Roster patches (also known as roster updates) are patches that are intended to provide users with up to date rosters that reflect their real life counterparts. This involves making transactions and creating missing players so that the game's rosters reflect the current NBA landscape. Roster patches also usually seek to improve gameplay by updating ratings and other attributes for more realistic player and team performance. In recent years it has also become commonplace for roster patches to include graphics patches, particularly cyberfaces, to offer a more detailed update with missing players that resemble their real life counterparts, something that cannot always be achieved with the game's Create-a-Player function.
The following features can generally be attributed to current roster updates:
- Updated transactions; free agent signings and trades)
- Missing players added; both players missing from the original rosters and those who sign later in the season)
- Current lineups, acknowledging injured players and accurate starting lineups/rotations
- Updated bio data; eg heights, weights, jersey numbers, positions, salaries etc)
- Updated ratings for more realistic performance
- Missing legends added, particularly in recent years where licensing issues have prevented the inclusion of several popular legendary players
Some patches, such as the NLSC Roster Update, feature additional versions of the current roster update that offer lineups that ignore injuries or provide the user with lineups from earlier in the season, particularly Opening Night. These rosters are ideal for users who wish to start a brand new Dynasty with opening night rosters or rosters that reflect a team's best lineup, regardless of their current rotation or injury status as reflected by the current roster update.
Retro Season Roster Patches
These patches attempt to emulate previous seasons, complete with players, rosters and lineups from a specific season. Retro season patches provide users with the ability to replay memorable seasons with the latest version of the game thus taking advantage of the latest features. For example, a 1995/1996 season patch for NBA Live 07 would allow players to replay the 1995/1996 season taking advantage of features such as scouting, player training and Freestyle Superstars along with players who resemble their real life counterparts, features not offered in NBA Live 96 (the 95/96 edition of the game).
NCAA, National Teams & International League Patches
As no college basketball games are produced for the PC, many fans have taken to modding NBA Live with rosters containing NCAA players, complete with artwork such as team logos, courts and jerseys. Roster updates that allow users to play with teams from other leagues (such as Euroleague and other localised professional leagues such as the Australian NBL) or various national teams have also become popular. These mods are seen as providing a suitable alternative to the NBA since few non-NBA licensed basketball games are produced.
Supreme Update Mod
The Supreme Update Mod (also known as SUM) was released for NBA Live 07 offering a complete update for the game. Features included updated rosters, detailed new face patches for all players as well as other player art, updated jerseys and team art, real TV presentation art such as score overlays, a modified AIACT for better gameplay performance and new menu screens.
NBA Live Street
Another popular mod since the release of EA Sports BIG's NBA Street series are the Street themed mods usually called NBA Live Street or NBA Street XX (where XX is the instalment of NBA Live that has been modded). These rosters add teams and players as well as art from NBA Street in addition to tweaking the gameplay to emulate the NBA Street experience using the NBA Live engine.
Theme & Fictional Roster Patches
Although popular in early editions of the game, special theme and fictional roster patches are generally rare and not as highly sought after. They usually involve emulating a fictional league (sometimes completely filled with generated players) or a theme such as teams made up of NBA Live fans, fictional characters, celebrities or a mixture of all three. Perhaps one explanation for their decline in popularity is the advancement in graphics; the use of cyberfaces has made such projects longer tasks to complete with the expectation that all players utilise a realistic face. However, the decline in popularity may simply be the result of players becoming more interested in a realistic emulation of the NBA as well as other projects such as retro seasons and international league patches.
Official Roster Updates
Although rare in the early days of the NBA Live series, EA Sports has released official roster updates which perform the same function as the unofficial community made patches. Unlike unofficial patches however, the official updates have traditionally been less frequent and usually do not address issues with player ratings, but may also contain bug fixes and enhancements that cannot be achieved through the unofficial updates.
Beginning with NBA Live 09, EA Sports have revamped their official roster updates for the NBA Live series through the use of the NBA Live 365 service. NBA Live 365 provides NBA Live 09 players with daily lineup and roster changes and unlike previous official releases, also updates player ratings and logic.