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NBA 2K21 Gameplay Blog & Demo Release Date (Current Gen)

NBA 2K21 Gameplay Blog

The NBA 2K21 gameplay blog for the Current Gen version has been posted, outlining what we can expect from this year’s release. A breakdown of the key points is as follows:

  • Beluba reiterated the focus on striking a good balance between realism and fun, once again referring to turnovers on long passes as an example of what they want to avoid.
  • Cover player Damian Lillard had several suggestions, including raising the maximum height for point guards in MyCAREER. It’s now 6’8″.
  • The Pro Stick controls have changed: Hold down for a jumpshot, hold left or right for escape dribbles, hold up for signature size-ups, tap for quick 1-to-1 dribble moves, tap while holding Sprint for quick momentum dribbles.
  • New signature size-ups have been added (for a total of 14 Street and 36 NBA animations), and moves are now more responsive and “chain-able”. Street moves are performed with a tap of the left trigger.
  • When shooting with the Pro Stick, the Shot Meter is replaced by target aiming inspired by NBA 2K17’s mechanics. Instead of timing the release, you can use the whole animation to hit the target window. The same mechanics apply to layups, but this can be disabled. There are also new shot types, and over 40 new shot landings for Park.
  • Block targeting has been improved, and some of the overpowered paint moves have been toned down. There are also signature defensive styles, and player movement has been refined for more responsiveness.
  • The Badge system is basically the same as last year, though it’s been refined based on telemetry data from popular builds. Shot speed has been moved back to the Jump Shot Creator, with the Quick Draw Badge being removed entirely.

Check out the NBA 2K21 gameplay blog for the full scoop! A demo will be dropping on August 24th, though no further details are available as yet. What are your thoughts on these changes and additions? Sound off in the comments below, and join in the discussion here the Forum!

NLSC Podcast #331: Hit Me With Your Green Release

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #331 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

In a shocking development, one of us has a new perspective on a game we’ve openly criticised in the past. Find out what led to the change in heart, and stay tuned to hear if the new opinion sticks! We also tackle the issue of shot meters, Green Releases, and shooting mechanics in general. What do we think is the best approach, and could we ever go back to the old ways? Meanwhile, talking about the mods we’re working on leads us to workshop some ideas for other projects we’d love to create. With only one basketball game announced for Next Gen, we also discuss some other titles that we’d like to see return. Since the NBA’s resumption is also looming, we finish up with a discussion of asterisks, and how this year’s championship will likely be viewed.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: Arguing For & Against Green Releases

Monday Tip-Off: Arguing For & Against Green Releases

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 thoughts on Green Releases, specifically the arguments for and against the mechanic.

Back in May 2017, I discussed the future of Green Releases in NBA 2K. Three years on, the mechanic still remains an issue. It’s funny to look back and see that Mike Wang was talking about weaning gamers off the concept of Green Releases, only for them to still be in the game, relatively unchanged. I say relatively because NBA 2K18 attempted to artificially nerf them with a “Good” release actually only having a 5% chance of going in – less than a Slightly Early or Slightly Late release – and other games have also seen Beluba and co tinker with the perfect release windows.

Apart from that, the basic idea remains the same. Green Releases result in a made shot every time, unless it’s blocked or you’re too far behind the backboard. If you can learn the precise timing of a jumpshot animation and pay attention to the rumble feedback cues, you’ll be greening attempts with ease and regularity. We’re still as reliant on the approach as ever, and it doesn’t look like it’s something that NBA 2K – or NBA Live, now that it’s adopted the same style of shot mechanics and feedback – will be able to move away from. The question is: should it? It feels like we’re at a stalemate on the issue, so let’s go over the pros and cons of Green Releases once again.

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Monday Tip-Off: Trying to Quit MyCAREER

Monday Tip-Off: Trying to Quit MyCAREER

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 how I’ve tried (and failed) to quit MyCAREER this year.

I’m having a problem in NBA 2K20: I can’t quit MyCAREER. I mean, I can exit the mode. I can find the menu option just fine and there’s no bug that’s preventing it from working as intended. No, I’m having trouble leaving the mode alone. I was all ready to quit this year. I reached the Hall of Fame in NBA 2K19, and felt closure. I felt the lure of MyLEAGUE and MyTEAM. Yes, I’ve set up a MyLEAGUE that I’d like to get stuck into at some point. Yes, I’ve played quite a bit of MyTEAM this year, and built a decent lineup without spending any money.

