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Monday Tip-Off: Less Online, And I Feel Fine

Monday Tip-Off: Less Online, And I Feel Fine

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how generally avoiding the online scene in NBA 2K21 has led to a more positive experience.

Don’t get me wrong; NBA 2K21 has its issues on Current Gen and Next Gen, though especially the former. It has its frustrating moments, and that’s when I usually end up putting it aside. However, I have honestly been enjoying the Next Gen version enough to want to play it regularly. Beyond a handful of improvements and appealing content, the main reason I’m having a better time on the virtual hardwood as of late is that for the most part, I’m not playing online. That means no more organising online sessions, or jumping into The Rec to play with randoms.

That’s not to say that I’m completely eschewing the online scene. MyTEAM’s Agenda does steer me in that direction in the quest to gain XP and level up, but other than that, I don’t go out of my way to play online. Again, there are some frustrations that you will encounter because of the legacy issues in NBA 2K21, but by avoiding online play, I’m at least dodging the ones that are user-driven and self-inflicted. It’s felt so refreshing to dive into other experiences, especially ones that I haven’t had enough time for in previous games thanks to MyCAREER and its connected modes. Of course, while I do feel fine about my recent gaming habits, it’s also unfortunate.

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Monday Tip-Off: “It’s Business” Is Not An Excuse

Monday Tip-Off: "It's Business" Is Not An Excuse

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a rebuttal to the idea that the fact developing video games is a business is somehow an excuse for lousy practices.

Video game development is a business. There is a business side to the creation of video games that, to the companies developing and publishing them, is just as crucial as the artistic side. There, I admitted it. In fact, I never denied it. If a business doesn’t turn a profit, it doesn’t keep operating for very long. If a product isn’t profitable, it’s going to have a very short shelf life. This is basic economics, so even when we’re grumbling about questionable practices regarding design and recurrent revenue mechanics, we understand that video game developers need to make money. But

But, there are good ways and bad ways to do business, even when it comes to the often downright predatory and exploitative practice of microtransactions. The goal of turning a profit does not excuse issues with the product itself. There is nothing wrong with expecting value for money and satisfaction with your purchase, and speaking out when you feel that a product has failed to deliver in that regard. When the pursuit of profits – especially through recurrent revenue mechanics – actively interferes with the quality of a product, it’s fair to criticise developers for compromising the experience. Saying “it’s business” is no excuse for design choices that are anti-consumer.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Reddit Post That Tried to Warn Us

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on a Reddit post that tried to warn us about some looming issues with the direction of the NBA 2K series.

There’s a Reddit post that I’ve mentioned and linked to in quite a few articles since it was made in the official NBA 2K subreddit back in 2018. That post was titled “The ‘MMO-ification’ of NBA2K and the perils of ignoring player retention: Thoughts from a former MMO developer“, and it was very well-received. After all, this wasn’t just a random gamer speaking out in frustration, or even a prominent content creator or pundit. This was someone who worked in video game development, and saw first-hand how certain approaches affected both gamer enjoyment, and a game’s success.

The criticisms this former EVE Online developer made were astute, and they were on the money about it only being the beginning. Their post touched on matters that many reviewers, and even content creators and community leaders, tend to ignore. It spoke about design philosophies – matters beyond tech and specific game features – that were responsible for problems in the games, and painted a worrying picture for the future. Today, I’m revisiting that Reddit post, and picking out some relevant quotes that identify problems that were troubling in NBA 2K18, and have remained so in its successors. As you’ll see, the insights of that Reddit post were almost prophetic.

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NBA 2K19 Servers Shutting Down December 31st

NBA 2K19 Servers Shutting Down December 31st

As per the official 2K Support Twitter account, the NBA 2K19 servers will be shut down on December 31st, 2020. After that point, all online content will be unavailable. This includes Play Now Online, MyTEAM, and the entirety of MyCAREER and its connected modes. Any Virtual Currency and MT you have will also be lost, and in-game roster sharing will no longer be possible.

This falls in line with 2K’s policy of providing online support for 27 months, adopted after the NBA 2K14 server shutdown resulted in controversy. Interestingly, the NBA 2K18 servers were kept online for an additional three weeks, before being shut down earlier this year on January 18th.

Since December 31st is only a little over a week away, I’d advise you to wrap up any business before the NBA 2K19 servers are gone. This includes aiming for any Trophies/Achievements in the online modes, completing a season in MyCAREER, and playing with your favourite MyTEAM cards. With roster sharing also disappearing once the servers are gone, I’d also recommend that you download any rosters you want while you still can. This includes projects such as the Classic Seasons rosters by Stildo33 and company.

Thanks to sticky-fingers for the heads up in the Forum!

