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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: Juggling Multiple Basketball Games

2018 Basketball Games

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 juggling time between multiple basketball games.

Compared to other sports, we’re in an enviable position when it comes to basketball games. There are two developers working on sim-oriented titles, and while one game is in the lead, the other is steadily improving and becoming a viable option. We’ve also seen the resurrection of the arcade basketball genre, providing us with a brand new alternative to the sim experience. Throw in a wonderful retro concept in the form of Basketball Classics, and we’ve got quite a few options these days as far as the virtual hardwood is concerned.

That does present a certain problem, of course. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many of them that we can commit to video games. With so much to do in modern basketball games, it can be difficult to spend ample time with each of them if you do decide to buy more than one. As far as problems go, this is admittedly very low stakes, and indeed a desirable one to have, but those tougher issues in life are beyond the scope of a website dedicated to basketball gaming! In any event, if you’ve invested in more than one basketball game this year and you’re trying to get the most out of each, know that you’re not alone.

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NBA 2K19 Patch 1.04 Released; New Fixes & Functionality

Daily Spin Room in The Neighborhood (NBA 2K19)

A new patch (1.04) has come through for NBA 2K19. As of this post, it’s only been released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the PC and Switch patches set to come through sometime soon. The patch will download automatically as long as your console is connected to the Internet; if you encounter any difficulties, try restarting or checking for updates manually.

Patch 1.04 is a substantial update for NBA 2K19, containing a host of fixes, tweaks, and new functionality across a variety of modes. Notably, the requirements to unlock the Auction House in MyTEAM have been reduced to playing games (rather than winning them), the new shot clock rule regarding offensive rebounds has been implemented, additional Daily Spin prize wheels have been added to The Neighborhood, and various crashes have been addressed.

There’s so much more than that however, so check out the full patch notes below. I’ve also added them to the update history for NBA 2K19 over in our Wiki. Feel free to share your impressions in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NBA 2K19 section of the NLSC Forum.

UPDATE: Patch 1.04 is now available for the PC version of NBA 2K19.

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NBA 2K19 Patch 1.03 Now Available; Fixes For Various Modes

NBA 2K19: LeBron James

A new patch (1.03, or alternatively Patch 3) has come through for NBA 2K19 on all platforms, and will be downloaded automatically as long as you have an active Internet connection. If you encounter any problems, try restarting your console or Steam client, or checking for the update manually.

According to the patch notes, the new update fixes a variety of issues across several game modes. It also includes the Denver Nuggets’ new alternate court, which will be available in-game in the next roster update.

Please see below for full details on Patch 1.03. You can find a complete update history for NBA 2K19 here in our Wiki. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion here in the Forum.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Positives and Negatives in NBA 2K19

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 another double countdown, this time featuring the Top 5 Positives and Top 5 Negatives in NBA 2K19.

My full reviews for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 will be out shortly, but before then, I wanted to offer up some more of my initial impressions of this year’s games. This time I’m talking about the latest offering from Visual Concepts, NBA 2K19. After really enjoying NBA 2K17, I was quite disappointed with NBA 2K18. It wasn’t just the unapologetically greedy approach to microtransactions and the brutal grind, either. I just didn’t enjoy the gameplay experience, and thus shelved NBA 2K18 much earlier than previous games, firing it up only to get screenshots for articles.

In a nutshell, I felt that NBA 2K18 was a surprising regression for the NBA 2K series, uncharacteristically stumbling off course. Is NBA 2K19 heading back in the right direction? In some respects, yes, but there are some key areas of concern, and design choices that I’m disappointed in. The team at Visual Concepts clearly did learn a few lessons from last year’s game however, and took gamer feedback to heart. With that in mind, NBA 2K19 is – as quite a few people have put it – the game that we should’ve received last year. At the same time, it’s not entirely the game that I was hoping for this year. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Positives and Negatives, at least as I see them.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #260

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Episode #260 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we recap a busy week in basketball gaming news and previews, which included the release of the NBA Live 19 demo. We have our detailed impressions to share with the community, as well as our thoughts on everything that we learned about NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 over the past seven days.

