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NLSC Podcast #349: The Quest for a Next Gen Console

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Episode #349 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are out, and so is NBA 2K21 Next Gen! Unfortunately neither of us are able to play the game yet, but one of us has had some luck in our quest for a Next Gen console. In the meantime, we discuss the gameplay videos we’ve seen, impressions from the community, and an aspect of the new MyNBA mode that isn’t quite what we were expecting. Circling back to last week’s show, we answer a question about there still being room for improvement on this generation. We’re also intrigued by EA Sports expanding their portfolio, and what it might mean for college basketball games. In this week’s mailbag, we discuss the style of play in the NBA 2K League and its impact on online play, as well as the issue of various historical players being underutilised outside of MyTEAM.

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.

NLSC Podcast #328: Rumours & Boomers

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Episode #328 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, NBA Live wasn’t featured at EA Play 2020. We reflect on how it’s made the community pessimistic about the series’ future. Elsewhere, the inevitable lull following NBA 2K21’s announcement trailer has tipped off this year’s rumour mill. As we’re not fans of misinformation, we analyse the rumours making the rounds, and offer up some tips to avoid falling for clickbait. The NBA 2K League also comes up when we broach the topic of online play, as does a program that’s worth checking out. In modding news, we note a couple of recent developments, and once again talk about minimalist mods. We wrap up with a discussion of a forgotten 1-on-1 tournament that the NBA held in 1972, including how such a tournament could work today. Old heads that we are, there’s also some grumbling and further push back on the whole “plumbers and dentists” rhetoric.

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: The Online Experience We’ll Never Have

Monday Tip-Off: The Online Experience We'll Never Have

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 online experience I’d love to see in NBA 2K, but we’re highly unlikely to ever have.

Aside from some admittedly fun sessions of 3v3 Pro-Am and jumping into The Rec after spinning double MyREP on the Prize Wheel, I’ve not been playing online in NBA 2K20. I’d been dabbling with a session or two in The Rec every so often, but in order to finally let MyCAREER go, I’ve focused on finishing my rookie season and generally avoided taking part in any of the connected experiences. Thanks to so many hit-or-miss sessions, I no longer have the same enthusiasm for the online experience that I once did. It’s made it much easier to abstain from those modes.

Even the satisfying runs in 3v3 Pro-Am had their annoyances. Despite playing well and even winning eight games in a single session, I somehow dropped from 99.9 to 99.4 Overall, spotlighting some of the major flaws with the MyREP and Overall Rating systems in NBA 2K20. Of course, the tendency to punish rather than reward is just one of the problems with the online experience in NBA 2K. It’s unfortunate, as online play in NBA 2K should be so much better than it is. From issues with lag and matchmaking to meta-gaming and what it takes to get there, I can’t help thinking about the online experience that NBA 2K should offer, but we’re unlikely to see.

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NLSC Podcast #320: A Post-Mortem of NBA 2K18

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Episode #320 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Dee4Three and I conduct a “post-mortem” examination of NBA 2K18, in particular noting how it’s proven to be a turning point for the NBA 2K series, and also catch up on some recent news.

A welcome hotfix has arrived via Patch 1.12 for NBA 2K20, which resolves the free throw music bug introduced by the previous title update. Unfortunately, we’re not as pleased to see the new Out of Position packs in MyTEAM. After catching up on the news, we dive right into the topic we introduced at the end of Episode #319: a post-mortem look back at NBA 2K18. We reflect on the initial reactions to the game, the backlash to criticism, and the eventual change in perspective. In addition to discussing issues with gameplay mechanics and microtransactions alike, we note how it was a turning point as far as gamers losing fondness for and trust in NBA 2K, and being more willing to criticise it. We also touch on developer blogs, the NBA 2K League, and compare and contrast the situation with NBA Live’s downfall over the past 15 years.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on NBA 2K18? Do you also see it as a turning point for the NBA 2K series? 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 2K20 Patch 1.07 Released: MyPLAYER Nation, More

NBA 2K20 Patch 1.07

Patch 1.07 for NBA 2K20 has been released, just in time for the tip-off of the 2020 NBA season. The update is available for the PC (257 MB), PlayStation 4 (18.5 GB), and Xbox One (37.35 GB) versions of NBA 2K20, and will download automatically as long as you have an active Internet connection. If you do encounter any issues, try restarting your console or Steam client.

As with the previous title update, the official patch notes are rather lacking in detail. They are as follows:

  • To celebrate the start of the NBA season, we are preparing to launch our brand new ‘MyPLAYER Nation’ feature! Once the season has officially tipped off, head into MyCAREER to learn more about MyPLAYER Nation and how you can earn 2x VC, 2x MyPOINTS, AND 2x Badge Points while representing your team!
  • Season 3 is here! NBA 2K League Qualifying begins 10/22 and runs through 11/10. More info: https://2kleague.nba.com/news/2019-qualifier/
  • Addressed an issue where your controller settings would reset to your previous default when making changes and changing Neighborhoods (e.g. joining a friend elsewhere).
  • Many, many more fixes included to improve the overall experience of NBA 2K20!

