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Tag Archives: Dynasty mode

Monday Tip-Off: Planning a Return to Franchise Modes

Starting a new Franchise Game (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 making a return to franchise gaming this year.

My recent Wayback Wednesday series on franchise modes in NBA Live and NBA 2K served to remind me of just how much fun I’ve had with them over the years. I’ve wanted to return to franchise gaming for a while now, and writing those articles only added to my enthusiasm. I’ve gravitated towards MyCAREER and other modes in recent years, which is funny given that in MyLEAGUE and MyGM, we now have some of the deepest franchise experiences in the history of basketball video games. There are reasons why my habits have changed, of course, but I do feel like it’s time to make a return to franchise modes.

Now that NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 have been out for over a month, receiving multiple official patches and roster updates, it’s an opportune time to dive into the franchise experience. With the 2018 season tipping off, my interest in creating a fictional reality on the virtual hardwood has also been piqued. I do still have an interest in the card collecting modes, online team play experience, and MyCAREER, so I’ll have to ration my basketball gaming time accordingly. Beyond that, however, I do have a few other matters to consider as I plan a return to the franchise experience that I enjoyed so much as a younger basketball gamer.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Association in NBA 2K

Headlines in The Association (NBA 2K14)

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 concluding my retrospective on franchise modes with a look back at The Association in NBA 2K.

While NBA Live was offering multiseason management modes in the form of Franchise and Dynasty, NBA 2K was also providing basketball gamers with its own take on the franchise experience. The franchise modes in both games have had their ups and downs, but the 2K series has done a very commendable job from year to year, in many cases implementing features that have yet to be seen in EA’s game. For those of us who were mostly playing NBA Live back in the day, we looked on in envy as 2K implemented several of those much-desired features in its modes.

As of now, NBA 2K has featured the deepest and most advanced franchise modes in basketball gaming. For many years, that franchise experience went by the name of The Association, and it admirably paved the way for MyLEAGUE and MyGM in recent games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynasty Mode in NBA Live

Select Dynasty Mode Team in NBA Live 2004

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, my retrospective on franchise modes continues with a look back at the history of Dynasty Mode in NBA Live.

Franchise Mode was one of the best additions in the NBA Live series, delivering a multiseason experience that gamers had been wanting for some time. By NBA Live 2003 however, it was unfortunately getting stale. Despite a few noteworthy new features and AI enhancements, the experience hadn’t become much deeper over the course of four years. Franchise gamers still enjoyed the mode and it remained popular, but there was also a certain amount of frustration, as we wanted to see more innovation. Fortunately, by the time NBA Live 2004 rolled around, EA Sports were ready to deliver.

The introduction of Dynasty Mode in NBA Live 2004 was part of an effort to rebrand Franchise Mode throughout all EA Sports titles, but thankfully, it turned out to be much more than a name change. It marked the introduction of a deeper mode that continued to evolve through the years, until it too fell on some rough times. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Basketball Gaming Ideas

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 retro basketball gaming ideas that you might want to try out.

The preview season for NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 isn’t quite in full swing yet, and although the 2017 NBA offseason is underway, a lot of the big names are already off the board. There are Summer League games to catch of course, but I expect that right now, a lot of basketball gamers are choosing to hit the virtual hardwood. Whether it’s LIVE or 2K Pro-Am, MyTEAM, MyCAREER, or perhaps a new MyLEAGUE or MyGM game with updated rosters, we’re finding ways to get our basketball fix while we wait for news on the upcoming video games, and the start of a brand new season.

Of course, you may be looking for a change of pace, especially if you’re feeling a tad nostalgic, or a little bit burned out on the most recent games. To that end, you may want to dust off an old favourite, perhaps picking up where you left off in an old saved game, or possibly engaging in a little Achievement/Trophy hunting. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something new to do with a classic game, there’s a lot of fun to be had if you get a little creative, and enjoy “What If?” scenarios. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, I have five retro basketball gaming ideas to suggest.

