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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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The Friday Five: 5 Times Gamers Ruined 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. This week’s Five discusses five times that gamers themselves ruined basketball video games.

This week’s topic may seem unfair, even absurd. After all, we don’t create basketball video games; we just play them. If there’s a problem with a game, then that’s on the developers, not us as consumers, right? Well, for the most part, yes. We’re not the ones implementing microtransactions, grindy mechanics, or other undesirable ideas. We do arguably support them by continuing to buy the games and pumping money into recurrent revenue systems, but boycotts, as Jim Sterling has pointed out, aren’t all that effective. Ultimately, we’re not making design choices, or programming code.

However, we are making suggestions, and the loudest voices aren’t always expressing the best ideas. Tribalism these days goes as deep as which mode you play, as well as a preference for online or offline gaming. Not all feedback has been to the benefit of NBA Live or NBA 2K. The way we choose to play the game and use the features and functions at our disposal has also had a negative effect. Whether it’s through elitism and snobbery, or childishness and trolling, we’ve found more than a couple of ways to spoil the fun. I’m not saying that developers haven’t messed up, but these are five examples of how we as gamers and consumers have ruined games for ourselves.

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NBA 2K21 Wishlist Now Open; Add Your Feedback ASAP!

NBA 2K21 Wishlist Now Open

Our official NBA 2K21 Wishlist topic is now open in the NLSC Forum! This is where we’re compiling feedback to send along to the development team, where it can hopefully be put to good use in this year’s game. We’d like to submit it as soon as we possibly can, so if you’ve got any ideas, start posting them today!

As always, the goal is to compile a comprehensive but concise Wishlist. This means covering new features we’d like to see, ways that gameplay and current modes can improve, and of course, bug reports. Bullet points are best and get the point across quicker than lengthy essays, but at the same time, be detailed. Saying things like “make the gameplay better” and “fix online” doesn’t give the developers much to work with. We need to explain what the problems are, and how we’d like to see them resolved.

The NBA 2K21 Wishlist is also intended to be constructive, so please avoid profanity, personal attacks, and angry rants. Venting is fine elsewhere in the Forum, but when we compile Wishlists, we’re aiming for thoughtful suggestions and criticism. Once we’ve received a good amount of feedback, we’ll compile the official Wishlist and emphasise the most popular wishes.

It’s never guaranteed that we’ll get everything we want, but if we don’t speak up, our voices won’t be heard. Once again, we are looking to submit our Wishlist soon, so start posting your feedback and ideas ASAP!

NLSC Podcast #305: Maintaining a Rapport in 280 Characters

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #305 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! After a short break for the holiday season, Dee4Three and I are back on the air to tip off Season 9. Join us as we talk about David Stern, the community’s relationship with developers, and frustrations with the NBA.

Our first episode of 2020 opens with a tribute to NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern, who passed away on New Year’s Day. We discuss the impact he had on the league, and his legacy as its longest-tenured and best commissioner. Diving into this week’s main discussion topic, we reflect on some recent Tweets that highlight the disconnect and sometimes contentious relationship the community has with developers. We also discuss 2K’s reaction to criticism, and the increased frustration that has strained relations with the dev team. The show wraps up with some spirited thoughts on recent events in the NBA, from travelling to bizarre calls for rule changes.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts 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.

NLSC Podcast Update: Revamp & Future Plans

NLSC Podcast

Regular listeners of the NLSC Podcast will have no doubt noticed that we’ve missed posting a show these past couple of weeks. While it was our intention to be consistent in producing shows after missing several weeks last year, we’ve decided to revamp the podcast, and have taken some time off accordingly.

One reason we want to change up the format – aside from moving with the times and ensuring that we’re producing a show that’s enjoyable to listen to – is that it doesn’t lend itself well to times when news is slow, such as it is now. While I anticipate still having some form of news segments, and we’ll obviously cover the preview season in depth, we’ve found that outside of significant patches or big new content being pushed through, it gets very repetitive talking about the weekly updates. That’s not fun for us, which in turn doesn’t result in a good show for you.

