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The Friday Five: 5 Underrated Features in the NBA Live Series

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five features in the NBA Live series that I feel are somewhat underrated.

As we compile our Wishlist for NBA Live 19, it’s important that we focus on the big features and the most pressing issues with the game. The most significant fixes and improvements to the experience will come through the development team focusing on the key aspects of controls, strategy, AI, authenticity, options, functionality, and the game modes. In other words, the most desirable changes and additions will be to the core elements of the gameplay, and the game’s biggest features. We don’t want EA to focus on inconsequential details. For example, fluid, realistic gameplay and a deep Franchise mode make a difference; the colour of the menus does not.

However, sometimes the little things go a long way in enhancing the experience, and making NBA Live more fun. When compiling a Wishlist, it’s crucial that we point out those features as well, and how they can get better. To that end, I’ve been thinking about some of the features in previous NBA Live games that kind of fly under the radar, and are perhaps somewhat underrated. They may not be the flashiest features, or absolutely essential to the core experience, but if nothing else, they’re good ideas that I’d like to see return or retained in future NBA Live titles. Here are five such underrated features that the NBA Live series has had at one time or another.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #238

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Episode #238 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Arcane is back this week, joining me for a discussion of the frequent discounts on NBA Live 18, 15% off player attribute upgrades in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER, the 2018 All-Star Game, and some other topics related to basketball and basketball gaming from the past week.

On this week’s show…

  • Before we get rolling on this week’s episode, we remind everyone to add their feedback to our NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 Wishlists as soon as possible. Remember, suggestions left unsaid are guaranteed not to have an impact!
  • Are the constant sales for NBA Live 18 a bad sign and potentially harmful to future games, or a good move by EA Sports in their bid to win back the audience?
  • Player attribute upgrades in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER are 15% off through February 25th. It’s a nice gesture, but along with the Double XP promotions, we feel it leaves something to be desired.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included three 2K Pro-Am wins that should’ve been four, some great pulls in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team, and a continued inability to dunk in MyCAREER.
  • We wrap up Episode #238 of the NLSC Podcast with some final reflections on the 2018 All-Star Weekend. We also catch up on some recent news, and look ahead to the looming postseason.

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.

The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K19 Needs To Have

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 NBA 2K19 needs to have.

As I mentioned last week, Wishlist season is upon us. These days, we don’t just collect feedback for NBA Live, but also the NBA 2K series as well. Our NBA 2K19 Wishlist topic is open for constructive feedback, which we’ll be looking to pass along to the development team at Visual Concepts as soon as possible. As with NBA Live 19, NBA 2K19 is already in pre-production, so it’s important that we get our Wishlist in as soon as possible, in order for it to have the best chance of making a positive impact on this year’s game from 2K Sports.

While it’s impossible to compile a comprehensive Wishlist in just five points, I do have some ideas about what I’d like the general areas of focus to be for NBA 2K19. I certainly don’t pretend to speak for all basketball gamers – as I said last week, our Wishlist itself is intended to get a good cross-section of what the community wants – but having spent a considerable amount of time with NBA 2K18, and the series in general over the past six or seven years, I do believe that I have some suggestions that would benefit NBA 2K19. While the game is obviously wildly successful, I also feel that there’s ample room for these technological and conceptual improvements.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live 19 Needs To Have

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 NBA Live 19 needs to have.

Wishlist season is upon us, so we’re currently collecting constructive feedback to send along to the development team at EA Tiburon! As always, one of our goals with the Wishlist is to prioritise our feedback, so that the team has a good idea of what we most want to see fixed, improved, and added in the next edition of NBA Live. I’m currently working on my list, and I encourage everyone to start posting their ideas as soon as possible. NBA Live 19 is already in pre-production, so the sooner we submit our Wishlist, the more likely it is to have a positive impact on this year’s game.

