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NLSC Podcast – Episode #254

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Episode #254 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and myself as we discuss the cover leak for the Standard Edition of NBA 2K19, the situation with NBA Playgrounds 2, and our plans for this year’s games. Our Week in Basketball Gaming also returns, along with some other fun topics.

On this week’s show…

  • It seems the NBA 2K19 Standard Edition cover has been leaked, with Giannis Antetokoumpo being the featured player. We discuss the choice, and the situation with the Early Tip-Off Weekend being exclusive to the 20th Anniversary Edition.
  • NBA Playgrounds 2 was indefinitely postponed a month ago, and we still haven’t heard anything further. Is there any big announcement that could feasibly make up for the lack of hype?
  • What are our plans for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 when they’re released in September?
  • HAWK23 has made a welcome return to the community, and is currently looking at fixing up the links for the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K12 and NBA 2K14 PC.
  • We reflect once again on our own history with modding, and why we don’t mod as much as we used to. We’re not shutting the door on the idea, though.
  • If an NBL 2K or NBL Live game were ever to be released, what would it be like? We have some fun with the idea.
  • We wrap up Episode #254 of the NLSC Podcast with a short discussion of the NBA Draft, and the (latest) Dwight Howard trade.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: Matchmaking & Microtransactions

NLSC GrindTime in The Playground (NBA 2K18)

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 two very important areas in NBA 2K19: matchmaking and microtransactions.

I’ve mentioned matchmaking and microtransactions in previous articles discussing what I feel must be done in future NBA 2K games, and with the preview season more or less underway, it’s time to revisit these issues. Both are aspects that the NBA 2K development team must handle carefully, to ensure that the experience provided by NBA 2K19 is as accessible and as enjoyable as it can be. If the wrong approach is taken, then this year’s game is going to suffer from the same problems as NBA 2K18, with similar backlash. 2K is overdue to show its fanbase some genuine goodwill.

I originally planned to discuss matchmaking and microtransactions separately, but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that the two issues are closely linked. Their respective shortcomings in last year’s game combined to make its most popular online modes far less inviting and enjoyable than they should’ve been. The lack of in-depth matchmaking made the pay-to-win aspect of microtransactions a much larger issue. Likewise, the impact of microtransactions in NBA 2K18 made the lack of proper matchmaking all the more apparent and problematic. If handled better, they needn’t cause as many problems with the competitive balance in NBA 2K19.

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons Not to Ragequit

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five reasons why you shouldn’t ragequit when playing NBA Live or NBA 2K.

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the CPU not playing fair, or an embarrassing deficit to an online opponent, we suddenly find ourselves wanting to ragequit a basketball video game. While it’s almost universally considered poor form to ragequit an online game you’re losing, it can be a healthy decision when you’re playing offline. It’s much better than breaking a controller (or anything else in the vicinity), and if you’re really not having any fun, you’re better off taking a break and trying again later. Generally speaking, it’s best not to try forcing yourself to endure unenjoyable experiences.

However, there are times when you should try to persevere. Beyond showing good sportsmanship in online play, there are incentives to gut out a game that isn’t going your way. You may be missing out on a potentially rewarding experience, as well as a few valuable lessons that may help you to improve your play on the virtual hardwood. No one likes to lose, and losing badly is a bitter pill to swallow, but strength in the face of adversity builds character; so does good sportsmanship, for that matter. Before you let your frustration get the better of you, here are five reasons not to ragequit when playing basketball video games.

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The Friday Five: 5 Times Basketball Games Were Rude to Gamers

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five examples of times where basketball video games were rude to the gamers playing them.

One of the great things about video games is that when they defeat or otherwise annoy you, you can tell them off without fear of repercussions. You can be as profane as you like – at least until your housemates or neighbours complain – and you won’t hear a single retort from the game or system. Of course, there are times when a game might sling a rude remark your way, sometimes in response to the way you’re playing, and other times almost completely unprovoked. That in turn might lead you to throw out a few more obscenities, though the game will take it all in stride.

As basketball video games have sought to incorporate more personality, and a bit of humour on some occasions, developers have slipped in a few rude messages. Now, these messages aren’t profane or obscene, but their blunt or taunting nature can leave you muttering a few choice words in response. Other times, the game isn’t trying to be rude, but whichever developer was responsible for writing the messages has ended up adopting a tone that they possibly didn’t intend. Whatever the case may be, I’m listing five times that basketball video games ended up being rude to gamers. Your opinion may vary as to whether or not they actually enhance the experience!

