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NLSC Podcast #370: MyTEAM Card Tricks

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Episode #370 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

After last week’s show, we were inspired to spend some more time with NBA Live 2001, and have a few more thoughts to share. A couple of options from the game also bring to mind suggestions for additional roster management functions and MyNBA settings. Our main discussion this week focuses on MyTEAM, specifically issues with overpowered cards. We note how it encourages NBA 2K’s pushy recurrent revenue mechanics, waters down the gameplay with an homogenised experience, and misrepresents NBA history. Notably, the issues also extend beyond MyTEAM into MyCAREER. In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about Blacktop, as well as the idea of trash talking mechanics.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: Ready (To Not Be) Player One

Monday Tip-Off: Ready (To Not Be) Player One

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 more thoughts on the online scene in NBA 2K. Specifically, in order to improve the quality of play, gamers must be ready to not be Player One.

I’m fortunate in that I’m not completely reliant on the online scene to enjoy basketball video games. I grew up gaming in a time before online play was common – or for that matter, possible – on the virtual hardwood. Dynasty was my mode of choice in NBA Live, and I’ve also racked up many hours playing single player MyCAREER in NBA 2K. I’m therefore able to enjoy the offline experience, which is vital given that the online scene in NBA 2K has a myriad of problems, ranging from technical issues and design flaws to toxic attitudes and a sloppy style of play.

At the same time, while I find it easy to eschew the online scene, I would prefer it to be better than it is. Obviously I’d like to jump in on occasion, having developed an appreciation for it over the past generation. Even if I’m not partaking in it myself, I’d still like to see the scene thrive and be the best possible experience for those who are playing it; especially gamers who play exclusively online. I’ve previously discussed vital changes that the developers need to implement, such as proper matchmaking. Today however, I want to focus on the problem of how so many gamers aren’t ready to drop their Player One mentality online, and how that could possibly be remedied.

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Monday Tip-Off: No, You Don’t Deserve to Get Paid

Monday Tip-Off: No, You Don't Deserve to Get Paid

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 blunt truths about paid mods, and modders that insist that they deserve payment for their work.

Way back in September 2016, I wrote an article explaining why we don’t allow paid mods in our community. I intended it to be an article that I’d link to whenever the subject came up, and over the years, it’s proven to be handy to have at the ready. The short version is that from a legal standpoint, charging for mods could land us in a lot of hot water, and we’d rather avoid that. It’s also never been the done thing in our community, and we’ve been committed to that stance for almost 25 years now. The fact of the matter is that it could cause a lot of headaches, and we don’t want that.

There’s another reason that we’re against the practice of paid mods, however; one that hasn’t really been discussed. The simple fact of the matter is that you don’t deserve to get paid for your mods. I don’t deserve to get paid for the mods I’ve made over the years, either. No one deserves to get paid for creating mods for a basketball video game, or any game for that matter. The key word here is “deserve”, which implies that one is entitled to be paid, and that simply isn’t the case. Please don’t get me wrong here. I don’t say this to diminish the efforts of modders in our community and beyond. It’s important to understand and accept this blunt truth though, so let me explain.

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Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

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 the year that was 2020 here at the NLSC.

I think it’s fair to say that 2020 has been one of the most unusual years that many of us have ever experienced. For me, it’s both flown by – as the years seem to do as you get older – yet it’s also dragged. The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously disrupted life as we know it in so many ways, and contributed to 2020 being somewhat miserable. On top of that, we’ve lost some beloved athletes and celebrities, including Kobe Bryant. Although the hardships of the pandemic are not over yet, it’s safe to say that a lot of people are looking forward to a fresh start in 2021.

At the same time, there have been bright spots. The Next Gen consoles launched, and while it hasn’t been easy getting hold of one, people who do own them generally seem to be happy with them. Here at the NLSC, we were able to keep doing our thing for another year as far as producing content and supporting the modding community, and we also officially added a new member to our team. 2020 is a year that I’m sure a lot of people would rather be done with and soon forget, but since this is the last Monday Tip-Off of the year – there will be a Wayback Wednesday this week, and then The Friday Five will open 2021 – I’m taking the opportunity to look back at 2020.

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NLSC Podcast #351: Lockdown Defenders

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Episode #351 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Now that Derek is an official member of the NLSC Team, we look ahead to some plans for future content. There’s a lot of positivity there, but as we delve into this week, there’s a need to explore the negative aspects of basketball games as well. We discuss the desire some gamers have to disengage, distinguishing between taking a healthy break from negative conversations, and shutting down constructive criticism. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about the pain of losing features, modes, options, and mechanics that we loved, and answer a question about our playcalling habits on the virtual hardwood.

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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

The NLSC Team Officially Welcomes Dee4Three

The NLSC Team Officially Welcomes Dee4Three

Please join me in officially welcoming Derek, aka Dee4Three, to the NLSC Team! Derek has been co-hosting the NLSC Podcast with me for a little over a year now, on top of being a valued contributor in our modding community, and long-time passionate basketball gamer.

