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2k18 - State of the Nation

By Aaron Callaghan

NBA 2K18 has been available for purchase for the better part of a month now and the community sentiment is turning from a once positive optimistic view of the most hyped and anticipated NBA 2K releases ever to a more disapproving, well frankly let down and pissed off collective community view founded in a few hugely important areas.

  •  Microtransations: The great 2K VC cash grab
  •  Pro-Am Region Lock and matchmaking: The game’s alleged blue ribbon game mode has some problematic gameplay and infrastructure issues.
  •  Gameplay Issues: Shooting is tricky, Athletic glass-cleaner centres are extremely overpowered.

This blog post is an article in three thirds. First I’ll address where 2K sits right now in the public court of opinion and secondly, I’ll comment on some of the things 2K did great and lastly, a Pro-Am PSA, listen up 2K please!

Reviews

The Green Release Basketball blog is still hugely impressed with the game play (read: http://bit.ly/2xHwIP9 ). NBA 2K18 was recently the victim of a newly forming trend, on trusted video game review site ‘Metacritic’, called ‘Metabombing’, where by disgruntled gamers band together to form negative user reviews or ‘bombdown’ the games peer reviewed ratings (Source: http://bit.ly/2z6GyZl). This is in response to the 2K community’s feeling that 2K18 is a ‘Virtual Currency’ sting operation executed by management at 2K Games.

Read what the fellas over at operation sports had to say. 

http://bit.ly/2y7Gk5w

Didn’t Gordon Gecko proclaim “Greed is good”? No and No perhaps when you're a business to customers you should invest significant time in keeping the customer happy. 

Gamers have adapted, begrudgingly, to microtransactions in return for a greater gaming experience, however where this can fall down this vast majority of gamers being teenagers in to young adults do not have the disposable income to spend on their favourite games, hence the NBA 2K community outrage and a feeling of being left behind if you don’t “pay to win” by purchasing VC.

2K has a ravenously loyal fan base and shouldn’t alienate them in an attempt to obtain corporate profits, there is a fine line and it’s obviously been crossed. Sometimes less is more. 2K could grow an even bigger fan base by minimising the microtransactions haul and focusing on the community’s wishes.

Moreover it is still very disheartening to read on Twitter and 2K Reddit that players who lost their mycareer during the games early access weekend and launch week still haven’t received compensation or their player back, despite some 500 million plus in microtransaction revenue for the last reporting year, 2K support is failing the community is was set up to help.

 

What 2K Did Great? 

 

The Green Release NBA 2K Basketball blog posed the question to the twitter-sphere

“What did 2K18 do better than 2K17”

 

The defence in 2K18 does feel more polished in this years release and shooting without badges is certainly more difficult. However anecdotally big man play in the paint, atleast defensively is a tough ask for some archetypes. The 7’3” glass cleaning centre is unstoppable (read: Overpowered!), sure 2K18’s skill gap punishes the lesser player but the divide in this example is too much and not a true representation of variance.

I had written previously that with regards to drafting players into the NBA 2K League, shooting was not a premium, I may have to reconsider this thought in the coming months. Shooting can be difficult. Players who can find their jump shot rhythm and timing are dominant scorers. I will reevaluate this as player recieve their gold badges and as the gameplay patches come. 

 

 

The ability to work your player to 99 in all mycareer game modes such as park and Pro-Am is invaluable, this minor tweak makes the game and the ‘grind to 99’ infinitely more enjoyable.

 

 

Well … You can’t please everybody.

 

Pro-Am Public Service Announcement

 

There has never been a more important period in NBA 2K’s existence for the trajectory of the game. It seems with the upcoming NBA 2K League, the franchise is trending upwards strongly in popularity fueled by the NBA’s all time high popularity as a league and innovation in the YouTube and Twitch community of 2K players influencers with millions of subscribers. The 2K17 Pro-Am tournament scene finished on an enormous high, yet 2K18 has missed the jump and stumbled out of the gates.

Yet the stakes couldn’t be any higher for the NBA 2K League aspirants. With a North American server region lock affecting these League hopefuls, effectively blocking them from joining the same team arena's as their team mates, in a different server region. These players have formed partnerships with team mates over the years which allows these potential draftees to showcase their best on-court product, yet North American players cannot play with their respective Pro-Am squads yet.

It is beyond reprehensible that three to four weeks in to the games yearly cycle some players on opposite coasts of the united States and even different server regions are unable to join the same court as their regular squad. Couple this with gameplay exploits such as overpowered glass cleaners inexplicably dominating all other archetypes with no help in sight and unexplained losses accruing one teams record. However the biggest injustice is the matchmaking, for example, a top tier elite team could have a 100 – 0 record and continually match up with rookie teams sporting 0 – 3 records.

Having said all that patience is the key, after all less than one month has passed since release. Stay the course and we will be rewarded. 

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