Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
As I’ve mentioned in recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast and in last week’s Friday Five, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Ultimate Team in NBA Live 15. Although I’m traditionally more interested in modes like Dynasty, Ultimate Team definitely piqued my interest last year, and this year I’ve been hooked on building my team and playing through various Fantasy Challenges. As I also said last week, while I’m hoping to play a lot of Dynasty in NBA Live 16, I expect that I’ll continue to spend a lot of time with Ultimate Team, too.
In the meantime, Ultimate Team has definitely become my mode of choice in NBA Live 15. To that end, there are a few goals that I’ve set for myself as I continue to play the game up until the release of NBA Live 16 in September. I’ve managed to achieve a couple of them during this past week, but a couple of others…well, I still have a ways to go. For your reading pleasure this Friday, I present five goals that I’ve had for Ultimate Team in NBA Live 15.
1. Get a Triple Double for the “All Filled Up” Trophy
Although a triple double can obviously be tallied with double digits in any three of the five main statistical categories, the most common combination is points, rebounds, and assists. That can be a little tough to do in the five minute quarters of Ultimate Team, but you can rack up a fair amount of steals in NBA Live 15, once you master the timing. After a few games where I registered five or six steals with Derrick Rose, I figured that I’d shoot for a triple double, and the “All Filled Up” trophy, by getting at least ten points, ten assists, and ten steals. I managed to do it, but it did take a few attempts.
After all, once you start actively trying to register a triple double, it becomes an even harder feat, especially in a shorter game. You pretty much have to tally a stat on every opportunity, as every empty possession takes precious seconds off the clock. I came tantalisingly close on a couple of occasions, including a game where Rose had double digits in scoring and assists along with nine steals, and another game where I fouled out while desperately trying to pick a few more pockets. As I mentioned in the Forum, the Four Position Players Fantasy Challenge – in which Pau Gasol mans the point – provided the opportunity I needed to get it done. FYI, it’s open until July 27th.
2. Get the “Stat Sheet Stuffer” Trophy with a 5×5 Game
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to manage a quadruple double (“Did I Just Do That?”), and if I do attempt it, it will be in a game with 12 minute quarters, as opposed to the five minute quarters of Ultimate Team. On the other hand, a 5×5 game – tallying a total of at least five in all five main statistical categories – is a bit more feasible. Not easy, mind you, but easier. It’ll also be a bit tougher than achieving a triple double, so I might indeed end up attempting it in a full length game, as opposed to during an Ultimate Team Fantasy Challenge.
I did manage a decent effort with Andre Iguodala, registering eight points, four assists, three rebounds, three steals, and four blocks in 19 minutes. In a full length game, that trophy just might have been mine. Another attempt with Pau Gasol fell a bit shorter, but gave me some ideas on how it could be done. I’d recommend picking a versatile player, and playing them at a few different positions: point guard to rack up steals and assists, power forward and centre to be in the best spot for blocks and rebounds. As I said before though, trying too hard tends to work against you; let some numbers happen organically, then start trying to stuff the stat sheet from there.
Status: Respectably close, I feel, but not yet.
3. Complete 100 Fantasy Challenge Games for the “Fantastic” Trophy
Yes, at this point of the year, it’s definitely about trying for 100% completion (or as close as I can get), which means trophy/achievement hunting. This one’s directly related to Ultimate Team, and I should get there in time. Once again, I anticipate playing Ultimate Team right through until the release of NBA Live 16, and new Fantasy Challenges (as well as repeats from earlier in the season) are still being added during the offseason. So the opportunity and incentive is certainly there.
I must admit, I’m not sure whether this trophy actually refers to completing the Fantasy Challenges themselves, or simply completing Fantasy Challenge games; some Challenges are comprised of more than one game. From the wording of the description, I’m guessing it’s the latter, in which case I’m over halfway there. If it’s the former, I’m a little under halfway there. With around 74 days left until the release of NBA Live 16, I’m confident that my Ultimate Team gaming habits will allow me to snag the trophy before the new game comes out.
Status: About halfway there.
4. Assemble an Ultimate Team of 90s Players
I’ve been quite happy to play with a team bolstered by the stars and noteworthy role players of today, but after picking up a few affordable Legends cards of players from the 90s – the era that I grew up watching – I figured, why not run with a team of 90s players? After getting Toni Kukoc in this week’s bonus pack, I shopped around a little and bid on a few auctions. As it stands, my Ultimate Team now features a lineup completely comprised of prominent players from the 90s (and I guess technically the 80s, since quite a few them made their debut during that decade).
At present, my starting lineup is Penny Hardaway, Joe Dumars, Jalen Rose, Shawn Kemp, and Dikembe Mutombo. I’m currently bringing in Toni Kukoc, Robert Horry, Vlade Divac, Dee Brown, Jeff Hornacek, Jamal Mashburn, and Spud Webb off the bench. I have my eye on a couple of other players from the 90s, but I’ll need to stock up on coins first. I’m also keeping a roster of active players in my franchise, as I expect I’ll swap them in again in due course, and probably run with a combination of Legends and active players from time to time.
Status: Done. Radical!
5. Acquire Scottie Pippen
Of course, my 90s lineup isn’t quite complete yet. As I said, I need to stock up on coins before I can start buying some new Legends at auction, unless I happen across a card going really cheap. I wouldn’t mind snaring someone like Shaquille O’Neal or Hakeem Olajuwon. John Stockton, Karl Malone, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Larry Johnson…they’d all be on my Ultimate Team wishlist, too. The player I really want to get, though? Scottie Pippen.
Well, truth be told, the one player I’d really, really like to get is Michael Jordan, but he’s an NBA 2K exclusive. On that note, it was definitely exciting to get him in a MyTEAM pack in NBA 2K14 last year. But even if MJ were in Ultimate Team – and even after actually getting him in MyTEAM – Pip’s my second all-time favourite player, so he’s still someone that I’d want to get. I did see a Pippen card up for auction a couple of days ago, but sadly, I had nowhere near enough coins to place a bid, or buy it outright. So, unless someone wants to arrange to get me one at an affordable price, I’ll just have to save…and wait patiently.
Status: Still working on it, and hoping for the best.
Is Ultimate Team (or NBA 2K’s MyTEAM) a mode that you find addictive? Is it something you’ll check out in the future? 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 join me again next Friday for another Five.