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 experiments in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER, and the discoveries about the mode that they’ve yielded.
Once again, despite my belief that I was over the career experience on the virtual hardwood, I’ve ended up playing MyCAREER extensively in NBA 2K19. It’s been a fun and rewarding experience this year, and I’ve enjoyed grinding my way up to 90 Overall without buying any VC, completing the first season and bringing another virtual championship to Chicago, and more recently, hitting 92 Overall and maxing out all my Badges. The online experience hasn’t been stellar this year, but I can say that I’ve enjoyed much of what the single player portion of MyCAREER has to offer.
Spending so much time with MyCAREER has piqued my interest in finding out more about the mode. In addition to the observations I’ve made over the course of playing my main game, I’ve also run a few experiments with additional saves. I’ve wondered whether certain events are scripted and consistent, if there’s a game over should you play or sim long enough, the mechanics of the Daily Prize Wheel, and even the speed of the bikes. Through those experiments, and a thorough playthrough of the mode, I’ve compiled some information about MyCAREER that I hope will be both helpful and interesting to gamers who may have similar questions about all of its ins and outs.
What does MyCAREER look like offline?
Like MyLEAGUE, basically! Unfortunately, there’s no MyCOURT to shoot around on, nor are we placed in a deserted Neighborhood that looks like something out of the Fallout series. An offline MyCAREER looks very much it did last generation, only with menus that resemble the current MyLEAGUE interface. Not only do you miss out on The Prelude, but you don’t even get the introductory cutscenes while creating your player. The same screens are used to select your Archetype and so forth, but you won’t see your player walking up to them and talking to his handler as you’re stepped through the creation process. VC doesn’t play a role, and you can’t buy any clothes.
On the surface, this might seem like an ideal option for gamers who’d prefer a more streamlined MyCAREER experience, and it certainly is playable. It’s very bare-bones though, and the Skill Points you now earn instead of VC don’t add up any quicker. You can’t buy them, so it’s a long grind. There are no MyPOINTS either, so I’m not sure how Cap Breakers work, or indeed, if you can only max out at 85 Overall in the offline version of MyCAREER. It’s viable, but far from desirable compared to the connected experience. It’d be nice if MyCAREER could also cater to offline gamers who just want to focus on the single player game, but that’s unlikely.
Conclusion: Offline MyCAREER is basically a mixture of the prior gen mode, and current gen MyLEAGUE. The Neighborhood is nowhere to be found, and the story is similarly absent. It’s playable, but severely lacking in bells and whistles.
Do you become a starter after a set number of games?
This is something I’ve wondered about, but never really looked into as it requires a second playthrough of MyCAREER. Since I’ve spent some time with a second game on PC in addition to my main career on PS4, it’s something that I’ve been able to try out this year. Because I was still getting used to NBA 2K19 as a Sharpshooting Playmaker and grinding my way up from 60 Overall on a low salary, 2x multiplier contract, it took me a little while before I was putting up huge (and then ridiculous) numbers. I became a starter in the sixteenth game of my rookie season, and soon worked my way up to franchise player minutes (around 37-38 per game).
Conversely, I started my PC MyCAREER trying to put up big numbers out of the gate and succeeded, thanks to knowing all the tricks, and getting a head start on my ratings upgrades by playing through The Prelude, accepting a bigger salary, and good luck on the Daily Prize Wheel. Does playing like a superstar within your first ten games make a difference? It does indeed, as I was able to crack the starting five after only my tenth game, confirming it’s not a scripted event after fifteen games. I’m not sure if it can be done any quicker, but after simulating another career, I can confirm it doesn’t happen automatically at any point. You do need to earn the spot through your performance.
Conclusion: There’s no fixed amount of games before you become a starter. Most MyCAREER gamers will likely achieve it within 10-15 games, depending on their early season performance and how quickly they level up.
Can you earn the Daily Bonus across multiple MyCAREER saves?
It would be nice, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, I can confirm that this isn’t possible. I originally looked into this when I was grinding my way to 90 Overall in my main MyCAREER. I was hoping that I’d be able to play a few games with some secondary players, and just put the VC from the Daily Bonus to use with the main one. That isn’t feasible though, as the Daily Bonus provides one opportunity to earn some extra VC every 24 hours. It’s up to you how you spend the VC of course, so in theory you could earn it with one player and then spend it on another, or divide it between all of your MyCAREER saves. You just can’t earn the bonus more than once per day.
