Position Domination refers to a recurring problem in the NBA Live series where players of a particular position attempt (and usually make) too many shots, regardless of whether they are a particularly strong offensive threat and/or their team's leading scorer in real life. Throughout various game in the series it has most noticeably affected point guards, hence it is commonly referred to as point guard domination though the problem has affected players of other positions.
The main annoyance of position domination is its effect on a game's realism as it chiefly causes players who should not be attempting the most shots and/or scoring the most points to become much more of an offensive threat than their real life counterparts. At the same time, the players who should be scoring the most points are not getting enough shot attempts and are not nearly as effective as they are expected to be. While this does not pose a huge problem for players who are less concerned with realistic play and statistics, it is a frustrating issue for the more sim-orientated player.
Position domination, particularly in the games where point guards are afflicted, may vary in effect. In some games in the series, it is mostly the star players who exhibit the worst effects of position domination. Point guards such as Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and historically John Stockton, all of whom are or were capable scorers but tend to be pass-first players, instead frequently score over 30 points (and often over 40 points when playing twelve minute quarters) and garner few assists (if any) when controlled by the CPU. In other games the problem is universal, with less talented/productive players becoming superstars and hogging the ball.
For the sim-orientated player, the frustration comes from consistently being beaten by the "wrong" players and the resulting discrepency between the performances of the virtual players and their real life counterparts. It can be a troublesome issue for all players however, either through an unfair challenge or a lack of a challenge with lesser players dominating the ball being easier to defend. Its effects are mostly felt in gameplay though sometimes simulated statistics are also affected with star point guards averaging too many points per game and ranking among the league leaders.
Various fixes have been attempted to combat the position domination issue. Globally modifying Primacy ratings for the afflicted position and editing default team playbooks has had varying degrees of success as these measures can create a bigger distinction between a team's "go to" player and other players on the roster as well as forcing the CPU to run more plays that allow the correct leading scorer to attempt the most shots. However, these methods are not foolproof as the CPU can still default to using the point guard too much on offense, particularly when mounting a comeback. When adjusting Primacy ratings, it is also important to consider their effect on simulated stats. Ideally, fixes should yield pleasing results in gameplay and during simulation.
For the player who is not bothered by the discrepency but would like to counteract the issue, the problem can be turned against the CPU by identifying the afflicted position as the major threat and adjusting the defensive strategy accordingly. This can even force the player to give up the ball more often which limits their effectiveness as a scorer and can even force the CPU to play more realistically if desired. The user may also wish to develop their own "high percentage" strategies or make use of gameplay exploits to counteract the threat, much the same as fighting back against the Comeback Code. Allowing the CPU to guard itself is another tactic users may choose to employ. This is advisable in games such as the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 version of NBA Live 08 in which point guards are not necessarily dominant, but will mercilessly take advantage of defensive lapses.
EA Sports has also tried to resolve the problem in recent editions of the game. The problem is less common in the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 version of NBA Live 09 thanks to Dynamic DNA and the game's "Featured Scorer" logic but point guards may still aggressively take advantage of defensive lapses and open shot opportunities. Since the series' reboot with NBA Live 14, it has not been a particularly noticeable issue, with shot distribution being more realistic.
- NBA Live 95 (Small Forwards)
- NBA Live 97 (Centres)
- NBA Live 2003 (Point Guards)
- NBA Live 07 (Point Guards)
- NBA Live 10 (Point Guards)
In NBA Live 06, point guards sometimes shot too often or took too many shots in the paint, but the problem was not as pronounced as in other games.