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 reasons why you shouldn’t ragequit when playing NBA Live or NBA 2K.
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the CPU not playing fair, or an embarrassing deficit to an online opponent, we suddenly find ourselves wanting to ragequit a basketball video game. While it’s almost universally considered poor form to ragequit an online game you’re losing, it can be a healthy decision when you’re playing offline. It’s much better than breaking a controller (or anything else in the vicinity), and if you’re really not having any fun, you’re better off taking a break and trying again later. Generally speaking, it’s best not to try forcing yourself to endure unenjoyable experiences.
However, there are times when you should try to persevere. Beyond showing good sportsmanship in online play, there are incentives to gut out a game that isn’t going your way. You may be missing out on a potentially rewarding experience, as well as a few valuable lessons that may help you to improve your play on the virtual hardwood. No one likes to lose, and losing badly is a bitter pill to swallow, but strength in the face of adversity builds character; so does good sportsmanship, for that matter. Before you let your frustration get the better of you, here are five reasons not to ragequit when playing basketball video games.
1. It’s Unfair to an Online Opponent
Allow me to be a grumpy old man for a moment. In the good old days – by which I mean a less technologically advanced era – most multiplayer gameplay took place with people in the same room, in front of the same TV or monitor. This meant you had to interact directly with those other people, and if you gained a reputation as the jerk no one wanted to play with because of your tendency to cheat and/or ragequit, chances were you’d stop receiving invitations to other kids’ houses, or they would stop coming around to play with you. If nothing else, you were within striking distance! You had to learn how to play nicely with others, or get used to playing by yourself.
The nature of online gaming unfortunately means that you can get away with a lot of anti-social behaviour that would’ve made you an outcast in the days of sitting next to your opponent on the same couch. However, while it’s more difficult to enforce, the same etiquette still applies. It remains bad sportsmanship to ragequit a game you’re losing to another gamer, unless of course they’re cheating, in which case you do have an excuse. If everything’s on the level though, you play it out. Yes, it’s not a lot of fun to be on the losing end of a blowout, but if the tables were turned, you’d want your opponent to play until the final buzzer. Play properly, and finish the game with class.
2. Tough Losses Are Still Valuable Experience
While you’ll understandably want a blowout loss to be over and done with as quickly as possible, they can be valuable learning experiences. Whether it’s evaluating your own mistakes, or studying the tactics of your opponent, you can come away with a bit of knowledge or a technique that will help you next time. This applies to both online games and offline contests against the AI. Sticking it out not only allows you to learn from your opponent, but also put what you’ve learned into action as you keep honing your skills. The more you play, the better you’ll get, so don’t ragequit and give up that experience just because you’re on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
In terms of MyCAREER in NBA 2K18, losing can also be a valuable experience in a more literal sense. Now that MyCAREER, Pro-Am, and Playground games all grant XP towards Badges and cap breakers, it’s better to finish every game that you play. If you ragequit in Pro-Am or The Playground, you’ll forfeit that all-important XP. Sure, you’ll prevent your opponent from gaining XP as well, but it’s not worth stunting the development of your own MyPLAYER. Even if a game is out of reach, you can still use the remaining time to get some grinding in. Not only can you learn from the loss, you can keep working towards a higher rated player with all those helpful Badges.
3. You Can Try Things with Less Risk
Garbage time affords teams an opportunity to pull their starters to give them rest and avoid injury, while also giving a chance to players who usually don’t get to play a lot of minutes. While we generally think of it as being beneficial to the winning team – they get to do it while walking away with the victory, after all – it’s something that a team being blown out can take advantage of as well. The same thing applies in video games. If you’re being blown out and you’re ready to raise the white flag, you can take the opportunity to try a few things with minimal risk. If it’s a franchise game, then you should give your deep bench a run to see if there’s a player who deserves more time.
As far as gameplay is concerned, it’s a chance to try out advanced moves or perhaps a risky play in a competitive setting. If the game were on the line, you’d be inclined to keep it simple and stick with safer tried and true plays, but if you’re heading for a loss, what’s the harm? It’s the same reason teams set up final plays in games that are out of reach; it’s a way of practicing late game scenarios and inbounds plays against a real opponent. If there’s something spectacular you want to try, go for it. If you want to master certain moves or plays, now’s your chance. If you want to grind for Badges, get grinding. It may be a throwaway game, but don’t throw away those opportunities.
4. The Game May Not Be Responsible for Your Ragequit
Sometimes, basketball video games don’t play fair. Other times, the problem is with the person on the sticks. As I said before, quitting a game that’s giving you nothing but grief is preferable to tossing your controller across the room, but before you go blaming the developers, you should consider the way that you’ve been playing. If you’ve been trying to force the issue with bad shot selection and risky passes, or not playing smart, solid defense, then the AI is going to take advantage of you, especially on higher difficulty levels. Before you ragequit, take a few deep breaths, and evaluate your play and strategy so far. Is it something that you can turn around?
Although there are still cheap moments in modern basketball video games, they are a lot more strategic than their predecessors. If you’re playing on a higher difficulty level with settings geared towards realism, old school “video game tactics” usually aren’t going to cut it. Once again, you should be looking to learn from your mistakes, so if you find yourself down early, take stock of what you’ve been doing so far. It’s easy to blame the AI or a cheesy opponent, and in all fairness, sometimes that is an issue. If you do get out to a slow start though, think adjustments before a ragequit. After all, if you don’t tighten up your play, the next game probably isn’t going to go much better.
5. Unlikely Comebacks Are Possible
So far I’ve described the benefits of enduring a losing effort until the final buzzer, but there’s a much more positive reason to avoid a ragequit: you could win! Just because you’re currently facing a deficit doesn’t mean that you can’t pull off a comeback, even an unlikely one. It won’t be possible to pull off every time, but as I demonstrated in a recent Monday Tip-Off feature, a furious rally can work and is worth attempting. I’d suggest that most of us have some great stories about epic victories over the CPU or another gamer that rank up there among our favourite video gaming memories. Just as in real basketball, a determined effort can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
I’ve experienced comeback victories, including some very unlikely ones, in just about every mode that I’ve played over the years. Online or offline, it’s a rewarding feeling that makes playing the game worthwhile. Sure, blowouts are fun in their own way, and they don’t risk the sting of a comeback attempt that comes up short. They can get boring though, and while their dominance is a sign of a brilliant performance, they’re never as memorable as the games that seemed unwinnable, but turned into victories due to perseverance. You’ll never know the satisfaction of winning like that if you ragequit whenever things look bleak. Don’t rob yourself of that experience.
Can you think of any other reasons not to ragequit? Do you ragequit often, or have you had bad experiences with online opponents quitting on you? Have your say in the comments section below, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.