However, it appears as though some more specific details about changes in Patch 1.07 for NBA 2K20 have been discovered. Apparently, the “many, many more fixes” include addressing issues with MyPLAYER bugs, jersey and shoe updates, and Dynamic Duo cards in MyTEAM. There has also been a reduction to shooters falling in traffic, and a correction for illegal screen calls. These additional notes have been added to the update history in our Wiki (thanks to Derfla76 for the assist!).

As always, feel free to share your thoughts on the latest patch in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum!

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K Online Is In Terrible Shape

NBA 2K Online

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 quality of online play in NBA 2K; or, more accurately, the lack thereof.

Hey, remember when I wrote about the desire to balance positivity and negativity in my articles? I mentioned that I wanted to avoid writing an article about online play in NBA 2K that ended up being more of a rant than constructive criticism, cathartic as it may be. Well, I’m going to go ahead and vent a little. I was originally going to leave it at my Friday Five detailing my experiences with the Jordan Rec Center, but I need to expand upon that. As someone who was traditionally an offline gamer who has since been drawn into online in recent years, I’m now remembering why I avoided it.

When the NBA 2K League was announced, I noted the slight possibility that it would have some tangible benefit for the rest of us. Specifically, I suggested that in the best case scenario, it would encourage 2K to improve their servers and address some of the long-standing issues with online gameplay, in order to make the “home version” of the NBA 2K League more like the real thing. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. NBA 2K online has strayed further and further away from sim basketball, and the servers continue to be extremely unreliable. Combine this steady decline with a toxic part of the community, and honestly, I don’t see the situation getting any better.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things I’ve Learned Playing Jordan Rec Center

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 I’ve learned playing in the Jordan Rec Center in NBA 2K19.

Having wrapped up my second season in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER, I haven’t felt the desire to play a third year. Since the Bulls went out and signed Ben Simmons, I have thought about playing a few games here and there while simulating the rest, but I’ve not done so as yet. I have been playing online however, just to see what the scene is like this late in the year. After several sessions in The Playground and Jordan Rec Center, I’d have to conclude that not much has changed since the game was launched. The gameplay, the user base, the overall vibe and atmosphere…it’s all the same.

The lack of change has come as a disappointment as far as the Jordan Rec Center is concerned. With team Pro-Am hamstrung by the enforcement of five users per side, the Jordan Rec Center became the online mode of choice for the NLSC squad. It soon became apparent that it wasn’t going to deliver the same fun experience that team Pro-Am did for us in NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17, and to a far lesser extent, NBA 2K18. At this point, I’m the only member of the squad who’s jumping online on a regular basis, so I’ve been playing with randoms. Here’s my take on the Jordan Rec Center after playing it extensively this year, with friends and randoms alike.

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Monday Tip-Off: What NBA 2K Can Learn From Mortal Kombat 11

Start-Up Frames Explanation in Mortal Kombat 11

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 how NBA 2K could stand to take a few cues from Mortal Kombat 11.

The fact that I’ve been running a site dedicated to basketball gaming for eighteen years may lead you to believe that hoops games are all that I play, but in fact, I do enjoy quite a few other genres. As a gamer growing up in the 90s, there weren’t many games as cool (or should I say, kool) as Mortal Kombat. The MK series has obviously been very popular and successful through the years, and like many other gamers, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Mortal Kombat 11 last week. My copy arrived, I finished story mode in a single sitting, and am now looking forward to new kontent.

Fighting games and basketball games don’t have a whole lot in common – the cameos by Mortal Kombat characters in NBA Jam aside – but as I was going through all of the advanced tutorials in MK11, I was struck by their depth compared to NBA 2K’s 2KU. In addition to explaining the basic controls, Mortal Kombat 11’s tutorials provide a deep dive into the game’s mechanics, teaching gamers the fundamentals for playing competitively online and offline. With NBA 2K leaning so heavily on meta-gaming and mastering the minutia of its mechanics, there’s much that it could – and should – take from NetherRealm Studios’ latest release.

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NLSC Podcast #279: Fixing 2K Pro-Am & The Online Experience

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Episode #279 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Arcane and I are your hosts this week, and we’re debuting a revamped format. As I previously noted, we’re looking to focus on one main discussion topic per episode, following a brief round-up of any news and community announcements. We’re hoping that this will also allow us to conduct more interviews, and produce other special features.

We’re tipping off the revamped NLSC Podcast with a quick recap of Patch 1.23 for NBA Live 19 and Patch 1.09 for NBA 2K19, before getting into this week’s topic: the problems with 2K Pro-Am, and how we’d fix them. 2K Pro-Am is a mode that we’ve played a lot these past few years, and frequently talked about on the show. We’ve had a lot of fun with it, but we’ve also endured several frustrating sessions, due in large part to changes that have not always been for the better. After identifying the most pressing issues with 2K Pro-Am, we suggest a few possible solutions that we’d like to see implemented in NBA 2K20 and beyond.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on 2K Pro-Am, and how would you improve it? 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 – Episode #271

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Episode #271 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and myself as we discuss the new deal between Take Two and the NBA, the importance of Franchise and Ultimate Team in NBA Live, an unfortunate turn of events following the NBA 2K17 server shutdown, and 2019 All-Star voting.

