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NLSC Podcast #283: A Chat With Izzy Snow

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Episode #283 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, my guest co-host is Izzy Snow, long-time community member, content creator, and the NBA Live 14 Gamer of the Year!

Izzy Snow joins the show to discuss his recent experiences with the full version of NBA Elite 11. This leads to a discussion of whether it was better for EA Sports to cancel the game outright, or if it would’ve been less damaging to release it and weather the bad reviews. We also talk about the current state of NBA Live and offer up some further thoughts on the issues with game modes, particularly Ultimate Team. In addition to revisiting NBA Live 06 on Xbox 360 and the question of where NBA Live needs to go from here, we also talk changes in the community, the need for competition, gaming habits as we get older, PC gaming and modding, NBA Playgrounds, and how Izzy became the NBA Live 14 Gamer of the Year back in 2014.

Tune in below!

Thanks once again to Izzy for joining the show this week, and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics that we discussed. 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.

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Monday Tip-Off: Are Basketball Gamers Still Sim?

NBA 2K has been drifting from the sim style

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 whether or not basketball gamers are still in favour of sim gameplay and game modes.

For many years, we basketball gamers would talk about how we wanted to see the five-on-five games become more realistic. As technology improved, we saw a steady and pleasing increase in the level of simulation basketball, with NBA 2K in particular achieving some fantastic results in developing sim gameplay. Sim gameplay is what we always emphasised in our Wishlists, and the cause was likewise championed by Da_Czar, the President of Sim Nation who now puts his knowledge and enthusiasm for realistic virtual basketball to use as a developer on the NBA 2K team.

However, despite the influence of Da_Czar, as well as other sim-oriented developers such as Scott O’Gallagher and Gameplay Director Mike Wang, NBA 2K has been drifting towards a more casual style. The change is definitely not due to a lack of knowledge, dedication, talent, or resources, as we’ve seen what NBA 2K is capable of in terms of being an outstanding basketball sim. NBA Live, despite having its roots in a sim style, has also been focusing more on the streetball side of things in The One. These changes in style are obviously being done to appease the core demographic. As such, it’s not just about whether or not the games are sim, but if we gamers are, too.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #274

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Episode #274 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! It’s been a busy week in basketball gaming with multiple patches and content updates, while things have also been interesting in the real NBA thanks to the trade deadline. Along with what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood, it’s given Kenny and I plenty to talk about.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Live 19 received a substantial title and content update this week. Getting a trade deadline roster update in time for the weekend was a pleasant surprise, but the addition of in-game injuries came as even better news. It leads us to reflect on some changes that were patched into NBA Live 10 all those years ago.
  • Following up on Patch 1.08 for NBA 2K19, there have indeed been some improvements in terms of cutting down on body steals. Will the changes stick for NBA 2K20, though?
  • With NBA 2K trying to strike a balance between its sim roots, competitive online play, and occasional demands for less realism, has the series become a victim of its own success due to the influx of more casual basketball gamers?
  • NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has received new content, just in time for the All-Star Weekend (and Valentine’s Day). We share a few more opinions on the game, and also discuss the removal of the first NBA Playgrounds game from the Steam Store.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included progress into Season 2 of MyCAREER, an online session for the NLSC crew, LIVE Events swag, and MyTEAM Domination. It also included a bit of modding, with further updates to a work-in-progress roster update for NBA 2K11.
  • We wrap up Episode #274 of the NLSC Podcast with this week’s NBA discussion. Topics include the flurry of movement at the trade deadline, and a look ahead to the 2019 All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

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: Online vs. Offline in Basketball Gaming

Playing online in LIVE Run (NBA Live 19)

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 divide between online and offline enthusiasts within the basketball gaming community, and how it’s affecting the development of hoops titles.

By definition, fanatics are not always logical, with measured, reasonable opinions. It’s a rare fanbase that doesn’t have some sort of schism, if not a multitude of factions that hold differing opinions. I touched on one such example in last week’s feature, noting that there’s often dissonance when it comes to younger gamers, and those who have been playing basketball games for a long time (in some cases, more than a couple of decades). There are a lot of things that most basketball gamers want and can agree on, but also some very different ideas about features, identity, and overall direction.

The most noticeable schism within the basketball gaming community would have to be between online and offline gamers. The rise of online gaming in general, and the expansion of multiplayer modes in basketball games specifically, has led to a faction of hoops gamers who play exclusively online, with little interest in the offline modes. At the same time, there are a lot of gamers who prefer the single player experience. In the middle of the Venn diagram are gamers who play both online and offline to some extent, sitting in the crossfire of two passionate factions who are not only taking shots at developers, but also each other. Unfortunately, it makes us a hard group to please.