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #250

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Episode #250 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for another milestone episode, in which we have quite a few news stories to cover (and it’s not even the preview season yet!). We also have a few tales from our past week in basketball gaming, and thoughts on the Conference Finals.

On this week’s show…

  • A teaser for EA Play has confirmed NBA Live 19 – just in case there was any doubt – and tipped off the speculation as to who will be appearing on the cover this year.
  • Game Informer has posted an article providing us with some hints at the direction of NBA Live. While it’s not much to go on, it is still promising to hear.
  • A Memphis-based ESPN station took a few shots at NBA Live 18. A little awkward, given ESPN’s exclusive deal with EA Sports.
  • The latest Game of Zones episode made fun of NBA 2K18 and Ronnie 2K. Their response was admirable, but gamers weren’t letting them off that easy.
  • From Virtual Coppers to Virtual Currency, 2K’s promotion of the latest VC sale was a little on the nose.
  • It seems Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have done some mo-cap work for NBA 2K19. We discuss what that might mean for this year’s game.
  • PlayStation 4 users have received refunds for NBA Playgrounds 2. While it might just be a mandatory show of goodwill, it’s not a great look for the delayed title.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included a return to 2K Pro-Am, followed by an abrupt return to 2v2 on MyCOURT. The 90s All-Stars collection also continues to expand in Ultimate Team.
  • We wrap up Episode #250 of the NLSC Podcast with our thoughts on the latest results from the 2018 NBA Conference Finals, and make a couple of predictions.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: Getting Back to Basics with NBA 2K19

2002 Kings Clones in NBA 2K18

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 how getting back to basics with NBA 2K19 would be a great move after the controversy and dissatisfaction that surrounded NBA 2K18.

For years, NBA 2K has been the dominant brand in basketball gaming. It started with EA Sports’ misfire when NBA Live 06 was released on Xbox 360, devoid of Dynasty Mode and generally being a rough transition to the next generation. As NBA Live continued to struggle, NBA 2K stayed the course and went from strength to strength, garnering higher ratings from reviewers and eventually becoming the top-selling NBA game when NBA 2K9 outsold NBA Live 09. The series has continued to innovate and receive praise from gamers and gaming publications alike, setting sales records and expanding its brand with its own weekly TV show, and now an eSports league.

And yet, despite all its success, the brand doesn’t feel as untouchable as it once did. NBA 2K18 received an unprecedented amount of backlash over its greedy and anti-consumer approach to microtransactions, which greatly affected some of its most popular modes. Beyond that controversy, a lot of gamers felt that the game had simply taken a few steps backwards with a new motion system that didn’t seem quite ready, AI that didn’t feel as smart or realistic, and rosters that were riddled with problems. While 2K’s strategies for “recurrent revenue” obviously won’t be going anywhere, I’d suggest that NBA 2K19 could otherwise really benefit from going back to basics.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #245

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Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we catch up on an eventful week of basketball gaming news, discuss what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood, and give our thoughts on the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund recently spoke out about the company’s reputation, and their intent to rehabilitate their image in the wake of the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 controversy. We discuss how continuing to adopt a consumer-friendly model with NBA Live will surely benefit the brand moving forward.
  • A deal has been struck to broadcast the NBA 2K League exclusively on Twitch, which certainly seems like a good fit. Once again, we consider the League’s potential impact on the rest of us as we look ahead to NBA 2K19.
  • Saber Interactive has announced NBA Playgrounds 2 for a Summer 2018 release. We’re excited and hopeful for the sequel, but there are some key areas where it must show improvement.
  • Namo Gamo has released Basketball Classics on Steam Early Access. This new retro-inspired basketball gaming experience has a lot of potential, and is already quite impressive.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included taking on more challenges in NBA Live 18’s Ultimate Team, and a return to NBA 2K17. NLSC GrindTime may have also played its last session of 2K Pro-Am, at least for a while.
  • We wrap up Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast with some discussion of real basketball, including Andrew Bogut heading home to play in the NBL, the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and Ben Simmons’ Rookie of the Year credentials.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #244

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Episode #244 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the submission of our Wishlists for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19, a new event involving NBA Playgrounds, the beginning of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and Our Week in Basketball Gaming.

