If you're a franchise-mode sports gamer, 2K Sports' latest announcement about NBA 2K16's additions to MyLeague and MyGM will make you smile. On Wednesday, the NBA 2K Twitter account tweeted this news and link to a megaton of information:
Because there's so much awesomeness in these returning modes, it's hard to pick a place to begin. Almost every aspect of the new features offers great quality. MyLeague was already the quintessential multi-player franchise mode, while MyGM was among the best single-player franchise modes ever created. It appears both have become even stronger.
Most of the features revealed will touch MyLeague and MyGM, so we'll start off with the details and break down the few differences between the modes as we go.
Those two words are music to a franchise gamer's ears. Having the option to move a team from one city to the next is a dream come true. It feels like executive producer Erick Boenisch and Co. were eavesdropping a conversation my brother and I had when I was just 11 years old.
Back then we dreamed about this type of functionality and customization. This year, NBA 2K16 is making it come true. Don't get it twisted, NBA 2K isn't the first game to offer team relocation. Madden 15 had it last year, but with all due respect to EA Sports' virtual football juggernaut, it wasn't half as deep as what 2K Sports is bringing with NBA 2K16.
It starts with selecting a city. Thankfully, there are more than just a few towns to choose from. Ronnie Singh of 2K Sports says there are approximately 60 options in a Twitch live stream that debuted on Wednesday.
As Boenisch writes:
We have created complete metro profiles for most of the big North American cities. These profiles include the population of the metropolitan area, the income of the people residing in this area, and how many TV homes there are in the market. We take these numbers and boil them down into three very simple meters for you:
- How the Median Income of the market affects the future financial success of your franchise.
- The overall population of the metropolitan area in comparison to other relocation city options.
- The overall fan interest of you moving your team to their city.
As you can see from the map pictured below, you can even move a team to Honolulu, Hawaii.
You can build your arena in a downtown or suburban area. There are pros and cons to both, but how it fits your organization relates to several other factors such as the other teams in the area and more.
Once you have chosen the city you want to move to, the process isn't over—at least not in MyGM. Things work a little easier in MyLeague, but more on that later.
You'll need your owner's approval to relocate the team. The owner will support the move, but he'll require you to help generate some dough in various areas to help facilitate the skip to a new market. That's where the real fun begins.
Logo, Uniform and Arena Design
Yes, you read that right. You can now re-design the entire identity of a team upon moving them. The logo options are bananas. You can choose from one of the pre-loaded logos or even keep the same one as the team you're moving.
You can also use the 2K website to upload an image that will be used as your team's new logo. Stay classy, NBA 2K community. I'm sure there will be a team of folks editing out all the inappropriate images.
Those images you select or upload can be placed throughout your custom arenas and on your uniforms. This is reminiscent of the Team Builder application that was used on the old NCAA Football series and on WWE 2K15. In any case, it's an exciting addition.
It was first introduced for the game's 2K Pro-Am mode. Here's a look at the video that demonstrates its options from 2K on YouTube:
Many may have wondered if it would be included in other modes in the game. We now have our answer. Boenisch wrote:
"How your team looks and feels on the court is a big piece of the relocation process, and we wanted to make sure you feel rewarded for your hard work and efforts in relocating your team."
Application Accepted or Nah
In MyGM, just because you submit an application doesn't mean it will be accepted. Once the league office approves your application, it still has to go before the relocation committee. That group is made up of NBA owners.
They may not want to allow you to move a third team to the N.Y. area. Boensich explains, you can always expect to have the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets owners to vote against a relocation project such as that. However, you will have an opportunity to try to sway the opinions of owners.
Your proposal can be strengthened through the conversation modules that were previously included in the mode.
If your team is allowed to relocate, that could mean the league is in for realignment. The MyGM and MyLeague system is built to properly align the teams in the NBA's six divisions and two conferences to keep schedules balanced.
That is insanely good. You can see an example of realignment that took place in the image below. Someone should be taken to task for moving my Chicago Bulls to Los Angeles.