NLSC Podcast #354: 2K Giveth, & 2K Taketh Away

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Episode #354 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Where can you learn about the differences between versions of Tecmo Super NBA Basketball? Our podcast, that’s where! Patch 1.03 for NBA 2K21 Next Gen is also out, and it’s full of fixes and gameplay tweaks. There are minimal differences, but as we note, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The impending shutdown of the NBA 2K19 servers leads to a discussion about lost features, old games still being sold at full price, and a huge opportunity for 2K to generate goodwill. In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking bad ratings, not feeling like we’re in control in newer 2K titles, and our non-basketball gaming habits.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

NBA 2K21 Next Gen Patch 1.03 Now Available

NBA 2K21 Next Gen Patch 1.03

Patch 1.03 for NBA 2K21 Next Gen is now available, and it’s considerably larger than the last update for Current Gen! As with other official patches, it should come through automatically as long as your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S is online. If it doesn’t, try restarting your console, or checking for updates manually.

On top of updates to courts, jerseys, and player likenesses, Patch 1.03 for NBA 2K21 Next Gen includes several fixes and gameplay tweaks. Charge and block animations have been tightened up to minimise sliding, and CPU defenders now recognise the direction of a flipped screen. Green Release windows are now smaller on heavily contested shots, and an exploit with double teams has been fixed.

An assortment of bugs have also been resolved in MyNBA and other modes. The City has been updated with a holiday theme, which includes new jerseys in The Rec. Check out all of the patch notes below, as well as here in our Wiki. Feel free to share any thoughts in the comments, and join in the discussion here in the Forum.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Rec Is Garbage, But Who’s To Blame?

Monday Tip-Off: The Rec Is Garbage, But Who's To Blame?

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on who’s to blame for The Rec being utter garbage in NBA 2K21, and how – or if – the problems can be fixed.

I have to blunt: The Rec is absolutely woeful this year. Walk-On play has always been a hit-and-miss alternative to team Pro-Am, owing to the all the issues that arise when you play with randoms. It’s been particularly toxic and unenjoyable in NBA 2K21, though. Admittedly, I can only speak to my experiences playing on the Australasian server, and I’ve yet to create a MyPLAYER on Next Gen and jump online. The scene may be a lot better on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, at least in North America. It’d be a low bar to clear, as the mode seems to have hit rock bottom.

While the issues are familiar, the continued decline of The Rec – and it’s felt like it’s grown even worse since NBA 2K21 Current Gen’s launch – raises a few questions. The two most pertinent are “who’s to blame”, and “how can it be fixed”. As you might imagine, the first issue has a significant impact on the second. The answer is quite complicated, and that naturally means the solution isn’t easy either. Still, I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks. While I am taking a moment to grumble here, I want to turn that into something constructive. If we as a community can identify these issues and suggest solutions, perhaps we can help improve the scene.

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NLSC Podcast #353: Online Gaming Isn’t Everything

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Episode #353 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

With the quality of play in The Rec hitting rock bottom, one of us has made a very healthy decision to walk away from the online scene. On that note, leaked internal documents from Sony suggest that online gaming hasn’t destroyed the single player or local multiplayer experience. This is certainly good news for modes such as MyNBA, and the single player portions of MyCAREER and MyTEAM. Recent events also prompt us to discuss proper etiquette for modders and content creators alike. Our featured discussion this week is all about further NBA 2K21 Next Gen impressions, as we break down our three favourite and three least favourite aspects of the game. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about wishlists for this generation, and memories of basketball gaming in the holiday season.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: Annual Rituals & Goals in NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: Annual Rituals & Goals in NBA 2K

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on my annual rituals and goals in NBA 2K games.

I buy NBA 2K every year. In fact, throughout this past generation, I’ve double-dipped with copies for PC (for mods) and PlayStation 4 (for online play). I suppose that makes me a part of the problem as far as supporting the game despite having gripes with it, but in my defense, I’m both a collector and a content creator. Without at least one copy of the game, it’s difficult to provide coverage post-release. I know this all too well, having covered NCAA Basketball 10 throughout its preview season, and then not at all afterwards because I couldn’t import the game (I since have for PS3).

It’s also my aim to enjoy the game every year, and with the NBA Live series being rather underwhelming or completely absent from the basketball gaming space for much of the past decade, I’ve been getting my virtual hoops fix from NBA 2K. As such, there are a few rituals I engage in, and goals that I strive for, in each new NBA 2K title. In some respects, it’s probably made it difficult to break some of the habits I’ve formed, especially in MyCAREER. On the other hand, it always provides me with some baseline goals from which I can derive a sense of accomplishment, as well as completion. If I manage to attain these goals, I feel like I’ve got my money’s worth.

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NLSC Podcast #351: Lockdown Defenders

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Episode #351 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Now that Derek is an official member of the NLSC Team, we look ahead to some plans for future content. There’s a lot of positivity there, but as we delve into this week, there’s a need to explore the negative aspects of basketball games as well. We discuss the desire some gamers have to disengage, distinguishing between taking a healthy break from negative conversations, and shutting down constructive criticism. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about the pain of losing features, modes, options, and mechanics that we loved, and answer a question about our playcalling habits on the virtual hardwood.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

The Friday Five: Top 5 Unfixed Bugs in NBA 2K21 Current Gen

The Friday Five

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 countdown of the Top 5 unfixed bugs in the Current Gen version of NBA 2K21.