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA Live’s Identity & Longevity

Cherashore Tournament in The Streets World Tour (NBA Live 19)

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 my thoughts on how NBA Live needs to establish its identity, and deliver an experience with greater longevity.

There seems to be somewhat of a divide and a notable amount of unrest among NBA Live gamers at the moment. At a time when we should be consolidating out feedback – obligatory cheap plug for our NBA Live 20 Wishlist – there’s a lot of argument about the future of the series. Many gamers are expressing concerns and frustration, while others are arguing that we must all be supportive and, to borrow a slogan, trust the process. Both sides have a point and are coming from a good place, though I do find myself agreeing more with the former group.

That’s probably because the group that’s most frustrated tend to be gamers my age. We remember a time when NBA Live was the dominant brand in 5v5 sim-oriented NBA games, and all the things that made it successful. Needless to say, that’s led to a bit of sneering at us allegedly out of touch “old heads”; a term that’s quickly come to highlight the toxicity in today’s basketball gaming community. At the same time, it is certainly easy to get caught up in the past, and we do need to have some patience, but it’s getting tougher for a lot of NBA Live loyalists to remain patient. Ultimately, NBA Live needs to forge an appealing identity that results in longevity and a deeper game.

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The Friday Five: 5 Stages of Playing Through a 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 lists the five stages of playing through a season in any basketball video game mode.

As I write this, I’m approaching the end of the regular season in my MyCAREER game in NBA 2K19. Once again, not a bad effort for someone who was supposedly burned out on career modes! Having sufficiently levelled up my player for the online experiences, I am in a position where I can take a break from MyCAREER, but I also feel compelled to at least play through to the end of the first season. After all, I’m potentially less than thirty games away from cleaning up in the regular season awards, and leading the Chicago Bulls to another (virtual) championship.

I’ve played through at least one full season in multiple basketball games, including NBA Live 2004, NBA Live 06, NBA 2K13, and NBA 2K17. There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment in doing so, and if you’re really into the game, then the season does go by much quicker. It still takes some time though – especially if you’re playing twelve minute quarters – and there are undoubtedly moments where you must push yourself to complete the journey, particularly if you aren’t simulating any games. You’ll probably end up experiencing the five stages of playing through a season: a list that I’m making up, but one that I believe will resonate with many basketball gamers.

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The Friday Five: 5 Alternatives to Overall Ratings

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 explores five possible alternatives to having Overall Ratings in basketball video games.

If you play basketball video games – and in particular, if you maintain the rosters for them – then Overall Ratings often cause a lot of hassle. I’ve written not one but two articles on the matter, and since then, the situation sadly hasn’t gotten any better. During this past preview season, there was plenty of grumbling when an Overall Rating was revealed and it didn’t seem quite right. For their part, players themselves have strong opinions as to what their ratings should be. Of course, many of them feel they should be 90+ Overall; even rookies who still have everything to prove!

Overall Ratings remain a point of contention in basketball games (and sports games in general), but unfortunately, they are a necessary evil. They provide us with a succinct overview of a player’s value and standing in the league compared to his peers, which is important when trying to put together trades in the franchise modes. The concept of 99 Overall Ratings also gives us a lofty goal to shoot for in the career modes. As such, Overall Ratings aren’t going anywhere. I do think we need them, but what if we were to replace them with a less controversial system? Does such a solution exist? Well, here are five possibilities that I can think of, that might be viable alternatives.

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Monday Tip-Off: Burned Out on Career Modes

Career Modes are focusing more on characters and stories (NBA 2K18 MyCAREER Trailer)

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 I’ve become burned out on career modes in basketball video games.

As I’ve mentioned on the NLSC Podcast and in a few previous articles, I’m feeling a strong desire to return to my roots as a franchise gamer. Years ago, I spent most of my time with NBA Live playing Dynasty mode, documenting my experiences in the Stories section of our Forum. Despite the strength of Association mode in NBA 2K, when I finally started to warm up to Visual Concepts’ series, MyCAREER turned out to be the mode I got hooked on. I also found myself enjoying the connected modes, primarily 2K Pro-Am. My gaming habits had certainly changed.

However, I now find myself looking to make another change, and return to the kind of experience that I played almost exclusively for so many years. That’s partly due to the fact that with MyLEAGUE and MyGM, franchise modes have never been better or deeper. They’re very appealing in their own right, but I’m also encouraged to return to them because the single player career experience has worn thin for me. While both NBA Live and NBA 2K are looking to do some tremendous things with their career modes this year, it’s coming at a bad time for me. After several years of playing them – particularly MyCAREER – I’m feeling quite burned out.

