Here’s the new NBA 2K20 franchise mode developer blog on MyGM 2.0, MyLEAGUE and much more. The blog was brought to you by the NBA 2K20 franchise team, led by Dave Z: Tim, Leftos, John, Ash, Yu, Brad, Vlad, Michael, Jeff and of course special guest star Erick ‘SimBaller’ Boenisch.
Hello, world! It’s the franchise team here, ready to give you a sneak peek as to what MyLEAGUE has in store for NBA 2K20. We do our best to comb through sources of feedback from all over the net – Operation Sports, Reddit, Twitter, the 2K Forums and more. We can feel the passion that fans have for the NBA, and for NBA 2K and every year we try to respect and honor that devotion with many hours worked and sleepless nights. Every year we strive to make that year’s franchise the best it’s ever been, and 2K20 is no exception.
One of the difficulties we face on the franchise team is that how do you improve something that, for the most part people really love? Do we play it steady and make sure that the formula we’ve worked on stays safe, or do we swing for the fences? We think that the answer is always swinging for the fences, because we all want the same thing – for the fans to have as much fun in MyLEAGUE as possible. We’ll never stop working to keep improving what we’ve already done, and never quit on innovating the series to make sure that we always surprise and delight all of our fans.
We’ve been hard at work all year to polish the roster-driven action you’ve come to love since it was called the Association, and we’re excited to share details about the biggest new feature of the year – MyGM 2.0. We’ve reworked a ton of how MyGM plays to try and give fans a brand new experience, and feel like we’ve really made our mark on the next page in quality franchise gameplay.
MyGM 2.0 Overview
MyGM was the cornerstone of the revitalized new era of franchise, dating back to 2K14. We delivered to our fans the first-person experience of what it’s truly like to be a GM; to be at the helm of a team in one of the most prestigious sports in the world. There were goals to complete, rosters to build, and conversations to have in a variety of environments. The fans loved it; overall it paved the way for MyLEAGUE in 2K15 and the storylines present in 2K18 and 2K19.
The fans were clear; they liked the conversations, for the most part. There were a few minor annoyances; hearing from your 6thman for the thousandth time that they wanted to be a part of the starting lineup could get a little old, but overall being able to actually talk to the players and staff made a huge difference in how the game felt.
Yet as the years went on, the focus clearly shifted as MyGM was no longer the new kid on the block – the fan base loved the sandbox nature of MyLEAGUE, and a lot of the major elements of MyGM were the same year-to-year. You’d still have the same conversations, still have the same goals and STILL have that sixth man that wants a starting spot. When asked to describe MyGM to someone not familiar, the most common description was “It’s like MyLEAGUE… but with conversations.” That is accurate, but we want more. We want to have MyGM carve out its own identity, and to really make it feel like a distinct experience from MyLEAGUE. To do that, we completely overhauled the system to what we call MyGM 2.0.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the new features contained in MyGM 2.0:
- Action Points
- Score and leaderboards
- Skills, featuring a skill tree and an updated leveling structure
- Completely new task system
- Revamped relationships
- Sponsorships and branding
MyGM 2.0 – Everyone is Welcome!
We’ll talk more a bit later about this, but one of the most important things we strived for in MyGM 2.0 is to make the mode more accessible to all NBA 2K fans. We’ll be talking more about the new features soon, but for folks that don’t normally play franchise but are giving this a read please know that MyGM 2.0 was built with YOU in mind! We’ll explain a bit later on how this works exactly, but for now let’s take a quick look at the overall design philosophy behind MyGM 2.0…
MyGM 2.0 – Design Philosophy
We feel that one of the fundamental signs of good gameplay is that there’s a high number of meaningful choices made. Tic-tac-toe is a fun game at first, because there are strategy elements uncovered with each passing game. Yet with time, the ideal strategy is found and each game results in a boring draw. You don’t make meaningful choices, you simply react in the optimal way.
Yet say we’re no longer playing tic tac toe, we’re playing chess, bridge, go, or any other high-level strategy game. Now we require both mechanical learning of optimal play in predefined conditions, and the creativity to see moves ahead of time. This offers great variety and challenge to the experts, so can we claim that those games are superior to tic-tac-toe? I don’t believe we can, because without a doubt some people would prefer tic tac toe. It’s simple to learn, and easy to share with someone that’s never played before.
So how does this aside into classical games relate to NBA 2K? Because they help clearly display the two driving philosophies behind MyGM 2.0:
- To increase the number of meaningful decisions made by the player.
- To make the entire system more intuitive and fun for new and old players.