On this week’s show…

  • As mentioned earlier in the week, our official Wishlists for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 have been submitted to EA Sports and Visual Concepts respectively. Since the topics are still open for discussion, we once again touch on what we’d like to see from the upcoming games in both series.
  • Saber Interactive are partnering with Jack Daniel’s for an NBA Playgrounds promotion. While it’s put the game back into the spotlight, it feels like Saber has missed a lot of opportunities with last year’s arcade hoops title.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming saw some trial and error as we continued to incorporate some more structured playcalling into our gameplan during our most recent session of 2K Pro-Am. Meanwhile, new cards and challenges should hopefully keep the Ultimate Team experience fresh.
  • Whether you want to say that they’ve tipped off or kicked off, the 2018 NBA Playoffs are underway! We give our thoughts on the first four games of this year’s postseason, and offer up our predictions for the first round as a whole.
  • We wrap up Episode #244 of the NLSC Podcast with the feel good story of the 2018 season, Andre Ingram.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #243

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Episode #243 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Arcane and I are back after our break for Easter last week, ready to catch up on a fortnight worth of basketball gaming news, our own exploits on the virtual hardwood, and recent goings on in the real NBA.

On this week’s show…

  • We open Episode #243 of the NLSC Podcast with an amusing bit of trivia, as it seems we’re bigger fans of The Playground than Ronnie 2K!
  • March Modness has concluded, and the winner of the giveaway will be drawn soon. More mods are in the pipeline, of course.
  • The inaugural NBA 2K League Draft was held on April 4th. We discuss the Draft and the forthcoming League tip-off, and once again consider the future direction of the NBA 2K series.
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming, we catch up on a fortnight of action on the virtual hardwood. Brighter days could be ahead for NLSC GrindTime, an Ultimate Team collection continues to expand, and a new squad forms in NBA Live 18.
  • We wrap up Episode #243 of the NLSC Podcast with some NBA discussion. The 2018 Playoffs are looming and there are a lot of interesting subplots to consider, especially with several seeds yet to be determined. We also talk about MVP candidates, and some untimely injuries.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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The Friday Five: 5 Annoying Stats Bugs in Basketball Games

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Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five annoying stats bugs that have shown up in various basketball games over the years.

Stats in basketball video games are perhaps just as important as they are in the real NBA. Sure, we want to see life-like animations, realistic strategy, and play games that feel good on the sticks, but accurate scores and statistics are a major factor in having as much realism as possible in a sim-oriented title. Even if you’re a gamer who takes a more casual approach to the accuracy of simulated and user-generated stats, chances are you’re interested in the stat-tracking aspect of basketball games, especially if you enjoy putting up big numbers on the virtual hardwood.

Unfortunately for gamers who care about stats one way another – whether it’s posting huge numbers every game, or enjoying a realistic style of gameplay with more true-to-life performances – various games have featured annoying bugs related to the in-game statistics. From undesirable sim engine results to errors with stat tracking and displays, these glitches have adversely affected some aspect of the numbers that are accumulated on the virtual hardwood. Be it a lack of accuracy or just a feeling of accomplishment that you feel cheated out of, here are five of the most annoying stats bugs that have been encountered in basketball video games.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #242

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Episode #242 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss a couple of issues regarding transparency and goodwill in NBA Live and NBA 2K, recap another eventful week of basketball gaming, and catch up on the latest NBA news.

On this week’s show…

  • There’s continued debate over the presence of loot crates and similar mechanics in video games, and whether or not it’s a form of gambling. Should NBA Live and NBA 2K contain in-game warnings to that effect, and be more transparent about the odds of crates and card packs?
  • With yet another Locker Code prize gone in seconds, we discuss whether something needs to change in regards to NBA Live and NBA 2K providing more in the way of complimentary content and rewards.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming featured the regular session of 2K Pro-Am, the return of the baseline reverse (among other dunks), adventures in custom shoe creation, and plenty of nostalgia in Ultimate Team.
  • We wrap up Episode #242 of the NLSC Podcast with some NBA talk, including injuries to Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry, and a strange situation with Kawhi Leonard.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #240

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Episode #240 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss another week in basketball gaming news, from the future of NBA Live to the NBA 2K League, as well as what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood.

