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What Went Right in NBA 2K17, What Needs Improving in NBA 2K18

At this point, it feels like the NBA 2K series is in a perpetual state of success. I have enough faith in the series that even if no information was publicly available prior to the release date, I would still happily plop down $59.99 on day one to get the game.

But that doesn’t mean NBA 2K17 is perfect. So what did the developers get right with 2K17 and what could they do better in 2K18? Let’s take a look.
 

What Went Right?

Gameplay

NBA 2K17 is one of the most realistic sports game ever created. The same, at the time, could have been said about NBA 2K16. And 2K15. And so on.

The user has a ton of tactical control over the gameplay. From substitution patterns and play calling to a litany of offensive and defensive controls, you have as much or as little control as you would like during the game. Sometimes that control is taken away from you by certain animation sequences, but that doesn't change the overarching point. To make the point about the depth, I consider myself an NBA 2K addict, but I’ve never seriously explored play calling. Some 2K fanatics will read that and think I’m crazy, but the point is there's still plenty more game for me to discover.

2K has done a great job over the years of adding in gameplay tweaks that allow players to control virtually every aspect of their hardwood game, while at the same time leaving enough automated options in place in order to not scare away the other gamers. If you think the shot stick is too complicated, you can still just press the Square button to shoot. The choice is yours.

But the beauty of the simplicity that remains is it doesn’t prevent you from striving to have as realistic an in-game experience as you want -- assuming the AI or the sometimes spotty animations stay out of your way.

myLeague

MyLeague has long been a strong suit of the franchise. While it’s true that it does fall short of fully capturing the realism of being an NBA GM, it does capture the essence in a broad sense, which is typically sufficient for a video game.

You can customize quite a bit before you even start the mode -- being able to adjust the salary cap, for example, is a nice touch. Once you’ve started, you can control as much or as little as you’d like: trades, lineups, rotations, scouting and much more.

The "start today" option was a nice addition. It lets players start the mode where the in-game date matches the current date. So right now, for example, would be a great time to start the mode if you wanted to see what you would do with the Clippers heading into the offseason. With 30 different franchises out there, you could occupy yourself for quite a while trying to "fix" a number of different NBA franchises.

myCareer

After 2K16’s experiment with a Spike Lee-directed mode, 2K17 went the traditional route. Other than progressing through the Justice Young storyline, the mode’s sole focus this year is your player’s progression. Your home gym, complete with a full basketball court, serves as your home base where you go between games and practices. Earning VC by completing practices and playing in games allows you to level up your player as you work towards becoming an all-time great.

The practices themselves, though, can get boring after a while, so if you’re cool with missing out on the VC that accompanies practices, you can choose to skip them if you’d like. But beyond that, MyCareer is a blast to play.



What Went Wrong?


Trade Logic

I seem to remember an article or two touting 2K17’s trade logic as being much improved. And perhaps that is true. But what is in place still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The good news, however, is that 2K has clearly done some work in this area.

You can view each team’s current status to see if they’re looking to contend or build for the future. In theory, this means a rebuilding team would have little use for a 35-year-old fading star on a huge contract, and a contending team wouldn’t consider trading its superstar for young prospects.

In execution, however, it doesn’t work so great. You can search message boards (cough, OS, cough) and find plenty of examples of in-game trades that would never happen in real life. The virtual world, of course, will never fully capture real life. But some of these are head-scratchingly bad. This isn’t to say that the in-game trade logic is completely broken. If you fish for offers on one of your top players, around half of the offers will make sense while the other half will make little sense.

Building off what was implemented last year with team statuses, a nice addition would be to have the ability to set specific parameters of what you’re looking for. And, of course, the more options the better. Using last year’s OKC Thunder team, as the GM you would most likely want to search for 3-and-D wings and a backup PG. It wouldn’t necessarily even take a complete re-write of the process -- the existing player badges could serve as a base for the search criteria.

myTeam

Pay-to-play is here to stay, not just for the 2K franchise, but for video games in general. It’s the new reality, and there’s no getting around it. That said, I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds myTeam to be a lot less enjoyable if you choose to not spend money. And it doesn’t have to be that way. With myCareer, you could fast track your created player to a high rating if you wanted to drop some money on VC. But if you choose not to, it’s still an enjoyable mode to play. In fact, one could argue that it’s more rewarding to slowly build up your player as opposed to starting at an all-star level.

