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 tips for setting up a new MyLEAGUE game in NBA 2K20, or a new franchise mode game in general.
The 2020 NBA season tips off next week, and it’s set to be a very interesting one. There are several new duos around the league, and the path to the Larry O’Brien trophy seems as wide open as it’s been in quite some time. Excitement for the tip-off of the new NBA season is no doubt going to stir up some interest in MyLEAGUE in NBA 2K20. If you’re like me, you’re probably waiting for updated opening night rosters to get started in MyLEAGUE, and from there create your own reality as you take on the role of GM, coach, and every player on your roster.
As more than a coupled of failed threads in our Stories section have demonstrated however, it can be all too easy to lose interest in a franchise game. Sometimes, the idea is more fun on paper than it is in execution. If you make the wrong choices when you’re setting everything up or the wrong moves once you’ve begun, you can easily derail what should have been an extremely engaging and enjoyable experience. To that end, for this week’s Friday Five, I’m offering up five tips for setting up your MyLEAGUE game for success. You’ll ultimately have to make the decisions that work for you, but hopefully this will be a helpful guide to get you started.
1. Choose Your Team Carefully
This may sound like a very obvious tip, but choosing the wrong team remains the chief reason so many MyLEAGUE, Association, Dynasty, and Franchise games have been derailed over the years. You need to be able to pick a team that you actually want to play with and manage. That can sometimes be hard to gauge before you’ve played any games with them, and to that end, try running with them a couple of times in Play Now. Aside from that, common missteps include opting for a popular or highly-rated team despite how you feel about them, or if you’re planning on a story thread, picking a team you think others want to read about instead of who you like.
In choosing your team, consider the following questions. Do you have a favourite team? How do you like playing with them on the virtual hardwood? Does their current roster appeal to you? Can you make the moves you want with the assets on hand? Do you have a favourite player whose team you like by proxy? Would you prefer your team to be a contender, underdog, or rebuilding project? Whose branding do you like? Do you want to re-brand, relocate, or be an expansion club? Whatever factors go into making a team (or teams) an appealing choice for you in a MyLEAGUE game, take them all into account. You need to be satisfied with the choice you make.
2. Set Up The League You Want
I mentioned expansion teams above, and they’re an important point to consider. The ability to expand and re-brand the league has been a great addition to MyLEAGUE, whether you’re controlling an expansion franchise or simply adding some new teams for the CPU to control. However, it’s not for everyone. Some gamers prefer to keep the league as it is, avoiding any expansion now and in future years. Others want to shake up the league. Some gamers like to hold fantasy drafts, sometimes with the historical players included, while others like to create a league with the retro squads and All-Time teams. There’s no wrong way to play, as long as you’re having fun.
It is something you’ll need to decide when you’re setting up your MyLEAGUE game, though. If you want a realistic league, disable the options that will make things radically different, such as expansion. Use the official rosters, or a custom current roster update, if you prefer. If you want a wilder or more unorthodox experience, choose the necessary options as you’re setting up. Should you have any ideas for slider tweaks, you might as well make some preliminary changes now. Everything comes down to personal preference, but you need to have an idea of what kind of MyLEAGUE experience most appeals to you, and configure the mode accordingly.
3. Decide on Your Approach to Realism
Even if you generally prefer a realistic approach to team management and gameplay in MyLEAGUE, there’s a sliding scale of realism among basketball gamers. Some gamers like to be “ultra sim”, playing as realistically as possible. In a MyLEAGUE game, this may also include copying the roster moves that a team makes in real life, yielding your GM powers and remaining at the mercy of your chosen team’s actual front office. This can be a really fun way of playing franchise games, but it’s not for everyone. Some gamers prefer to take a few more liberties, both in their play on the virtual hardwood and the moves that they make while playing the role of GM.
The level of realism in your style of play and the stats your players produce is up to you. Of course, unless you’re aiming to put up record numbers with a particular player, you might find that their production evens out to a more realistic level as the season progresses. Consider how much you want to wheel and deal to reshape the roster, especially in the first year. If you’re like me and feel that too many trades end up detracting from your enjoyment – especially if you rip off the AI and end up with a really stacked roster – it’s best to avoid doing that. You can change up your approach to some extent, but there are limitations. That’s why it’s also vital that you…
4. Review Your Team & Road Map
You’ve chosen a team, decided on a direction, and set up a MyLEAGUE game that suits your desired level of realism. Now it’s time to review those choices, make sure that they’re the right ones for you, and that the experience you want to get out of your MyLEAGUE game is feasible. Do you have the patience to commit to a rebuilding scenario? Are you going to get bored controlling a contender? Out of all the players currently on the roster, who do you want to keep? Who are the players that you’re going to pursue in trades? Does the team have enough flexibility to change course if you decide that you’re going to alter your approach as the season progresses?
After all, you can find yourself changing direction as the season progresses, especially if you’re over or underachieving, or certain players are panning out better or worse than you anticipated. There will be decisions that you need to commit to, and they’ll make it harder to change course without reloading from an older save if you have one; even then, you’ll end up losing progress. This step is your last chance to ensure that the MyLEAGUE scenario you’re setting up for yourself is one that is appealing to you and that you’re likely to enjoy. If you can’t look ahead and see yourself having fun with the choices you’ve made, change the scenario to your liking before proceeding.
5. Plan Your MyLEAGUE Gaming Schedule
With everything in place, you’re just about ready to start playing MyLEAGUE. Now you just have to decide on how much gameplay you want to participate in. The NBA season is a marathon after all, and it still takes a while to get through in video games; especially if you favour playing longer quarter lengths. If you picked a full 82 game schedule and the 7-7-7-7 Playoffs format on top of regulation quarters, you’re going to have to simulate a fair bit if you want to get through multiple seasons. Even if you’ve chosen shorter quarters and an abbreviated schedule, you may not want to play every single game. We all have other responsibilities that take time away from gaming.
That means setting aside some time each week to play the game, and an approach to simulating parts of the season. There are plenty of ways to do this, such as alternating between playing and simulating games, only playing either the home or road games, picking key games to play and simulating the rest, or whatever suits your schedule and ability to stay hooked on the game. You can obviously choose to play every game if you want – I’ve done it myself and it’s been a fulfilling experience – but it does take a long time, and it’s hard to play multiple seasons when you do. Bottom line, now that you have your MyLEAGUE game set up, figure out how to play and enjoy it!
Do you have any tips of your own for setting up a MyLEAGUE game for success? Post them 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.