On one hand, it’s a bit unfair. While you only have one VC total and one Daily Bonus, each MyCAREER is treated as a separate entity. Unlike in NBA 2K17, the gear and clothes that you buy for one game don’t carry across to any others, so you’d think each game would also have its own Daily Bonus. It’s obviously another way that 2K can encourage microtransactions, but in all fairness, it would be a massive exploit if you could just start multiple MyCAREER games to farm at least 3000 VC over and over again each day. As it stands, the Daily Bonus is quite effective in helping out with the grind, so ultimately I’d say it’s fair. The situation with clothes and gear: not so much.
Conclusion: Only one Daily Bonus can be achieved across all MyCAREER saves. The VC you earn with it can be spent any way you wish and it doesn’t have to be on the save you earned it with, but you can’t repeat the day’s bonus for extra VC.
What happens when you retire?
Well, if you’re good enough – that is to say, you fulfil at least ten of the requirements – you can enter the Hall of Fame! I’m not quite there yet with my main MyCAREER game (I’m currently one accolade short), so I don’t know how that cutscene goes down. I have retired in a throwaway MyCAREER game however, and I can confirm that there is a cutscene with your player clad in black, announcing his retirement. You have a choice to approach the press conference with professionalism or confidence, which changes up the dialogue accordingly. I’m assuming that the cutscene with the Hall of Fame induction would then immediately follow this one, if you’ve qualified.
What about your player? Is he shelved for good? As it turns out, he’s not! After the retirement cutscenes have concluded, you’ll find yourself back in The Neighborhood. You won’t be able to use the team facility anymore, no NBA games are scheduled, and you can’t view any league stats (or annoyingly, your player card). However, while your NBA career is over, you can still use your player for Playground and 2K Pro-Am games. He even acknowledges that he plans to do this if you choose the “confident” approach to the retirement scene. It would be a pain to lose your levelled-up player for the online modes upon retirement, so this is a great approach, and good to know.
Conclusion: Retiring from the NBA in MyCAREER prevents access to the team practice facility and some of the stats menus, but you can still use the player in 2K Pro-Am and Playground games. The save file doesn’t become unusable.
Can you be forced to retire?
Or, in other words, is there a definitive game over? There’s no way I’d be able to play enough games to test this out the long way, so figuring it would be based on your age and the number of seasons rather than performance, I started simulating. I can confirm that there is a game over as far as the NBA is concerned in MyCAREER, as you’ll see the aforementioned retirement cutscene after you complete your 20th season, with no option to change your mind. I can also confirm that simulated stats count towards the accolades required for the Hall of Fame, so if you’re a couple short and have made decent progress towards the career totals, simulating is a viable way of getting there.
Interestingly, every team remains interested in you throughout your career, so you can end up bouncing around the league if you wish. The roles on offer do depend on your performance though, so as a 60 Overall for this particular experiment, I found myself experiencing a twenty year career as a benchwarmer. It makes sense to have a definite endpoint to MyCAREER, and twenty years is a good round number that more players are achieving (or coming close to). I will say that it’s a pain not being able to simulate Playoff games in MyCAREER, as if nothing else, it made this a tedious exercise at times. Still, I got my answer: twenty seasons is what we get, and I’d say it’s enough.
Conclusion: MyCAREER ends after twenty seasons, if you don’t voluntarily retire before then. As with a voluntary retirement, your player can still be used for online play after reaching the game over in your NBA career.
Does the power of the spin matter on the Daily Prize Wheel?
I thought it did! I was sure that hitting the maximum power on the spin would ensure a VC prize, as it seemed to correlate on many of my spins. Now, I’m not so sure. I’ve spun the wheel while hitting the top of the bar, only to come up with free tattoos, or gear from a brand that I can’t wear due to my shoe contract. When I have won VC with a maximum power spin, the amount has also differed. This suggests that it isn’t the equivalent of getting a green release on a jumpshot; there’s no guaranteed result, in this case getting the highest amount of VC on the board. I’ve also had weaker spins yield one of the better VC prizes, so it’s not all about spinning as hard as you can.
