The lights are on
Most sports game developers phone in the next-gen debuts, but not Visual Concepts. Instead, NBA 2K14 featured two completely rebuilt modes, the story driven MyCareer and reimagined Association mode, which is now dubbed MyGM. With new game modes comes new problems, however, so we put this laundry list of suggested improvements together for what we'd like to see from NBA 2K15.
Rebuild The MenusThe static home menu in NBA 2K14 is embarrassingly simplistic. Why is The Blacktop buried in MyCareer? Visual Concepts needs to take another stab at surfacing content with dynamic menus. The menu system should take note of how a particular person plays the game, and surface the right options accordingly.
Bring Back Tactical MenusYou've always been able to set double teams and dictate the type of defense you want played on specific players in NBA 2K - until last year. I like the quick tactical options presented by the new Points of Emphasis system, but sometimes I prefer to dig into the finer strategic options presented by the old system. Why not give us the best of both worlds?
Address Clipping AnimationsI'd love to leave arms and balls clipping through bodies in the rearview mirror of basketball games. The next-generation consoles offer enough power for Visual Concepts to create realistic collision systems that put an end to these game-breaking glitches.
Create Cascading Save StatesAutosave is great, but sometimes you accidentally hit the wrong button while speeding through menus. In NBA 2K14, there is no way to reverse those costly mistakes. A dynamic save system that creates four or five different saves and overwrites the oldest one could remedy this. I also wouldn't be opposed to bringing back old-fashioned manual saves.
Keep Rosters UpdatedWhen big trades happen or teams unveil new alternate jerseys, Visual Concepts has no excuse for taking weeks to port them into the game. In this (almost) always online world, the development team should be issuing roster updates regularly.
Get Your Online Out Of My Single-PlayerNo good reason exists for forcing every single interaction in a single-player mode to interface with an online server. It's only given users headaches and made Visual Concepts look bad. Want to offer VC for purchase for single-player modes? Have at it, but make that that chosen transaction be the only time MyGM or MyPlayer interacts with a server.
Create Separate Currencies For Items And ProgressionDeciding between buying a new tee shirt or improving your jump shot is a stupid choice players shouldn't have to make. Visual Concepts could remedy this by awarding upgrade points for performance and by paying players a regular cash based salary like real NBA players so they can use that money on off-the-court items.
Fix Clothing PricingI don't mind that 2K has created a fashion economy for created players, but having to pay 5,000 VC for a pair of shoes is ridiculous. NBA players make millions of dollars, which means they don't have to save up to buy those new Nike LeBron kicks when they come out. If you want to have big-ticket luxury items, add cars and homes like New Star Soccer did.
Fine-Tune Dynamic GoalsThe developers have done a great job honing how the teammate grade awards and punishes players, and the same attention to context should be applied to dynamic goals. I shouldn't be getting "take only quality shots this quarter" goals when I'm shooting 90 percent from the field after three quarters.
Integrate True CoachingVisual Concepts has a great opportunity to advance the basketball education of its players with MyCareer. Each coach should be teaching his offensive and defensive systems in practices. Learning whether or not your coach wants you to fight over the top of a screen or switch during pick and rolls would help team defense improve its cohesiveness, and I would love to see coaches call more legitimate plays on the offensive side of the court.
Highlight Major Team MomentsI love the off-court interactions with my teammates, but MyCareer skips some of the biggest moments that shake the foundation of a team during the course of the season. Trades and injuries go by with hardly a mention. These should be surfaced with locker room addresses from the coaching staff. It would also be nice to be able to wish your teammate a speedy recovery.
Let Us Chirp BackSocial media plays an integral role in MyCareer, but it's a one-way road. It would be great to be able to issue challenges to other players just like they throw out to me, and giving players the ability to interact with fans (both congratulatory and hostile) would offer some great depth here as well.
Fix VC AllotmentsNot everyone who plays franchise modes is interested in playing all the games. Some prefer to play the true role of a GM - scouting, analyzing free agency pools, discussing trades, and managing the diverse group of personalities. For those people, NBA 2K14's MyGM is unplayable. With the measily VC this management style accrues, it was years before I could afford to hire and fire staff, let alone invest in new resources like a film room or train my younger players in the offseason. If Visual Concepts is going to keep VC a part of this mode, this logic needs to be completely reworked.
Rebuild Trade LogicOver the past few years, the trades in NBA 2K have become progressively worse. A lot of imbalanced rosters are created both in MyCareer and MyGM. It's time to rebuild team management philosophies for the various clubs and get back to a realm where the trade proposals aren't completely ridiculous. Also, it would be great if 2K included sign and trade deals.
Free Up Basic Management ToolsIf you're going to allow players to get bent out of shape by the number of minutes they play, then you better allow GMs to control the rotation without needing to spend VC. All basic decision-making processes should be on the table in GM mode from the get-go.
Give GM Tools On Draft DayIn NBA 2K14, there is no way to look at the remaining player pool on draft day to make decisions when trade proposals come across your desk. GMs should always have a cheat sheet available that shows the entire player pool, their target players, and the relative position they are expected to be drafted at. This would allow managers to know whether or not they can move up or down the draft board and still land their target.
Fine Tune Press ConferencesSometimes the game isn't truly aware of what's going on with your team. After my team went on a five-game slump the press asked what the reason for the slide was - players, management, or coaching. The real answer was injuries, because I had three major players sitting out during that streak. Some contextual awareness could go a long way. It would also benefit the game if Visual Concepts fixed the strange trust mechanic. If I praise my players for a win streak, why does that automatically determine that the coaches and management team lose trust with me?
Stabilize GameplayI'm not sure why this is so hard for Visual Concepts, but every year the NBA game seems to launch with server woes. The company needs to gather the appropriate resources to put this problem to bed for good.
Bring Back Online AssociationA lot of people love connecting with friends in online franchise modes. The current-gen version included this mode, but Visual Concepts scrapped it for next-gen because of the rebuilt MyGM mode. Online Association doesn't need to have the same mechanical structure as MyGM - just bring back the old mode.
Create Online Hoops LeaguesI don't mind the NBA Blacktop mode (when it works), but Visual Concepts should take a page out of NHL's EASHL and create a true 5v5 league structure with user-created team jerseys, skill-based divisions, and monthly championships.
Those are our suggestions. What do you think Visual Concepts should do to improve its hoops game?
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