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The Friday Five: 5 Worst Parts of Playing With Randoms

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, I’m breaking down what I feel are the five worst parts of playing with randoms online.

One of the best parts of modern basketball games is that we’re able to meet up with a bunch of other people we don’t know to play online. Likewise, one of the worst parts of modern basketball games is that we’re able to meet up with a bunch of other people we don’t know to play online. Snarky echoes aside, online gaming will always be a mixed bag, no matter what the genre. Not everyone is about playing fair, or being cooperative. The experience is usually better if you’re teaming up with people that you know, but that isn’t always feasible.

That’s when you end up teaming with randoms. Again, this isn’t unique to basketball games, but hoops games present some unique drawbacks. Since there’s only one ball, not everyone can take an active role at all times as they might in other genres, such as a shooter. Everyone is used to being Player One, and is therefore unwilling to defer to teammates they don’t know. In all fairness it isn’t always a nightmare, and it’s better than not being able to play at all, especially with the new restrictions on team Pro-Am. Nevertheless, it’s often a less than ideal basketball gaming experience. Here are, in my opinion, the five worst parts of being in that situation.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #268

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Episode #268 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Kenny and I have new content and title updates for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 to discuss, some NBA news to catch up on, and as always, some stories about what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood.

On this week’s show…

  • The December 4th content update for NBA Live 19 features some worthwhile fixes and additions. However, we’re still left wanting a little more out of the game.
  • Patch 1.07 for NBA 2K19 likewise provides a few welcome fixes and new content. It also includes a gameplay adjustment that should cut down on some online cheese.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming saw some fantastic performances, a determined grind for more VC, and a few less-than-stellar random online teammates (except for one).
  • We wrap up Episode #268 of the NLSC Podcast with the usual NBA discussion. This week’s topics include recent trades and signings, parity in the West, and the continuation of an unofficial Melo Watch segment.

Click Play to listen to the show!

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

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways NBA 2K Pushes Microtransactions

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 takes a look at five ways that NBA 2K pushes microtransactions on basketball gamers.

As much as I’ve criticised microtransactions in previous articles, I have to admit that I’m guilty of partaking in the practice. On some occasions, I’ve been more willing to drop some spare change on content because I’ve been enjoying the game so much. At other times, it’s been through gritted teeth because the grind has been so painful, and I’ve wanted to play online sooner rather than later. I’ve never broken my budget with microtransactions, but simply out of principle, this year it’s been my goal not to spend any real money on any form of virtual currency (in particular, Virtual Currency).

So far, I’ve made good on that resolution. The only VC that I didn’t earn in-game was the 5000 VC pre-order bonus for the standard edition of NBA 2K19. I’m currently 73 Overall, and I would have to say that grinding up the hard way has been a rewarding journey. It is most certainly a grind though, especially now that ratings upgrades are getting more expensive. You really notice how actively (and sometimes, aggressively) 2K pushes microtransactions when you’re trying to avoid them! Metaphorically, it’s gone from a gentle nudge to a firm hand shunting you in the small of your back. Here are five ways that NBA 2K games pressure us in the name of “recurrent revenue”.

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Monday Tip-Off: Addressing the Situation with 2K Pro-Am

The New 2K Pro-Am Squad Requirements amount to Gatekeeping (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 by addressing the situation with 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K19.

As you may or may not be aware, a significant change has been made to 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K19. Whether it’s organised squad games or the Jordan Rec Center – this year’s version of Walk-On – you need five users per side to start a game. In previous games, it was possible to play with at least three users per side, with the remaining spots being filled by AI players. This has made it more difficult for a lot of people to play a mode they’ve enjoyed in recent years. Our NLSC squad is in that boat, and so we’re among the people wanting to see the old functionality patched into the game.

However, not everyone is on board with that idea. 2K themselves haven’t made it a priority to address the situation, and there’s also been pushback from NBA 2K19 gamers. It’s admittedly hard to please everyone in this situation, but the change was myopic, while the pushback has highlighted some of the toxicity that sadly exists in the NBA 2K community. To that end, I’d like to address both Visual Concepts and the dissenting gamers in this week’s Monday Tip-Off. Call it an open letter, call it a rant; call it whining if you’re the close-minded and toxic type. It’s a situation that I believe must be addressed, and to that end, I’m stating the case for my side.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #265

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Episode #265 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the official updates for NBA Live 19, online play in NBA 2K19, and recent NBA news.

