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Monday Tip-Off: I’ve Got To Use My Imagination

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 how we no longer have to use our imagination when it comes to career and franchise modes.

Yes, the title of this week’s column is indeed a reference to a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips. That’s about as far as the reference goes, however. Truth be told, I only know the song because Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favourite movies, and it’s on its soundtrack. In any case, imagination is a core component of gaming, no matter the genre. Whether we’re playing single player or multiplayer, we immerse ourselves in a virtual world. We share the goal of the player character, whether it’s saving the world, winning a championship, or causing mayhem as a goose.

Imagination has always been – and to some extent still is – a big part of basketball gaming. Whether we’re assuming the role of a general manager or coach, taking control of a star player, or stepping onto the hardwood or blacktop with our own avatar, there’s an element of fantasy at play. Of course, many years ago, we had to be far more imaginative as far as scenarios and stories. In franchise and career play, we filled in the gaps, created our own back stories, and would even role-play in our story section. These days, we don’t have to use our imagination so much, especially in the story-driven MyCAREER. Needless to say, there are benefits and drawbacks to this.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Next up is a retrospective of NBA Live 15.

Although NBA Live 14 had been a rough comeback, the mere fact that it was actually released gave us hope that the series wasn’t done. There was a lot of work to be done, though: modes and features needed to be added, mechanics and animations needed to be enhanced, and more authenticity was required. NBA Live 15 took a few steps in the right direction, but it wasn’t a big enough jump. It was a better game than NBA Live 14, no doubt, but that was a low bar to clear. Interestingly, it also dropped a few ideas that were actually worth keeping. Let’s take a closer look at the second year in NBA Live’s comeback attempt, and see what went right, and what went wrong.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 PS4 & X1 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 PS4 & X1 Retrospective

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 2K14 on PS4 and X1.

The age of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S is upon us! Although many of us will miss out on getting the consoles at launch – and I’m in that group – many other gamers will be hitting the virtual hardwood and blacktop in NBA 2K21 Next Gen over the coming days, weeks, and months. The rest of us will have to make do with NBA 2K21 Current Gen, or the hoops game of our choice that’s available on PS4, X1, or PC. That doesn’t mean we can’t get our virtual basketball fix of course, but it does mean that we miss out on the excitement and hoopla of a Next Gen release.

Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it was seven years ago that we were experiencing that with NBA 2K14 on PS4 and X1. After the OMG Trailer more than lived up to its name and blew us all away, we were eager to see if the game played as good as it looked. It seems as though many basketball gamers do have a lot of nostalgia for NBA 2K14 on PS4 and X1, but looking back, did it live up to the hype, and how well does it hold up now? As a new generation launches and Current Gen becomes Last Gen, let’s take a look back…way back…

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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.

MyNBA is the New Franchise Mode in NBA 2K21 Next Gen

NBA 2K21 MyNBA Developer Blog

I’m a little late in posting this, but the latest developer blog has given us an insight into MyNBA. MyNBA is the new franchise mode in NBA 2K21 Next Gen, combining and replacing MyLEAGUE, MyLEAGUE Online, and MyGM.

Although the new mode is a combination of the previous three, fans of each experience will be able to find what they’re looking for thanks to its deep customisation. The RPG elements of MyGM can be toggled on or off as desired, and the sandbox experience of MyLEAGUE remains. The new Play With Friends option takes the mode online, while Ranked play limits the amount of customisation. Tattoos for generated players have returned, and the number of teams can also be reduced to as few as 12.

I’ve posted a breakdown of the blog below, but be sure to check out the original post for the full scoop. Got any thoughts? Share them in the comments below, and join in the discussion here in the Forum! Dee4Three and I will also be sharing our thoughts on the MyNBA blog in this week’s episode of the NLSC Podcast, so stay tuned.

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NBA 2K21 Patch 1.05 Released; Fall Update

NBA 2K21 Patch 1.05

Patch 1.05 has come through for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One versions of NBA 2K21. As with previous updates, it should come through automatically as long as you have an active Internet connection. If it doesn’t, try restarting your console or Steam client.

The patch adds Fall decorations to The Neighborhood, and includes likeness updates for around 80 current NBA players, WNBA players, and historical players. It also adds Statement uniforms and a new Nuggets court, fixes some technical issues across MyCAREER, MyTEAM, and MyLEAGUE/MyGM, and updated the record books with 2020 season results.

Please see below for the full patch notes. You can also find a complete update history for NBA 2K21 here in our Wiki. Add your thoughts on Patch 1.05 for NBA 2K21 Current Gen in the comments below, or join in the discussion here in our Forum.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K Doesn’t Get Enough Credit For

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 things that NBA 2K doesn’t get enough credit for.