After pondering on how best to make point #1 happen, we moved to the new heart of MyGM 2.0…
MyGM 2.0 – Action Points and the Overview
A shot of the new MyGM landing page
We’re adding a brand-new overview landing menu, along with a new system of Action Points (or AP) that drive interactions in MyGM. Every day you play in MyGM, you’re going to have to make a conscious choice on what’s the best thing to do to help turn your team into a winner. Do you want to spend time trying to make the team better via a trade? Do you want to spend time having chit chats with the players, staff or other GMs? Do you want to take control of the team directly and play a game on the sticks? Now, all of the core actions will now take an AP, causing you to make meaningful choices about how the best and most efficient way is to build a winning team.
The hope that moving things over to an AP system is that it will help drive the decision-making and relationships to offer different GMs a different path to carve out their legacy in the NBA. Players that feel confident that the path to victory is by controlling the team from the sidelines can play games to get an edge, or the analytics gurus can constantly churn trade assets to try and build a monster out of a rebuilding team. Different difficulties will offer different amounts of AP per day, so all fans can feel the thrill that makes decision-making seem fun rather than stifling.
All of the classic landing menus are still present in MyGM 2.0, so feel free to throw players up on the trading block or list your next superstar as untouchable – the core of the mode should still feel familiar enough to veterans of the series so your next journey into the world of MyGM is only a click of the sticks away. Yet how do we separate the newbies from the juggernauts when it comes to the world of MyGM? By the newly revamped…
MyGM 2.0 – Score and Leaderboards
Every time you take the helm of a new franchise, you’re going to have to pick a difficulty – Easy, Medium or Hard. The harder the difficulty, the longer the scoring period is and the fewer AP you’ll get per day. Generally, most of the actions you take will fall under two categories:
- Things that help improve your team will earn you experience.
- Things that help show off your prowess as a GM will earn you score.
We’ll talk more about experience a little later, but let’s dive in a bit more on what score means in MyGM 2.0. Every time you prove that you’re a great GM, you’re going to earn points. These are generally represented by winning games, making the playoffs, or having players win various awards. We lower the amount of score you receive from players that were inherited when you started the mode, but as time goes on and more of the signings are completely yours, the score you earn will continue to grow. You can’t simply choose a stacked team and expect to crush the leaderboards; you’ll need to make sure that you’re constantly moving and shaking the roster to be your own perfect vision as to how to win chip after chip.
MyGM 2.0 is now global. It’s not just about taking your team to the top, now the name of the game is to do it with flawless efficiency. To get to the top and stay there. To outplay, outdraft, outwit and outlast all of the other sim rivals across the world in our brand-new leaderboards.
An early look at the leaderboards.
With the leaderboards, you’ll be able to see how your team is faring against everyone else in the same difficulty, and judge them against the greatest of all-time, or just filter it down to the month. You can even filter it down to just you and your friends to compete for local supremacy and bragging rights over who can build the best team. Rep your favorite team on top of the leaderboards, as everyone will get to see the team that YOU chose to make a splash with in MyGM 2.0.
Depending on the difficulty, you have a set amount of years to try and increase your score before your time is up for leaderboard progress. Five years for easy, ten for medium and fifteen for hard. Beyond that, you’re welcome to keep playing the full eighty years of a standard MyGM. We’ll still let you keep playing and racking up the score; though only the initial portion will count on the leaderboards.
Well, that sounds neat and all; we get score by winning. Yet what do we have to help us build a winner in the first place? We get some help by looking at…
MyGM 2.0 – Leveling
The leveling system has been revamped heavily from MyGM 1.0. Back then, you would gain experience tied to your user profile that gave two main benefits: facility upgrades and purchasing persuasive pitches. These boosts tended to be pretty overpowered; giving +5-10 across the board and boosting potential made it easy for anyone to simply walk in and simulate their way to a championship. We tried to figure out what the coolest parts were about leveling, learn the lessons of what worked with the previous system, and fold it together into the new MyGM 2.0 leveling experience.
Each save starts from level 1.
Some people liked the OP 1.0 facilities, some people didn’t. Now you have the luxury of picking them if you want, or don’t – but everyone’s going to be competing, so you’ll want to leverage every strength you can to try and be at the top of the leaderboards.
You gain experience by making the team better.
The primary way that you gain experience now is by winning games and completing tasks. We’ll touch on tasks in a little bit, but the basic idea is that by completing goals randomly generated throughout each save, you’re going to be taking steps that improve your team. Winning also gives experience, as chemistry and morale are building blocks to a dynasty, but don’t forget that you’ll get a lower amount of experience for players you haven’t signed.
Each save will end up around level 20.