In addition to chatting about basketball gaming with me on the podcast, you can look forward to more great content from Derek in the not-too-distant future. He’s currently working on V3 of the Ultimate Classic Teams Roster for NBA 2K17 PC, and some converted faces for other retro roster projects. He will also generally be a part of our coverage of, and commentary on, the virtual hardwood. Derek will also be helping out with some moderating in the NLSC Forum, and of course, he has already provided some very useful modding tutorials.

I hope that you’ll all give Derek a warm welcome, and the opportunity to grow in his new role as a member of the NLSC Team. It’s been a pleasure to have Derek as part of the NLSC Podcast for the past year, and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with him on future content and projects. You can follow him on Twitter @Dee4Three84, and also find him on YouTube.

NLSC Podcast #350: What’s My Age Again?

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Episode #350 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

We’re celebrating our 50th episode as a duo, which leads us to reflect on some famous number 50s in NBA history. After that, it’s down to business with a discussion of the latest news surrounding NBA 2K21 Next Gen. From server issues to a widespread ban, there’s a lot to catch up on, and we have a lot to say. We also talk about stat padding in online games, and how it’s led to what we feel is an unappealing style of play. Recent events also prompt us to discuss ageism in basketball gaming, and troubling practices in the modding community. This week’s mailbag topics cover recycled faces in NBA 2K, and the idea of petitioning 2K to make certain changes.

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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Spot a Shill

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 provides a guide to spotting a shill in the basketball gaming community.

Contrary to what some people might think, I don’t relish writing critical articles. It’s something that I like to balance, because I believe that we should enjoy and celebrate basketball gaming. After all, my motto for the NLSC is fans, not fanboys; critics, not haters. However, it’s also important to point out issues with the games, as well as our community, and the wider basketball gaming community in general. It’s vital that we stand up for ourselves as consumers, which means not remaining silent when there are problems, or defending bad practices. In short, it means not being a shill.

Now, what’s the difference – if any – between a fanboy and a shill? There’s obviously a large amount of overlap between the two, but I would say that a shill tends to take things much further. They also tend to be louder voices in the community, wielding some level of influence, and enjoying certain perks as a result. Fanboys contribute to very frustrating discussions and muddy our attempts to provide constructive feedback, but a shill shuts down the conversation, and throws their fellow gamers under the bus. The shills aren’t going anywhere, but if you know how to spot them, you can at least take their words with the scepticism that they deserve. These are the tell-tale signs.

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NLSC Podcast #348: Growing Older All The Time

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Episode #348 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Patch 1.05 is the fourth update for NBA 2K21 Current Gen since it was released, leading us to reflect on the game’s post-release support, and a major issue that still hasn’t been fixed. In NBA 2K21 Next Gen news, this week we learned about The City in MyCAREER, and the revamped franchise experience in MyNBA. The City brings to mind certain lyrics from Goldfinger’s “Superman” as far as our reactions to it, but we like what we hear when it comes to the replacement for MyLEAGUE, MyGM, and MyLEAGUE Online. That leads us to touch upon the impact of former community members now working at Visual Concepts, and some of the troubling attitudes towards them. Finally, the mailbag is back! We answer a couple of questions about the state of NBA Live, and the need for dedicated Community Managers.

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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

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 by reflecting on a rather pertinent question: do we take basketball gaming too seriously?

The Dark Knight may be twelve years old at this point, but Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker still resonates with many avid fans of Batman movies and comics. A number of lines from that film have penetrated pop culture, from Alfred’s speech about some men just wanting to watch the world burn – a favourite of so many edgelord trolls who fancy themselves Machiavellian puppet masters – to the Joker’s wry and sinister quips. One that comes up a lot, especially out of context when someone happens to utter the words, is “Why so serious?

As such, even all these years later, it’s difficult to pose a question about taking something too seriously without that scene coming to mind, or someone quoting it in response. It’s also admittedly an odd question to pose on a fansite that’s dedicated to a hobby. After all, we’re all about basketball gaming, so we obviously approach the matter with a certain amount of dedication and emphasis on its significance. “It’s only basketball gaming” feels like an out of place rationale and reprimand in a community of virtual hoops enthusiasts. Of course, it always pays to keep matters in perspective. To that point though, have we lost that perspective over the years?

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The Friday Five: 5 Community Issues NBA 2K21 Has Spotlighted

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 look at five issues within the basketball gaming community that NBA 2K21 has spotlighted.

NBA 2K21 Current Gen has been out for about a month, and following its release, gamers have had a lot to say about it. The game has had a mixed reception to say the least, and some of the new concepts haven’t resonated as positively as the developers no doubt hoped they would. A big patch came through on September 14th, which does seem to have allayed some concerns with the game. No release is ever perfect though, and not all issues can be caught before the game is in our hands, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting developers with several obstacles.

