In MyGM, every decision you make will change the world around you. Sometimes, you will need to play the bad guy to get the results you are after. As they say, timing is everything…
Franchise modes are a passion for me; they are my go-to mode in any sports game. I truly enjoy the challenge in taking a struggling team and rebuilding them into one of the best teams in the league. It’s a very cerebral experience, one that requires a certain level of shrewdness. For years, our award winning Association mode has put you through the trials and tribulations of building a team that can co-exist while trying to win titles. We had some pretty defining features during the last generation in The Association, but for this generation, it’s a whole new game.
What is MyGM?
MyGM is a brand new experience that will challenge your perception of what a franchise mode should be. Let’s make one thing clear, this is not The Association. This is the beginning of so much more. The design paradigm that I worked from this year, and that I challenged everyone on the Features team here at Visual Concepts to work from was this, ‘Make Interesting Decisions.’ I want everything you say and do in this mode to matter. I want to see it make a difference in the world that surrounds you.
At the end of the day, I fully believe the team here did a tremendous job in creating a foundation for what I think will be the defining franchise experience of this generation. With help from all of you, and your feedback, I genuinely believe we can build together the mode we’ve all wanted all along. So what exactly have we done?
In MyGM, you will choose your GM Management style when creating your GM. This will be your area of expertise as you try to take your organization to the top.
Becoming a GM
This mode is all about you, the GM. You have big decisions to make every time someone walks into your office, but none more important than the first. And that is, what kind of GM are you going to be? The following are the 7 different GM Specialties you will choose from:
- Tactician: A master of the X’s and O’s, a tactician specializes in the area of Coaching and managing player morale and expectations.
- Physician: One who specializes in the areas of Training and player development, and is afforded opportunities to keep his players healthy and on the court longer.
- Evaluator: Someone who excels in Scouting and is given many advantages over his peers when it comes to evaluating incoming rookies.
- Persuader: A master in the art of Salary Negotiation, a persuader is able to leverage his assets in order to get players and staff to sign slightly reduced contracts in many cases.
- Broker: Unmatched during Trade Negotiation, a broker is occasionally able to get slightly better deals when negotiating with other GMs.
- Entrepreneur: Unparalleled in his acumen and Business Savvy, an entrepreneur will have access to a number of tools that will give his team a leg-up financially.
- Psychologist: A master of the mind games, a psychologist’s ability to assess Emotional Intelligence during conversations will allow him to occasionally persuade players to agree with his side of the argument during many conversation types.
You will be able to upgrade your MyGM in 7 different attribute categories, each with 10 unique upgrades.
Building and leveling up your GM can be the difference between success and failure in MyGM. There are seven different attributes, each with 10 different levels for you to upgrade. Every upgrade comes with a ‘perk’ that will give you a benefit for upgrading that particular attribute. For example, here are the ‘perks’ that can be obtained when going through the Business Savvy tree:
Ability to change Ticket/Parking prices
Ability to change Food Concession prices
Ability to purchase Facilities
Ability to purchase Program Vendor Kiosks and set/change prices
Ability to purchase Souvenir Kiosks and set/change prices
Get an additional 3 pricing changes per season
Facility upgrades cost 5% less
Attendance increases by 5%
"Apple Polisher" Special Ability becomes available for purchase
Facility upgrades cost 15% less
The astute reader saw a lot of new features in the above list (which we’ll cover in more detail below). For now, I want to briefly discuss the ‘perk’ for level 9. In addition to attribute upgrades, your MyGM will also have access to 8 different Special Abilities (think of these as GM versions of Signature Skills) that can be unlocked during the course of the mode. These abilities will do things like garner you extra favor with the team’s owner, with the press, with players, etc. Rather than spoil the full details on these, I’d like you to learn about them as you play.
As the GM, you will be subject to a number of press conferences over the course of the season. The ‘difficulty’ of the question will depend on your relationship with the press. Give them honest answers, not fluff, and you’ll get more softball questions thrown your way.
What separates MyGM from any other franchise experience out there is what I like to call the ‘Human Experience’. This is achieved through our implementation of a very robust Conversation Engine. All interactions with your Owner, Staff, Players, and Press will take place in a fully modeled 3D environment, as you’ve seen in a number of the screens released thus far.