But with myTeam, it’s much more difficult. It’s not that the mode isn’t fun without VC -- far from it. But with all of the different packs, players, and other cool features of the mode that 2K is constantly promoting, there exists somewhat of a gap. Given that packs are random, your mileage may vary, but I’ve yet to score a 90-rated player in a pack. It takes a while to earn enough VC in game to buy just a base pack, much less a special or throwback pack. So although it is certainly possible to build a stacked team with your favorite stars of today and yesterday, the best and quickest route involves spending a lot of cash. It would be nice if 2K18 made it a little easier to earn packs with in-game accomplishments.

Also, the variety of cards that exist within myTeam can be overwhelming. It feels like some players have 30 different versions of themselves, all with different ratings. Instead of just hoping for a Steph Curry card, you have to hope for the highest-rated Steph Curry card. What I would like to see is one card per player with ratings that are updated throughout the year. This would also add some intrigue to navigating the auction house as users try to sell high and buy low.

myGM

MyGM is the RPG mode that 2K users have been clamoring for, including myself. But I find myself drifting towards MyLeague for the GM experience, which means that for me and a lot of others, myGM falls a bit short.

The premise is nearly identical to myLeague. The big difference here is you only control one team, and you are given a list of goals by your owner that you need to achieve in order to stay in good standing with ownership. The problem is these goals either aren’t realistic, or are basically silly. You have to tell the owner either that you "will" accomplish the goal or you "might" accomplish the goal. I would imagine, however, that few real-life GMs would ever guarantee their owner that team morale would stay high, for example.

It would make more sense to have goals based around stats, records and how much improvement you make each year. If your owner wants you to rebuild, he should admonish you for signing J.J. Redick to an $80 million contract. If he demands that you start winning now after years of drafting in the lottery, you should be rewarded for flipping a late draft pick for a rotation piece and making the playoffs.

What about you guys? What are some of the items on your NBA 2K18 hopes and dreams lists? Let us know in the comments!


Member Comments
# 1 michaelhawj @ 05/15/17 12:03 PM
Hopefully gameplay getting more tweak in NBA 2k18. My GM need tweak cpu trade logic, new goals task and add few new features in NBA 2k18.. defense need some tweaks too
 
# 2 BSchwartz07 @ 05/15/17 12:15 PM
My biggest grip is that MyCareer is WAAAY too involved. The mode itself is great, although I'd like for it to be a little more variable on choices I make, and players that I like or don't like to play with.
However, to play this mode you literally have to play all 82 games, plus practice, plus cutscenes. Every year I play to about the all-star break and then lose interest. If I skip games then I cannot take place in the off day event between that game and the next so I either lose sponsorships, stand-up a teammate or player for an off day event, or skip practice and get yelled at by the coach.

A few years back you could play the "key games" and sim the rest, make it to where I can play 10-15 regular season games without any punishment and get to playoffs, or big games. This way you can play a career, I'd rather hit free agency, or get a max deal than play a back to back in Utah and Milwaukee in a Tues Wed in January.
 
# 3 BSchwartz07 @ 05/15/17 12:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSchwartz07
My biggest grip is that MyCareer is WAAAY too involved. The mode itself is great, although I'd like for it to be a little more variable on choices I make, and players that I like or don't like to play with.
However, to play this mode you literally have to play all 82 games, plus practice, plus cutscenes. Every year I play to about the all-star break and then lose interest. If I skip games then I cannot take place in the off day event between that game and the next so I either lose sponsorships, stand-up a teammate or player for an off day event, or skip practice and get yelled at by the coach.

A few years back you could play the "key games" and sim the rest, make it to where I can play 10-15 regular season games without any punishment and get to playoffs, or big games. This way you can play a career, I'd rather hit free agency, or get a max deal than play a back to back in Utah and Milwaukee in a Tues Wed in January.
*gripe.... sorry
 
# 4 wallofhate @ 05/15/17 12:38 PM
I love 2k17 but they still leave no real feel of being a dominant big man imo. Smaller players like Isaiah Thomas can't beer utilized like their real life counter parts either. The lack of a fastbreak and how easily you can defend a 2 on 1 out 3 on 1 break against you is based in 17 also. Ball movement needs work it's good but it should be a lot easier to do the Houston type offense or the spurs always extra pass to beat the defense type passing. The arena and crowd sounds really need any overhaul also
 
# 5 VAWereWolf65 @ 05/15/17 12:57 PM
Before anything else, they need to follow up on their promises and stop blatantly lying to the community. The amount of communication with us is already very, very low, but then when they do come out with some kind of news or something we aren't even sure if it's true or if we can believe them.