On this week’s show…

  • We have our first hands-on experience with NBA Live 19 following the release of the game’s demo! In our impressions, we break down what we liked and disliked, as well as what’s improved and what still needs improvement.
  • Trailers and developer blogs have given us an insight into what to expect from the extended experience in The One. It’s not the traditional experience we’re still wanting the game to provide, but the additions do look and sound good.
  • The NBA Live 19 soundtrack has been revealed. We’ve given it a listen, and have a couple of thoughts to share.
  • Judging by the NBA 2K19 MyCAREER trailer, this year’s story is going to be a lot better. The ability to skip cutscenes and The Prelude is appealing too, though we still have some concerns.
  • Private matchmaking has been added to Pro-Am in NBA 2K19. We absolutely approve, even if we are a little burned out on the mode.
  • A few snippets about gameplay are being released ahead of the developer blogs, and they do sound quite promising.
  • We wrap up Episode #260 of the NLSC Podcast with our reactions to the impact of Belgian law on MyTEAM, and wonder whether we’ll continue to see changes worldwide.

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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NBA 2K19 MyTEAM Developer Blog & Trailer

NBA 2K19: MyTEAM Menu

The latest NBA 2K19 developer blog has provided us with a comprehensive overview of MyTEAM in this year’s game. As with the previous blog, Senior Producer Erick Boenisch has gone into a lot of detail, but I’ll summarise it as best as I can. If you’re a MyTEAM enthusiast, then I definitely recommend reading the blog in its entirety.

  • The approach to packs has changed to provide gamers with better content. This includes better pulls, and changes in philosophy. For example, Throwback packs will guarantee a throwback player, as in NBA Live’s Ultimate Team.
  • There will be new content that’s pushed through more often, including packs, inserts into existing packs, and more Locker Codes. Speaking of Locker Codes, in addition to the limited quantity codes, there will be single use codes all gamers can take advantage of for random reward drops (as in earlier games this generation, though it’s being touted as a new feature). We also have our first Locker Code to use in NBA 2K19 when it’s released: GETIT-DUWW7-AN5F3-FPEZB-9VMWC
  • New modes this year include MyTEAM Unlimited (take your best lineup of 13 players online to compete for rewards), Triple Threat (3v3 against all 30 NBA teams and other squads with rewards on the line), and Triple Threat Online (the same concept, only against other gamers online).
  • This year, single player Weekly Challenges will not expire (but Multiplayer Weekly Challenges still will). Schedule Challenges have been revamped to be less of a grind, and the rewards have been increased. There will also be Daily Trials in the form of stat-based objectives each day.
  • Domination no longer has to be played through in a singular fixed order. The mode includes NBA Domination, Fantasy Domination, and All-Time Domination.
  • Reward Tokens are now earned for completing objectives throughout MyTEAM, and can be traded in at the Reward Market. There’s is also a Token Market which offers the chance to get even more content for your Reward Tokens.
  • Collector Levels return, awarding prizes as your collection grows. New cards this year include Heat Check cards (cards that gain boosted abilities for 48 hours after a player turns in a great performance in real life) new Throwback collections with retro players, and a 20th Anniversary collection.
  • The interface has been updated to be more user-friendly, and now includes notifications and a Card Glossary. The Auction House, Pack Market, Edit Lineups, and other menus have also been updated with a new aesthetic and functionality.

Once again, that’s just a very brief summary, so be sure to check out the blog for the full scoop. A trailer for MyTEAM in NBA 2K19 has also been released. Check it out below, or watch it here on YouTube. I’ve also included the screenshots from the developer blog below, and added them to our NBA 2K19 gallery along with some other recently released screens.

What are your thoughts on the details revealed in the MyTEAM blog? Is it a mode you’re likely to check out this year? Have your say in the comments section below, as well as in this topic in the NLSC Forum.

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Monday Tip-Off: Should 99 Overall Ratings Be Possible To Attain?

Road to 99 Loading Screen in 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 discussion of whether 99 Overall ratings should be possible to attain in NBA Live and NBA 2K.

Few aspects of the core gameplay experience in basketball video games cause quite as much controversy as overall ratings. They cause heated debates and much frustration when a player’s overall appears to be too high or too low, or otherwise incorrect when compared to other players. It’s all too easy to place too much emphasis on them, even though the individual ratings are more important, and the formula for calculating the overalls often makes it difficult to get every player’s rating to be “perfect”. However, although they can be problematic and even unclear, they are an important mechanic.