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Wayback Wednesday: A Look Back at DSTATS in NBA Live

Shaquille O'Neal dunks in NBA Live 2000

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 DSTATS in old NBA Live games.

For an enthusiastic franchise mode gamer, detail is paramount. On top of having a quality gameplay experience throughout the schedule, our enjoyment of a franchise mode is driven by the depth of the features, as well as the accuracy and realism of trades, free agency, and player performance. Simulated player stats that are wildly inaccurate can really detract from the franchise experience, especially during the first couple of seasons which are usually expected to somewhat resemble reality. The sim engine is an area where basketball games have greatly improved over the years, but in earlier NBA Live titles, realistic stats were achieved through the use of DSTATS.

DSTATS data provided the development team and modders alike with greater control over simulated player stats, but the approach also had a few noteworthy drawbacks. It’s an outmoded concept, but one that’s interesting to revisit, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Generated Rookie Names in NBA Live

Generated Rookie in NBA Live 2000

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 generated rookie names in NBA Live.

Now that the 2017 NBA Finals are in the books, everyone’s attention has turned to free agency and this year’s Draft. In a couple of days we’ll find out where all the top prospects will end up, but with custom Draft Classes, basketball gamers have already been creating their own scenarios in NBA 2K17. Of course, without a custom Draft Class in place, the new rookie crop will be completely fictional, with generated names, ratings, and attributes. In the early days of franchise modes, fictional rookies with generated names were the only option, barring any editing of the DBF files for NBA Live on PC.

As a result, there were some very weird and wonderful results with the randomly generated rookie names in NBA Live, as well as a few Easter Eggs here and there. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Dynasty Mode in NBA Live

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.

Last week, I posted five suggestions for enhancing the gameplay in NBA Live 17 and beyond. While it’s important that the gameplay delivers a quality experience, basketball video games also need robust modes if they’re going to hold our interest for any length of time. After all, no matter how fun and realistic the gameplay, a string of meaningless exhibition games is going to get boring after a while. It’s therefore vital that NBA Live’s franchise, career, and card collecting modes are all deep and engaging experiences. The addition of a couple of other modes – such as All-Star Weekend – wouldn’t go astray, either.

For the moment, however, let’s focus on Dynasty Mode. It’s traditionally been my mode of choice in NBA Live, and it’s the mode with the longest heritage in the series. Right now, Dynasty is functional, but it’s also missing a lot of basic functions and features that could be found in its predecessors. Simply bringing back those elements would be a significant improvement for the mode, but I am hoping that future NBA Live games can go even further in fleshing out the franchise experience. Here are five suggestions that I believe would help achieve that goal.

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Recreating My NBA Live 2004 Dynasty

Kevin Garnett on the Chicago Bulls in NBA Live 2004

My NBA Live 2004 Dynasty with the Chicago Bulls remains one of my absolute favourite experiences with a basketball video game. I maintained a story thread (which you can check out here in our Hall of Fame), and played through the entire first season: every single regular season and Playoff game, on twelve minute quarters. I won the championship, then simulated through most of the second season, ultimately winning back-to-back titles.

In some respects, my NBA Live 2004 Dynasty is something of an oddity for me. I double-dipped with the PC and PlayStation 2 version of NBA Live that year, and because the PS2 version came out first, I ended up starting a Dynasty game on that platform. Even though I did spend a lot of time with the PC version of NBA Live 2004, I was so hooked on my PS2 Dynasty that it’s one of the rare times I spent as much time (if not slightly more) with the console version of NBA Live, at least when a PC version was also available.

Aside from winning 64 games and capturing the NBA championship in the first season, one of the most memorable aspects of my NBA Live 2004 Dynasty was my trade for Kevin Garnett, in a highly unlikely deal. Just for fun, and as part of our celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, I thought that I’d recreate my NBA Live 2004 Dynasty on the PC, and see what kind of results I got upon simulating the games. Let’s take a look!

