Next-gen gaming is three weeks away. Yes, we’re literally three weeks away from getting our hands on next-gen NBA 2K21. The 2K dev team has finally gone from dropping crumbs about what we should expect for the next-gen game to feeding us a good portion of information. Chase took the time to break down offensive and defensive AI improvements at great length. It’s definitely a must-read. I’ve taken the liberty to really dig into the changes that have been made to NBA 2K21 next-gen MyPlayer and the MyPlayer Builder, as well as badges and Takeovers that were given to us in the third part of the next-gen Gameplay Courtside Report.
Let’s get right into what we’ll be seeing on NBA 2K21 next gen for our players!
Say Bye To The Pies
“No More Pies: You no longer choose from preset skill breakdown pie charts for next gen. Instead, we’ve given you control over setting each individual rating to the cap that you prefer. Obviously, there are restrictions based on your vitals and you can’t max out everything, but there’s much more control to make the exact type of player you want to be.”
I’m torn between absolute excitement and fear of abuse in the removal of the pie chart system. It looks like you’ll now be able to make a player that truly aligns with your style of play. You should no longer be boxed in to the few builds that end up being the meta — and thus are seen over and over again (think Playmaking Shot Creators).
I think that the variety of build types should be greatly increased now, and we’ll see many more unique builds than before. There was an outcry for more pie charts in NBA 2K21, and while a few more were added, the customization capabilities still weren’t available like they will now be on next gen. Being confined to stand out in one area while being mediocre and/or bad in others appears to be behind us now. Having the ability to hit threes consistently while also having a killer crossover, and the ability to drive to the lane and yam on a defender might be more prevalent now.
The possibility of being able to do all three of those things with a player is also why I’m fearful of the potential that this new system brings.
With the revelation regarding the removal of pie charts, I instantly had concerns about how the new attribute system might create imbalance within the new builds we’ll potentially see. I wasn’t the only person who recognized the possibility of OP builds. As I went through my Twitter feed, I read through a thread that had an image showing how the Builder looked and what appeared to be an overpowered player:
I see a lot of people saying this build is OP. He didn’t actually put any actual attribute upgrades yet, thats why the attributes are grey. These are the attribute caps for the position he selected. #NBA2K21 https://t.co/1nXRlxDmqT
— NBA2K21 News🤫 (@2KInsiderr) October 21, 2020
If you take a closer look at the tweet above, it does appear that the build here is an absolute demon: at 6-foot-8, the build has a 94 driving dunk, an 87 three-point shot, and near otherworldly defensive ratings. I’m not sure what the name of this build is, but “Lockdown Slashing Sharpshooter” would seem like the most logical title. In seeing this one example, my fears of OP builds look to be completely valid.
In the NBA, there’s an extremely limited number of players who are exceptional in several different areas on both ends of the court, so allowing us to create a once-in-a-generation player looks like it could be both a gift and a curse. We won’t truly be able to tell if these types of builds are possible and how they’ll play out on the court until we get our hands on the game, but I really hope that the new MyPlayer Builder system is implemented well and allows balance in-game.
Get Your Badges Up
“Badges: A lot of thought and re-design went into badges for next-gen. Many favorites return, but most have undergone some significant functionality changes. There are also some new ones, some revived ones, and some removed ones. The badge point system and equipping process is similar to what you’ve grown accustomed to: perform well in the various categories (Finishing, Shooting, Playmaking, Defense/Rebounding) in any mode to earn badge points, and then apply those points to whatever badges you want within those related categories. But my advice when you get next-gen is to experiment with different badges that you may have overlooked in the past because you might find some new favorites that compliment your playstyle that you may not expect.”
In terms of badges, the biggest thing for me here was the removal of many of the redundant badges. I was surprised to see some removed, such as Contact Finisher, but the removal of some badges makes sense with the introduction of the new badges — as well as how attributes impact certain things. The 2K dev team is implementing 22 new or revived badges:
- Fearless Finisher – Boosts contact layups and decreases fatigue
- Heat Seeker – Boosts takeover progress on inside shots
- Highlight Film – Boosts teammate takeover progress on flashy dunks
- Hook Specialist – Boosts hook shot ability
- Revived Posterizer – Contact dunks!
- Rise Up – Boosts ability to do standing dunks in traffic
- Anti-Freeze – Harder to get cold and lose takeover meter progress
- Blinders – Less affected by peripheral defenders when shooting jumpers
- Circus Threes – Improved ability to hit pull-up and stepback 3’s
- Fade Ace – Boosts all post fadeaways
- Hot Shot – Increases takeover meter faster when knocking down jumpers
- Deep Threes – Dame and Curry range 3 balls
- Rhythm Shooter – Boosts shot %’s out of size-ups as well as 1-step pull-ups
- Set Shooter – Shooting ability gets better the longer you set and wait before pulling
- Sniper – Boosts the ability to hit shots when using Pro Stick aiming
- Stop & Pop Three – for the JJ Redicks who want to pull-up for threes in transition
- Bullet Passer – Gives you the ability to throw laser dots like LeBron
- Relay Passer – Boosts the shooter on pass to assist situations
- Special Delivery – Boosts takeover progress for the passer and receiver off a flashy pass assist
- Ankle Braces – Makes it tougher for ball handlers to break your ankles
- Clutch Defender – Boosts your defensive ratings in clutch moments
- Hot Stopper – Boosts takeover meter for good defensive plays like steals, blocks, and good contests
Many of the new badges here, like Ankle Braces, look interesting. I think that a few of the badges won’t be used often, like Hook Specialist and Fade Ace. The return of Posterizer most definitely has slashers and players that finish at the rim excited.
