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 reflections upon completing my first season in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER mode.
A couple of weeks ago, I completed my first season in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER. It’s the third time I’ve finished a season in MyCAREER playing every game on twelve minutes quarters, joining my NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K17 games. With that in mind, I’ve have to say that it ranks up there as one of my all-time favourite experiences on the virtual hardwood, considering how it’s kept me hooked and ahead of the real NBA season. As I’ve mentioned before, I was all ready to skip the career modes entirely this year, so it’s not a bad effort at all.
NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER was a refreshing change of pace after the approach that 2K took with the mode last year. The story has been less intrusive, the characters far less annoying (for the most part), and the Badges have been easier to grind. A few changes to the shooting mechanics and other aspects of gameplay have also meant that I’m enjoying NBA 2K19 far more than I did NBA 2K18. My first NBA season – or really my second, as the commentary observes at one point – turned out to be quite a ride, and a very successful campaign. As my sophomore season gets underway, I’d like to reflect on what has turned out to be an enjoyable MyCAREER experience so far.
After playing through The Prelude and completing it in the full version of NBA 2K19 with an avatar that looked a lot like Eminem (which I named Marshall Mathews, since Mathers isn’t in the game), I decided that I’d start my career over with a new player bearing my name, my face (or as close I was going to get with the in-game tools), and a new Archetype. I also elected to skip The Prelude. While this allowed me to have a stronger connection to my player, it also set me back. In addition to skipping the goals for extra VC, I also had less leverage in negotiating my first contract. I ended up with the 2x multiplayer for MyPOINTS, but accepted a paltry 500 VC per game salary.
This meant that although I’d set myself up to reach the Cap Breakers fairly quickly, I would really have to grind for VC, as I’d resolved not to purchase any this year. Grind I did, not only doing my best to get good teammate grades and put up stats, but also anything else I could to earn VC. I spun the prize wheel every day, and played Daily Pick ‘Em. I participated in trivia, hoping for a windfall and coming oh so close on a couple of occasions. The daily bonuses offered significant boosts, especially during the holiday season when some bigger rewards were on offer. I hit 91 Overall by the end of the first season and now sit at 92, without spending a single cent on VC.
That alone made the first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K19 extremely rewarding. In years past, I’ve paid for a boost here and there, mostly because I’ve wanted to play online and the starting ratings just aren’t viable for that; not when other gamers buy VC or pick up the special edition with all its bonuses. This year I was determined to gut it out though, and once I hit 75 Overall, the online experience was decent. It was more than enough to put up numbers in MyCAREER, and the higher my ratings climbed, the more my stats ballooned. By the end of the season, I was posting some truly ridiculous stat lines, though I had a lot of fun doing so.
Traditionally, I’ve started fairly slow in MyCAREER. I’ve picked my spots, and not really been able to post good numbers on a regular basis until I’m about ten games in and have upped my minutes accordingly. Because I wanted to grind to better ratings and get my Badges as soon as possible, I was much more aggressive out of the gate in NBA 2K19. It took me fifteen games to crack the starting lineup, but I was already averaging a double-double and ranking among the league leaders in assists as the sixth man for the Chicago Bulls. Once I made the starting five and started playing around 38 minutes per game, my numbers went through the roof.
I wasn’t able to replicate my multiple quadruple-doubles from my NBA 2K17 career, but I did manage to get one in my rookie season, and came close on another occasion. Double-doubles were commonplace as I managed them in 71 out of 82 games, also tallying triple-doubles on 27 occasions, which ranks as the fourth most all-time in a single season. Indeed, I set several records in my rookie campaign, scoring 107 points (one of my highest outbursts on the virtual hardwood), dishing out 35, 32, and 31 assists to nab the top three marks, re-writing the three-pointers made chart with a top of 20, and besting the total assists and assists per game record, to name but a few.
Something I quite enjoyed was taking part in the All-Star Game, after topping all players in the voting. I was named as an All-Star in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER, but an unfortunate glitch prevented me from playing in the game. That was disappointing as it was the first time I’d been picked for the All-Star Game in MyCAREER, but I made up for it this time, taking home All-Star MVP honours. I had less luck in the three-point shootout and dunk contest; I was out in the first round of the shootout, and while I did manage to complete a couple of dunks this time around, my scores were unimpressive. NBA 2K20 could really stand to improve on those events!
