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Feature

NBA 2K15 Frustrations: MyCareer Won’t Let Me Craft The Player I Want

by Kimberley Wallace on Nov 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM

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NBA 2K's MyCareer mode is my favorite destination. I revel in creating my own player and weaving his story as an up-and-comer; slowly making a name for himself and eventually rising to prominence. The story aspects still have a way to go, but there's plenty of potential. I like that this mode gives you an inside look into everything that's important to the game - bonding with teammates, showing up your rivals, and appeasing your coaches. As much as this is my favorite mode, I'm having less fun this year due to some changes to player upgrades.

When Visual Concepts introduced the MyCareer mode last year, I was immediately hooked. One of my favorite parts was the progression system and building my character how I saw fit. The system allowed alteration of any attribute with the in-game virtual currency (VC). Each game, I would look at my problem areas as a shooting guard and apply my VC accordingly. For instance, if I wanted to guarantee free throws would never be an issue, I'd up that skill. Or I'd make sure my player had a better chance at shooting in traffic.

I've played basketball since I was eight years old, so I found it really cool that I could craft this player in my image: great outside shooter, good ball handler, and a keen eye for passing. NBA 2K14 made me feel like I could do that with the freedom it gave me to improve any attribute. I also felt like I could have a player that represented my weaknesses and one that didn't have the skills that weren't necessary for a guard, such as rebounding or low post defense. Unfortunately, NBA 2K15 changed the system this year, and it's made player development more frustrating.

As with any new mode, each iteration will strive to change things up and improve the system. Visual Concepts saw people progressing too fast and maxing out certain attributes too early in their careers in NBA 2K14. Therefore, for NBA 2K15, the developers made it so you could no longer pick individual attributes to progress. Instead you put your VC earnings into buckets, such as jump shooter, defender, and athlete. Every time you put VC earning into these buckets, a bunch of attributes improve, whether you need them to or not. This can spread as high as 10 different attributes or as low as three. You can't control how many points go into each individually in the bucket, either.

This is generalizing the complex sport of basketball. For instance, in the defender bucket, why am I putting points into low post defense IQ? As a guard, I'm usually guarding other guards, unlikely to ever be in the post. Even the jump shooter category has its faults. I'm in my second year of my career and it's taken me a while to build up my free throw skill - a skill plenty of guards have down right out of the gate. Also, most guards are skilled at driving layups (an essential part to the game), but to improve that skill I have to dump points into the inside scorer bucket, which also improves attributes I frankly don't need, like post hook and post control. It always feels like I'm wasting precious points to get a slow edge, and I'm sacrificing points into areas they'd be better spent.

It just doesn't make sense for the sport. Plenty of guards have a knack at steals, but I can't give my player this aptitude until well into my career. This seems odd, as all players have their standout abilities and others that they need to improve on. I understand not wanting a rookie to come in and be at the top of the team, but maybe having caps that increase throughout the season for each individual attribute according to position would be better than the system in place for NBA 2K15. I'd even support some system where you can train in individual areas as a way to better customize my player. 

As it is right now, the system severely limits the player you want to create. I still haven't been able to create a player in my likeness and greatly miss the ability to focus on the attributes I find beneficial to the type of game I want to play. Here's hoping next year's game offers a better solution.