Gone are the days of making important decisions through dialog boxes. You’ll now be face-to-face with the person you’re talking to, trying to assess their emotional state. What you say will have a direct effect on that person, and their perception of you. What are you going to tell Goran Dragic when he comes in and says he wants to start at the point? How is that going to affect Eric Bledsoe? How is your current Assistant Coach going to feel when you tell the press that you would like Steve Nash to be your top assistant when he retires? How is your owner going to react when you pass the buck and tell the press that HE is the reason the team didn’t go out and sign a top free agent in the summer due to budget restrictions? How are you going to handle the situation of your Head Coach storming into your office with an ultimatum (my way or the highway)?
These are real decisions that you are absolutely going to have to face as you traverse through your career in MyGM. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and beyond that, the tip of what we have planned for the coming years.
Every team has an Owner, the person you need to answer to as the GM. And each owner has a completely unique personality that you will need to decipher and understand. This is actually one of my favorite things about MyGM mode; the game plays completely different based on what team you are running. With the Lakers, you will have copious amounts of money at your disposal to build a winner. Play as the Bobcats, and you’ll need to be a little more creative to get your way to the top.
Every owner is rated in six different categories to ensure that each and every team offers a unique playing experience. The attributes are:
- Money: The higher this attribute, the more important turning a profit is for the owner.
- Team Success: This attribute values how important winning is to the owner. (beware the owner that wants to win and insists on a healthy profit at the same time!)
- Team Image: Owners who have a high value here care greatly about the satisfaction level of the fan base. If the fans are against you (think pricing, team success, etc.), the owner will be as well. So keep an eye on that Fan Interest value!
- Involvement: Owners with a very high involvement attribute will tend to give goals that are more meddlesome, than goals that guide you to success.
- Franchise Morale: A high rating here indicates an owner that puts a lot of stock into the trust levels of his player and staff. He will want you to treat everyone on the payroll with respect and dignity (which can sometimes hurt your ability to get results).
- Patience: This attribute simply indicates how much slack an owner is willing to give you before you get fired. Some owners expect immediate results, while others may have other business ventures that distract them, and thus, afford you more time to right the ship if it veers off course.
Owners in MyGM will all have unique personalities, driven by their unique set of attributes that define them.
The first thing that happens when you start the mode is a sit-down with the owner of your team. He will provide you with a list of Demands and Wishlist items that you will want to accomplish. These goals are derived directly from his personality attributes. Throughout the regular season, as well as the offseason, the owner will come to you with additional needs/requests based on the dynamic changes you’re making during the season.
Whenever the owner provides you with a new Demand/Wishlist, you can either tell him that you will definitely accomplish the goal, that you might accomplish the goal, or that you won’t accomplish the goal. It’s certainly ok if you don’t agree with everything he throws at you.
As the GM, you will need to manage expectations with the owner when he lays out his goals for the team. Over-promise and you might find yourself out of a job if you can’t deliver.
Your owner’s Trust level will change with respect to how you answer his requests. For example, if you tell him that you will definitely get one of his demands done, you’ll get a nice boost to his trust. If you don’t follow through in this case, you’ll take a big hit to that trust (a large net loss). On the other hand, if you tell him that you might get it done, you will get a much smaller initial trust boost, but also a smaller trust loss later if you fail to satisfy the request. If you don’t agree with a goal at all, you can just tell the owner you won’t get it done. You’ll take a sizeable trust hit right up front, but there won’t be any further negative hits when you fail the goal at a later time. MyGM is all about managing expectations, and that is certainly the case with your relationship with the owner.
For those of you out there who want full control, and to be your own (wo)man, you have options. If you perform well enough, and keep yourself in the owner’s good graces, you will have an opportunity to purchase your own NBA franchise and run it however you see fit. One fun reward for owning your own franchise is that you can earn VC based on the profit level you are able to make from year-to-year.
Negotiating contracts (and trades) also takes place in the Conversation engine. For the first time, you’ll be face-to-face with players, watching their reactions to your offers.
We’ve completely re-written Staff to be quite different than it’s ever been in a 2K franchise mode. In an area that generally provides little ‘game’, you’ll certainly feel the need to strategize with who you keep on staff in NBA 2K14’s MyGM mode.
Each staff position will have a unique attribute (or in some cases, multiple attributes) tied to them that describes their ability to perform a given job. The positions you’ll be in charge of hiring/firing are:
All members of your staff will be equipped with a custom set of Staff Badges that showcase their unique skills…or flaws. Customizing your staff to meet the personnel on your roster is a key to success.