Check my signature for more
 
# 6 VAWereWolf65 @ 05/15/17 12:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSchwartz07
*gripe.... sorry
You know you can just edit your original post lol
 
# 7 JUSTlFIED @ 05/15/17 01:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMChrisS
what could they do better in 2K18?
- First off, and probably the most impactful Global Communication. The Devs are good with it when they come here and drop info. But from an Overall 2K perspective the complete silence and outright ignoring the mass outcry for information needs to change. It's one thing to hold info back to bait/tease and generate hype, but once the information is out, it needs to be clear and precise. Looking at other Publishers 2K Sports is severely lacking in this regards. The Community Managers are too focus on being celebrities, and seem to like the feeling of being in the know/keep information to themselves than informing the community (Almost a "I know something you dont" type of attitude)


- Spin MyCareer off into its own offline mode. Do not tie it to MyPark/Pro-Am.

- Combine MyPark/Pro-Am clothing back together. The fact that you have the buy the same piece for each mode is disgusting

-Rank Icon needs to be modified in someway to include record and teammate grade, so we can see it outside of opening a menu.

- Brink back 5v5 courts to every park. If its a server issue, which buy now I assume always is going to be a problem bring 4v4 to every park


What went right, is as you stated, Gameplay and Game Modes. Which is what makes NBA2K great
 
# 8 VAWereWolf65 @ 05/15/17 01:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JUSTlFIED
- Combine MyPark/Pro-Am clothing back together. THe fact that you have the by the same piece for each mode is disgusting
It would be awesome if they did this but they won't

The more VC we need, the more VC people buy, the more money they make
 
# 9 druez @ 05/15/17 01:38 PM
I wish you could cut the season to like 30 games or something like that. To many games.
 
# 10 VAWereWolf65 @ 05/15/17 01:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by druez
I wish you could cut the season to like 30 games or something like that. To many games.
You can in MyLeague and MyGM
 
# 11 druez @ 05/15/17 01:42 PM
That is why I like Madden only 16 games plus playoffs. FIFA isn't to bad, in general it is about 40 games. NHL, NBA and MLB to many games to play them all out.

I don't like the idea of shortening the game time, then the stats don't look realistic. I would rather, just be able to do 1/4 season, or 1/2 season etc... with full game times.
 
# 12 hesko @ 05/15/17 02:28 PM
i wish it could go back to being a strategy game.
 
# 13 de5m0n @ 05/15/17 02:40 PM
1. Loading loading and more loading time. It's not fun doing 2 minute practice and spending another 2 minutes loading in/out. This repeats 3-4 times each off day.
There has to be a better way to earn upgrades then doing over 300 practices and spending so much time just loading in and out of them.

2. Servers. This is like engine of the car so why neglect it? It needs to be a major priority. Imagine if they had good servers? They ratign and approval would spike instantly.
 
# 14 GuwopGeezus @ 05/15/17 02:46 PM
This will be an interesting comment section. My 2 cents. Not going into a whole lot of detail:

MyLeague Online - Please do not even consider putting MyLeague Online in 2k18 if we have to use the keeper system again. MyLeague will never be at its best until we get a real offseason with contracts and salaries and players that progress realistically and the ability to train these players. We have had either a stripped down version of online franchise or nothing at all for several years running now. It has to end. On top of that, the keeper system doesn't even work correctly. Too many times the keepers I pick don't carry over into the draft correctly.

MyCareer - Make it easier to sim through games. The way it's set up now you are almost forced to play every game or you'll be penalized. I can never finish a career because of this. I get burned out by year 2 or 3 and don't pick it up again. Honestly don't know why they set it up like this. Also, get rid of/revamp the archetype system. If you must keep archetypes let us pick two sets of them. Make the ratings realistic (no reason the max three any guard can get outside of sharpshooter is a 73). Also, don't artificially inflate our overall rating in MyCareer to make it look good.