Gamers have been noting the issues with NBA 2K21 and sharing feedback with the developers accordingly, but I’ve noticed something else in the wake of the game being released. It seems as though NBA 2K21 has also spotlighted some issues within the community itself, both in the way we approach the games and how we interact with each other. These community issues aren’t necessarily new, and in some cases they’re the result of toxicity that’s compounded over the years. At the same time, I do feel as though certain aspects of NBA 2K21 have shone a light on some of these community issues, and I honestly feel that we could (and should) be doing better in these areas.

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Monday Tip-Off: Influencers on the Virtual Hardwood

Monday Tip-Off: Influencers on the Virtual Hardwood

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 influencers in the basketball gaming community, and the influence they wield on the virtual hardwood.

If you take part in basketball gaming Twitter, you’ll recall that not too long ago, Flight publicly rebuffed overtures from Ronnie 2K to be brought into the fold as one of the “official” influencers for NBA 2K. I won’t go into the whole history of everything that happened between Flight and Ronnie, in part because it’s not really my brand, but also because there are others that can tell the story in more detail. The tl;dr version is that Ronnie publicly blackballed Flight from getting a logo, calling him a “bully” over some of his remarks. He’s since changed his tune, but for Flight it’s little, too late.

Look, while I can appreciate brands and digital marketers picking and choosing who they want to work with, and find it understandable if they’re hesitant to collaborate with someone when there’s been some friction, I really have to commend Flight in this situation. The exposure and other perks influencers gain from having agreements with 2K would be tough for most people to turn down; even if it does mean giving up some autonomy in your content. To rebuff Ronnie’s offer that came now that his audience makes him too appealing to blackball shows guts and integrity on Flight’s part. It’s an example that all influencers in the basketball gaming community should follow.

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Monday Tip-Off: We DO Give a Damn ‘Bout a Bad MyREP System

Monday Tip-Off: We DO Give a Damn 'Bout a Bad MyREP System

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 the importance of fixing MyREP, not just in terms of its rewards system, but also allowing it to carry over year-to-year.

Keeping an annually-released basketball game fresh in a way that satisfies its toughest critics – the hardcore hoops gamers – is easier said than done. Take a ranking and rewards system such as MyREP, for example. If it’s the same year after year, we’re prone to complain about it being too stale and familiar. If it changes, there’s bound to be a lot of people who preferred the old system, as well as those that were open to a change, but aren’t feeling the new approach. There’s also the issue of having to start over from scratch every year; a common complaint in general these days.

I want to talk about both of those issues related to MyREP: its use as both a reward and matchmaking system, and the concept of being able to carry over rep from the previous game. It’s something I’d like to see NBA 2K get right as we enter a new generation with online basketball gaming as popular as it’s ever been, yet also in rough shape. Because of its effects on features and the online experience, it’s more than a cosmetic badge. We have good reason to give a damn about a bad MyREP system. Yes, that is a reference to “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and indeed, I’m keeping the musical motif going as I wax lyrical about this matter.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

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 going back to NBA Live 2001 to play with the “unbelievable” starting five that was posted in our original Forum many years ago.

There aren’t too many members of our original Forum who are still active, so the legacy and impact of the infamous “I Cannot Believe My Starting Five” thread may not resonate with a lot of people in our community today. I’ve covered it in-depth in a previous Wayback Wednesday retrospective, and mentioned it as one of the most bizarre moments in the history of our Forum, but the short version is as follows. A member by the name of A.L. made a post describing a lineup they’d put together in NBA Live 2001’s Franchise mode, which included Kevin Garnett at point guard.

A.L.’s insistence that point guard was KG’s “natural position” unfortunately derailed an interesting discussion about fantasy draft and trade logic, as well as experimenting with a fun idea for an unorthodox lineup, before it even began. The thread quickly turned into a catch-all for jokes and general banter, and became the first thread in the old Forum to surpass one thousand posts. However, as much fun as it was to take part in, it’s extremely unfortunate that A.L. felt unwelcome due to the way his post was received. Furthermore, it’s a creative idea that’s at least worth messing around with, so that’s what I’m going to do at long last. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #326: Letting It All Out This Week

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Episode #326 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Dee4Three and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

This week, we’re letting it all out as we discuss a variety of topics! We begin with the impending return of the NBA, and our thoughts on the format to finish out the season. On that note, is this really the end of Vince Carter’s career? Elsewhere, a long-lost spin-off of SimCity has us wondering whether any more forgotten and unreleased basketball games will make it out into the wild. The rare version of NBA Jam with Michael Jordan springs to mind. Recent events also lead us to share some strong opinions on the use of Patreon in the modding community, and the focus on making money through the hobby. With EA Play on the horizon, we wonder once more about the future of NBA Live, and express some frustration. We also touch on representing the ABA on the virtual hardwood, and what would make for acceptable downloadable content in basketball games. Oh, and there’s a potentially divisive opinion about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s branding.

What’s your take on this week’s topics? 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.