Whenever a new console generation launches, you can guarantee that the version of the game that the existing platforms receive is going to be an afterthought. It only stands to reason that Next Gen is the focus, given the new technology that developers have to work with, and the desire for strong sales numbers that the suits desire. In the best case scenario, the Current Gen version will still be a solid release for gamers that aren’t ready – or this time around, able – to upgrade to the new consoles. It’s certainly not uncommon, however, for the Current Gen release to be a sloppy or subpar one.

That’s exactly how I would describe NBA 2K21 Current Gen. I’m tempted to call it a copy and paste job, except that it lacks the quality of NBA 2K20. Not only does the game feature a myriad of legacy issues that have persisted throughout the generation – or even longer in some cases – but there are new bugs and gameplay problems, too. Furthermore, the post-release support has likewise been disappointing. Although the game has received a number of patches, there are still some major bugs that remain unfixed as of the last update. Please note that I’m only referring to technical issues and not gameplay problems here, as that’s a whole other topic for another time.

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NLSC Podcast #350: What’s My Age Again?

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Episode #350 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

We’re celebrating our 50th episode as a duo, which leads us to reflect on some famous number 50s in NBA history. After that, it’s down to business with a discussion of the latest news surrounding NBA 2K21 Next Gen. From server issues to a widespread ban, there’s a lot to catch up on, and we have a lot to say. We also talk about stat padding in online games, and how it’s led to what we feel is an unappealing style of play. Recent events also prompt us to discuss ageism in basketball gaming, and troubling practices in the modding community. This week’s mailbag topics cover recycled faces in NBA 2K, and the idea of petitioning 2K to make certain changes.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: A Ticking Clock on Current Gen

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with my thoughts on how there’s a ticking clock on the relevance of NBA 2K21 Current Gen, and indeed, the generation as a whole.

Last Thursday, I managed to secure a pre-order for a PlayStation 5, specifically the run that will be released in Australia circa December 8th. This means although I’ve missed out on the launch, it won’t be nearly as long a wait as I’d anticipated. It also means that I’m starting to get more excited about and interested in NBA 2K21 Next Gen. When it appeared as though I might not be able to actually play it until 2021, it was naturally difficult to get hyped. Now I can actually look forward to checking it out – and producing content for it – in the not too distant future.

Of course, this places the Current Gen version in limbo, a situation that most gamers predicted would happen. The PC version has the benefit of the modding community, but generally speaking, any excitement that surrounded the Current Gen release has given way to hype for Next Gen. Now that I’ll be able to play that version as well, I’m left wondering what to do with NBA 2K21 Current Gen for the next few weeks. I’ve also been wondering about the future of basketball gaming on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I’m optimistic that the PC will receive a Next Gen port as early as NBA 2K22, but the clock has to be ticking on the current generation of consoles.

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NLSC Podcast #349: The Quest for a Next Gen Console

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Episode #349 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are out, and so is NBA 2K21 Next Gen! Unfortunately neither of us are able to play the game yet, but one of us has had some luck in our quest for a Next Gen console. In the meantime, we discuss the gameplay videos we’ve seen, impressions from the community, and an aspect of the new MyNBA mode that isn’t quite what we were expecting. Circling back to last week’s show, we answer a question about there still being room for improvement on this generation. We’re also intrigued by EA Sports expanding their portfolio, and what it might mean for college basketball games. In this week’s mailbag, we discuss the style of play in the NBA 2K League and its impact on online play, as well as the issue of various historical players being underutilised outside of MyTEAM.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: Ending Online Sessions on a High Note

Monday Tip-Off: Ending Online Sessions on a High Note

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on the desire and the difficulty of ending online sessions of NBA 2K on a high note.

It’s now several months too late to pay tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, as well as somewhat out of place in content about basketball gaming. However, his signature song, “The Gambler“, provides an apt metaphor for this week’s topic. As the song tells us, in life – as in playing poker – there’s wisdom in knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em; when to walk away, when to run. The metaphor resonates because it’s important to know when to call it quits, when to persevere, and how to play the hand you’ve been dealt, literally and figuratively speaking.

Not everything has the same stakes, of course, but the metaphor works for a variety of scenarios. On this occasion, I’m applying it to online sessions in NBA 2K. Getting into the online scene over the past few years has been an interesting experience. It’s been frustrating at times, but also a lot of fun at others. Something that I and the rest of the NLSC Pro-Am squad have learned is that it’s very easy to play one game too many, and thus end the night on a sour note. It’s disappointing to end an evening of online hoops that way, and unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to avoid. Even when you know you ought to fold ’em, you can end up sticking around for a few more hands.

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