Posterizer was a very linear badge when it was around before, allowing contact dunks without any sort of extra prerequisites needed. I assume that you’ll still need a certain driving dunk rating before you’re able to make use of the badge, but equipping should straight allow you to crown any defender foolish enough to try and meet you at the rim.
Blinders is an interesting badge as it appears that it could work in tandem with Deadeye, meaning players with that shooting badge combination could be lethal. Hopefully this combination isn’t so overpowered that it allows shooters to almost fully negate contests.
It’s good to see a shake up of the badges. I think it would be more beneficial to the game as a whole if all the badges we could use were viable so we had to make tough decisions when choosing them, which then would create different badges on builds. In line with the badges that were added, the dev team retired a matching number of 22 badges:
- Consistent Finisher
- Contact Finisher
- Cross-Key Scorer
- Fancy Footwork
- Fastbreak Finisher
- Deep Hooks
- Pick & Roller
- Relentless Finisher
- Deep Fades
- Flexible Release
- Hot Start
- Pick & Popper
- Pump Fake Maestro
- Range Extender
- Quick Draw
- Steady Shooter
- Pass Fake Maestro
- Flashy Passer
- Lob City Passer
- Lightning Reflexes
- Moving Truck
As I mentioned earlier, the removal of some frequently used badges surprised me at first but made sense with the implementation of new badges. There’s most definitely several badges on the removal list above that won’t be missed (Quick Draw I’m talking about you) or really had a small impact on your player.
Takeover And Control The Game
“Takeover: In case you’re new to 2K, Takeover is the ability to get hot and take over games. It’s been a popular feature for the past couple years and we wanted to take it to the next level for next gen.
Instead of limiting players to eight general archetype-based takeovers, we’ve broken those eight into 24 more specific takeover abilities. In a way, you can think of them as unique badges that you can fire off when you get hot.”
We’ve been used to the same Takeover system for a few years now, including NBA 2K21 current gen. With the current system, you have to build up your meter with good plays. Once full, you can deploy your Takeover meter and control the game at your will. The 2K dev team has surprisingly gone a new route for next gen, giving us 24 Takeover abilities, as well as a multi-tiered system.
The 24 Takeover abilities are:
- Advanced Gathers – Unlocks more effective spin, euro, hop step, cradle gathers
- Finishing Moves – Able to absorb contact and finish at the rim
- Easy Blowbys – Enhances ability for slashers to beat defenders off the dribble
- Pull-Up Precision – Boosts well timed/aimed shots off the dribble
- Anklebreaking Shots – More anklebreakers off of spin and stepback jumpers
- Negative Impact – Reduces defensive impact against pull-ups and other skill shots
- Limitless Range – Extends your shooting range out to the logos
- Spot-Up Precision – Boosts well timed/aimed stationary jump shots
- Team Ratings Boost – Playmakers boost their teammates’ offensive ratings
- Team Takeover Boost – Boost your teammates’ takeover meter progress
- Team Badge Boost – Boosts your teammates’ badges up a tier
- Extreme Clamps – More stone wall and lost dribble body-up resolutions for locks
- Perimeter Badge Drop – Knocks shooting badges down a tier when you get close
- Enhanced Jump Shot Contests – Boosts your ability to contest jumpers
- Stuff Blocks – Unlocks more swat, backboard pins, and grab blocks
- Paint Intimidation – Boosts your ability to affect shots around the rim
- Interior Badge Drop – Drops opposition’s scoring badges down a tier in the paint
- Boxout Wall – Improves ability to seal off opponents for easy boards
- See the Future – Shows where missed shots are going to end up
- Glass Clearing Dimes – After rebounds, kick out passes boost your teammate’s shooting
- Power Backdowns – Easier to push defenders around when posting up
- Post Playmaking – Boost your teammates’ offensive abilities when passing out of post
- Advanced Post Moves – Easier to beat defenders with post moves
- Post Shot Daggers – Increased scoring ability with hooks, fades, shimmy shots, etc.
With a larger roster of Takeovers to choose from, it looks like you’ll really be able to hone in on using the full arsenal of moves at your MyPlayer’s disposal. With the multi-tier system being introduced, you’ll be able to choose any of the two Takeovers that are applicable for your build and apply them as a primary or secondary Takeover. You also have the choice of equipping the same Takeover twice.
Gaining each Takeover will work the same as previous years, where you’ll have to build up your meter. Team Takeover is still in the game, so you’ll have three separate meters to build up to get that. Allowing your first two meters to build up to earn your two Takeovers will allow you to use both at once, which will also see them be active for a longer period than we’re used to seeing in the past.
I’m unsure how I currently feel about the multi-tier system because I’ve yet to see it in action. I hope that with the increase in Takeover choices we’ll see balance with them. Where we had a single Takeover that gave a boost to ratings for what it was tailored to in the past (+10 in some cases), having two Takeovers has me concerned about the possibility of this mechanic being overpowered. It would make more sense for the Takeover system to still offer value in giving a boost, but at a lesser amount since you have the capability of applying two.
The change and expansion of the Takeover system does lead to some excitement, but I also have some worries about how it will be executed. We’ve got roughly three weeks before we find out.
With the information that has been released regarding NBA 2K21’s next-gen game, especially regarding the MyPlayer Builder, badges and the Takeover system, what are you looking forward to the most? What has you most excited to play the game? Leave a comment and let us know.