In addition to the various ratings your staff will have, and I believe this is something you’ll likely find very fun, is that we gave all positions a unique set of Staff Badges. Think of these as Staff versions of the Signature Skills that players have. Each staff member can have up to 3 staff badges equipped, but beware, not all staff badges are positive. There are a number of negative staff badges out there to trip you up.
To give you an idea of how this works, here is a listing of the Head Coach badges that your coach can potentially have:
- Tactician: Players absorb knowledge, Basketball I.Q. is increased in 4th quarter for all players.
- Coaching Legend: Players are more willing to sign with your team due to coach’s prestige.
- Former Player: Players respect this former NBA player, and as such, negative morale hits are reduced.
- Teacher: His players have a greatly increased chance of developing Signature Skills.
- Clutch: Calm and poised in elimination games; his players outperform their abilities in playoff elimination games.
- Rejuvenator: Gets great contributions from older players, who seem to turn back the clock.
- Short-Timer (negative): A coach known for only doing short stints with teams before moving on.
- Competitor (negative): Easily frustrated by losing; teams suffer an additional Team Chemistry hit after losses.
As you can see from this set of badges, there will be a lot of strategy with respect to what kind of coach you hire. A young, developing team will certainly want a coach with the Teacher badge, while a veteran team with a chance to win it all will likely be looking a coach with a mix of the Coaching Legend, Clutch, and possibly even Rejuvenator badges. Every staff position has their own unique set of Staff Badges.
Additional Staff Tidbits
In addition to the above staff details, we’ve added a couple little nuggets that you all have been asking about for years.
- Certain players will now look for careers as Assistant Coaches (and later, Head Coaches) once their playing days are over. You’ll have the opportunity to bring them on-staff from the offseason free agent pool.
- Assistant Coaches around the league are available to hire as Head Coaches (including your own, he may bolt for a head coaching gig elsewhere if you don’t meet his needs), in addition to the ability to promote your own A.C. to the Head Coaching role when your H.C. role is available.
- Maintaining a reasonable Trust level with your entire staff is of the utmost importance. Any staff member that is frustrated in his role will suffer a decrease in his ratings (much like how players take hits to their ratings when their morale has dropped). You can maintain a reasonable level of Trust by simply engaging with your staff when they come to you, and by accomplishing any favors (goals) they may ask of you in the offseason.
Facilities in MyGM can give your team a strategic edge both on the court and in your balance sheets. Each team will have different facility needs, so choose wisely.
New to NBA 2K14’s MyGM mode is the concept of Team Facilities. These are upgrades you can purchase for your team that will give you boosts across the following categories:
- Stadium Upgrades: Upgrades in this category consist of items like Souvenir Kiosks, In-Arena Restaurant, Theater Seating in Suites, etc. These upgrades are aimed solely at increasing your gameday revenue streams.
- Player Upgrades: Upgrades in this category consist of items like a Weight Room (3 levels), a Sports Science Institute, Private Team Jet, Film Room, etc. These upgrades are clearly aimed at the health and well-being of your players.
- Attendance Upgrades: Upgrades in this category consist of items like Parking Garage expansions, Children’s Play Areas, Public Transportation Hubs, etc. For teams that are struggling to get fans in the seats, this is a great avenue to take in order to get fans to come to the games.
- Operations Upgrades: Upgrades in this category consist of items like a Scouting Film Room, Tablet Upgrades for your Scouts, an Analytics Firm, Travel Coordinators, etc. These upgrades are a mix of improving your scouting accuracy and reducing operating expenses (increasing your bottom line, always a good thing!).
Not every team has the built-in advantage of a rabid fan-base, or access to the latest technologies. Upgrading your Team Facilities is a great idea to try and mask those problem areas. My personal favorite upgrade is the Analytics Firm. If you hire an analytics team, they will constantly poll your fans to give you a direct insight into how they feel about your current gameday prices. Ensuring that you set all of your prices accordingly is without a doubt, the key to maximizing your profit margins; and this segues handsomely into my next section…
In MyGM, your owner will give you a lump sum of money that can be spent for the coming season; where you choose to allocate those funds is completely up to you.
You are responsible for whether your team finishes a season in the black, or in the red. The difference between those two can be continued employment versus unemployment depending on your owner and his trust level in you. Yes, this is still a video game, but yes, this is also real life now. You are accountable for everything you do in MyGM, and few things are more important than your cash flow.
