I (and most people I think) obtain a certain level of satisfaction from completing tasks. Whether it be a project at work or school, or even just cleaning the bathroom, it’s what our lives are essentially built around.
This is particularly true with video games. We have to finish the story, win the match or (in extreme cases) go for 100 percent completion. NBA 2K MyTeam is a different beast, though.
I’ve discussed this before, but the ultimate goal in MyTeam is just to collect cards and assemble an end-game squad. There’s no championship to win (like in MyLeague/MyGM) or story to finish (MyCareer), but there is at least Domination. That’s been my barometer for completing MyTeam in the past. I purposely move through it slowly, and build my team around moving up the difficulty tiers. Unfortunately, the rewards for completing Domination aren’t relevant by the time I finish it each year. Like, at all.
A 96-rated pink diamond Shawn Kemp with three HOF badges and nine gold badges is what waits for me at the end of this long journey. As you can see, I’m in All-Time Domination now and moving steadily through it. Even without the promise of a good reward, I’m still enjoying the grind.
There are at least tokens to earn along the way.
Yes, even without a grand end-goal for the mode, I’ve embraced some of the mini-goals, like evolving players (I’m still working on Jeremy Lin) and collecting tokens.
There was (FINALLY) a solid token market update recently, which got me to pop back on MyTeam again with some consistency.
In my last article over a month ago, I mentioned how the Spotlight Challenges had rejuvenated my interest in MyTeam after a bit of a hiatus, but unfortunately 2K seemed to have abandoned them, so I was tapering off again. But with the reveal of a pink diamond Michael Beasley, I got super excited and played some Domination games with him. But I didn’t want to just burn through those games, so what then? Weekly challenges? Been there, done that. Triple Threat? Yawn.
By the way, Beasley is amazing. Totally worth the tokens — 31 HOF badges! Remember, Shawn Kemp only has three. But I digress…
I was actually hoping to use Beasley, and some of my other new additions, to help complete/win a new set of Spotlight Challenges. That Jeremy Lin challenge I did a month ago was the last one they posted, and every Friday since then I anxiously checked Twitter to see if a new set would appear. Alas, they’ve been forgotten it seems.
But them something happened: Covid-19, also known as the word I’m beyond sick of hearing, reading or thinking about. The world changed, and along with it, the NBA. So with no new basketball to consume, and with most everyone stuck at home for the foreseeable future, 2K decided to do something they’d never done before (and something I’ve hoped they’d do for years):
Yes, it took a global pandemic for 2K to create a new offline challenge mode, midway through the game’s life cycle.
It’s like Domination and the Spotlight Challenges of old got together and had a baby, with diamond and pink diamond rewards that are (almost) on par with what can be bought in packs. I would call it a miracle if it wasn’t for the horrendous circumstances that it took to inspire it. (Maybe 2K had this planned all along, it’s certainly possible, but history is hard to argue against.)
So as the title of this article says, I’m shocked and impressed.
If you’ve been away from the mode for week or months, come on back and give Spotlight Sim a try. Yes, five games for each team is probably too much (three would have been fine). Yes, the difficulty is a bit high (the games go up to HOF, plus utilize some of the best cards in the game against you). And yes, there are statistical and card requirements to compete the challenges (which has resulted in some price gouging in the auction house).
But I completely love it.
It’s like 2K peered directly in my head (or maybe read some of my past articles) to see what reward I (or any red-blooded Rockets fan) would personally want more than anything in the world.
So, whatever the cost (in time, MT or controllers I may end up throwing in anger), I will have that galaxy opal James Harden. The Beard will be mine. And I look forward to building my god-squad around him.
Speaking of building squads, I do actually kind of like that there are card requirements to complete the challenges.
Right now, I’m going all in as the Nets and utilizing cards I haven’t used in ages (like ruby Keith Van Horn) to survive and advance. Plus, I’m trying to snipe new Nets players I haven’t used before (like amethyst Caris LeVert) to see how they work against decent competition, then selling them back for a profit. That bit of added strategy is fun to me. If it sounds fun to you, try your hand at these challenges.
Plus, when I play a Hall of Fame difficulty game with a reward card on the line, I get a sense of who my main guys are. So far (and I’ve done two teams at this point, the Pistons and the Bulls), there are a few cards I already feel like I can trust (in addition to Michael Beasley):
- Pink diamond Jimmy Butler – the card has been out for a while so he’s not insanely priced (I picked him up for 30K MT), but he’s an absolute two-way beast. Being able to play SG or SF is great as it seems like there aren’t many elite wing players who can play those positions. Usually they’re SF/PF (like the best Kawhi and Paul George cards out right now), so Jimmy fills a unique need for me.
- This is more like a ‘1B,’ but the new pink diamond John Havlicek is great as well. Plus he’s even cheaper. I got him for 20K, and he has 21 HOF badges. If forced to choose, I’d give Jimmy the edge, partially because Jimmy has two inches on Hondo, but also because Jimmy is just an absolute monster on defense.
- Pink diamond Joel Embiid – another 150 token investment, but he’s my starting center. Joel is amazing on defense, and has a 91 three-point rating plus 25 HOF badges including Catch & Shoot, Corner Specialist and Pick & Roller. Adding him to my squad has really opened up my offense, especially utilizing him as a pick-and-roll partner with Jimmy Butler.
- Diamond Jay Williams – he just came out with the Campus Legends pack and is already insanely cheap — under 3K MT if you’re patient — and he has 30 HOF badges! So basically anything you could need from a guard, he does at an elite level.
About these Campus Legends packs, there’s nothing in there that I absolutely had to have (though Melo or Ralph would be nice), but I broke down and bought some VC to open a couple of boxes.
Well, saying I “broke down” isn’t really fair because I was actually excited to do it (even though my best pull was a PD Greg Oden, which I sold).
After some self-evaluation, I’ve come to the conclusion that my desire to open packs and engage with the game again stems from wanting to cycle in new cards as I work through these new Spotlight Sim Challenges. So yes, I think it’s safe to say that cards bought via packs and cards earned via grinding can both exist. There’s even a symbiotic relationship at work there, where one element feeds the other. That balance is important.
Hopefully 2K keeps this in mind, and in addition to delivering great content via packs (as they have been recently), they keep delivering new challenges and other ways to use all of our great new cards (which should continue and expand in the future). Especially now, as escapist entertainment like video games will be more important to people’s sanity than ever.
How do you feel about the recent MyTeam content? What new cards do you trust in crunch-time? Anyone making your end-game lineups yet?