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The Friday Five: 5 Tips for Managing & Earning VC in MyCAREER

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 offers five tips for earning and managing VC in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER.

Fighting the urge to buy VC to level up faster in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER? You’re not alone, as the game is designed to push you in the direction of microtransactions. Since the situation is unlikely to get better anytime soon, I’ve decided that it would be more productive to focus on some content that helps gamers rather than critiques 2K’s design choices. After all, while microtransactions are strongly encouraged, VC can indeed be gained without spending real money. With that in mind, I’ve devised five tips that I hope will be useful for both earning and managing VC.

Before I get to the tips, I should emphasise that it’s still going to be a long process. As the push for recurrent revenue is quite aggressive, the grind is very real. Perseverance will pay off, however. Aside from the pre-order bonus for the standard edition, I’ve not spent any VC that I didn’t earn in-game, and as of this writing, I’m sitting at 74 Overall (starting from the base rating of 60). I did skip The Prelude for this player, though as a bonus tip, I would suggest that you play through it in order to get a head start on upgrades and Badges, as well as an opportunity for a higher salary out of the gate. With that being said, let’s take a look at some strategies for VC budgeting!

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #267

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Episode #267 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Unfortunately illness and jetlag got in the way of us recording an episode last week, but Kenny and I are back this week to catch up on the latest news and talk about what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood.

On this week’s show…

  • Patch 1.15 has come through for NBA Live 19. We discuss the latest changes, recap some of the other additions and fixes in recent patches, and give our thoughts on where the game is at after a couple of months.
  • EA Sports recently announced that NBA Live Mobile is the most downloaded basketball game this year. We reflect on how it’s helped the brand, even if it’s not something we’re into ourselves.
  • NBA 2K19 has also received another update recently, namely Patch 1.06. Unfortunately we still haven’t seen the functionality we want to see patched back in for 2K Pro-Am, but there have been some other noteworthy and welcome changes.
  • The in-universe value of Virtual Currency in NBA 2K19’s Neighborhood is truly astonishing this year. We note some of the oddities and issues with the exchange rate.
  • Could a new college football game be paving the way for other college sports titles, including basketball? Can a sports game without licensing succeed in 2018?
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included setting records in MyCAREER, playing with WNBA players and taking control of courts in NBA Live 19, and trying to unlock a team that’s close to our hearts in Basketball Classics.
  • We wrap up Episode #267 of the NLSC Podcast with this week’s NBA talk. Topics include surprising results in the East and West, standout rookies, and more thoughts on Carmelo Anthony.

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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Wayback Wednesday: Trivia in Basketball Games

Trivia in NBA 2K9

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at trivia in basketball games.

Wait a minute, I hear you saying. Don’t most of my Wayback Wednesday features concern trivia about basketball games, specifically titles that are at least a few years old? Well, yes, but this time, I’m talking about the way that basketball games have literally indulged in trivia, presenting gamers with questions that they can answer as well as listing interesting NBA facts. So yes, I am getting a little meta here, presenting some trivia about trivia in basketball games! After all, it’s something that has been featured in various titles over the years, dating way back to the mid 90s.

It may seem like an unusual feature to focus upon, but I do believe that it’s part of the nostalgia for some beloved favourites. It’s also a concept that has evolved over time, and come to be used for more practical and tangible purposes. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The In-Universe Value of VC (NBA 2K19 Edition)

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 in-universe value of VC in NBA 2K19’s Neighborhood.

Last year, I calculated the in-universe value of Virtual Currency in NBA 2K18’s new open world, The Neighborhood. I noted that most consumables and clothing cost as much as a single game’s base salary for your MyPLAYER (if not more), which was already stretching reality. Converting VC to real dollars via the salary that’s listed on our MyPLAYER’s bio card determined that 1 VC was equivalent to around $29. This meant that in-universe, a basic t-shirt cost over $17,000, while a headband would set you back a whopping $29,000. That’s some serious sales tax!

In NBA 2K19, VC rewards were increased slightly. It’s possible to negotiate a higher first year salary upon completing The Prelude, incentive-based bonuses come along quite early in your career, and there are other ways of earning some extra VC. The catch is that upgrades are still quite expensive, as are clothing items. In other words, it’s been more of a case of inflation rather than parity. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to make the same conversions and determine the in-universe value of Virtual Currency in NBA 2K19 as well. Are the prices just as ridiculous when you put a real dollar value on them this year?

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The Friday Five: 5 Ideas for Basketball Games from Other Genres

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 ideas that future basketball games should consider borrowing from titles in other genres.

