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 recent Star Wars: Battlefront II events that were available in NBA Live 18.
As you may know, EA Sports recently introduced some crossover content in its sports titles, promoting the upcoming release of Star Wars: Battlefront II. For NBA Live 18, this took the form of Live Events challenges, all of which take place on a fictional Star Wars-themed court (located in Orlando, of course), with various Battlefront II-inspired gear and accessories available in the reward crates. As it stands, there’s currently a last call for the Battlefront II Challenge, giving gamers one final chance to earn some Inferno Squad-themed gear for their players to wear in The Streets.
I must admit that with all the grinding I’ve been doing to improve my NBA 2K18 MyPLAYER for 2K Pro-Am, I haven’t taken part in as many Live Events in NBA Live 18 as I’d like. However, having caught the trailer for the Battlefront II events, I wanted to make sure that I at least played a game or two before the promotion was over. The fictional court certainly looked cool, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to stock up on some extra gear for my player to wear in The Streets. As such, I jumped online in NBA Live 18 last week, and managed to take part in a few games.
No one on my friends list was online at the time, so my only choice was to Find Some Teammates; in other words, search for an open lobby, and team up with some random gamers. Fortunately, I didn’t have any problems finding a game, though the situation was obviously less than ideal. Playing walk-on games in 2K Pro-Am has taught me that teaming up with random users isn’t nearly as much fun as hitting the virtual hardwood with an organised squad of people that you know. The play tends to be much sloppier and more selfish, with a good chance of being frozen out. The skill and experience of your teammates can also be hit and miss.
In that respect, I probably wasn’t the ideal person to fill the last spot on the squad that I joined. There’s a good chance that my teammates were far more disappointed to see me join in and ready up to play! As I noted, I’ve been spending more time grinding to improve my NBA 2K18 MyPLAYER, so my NBA Live 18 player still has a long way to go. I’m also more accustomed to playing NBA 2K18 online, so I wasn’t likely going to be a lot of help. I resolved to try not to do too much: just play some solid defense, keep the ball moving, and not look for my own numbers. I was basically just joining in for a quick run to check out the court, and hopefully score some accessories.
As expected, I didn’t see much of the ball in any of the games I played. I only really touched it if someone was stuck, or had no one else to inbound to. As I said, I wasn’t looking to put up big numbers, so I didn’t really mind. My teammates had been grinding a lot harder, so they were going to be far more reliable anyway. The games, with a win condition of being the first to eight points, were over quite quickly. We lost the first one, but then won the next two, successfully attaining both reward crates on offer in the Live Event. My best moment came when I hustled for a loose ball and fired a quick pass to one of my teammates to assist on the game-winning layup.
Winning a game on a squad with five users and picking up both crates allowed me to snag a couple of PlayStation Trophies. It also earned me a couple of Skill Points to upgrade my player. Considering that I didn’t really do much in any of the three games, I was a little surprised. It’s certainly refreshing to be able to make progress relatively quickly, without the need for microtransactions or tedious grinding to get to a point where using your player isn’t a chore. It wasn’t the most team-oriented game of online basketball that I’ve played, but my teammates were all competent to say the least. It meant that I was on a winning squad, and completed the challenge in half an hour.
With that being said, I did miss the camaraderie I feel playing with the NLSC’s 2K Pro-Am squad. It isn’t the same when you’re not mic’d up and chatting with your friends, moving the ball around, and playing a team-oriented style. I’d definitely prefer to play future Live Events in NBA Live 18 with people that I know. It certainly wasn’t an unpleasant experience playing with the random gamers I was squadded up with, but we didn’t know each other, and there were no open lines of communication. The online team play modes are easily more enjoyable when played with friends and organised squads, so I’ll have to set up some sessions moving forward.
There’s only one day left to answer the last call for the final Battlefront II Challenge though, so I may have to squad up with random gamers at least one more time. That’s alright, though. I’m content to do my part and let others be the stars, if it means winning and scoring some nifty gear. While I won’t be picking up Battlefront II myself, I do like Star Wars, and the court that EA designed does look great. It’s just a shame it’s not available for Ultimate Team! I know I’ll be looking to be more active in taking part in Live Events, starting with this last one for Battlefront II. If you want to snag that Inferno Squad gear, get on it quick; and may The Force be with you.