And yet, I haven’t let MyCAREER go as I intended to do. I tried out the new Player Builder in the demo, played through the story so that I could see what it’s like this year, and gave online a try. I thought that would be enough, but I kept getting drawn back in. I’ve played past the All-Star Weekend, and am just about at the point where the real 2020 season shut down. I’ve maxed out all my ratings and Badges, and am at the point where I can level up to 99 Overall with consistently great performances. My player is viable for online play, even if online play isn’t always viable. I’ve put quality time into MyCAREER…and I want to quit.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Legacy of NBA 2K18

Wayback Wednesday: The Legacy of NBA 2K18

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at NBA 2K18, and the legacy that it has created.

The NBA 2K18 servers are no more. Well, I imagine they’re still physically around. It’s highly unlikely that 2K instructed someone to take a sledgehammer and go all Triple H on them, rather than just switching them off. The point is that online support has ended, which means MyTEAM, the first version of The Neighborhood, and all other connected content is gone. With this infamous release being officially put out to pasture, I believe it’s an apt time to offer up a final take on the game, and reflect on its legacy.

I know that it’s fairly recent by Wayback Wednesday standards, but it was released going on three years ago, which is about how old the All-Time College Teams DLC for NBA 2K17 was when I covered it. Besides, NBA 2K18 came out last decade, and that makes it sound old, right? Hey, it’s my feature, and I’ll bend the rules if need be! In any event, a retrospective of this controversial game feels quite timely, so let’s take a look back…not too far but still wayback…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Career Modes Overtook Franchise Modes

Monday Tip-Off: How Career Modes Overtook Franchise Modes

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 look at how career modes ended up surpassing franchise modes in popularity.

As a long-time basketball gamer, it’s been interesting to not only see how the games have evolved, but also how trends and attitudes have changed. A noteworthy example of changing trends is the popularity of franchise modes. There was a time when they were considered the pinnacle of modes in basketball games, a dream come true for those of us who remember playing the basic single season modes of early titles. These days, they’re seen as passé; something for “old heads”, despite the fact younger hoops gamers enjoy them too. If nothing else, they’re no longer the flagship mode.

That distinction now belongs to career modes, and their connected online experiences. In some respects, it’s not surprising. It took longer for fully-formed career modes to make their way into NBA 2K and NBA Live, and there had been an interest in seeing them for quite some time. Indeed, the franchise modes were often used to simulate a single player career mode, so gamers clearly wanted that type of experience. The shift towards career modes is still interesting however, especially as they’ve drawn in gamers who have traditionally been all about franchise play. How did this happen? Well, I have a few theories as to how career modes gained and maintained popularity.

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NLSC Podcast #295: Throwbacks & Evolution

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #295 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! I’m on my own this week, but I’m not lost for words following some good news as the NBA 2K20 preview season rolls on.

In a throwback to basketball games from last decade, All-Decade teams are making a triumphant return in NBA 2K20! They’ve even got some spiffy uniforms based on retro All-Star designs, but admittedly not everyone is thrilled. Six new retro teams have also been added, including four that have been mentioned in an ongoing series of Friday Five articles. Coincidence? Quite possibly. Some MyCAREER news has also been trickling out of the recent Community Day. From a new approach to Archetypes to reworked Badges, it’s quite promising. There are also reports of a huge change to the way attribute upgrades are purchased. It sounds too good to be true, so we’ll see.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on the new retro teams and changes to MyCAREER in NBA 2K20? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

NBA 2K20 Gameplay Blog: Motion System, Controls, AI, & More

NBA 2K20: Serge Ibaka

Following last week’s insight into MyGM and MyLEAGUE, the NBA 2K20 gameplay blog has been posted! NBA 2K Gameplay Director Mike Wang (aka Beluba) has provided an in-depth look at the improvements, additions, and changes to the on-court experience in this year’s release. As always, I encourage you to read the entire NBA 2K20 gameplay blog for the full scoop, but here’s an overview:

