NBA 2K20‘s MyLeague mode is, in a word, frustrating.
Were it not for some truly baffling glitches, NBA 2K20‘s franchise mode could be one of the greatest sports gaming experience ever released on console. The pieces for an amazing and genre-defining game mode are there. But an apparent lack of beta testing, some areas lacking basic NBA knowledge and a lack of general care has led to a game that I can only describe as breaking my heart. Even the most optimistic review of this mode would have to conclude that, at this moment, NBA 2K20‘s MyLeague mode is flawed and borderline unplayable after a certain point.
Thankfully, most of these issues seem fixable, although I’m not a game developer so I don’t know for sure. And hey, on the subject of developers, please know that we at Operation Sports do not aim to blindly criticize game developers who work thanklessly under extreme pressure and tight deadlines. We understand and appreciate the amount of effort that goes into a product like NBA 2K20. We just want a working video game.
If you turned on the tap in your kitchen and water shot out of the “hot” knob instead of the faucet, you would say “huh, that’s odd, I didn’t know that could even happen, I’m going call someone to fix that.” Well, that’s where I’m at with NBA 2K20. This game is a beautiful marble sink with water shooting out of the “H” knob. So, please consider this an unbiased recap of NBA 2K20’s MyLeague mode, and a sincere and earnest call to please fix this game. Let NBA 2K20 be the beautiful unicorn that it was meant to be.
There is still a ton of good in NBA’s MyLeague. Let’s talk about what makes it (almost) the GOAT GM mode.
First and foremost, 2K20’s core gameplay is great. It is more realistic and slower than its 2K19 counterpart, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. Each press of the button seems to correspond to an action that has a consequence, negative or positive. With just some minor slider tweaks, I think many people are realizing they can have some epic battles against the CPU.
No other console game has a GM mode close to as deep as NBA 2K’s. Even in its current “broken” state, no competitor touches the 80-year opus that is NBA 2K MyLeague. NBA 2K19 and ’20 are the only current-gen games that I would consider on the level of last gen’s College Hoops 2K8, or the PC-based Franchise Hockey Manager, Out of the Park Baseball or (dare I say) Football Manager. Whether you want to hammer out five NBA seasons in a weekend or meticulously play every game over the course of a few years, there are a multitude of options to tinker with, advanced stats to check out and sliders to tweak. New to this year’s game are the Sim Stats and Pace Sliders, which theoretically control everything from pace, possessions, shot types/selection, fatigue rate, assist/turnover rate, etc. The level of customization in this game is stunning.
The “Quick Edit” function is also a massively important quality-of-life feature for roster nerds such as myself. NBA 2K is the only game of the “big five” (FIFA, NBA, NHL, MLB, Madden) to offer a “Quick Edit” option. Every other sports game requires you to click on a player, enter a screen with all of his possible info, and slowly change it. 2K allows you to switch into “quick edit” with one button, letting you zip around the league and change team attributes/tendencies/badges until your heart’s content. I say this with 100 percent honesty, I am not buying another EA NHL game until they add a Quick Edit. I have lost literal weeks of my life editing the rosters that EA throws at you in their NHL games (sorry, can’t help but mention this). 2K has spoiled me with Quick Edit.
Draft Classes & The 2K Community
NBA 2K was also to my knowledge the first game to feature downloadable draft classes. If you’re tired of auto-generated players joining your league after every season, you can download classes of rookies made either officially by 2K or by members the 2K community. The downside is that the official 2K historic drafts have only about a dozen real players in each class on average. It would be nice if 2K could get every single historic player signed and represented, but that’s not fiscally or logically possible. Thankfully, the 2K community is so skilled at editing and making players (most of whom post about them in our Operation Sports forums!) that it doesn’t matter. Within a few months of the game shipping, there are more quality draft classes and roster edits out there than you could ever use or want.
NBA 2K really is a gorgeous game. Courts are absolutely stunning this year. Bright, vibrant and beautiful, especially on a bigger TV. Players not only look like, but generally play like their real-life counterparts. Harden looks and feels like Harden (frustrating and slippery), Steph looks and feels like Steph (hits shots from literally everywhere), and Ron Baker looks like Ron Baker (white and slow — sorry Ron).
Presentation is on point as well. Shaq, Kenny and Ernie Johnson provide the pregame commentary, which is a fun novelty that you will get one percent more sick of every time you hear it.
A lot of features in the game are under-explained. For example, the “player mentorship” feature doesn’t appear to actually work in the way one would think. In theory, you can set an older player to “mentor” a younger player, and that older player will pass on some of their “badges” (unique skill boosts) to the younger player. It’s an amazing idea in practice, but it remains unclear if it actually does anything. In 2K19, I did not see a single young player actually gain a badge from an older player. It’s possible they fixed this in 2K20, or that I am an idiot and am misinterpreting this game mechanic. All I am saying is as someone who grew up in the age of instruction manuals — an archaic item that would actually ship with the game and tell you what was in said game — an explanation would be nice.
The “G-League” doesn’t make any sense at all. In its current form, players who are “sent down” to the G-League make arbitrary leaps in overall rating regardless of their potential. I’ve routinely had 12-15th men leap into the high 80s overall. Not only that, but you can’t ever play G-League games, or see G-League results or have anything to do with the G-League ever. You just “send” players there to get them off your roster, and then in a few years they are rated 90 overall for some reason. The G-League being so OP would be fine if we were able to actually play the games (being able to play your minor league games is a feature that has been in MLB and NHL games since last-gen) and influence player growth. But we can’t, so it all just feels random and unrealistic.
