA 2K by default! Once again, these squads don’t override my previous suggestions; they’re all teams that I’d be interested in seeing included in future games. These suggestions are also assuming that all of the key players (or at least most of them) can be licensed, if they’re not in the game already. After all, it would defeat the purpose of adding new retro teams if they can’t even field five real players, preferably their actual starting five (though NBA 2K does currently include retro teams that are missing one of their regular starters). With all that being said, let’s get to the list!

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 9)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is part nine in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

While I was mulling over ideas for Part 8 of this series on retro teams I’d like to see in future NBA 2K games, I ended up with enough squads for Parts 9, 10, and 11 as well. Originally, I intended to space those articles out over the next few months so as not to run the topic into the ground, but since we’re on the heels of submitting our Wishlists for NBA 2K20 and NBA Live 20, I’m still in the mood to talk about content that I’d like to see. Besides, I had fun capturing the necessary screenshots and I’m eager to put them to use, so for this week at least, I’m going back to back with Part 9.

As with the previous lists, I’m exploring some unorthodox ideas for retro teams, as the squads that have been added in recent years go beyond the obvious choices of former champions, their opponents, and other teams with notable success. Once again, I must also emphasise that the latest list of suggestions doesn’t override or cancel out any of my previous suggestions; they’re just more teams that I’d like to see included in future games. As always, these suggestions are being made under the assumption that all of the necessary players, or at least an ample amount of them, will be licensed. Without any further ado, here are five more retro teams to consider!

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Second Annual March Modness Is Underway

NLSC March Modness

March Modness is back for 2019! I liked the idea of last year’s event and was glad to see people in the community getting involved, so this is the next step in making it an annual event.

Basically, March Modness is both a celebration of modding, and a giveaway. In addition to our usual File Additions bulletins and spotlighting any big releases that come out during the month of March, contributors to our Downloads section will have a chance to win a copy of either NBA Live 20 or NBA 2K20 later this year, just by releasing their work.

To enter, all you need to do is release a mod and upload it to our Downloads section during the month of March 2019, with “March Modness” in the description. The mod may be for any PC version of NBA Live or NBA 2K, but it must be your own work and remain hosted in our Downloads section. Please see below for the full terms and conditions of entry, and good luck!

Once again, I’ll be getting into the spirit myself with a few releases. There are some projects that I’m working on that have been taking longer than anticipated, but I’ll be doing my best to get at least a couple of them out this month. Stay tuned for more details, and hopefully some great releases throughout our second annual March Modness!

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 8)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is part eight in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

It’s been six months since my last five suggestions for retro teams that I’d like to see added in future NBA 2K games. I’ve covered a lot of obvious squads among the 35 mentioned so far, but new suggestions still spring to mind. As I noted in my previous articles, some of the retro teams that have been added in recent years have opened the door for more unorthodox choices. Past champions, their opponents, and other teams that had a significant amount of success are always candidates for inclusion, but there are also less distinguished squads that are interesting for other reasons.

Whatever it is that made them interesting and significant in their own right, they strike me as being fun teams to play with in NBA 2K. Once again, these suggestions do not override the squads I mentioned in previous parts of this series; they’re all retro teams that I believe would be great additions to NBA 2K’s roster of historical content. Also, these lists are based on the idea that the necessary players can be licensed, assuming of course that they aren’t in the game already. It would be rather pointless to add these teams if the major players aren’t represented, after all. With that being said, here are my latest suggestions for additional retro teams!

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