A debate that I’ve seen come up more than a few times over the years is whether or not any player deserves the maximum rating of 99 Overall. Not counting some of the boosted cards in Ultimate Team and MyTEAM, only a few players have reached that level in NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson. It’s also become a prominent goal to reach in NBA 2K’s MyCAREER, emphasised by NBA 2K18’s Road to 99. Few things make a player stand out in a video game quite like boasting a maxed out overall rating, but the question remains: should 99 Overall be possible in the first place?

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #254

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Episode #254 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and myself as we discuss the cover leak for the Standard Edition of NBA 2K19, the situation with NBA Playgrounds 2, and our plans for this year’s games. Our Week in Basketball Gaming also returns, along with some other fun topics.

On this week’s show…

  • It seems the NBA 2K19 Standard Edition cover has been leaked, with Giannis Antetokoumpo being the featured player. We discuss the choice, and the situation with the Early Tip-Off Weekend being exclusive to the 20th Anniversary Edition.
  • NBA Playgrounds 2 was indefinitely postponed a month ago, and we still haven’t heard anything further. Is there any big announcement that could feasibly make up for the lack of hype?
  • What are our plans for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 when they’re released in September?
  • HAWK23 has made a welcome return to the community, and is currently looking at fixing up the links for the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K12 and NBA 2K14 PC.
  • We reflect once again on our own history with modding, and why we don’t mod as much as we used to. We’re not shutting the door on the idea, though.
  • If an NBL 2K or NBL Live game were ever to be released, what would it be like? We have some fun with the idea.
  • We wrap up Episode #254 of the NLSC Podcast with a short discussion of the NBA Draft, and the (latest) Dwight Howard trade.

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: Getting Back to Basics with NBA 2K19

2002 Kings Clones in 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 how getting back to basics with NBA 2K19 would be a great move after the controversy and dissatisfaction that surrounded NBA 2K18.

For years, NBA 2K has been the dominant brand in basketball gaming. It started with EA Sports’ misfire when NBA Live 06 was released on Xbox 360, devoid of Dynasty Mode and generally being a rough transition to the next generation. As NBA Live continued to struggle, NBA 2K stayed the course and went from strength to strength, garnering higher ratings from reviewers and eventually becoming the top-selling NBA game when NBA 2K9 outsold NBA Live 09. The series has continued to innovate and receive praise from gamers and gaming publications alike, setting sales records and expanding its brand with its own weekly TV show, and now an eSports league.

And yet, despite all its success, the brand doesn’t feel as untouchable as it once did. NBA 2K18 received an unprecedented amount of backlash over its greedy and anti-consumer approach to microtransactions, which greatly affected some of its most popular modes. Beyond that controversy, a lot of gamers felt that the game had simply taken a few steps backwards with a new motion system that didn’t seem quite ready, AI that didn’t feel as smart or realistic, and rosters that were riddled with problems. While 2K’s strategies for “recurrent revenue” obviously won’t be going anywhere, I’d suggest that NBA 2K19 could otherwise really benefit from going back to basics.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #247

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Episode #247 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss DLC ideas for future NBA Live games, the tip-off of the NBA 2K League, NBA Street Vol. 2, and other news and events from the past week in both basketball gaming and the real NBA.

On this week’s show…

  • FIFA 18 will be receiving free downloadable content for the World Cup, which gives us ideas for future NBA Live games. In fact, there’s quite a few things NBA Live could borrow from its EA Sports brethren.
  • Play has begun in the NBA 2K League, with the inaugural tip-off tournament now complete. We offer up a few impressions of what we’ve seen so far.
  • In order to make the Wall of Fame in NBA 2K19, you’ll need to reach 99 Overall by May 31st. For some of us, that’s simply going to be too much grinding.
  • A recent GQ article took a look back at NBA Street Vol. 2, calling it the last truly great basketball game. Do we agree with that assessment?
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included more games of Ultimate Team, and a foray into MyTEAM.
  • We wrap up Episode #247 of the NLSC Podcast with a few NBA topics, including the latest action from the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and a head coaching opportunity for Becky Hammon.

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 Underrated Features in the NBA 2K Series

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 features in the NBA 2K series that are arguably underrated.

Following on from last week’s column, which looked at five features of the NBA Live series that could be considered underrated, I’m now taking a look at NBA 2K. Visual Concepts’ series of sim-oriented basketball video games has received a lot of praise over the past decade, and for good reason. The NBA 2K series has earned a lot of critical acclaim and sold millions of copies on the strength of its gameplay, deep game modes, and overall attention to detail. Even though we have our criticisms, NBA 2K has definitely had its strong points that are well-known and enthusiastically praised.