To get the ball rolling, and to give you an idea of what I feel are the most pressing issues as we look ahead to NBA Live 19, I’ve decided to compile a list of the five things I believe the game needs to have. Opinions will certainly vary, which is why we have the Wishlist to get a good cross-section of what the community wants, but basically, I’d describe these as the five areas where significant improvements will help NBA Live take the next step. NBA Live 18 was a reasonably successful comeback for the series, but to stay on the right path and take the game to the next level, this is an overview of what I feel the development team should focus on.

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NBA Live 19 & NBA 2K19 Wishlist Topics Open

Wishlist Threads Open Now

Please be advised that our Wishlist topics for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 are now open! For those of you who may be unfamiliar with our annual Wishlist – which we now compile for both NBA Live and NBA 2K – it’s an effort to collect constructive feedback on what we want to see in the next game. We prioritise the feedback according to what the community most wants to see added, fixed, and improved, and then send it along to the development teams at EA Sports and Visual Concepts.

The key to compiling a useful Wishlist is to identify the most important issues as concisely as possible, while also elaborating and being specific where necessary. In other words, saying that you want “better gameplay” isn’t particularly helpful, whereas explaining the changes you want to see for a better gameplay experience (without a long-winded rant) is feedback the developers can actually put to good use. The aim is to be clear and to the point, explaining what you want out of the next game without turning it into a 5000 word essay.

One suggestion is to post your top 15-20 suggestions for the game. Alternatively, you may choose to post your top 5-10 suggestions in different categories (gameplay, career modes, franchise modes, online, etc). As long as it’s constructive and comprehensive feedback, we’ll be able to reach some sort of consensus as a community, and provide the development teams at EA and VC with an idea of what we most want to see in NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19.

Pre-production is obviously already underway on both titles, so we want to get our feedback in as soon as possible. As such, if you’ve got ideas and suggestions for this year’s games, start posting them now! I’ll be sure to post some reminders over the next few weeks, as well as a bulletin when we’ve officially submitted each Wishlist.

Monday Tip-Off: Missing Former Modes & Features

Roster Editing is greatly missed in NBA Live

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 modes and features that are missing in recent games, and as such, tend to be sorely missed.

With their annual releases, sports video games are often criticised for being little more than a patch, roster update, or expansion pack sold at retail price. While it’s an understandable criticism, and those of us who buy the games every year certainly do want to get value for money, it is selling developers like EA Sports and Visual Concepts short. A lot of time and energy goes into the development of the games, and while the results aren’t always want we want, we generally see some pleasing improvements, and new content beyond updated rosters for the new season. Of course, it’s always frustrating when it seems like one step forward, two steps back.

As much as we hate to see new games make missteps in terms of the gameplay experience, it’s arguably even more frustrating when modes and other features that we really enjoyed in previous games are cut from future releases. Even though there may be perfectly valid reasons for their removal – technical or otherwise – it generally doesn’t lessen the sting of losing the experiences and functionality they provided. As I look ahead to NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, and think about the news I’d like to hear in the upcoming preview season, I can’t help but reflect on some of the modes and features that I miss in both games.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #204

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Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the NBA 2K18 Legend Edition cover reveal, give our initial impressions of NBA Playgrounds, and talk about the burnout and cynicism we sometimes feel when it comes to giving constructive feedback.

On this week’s show…

  • Shaquille O’Neal has been revealed as the cover player for the Legend Edition of NBA 2K18. We also know the release date and the pre-order bonuses. Does all that VC suggest another tough grind this year?
  • Charles Barkley has revealed what it will take for him to appear in NBA 2K18.
  • NBA Playgrounds has been released, and we have some initial impressions to share. One of us is a little more positive than the other.
  • Referring back to a Monday Tip-Off article from a few weeks ago, we discuss the burnout and cynicism that can arise after years of talking about improvements to basketball video games, and compiling feedback for developers.
  • It pains us to say it as long-time NBA fans, but we’re just not feeling this year’s Playoffs.
  • We wrap up Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which included another brief but enjoyable session of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

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.

Monday Tip-Off: Some More Thoughts on Constructive Feedback

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 more thoughts on how we can give better feedback as a gaming community.