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Information on LIVE Run, 5v5 Online, & Hype in NBA Live 19

NBA Live 19: LIVE Run

The NBA Live 19 demo will be dropping in less than ten hours, but before then, we have some new information about this year’s game. This insight comes straight from Executive Producer Seann Graddy, in a developer blog posted over on the official website.

Specifically, the blog provides some further details on LIVE Run, 5v5 online play, and the Hype system in NBA Live 19. A breakdown of the key points is as follows:

  • Changes to 3v3 LIVE Run go beyond the new global courts. Games are now played to 11, with baskets counting for one and two points rather than twos and threes.
  • Hype is intended to set The One players apart from each another, since reaching 99 Overall will be an attainable goal with persistence. Hype has six tiers (Rookie, Pro, All-Star, Superstar, Legend, Icon), with each tier having five levels.
  • Raising your Hype earns new gear, as well as players for your squad and other rewards. You’ll also get a badge displaying your Hype level in online lobbies.
  • 5v5 LIVE Run will be more of a traditional Pro-Am experience, with five minute quarters and full rules, including fouls. It also benefits from the addition of the new global courts.
  • Private games on our One Court will allow for custom rules, including additional points for dunks and layups, and other variations on the Pro-Am format. More rule sets will be added post-launch.

Be sure to read the blog for the whole scoop! Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below, and join in the discussion taking place here in our NBA Live 19 Forum.

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Companion App for NBA Live 19 Now Available (Android & iOS)

NBA Live 19 Companion App Artwork

As an update to the previous bulletin, the NBA Live Companion App has now been updated for NBA Live 19. The new version of the app should be pushed through automatically for those who downloaded it last year and still have it installed. Otherwise, it’s available through Google Play and the App Store.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the companion app, it is used to scan your face into the game. The app can be used for both the demo and the full version of the game, with the face data that you scan in for the demo carrying over to the full version of NBA Live 19, should you pick it up. Progress made in the demo will also carry over.

The NBA Live 19 demo is slated for release at midnight on August 24th. If you download it, be sure to share your impressions with the community in the NLSC Forum! Also feel free to share the results of your face scans in this topic.

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NBA Live 19 Demo Available August 24th; Full Details

The NBA Live 19 Demo arrives August 24th

We’re just a few days away from the release of the NBA Live 19 demo, which will be hitting the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace on August 24th. As per developer Cornell Gunter, the demo launches at midnight, so there’ll be no need to create an international account to skip the wait.

Although the NBA Live 19 demo will obviously be far more restricted compared to the full version of NBA Live 19, it will offer a substantial glimpse at the game. We’ll be able to play through The Rise, take part in LIVE Events, customise our court and The One player, run through drills and scrimmages, and play 1v1. Play Now will also be available, with NBA Play Now featuring the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, and WNBA Play Now featuring the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx.

Other modes of play, such as Franchise and Ultimate Team, will not be available. It remains to be seen whether the NBA Live 19 demo will receive updates and additional content as was the case last year, but we’ll be sure to keep everyone posted of any such developments. In the meantime, check out the full breakdown below, courtesy of the EA Support website.

Are you looking forward to the NBA Live 19 demo? What are your thoughts on how the game is shaping up this year? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion here in the NBA Live 19 section of the NLSC Forum.

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA Content in NBA Live 19

Joel Embiid in NBA Live 19

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 what has to happen with the NBA content in NBA Live 19, from gameplay to game modes.

The NBA Live 19 demo will be out later this week, and I for one am excited. While NBA Live 18 took many steps in the right direction, there was still a certain amount of roughness and room for improvement. From everything we’ve seen and heard so far, it seems that NBA Live 19 has made another pleasing leap forward. While I do expect that there will still be ways in which the game can get even better in the future, it’s shaping up to be a good year for NBA Live as it continues to make its way back to being a viable alternative for sim basketball gamers.

To that end, however, there is an area that is of some concern: the NBA content. So far, the previews have mostly focused on The One, with a particular emphasis on The Streets World Tour. While this is a tremendous hook for NBA Live 19 and has clearly led to some positive buzz, many of us are a little concerned about the NBA side of the game. Although NBA Live does need to have its own appeal and approach, there are certain aspects where it needs to go head to head with NBA 2K, namely in terms of being a realistic and enjoyable NBA sim. From modes to gameplay, a lot of us are hoping that NBA Live 19 is as good on the NBA hardwood as it is in The Streets.

