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 enduring a long season in MyCAREER.
I’m almost at the end of the regular season in my rookie campaign in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. As much fun as I’ve had so far, it’s definitely been a grind, especially since I prefer to play twelve minute quarters. Even with shorter quarter lengths, 82 games is quite a marathon, and it’s difficult not to get impatient once you’re past the All-Star break, and the postseason is looming on the horizon. Of course, if you’re battling to qualify for the Playoffs, each game is going to have more meaning, and that should hold your interest. However, if you’ve already clinched a Playoff berth, a little bit of boredom might start to set in.
Fortunately, there are a few ideas that can make tedious stretches in MyCAREER a bit more fun. Some of these suggestions arguably apply to MyLEAGUE and MyGM as well, but I personally find that boredom during the regular season is more of a problem in MyCAREER, since you’re locked to a single player, and you obviously don’t have all the team management functions to change things up. With that being said, here are five ideas that have helped break up the boredom for me, and will hopefully help some of you make it through the regular season grind, whether you’re playing MyCAREER or another mode.
1. Unlock Badges
As you level up your MyPLAYER, gaining Badges is what will put you over the top. Even though each Archetype has a limited number of Badges that can be upgraded, simply having a Bronze level Badge in other areas will provide some helpful boosts here and there. Furthermore, if you plan on spending any time in MyPARK or 2K Pro-Am, bolstering your skills with as many Badges as possible is absolutely essential. As the season progresses in MyCAREER, you’ll probably start fulfilling the various requirements organically, but if you’re looking for something to hold your interest, you might want to start actively trying to unlock Badges.
Badges are earned by performing certain tasks a required number of times, and achieving specific totals. As such, if it’s getting late in the season, you might be hard pressed to earn certain Badges if you’re not particularly close to the required figure. For example, unlocking the Hall of Fame level Dimer Badge requires tallying 1200 assists in a single season; certainly achievable, but probably not if you’ve only got 700 assists with less than twenty games remaining. Start with the Badges that can be upgraded for your Archetype, while also shooting for ones that would be helpful for your style of play. It’s a grind, but it can also be a fun change of pace.
2. Aim for Team & NBA Records
I’ve mentioned it in a couple of previous articles, but I’m a big fan of being able to view and re-write team and NBA records in NBA 2K17’s modes. If you happen to break a record in MyCAREER, it’s cool to be able to see your name up there with the players who set those marks in real life. When you’re looking to keep things fresh late in the season, trying to break a long-standing team or league record is a fun challenge. Also, if you’ve come to the point where winning games isn’t too tough a task, you might find that tallying more assists than Scott Skiles’ 30 or topping Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points will be a suitable test for your abilities.
The downside of chasing records is that it doesn’t always lend itself to a sim style of play, and records that are broken more organically can feel more satisfying than attempts that are frantically manufactured. Still, it takes a tremendous effort to break some of the records – there have been some truly remarkable performances in NBA history, after all – and taking a run at them is sure to break up the monotony of the season. If you plan on changing teams at some point in your MyCAREER, as I’m looking to do after my first season is over, you can ultimately challenge yourself to rewrite the record books for multiple clubs, and make history over and over again.
3. Rack up MyCAREER Accolades
In a similar vein, there are the MyCAREER Accolades. You’ve no doubt seen the notifications pop up during a game when you’ve made a certain amount of consecutive field goals or assists without committing a turnover, dunked on a player who dunked on you, and so on. Accolades also include more straightforward statistical marks such as recording a high number of points, rebounds, assists, blocks, or steals, as well as double-doubles, triple-doubles, quadruple-doubles, and five-by-five performances. You can keep track of your accomplishments through the Accolades screen, found under the MyCAREER menu option in MyCOURT.
You can actually earn some extra VC through the Accolades, once you’ve reached the total set forth by the top level in each category. It’s a very minimal amount however, and you’ll end up earning more VC simply by posting big numbers game to game. This suggestion isn’t really about earning additional VC though, but instead about the preset challenges that Accolades provide. They’re goals to shoot for, and in some cases, they may encourage to you to change up your game and try things that you normally wouldn’t. Team and NBA records can be tough to break, but there’s still a sense of achievement in posting a string of 50 or 60 point games.
4. Self-Imposed Challenges & Experiments
On Valentine’s Day in 1986, Larry Bird decided to challenge himself to play much of the Boston Celtics’ matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers left-handed, quipping afterwards that he was “saving (his) right hand for the Lakers”. Larry Legend didn’t play the game exclusively left-handed (as is often recounted), but he went the south paw route more than usual, and on that night, it certainly worked out for him. If you’re getting a little bored with the regular season grind, you might want to take some cues from Larry Bird, and change things up with challenging and unusual strategies. It’s also a good way to unlock Badges and achieve Accolades.
Looking for suggestions? Examples would include not dunking, only attempting floaters or three-pointers, using the Pro Stick to always finish left or right (or only dunk left or right-handed), getting all your assists with either flashy passes or alley-oops, and letting your opponent stay in the game (or even build a small lead) so that you can suddenly “flip the switch” and take over. If you’re in the midst of a few blowouts, it’s also a good opportunity to try out some moves and strategies that you might otherwise tend to overlook, in order to practice and perfect them in game situations.
When all else fails, simulate a few games. While the simulation function has always been a useful feature in franchise and season modes, it hasn’t always been a desirable option in MyCAREER. Going back a few years, the only simulation option was to play the next “key game”, which could result in simulating big chunks of the season, and skipping games that you actually wanted to play. Thankfully, MyCAREER now allows you to choose how far ahead you’d like to simulate on the calendar, so as long as you’re careful with your selection, you’ll only sim the games you want to skip, and won’t miss any that you want to play.
Another handy option that we have in MyCAREER these days is the ability to ask out of the game, and sim to the end. Doing so in the first half will forego any VC you’ve earned, but you’ll get to keep it if you choose to sit out the remainder of the second half. Since you’ll always end up playing your allotted minutes even in a blowout, this feature is a great time saver if a game is clearly out of reach and you don’t feel like sticking around to pad your stats, since that can get old quite quickly. If you want to make sure you get the win though, be mindful of the score when you ask to take a seat. Comebacks from twenty points down aren’t too uncommon in simulation.
The regular season can be a tough grind with tedious moments, but by mixing things up a bit and setting a few goals, you should hopefully be able to inject a little more fun into it. As for me, I’m looking forward to the Playoffs, hopefully followed by a championship and the opportunity to play in Chicago. How do you deal with the long regular season in basketball video games? Have your say in the comments below, and 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.