Offseasons in sports video games are about two things: functionality and presentation. If the systems work properly and realistically, and the events are presented in an exciting and engrossing manner, the offseason works.
Presentation was decent in previous NBA 2K offseasons, but the functionality was hit and miss. There were questionable decisions made by CPU-controlled GMs, and the salary cap was not realistic.
Per Boenisch, that will change this year. He wanted to allow CPU-controlled teams to be "forward thinking." This year's game will feature teams that have several different organizational philosophies.
Some teams may be in a win-now mode, others may be looking to the future. Per Boenisch, the CPU general managers will be true to their team's current situation. This will show in the ways the team drafts, deals with free agents and the trades it accepts and pursues.
There's now a "team state" characteristic for every club in the league. That will serve as the pulse that will tell you how to interact with them. While the team state is valid on one day or in one season, it can change with a team's success or failure.
The lottery has been redone. There's now more drama and presentation added to the process. This change is done to create the suspense that most of us enjoy while watching the lottery unfold.
Once the order is set, the actual draft won't change much. That's a good thing, because the draft in NBA 2K has always been awesome. However, we will now have the ability to simulate the picks that aren't human controlled a bit quicker. The first three picks in the draft will get a special presentation.
Here's a look at a screenshot that likely shows off that concept.
This will be available in both modes. However, anyone who has been in a draft with multiple human-controlled teams can tell you it's a blast. For that reason, the new additions can probably be best appreciated in MyLeague.
Madden had the staff carousel years ago and it worked well. It's great to see the concept in NBA 2K as it is just as much a part of NBA action as it is in the NFL.
As should be expected, 2K did the concept a bit bigger than EA Sports did with Madden. In NBA 2K16, you can attempt to poach assistants and head coaches from other teams. Just like in the NBA, you'll have to request permission to speak with them about an opportunity.
If you can get it and convince the coach to join the organization, it's a win. You will also see players work their way up to coaching staffs after their playing careers. They can even become general managers after several seasons.
Summer, Summer, Summertime
This was announced weeks ago, but we learned the details on Wednesday.
Before your season begins in MyLeague and in MyGM, your team will be invited to either the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas or the 2K Summer League.
The setup is similar to the real-life NBA Summer Leagues. You'll see your top rookies, young players and even older players competing for a shot to make a roster or simply to hone their skills.
2K Hoops Summit
One of the coolest offseason events NBA 2K16 has included is the 2K Hoops Summit. Not many people are talking about this on social media, but it's really ingenious and very realistic.
The 2K Hoops Summit is obviously supposed to be similar to Nike Hoops Summit. If you're not familiar with that event, it's a showcase of the top American and international players who have not yet gone to college.
It seems 2K is spinning the idea a bit and including prospective college players from their randomly generated draft classes, or the 2K community's shared creation. Within a MyGM or MyLeague, 2K Hoops Summit serves as a preview of the top players coming into the NBA in your next draft.
This game just keeps sounding better every second.
SimCast was an awesome simulation system in NBA 2K15, but NBA 2K16 will introduce SimCast Live. What's the difference?
SimCast Live allows you to coach and make decisions while the game is being simulated. Players are represented on the court by chips with their faces on them.
You're able to direct strategy and push certain on-court initiatives as opposed to just watching everything unfold in text. The chips will move and offer a more lively and interactive experience.
You can also jump in and out, and back in again if you ever want to take control of the sticks. Also, the original SimCast is still available.
Anyone who played MyLeague on NBA 2K15 knows the mode was extremely deep. There was nearly unrivaled customization and for the most part, excellent functionality. For those who aren't aware, MyLeague allowed you to customize your own NBA with 1-30 human-controlled teams. The teams that weren't human controlled were run by the CPU.
You could set season and postseason series' length, the minutes in quarters, injury frequency, salary-cap details, difficulty and more. You could even begin the season with a fantasy draft using the most updated rosters, or my personal favorite, a custom roster that can include created, current and classic players.