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Custom Courts in NBA Live 19, Gameplay Footage, Other Details

NBA Live 19: WNBA

Although an official announcement has yet to be made, a few more tidbits about NBA Live 19 have been revealed. The information comes courtesy of Shacknews – who have posted an extended preview of the game complete with raw gameplay footage – and influencers including Will OS and NBA Live Girl. A few other gameplay videos, and videos discussing details that have leaked, have also been posted.

It seems that we’ll be able to create our own custom courts in The One this year, in a manner very similar to the hometown blacktop in NBA Street Homecourt, as well as the custom courts in NBA 2K’s MyTEAM and 2K Pro-Am modes. More details are no doubt forthcoming in an official announcement and preview. Speaking of courts, the video from Shacknews also provides us with as glimpse of the custom Joel Embiid court, which was listed as one of the pre-order bonuses.

The video also confirms that quarters have been added to games in The Streets, which were previously all played under the “First to 21” win condition. In addition to uncut gameplay, it also provides an overview (and naturally, spoilers) of The Rise, the story that provides the backdrop to The One in NBA Live 19. The hour long video runs from the beginning of the story at Quai 54, through the Draft Combine and concluding at the NBA Draft itself.

Also of interest, Sports Gamers Online recently had a chance to interview NBA Live 19 Creative Director, Connor Dougan. Connor was actually asked about a PC version of NBA Live, and while he confirmed it isn’t happening this year, he expressed his support for the idea, even mentioning modding. It was cool to hear, so be sure to check out the interview for his full comments!

With NBA Live 19 just six weeks away, more information should hopefully be coming through fairly steadily. We’ll certainly try to stay on top of the news, but for now, check out some of the videos below, and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. As always, we also invite you to join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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NBA Live 19 Info, Screenshots, & Preliminary Features List

NBA Live 19: Squad

With the trailer giving us our first glimpse of NBA Live 19 in action, we also have some initial details about the game. The official website has posted several informative articles, and media outlets such as SBNation and The Undefeated are also providing an insight into what’s new.

There’s a lot to digest from the articles, and I encourage you to read them in full, but I’ll summarise them as best I can. This year, we’ll be able to build a squad of current and former NBA players, while competing for rank and rewards. The One has been revamped with a new progression system, with Icon abilities based on real players past and present. This works independently of the Playstyles, Traits, and so forth, which are still in effect. A new story has also been implemented this year.

On top of that, The One has gone global in NBA Live 19, with The Streets World Tour. This involves playing on courts from around the world, and recruiting players for your squad. A new narrative system has been added to The League, for those who prefer the NBA side of things. There are also more hairstyles, tattoos, and other player creation elements.

Gameplay has also been a focus this year. Real Player Motion technology has been implemented to improve player movement and animations. This includes a lot of signature player animations compared to recent years. Right stick dribbling remains, but has been enhanced. There are new triple-threat moves, and one-on-one play has been improved at both ends, including playing off-ball. New AI also focuses on bringing more realism and dynamic play to NBA Live 19.

Finally, there will be a demo again this year. We’ll be able to download it on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 24th, ahead of the September 7th release.

The official NBA Live website has also provided us with a handful of screenshots, and a preliminary features list. Be sure to check them out below. What are your thoughts on what we’ve learned about NBA Live 19 so far? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion taking place in the newly opened NBA Live 19 section of the NLSC Forum!

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Monday Tip-Off: Battlefront II Events in NBA Live 18

Star Wars: Battlefront II Challenge in NBA Live 18

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 recent Star Wars: Battlefront II events that were available in NBA Live 18.

As you may know, EA Sports recently introduced some crossover content in its sports titles, promoting the upcoming release of Star Wars: Battlefront II. For NBA Live 18, this took the form of Live Events challenges, all of which take place on a fictional Star Wars-themed court (located in Orlando, of course), with various Battlefront II-inspired gear and accessories available in the reward crates. As it stands, there’s currently a last call for the Battlefront II Challenge, giving gamers one final chance to earn some Inferno Squad-themed gear for their players to wear in The Streets.

I must admit that with all the grinding I’ve been doing to improve my NBA 2K18 MyPLAYER for 2K Pro-Am, I haven’t taken part in as many Live Events in NBA Live 18 as I’d like. However, having caught the trailer for the Battlefront II events, I wanted to make sure that I at least played a game or two before the promotion was over. The fictional court certainly looked cool, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to stock up on some extra gear for my player to wear in The Streets. As such, I jumped online in NBA Live 18 last week, and managed to take part in a few games.

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