VC - This is the most unrealistic suggestion but please don't make every mode so dependent on VC. For example in MyGM the way to earn the most VC is by playing games, but obviously that takes too long to do every season. Again, if you want to progress many years the fastest way is to sim but you don't get anything for that. And your players complain 5 times a week so to keep them happy you have to use guess what... VC. So you end up having to use VC earned in other modes to keep them happy unless you give up and just ignore them or trade them.

These are three game modes that I play a lot (or would play a lot), but they have big issues that just sucked the fun out of them. This might be the first 2K in almost 10 years that I will wait to see what other people say before I buy because 2k17 really let me down.
 
# 15 jeremym480 @ 05/15/17 02:54 PM
I'm a fan of 2k17 and have been playing it pretty much every day since it was released. It obviously has so flaws, but as an offline guy, I've really enjoyed it this year.

For 2k18 I would be fine if there were no news modes or additions and instead they focused on correcting or tweaking legacy issues. Gameplay issues like loose ball always seemingly going to the cpu and big's easily being able to stay in front of guards, etc. And for MyLeague things like trade logic and team building need complete overhauls. I know that every year they say that this has been tweaked and every year I end up having to save the cpu's ai for killing itself.

Those are just two examples. I can name more, but I'll just leave it at that and say that my wish is that they prefect what they have before moving on.
 
# 16 vtcha @ 05/15/17 03:12 PM
Starting with extremely low attributes in MyCareer has always been a pet peeve. I mean you're drafted in the Top 10 but then your overall attribute is no better than the guy drafted 60th...

Rather than starting so low, your attributes should be aligned with other prospects, but the development (as well as potential rating) during your career should be the major factor. In other words, the more playing time you see, the quicker your attributes will go up. Less playing time = slower progression.

Your performance during the game should also play a big factor, rather than your role & playing time gradually increasing based on the storyline. Oh that leads me to another factor - less scripted stuff. It's called MyCareer NOT Freq'sCareer.
 
# 17 JKSportsGamer1984 @ 05/15/17 04:16 PM
Foot planting, Foot planting, Foot planting! Every year they say they improved foot planting but yet we still have players sliding into position without moving their feet to receive passes. Players will randomly motion shift & slide about 3 to 5 feet into position especially when receiving inbound passes after a made basket. This is such an eyesore & immersion killer. It must be fixed for 2K18 or else nothing else matters. Foot planting is like the foundation of any sports game (besides hockey). Please fix this 2K!

There are many other gameplay flaws that need to be addressed like ball tangibility, improved CPU A.I. logic, cleaner physics (less player clipping), player traits & tendencies need to truly matter, passing needs an overhaul (we need pressure sensitive passing ala Madden to control how hard we want to pass the ball), etc... I could go on & on. 2K basketball has been a love hate relationship for me. Every year I see its great potential but yet it always seems to fall short because of its legacy issues. Hopefully this will be the year. We'll see....
 
# 18 keshunleon @ 05/15/17 04:37 PM
What they got wrong:

Not only the trade logic is jacked the draft and free agent logic is terrible. Teams draft a SG when they need a PG and already have 2 other SGs on the team. Then they sign a SG to a big contract but their starting PG is below a 75.

A lot of the floaters, layups, dunks, and jumpers animations are too slow. It allows the defender to recover to contest or block the shot.

Players jog when they should be running on plays or the user team will take 5 secs to take the ball out even though the user is trying to hurry up.
 
# 19 Planblove @ 05/15/17 06:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by de5m0n
1. Loading loading and more loading time. It's not fun doing 2 minute practice and spending another 2 minutes loading in/out. This repeats 3-4 times each off day.
There has to be a better way to earn upgrades then doing over 300 practices and spending so much time just loading in and out of them.

2. Servers. This is like engine of the car so why neglect it? It needs to be a major priority. Imagine if they had good servers? They ratign and approval would spike instantly.
I logged in and made an account just to agree with this one the most. The loading times in my career and game updating logic is extremely broken and takes away from the experience big time.
 
# 20 bottledwaterfan25 @ 05/15/17 07:07 PM
I would like more focus on improving defense; and for 2k to get rid of the archetype system, in favor of more freedom in designing and creating unique myplayer builds that suit each user better .
 

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