This year, all of that has been made available to gamers in an online format. Translation: You and up 30 people can vie for supremacy in your own completely customized online league. You'll have to give me a moment, my contact lenses are getting misty.
MyLeague Online will offer flex scheduling to help to facilitate a league that flows smoothly. All leagues are only open to the person who starts the MyLeague and whomever he or she invites. Boenisch expounded on the invite-only concept:
"All leagues are private, invite-only leagues, so we can ensure you get exactly the experience you want with your friends."
The coolest thing about MyLeague—besides the customization—was being able to extend it out 80 seasons. Originally, it didn't seem as though that would be possible in MyLeague Online.
The original details from 2K read as follows:
The core experience is a single season mode, but there is an offering to extend your league into a second season if everyone wants to run it back. Once the season is done, the Admin has the option to restart the league with the end-of-season rosters (meaning, all trades you made in season 1 will carry over into season 2). Think of it as a new season without the happenings of a standard NBA offseason.
Aside from limiting online MyLeaguers to two seasons, it also seemed as though there would be no offseason as well.
Singh quickly dispelled the miscommunication concerning the number of continuous seasons in this tweet:
That's well and good, but it doesn't address the lack of a draft and free-agent period. Those are two huge components in any franchise mode, and both will be missed in MyLeague Online. Hardcore gamers with an imagination could do their own free-agent period manually and just restart their leagues rather than continuing them.
That way, they could upload custom rosters with their own rookie classes and free-agent moves. It's a lot of work that many may not want to do.
Boenisch seemed to leave the door open for some additional changes to the settings and options. We'll see how much fleshing out of the offseason in MyLeague Online is done in the future.
Team Relocation in MyLeague
MyLeague does indeed feature team relocation, but you don't need to go through the whole approval process to do it. Simply move any team(s) to any city you want. It's that simple.
Do you have any idea what that means for a custom-league freak like myself?
It means I create my own league with 30 new teams, that have their own logos, arenas, etc. The system will even automatically realign the new teams geographically.
This can't be real.
Other Important Details
- Three-Team Trades – Finally, this much-needed feature has returned and should make for some interesting deals.
- Multiple Injuries – For the first time in any sports video game I can recall, players can have two injuries at the same time.
- Player Lock – This underrated feature has also returned to MyGM and MyLeague. You can now choose to take control of one player on the team and play only as him, or as one position. It's like the Create-A-Legend mode without the goals.
- Slider City – Sliders are awesome, and MyGM and MyLeague have a ton of them. You can alter just about everything in gameplay, league setup, injury settings, salary-cap details and more. Best of all, you can save them for future MyLeagues and MyGMs or share them with the 2K community.
- Long-Term Owner Goals (MyGM) – This one is just for MyGM, but it does encourage a longer experience with the mode. Previously, all of the goals could be completed in a season, and then owners had to get new ones at the beginning of each year. Now, you'll be given goals that take a few years to complete.
- Stats Galore – NBA 2K15 already had great stat tracking, but in line with what's becoming a recurring theme here, NBA 2K16 is taking it a step further. One example given by Boenisch is the inclusion of the individual defensive field-goal percentage stat. These guys are serious.
- Turn off Autosave – Autosave is not always a good thing. NBA 2K15 fans found that out last year. This year you have the option to turn it on or off.
- MyLeague Automation – In NBA 2K15, you could control all 30 teams in the league, but you had to handle every aspect of the running of the organization. This year, you can alter the settings of each team to the level of control desired.
Catch Your Breath
In a nutshell, MyGM and MyLeague in NBA 2K16 make the game appear to be an absolute classic in the making. It's hard to imagine a game with so many options being a failure.
NBA 2K15 was a crowning achievement, though it had some hiccups in the beginning. Even if some of the same issues were to rear their head this time around, this feature set is so tight, the game would still be a success.
To think that this laundry list of features only touches two of the available modes in the game is mind-blowing. If you love sports video games, NBA 2K16 should be atop your must-have list.
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