As I said last week, however, it’s often the little things that really make the basketball gaming experience special. The big features are important and they’re obviously what sell the games, but the smaller details often provide enhancements in many areas, be it greater accessibility or fun ways to play the game. At the same time, there are features that aren’t necessarily small, but still somewhat overlooked, or just not given their due for how enjoyable, helpful, or innovative they are. With that being said, here are five of the more underrated features in the NBA 2K series. Hopefully, the ones that are absent from recent releases can be implemented again at some point.

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The Friday Five: 5 Little Details Basketball Games Have Nailed

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 concepts and little details that basketball games have captured extremely well.

It bears repeating that it’s alright to criticise basketball games. As I’ve previously discussed, and will no doubt touch upon again in the future, it’s something that gaming communities can easily forget. Any gaming community that censors and discourages criticism is doing a disservice to the games that they’re interested in, and ultimately, themselves as consumers. Constructive criticism should always be encouraged over nastiness and abuse, but we must remember that it’s OK to point out the things that we dislike, while also discussing the elements that we enjoy.

By the same token, of course, it’s also fine to take a break from criticising the aspects of basketball games that we don’t like, to marvel at the things we do enjoy about them. In that regard, it’s quite often the little things that really make the experience. Basketball games have come a long way, and while improvements to graphics, AI, controls, and so forth are often more readily apparent, there are a lot of concepts and smaller details that are very impressive in their own right. They may be subtle, but often contribute that extra bit of authenticity to the overall experience. Here are five examples of little details that basketball games have really nailed in recent years.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #224

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Episode #224 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and myself as we discuss the past week in basketball gaming and NBA news, as well as provide our ongoing impressions of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18.

On this week’s show…

  • New rosters have come through for NBA Live 18, and they include the two biggest transactions from the past week or so. Unfortunately, there are still some issues with missing transactions and players, incorrect jersey numbers, and a couple of other problems.
  • Master Challenges have been added to Ultimate Team in NBA Live 18. We’re glad to see new content being added so early, and hope that it will continue throughout the season.
  • NBA 2K18 has received another patch this week, addressing some noteworthy technical problems in modes and gameplay. It’s quite welcome, but how many title updates will we see this year?
  • The problems with microtransactions and grinding in NBA 2K18 continue to be a big story. It has spread beyond the basketball gaming community, as mainstream publications and content creators are touching upon it. We crunch a few numbers, and provide some more thoughts on the situation.
  • Downloadable versions of the updated NBA 2K18 cover are now available. It’s a nice gesture, but could it result in collectors being scammed?
  • Our Week in Basketball gaming included a tentative second attempt at 2K Pro-Am, more grinding, some fun Play Now games in NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, more grinding, MyTEAM games, and yes, more grinding. MyLEAGUE games to follow, closer to the start of the 2018 season.
  • Dwyane Wade has joined the Cleveland Cavaliers. Can anyone in the East compete with the Cavs this season?
  • We wrap up Episode #224 of the NLSC Podcast with a nice story about Dirk Nowitzki and an appreciative Dallas Mavericks fan.

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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NLSC Podcast – Episode #222

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Episode #222 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and myself as we offer up our initial impressions of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, and look ahead to the 2018 season of basketball gaming.

On this week’s show…

  • After spending quite a bit of time with the demo, we finally have our hands on the full version of NBA Live 18. Pleasingly, the game is feeling like a significant step forward.
  • Interestingly, WNBA Play Now has been a lot of fun, changing up the experience. It definitely feels like something to build upon.
  • Ultimate Team could stand to be deeper, but there are a couple of nice features with the starter packs, based on your favourite team.
  • Franchise needs some work, but may be worth checking out as well. All in all, NBA Live 18 is shaping up to be a good comeback for the series.
  • Our initial impression of NBA 2K18 is that the NBA gameplay is a bit more fun than MyCAREER on the sticks, but it’s mostly some of the concepts that bug us. Starting from scratch again has us a little shook (sorry).
  • The biggest gripes with NBA 2K18 so far? The VC gouging, and a bewildering change to free throw shooting for MyPLAYERs.
  • Despite our complaints, there are some noticeable improvements to the gameplay, and other modes are looking good as well.
  • There’s still a lot to sink our teeth into, but on the whole, we are looking forward to the next year of basketball gaming, in both NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18.

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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