If you haven’t yet checked out the interview that our friends over at Operation Sports conducted with the NBA 2K team, I highly recommend giving it a look. I obviously got a kick out of seeing JaoSming and Leftos taking part, and hearing the NLSC receive some flattering mentions, but those were far from the only parts that I enjoyed. All the guys participating in the interview provided an interesting insight into how they came to join the team at 2K, what it’s like to work in the industry, and how their perception of video game development changed from when they were members of the community. It’s a four part series, and you can begin with Part 1 here.

The interview also discusses the importance of community feedback, noting that even when the developers aren’t replying to comments, they are reading them. There were some good tips on how to get noticed, whether you’re seeking employment at Visual Concepts, or simply want to provide the developers with feedback for official patches and future games. Some of their comments got me thinking once again about the way we give feedback – not only to 2K, but also EA – and how we can do a better job in that regard. Personally, it’s also made me reflect a little on the way that I’ve critiqued the game and offered up feedback in recent years.

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The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Ideas for Basketball Games

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 unorthodox ideas for basketball video games.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, when it comes to suggestions for basketball video games, there are some ideas that probably don’t need to be explored. At the very least, certain suggestions probably shouldn’t be high up on the list of priorities. For example, I don’t really see the point of Create-a-Fan, and a Referee Mode would be better suited to a professional wrestling game (and even there, I’ve found that the novelty has worn off fairly quickly). That being said, there’s no harm in throwing out some off-the-wall ideas that certainly could be fun.

It’s important that we focus on the important issues with gameplay, game modes, and functionality, and as a gaming community, I believe that we do a good job with our feedback. We have laundry lists of serious and well-thought out constructive suggestions on how the games can improve, but there’s always room to throw out some more creative ideas for extra content and features. Some of these suggestions are a little out there, but could have merit if implemented properly. In the spirit of innovation and trying something different, here are five somewhat crazy (but still reasonably practical) ideas for future basketball video games.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Rising Star in NBA Live

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.

So, we now know that the next NBA Live game – presumably titled NBA Live 18 – will be released later this year, and is intended to be a fully-featured title. While there is understandably some disappointment and scepticism within the NBA Live community at the moment, there is also an opportunity for the development team to go all out in enhancing game modes, and adding features such as roster customisation. As I’ve outlined in recent editions of The Friday Five, those are some very important and overdue improvements that are vital to NBA Live getting to where it needs to be.

I’ve already covered Dynasty and LIVE Pro-Am, but there’s much work to be done with Rising Star as well. Career modes are extremely popular these days, therefore it’s crucial that Rising Star is brought up to speed, and given the depth that will make it a more engaging and enjoyable experience. From the action on the court to the features that make a career mode more immersive, there are a couple of key enhancements that Rising Star should receive in forthcoming NBA Live titles. This week, I’m discussing five of them.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Dynasty Mode in NBA Live

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.

Last week, I posted five suggestions for enhancing the gameplay in NBA Live 17 and beyond. While it’s important that the gameplay delivers a quality experience, basketball video games also need robust modes if they’re going to hold our interest for any length of time. After all, no matter how fun and realistic the gameplay, a string of meaningless exhibition games is going to get boring after a while. It’s therefore vital that NBA Live’s franchise, career, and card collecting modes are all deep and engaging experiences. The addition of a couple of other modes – such as All-Star Weekend – wouldn’t go astray, either.

For the moment, however, let’s focus on Dynasty Mode. It’s traditionally been my mode of choice in NBA Live, and it’s the mode with the longest heritage in the series. Right now, Dynasty is functional, but it’s also missing a lot of basic functions and features that could be found in its predecessors. Simply bringing back those elements would be a significant improvement for the mode, but I am hoping that future NBA Live games can go even further in fleshing out the franchise experience. Here are five suggestions that I believe would help achieve that goal.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Gameplay in NBA Live

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.

