After community manager Ronnie Singh released a series of screenshot teasers about the mode last week (see below), today Association mode guru/producer Erick Boenisch posted the hard details about how 2K Sports is re-inventing the mode.
Much like EA Sport's Be A Pro mode in the stellar NHL series, this year you skip the boring summer league procession of meaningless games in favor of a rookie showcase. Once you show the GMs what you can do on the court, you attend a series of pre-draft interviews where the GMs ask you questions to get a feel for your personality and contemplate how you would fit into their team dynamic. The example Boenisch used was the Chicago Bulls talking to a point guard recruit. Knowing they have all-world phenom Derrick Rose running the point, they aren't going to expect you to come in and be the starting point guard. Rather, they'll ask you if you would be comfortable giving the team some energy coming off the bench. How you answer these questions will help determine your fate; if you're vehemently opposed to taking a supporting role and say so, you may get a negative rep of being difficult to work with and watch your draft stock slip.
Once you get through the interviews, you can check out what the press is saying about you in a mock draft. Then on the big day, you'll shake hands with NBA commissioner David Stern when your name gets called (provided you don't drop into the second round).
Players will also have much more say when their rookie contract is up and it's time to get a big payday. During this courtship teams interested in your talents will open negotiations with you – you can either sign on the dotted line, keep negotiating for a sweeter deal, or turn down teams you're not interested in seriously entertaining. Be careful when demanding more money though, because if you're too stubborn teams may decide to walk away. Once you're bringing in the dough, it's up to you to decide how to spend it. Like any good businessman, your best option is to reinvest it into your career. You can buy new skill points, increase attribute caps, acquire signature animations normally reserved for other stars, or even work at youth basketball clinics to build your fan base.
If you hone your skills to the point where you're starting on all-star rosters, winning scoring titles, and bringing home championships, you may have a shot at entering the pro basketball hall of fame. Each player position has 15 requirements for making the hall of fame, and to earn your place amongst the greats you need to meet 10 of them over the course of your career. This is quite a nice capstone to the end of a career, and gives you something to strive for. If you make the grade, you are rewarded with the ability to craft your own acceptance speech, a great touch that shows just how deep Visual Concepts is going this year.
Other new features include the ability to skip forward in your career to key games, more player endorsement options, a new upgrade system, dynamic in-game goals, more diverse training drills, more press conference options, a player buzz rating, and, best of all, a higher starting rating that doesn't leave you ill equipped to guard average NBA players. If you want to read more about these features, check out the Facebook post.
In all, the amount of changes being introduced into this under-served mode is impressive. I love a lot of ideas at play here, and hope that the grading and upgrade systems at the heart of the experience can stand tall enough that the mode becomes a destination alongside the best-in-class Association mode.
What do you think of the new changes?