To that end, we’d like to focus on talking about topics and issues that are relevant to the basketball gaming community. We have some deep dive discussions in mind, where we’d spend a majority of the episode having a roundtable discussion about a specific topic. We’re also looking to line up more special guests and interviews, in an effort to make the NLSC Podcast as fun, interesting, and informative as possible.

With that in mind, we’re interested in your suggestions for the topics that you’d like us to discuss, as well as guests you’d like us to try reaching out to. We’d like to build up a bank of topics that we can cover week in and week out, though as I noted, we’ll also devote episodes to breaking news (especially during the preview season). If you do have any suggestions, feel free to hit us up in the comments, as well as on Twitter and Facebook, and here in the NLSC Forum.

As always, a big thank you to everyone who continues to tune in to the NLSC Podcast, and has supported the show throughout the years. We’re confident that the revamp will result in a better show that we can release on a consistent schedule. Check out Episode #278 of the NLSC Podcast here if you haven’t yet caught it, and if you’re listening to us through services such as iTunes, please consider leaving us a review and helping spread the word about the show! If all goes well, Episode #279 should be out later this week.

NBA Live 20 & NBA 2K20 Wishlists Submitted

The Wishlists for NBA Live 20 & NBA 2K20 Have Been Submitted

Our official NLSC Wishlists for NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20 have been finalised and submitted to the developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts respectively! A big thank you to everyone who helped us compile constructive feedback for the upcoming games. As always, there’s no guarantee that our wishes will be granted, but if we don’t speak up, we can guarantee that they’ll go unheard.

Although we won’t be making any further additions to our Wishlists, the topics will remain open until the preview season for NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20 gets underway. Discussion about what we want to see in the new games is obviously still most welcome, and we can try to pass along any late suggestions as well.

You can check out the NBA Live 20 Wishlist here, and the NBA 2K20 Wishlist here. They’re also available in PDF format, here and here respectively. We’ve tried our best to present an accurate and comprehensive cross-section of what our community wants out of both games, and hopefully, we’ll see some of our most desired additions, fixes, and changes implemented sooner rather than later. In the meantime, feel free to keep the conversation going!

Monday Tip-Off: How We React When Developers Deliver

Developers Added Injuries to NBA Live 19 in Patch 1.19

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 we tend to react when the developers of basketball video games deliver on the features and experiences that we want.

The number of patches required by modern video games is a sore point, especially when it comes to the matter of day one title updates. Even if you’re fine with the prospect of multiple patches post-release, there’s the possibility that the updates will end up doing more harm than good; a phenomenon we’ve seen on more than one occasion. However, there have also been times when patches have greatly enhanced basketball video games, fulfilling long-standing requests, addressing persistent legacy issues, or just adding something really cool. It’s better to have them than not.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve received such updates for both NBA Live 18 and NBA Live 19. For NBA Live 18, it was the addition of roster editing in a patch. This past week, NBA Live 19 received a significant update that added the City Edition courts, and – quite unexpectedly – in-game injuries. You would expect most gamers to react positively to the news, and indeed, most did. At the same time, there are people within the community that have reacted more cynically, suggesting that we shouldn’t offer up too much praise to the developers for what are overdue additions. This is an understandable view, but I’d like to examine the differing reactions in greater detail.

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Monday Tip-Off: What Actually Ruins Basketball Video Games?

Victor Oladipo in 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 few thoughts on the matter of what actually ruins basketball video games, and what are really more minor gripes.

Having been a part of the online basketball gaming community for over twenty years and admin of the NLSC for going on eighteen, I’ve both seen and taken part in some spirited discussions about the hobby. Our conversations about basketball video games have run the gamut from excitedly positive to furiously negative, depending on the issue and the quality of any given title. Given that we all have different tastes and expectations of basketball video games, our opinions will differ when it comes what will ruin our experience on the virtual hardwood. That’s fine, and to be encouraged!