Assuming that it isn’t completely RNG based, there are obviously more factors at play here. One that springs immediately to mind is the position of the wheel when you step up to spin it. It seems that by default, it’s resting on the MyPOINTS prize to the right of the Foot Locker item, unless another user has had a spin, in which case it’s resting on the prize that they won. Perhaps along with the strength of your spin, it determines the odds of landing on each prize. I can confirm that the prizes don’t level with your player, which is something the developers should consider for NBA 2K20. After a certain point, 500 MyPOINTS won’t even get you 0.1% closer to the Cap Breaker.
Conclusion: The power of your spin may have some influence, but if so, it’s only one of the factors (if indeed the Daily Prize Wheel isn’t just RNG based). If nothing else, there doesn’t seem to be a guaranteed result based on a spin with maximum power.
Are characters from The Prelude still involved after it ends?
They are, but the extent of their presence depends on whether or not you skipped The Prelude for that particular MyCAREER game. If you played The Prelude, you’ll find Corey Harris playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Marcus Young playing for the San Antonio Spurs, as they were at the conclusion of the story. They won’t appear if you chose not to play through The Prelude though, with the Spurs’ and Lakers’ rosters being accurate as of the time you started the MyCAREER game (unless of course you are playing for either of them, in which case you’ll take someone’s place). It makes sense: if you skipped The Prelude, you probably don’t want its influence on the game.
While Harris and Young won’t appear on any rosters if you skip The Prelude, and thus have no impact on the gameplay experience of MyCAREER, they do make cameos. They’ll send you text messages after big performances, with Young’s offering up a bit of trash talk. He also teams up with Anthony Davis to pull a prank on you early on in your rookie season. On the whole, I’d say it’s a good way of handling the situation, though I’d still suggest letting us forego The Prelude without having to play through it once. There should be benefits for choosing to play it, but users who want nothing to do with the story should be able to pass on it if they wish, similar to MyGM.
Conclusion: Corey Harris and Marcus Young will remain on NBA rosters if you play through The Prelude, but they’ll be absent if you skip it. They will send you messages either way however, and can be invited to play games on your MyCOURT.
Is it possible to register a Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision?
See, this is why it’s fun to start secondary MyCAREER games: to run experiments like this! Since you can’t get injured and you’ll always play somewhere around your assigned minutes as long as you’re in the rotation, most gamers will likely play all 82 games each season in MyCAREER. It is possible to tally DNP-CDs, but you’ve got to go out of your way to do it, signing on with a team that offers you no minutes and a role as an inactive player. Whether you turn the game into Bench Simulator 2K19 and watch the CPU play, or attempt to sub in, you’ll get the DNP. If you sim through the season, you’ll make the rotation at some point and play in a handful of games.
There’s no advantage to doing this, except role playing a scenario where you’re trying to work your way up from being a benchwarmer. In fact, if you do end up riding the pine, the career goal listed on the “Attributes, Badges + More” screen will be to make the active roster, and then to earn rotation minutes. At launch, getting on a team where you played zero minutes and thus could skim through games quickly was a means of farming VC, but the exploit was soon patched. If you try it now, you’ll get a mere 1 VC instead of your actual salary. It’s not realistic – players still get paid even when they don’t play – but it’s a necessary and understandable measure against VC farming.
Conclusion: You can register DNP-CDs in MyCAREER, but you’ll forfeit all but 1 VC as an anti-farming measure. As such, there’s no reason for doing it outside of role play, or simply seeing if it’s possible.
How do the Practice Bonuses work?
When you’re grinding for VC in MyCAREER, you need to do everything possible. One avenue of earning VC is to perform certain tasks while shooting around on your MyCOURT: consecutive three-pointers made, dribble moves, a shot from beyond half court, making a hundred shots, and so on. The amount of VC that you earn for each Practice Bonus seemed arbitrary, and didn’t always register. I’ve discovered that the Practice Bonuses only reset after every NBA game that’s played; 2K Pro-Am and Playground games don’t count. Additionally, the game randomly picks the tasks that will earn VC in any given shootaround, so you need to try them all every time.
As for the amount of VC that’s displayed on the pop-ups, it’s actually misleading. It’s not the amount of VC you’re earning for that particular task; it’s a cumulative amount. The first task – which for most people will be scoring within fifteen seconds – is worth 5 VC. Each task thereafter contributes to the running tally, though it doesn’t matter which order you complete them in as no task corresponds to a set amount of VC; they just increase the total by a fixed amount, depending on how many other tasks you’ve already completed. As far as I can tell, you can earn around 500 VC by completing all the Practice Bonuses each time. It’s not much, but it does add up.