On this week’s show…

  • An EA investor call made specific mention of NBA Live, and vaguely hinted at some of the goals and concepts for this year’s range of EA Sports titles. This should end any speculation that there are currently any plans to take another year off from NBA Live, though there’s still plenty to speculate upon as far as new features are concerned.
  • With the Combine in the books and analysis of the results complete, the 102 gamers who will be participating in the NBA 2K League have been chosen. The process hasn’t been without controversy, but in any event, the Draft will be taking place on April 4th.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming saw us return to 2K Pro-Am sooner than anticipated, in a session that turned out to be quite enjoyable, and a success for a newly equipped jumpshot animation. We also played a few games in MyCAREER and The One, hit up LIVE Events and the LIVE Pro-Am Tour, and continued to collect cards in Ultimate Team.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: Quest for a Reliable Jumpshot

Shooting a jumpshot on MyCOURT (NBA 2K18)

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 on my experiences trying to find a reliable jumpshot for my MyPLAYER in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am.

When The Prelude was released in September last year, I agonised a little over the MyPLAYER Archetype I wanted to run with. Although I was tempted to run with a Pure Playmaker, I decided that I’d give Sharpshooting Playmaker a try. It seemed like a solid choice, especially as we wanted to make sure that we had at least a couple of viable threats from the outside on the NLSC’s 2K Pro-Am squad. Given that I like to rack up assists and run the offense, retaining the key skills and Badges of a Playmaker also seemed like a wise idea.

The results have been mixed. The Sharpshooting Playmaker Archetype doesn’t have a Hall of Fame level Badge, which locks me out of attaining one of the Trophies. As I’ve previously discussed, due to what seems to be an issue with my player’s dunking tendencies, I can very rarely throw down, even though I’ve upgraded my rating to be able to unlock a few fancy dunk packages. My biggest issue, however, is that I’m yet to find a jumpshot animation that I’m comfortable with. I’ve tried several jumpshots, from real players’ signature animations to custom jumpshots of various combinations. Unfortunately, none of them have been as reliable as I’d like.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #239

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Episode #239 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for a discussion of the latest basketball gaming news, including NBA Live 18’s digital sales on PlayStation 4, a new branding opportunity for EA Sports, the aftermath of the NBA 2K League Combine, and our inaugural March Modness event. Also, the word “obviously” is overused. Obviously.

On this week’s show…

  • We tip off Episode #239 of the NLSC Podcast with the story behind our new design, specifically how it came to be launched earlier than expected.
  • Our inaugural March Modness event is underway! New mods will be coming throughout the month of March, and modders have a chance to win a copy of either NBA Live 19 or NBA 2K19, just by releasing new work.
  • NBA Live 18 is currently among the most popular titles in the PSN Store, indicating strong digital sales on PS4. Clearly, the discounts have been working as far as getting more people to try out the game.
  • EA Sports are also partnering with SportsCrate. We discuss the promising nature of the commercial partnerships in NBA Live 18, and what it means for the recovering strength of the brand.
  • And then there were 250! The top players from the NBA 2K League Combine have advanced to the next round, but will it have any affect on us casual 2K Pro-Am gamers?
  • We wrap up Episode #239 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which included another session of 2K Pro-Am where nothing was going right, and hitting The Streets with a brand new player in NBA Live 18.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #238

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Episode #238 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Arcane is back this week, joining me for a discussion of the frequent discounts on NBA Live 18, 15% off player attribute upgrades in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER, the 2018 All-Star Game, and some other topics related to basketball and basketball gaming from the past week.

On this week’s show…

  • Before we get rolling on this week’s episode, we remind everyone to add their feedback to our NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 Wishlists as soon as possible. Remember, suggestions left unsaid are guaranteed not to have an impact!
  • Are the constant sales for NBA Live 18 a bad sign and potentially harmful to future games, or a good move by EA Sports in their bid to win back the audience?
  • Player attribute upgrades in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER are 15% off through February 25th. It’s a nice gesture, but along with the Double XP promotions, we feel it leaves something to be desired.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included three 2K Pro-Am wins that should’ve been four, some great pulls in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team, and a continued inability to dunk in MyCAREER.
  • We wrap up Episode #238 of the NLSC Podcast with some final reflections on the 2018 All-Star Weekend. We also catch up on some recent news, and look ahead to the looming postseason.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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