Of course, it’s easy to exaggerate, especially when a pet peeve is involved. I recall one Forum member fuming over the use of the word “City” on the team statistics menu in NBA Live 2001. As they correctly pointed out, teams such as the Warriors, Jazz, and Pacers all take their names from their state rather than their city, making that label inaccurate. It’s a valid point, but a minor detail that was correct for most of the teams, and a criticism that paled in comparison with other issues in NBA Live 2001. Such issues are worth pointing out, but as we compile our Wishlists, it’s important that we prioritise problems that can ruin basketball video games, ahead of minor annoyances.

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Wayback Wednesday: The NLSC Wishlists

NBA Live 98 GM Season

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 the history of our NLSC Wishlists.

Wishlist season is upon us again! We’re compiling our Wishlists for NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20, so even though Wayback Wednesday is about looking back at the past, I would like to take the opportunity to encourage everyone to look to the future and help us compile comprehensive feedback for EA and 2K to put to use in developing this year’s games. As we discussed in Episode #270 of the NLSC Podcast, it doesn’t do us any good if we keep our feedback and suggestions to ourselves. Our Wishlists can’t guarantee the additions and changes we want, but they at least have a chance.

Of course, I understand the scepticism that my fellow basketball gamers often express when it comes time to compile our Wishlists. If you’re not seeing the improvements that you desire, it can feel like a pointless exercise; especially if you find yourself repeating the same points year after year. I do believe that our Wishlists have had a positive impact on the games though, and we only need to look back at some of them to see that they’ve been worthwhile. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast Returns in 2019; Feedback Wanted!

NLSC Podcast

As we haven’t posted a new episode of the NLSC Podcast since December 9th and will be taking a further break over the holiday season, I wanted to post a bulletin letting our listeners know that the show will return in 2019. We should be back on the air with Episode #269 either the first or second week or January. I’ll be sure to post a further bulletin closer to the date.

It’s been a bit of a rough year for the NLSC Podcast, compared to our other original content. We’ve ended up missing far more weeks than we’d like, due to a combination of scheduling issues, illness, technical problems, and burnout. That last issue in particular is one that we’re hoping to address moving forward, not only by taking a break over the holidays, but also in potentially changing our approach to the show.

2019 will mark the eighth year of the NLSC Podcast. We’ve made a few changes to the format and our approach over the years, but we’d like to make sure that we’re keeping things fresh and putting out an entertaining product. To that end, we’re interested in feedback from our listeners, specifically:

  • Ideal show length.
  • Ideal release day.
  • Whether you like multiple topics/segments, or would prefer us to focus on just one or two topics.
  • Whether or not you like the news and reactions segments as-is, or would prefer a quick recap with select focus on the most important topics (or no news at all).
  • Your interest in content regarding our modding community.
  • Your interest in other segments and potential new segments (Our Week in Basketball gaming, Mailbag/Q&A, Fact of the Week, games with the hosts, tips and tricks, etc).
  • Whether you like the NBA discussion or would prefer us to just stick to video games.
  • Any other feedback you have about the NLSC Podcast.

We greatly appreciate any input moving forward! Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below, as well as here in the NLSC Forum.

A huge thanks for your support of the NLSC Podcast throughout 2018. We’re looking forward to coming back with a refreshed (and possibly revamped) podcast about basketball video games and our community in 2019!

Patch Notes for NBA Live 18 Demo Update 1.05

NBA Live 18 Demo: Warriors vs. Cavaliers

As we noted in Episode #218 of the NLSC Podcast a couple of weeks ago, the NBA Live 18 demo has been receiving a few official patches since its release. A new update (1.05) has just come through on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It should come through automatically as long as you have an active Internet connection, but if you encounter any issues, try restarting your console. Xbox One users may also want to try this workaround.

There hasn’t been a lot of information about the updates so far, and the Update History on PS4 simply lists the generic “minor bug fixes” note. However, NBA Live 18 Game Designer ProjectLeet has Tweeted out some comprehensive patch notes for the latest update, which are as follows:

  • Live Run unlocked.
  • Numerous gameplay changes, which include…
    • Big men will no longer be able to perform high tier dribble moves.
    • Contested layup percentage has been tuned.
    • Big men won’t perform as many athletic reverse layups.
    • Increased Game Speed to 80.
    • Interception tuning. Fewer interceptions when players aren’t facing the ball.
    • Alley-oop frequency tuning.
    • Hard screens are less frequent.
    • Celebration tuning.
    • Box out tuning.
    • Reduced the frequency of interior shot blocking based on matchups. Slight reduction overall.
    • Various Gameplay bug fixes.
    • Improved loose ball reaction times.