Okay, we’ve arrived. Here are some of the glitches in NBA 2K’s MyLeague mode. I do not want to be dramatic or overly critical, but I really do not have enough space to write in-depth about all of the reported glitches so far, nor do I think it would be helpful to the overarching point here.
This game constantly crashes. People have experienced a ton of game crashes throughout every mode. As someone who is almost all MyLeague, this is most noticeable in the offseason, particularly the player retirement screen. NBA 2K theoretically lets you “block” player retirements for a season, but I have found that most attempts to cancel a player’s retirement cause the game to crash. This was present in 2K19, but it’s significantly worse so far in ’20. It’s tough to rank these glitches in terms of “importance” but I would think the game shutting itself down entirely is probably way up there in importance.
Player/Team Option Glitch
This is probably the biggest glitch for most MyLeague players who make it to the second offseason. During the second offseason, you are no longer given the option to decline or accept your team options. The option is there in year one, but it straight up disappears in year two and beyond. The CPU will randomly accept/decline team options from year two onward, and their logic is quite frankly idiotic and totally removed from anything any NBA team would ever do. The popular example people keep giving is that the Knicks routinely release RJ Barrett a few seasons in, who then immediately signs a max contract with another team. Now, this is a game-breaking glitch for many (myself included), but having said that, I am willing to accept an explanation that the Knicks are idiots and that the developers programmed that in on purpose.
Draft Class Age Glitch
This one kills me as a roster/draft class nerd. Every time you open a draft class, all of the created players drop -1 in age. So say if you make a draft class and you set LeBron James to be 18 (you know, to be realistic). From here, every time you edit the class Bron will drop to 17, then 16, then 15 years of age. This is massively frustrating for obvious reasons, but the worst part is that the developers already fixed this glitch last year.
Thanks to OS forums user Joebuddy for these next three:
Assist/Player Regression Slider Glitch
In the Simulation sliders, changing the Player Regression Rate (under Progression sliders) also changes the Assists slider (Possession Results under Simulation sliders). So if you want high assist numbers per game for simulated games, you will also get players regressing at high rates and vice versa.
Hard Cap/Tax Glitch
When you turn off the hard cap, it automatically changes the “Hard Cap Value” to $660 million. This in turn ends up being the luxury tax threshold when you start MyLeague. So, the salary cap will be correct at $109 million but the luxury tax will be $660 million. Leaving the hard cap on fixes the issue and keeps the luxury tax at the correct amount of $132 million for the 2019-2020 season, but then we always have to play with the hard cap on.
Qualifying Offer Glitch
Teams are forced to accept a player’s qualifying offer in the moratorium period of free agency. For example, using 30-team control and controlling all teams’ offseason moves, I extended a qualifying offer to Pascal Siakam ($3.92 million) and then offered him the max on the first day of the three-day moratorium period. After the first day, I could accept/confirm the max contract I offered him. After the second day, it gave me the option to match his qualifying offer (as if another team offered him a contract of $3.92 million as an RFA) as well as the option to accept the max contract I offered him. On the third day, I only had the option to match his qualifying offer, so once free agency actually started I had Siakam signed for one year at $3.92 million instead of the max contract I offered him.
We also want to call out some elements related to MyLeague Online. It’s a tight-knit community, and since Madden and NBA 2K are the only two console franchises flying the flag for a very important part of the genre, we reached out to a couple members of the MLO community to also give us some insight into what’s been happening in that area so far. Again, we won’t include every bug listed, but more try to hit some of the high notes. Thanks go out to OS users Mikelopedia and joepatowski for their help here
Contract Extensions Do Not Register During Season
All eligible players remain “undecided” for the duration of the season and never change to Willing to Resign or Decline. This works in offline MyLeague, it just has not carried over to MLO. This obviously impacts your ability to build your team.
The disconnects have started to die down a bit in frequency, but much like the online issues that have been present in Play Now Online and MyTeam online, random disconnects have been occurring in the middle of games — sometimes due to timeouts it seems — and this has ha hurt the ability to get a good flow going in these modes.
Offseason Hangs Beyond Season 2
During season 3 and 4 of the offseason, the offseason has been getting stuck at the draft stage and is unable to move forward. This has happened with all leagues created for multiple users that have been tested.
At random times, even with injuries turned off, injuries are still happening in-game and during simulations.
Quality Of Life/MLO Vs. MyLeague Offline Omissions
Most of the elements of MyLeague offline have made it to MLO over the years, but there are still certain things missing that would be great to have. Some of the items include:
- A lack of two-way contracts.
- No true G-League integration. Obviously, as we mentioned the G-League has its own set of issues right now, but in MLO the only G-League feature is the free agent menu. You cannot send your own players down and call them up like with offline.
- You can’t select your accessory colors against another user, only the CPU. In addition, you can’t see what jersey you’re selecting when playing another user.
Please allow me to force a terrible comparison on you. You know what MyLeague is like? NBA 2K20’s MyLeague is like Kawhi’s shot against the 76ers.
Right now, NBA 2K20 is bouncing off the rim in mid-air. It could bounce out, and we’ll be right where we’ve always been: the same disappointments, the same frustrations, the same typical bugs that plague the sports gaming industry.
But it could also drop. Maybe this is a make. Maybe the 2K team sees these issues as fixable. Maybe they will work hard, tune things and get this game to work the way it was advertised. If they can manage that, NBA 2K20 will land on the short list of greatest sports games of all-time.
The only thing we know for sure is that it’s still up in the air.
So what do you think? I’m sure we missed some “obvious” bugs but can NBA 2K20 be a GOAT sports game contender with fixes to MyLeague? What are your favorite GM modes in gaming history? Sound off in the comments!