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 back at a memorable MyCAREER season, and a few thoughts on moving on from the mode.
Last week, I completed my second MyCAREER season in NBA 2K19. It’s the first time that I’ve played through two whole seasons in MyCAREER, as I usually find myself losing interest or running out of time before the next game is released. This year however, I felt motivated to play a second campaign. Even though I’d vowed to move on from career modes this year, I did get stuck into MyCAREER when our NLSC 2K Pro-Am squad decided to give online play another try in NBA 2K19. Even when we called it quits, I found that I was hooked on the NBA side of things.
After making it to 90 Overall and winning the championship in my rookie campaign, I decided that I wanted to make my sophomore season one to remember. Although I’d normally consider myself a sim gamer, the current approach to MyCAREER doesn’t favour a realistic style of play. As such, I resolved to put up ridiculous numbers, aim for as many records as possible, and in short, utterly destroy the league. With Year 2 now in the books, I can confidently say that it’s a case of mission accomplished! My numbers were crazy from start to finish, and having completed another MyCAREER season, I’m feeling like I can move on from the mode, in NBA 2K19 and beyond.
Late in my first season, with my attributes sufficiently beefed up and plenty of time on the sticks, I began mastering the art of stat padding; in particular, chasing triple-doubles. My numbers quickly began to skew from All-Star to All-Time Great, and I ended the regular season averaging 40.5 ppg, 16.5 apg, 7.8 rpg, 2.8 spg, and 1.3 bpg, rewriting the record books along the way. That performance continued in the Playoffs where I managed to average a triple-double throughout the postseason, having grown accustomed to chasing down at least ten rebounds to go along with my double-digit scoring and assist numbers. When I tipped off Year 2, that style of play was ingrained.
This meant that I opened my second MyCAREER season averaging a triple-double. I naturally wondered if I could maintain that average for the entire campaign, a thought that encouraged me to commit to a second season. Accepting the challenge, I kept playing MyCAREER even though our squad’s Jordan Rec Center sessions began to ebb. There were some close calls early on, but I kept up a triple-double average in points, assists, and rebounds, as well as a consecutive triple-double streak (albeit with one of them being points, assists, and steals). I was also grinding hard for Cap Breakers and Badges, eventually maxing out all Badges and hitting 92 Overall.
It felt very satisfying to hit both of those goals. Reaching 92 Overall meant that I no longer had to go to the Gatorade Gym every five games to recharge my boost, which allowed for uninterrupted sessions offline and online. Maxing out my Badges earned a PlayStation Trophy, and made the grinding feel worthwhile. I couldn’t envision going much further than 92 Overall on the Road to 99, so getting there with maxed Badges and actually enjoying the journey was very gratifying. Indeed, everything I did in my second MyCAREER season was about the satisfaction of meeting my self-imposed challenges. I’m not suggesting that I’m an elite NBA 2K19 gamer because of it.
With that being said, I continued to play NBA 2K19 on a regular basis, usually at least one game per day to take advantage of the Daily Bonus rewards. This allowed me to build up a significant amount of VC, which I eventually put to use when the Michael Jordan 20th Anniversary packs dropped in MyTEAM (and I pulled a Pink Diamond MJ in the process). I’m proud to say that I lived up to my vow that I would not buy any VC in NBA 2K19, though after a certain point, building up VC is less of a problem than grinding MyPOINTS for Cap Breakers. Once again, I didn’t think I’d get much further than 92 Overall, but I was definitely satisfied to get that far.
As my triple-double streak entered double digits, I felt mounting pressure to keep it going. I knew that I didn’t have to hit a triple-double every game in order to average one, but I took pride in the streak. I also found myself eager to maintain the absurd averages of over 60 points and 20 assists per game; actually not an impossible feat when playing on twelve minute quarters. Over the course of the season, I had four 100-point games, including a personal best 125 points late in the year. I also had a 37-assist outing, falling just short of the ridiculous 43 assists I posted in the Playoffs of my rookie campaign. With Andre Drummond out, I also led the league in rebounds.
Leading the league in rebounds also became a goal, as it’s one of the accolades that qualify your player for the Hall of Fame. I was dismayed when Drummond returned to action and finally played in enough games to qualify for the league leaders again, as my 14.4 rpg fell to second place. My total was higher though, and finishing the season tops in that category did indeed achieve the tenth and final accolade I needed to make it to Springfield. When I finally do decide to retire this player, I’ll be able to see the cutscene. That was another goal of playing through a second MyCAREER season, so I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I saw I’d locked that up.
My triple-double streak came to an end in the 50s, shortly after I’d surpassed Russell Westbrook’s record for most in a season by getting them all consecutively. When the streak ended, I had a chance to get my tenth rebound in the waning seconds, only to have Marcin Gortat – an offseason signee – steal it from me. Gortat was already one of my least favourite teammates by that point, so feeling extremely petty, I went into the rotation and took him out of the lineup! I also encouraged the team to try to trade for J.J. Redick, in order to add strengthen the bench’s perimeter attack. I was surprised when they pulled off the swap in exchange for Omer Asik. Score one for GarPax!