Basketball games, like all sports titles, differ from other genres of video games when it comes to their nuances and our expectations. In many video games, there are several breaks from reality that are not only acceptable, but desirable. The lack of realism in specific aspects of gameplay doesn’t break our sense of immersion the same way it will in a game that is attempting to accurately depict a sport. To that end, certain features, functions, and concepts that we find in other genres of video games aren’t necessarily a good fit in basketball titles.

At the same time, while Da_Czar’s famous catchphrase of “Don’t play video games; play basketball!” is a great philosophy for developers and basketball gamers alike, the fact remains that basketball games are still video games. There are aspects of real life, such as commercial breaks, that they don’t need to replicate. Similarly, there are good ideas for features, functions, and even content that can be utilised by a wide variety of genres. Even though the concepts aren’t basketball-centric in and of themselves, they could still greatly enhance future NBA Live and NBA 2K releases. Here are five such ideas that basketball games could stand to borrow and make their own.

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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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NLSC Podcast – Episode #261

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Episode #261 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for a discussion of the latest news heading into the final stretch before the release of NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19, including our impressions of NBA 2K19 The Prelude.

  • The official NBA Live website has released some snippets about Ultimate Team in NBA Live 19. It seems as though packs will feature a lot more transparency this year.
  • Xbox One Gamers have been getting their hands on a trial of the full version of NBA Live 19 via EA Access. We discuss some of the details and impressions that have been shared with the community.
  • Once again, we reiterate our desire to see more focus on NBA content in NBA Live moving forward, and our hopes for the future in that regard.
  • NBA 2K19 The Prelude is out, along with the MyNBA2K19 app. We give our impressions on this year’s sneak peek of NBA 2K19, from face scanning to the MyCAREER story and gameplay.
  • We react to the NBA 2K19 Neighborhood trailer, as well as other info on NBA 2K19’s iteration of the MyCAREER game world/hub.
  • Episode #261 of the NLSC Podcast wraps up with our thoughts on Manu Ginobili’s retirement, and his impressive NBA career.

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.

As we mentioned in this week’s episode, our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of Elijah Clayton and Taylor Robertson, and all those affected by the tragic shooting at a Madden event in Jacksonville, Florida last week. If you would like to contribute to the Jacksonville Tribute Fund that EA has helped spearhead, please see here for more information.

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More Details on The Neighborhood in NBA 2K19

The Neighborhood in NBA 2K19

In the wake of yesterday’s trailer, a couple of previews have been posted which provide further details on The Neighborhood in NBA 2K19. Both Game Informer and Forbes have posted articles explaining some of the changes, additions, and improvements this year. As always, I recommend reading the entire articles for the full scoop, but I’ll try to summarise the key points as best I can.

  • Archetypes will be more balanced. Defensive Archetypes will have better offensive ratings than last year, and Archetypes have generally been re-worked to remove some of the disadvantages of choosing certain styles of play.
  • In the full version of NBA 2K19, we’ll be able to see the maximum rating for each attribute as we’re creating our players, and note how they change as we select the Archetype, height, weight, and so on. It was a late addition, so it won’t be featured in The Prelude.
  • MyPLAYERs still start at 60 Overall, but there will reportedly be less of a grind this year. The difficulty multiplier returns, and all Badge drills will award XP.
  • The Neighborhood has been redesigned to be more centralised and is now square-shaped, for less running around. We can also proceed directly to the practice arena following games.
  • Pro-Am Walk On has been replaced by the Jordan Rec Center. “Got Next” is still in effect in The Playground.
  • Haircuts can be previewed first, and no longer cost VC. Vehicles such as skateboards and bicycles can be purchased from a new shop (“Wheels”) as you level up.
  • A special MyTEAM store will allow you to create a MyTEAM card based on your MyPLAYER.
  • There are several more mini-games including dodgeball (which can grant a lot of VC), trampoline basketball, and a daily trivia contest. There will also be revolving live events, each with different themes. We’ll also experience transitions from day to night over six hour periods in The Neighborhood.
  • This year’s story – in which the cutscenes are skippable – will take players through the Chinese League and G-League before making it to the NBA.
  • MyCOURT is basically the same, though you don’t have to return there to change clothes, and there’s no B-Fresh this year.
  • A daily prize wheel can be spun for a chance at various prizes including shoes, VC, and XP (apparently now called MyPoints). Daily challenges have also been incorporated, with big rewards.
  • The new Crew mode will be 3v3 and allow you to team up with two friends to take on various challenges.

