Welcome to another Friday here at the NLSC, and another edition of The Friday Five! What is The Friday Five, you ask? It’s a weekly feature that I post on Fridays, containing my thoughts on a variety of topics related to basketball video games, the real NBA and other areas of interest to our community, presented as either a list of five items or in Top 5 countdown format.
For this week’s Friday Five, I’ve decided to share five tips for getting the most enjoyment out of Dynasty and Association. There’s a lot of fun to be had in these modes, but you’ll find that your enthusiasm can ebb very quickly if you take the wrong approach with them. Here are five suggestions to keep in mind when starting a new Dynasty or Association, so that you can get the most out of the experience.
1. Get accustomed to the game first
This one is particularly important when you pick up the latest game, especially if you’ve skipped a release or two, or are switching series entirely. Unless you plan on simming the entire season and Playoffs, to enjoy playing through Dynasty or Association, you’ll need to enjoy actually playing the game. That means getting used to the controls, the strategies and all the little quirks of the AI.
Note that this doesn’t mean you need to be at a point where you’re beating the CPU every time you play. Winning is far more enjoyable than losing, but losses do add to the experience of these modes and I’d definitely advise against rage-quitting when the AI gets the upper hand. However, you should enjoy the ongoing gameplay experience and that means getting used to it first, as well as settling upon sliders and settings that are right for you.
2. Pick a team that most appeals to you
If you’re playing all or most of the games in a Dynasty or Association, you’re going to want to make sure that you enjoy playing with the team you’ve chosen, win or lose. Association currently offers a little more flexibility here as you can elect to control multiple teams, but if you’d just like to stick to controlling one team or are playing Dynasty Mode in NBA Live, make sure you pick the team that’s most appealing to you.
An obvious solution is to choose your favourite team. It’s the team you obviously have an affinity for and it’s a good opportunity to fulfil your GM fantasies; what would you do with your favourite team if you were calling the shots? If for whatever reason you’d prefer not to control your favourite team, consider a team that presents an appealing scenario. Elite teams are good choices for beginners who want to win early on, while underdog teams are good for a challenge. Teams with a lot of trade assets (ie decently rated players) are good for wheeling and dealing, as well as completely rebuilding.
Play a few exhibition games with a team first if you need help making up your mind. If they’re fun to play with them, give them a shot.
3. Don’t trade too much
Dynasty and Association mode both present us with the opportunity to create our own virtual NBA realities. Therefore, it’s very tempting to wheel and deal, pulling off exciting blockbuster trades to reshape teams and indeed, the NBA landscape. As any aficionado of these modes will attest, doing so can be a lot of fun.
However, going overboard with too many trades can end up ruining your enjoyment, as your team never has a stable sense of identity. If you’re a stickler for realism, you also won’t be able to shake the feeling that so many trades just isn’t true to life, since no team makes a blockbuster deal every other day. Try to avoid shaking things up too much during a season; trade smart, be patient and let your squad develop an identity.
4. Learn about the salary cap, trading and free agency rules, the Draft and so on
Having said that, you will find yourself wanting to make some trades as well as sign free agents and scout and draft rookies. The process is somewhat simplified to be more accessible to the average gamer, but the real life rules and conditions are well represented in the games, with Association currently being much deeper in that respect.
Take the time to learn about the salary cap, the different rules and restrictions when it comes to trades and free agency, and how the Lottery and Draft work. Not only will you be able to have a better understanding of how these things work, thus performing those tasks more expertly and enjoying them a whole lot more, you’ll likely find that your keener understanding will increase your interest in those proceedings in real life, enhancing your experience as an NBA fan.
5. Maintain a story thread
Yes, it’s kind of a cheap plug for the Stories section of the NLSC Forum, but if you take a look at the threads in that section you’ll find a lot of creativity by people who are really enjoying Dynasty and Association mode (as well as My Player/MyCAREER). Creating and maintaining a story thread is a great way to indulge and enhance the fantasy aspect of your game.
One thing to keep in mind though is that your enthusiasm for your story thread should come from the enjoyment of your Dynasty or Association game, and not the other way around. In other words, tell a story about your game because you’re enjoying it so much, don’t play the game just to try to tell a story.
Hopefully some of you will find these tips helpful in getting the most out of the Dynasty and Association experience. Feel free to add your comments below, as well as take the discussion to the Forum. As a final note, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and explanations from your fellow gamers and make sure to check out our Stories section to see some great examples of just how enjoyable those modes can be. That’ll do it for this week, thanks for reading and check in next Friday for a new Five!