Experience is tuned to try and make it so that you’re about level 20 when you finish the portion of the save that score counts for the leaderboards. The goal is to try and make meaningful decisions as you progress, and that your own managerial style can come through strongly by the choices you make as you level up. What kinds of choices? Well…
MyGM 2.0 – The Skill Tree
The start of the skill tree.
MyGM 2.0 features a brand new skill tree. You can pick your general style to start with at level one, then you can move along any of the starting five trees or to any adjacent skills. Here’s an overview of the five trees:
- Leadership (L) – A man of the locker room, a leadership-focused GM is better able to build the trust of those around them, gain boosts for playing games, and lower trust loss in press conferences.
- Diplomacy (D) – A way with words, a diplomatic GM can build trust by having chit chats with several different groups, can help improve revenue and help sign more big name free agents.
- Insight (I) – A deep sense of understanding, an insightful GM can understand what affects the mood and trust of those around him, access the trade finder, or improve scouting.
- Finance (F) – An eye for the bottom line, a financial GM can improve revenue, sign players for less and gain additional sponsorship slots.
- Facilities (FC) – A man with the plan, a facility-oriented GM can choose from a specialty facility for a permanent boost to one of five areas, can help boost players on game days or turn high attendance into improved relations with sponsors.
The five different trees offer differing styles on how to best construct a team. The goal is always to win the championship and forge a dynasty, but how you get there can vary greatly. The hope is that you’ll have a fun time figuring out the right build for every team, and that you’ll enjoy experimenting to see what is the optimal route to take.
You’ll also gain passive benefits with each level; as your experience grows, you’ll gain more AP per day and the ability to bank AP from day to day. Once a month, you’ll also be able to ‘respec’ and reset the skill tree, so be bold! The skills were designed so that most of them would try and change the way that you play: to make financials more important, to give extra ways to save or spend AP, and to allow more chances to boost relationship values. We’ve touched on them a bit, but let’s discuss…
MyGM 2.0 – Revamped Relationships
The user ruminating on what currency actually means.
A goal of MyGM 2.0 was to help make the relationships you build along the way matter more. In addition to a more comprehensive overhaul of the Morale and Team Chemistry systems across all MyLEAGUE modes, now users are able to have relationships with all of their players, the team staff, the governor and even opposing GMs.
Keeping up good relationships with the organization will be critical in order to access the full suite of menus now; the head coach will keep his in-game strategy locked down until you’ve built (and kept!) your relationship with them sufficiently high enough that you can access the Coach Gameplan menu directly.
The idea behind the change is to A) help simplify menus for newer players, and B) to make it really feel like you’re actively working to build up your control over the franchise. It’s not all going to be there for you day one as a general manager; you’ll need to earn the trust and improve the mood of everyone around you if you want to gain full control from the top down.
Having chit chats is an easy way to spend extra AP to improve relationships, but the biggest way to improve your relationship is with the new…
MyGM 2.0 – Revamped Goals and Tasks
In MyGM 1.0, only the team governor would give you goals. Now, anyone in the organization can give a task – the governor, staff members and even the players. Echoing the pressure of the real-life general managers, sometimes the requests will not necessarily be for the best interest of the team. You shouldn’t be able to just turn on the autopilot and complete all goals as delivered; you’ll have to use a discerning eye to figure out which goals actively help the team, which ones are suboptimal but worth the relationship boost for completing and which ones you’ll simply have to salvage.
You shouldn’t be completing every goal, and part of the skilled GM’s toolkit also involves knowing how to handle relationships when tasks go poorly. Pick the right style and you’ll soften the blow for failure, pick the wrong style and you’ll turn things into a disaster. Learning the quirks and preferences of your team and staff will become essential to navigating the new task system.
MyGM 2.0 – Everyone is Welcome, Redux!
MyGM has been an experience that our core franchise fans have enjoyed, but there’s always been a huge barrier to entry to new fans. If you took a random person that’s never set foot in franchise before and had them play MyLEAGUE, odds are pretty high that they’d be lost without some type of previous roster-management experience.
One of the hopes of MyGM 2.0 is that someone completely new to franchise can jump right in and start playing. Even though MyLEAGUE and MyGM have the same goal of building a winning team and creating a dynasty, MyGM now features a heavy emphasis on score and experience. This lets newer player see a clear cause and effect, that taking steps that improve the team and will help get them to the heart of franchise gameplay.
In addition, on the overview screen we’ve got an Assistant GM panel where we help make recommendations on things you might be able to spend AP on. Savvy GMs will still be able to do more advanced moves like making trades and signing free agents on their own, but players that are still getting their feet wet in franchise will always have a fallback so that they never feel lost.