Last week, I discussed five things that NBA Live doesn’t get enough credit for. As I mentioned, I’d planned similar articles for NBA 2K and NBA Jam, and this week it’s 2K’s turn. It may seem odd to suggest that NBA 2K doesn’t get enough credit for things given its current position as the brand leader when it comes to sim basketball games, not to mention its record sales and recurrent revenue figures. True, various issues with quality and a lack of goodwill have contributed to some low user scores on Metacritic in recent years, but it still receives a lot of acclaim.

Nevertheless, there are things NBA 2K doesn’t get enough credit for, despite its popularity and positive professional reviews. For those of us who have been playing the games for years, it is easy to get jaded by legacy issues, though as I alluded to, there have also been practices in recent titles that understandably draw focus away from the good parts. We’re well within our rights to criticise those aspects, just as we critique NBA Live and any other games, but it’s only fair that we recognise the great things as well. After all, some of them don’t get the credit they deserve, and to that end, here are five things in NBA 2K that are due some recognition and appreciation.

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NBA 2K21 Patch 1.04 Released; Halloween in The Neighborhood

NBA 2K21 Patch 1.04

Patch 1.04 has been released for NBA 2K21 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. As always, the update will come through automatically as long as you’re online. If it doesn’t, try restarting your console or Steam client, or checking for updates manually.

The new update brings Halloween to The Neighborhood in MyCAREER. It also includes new faces for over 60 NBA and WNBA players, updates the default Quick Play matchup to Lakers vs. Heat, and prepares the game for upcoming 2K Beach events, Season 2 in MyTEAM, and the $250K MyTEAM Unlimited tournament.

Other fixes include adjustments to set screen movement, and changes to shot aiming to combat modded controller exploits. Park dribble moves now also require the Hall of Fame Tight Handles Badge, and some technical issues have been resolved. Please see below for the full notes for NBA 2K21 Patch 1.04; you can also find a complete update history for the game here in our Wiki.

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NBA 2K21 Patch 1.03 Released; Combined Patch on PC

NBA 2K21 Patch 1.03

Patch 1.03 is now available for NBA 2K21 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. As always, it should come through automatically as long as your PC or console is connected to the Internet. If you run into any issues, try restarting your Steam client or console, or checking for updates manually.

The PC patch is a combined update, as the previous patch hadn’t yet come through. Checking the patch notes for both title updates, the PC version definitely includes all of them. This obviously comes as great news, as it means the PC version isn’t a patch behind. Hopefully there won’t be too many similar delays moving forward.

In addition to the usual technical fixes across various game modes, NBA 2K21 Patch 1.03 lowers the ballhandling requirement for Pro level dribble moves, assigns Park dribbles to a click of the left stick (L3), increases the size of the shot meter, boosts ankle breakers, improves defensive movement, and addresses a Pro Stick exploit (but not the modded controller issue). It also adds a new page to player cards in MyTEAM indicating upgradeable Badges, improves Ball Drop physics, and updates the brackets in Playoffs mode.

Please see below for the full notes for NBA 2K21 Patch 1.03. Feel free to share your impressions in the comments, as well as join in the discussion here in the Forum. You can also find a complete update history for NBA 2K21 here in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: The State of Official Rosters

Monday Tip-Off: The State of Official Rosters

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 state of official rosters in basketball games, particularly NBA 2K.

No matter whether you’re a developer working on the official rosters or a gamer who’s making unofficial updates for the community, it can often be a thankless job. There’s no chance of pleasing everyone when it comes to player ratings, especially given the overinflated importance that Overall Ratings are often ascribed. With over 400 active players along with historical content, it’s very easy to overlook a detail here and there, no matter how meticulous you are. I’m not sure that I’ve ever released a roster for NBA Live PC that didn’t have at least one small oversight.

The feedback that you’ll receive as a roster maker in the community, or indeed as the developer in charge of handling the official rosters, isn’t always constructive or very pleasant. We’re quick to sneer at a perceived bias or lack of knowledge, forgetting that we’re all prone to the same biases and knowledge gaps, to say nothing of human error. At the same time, we’re slow to give credit where it’s due. With that being said, there are some troubling trends when it comes to the official rosters in modern games, in particular NBA 2K. Without meaning to be insulting or self-righteous, it doesn’t feel like the rosters in recent titles have the same level of authenticity as they once did.

