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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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The Friday Five: 5 Hopes for the 2018 Basketball Gaming Season

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 hopes that I have for the 2018 basketball gaming season.

As I noted earlier today, with the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, a brand new season of basketball gaming is now underway! My pre-order of NBA Live 18 downloaded a couple of days ago and then unlocked at midnight Australian Eastern Time, so I stayed up quite late playing the game and sharing some initial impressions on Twitter. As of this writing, the day one patch for the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K18 has just finished installing, and I’ve almost finished downloading the PC version on Steam as well. I anticipate that I have a big weekend of basketball gaming ahead of me.

With any luck, we’re all in for twelve months filled with fun basketball gaming experiences. I’ve felt optimistic about this year’s releases through most of the preview season, and I came away from both the NBA Live 18 demo and The Prelude to NBA 2K18 with some positive impressions. I’d like to spend more time with the full versions of both games before I offer up some in-depth impressions (and eventually, comprehensive reviews), but as I look ahead to the 2018 season of basketball gaming, I do have a few hopes for the experiences that will be on offer in this year’s releases.

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Monday Tip-Off: MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs

MyTEAM Lineup in NBA 2K17

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 video comparing the value of MyTEAM packs to real packs of basketball trading cards.

The odds and overall value of the packs in MyTEAM have been discussed at length since the mode debuted in the NBA 2K series. As someone who used to collect basketball trading cards, I’ve often wondered how MyTEAM’s virtual packs stack up against the real thing. Are the pack odds as unfairly weighted as they sometimes seem to be? How would a box of packs in NBA 2K17’s MyTEAM, featuring a total of twenty player cards, compare to a couple of real packs of basketball trading cards, which generally include ten to twelve cards apiece?

I decided to put those questions to the test. A while back, I bought a box of League packs in MyTEAM, and spent a few minutes opening them all. I also picked up a couple of brand new packs of Panini NBA Hoops trading cards off eBay, and opened them up as well. The results were certainly interesting, and since I’ve been sitting on the footage for a while now, I’m pleased to finally present to you my comparison of MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs!

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. Are you surprised by the results? What have your experiences been like when it comes to buying packs in MyTEAM? Let me know in the comments section below, and feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! With NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 coming out this week, I’ll be looking to do some more video features, hopefully on a more regular basis. Stay tuned, and be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube! In case you missed it, I also posted a video last week featuring some of NLSC THRILLHO’s best moments in NBA 2K17’s 2K Pro-Am. Catch it here if you haven’t seen it yet.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #218

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Episode #218 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! With the preview season well and truly underway, Arcane and I have plenty of things to talk about this week, including the NBA Live 18 pre-order bonuses, the latest trailers and developer blogs for NBA 2K18, and some news that (of course) broke shortly after we finished recording Episode #217.

On this week’s show…

  • Since its release, the NBA Live 18 demo has been receiving some patches, so it would appear that the experience will continue to be tweaked based on user feedback. Hopefully, this will also bode well for the inevitable Day One patch.
  • The One Edition of NBA Live 18 has been confirmed, and it includes a couple of in-game pre-order bonuses, as well as a 33% discount from participating retailers.
  • 2K Sports dropped the “Get Shook” trailer, along with a developer blog describing the improvements to gameplay in NBA 2K18. It sounds like the team has been focusing on the right things this year.
  • A trailer and developer blog for MyTEAM in NBA 2K18 has also been released. The trailer itself was a little cringe-worthy, but overall the news is good there too.
  • All-Time Teams and sixteen new Classic Teams will be added in NBA 2K18. We share our thoughts on the new classic teams that have been revealed so far.
  • We wrap up Episode #218 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which has seen our 2K Pro-Am season for NBA 2K17 approach its final few sessions, and more grinding for cards in NBA Playgrounds. We also look ahead to our future weeks of basketball gaming.

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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NBA 2K18 MyTEAM Trailer & Developer Blog

NBA 2K18: MyTEAM Cards

We’re certainly in the thick of the preview season now, as the information regarding NBA 2K18 keeps on coming. 2K Sports have posted a new MyTEAM trailer, as well as a developer blog outling the additions and improvements in this year’s mode.