  • The Motion Engine has received an upgrade, improving foot planting, animation selection, momentum modelling, and realistic differentiation in player weight and speed. Sprinting has also been reworked to make it harder to abuse, with more visual feedback when a player is getting low on energy.
  • Ballhandlers now have contextual awareness that they didn’t before. More dribble moves and animations have been added, with a focus on signature styles. A new size-up mechanic will allow moves to be chained together more cleanly, and without pre-scripted sequences.
  • An arrow will assist in movement on defense, showing which direction a player is leaning or attempting to go. The arrow shows up at different times, according to the defender’s abilities. The player indicator will also change from a solid circle to a broken line, indicating how vulnerable they are to losing the ball on steal attempts. Steal spam has also been addressed.
  • Gathers have more flexibility this year, allowing offensive players to react to defense collapsing on them in the lane and branch into different finishes. Hundreds of new animations have been added including in-air collisions, hard fouls, grab blocks, and swats. The post game has also been enhanced with new moves on both sides of the ball.
  • Off-ball control has been expanded with juke moves, as seen in older games. Moves are performed with the right stick when playing off the ball. Off-ball collisions have also been improved, and a new quick screen control has been added.
  • Further enhancements have been made to AI at both ends. This includes improvements to the Adaptive Coaching Engine, and a new Dynamic Freelance engine. There are also new play action buttons, which you can customise with your favourite plays. Transition defense has also been re-written with new options.
  • CPU players now utilise shot timing mechanics, rather than Real Player %. Takeover has been tuned to be less OP and there are new Badges. According to a Tweet by Beluba, some Badges have also been removed.

Once again, be sure to check out the full NBA 2K20 gameplay blog for more details. Got any thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum!

Monday Tip-Off: A MyCAREER Season to Remember

Championship in Second MyCAREER Season (NBA 2K19)

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 look back at a memorable MyCAREER season, and a few thoughts on moving on from the mode.

Last week, I completed my second MyCAREER season in NBA 2K19. It’s the first time that I’ve played through two whole seasons in MyCAREER, as I usually find myself losing interest or running out of time before the next game is released. This year however, I felt motivated to play a second campaign. Even though I’d vowed to move on from career modes this year, I did get stuck into MyCAREER when our NLSC 2K Pro-Am squad decided to give online play another try in NBA 2K19. Even when we called it quits, I found that I was hooked on the NBA side of things.

After making it to 90 Overall and winning the championship in my rookie campaign, I decided that I wanted to make my sophomore season one to remember. Although I’d normally consider myself a sim gamer, the current approach to MyCAREER doesn’t favour a realistic style of play. As such, I resolved to put up ridiculous numbers, aim for as many records as possible, and in short, utterly destroy the league. With Year 2 now in the books, I can confidently say that it’s a case of mission accomplished! My numbers were crazy from start to finish, and having completed another MyCAREER season, I’m feeling like I can move on from the mode, in NBA 2K19 and beyond.

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Monday Tip-Off: Hitting 90 Overall in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER

Trophy for reaching 90 Overall in MyCAREER (NBA 2K19)

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 my reflections on hitting 90 Overall in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER, without spending any money on VC.

The Road to 99 in MyCAREER is a journey that can be incredibly tedious. It’s hardly a stunning revelation that this is by design, a method of encouraging gamers to pay for VC in order to skip the long grind. As much as I dislike the practice, my desire to play online with my friends in the NLSC’s 2K Pro-Am squad has seen me resort to buying VC in previous games in order to sufficiently boost my attributes on Day 1. I decided that after last year’s unashamed money grab, I would avoid buying any VC in NBA 2K19. Instead, I’d try to grind up my player the long way.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, I finally hit 90 Overall. Although it felt like a long road with a lot of grinding, it did actually happen a little quicker than I had first anticipated. Nevertheless, it was tremendously satisfying, and proof that it can be done within the first few months of owning the game (albeit with some good luck). As I consider how much further I’ll travel down the Road to 99, I thought that I’d reflect on the journey so far, as well as some of the strategies that I found useful along the way. If you’re still striving to hit 90 Overall or better and are determined not to spend any money on VC, hopefully I can offer up some encouragement and helpful pointers.

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NBA 2K19 Gameplay Blog & MyCAREER Video

NBA 2K19 On The Fly Coaching

NBA 2K19 will be in our hands very soon, but there are still some things to learn before this year’s game drops. After what was seemingly an unintentional post yesterday, a gameplay blog by the one and only Da_Czar is now officially live.

The blog goes into great detail about enhancements to playcalling and AI in NBA 2K19. Key points on the user side of things include the new playcalling visuals, the revamped On The Fly Coaching menu, and dynamic plays for specific players. You may have already noticed some of these elements if you played through a 2KU game in The Prelude.

On the AI side of things, Da_Czar talks about improvements to play distribution/variation, recognition of mismatches, pick and roll switching, transition offense, double team logic, and freelance offense. He also includes several videos demonstrating the improvements to playcalling and AI on both sides of the ball. Be sure to give it a read for the full scoop!