Conclusion: Repeating certain tasks while shooting around on your MyCOURT after an NBA game in MyCAREER will earn VC, with a maximum of around 500 VC per shootaround. The tasks that will earn VC are randomly chosen each time.
Is riding a bike actually faster than running?
That may sound like a silly question, but when I finally saved up enough VC to invest in a bike, it felt awfully slow, even when using sprint. It seemed like it was actually faster to run, so I decided I’d put that to the test. I used the row of tiles at each corner on one side of The Neighborhood as the start and finish lines, and captured footage for a time trial. Riding the bike as fast as possible, I clocked the time at around 25.5 seconds. Running the same distance took a fraction over 26 seconds. Even accounting for a slight margin of error with my reaction times on the stopwatch, it seems there’s a very minimal difference in speed. With that said, riding is indeed faster than running.
Of course, that’s just using the base beach cruiser bike, without any accessories. For an additional 10,000 VC, you can buy sprockets that will allegedly increase the bike’s speed. Putting that to the test, they do shave at least half a second off the time, which is practically nothing. Given that it costs 100,000 to buy the bike, it’s also rather rich. Converting VC to in-universe dollars, a beach cruiser with those upgrades costs an astounding $31,451,259; more than my player’s salary! Fortunately, bikes aren’t really necessary as it’s now much quicker to get to the Playground, making them more of a status symbol in The Neighborhood. It’s still a rather ridiculous situation, though.
Conclusion: Bikes are faster than running, but only slightly. The speed upgrades do not make a huge difference. Unless you want the Trophy/Achievement for riding a bike in The Neighborhood, you’re better off spending your VC elsewhere.
Are MyPLAYER Overall Ratings the same as Regular Overall Ratings?
Here’s an experiment that a few people have tried in recent MyCAREER games. It seems that MyPLAYER Overall Ratings are calculated differently to the regular Overall Ratings. Gamers have discovered this upon entering their MyPLAYER’s ratings into Create-a-Player, only to find that the Overall Rating that’s generated is completely different to the one they reportedly sit at on the Road to 99. I decided that I’d give it a try with my 92 Overall Sharpshooting Playmaker. After creating a player with the same attributes, as well as Badges for good measure, I discovered that my real Overall Rating is 80. This artificial inflation is consistent with previous findings.
It would also mean that the starting Overall Rating of 60 is actually closer to 50, while the end of the Road to 99 would probably place you closer to around 86 or 87 Overall. It’s interesting that the developers have chosen to do this. It is possible for a player to be rated 99 Overall without having 99 for every attribute, so they don’t have to fudge it in order to set a goal of reaching 99 in MyCAREER. My guess is that it’s done to balance both the grind and online play, as ratings that would normally be required for a 99 Overall would be both difficult to reach, and quite overpowered. In the context of MyCAREER, our Overall is real enough, and we can certainly still put up numbers.
Conclusion: Overall Ratings for MyPLAYERs are still calculated differently to the regular Overall Ratings, essentially being artificially inflated. This is likely done for the sake of balance on the Road to 99, and in online gameplay.
A couple of amusing notes from my experiments in MyCAREER: my final year in the league was spent with the Denver Nuggets, a team I’ve played for in two memorable MyCAREER games (NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K17). This wasn’t intentional, as I wasn’t expecting the game over after twenty seasons; I just happened to sign with them in an attempt to avoid going to the Playoffs. Also, as I mentioned in Episode #278 of the NLSC Podcast, Trae Young ended up being the final real player left in the NBA. As 2K had some interaction with him on Twitter in the lead up to the MyCAREER reveal during the NBA 2K19 preview season, I’m now wondering if this was by design!
I’m sure there are more secrets to uncover, more questions that can be asked, but that will probably take the research of more than just one person. If you have any info to add to what I’ve compiled here, feel free to share it in the comments. Once again, I hope that this has been helpful, or at least interesting to any fellow MyCAREER gamers; I’m sure I’m not the only one who has wondered about some of these things! With any luck, my experiments and experiences will save you some time in finding the answers, but I do encourage you to check out MyCAREER in NBA 2K19 if you like career modes. It’s one of the best to date, even with a plot hole or two.