Some of the key points include:

  • There’s a new mode called “Pack and Playoffs”. It’s essentially a draft mode, in which you open packs and get a new lineup each round. It’s luck of the draw, so sometimes you’ll end up with superstars, while other times you’ll end up with an underdog lineup of role players. The Playoffs consist of four rounds, each being a best of seven series. You can also use VC to hold onto players for the next round.
  • Coaches will play a bigger role in NBA 2K18’s MyTEAM. New “system proficiency tech” (which will also be utilised in other modes) determines which of eight systems a team will run, and will have an impact on your MyTEAM’s performance. The idea will be to match suitable players to your coach’s system.
  • “Super Max” is a new online mode with a salary cap and season gameplay. At the start of each round, users will need to build the best team possible under the set salary cap, and then compete in full length games.
  • New Strategy Cards can be played during timeouts to add temporary boosts to your Points of Emphasis. Coaches also have different gem level cards this year.
  • For chiefly offline gamers, Schedule Challenges will let you play through a 30 game schedule for all 30 NBA teams. They will all be available on day one, so no need to unlock them.
  • The new All-Time teams have a presence in MyTEAM by way of All-Time Domination.
  • The Auction House has been enhanced with real-time postings, reserve bidding, and the ability to sell stacks of items.
  • MyTEAM Goals have been added, rewarding gamers for exploring the mode. The Collections menu has also been made easier to browse.
  • Other enhancements include more Dynamic Duos, a reference to find a player’s Dynamic Duos partner, Badge replacement, bigger boosts for shoes, and an updated interface.

Be sure to check out the blog for the full scoop and some screenshots, which you can also find below and in our gallery. You can also watch the trailer below, or catch it here on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded video.

Your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below, and feel free to take the discussion to the NBA 2K18 section of the NLSC Forum!

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Monday Tip-Off: How My Basketball Gaming Habits Changed

Ben Gordon in NBA Live 06

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 my basketball gaming habits have changed over the years.

I’ve been playing basketball games for quite a while now. It’s an interest that began as I was entering my teenage years, intensified in my mid-to-late teens when I created the NBA Live Domain and then subsequently took over running the NLSC, and has since continued into adulthood. Now that I’m in my early thirties, I’m finding that I’m approaching the hobby differently. I’m still passionate about it, but with different priorities and responsibilities, I’ve had to ration my time and make a few adjustments to the way that I play. Of course, there have been gradual changes to my habits ever since the very beginning of my interest in basketball gaming.

The evolution of basketball gaming, as well as my own changing tastes, have both played a role here. Picking up two annual releases rather than just the one is a major factor as well. With NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 coming out next month, I’ll once again be faced with the prospect of dividing my time between two current games. Just how much I enjoy those games will also depend on my expectations and tolerance for legacy issues, which have been shaped by all my years of basketball gaming. As I prepare for the next batch of previews, and the new games themselves, I thought that I’d reflect on how my habits have changed over time.

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Monday Tip-Off: Gameplay vs. Game Modes

MyCAREER in NBA 2K17 with the Denver Nuggets

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 look at the debate regarding the importance of gameplay vs. the importance of game modes, in basketball video games.

For the most part, we basketball gamers can generally agree that we want to see the games that we play get better and better with each release. Of course, we’re not always on the same page as far as the specific improvements are concerned. At the very least, we may prioritise them quite differently. We need to realise that these differing points of view are equally valid; it’s perfectly fine to like different aspects of the games, and as such, have a keener interest in seeing them improve compared to others. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to see your fellow basketball gamers talking about something that doesn’t interest you, and not feel that they’re missing the point.

Perhaps the best example of this is the whole gameplay vs. game modes debate. It’s fair to say that most basketball gamers would agree that both gameplay and game modes are the most important aspects of any given release, but disagree on the importance of those aspects in relation to one another. I’ve recently seen a few comments that have derided the importance of game modes, and over the years, there have been more than a couple of remarks that have downplayed the necessity of getting the gameplay experience right. To that end, I thought that I’d offer up my thoughts on the debate regarding gameplay vs. game modes.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #205

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Episode #205 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we share some more thoughts on NBA Playgrounds, reflect on a touching moment in our modding community, and catch up on the latest results from the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • A new member in our Forum who’s going through a difficult time made a mod request, which was quickly fulfilled. We’ve got a good thing going.
  • Following on from last week’s Podcast and Sunday Substitute article, we provide some updated impressions of NBA Playgrounds. One of us is a little more positive this time around!
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has not only consisted of some games of NBA Playgrounds, but also a fun run of 2K Pro-Am victories, and successful MyTEAM challenges.
  • We wrap up Episode #205 of the NLSC Podcast with some thoughts on the 2017 NBA Playoffs, which have reached the Conference Finals. Zaza Pachulia not surprisingly gets a mention.