On this week’s show…

  • Take Two has renewed their licensing agreement with the NBA for $1.1 billion over seven years. What impact might the new figure have on the future of basketball gaming?
  • A recent survey regarding favourite modes over on the official NBA Live Reddit omitted Franchise and Ultimate Team. It isn’t encouraging, but it strengthens our resolve to have an impact with our Wishlists.
  • The NBA 2K17 server shutdown has had an unexpected result: MyLEAGUE games that used community-made assets for expansion teams have now been locked. We discuss the problems with online content in offline modes, especially when it comes to dusting off old favourites.
  • Turning our attention to some NBA news, there are some interesting results in the latest All-Star voting returns. Are sentimental votes a bad thing, and are we looking forward to this year’s midseason classic?

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.

NBA 2K19 Pro-Am Includes Private Matchmaking

NBA 2K19 Pro-Am

During the NBA 2K League finals, some interesting and welcome news was revealed regarding Pro-Am in NBA 2K19. This year, the mode will include private matchmaking, for squads who want to battle each other directly. The system will work as follows:

  • Pro-Am teams can create passwords to share with other Pro-Am teams.
  • When both teams enter the password they are connected for a private game.
  • Privately matched games do not count as ranked games.

While private games will not count towards your squad’s ranking and cannot be used for boosting, NBA 2K19 developer Zach Timmerman has confirmed that they will allow you to earn XP, and therefore make progress towards MyPLAYER Badges.

Your thoughts? Have your say in the comments section below, as well as in this topic in the NBA 2K19 section of the NLSC Forum!

Monday Tip-Off: Matchmaking & Microtransactions

NLSC GrindTime in The Playground (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 two very important areas in NBA 2K19: matchmaking and microtransactions.

I’ve mentioned matchmaking and microtransactions in previous articles discussing what I feel must be done in future NBA 2K games, and with the preview season more or less underway, it’s time to revisit these issues. Both are aspects that the NBA 2K development team must handle carefully, to ensure that the experience provided by NBA 2K19 is as accessible and as enjoyable as it can be. If the wrong approach is taken, then this year’s game is going to suffer from the same problems as NBA 2K18, with similar backlash. 2K is overdue to show its fanbase some genuine goodwill.

I originally planned to discuss matchmaking and microtransactions separately, but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that the two issues are closely linked. Their respective shortcomings in last year’s game combined to make its most popular online modes far less inviting and enjoyable than they should’ve been. The lack of in-depth matchmaking made the pay-to-win aspect of microtransactions a much larger issue. Likewise, the impact of microtransactions in NBA 2K18 made the lack of proper matchmaking all the more apparent and problematic. If handled better, they needn’t cause as many problems with the competitive balance in NBA 2K19.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of the NBA 2K League

NBA 2K League Logo (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 the early weeks of the NBA 2K League, and some of the harsh realities that the venture is facing.

To say that the NBA 2K League has received an overwhelmingly cold reception is an understatement. Sure, there are people streaming the games, catching the highlight reels, and generally enjoying the League. However, a lot of people have had some harsh words for it, too. Posts about the League on the official NBA 2K social media accounts are often derisive and insulting. Similarly, when the NBA’s official accounts post about the League, the responses are often downright hostile. Although there is support for the NBA 2K League, the detractors are much, much louder.

Furthermore, while the NBA 2K League has found an audience, it’s not a particularly big one given the overall strength of the NBA 2K brand. Pastapadre has been keeping tabs on the viewership numbers, which have sunk as low as 2000 viewers on a night when there were no real NBA games to compete with. Although it’s still early days, and 2K likely anticipated some teething problems in the inaugural season, there are plenty of discouraging signs moving forward. The harsh reality of the situation is that no matter how successful NBA 2K may be, the NBA 2K League may simply have too many things stacked against it to succeed.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #249

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Episode #249 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for a discussion of the past week in basketball and basketball gaming, including a new executive producer for NBA Live, the delay of NBA Playgrounds 2, the 2018 Conference Finals, and what we’ve been playing.

On this week’s show…

  • Seann Graddy is the new executive producer of the NBA Live series, with Sean O’Brien moving on to a new role at EA Sports. What does this mean for the series moving forward?
  • Viewership numbers for the NBA 2K League continue to dwindle. Is the League a flop – or on the way to being one – and what is it doing wrong?
  • NBA Playgrounds 2 has been abruptly delayed, less than a week ahead of its release. Saber Interactive are promising great things, but gamers are sceptical.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included more Ultimate Team challenges, LIVE Run, and some bargain retro game pick-ups. There’s also been a noteworthy development in the modding community.
  • We wrap up Episode #249 of the NLSC Podcast with a discussion of the 2018 Conference Finals.

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.

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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