Another goal for the year was to go undefeated. I’ve noticed that when playing twelve minute quarters, AI opponents have severe lapses late in the quarter which allows for big runs. This means that even if the game is close at the start, there are stretches that allow you run out to insurmountable leads. It’s a sign that the mode is really intended to be played on shorter quarter lengths, but I feel a pedantic need to play on regulation settings. My record-setting numbers combined with these AI lapses allowed the team to go 82-0 on the season, an overachievement to say the least! There’s commentary that acknowledges topping 70 wins, but sadly nothing specific for going undefeated.
When it was all said and done, I had 81 triple-doubles in 82 games, with 63.5 ppg, 21.6 apg, 14.4 rpg, 6.3 spg, and 1.9 bpg. I’d tallied quadruple-doubles, set records, shot 75-65-92 on the year, had 82 40-point games, 69 50-point games, and won my second All-Star MVP, regular season MVP, and DPOY trophies. I was top ten in totals for every category, with 5211 points, 1181 rebounds, 1771 assists, 514 steals, and 159 blocks. I had enough points, assists, and rebounds around the 60 game mark to lock up the triple-double average, so the rest of the schedule was filled with as much stat padding as I could muster. The result was a campaign for the ages.
At times, it did get boring. Chasing stats does get very repetitive, especially when playing twelve minute quarters. What kept things interesting was setting a specific goal for the upcoming game, or challenging myself to get stats in a certain way (e.g. no points until I hit ten assists). Rewriting the record books and seeing just how high I could get the season totals also added drama, forcing me to go above and beyond the already crazy averages. I ended with the top totals and averages for points, assists, and steals in a season, the best field goal and three-point percentages, and the five best single game marks in points, assists, and steals all-time, to name but a few records.
The Playoffs saw more of the same. I swept my way to the championship, averaging a triple-double (registering one in every game), and tallying the most points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks in the postseason, also averaging the top mark in the first four categories. I wasn’t able to hit the 100-point mark, but with games of 89 and 88 points, I did beat my own record of 86 set during my rookie season. Mindful of the bug that forced me to replay the championship-clinching game in my first year, I simulated the final 57.5 seconds of Game 4 with the game well in hand. I successfully avoided any connection errors, and put a bow on an historic MyCAREER season!
Although I enjoyed the journey and was glad to have played a second MyCAREER season, I was undoubtedly ready for it to be done by the time the Finals rolled around. As I mentioned, I feel the need to play on regulation-length quarters, and that does turn seasons into quite a marathon. I’m coming around to the idea of simulating more when I do finally return to franchise gaming, but I did want to play the entire second year (aside from those final 57.5 seconds) in order to achieve some ridiculous stats and make it to the Hall of Fame. I got my own shoe when I maxed out my fans at 35.8 million, and reached 93 Overall to get access to the VIP club and Prize Wheel. Score!
At this point, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it through a third season; certainly not without simulating and/or reducing the quarter length. I feel like I could possibly do that, and I might mess around with it a little as the Bulls went out and signed Ben Simmons, so the Year 3 roster could be interesting to play with. Amusingly, Simmons is considered the untouchable franchise player while I, the two-time Finals MVP who just had a historically dominant year, am merely a core player (and before that, I was apparently on the block!). Insert your own snide remark about GarPax and their lack of ability to manage a team here. At least Gortat is gone!
For the most part however, I believe I am done with MyCAREER in NBA 2K19, and probably NBA 2K20 as well. It’s been my mode of choice for quite a few games now, and I miss the franchise experience. Additionally, there isn’t a lot of interest among the guys in playing online next year, so I don’t have the same incentive to grind up a player to be competitive in 2K Pro-Am or The Playground. It’s another reason I went so crazy in my second MyCAREER season. I’ve had fun with the mode, but I’m eager to put it aside and play something else. Before I did that, though, I wanted to make sure that I was completely finished with it.
That’s something that I feel I can say now. I made it through two seasons, with no simulating except for the final minute of a championship game (and even then, only to avoid having to possibly play it again due to a bug). I averaged a triple-double, set a lot of records, and met self-imposed challenges. I qualified for the Hall of Fame, a goal I’d yet to achieve in MyCAREER. I went from 60 Overall to 93 Overall without spending a single cent on VC, and maxed out all my Badges. I even have a second game on PC where I’ve also hit 90 Overall, around 50 games into my first year. I’ve done everything I’ve ever cared to do in MyCAREER, except threepeat.
Perhaps I’ll do that through a mixture of simulating and playing key games every now and again, but if I don’t, I’m comfortable leaving the MyCAREER experience behind. Year 2 in NBA 2K19 was a fun ride and a season to remember; both as a gamer on the sticks, and in-universe. It’s unfortunate that the online experience in NBA 2K has lost its appeal as it’s been a driving force in keeping me hooked on the single player career as well, but perhaps the timing is serendipitous. Before NBA 2K19 came out, I was burned out on career modes. After being drawn back in, I feel accomplished and truly ready to move on, with some more great memories on the virtual hardwood.