2017 is upon us, which means it shouldn’t be too much longer before we start receiving news about NBA Live 17. It remains to be seen what EA Sports’ plans are for the NBA Live franchise; the next instalment is set to be released in the first quarter of this year, but what will it entail? Will it be a smaller, digital only release, with a fully-featured NBA Live 18 released later in the year? Or can we expect a full game? Only time will tell, but for now, I thought that I’d spend a few editions of The Friday Five discussing what I’d like to see in forthcoming NBA Live titles.

Late last year, I discussed my ideas for crafting NBA Live’s comeback in a Monday Tip-Off column. There’ll probably be a little bit of overlap with that feature, as I’m obviously still interested in seeing NBA Live make the improvements that I’ve already outlined. I’ll just be going into a few of the things that I previously discussed in more detail, since I’ll be spreading the discussion out over multiple columns. With that being said, let’s tip things off with what most of us would consider the most important aspect of any video game: the gameplay.

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Monday Tip-Off: Fixing NBA 2K’s Grading Logic

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.

Something that I’ve complained about on the Podcast, as well as in previous columns and most recently in this Forum thread, is the problematic nature of the grading logic in NBA 2K. Although there have been some subtle improvements in recent years, it’s extremely rare that I play a game of MyCAREER or 2K Pro-Am where I’m not hit with a deduction that leaves me grumbling, and wondering how the grading logic figures that I should be penalised. Even in situations where my grade should take a hit, there are deductions that seem needlessly harsh.

Of course, at a certain point you need to channel those complaints into something more constructive, namely suggestions and solutions. Since we’ve tipped off the NBA 2K18 Wishlist, it’s come time to start talking about some of the improvements and additions we want to see, and how we believe certain problems should be addressed. Since I’ve been playing a lot of 2K Pro-Am and MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, my issues with the grading logic sprang immediately when I was considering what I wanted to talk about this week. Without any further ado, here is an outline of how I feel the grading logic can be fixed in future NBA 2K releases.

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NBA 2K18 Wishlist Thread Now Open

NBA 2K17: Paul George

Since NBA 2K17 has been out for close to a couple of months and received a few title updates, it’s fair to say that we have a pretty good idea of what it’s all about. While some issues will hopefully still be patched in the months to come, some fixes and additions will have to wait until next year. As such, we’ve opened up our official NBA 2K18 Wishlist thread in the Forum.

If you have any feedback you’d like to send along to the developers in terms of fixes, improvements, and additions that you’d like to see in NBA 2K18, be sure to post it in the thread. We do ask that you keep things civil and constructive, since profane insults and snarky remarks tend not to be helpful. There are plenty of other threads where you can express those sentiments, and we’d rather keep the Wishlist threads constructive. We also recommend being as detailed as possible, since suggestions like “better gameplay” don’t exactly convey what it is that you want to see improved.

In recent years, we have been a little late in starting our Wishlist threads, so we wanted to make sure that we’re on the ball and collecting feedback for the development team much earlier this year. The thread will obviously remain open well into next year, but since NBA 2K18 is already being developed, I’d once again recommend that you start posting your feedback ASAP.

The Friday Five: 5 Ideas for 2K Pro-Am

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.

As you might know if you’ve caught any recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, I’ve been playing a lot of 2K Pro-Am lately. In fact, I haven’t played much besides 2K Pro-Am in recent weeks, which is unusual as I’m not normally an online gamer. However, as I explained in Monday Tip-Off a few weeks back, I’m really enjoying the social aspect of the mode, and it’s been a fun change of pace from the modes that I usually play. It’s one of the reasons that I’m considering pre-ordering the Legend Edition of NBA 2K17, in order to immediately level up my MyPLAYER.

Needless to say, while I am enjoying the mode, it’s not without its problems. A few weeks ago, I discussed some issues with the grading logic that also affect MyCAREER, which I’d definitely like to see fixed. On top of that, there are some other improvements that I’d like to see made to 2K Pro-Am, five of which I’m outlining in this week’s column. So, without any further ado, here are five ideas for NBA 2K17’s Pro-Am, which I feel would greatly benefit the mode.

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