On this week’s show…

  • EA Sports has been pushing through patches for NBA Live 19 on a weekly basis, but the community is growing a little frustrated with the lack of adjustments to gameplay and game modes. Could the updates for NBA Live 19 stand to be more substantial?
  • The NLSC crew had more fun playing The Playground than the Jordan Rec Center in NBA 2K19 this week. We were glad to have some fun hooping together online, but we’re still disappointed in the new approach to NBA 2K’s Pro-Am modes.
  • Speaking of online play, could NBA Live and NBA 2K be doing more to reward good teamwork and punish bad sportsmanship?
  • We wrap up Episode #265 of the NLSC Podcast with this week’s NBA discussion. Topics include Kyrie Irving’s post-game outburst, a trade for Jimmy Butler, and Carmelo Anthony’s future.

Click Play to listen to the show!

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

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Monday Tip-Off: Why Starting Ratings Must Be Higher

Starting Ratings make online play tough (NBA 2K19, Jordan Rec Center)

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 ideal starting ratings for career modes, and why they must be a little higher than they currently are.

The only reason that I’m considering spending any time in MyCAREER this year after feeling burned out on the experience is to build a player for the online modes. Since our NLSC squad has spent a little time in the Jordan Rec Center so far, I’d like to have a player that stands a chance of being competitive online, without having to spend any money on VC this time around. Fortunately, Badges are easier to earn in NBA 2K19, but the process of levelling up from 60 Overall is still quite a daunting task if you don’t have a stack of VC on hand for an initial boost.

In previous articles, I’ve talked about how the grind has turned me off MyCAREER, and how it makes starting over every year feel wearying and unsatisfying. While I’ve vaguely touched on some solutions, I’d like to offer up some more definitive ideas on how to address the problem. One of the key issues that must be addressed is the low starting ratings we begin with every year. It’s a delicate situation as those ratings can’t make the game too easy or too hard, the journey too long or too short. Throw in the matter of competitive and accessible online play, however, and I think it’s clear that starting ratings in MyCAREER must be higher.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #264

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Episode #264 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! After a long hiatus, Arcane and I are back to our weekly discussions about basketball video games, and a little bit of real basketball as well. Since it’s been several weeks and patches since the last episode, we have a few things to catch up on!

On this week’s show…

  • We tip off the episode with some housekeeping matters, including an explanation for our unplanned hiatus.
  • NBA Live 19 has received some significant updates since launch, and the game is better for it. We discuss the various additions and changes, what we’d still like to see, and the modes we’ve been playing.
  • Updates have also been pushed through for NBA 2K19, though a couple of much-desired changes have yet to be made. Apart from that though, we do have some positive impressions and stories to share.
  • NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 launched during our hiatus. Has the partnership between 2K Sports and Saber Interactive yielded a better product than last year’s release?
  • Turning our attention to modding, we talk about the enjoyment and satisfaction of updating an old favourite. This time, it’s a work-in-progress roster update for NBA 2K11.
  • Episode #264 of the NLSC Podcast wraps up with a quick discussion of the real NBA, including a career night for Derrick Rose, and a contentious situation with Jimmy Butler.

Click Play to listen to the show!

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

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Monday Tip-Off: When Good Intentions Become Gatekeeping

Jordan Rec Center 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 NBA 2K19’s approach to Pro-Am and the Jordan Rec Center, and how good intentions have turned into gatekeeping.

For the past couple of weeks, our official NLSC squad – the one that has gone by the names of both THRILLHO and GrindTime – have brought back our Friday night tradition of getting together to play online. We’ve been playing a few games in the Jordan Rec Center in NBA 2K19, and while the experience has had its usual ups and downs, it’s been more fun than Pro-Am in NBA 2K18. Even at a measly 64 Overall – I’m currently refusing to buy VC to upgrade quicker – it’s been fairly enjoyable. The fact that the rest of the guys have been grinding more frequently certainly helps.

However, the experience could be a lot better and more appealing; not just for us, but for NBA 2K gamers in general. The problem is that in NBA 2K19, there’s a barrier to enjoying Pro-Am games, and getting to play at all for that matter, which wasn’t there in years past. This year, five users per side are required to start a game of Pro-Am, or a walk-on game in the Jordan Rec Center. Previously, three users per team was the minimum required to get a game going. 2K is obviously aiming for a particular type of experience with this decision, but the approach has resulted in those modes being far less accessible, essentially gatekeeping and promoting a sense of elitism.

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