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynasty Cutscenes in NBA Live 2004

Training Cutscene in NBA Live 2004's Dynasty Mode

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.

The next game that I’ll be looking back on as part of our ongoing (and belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations is NBA Live 2004. It’s one of my all-time favourite games in the series, and a title that I know a lot of other long-time basketball gamers also remember fondly. As I’ll discuss in my forthcoming retrospective, NBA Live 2004 did a great job in correcting course after NBA Live 2003 was skewed too much towards a casual style, with more realistic gameplay and the inclusion of sliders for the first time in the NBA Live series.

If there’s one thing that most people remember about NBA Live 2004 though, it’s the cutscenes in the newly rebranded Dynasty Mode. Whereas reactions to the “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes in NBA Live 2003 were mixed at best, it seemed like most of us felt that the Dynasty Cutscenes really added to the atmosphere, bringing life to events that were taking place in the menus. Given that it’s such a memorable part of the game, I thought I’d talk a little bit about it, ahead of my full NBA Live 2004 retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How To Choose Teams in Franchise Modes

Selecting when you want to start your franchise experience in NBA 2K17's MyLEAGUE & MyGM

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.

I’ve been away camping over the weekend, so it’s been a few days since I played NBA 2K17. However, I can guarantee that it won’t be long before I’m picking up the controller once more, and returning to the virtual hardwood. So far, I’ve been playing a lot of MyCAREER and meeting up with the guys to play 2K Pro-Am, but I’m still very keen to return to my roots as a franchise gamer and begin a MyLEAGUE game. Of course, that’s something I might still hold off on until the opening night rosters have been pushed through.

In the meantime, I’m still mulling over a few ideas for what I’d like to do with MyLEAGUE. My first choice is always the Chicago Bulls, and their offseason acquisitions have made them an interesting option. I’m intrigued by the possibility of taking control of the Philadelphia 76ers, and I also really like the Charlotte Hornets’ branding. The team you choose to play a franchise game with obviously plays a huge role in how much you enjoy the experience, so I thought that for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’d discuss the selection process and offer up a few tips.

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Monday Tip-Off: Realism in Franchise Modes

MyLEAGUE & MyGM, NBA 2K17's 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.

As I mentioned in last week’s Friday Five, one of my goals for NBA 2K17 is to return to my roots as a franchise gamer, and spend a lot more time in MyLEAGUE. I’m still deciding which team (or teams) I’ll control, what kind of moves I might make, and whether or not I’ll experiment with league expansion and relocation in my primary MyLEAGUE game. As I mentioned in this thread, I generally prefer to maintain a certain level of realism when I play franchise modes, as I’ve discovered that making too many trades or using the fantasy draft options quickly leads to boredom, due to the more rapid departure from reality.

Of course, the very nature of franchise modes means that there will generally be some deviation from reality. Whether it’s a player’s stats, a team’s record, or the odd trade here and there, most of our franchise games are not going to be one hundred percent realistic. For many of us, it’s those small changes – or if we so choose, big changes – that make franchise modes so fun and enjoyable. At the same time, however, many of us do believe that franchise modes should be as realistic as possible, and are frustrated when our desired level of realism isn’t achieved. The question is: what actually constitutes realism in a franchise mode?

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #171

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #171 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! It’s our longest episode in a while as we had a lot to talk about this week, from the first teaser trailer for NBA 2K17, to the Boomers vs. Team USA. Also, some of our favourite memories of Dynasty Mode, and our most recent sessions of 2K Pro-Am.

