NBA 2K14: Breaking Down Details of Crews Mode
The concept behind Crew mode has returned to NBA 2K, but Crews in NBA 2K14 will function a little differently than Crew did in NBA 2K11.
Recently, 2K Sports community manager Chris Manning dropped the details on the mode's return. Crew was easily the most-requested mode over the last two years from the NBA 2K community, so a lot is riding on its success.
Here are the specifics.
Per Manning, balance was one of the key priorities in Crews this time around. What exactly does that mean? It isn't a reference to your player's equilibrium on the court—players won't stumble around as if they have a really bad ear infection. This is a reference to the balance of offense and defense in gameplay.
NBA 2K13 was primarily an offensive-style simulation. The developers have made it clear that efforts were put forth to make NBA 2K14 a more level playing field for defenders and teams that have control of the rock.
This is true in Crews and every other mode.
Balance was a focus, especially as the new defensive improvements were incorporated in the game this year. With the introduction of more signature skills, better physicality and the new, awe-inspiring blocking targeting system, defense will play a major part in Crews.
This is a welcomed sight. It was frustrating in NBA 2K13 when every game was decided by blazing hot streaks from beyond the arc and low-post scorers who were nearly impossible to curtail near the basket.
Crews will be played with gamers' MyPlayer created characters, just as Crew was in NBA 2K10 and NBA 2K11. Gamers are encouraged to play MyCareer to level their character up to prepare him for the Crews circuit.
This preparation will enable you to have the best chance to compete in the mode. There are hardcore gamers who will play through an entire season with their MyPlayer in two to three days, but part of the balance concept employs fatigue and matchmaking to allow gamers with MyPlayers of all levels to still compete.
This is a nice concept, but at the end of the day, players who have taken the time to build their MyPlayer should be at an advantage. That said, it shouldn't be totally impossible to win if you haven't maxed out your character.
Street-Style Pick-Up Games
One of the major differences between Crews and the older Crew mode is the street-style, pick-up game feel. First, the games will be played on blacktop and not an actual arena as they were in Crew originally. Second, while gamers can choose between three-on-three (half court) or five-on-five (full court), the games will be played up to 21, instead of with a clock.
This detail has been one of the most-debated aspects of the mode thus far. Millenium OS from Operation Sports tweeted:
Wait a second.... #NBA2K14 Crew mode is 3 on 3 on blacktop? Seriously?— Chris (@MillenniumOS) September 15, 2013
It is true this detail drastically alters the concept that many fans were looking for, but does that mean the mode will be bad, or just different?
The concept of Crew was always more reminiscent of a pick-up game, but the original presentation and functionality was less in line with the concept. Basically, guys or girls from different areas get together and travel to play other teams in different locations. I've played thousands of games like that with friends and acquaintances in real life.
None of those games are generally played with a clock or in an arena with thousands of fans.
What is your feeling about Crews in NBA 2K14?
That's essentially what Crews is. If the games to 21 have baskets inside the arc count as one point and shots from beyond the arc count for two, it will still offer room for intense games.
That said, it does feel a little awkward to have a prominent aspect of such a popular mode changed. One could say, "If it wasn't broken, then don't fix it," but in actuality, Crew mode was broken. That's the reason it wasn't in NBA 2K12 or NBA 2K13.
Were these changes part of an attempt to fix some of what was wrong with the mode? Possibly, but some of them are likely the product of an attempt to change the personality of the mode.
We'll find out if the changes lead to success or failure.
Customize Crew Names, Jerseys and Logos
In any mode that doesn't align NBA players with their real-life teams, it is always best to allow full team creation. When I say full, I mean logos, uniforms, arenas/blacktops, etc. Though the logo creation seems to be limited to the images in the game and there is no mention of customizing the blacktops, gamers will be able to deck out their uniforms, colors and team names.
Uploading images as custom logos would have been ideal, but there is always a risk when you allow people to do things like that. Wayward and immature gamers will sometimes use this awesome feature as a means to offend others with inappropriate images.
As it stands, there appears to be enough functionality to make your Crews stand out sufficiently.
Crew Manager, Recruitment and Switching Crews
There are a few ways to manage your Crews squad. Manning writes:
"You can invite friends into your Crew. Losing a lot? The Crew Manager can drop members of the Crew or disband the Crew entirely so assemble accordingly."
Imagine how bad it will feel when a Crew manager breaks the news to the weakest link on the team. Cyber rejection is the worst.
There won't be any mystery as to which Crews team is the best, or which MyPlayer is performing on an elite level in the mode. The stat-tracking and leaderboard will create a cool sense of competition throughout the community.
A uniform skill level is the best way to approach a mode like this. Manning said this about the difficulty settings:
I should also note the settings for Crew games - Superstar Sim. From my time with the game, these were some of my favorite settings, as well as our Community Team Up members who previewed the game early and got hands-on impressions. The goal was to make it feel as competitive as possible.
I would advise gamers to play on this skill level or higher in their MyCareer experiences. It will serve as decent training for Crews.
Incorporating fatigue is a smart approach—even for Crews. It is still basketball, and stamina plays a role in a pick-up game or in the NBA. Depending on the way fatigue is tuned specifically for the mode, it could help to make for the most realistic experience.
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