The second half of the season was mostly dedicated to shooting for records, as well as preserving an historic winning streak that saw the team go 77-5. Attempting to break records kept things interesting, and unlike my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER, I refrained from simulating to the end of any games. Something else that kept me entertained was the ability to dunk. A glitch with the Sharpshooting Playmaker build in NBA 2K18 that affected players carried over from The Prelude resulted in an inability to dunk, even in situations where my ratings definitely should’ve allowed me to throw down. It was frustrating to get stuck with layups, especially out on the break in Pro-Am games.
As much grinding as it took to earn Badges, this is another area where MyCAREER is much better in NBA 2K19 compared to NBA 2K18. The new approach of specific drills for each Badge, with no splitting XP between Badges, is far more sensible and makes the grind a little less tedious. I was relieved when I finally maxed out my last Skill Badge though, and as it stands, I only need to earn the Clutch Performer Badge. With less than 500 points needed to unlock it, a couple of close-fought games should allow me to get the job done, and nab the trophy for maxing out all my Badges. That is unless the trophy is glitched and I should’ve already earned it, but hopefully not.
Confining a majority of the MyCAREER story to The Prelude was an excellent move, and I really appreciated not having to deal with characters like B Fresh. It’s also handy being able to skip cutscenes, though some remain unskippable, and it’s tiresome to see the same post-game interviews with Shaquille O’Neal over and over again. This didn’t stop me from having sessions where I played multiple games however, and I breezed through the Playoffs, sweeping the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Sadly, I was struck down by the bug that forced me to replay the championship-clinching game due to a supposed connection error, but fortunately the do-over game was just as fun.
My numbers during the Playoffs were also off the charts. I ended up averaging a triple-double, re-writing the record books with highs of 86 points, 43 assists, 18 three-pointers, and 32 field goals. It’s nice to see the trophy case in MyCOURT start filling up, though I miss being able to zoom in on the trophies as we could in NBA 2K17. I originally intended to take a break from MyCAREER after completing the first year, but having already hit nine of the ten requirements to make the Hall of Fame, I now have a new goal. That’s something I haven’t been able to do in any MyCAREER game to date, so with plenty of time until NBA 2K20 comes out, I’m going to give it a shot.
To that end, I’ve exploded out of the gate in Year Two. I’m averaging a triple-double with 63.3 ppg, 20.1 apg, and 14.4 rpg, leading the league in the first two categories and ranking second in rebounds. I’m also averaging a league-leading 5.2 spg, and briefly led the league in blocks as well, though I’ve dropped back to 1.8 over the past couple of games. They’re ridiculous numbers, but striving to meet or best my averages has provided me with a challenge game-to-game. It’s also boosting my career totals at a rapid pace, which helps with the goal of making it to the Hall of Fame. At this point, I’m seeing how long my interest will hold out beyond my rookie season.
And what a rookie season it was! On top of all the statistical marks, a championship, and an All-Star appearance, I cleaned up on the awards with the regular season MVP, All-Star MVP, Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Rookie First Team, All-Defensive First Team, and All-NBA First Team. Again, it would be nice to be able to zoom in on the trophies in MyCOURT, but seeing them on the shelves and viewing the award histories in the stats menu is still satisfying. It’s far from sim, but when it comes to MyCAREER, I’m not too concerned about that. The mode already has enough breaks from reality, including the fact that I’m in the NBA!
Even though it’s delayed my intended return to franchise gaming, I feel immensely satisfied by my experiences in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER. When you buy the new games every year as I do, you hope that you’ll be able to get hooked on a mode and get months of enjoyment out of it. Unfortunately, the online experience in NBA 2K19 has been disappointing thus far, which is a shame as that was the main reason that I was grinding so hard and played through my first season as quickly as I did. However, it’s resulted in a great offline experience, and a feeling that I got my money’s worth, without spending anything on VC no less. To me, that’s a big win.