(Photo Credit: 2K Games)
NBA 2K continues to dominate the pro basketball gaming industry with its newest title releasing this September. Gamers will be able to play the title on multiple platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows. While the official release date of September 11, 2018 has been provided, some gamers (myself included) will take advantage of the early release date to play the game on September 7, 2018 instead.
Any players familiar with the franchise understand that the game, while currently the best option, still comes up short in certain areas. After following the franchise through its 20 years of releases, there are certain features I would still like to see added. While most of these are likely a long-shot to change soon, vote in the poll at the end of the article to see which changes you would like to see implemented.
In today's gaming industry, it's not uncommon to experience a micro-transaction system built in to a game. From mobile applications to console games, companies aim to get players hooked to the game and squeeze every cent they might get out of players. With certain game models, the game creator will offer the game for free and players can 'improve their experience' with certain paid offerings. However, several console titles have received a bad reputation for really abusing the system. NBA 2K is not above reproach after really hurting their players with the VC system over the past couple title releases.
In the NBA 2K world, VC (virtual currency) can be earned and used to change your overall gaming experience. From MyTeam card packs to MyPlayer upgrades, VC is the coin that makes the game tick. Due to this, VC is extremely valuable for players and can cause players to spend significant amounts of real world money to skip the grind of earning the currency in the game. While technically not forced, it encourages a "pay to win" type environment. When you factor in the upfront game cost, it's not unreasonable for a player to have spent a couple hundred dollars on the game in the opening months of play.
Overall, I would like the VC system to change by balancing the rate at which VC can be earned in the game. I understand that 2K Sports are running a business, but abusing the player base from a financial standpoint is not a good way to keep a loyal following. Let's make NBA 2K great again!
Overseas Career Path
How often do we see a player become an absolute stud in college, only to become a bust in the NBA? Or a decent rotation player fall off past their peak years turn to European leagues to continue their career?
While licensing issues with FIBA or the CBL might be an issue, it would be a nice feature if gamers could pursue these career paths in MyPlayer mode. Instead of fighting for minutes or a fringe roster spot, players could turn on 'God-mode' by signing on with a Chinese team (i.e. Stephon Marbury 2.0). This would be a welcome change as it could allow gamers to follow various career paths, develop their MyPlayer and try to work their way back in to the NBA.
Female Player Options
C'mon now 2K Sports...it is 2018 and we are still falling short on the gender equality front. While similar to the overseas career licensing issues that might arise, 2K Sports should offer gamers the opportunity to create females in MyPlayer mode.
While players would have to go through a WNBA route, gamers could still use these created athletes in other game modes and play with the male players. The real world basketball scene supports female basketball accomplishments and the NBA 2K franchise should try to catch up in this respect as soon as possible.
More Body Customization
NBA players come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it be Dwight Howard's Superman physique or Kevin Durant's tarantula arms, no two players are the same. In that same regard, the stars of the league have all found a way to use their physical attributes to their optimum level.
Currently, NBA 2K MyPlayer mode seems all too limited in customization for a player's physique. Changing height and weight is simply not enough anymore. Being able to thin or bulk out specific body parts and change these body parts through particular training techniques would be a much-welcomed change.
Unique Player-to-Player Relationships
How often does the media try to play up specific player relationships as the driving force behind a player's decision in free agency?
Building up or tearing down relationships between coaches, players and fan bases would be an interesting twist in various 2K game modes. For example, LeBron James might be more likely to sign with a team that has Eric Bledsoe on it. He might also be less likely to sign with a team rostering Enes Kanter or Lance Stephenson.
You could take this relationship feature a step further and have it impact player performance against particular teams. Beyond that, adding this feature in MyPlayer mode would be especially cool. Choosing a star as your 'mentor' and having that impact future free agency or trade outcomes would really escalate the game's depth of unique player experiences.
While there are many routes the franchise can take the game, these are just a handful of directions I believe could improve the overall experience. I know there are many other ideas I have overlooked, but feel free to take part in the poll and leave comments to let the community know your thoughts on changes.