Once again, be sure to check out the aforementioned articles for additional details and comments from the developers! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in our NBA 2K19 Forum.

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NBA 2K19 Neighborhood Trailer; MyNBA2K19 App Out Now

The Neighborhood Trailer for NBA 2K19

Ahead of the release of The Prelude on August 31st, 2K has dropped a trailer for The Neighborhood in NBA 2K19. The trailer shows off a completely re-designed Neighborhood, confirms that the Jordan Rec Center is back, and provides glimpses of new games such as Slam Ball and dodgeball. The Playground has also been revamped, and it appears as though there are shortcuts to other modes, such as MyTEAM.

The MyNBA2K19 companion app has also been released for Android and iOS devices. Please note that the face scanning functionality will not work until you’ve logged in via The Prelude or the full version of NBA 2K19, once they’re released. The familiar card collecting game also returns in MyNBA2K19, with opportunities to earn in-game rewards such as additional Virtual Currency.

Watch the trailer for The Neighborhood in NBA 2K19 below, or catch it here on YouTube.

Once again, The Prelude will be dropping on August 31st for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. What are your thoughts on the trailer? Are you a fan of The Neighborhood concept, or would you prefer a more streamlined experience? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion here in the NBA 2K19 section of the NLSC Forum!

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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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The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Improve The Neighborhood

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 ways that The Neighborhood could be improved in NBA 2K19 and beyond.

Through articles, episodes of the NLSC Podcast, and posts in the Forum, I’ve made my opinion of The Neighborhood quite clear. In short, I like it about as much as I do MyCAREER stories, which is to say, not very much at all. To me, it’s amounted to a lot of wasted time running around the same mini suburb, going back and forth and enduring long loading screens. Whether it’s changing my animations, joining my friends in 2K Pro-Am or The Playground, or picking up my endorsement money, it’s basically impossible to have a streamlined experience.

However, while I certainly have my criticisms of The Neighborhood, I’d prefer them to be constructive. Even though I’m not a fan of the concept, there are ways that The Neighborhood could be more appealing and user-friendly, not to mention fairer in terms of grinding and potential microtransactions. My guess is that the developers aren’t going to give up on the concept after just one game, and if certain changes were made, I for one would probably find it at least a little more tolerable. With that said, here are five ways that the 2K team could improve on the whole experience of The Neighborhood in future games.

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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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The Friday Five: 5 Improvements Both NBA Live 19 & NBA 2K19 Need

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 improvements that are needed in both NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19.

The NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 Wishlists that we’ve submitted, in my opinion, comprehensively cover the most important suggestions for fixes, enhancements, and additions for both games. Each game has its own list of improvements that we’re hoping to see added in the next release; for NBA Live 19, I would suggest that it comes down to further polish to gameplay and more depth to modes. NBA 2K19, on the other hand, needs a slight course correction after some missteps in NBA 2K18. With that being said, while the games have their own issues, there are currently some that are common to both series, and areas in which they can both improve.

Please note that I’m not suggesting that these are necessarily the most important issues that must be addressed in both NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19. As I said, our Wishlists demonstrate that both games have a long laundry list of things that can be added or enhanced, and several are specific to one series or the other. Indeed, I’ve already discussed some of the specific things that NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 need to have in previous Friday Five columns. These are just areas where both games have some common problems and room for improvements, though the respective solutions may differ slightly. With that being said, let’s get to the first item on the list.

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Monday Tip-Off: Has Traditional Basketball Gaming Come to an End?

Taking on Kyrie Irving in MyCAREER (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 way basketball gaming has changed in recent years, and whether the traditional approach has become outmoded.

Basketball video games have obviously been around for a long time, bringing great enjoyment to people who love both the sport and gaming. Compared to other sports, basketball has proven to be a little harder to accurately represent in a video game, with so many variables affecting the level of realism. While arcade-oriented games often still hold up thanks to their casual approach, sim-oriented titles tend to show their age. Whether it’s the shot distribution, scores that are too high or too low, a lack of realistic strategy, or a shallow season mode experience, a lot of classic games do leave something to be desired, as much fun as we had with them when they were new.

Fortunately, basketball gaming has improved in leaps and bounds over the years. From deep and engaging modes to smarter AI and more realistic gameplay, we’ve been able to enjoy experiences on the virtual hardwood we could only dream of all those years ago. However, it feels as though basketball games have set a new course in recent years, shifting away from the experience that we’ve traditionally wanted. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s important that the games keep up with changing trends and demographics, but as we discussed in Episode #236 of the NLSC Podcast, it sometimes feels like traditional basketball gaming is coming to an end.

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