The hope is that we both lower the learning curve to make it easier for new players to jump in, and increase the skill gap so that the best of the best will be able to duke it out at the top of the leaderboards. We’re optimistic that MyGM 2.0 will have something for everyone, and that MyGM 2.0 is the next mark in our tireless effort to give you the best franchise experience possible.
Additional MyLEAGUE-Level Features
We’ve had player cards and team cards for years; now it’s time to add staff cards as well. They’re pretty simple and carry over a lot of the information you expect, but now we conveniently group everything into one location.
Revised Morale and Team Chemistry
We touched on this a bit over in MyGM 2.0, but we’ve tweaked the morale and team chemistry formulas to make them a bit more dynamic. Now they’ll continue to trend towards an equilibrium point every day, and the makeup of your team matters. Having greatly different work ethics will lower the equilibrium for your team, so putting together a winner should be a little bit more difficult, but more rewarding for those that are able to handle the system well.
New Personality Badges for Max Players
One thing that’s always tricky to get right is to determine how max players move in the offseason. We’ve all seen how crazy the 2019 NBA offseason was, but for the most part, all of the star moves seem logical – Kyrie and KD in Brooklyn, AD joining LeBron in LA, those types of moves make sense. Yet it’s hard to replicate two star players meeting up and discussing their future together in the simulation logic, so how can we help make more realistic star player moves in the offseason? Well, we’ve added a few new badges that should help add more texture to where players go if everyone can offer a max:
- Media Ringmaster – This player thrives in front of the cameras and prefers to play in big markets. Pretty straightforward, you should expect players with this badge to be more likely to sign to a big market team.
- Warm Weather Fan – These are for the beachgoers that would rather play in warm, temperate climates and avoid the really cold home teams.
- Finance Savvy – These are players that factor in the tax rate in where they want to go in the hopes of really making the most out of their money.
Of course, not all players have these badges and these badges don’t necessarily mean that a max player would take a $10M discount to play somewhere they really like; it’s more of a tiebreaker to help make sure that the player movement feels a little more authentic.
History and Records
We can now pull the player models or portraits when viewing the team history page. Not a huge change, but we think it looks pretty neat and helps give an even better sense of history as you progress through MyLEAGUE.
Improved Draft Class Authenticity to the Current NBA
The NBA after twenty years of auto-generated players should look more and more like the current NBA, in terms of attribute progression and badge growth. We’ve run simulation after simulation to try and tweak the numbers so that if you’re using autogenerated draft classes, that it feels like the NBA during your entire MyLEAGUE experience.
Improved Player DNA
We’ve added a lot more functionality to Player DNA to try and make it easier to find the players you want for your draft classes. Overview of revisions and new features:
- Tabs that display all downloads, new / hot downloads and previously downloaded items.
- A button to filter out to just things you’ve created.
- Columns that show the date created, date modified, OVR and age.
- The ability to sort based on columns.
- More upload slots for Player DNA creations.
We know that the franchise fanbase’s passion is unmatched, and we want to continue to give you bigger and better tools to really enjoy the most out of our sandbox modes.
LT / RT to Quickly Scroll
Whenever you’re adjusting sliders or numbers in pretty much any franchise menu, you can hold LT and RT to make scrolling go that much faster. Tweaking progression sliders, making a contract offer in MyGM or tweaking values in Edit Player – chances are high LT and RT will help you make the changes more quickly. This has been in some places in the past, but we’ve seen enough requests for faster changing of values to know that it’s something that our fans could really use.
Option to Force Winners
Now when simming games in MyLEAGUE, you’ll have the option if you want to set one side to win after simming. If you enjoy crafting storylines and creating elaborate situations, or simply just want to see what happens after making a team win all 82 games in a season, we’ve got you covered.
It’s hard to believe another year’s flown by as we wrap up this blog. We spend every year discussing how best to put together your feedback along with what we think would make each iteration of MyLEAGUE the best version ever. We’ve put a ton of time and care into improving the franchise modes and once again we’re excited to see how everyone enjoys all of the changes this year.
We’d like to give a special thanks to all of the fans that play and enjoy the game, year after year. Ball is life for a lot of us and there’s no way we could make as many fixes and improvements without your help. We read your feedback, we see your bugs and we see how much passion you have for the game. We hope that you can feel our passion with 2K20 too, and that you have an absolute blast with the new MyGM 2.0 other fun features.
Special thanks to the franchise team led by Dave Z: Tim, Leftos, John, Ash, Yu, Brad, Vlad, Michael, Jeff and of course special guest star Erick ‘SimBaller’ Boenisch. Everyone worked hard to deliver something special, and we hope that you’re as pumped for 2K20 as we are.
The Franchise Team