In the spirit of authenticity, let’s set the ground rules. The Lakers and Knicks are absolutely flush with cash. They have rabid fan bases. It’s not trivial to lose money with those teams. Then again, those owners care little about money and expect results, annually (as you might expect). Teams like the Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Bobcats, they come from much smaller markets and simply don’t have the fan demographics to consistently support league-high payrolls. That’s just reality. We’ve captured real-world numbers with respect to a team’s market size, metropolitan area size, per capita income, fan loyalty, fan resiliency, and much more. This was all done in to order to re-create the concepts of true market sizes and the challenges that teams in different cities face when it comes to drawing free agents and pricing their product accordingly. Market sizes matter, and they sometimes force tough, but necessary decisions. Sam Presti knew this all too well when his hand was forced with James Harden.
You will of course be provided with the obligatory balance sheets that describes where your income and expenses are coming/going from, in addition to a number of graphs that lay out the information in a much more consumable fashion. The real nitty-gritty comes in that you will now have the ability to set the pricing for everything that goes into your gameday experience right down to ticket prices, parking prices, hot dogs, soda, souvenirs, etc. etc. etc. It’s important to understand that teams don’t just have a ‘sweet spot’ for each item. The amount that your fan base is willing to pay is dependent on their Fan Interest level, the current team Buzz, and of course, the overall success of your franchise. Fans of the Pelicans will be willing to spend more money for tickets after you’ve won a couple titles rather you’re your continued ‘winning’ in the lottery, if you know what I mean.
As the GM, you will be controlling where funds are allocated at the beginning of every season. The owner will sit down with you and essentially tell you that you have THIS much money to spend this season. It will be your job to break it down between your Player Salaries, Staff Budget, Operations Expenses, etc. Feeling overwhelmed? No worries, you can always auto-allocate the funds with the help of your trusty Assistant GM.
Your new home screen in MyGM gives you with a snapshot of everything going on with your franchise, while providing rotating headlines from around the league. Today’s news brings hope to teams looking for a star in the coming offseason’s free agent crop.
Season Mode – For our users out there who just want to play through a simple season (with varying season lengths) without all the intricacies of the financial system and player management, we offer a single Season mode that offers up the sandbox components many users seek.
Generational Players – I particularly enjoy this feature as it makes some drafts very intriguing. Once in a blue moon, a very special, generational prospect (think LeBron James) will come through the ranks. It’s a common understanding around the league that this player WILL be the #1 pick in the draft. His predicted draft stock WILL be #1 right from the time of his creation. It’s just understood, this guy has got next. They don’t come around often, but when they do, teams with picks in the ballpark of landing him will value those picks accordingly.
Custom Rosters – As has been the case with our franchise modes for a long time, you will be able to continue to use your own custom rosters when starting a new MyGM.
Classic Teams / Customize League – You will also be able to continue bringing classic teams into MyGM to relive their glory days.
Custom Draft Classes – User created & shared Draft Classes also make a return for NBA 2K14’s MyGM mode. This one is a favorite of mine. There are some very talented draft class creators out there that have generated some amazing content for all of us in the community.
In MyGM, there are no ‘right answers’, and there are no ‘wrong answers’. Your actions and reactions will shape your story. Your organization will ultimately be what you make of it.
I know a lot of you were starting to feel like The Association was getting long in the tooth, and you know what, I agree completely. With these next generation consoles, there was no better time than now to take what we thought were our strongest franchise features and use them as the centerpiece for a brand new experience (complete with its own set of new features) that will keep you engaged and entertained.
The concept of MyGM is the creation from a team of developers who live for franchise modes. In designing this experience, we quickly realized that it’s going to take a number of years to fully realize everything we want to do in this mode. We dream big at 2K. We want to challenge you in ways that franchise games have yet to do. For 2K14, the focus was clear; lay a solid foundation that we can build on in the coming years, while making an engrossing and fun experience that will challenge even the most seasoned franchise gamers. And in the same breath, to make the mode more accessible for users who might have been a little intimated or turned off by our 360/PS3 offerings. I think we hit that target, and then some for 2K14.
I’d like to close by reiterating something I said earlier. This is a mode for all of us (and by all of us, I mean the close knit community of franchise gamers out there). Once you’ve spent some time with the game, I want to know what you like about the mode. What you don’t like about it. What works for you, what doesn’t. We’re going to grow this thing like crazy, this is just the start of something big…
Happy next gen gaming everyone!