Meanwhile, Chris Smoove has posted a video providing a comprehensive breakdown of MyCAREER in NBA 2K19. It offers up a wealth of information on MyPOINTS, player progression, contract negotiations, endorsements and VC earnings, career objectives, and more. Watch it below, or catch it here on YouTube.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NBA 2K19 section of the NLSC Forum!

NBA 2K19 Pro-Am Includes Private Matchmaking

NBA 2K19 Pro-Am

During the NBA 2K League finals, some interesting and welcome news was revealed regarding Pro-Am in NBA 2K19. This year, the mode will include private matchmaking, for squads who want to battle each other directly. The system will work as follows:

  • Pro-Am teams can create passwords to share with other Pro-Am teams.
  • When both teams enter the password they are connected for a private game.
  • Privately matched games do not count as ranked games.

While private games will not count towards your squad’s ranking and cannot be used for boosting, NBA 2K19 developer Zach Timmerman has confirmed that they will allow you to earn XP, and therefore make progress towards MyPLAYER Badges.

Your thoughts? Have your say in the comments section below, as well as in this topic in the NBA 2K19 section of the NLSC Forum!

The Friday Five: 5 Overpowered Badges in NBA 2K17

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 Badges in NBA 2K17 that are overpowered.

Badges have become an important gameplay mechanic in NBA 2K. Like their predecessors, Signature Skills, they provide players with additional traits and abilities in order to realistically represent their performance and playing style. They cover a range of offensive and defensive abilities, as well as mental traits. If you’re playing MyCAREER, 2K Pro-Am, or MyPARK, attaining Badges is absolutely crucial if you want your player to be as effective as possible. In NBA 2K17, a Gold or Hall of Fame level Badge makes a huge difference in being able to finish in traffic, knock down long threes, thread the needle on difficult passes, and so on.

As I mentioned in my Wayback Wednesday retrospective on Freestyle Superstars, concepts such as Badges represent continued innovation in terms of differentiating between players beyond their common ratings, and representing individual styles of play. While Badges have generally yielded more realistic results than Freestyle Superstars, at times they can be just as cheesy in their own right. A few Badges in NBA 2K17 are definitely overpowered, and could stand to be fine tuned for NBA 2K18. These aren’t the only problematic Badges, of course, but they are five prominent examples that immediately come to mind for me.

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The Friday Five: 5 Tips to Endure a Long MyCAREER Season

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 tips for enduring a long season in MyCAREER.

I’m almost at the end of the regular season in my rookie campaign in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. As much fun as I’ve had so far, it’s definitely been a grind, especially since I prefer to play twelve minute quarters. Even with shorter quarter lengths, 82 games is quite a marathon, and it’s difficult not to get impatient once you’re past the All-Star break, and the postseason is looming on the horizon. Of course, if you’re battling to qualify for the Playoffs, each game is going to have more meaning, and that should hold your interest. However, if you’ve already clinched a Playoff berth, a little bit of boredom might start to set in.

Fortunately, there are a few ideas that can make tedious stretches in MyCAREER a bit more fun. Some of these suggestions arguably apply to MyLEAGUE and MyGM as well, but I personally find that boredom during the regular season is more of a problem in MyCAREER, since you’re locked to a single player, and you obviously don’t have all the team management functions to change things up. With that being said, here are five ideas that have helped break up the boredom for me, and will hopefully help some of you make it through the regular season grind, whether you’re playing MyCAREER or another mode.

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The Sunday Substitute: Badges in NBA 2K17

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still contributing to the team effort. I have been gaining a few splinters on the bench for the last few months, but today I’m ready to get back into it and talk about badges in NBA 2K17.

Over the past few 2K PRO-AM sessions I have had with fellow NLSC team members, I have learned that badges are vital in online play. Both mine and Andrew’s numbers have gone up considerably since we’ve unlocked significant badges for our respective archetypes. In some games, my shooting has been off the charts because of my Hall of Fame Corner Specialist and Catch and Shoot Badges, and Andrew’s passes have been more on point with the Gold Dimer badge.

Despite how NLSC THRILLHO have improved after acquiring badges, there are still a number of issues that badges seem to be creating online. It seems like lesser-rated players are becoming more overpowered because of outside shooting badges. People are still zigzagging and hitting those perfect jump shots, and corner threes are almost automatic unless you practically foul the shooter.

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