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NLSC Podcast #330: The Price of Upgrading

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Episode #330 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The three cover players and their editions of NBA 2K21 have been revealed, and it turns out our predictions were pretty good! We react to the choices, and some of the community’s opinions on them. We’ve also discovered that the Next Gen version will have cross-platform VC and MyTEAM progression, but more controversially, a $10 price increase. Breaking down the pre-order bonuses also suggests that the approach to microtransactions and grinding won’t be much different this year. With confirmation that NBA 2K21 PC is a Current Gen port, we weigh up the pros and cons, and what it means for our modding community. Elsewhere, reactions to Madden 21’s Franchise mode have made us wonder about the future of franchise gaming in basketball titles. Finally, we’re noticing some new waves of nostalgia among younger and older hoops gamers alike.

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: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

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 gaming and modding habits in our community.

One of the more disappointing trends in our community in recent years is the drop-off in discussion about the games we play. We certainly do talk about them, but there’s much less discussion about sliders, strategies, positive and negative impressions, and the general gaming experience on the virtual hardwood. This definitely wasn’t always the case in the NLSC Forum. If you dig through the archives, you’ll find plenty of topics discussing gameplay and game modes, sharing everything from suggestions and tips to criticism and praise. Within those topics, you’ll see lively discussion.

Not so much anymore, however. Conversely, activity in our modding community is still at a high level. From releases and previews to modding advice and requests for mods, there’s plenty of chatter. It’s a puzzling phenomenon, and an imbalance that I’d love to see corrected. Obviously we’re known as a modding community, but we’ve always been much more than that, in both our original content and the conversations we have about basketball gaming. In trying to determine how this trend began and what’s changed in our community, I can’t help wondering: are we actually playing basketball video games, or are we just modding them?

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NLSC Podcast #308: When You Wish Upon A Dev

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Episode #308 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and I as we discuss the latest patch for NBA 2K20, and run down our wishlists for NBA 2K21.

A new patch has come through for NBA 2K20 this week, and it’s brought some welcome updates and changes. The nerfing of a cheesy move has naturally proven to be controversial, leading us to reflect on attitudes towards exploits and how 2K should respond to any backlash. We also touch on some recent controversies with VC exploits, and how 2K chose to handle the situation. From there, we dive into this week’s main topic: our NBA 2K21 wishlists. It’s Wishlist Season, and we’ve got plenty to say about what we want to see in this year’s game. From motion systems and balance to roster accuracy and matchmaking, we break down our desired improvements and additions.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on the latest NBA 2K20 patch? What’s on your NBA 2K21 Wishlist? 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 2K18 Servers Shutting Down January 18th

NBA 2K18 Servers Shutting Down January 18th

The NBA 2K18 servers are set to be shut down on January 18th, 2020. Once this occurs, online play and MyTEAM will no longer be available. MyCAREER and MyGM will still be playable, but only in their offline versions.

Unfortunately, 2K Support has indicated that there is no way to convert online saves to offline saves. This means that once the NBA 2K18 servers are shut down, any online MyCAREER and MyGM saves will become inaccessible, and you’ll need to start over. Previous games have allowed online saves to be converted into offline saves, making it a disappointing situation for anyone who likes to dust off old games from time to time.

Interestingly, the shutdown is occurring eighteen days later than usual. Following the controversy caused by the NBA 2K14 server shut down, 2K extended online support for all their titles to 27 months. This resulted in NBA 2K games receiving two seasons’ worth of support plus an additional three months, after which they were shut down on December 31st.

While NBA 2K18 wasn’t the most popular game in the series, it is one that some people still play and mod. I’d advise anyone still playing the game to wrap up any business in connected modes ASAP, including spending any leftover VC and aiming for Trophies/Achievements. Any custom rosters that you want should also be downloaded before the shutdown. Finally, content creators may also want to take the opportunity to get screenshots and footage of online modes and content while they’re still accessible.

Monday Tip-Off: Too Much at Stake to Experiment

Monday Tip-Off: Too Much at Stake to Experiment

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’re less inclined to mess around in basketball video games these days, because there’s too much at stake to experiment.

During our discussion of franchise gaming in Episode #303 of the NLSC Podcast, I mentioned how franchise modes are a throwback to the days when we were freer to experiment with basketball video games. It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot since getting into MyCAREER and the online scene in recent years. As much fun as I’ve had with those modes, I’m aware of how careful I’ve had to be in order to enjoy myself. A wrong choice can easily torpedo a saved game, wasting hours of grinding with undesirably dire consequences.

Of course, you could argue that that’s part of the challenge now; a key component of an evolved experience. You have to think about your decisions and choose wisely, and if you don’t and suffer because of it, then it’s on you for not playing the game properly. I understand that, and there’s merit in having to commit to a choice, as well as fun in an experience that’s curated to some extent. However, if the consequences are actively discouraging us from experimenting and seeing everything that a game has to offer, that’s rather unfortunate. We still have that freedom to experiment in a mode like MyLEAGUE, but in MyCAREER, there’s simply too much at stake.

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