The dev team at EA Tiburon certainly seem to be taking feedback on the NBA Live 18 demo quite seriously. As such, if you have any impressions that you’d like to share, feel free to post them in the comments section below, as well as in this topic. Remember, the more detailed our constructive feedback about the NBA Live 18 demo, the more adjustments that can be made to the full version via a day one patch. We’ll do our best to compile feedback and pass it along to the developers accordingly.

Monday Tip-Off: You Can Constructively Criticise NBA Playgrounds

Tip-Off in NBA Playgrounds

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 we can, and absolutely should, constructively criticise NBA Playgrounds.

It’s been around a month since NBA Playgrounds was released for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Saber Interactive’s first attempt at an arcade basketball game has been reasonably well-received, even if it’s not quite on par with its legendary predecessors, NBA Jam and NBA Street. Saber has been very diligent in listening to feedback, resulting in some much-needed changes being implemented via the game’s early patches. New players have also been added to the game, additional tournaments are planned, and Switch users will receive a free copy of the new Shaq Fu game for their patience regarding the delay in launching the online features.

Saber’s interaction with the fanbase and their gestures of goodwill are extremely admirable, and refreshing. They’ve created an official Facebook group for NBA Playgrounds gamers to offer feedback, share their experiences, and basically keep the lines of communication open, which is awesome. Unfortunately, some of the discourse in the group is, to be blunt, very toxic. I’ve seen some perfectly reasonable suggestions shouted down, and people with valid criticisms told to zip their lips by their fellow gamers. As such, I feel that something needs to be made very clear here: we can and should constructively criticise NBA Playgrounds.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #204

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the NBA 2K18 Legend Edition cover reveal, give our initial impressions of NBA Playgrounds, and talk about the burnout and cynicism we sometimes feel when it comes to giving constructive feedback.

On this week’s show…

  • Shaquille O’Neal has been revealed as the cover player for the Legend Edition of NBA 2K18. We also know the release date and the pre-order bonuses. Does all that VC suggest another tough grind this year?
  • Charles Barkley has revealed what it will take for him to appear in NBA 2K18.
  • NBA Playgrounds has been released, and we have some initial impressions to share. One of us is a little more positive than the other.
  • Referring back to a Monday Tip-Off article from a few weeks ago, we discuss the burnout and cynicism that can arise after years of talking about improvements to basketball video games, and compiling feedback for developers.
  • It pains us to say it as long-time NBA fans, but we’re just not feeling this year’s Playoffs.
  • We wrap up Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which included another brief but enjoyable session of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

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.

Monday Tip-Off: Some More Thoughts on Constructive Feedback

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 how we can give better feedback as a gaming community.

If you haven’t yet checked out the interview that our friends over at Operation Sports conducted with the NBA 2K team, I highly recommend giving it a look. I obviously got a kick out of seeing JaoSming and Leftos taking part, and hearing the NLSC receive some flattering mentions, but those were far from the only parts that I enjoyed. All the guys participating in the interview provided an interesting insight into how they came to join the team at 2K, what it’s like to work in the industry, and how their perception of video game development changed from when they were members of the community. It’s a four part series, and you can begin with Part 1 here.

The interview also discusses the importance of community feedback, noting that even when the developers aren’t replying to comments, they are reading them. There were some good tips on how to get noticed, whether you’re seeking employment at Visual Concepts, or simply want to provide the developers with feedback for official patches and future games. Some of their comments got me thinking once again about the way we give feedback – not only to 2K, but also EA – and how we can do a better job in that regard. Personally, it’s also made me reflect a little on the way that I’ve critiqued the game and offered up feedback in recent years.

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