On this week’s show…

  • The first official teaser trailer for NBA 2K17 has been released. We react to the trailer, and some of us struggle to correctly articulate the name of the US national anthem.
  • On the subject of teasers and news, we also discuss the problem with gaming sites and YouTubers who engage in clickbait, tricking their fellow basketball gamers with fake news and completely unrelated content.
  • Will an increase in video game prices and the rise of microtransactions result in longer development cycles for sports games?
  • What are some of our favourite moments in Dynasty Mode/franchise modes over the years? Which was the best edition of the mode?
  • In our Week in Basketball Gaming: Possible burnout on 2K Pro-Am, and perspective on some of the improvements to shooting mechanics in recent years.
  • The Orlando Magic have unveiled what is perhaps our new least favourite alternate jersey. Bring on the Nike contract!
  • Australia had a fine performance against the USA in the preliminary round of the 2016 Olympic basketball tournament. We’re still picking the USA to win the gold, but are we more optimistic about the Boomers’ chances of winning a medal?
  • We wrap up Episode #171 of the NLSC Podcast with another edition of Trivia Time!

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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Wayback Wednesday: Free Agency in NBA Live 2004

Jason Kidd dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 2004

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 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.

The first couple of weeks of free agency tend to be the most exciting part of the offseason. Twenty years ago, Shaquille O’Neal departed the Orlando Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers, signing one of the first $100 million dollar contracts. Six years ago, it was LeBron James’ turn to shock the basketball world, when he took his talents to South Beach. Just this week, Kevin Durant has just stirred up a mix of excitement and controversy with his announcement that he’ll join the Golden State Warriors. Of course, we’ve been able to make our own shocking signings in video games since Franchise Mode in NBA Live 2000, which became Dynasty Mode in NBA Live 2004.

Speaking of NBA Live 2004’s Dynasty Mode, it featured a couple of quirks when it came to free agency. While the mode added some nifty features that its predecessor lacked, it was afflicted by a couple of issues that did detract from the experience…or enhanced it, depending on how much you cared about realism and challenge. Thankfully, those issues were resolved in NBA Live 2005, but while we were all still playing NBA Live 2004, they were something that Dynasty gamers would consistently encounter.

Which issues am I referring to? Well, let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Design Choices in Basketball Games

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.

It’s stating the obvious, but we’re pretty fond of our basketball video games around these parts. We may get frustrated and grumble when we encounter a bug or some other quirk in a game, but I’d like to think that for the most part, a majority of us are enjoying our time on the virtual hardwood. No game is ever going to be perfect or completely bug-free, and new gaming tech is always being developed and refined. All the same, we generally find a way to enjoy basketball games, especially if they receive official patches that are able to stamp out some of the most troubling issues.

Of course, bugs aren’t the only issues that cause us to become frustrated with basketball video games. Sometimes, our complaints are with the design choices that are made when developing hoops titles; the approach to certain features. While there may be a rhyme and reason to some of those choices, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t annoying, or problematic. In this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look at five design choices that cause their fair share of frustration for basketball gamers.

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Generated Players: The Ultimate Blank Canvas

When I was playing NBA Live 10, I saw a lot of generated players. In fact, by the time it was season 18, Dwight Howard was the only real life player left in the league. Even though it’s not as aesthetically pleasing to see a league full of computer-generated characters with porn moustaches, it can provide an excellent opportunity to exercise your creative flair and go far beyond what you think is possible as a sim gamer.

If you’re anything like me, you love chasing achievements like triple-doubles, five-by-fives, and 50-point games. Sometimes these achievements can be the only thing keeping your Dynasty or Association mode interesting if you’re constantly winning championships. But there’s always one problem with real life players – they’re often limited by our own expectations. After all, you have to be pretty liberal with your sim gaming if you can justify someone like J.R. Smith winning the MVP trophy, or someone like Kwame Brown becoming a productive player.

With generated players, there’s no overachieving or underachieving, because they don’t exist outside of the video game. They’re a blank canvas for your imagination and the ultimate vehicle for your achievement hunting. No other player in my basketball video game experiences has embodied this more than a generated player named Borislav Perko in my NBA Live 10 Nuggets Dynasty.

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