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 #203

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Episode #203 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Kenny and I are your hosts this week, and our conversation covers the latest NBA Playgrounds news, Beluba’s plans for NBA 2K’s shooting mechanics, NBA Live 18’s direction, and the latest from the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Playgrounds has a confirmed release date of May 9th. Polygon’s preview provided us with some new info on the game, and we’re still very much looking forward to it.
  • Mike Wang (aka Beluba) posted an insight into his plans for shooting mechanics in future NBA 2K games, specifically his desire to wean gamers off automatic makes on Green releases. We give our thoughts on the matter.
  • Following on from this week’s Monday Tip-Off article, we discuss whether it would be a good idea for NBA Live 18 to take a more traditional approach, in order to capitalise on the dissatisfaction some gamers have with certain aspects of NBA 2K’s direction.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming includes a head-to-head showdown in MyTEAM, expanding collections, and a refreshingly enjoyable run in both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK.
  • The 2017 NBA Playoffs roll on into the second round. LeBron reaches a milestone, prompting thoughts from the (alleged) resident bitter insecure hater. Also, Paul Pierce’s retirement, Tony Parker’s injury, Isaiah Thomas’ big night, and some predictions.
  • We wrap up Episode #203 of the NLSC Podcast with some quick thoughts on the new BIG3 league, which recently completed its draft.

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 #202

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Episode #202 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we talk about the NBA Playgrounds roster reveal, Hassan Whiteside’s dissatisfaction with his ratings in NBA 2K17, insights into MyTEAM pack odds, and the latest action from the 2017 NBA Playoffs. And as always, we recap our past week in basketball gaming!

On this week’s show…

  • The roster for NBA Playgrounds has been revealed. Some of the inclusions and omissions were rather surprising, but we’re still looking forward to the game.
  • Hassan Whiteside isn’t exactly satisfied with his ratings in NBA 2K17, and he wasn’t shy about letting his feelings be known on Twitter. We wonder whether other players have felt similarly insulted over the years.
  • A post over on Reddit has shed some interesting insights into pack odds in MyTEAM. We once again give our thoughts on the fairness of packs in NBA 2K17.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has featured disappointment over the lack of a 2K TV screenshot in MyCAREER, new MyCOURT digs in the woods, and MyTEAM challenges. A discussion of Freestyle2: Street Basketball also leads us to reminisce about the days when the market was awash with hoops titles.
  • We wrap up Episode #202 of the NLSC Podcast with a recap of the recent action from the 2017 Playoffs, as well as our thoughts on three point guards: Rajon Rondo, Damian Lillard, and Chris Paul.

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 #199

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Episode #199 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and I as we get together to talk about some recent NBA Live 18 news, reflect on our past in week in basketball gaming, and react to a huge performance by Devin Booker.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Live 18 will be on display and playable at EA Play 2017. Are we optimistic, and what kind of details are we expecting to come out of the event?
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming: a return to 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK in NBA 2K17 yields unexpectedly enjoyable results. Also, strange player movement in MyCAREER, MyTEAM challenges, and a new MyLEAGUE game.
  • An itch to mod an old favourite has resulted in the release of an updated 1996 season roster for NBA Live 2004.
  • The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker turned heads and set records when he scored 70 points against the Boston Celtics. We react to the performance, and some of the things that have been said about it.

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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Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Playing basketball on MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

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 basketball gaming can be a bit of a grind.

As much as we enjoy basketball gaming around these parts, I don’t think many of us would argue that it isn’t a grind at times. Whether it’s playing through a full NBA season, building a collection of quality cards in the team building modes, or turning our avatars into superstars, it’s a lengthy process. This is especially true if you’re playing with full length quarters. The obvious solution is to set shorter quarter lengths, and make use of the simulation function in modes where it’s available, but for various reasons, those options aren’t always desirable. Even if you do streamline the experience, the chances of burnout are high.

That’s because we pack so much basketball gaming into a single year, in order to get the most out of a title before the next one is released. With other genres of video games, you can generally take your time, and discover the replay value at your leisure. Most games can easily be finished in a much shorter time than it takes to complete one full season playing on twelve minute quarters. Even if you do feel as though you’ve had a full and satisfactory experience with a basketball game, within a year you’ll be starting from scratch and having to do it all over again. The question is: what changes could be made so that basketball games feel like less of a grind?

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #198

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Episode #198 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we reflect on NBA 2K17 six months in, catch up on what we’ve been playing recently, and discuss a couple of topics related to the real NBA.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA 2K17 has been out for around six months now. After many, many hours playing it, what are our favourite and least favourite aspects of the game?
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming: 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK have lost their appeal for us. On the bright side, we’ve been having more fun with MyLEAGUE, MyTEAM, and MyCAREER.
  • The practice of resting players in nationally televised games has prompted some harsh remarks from all-time greats. We offer up our thoughts on the matter, and some of the backlash.
  • Larry Sanders has returned to the NBA. Will he be able to pick up where he left off a couple of years ago?

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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