NBA 2K19 might be the first time I don’t take 2K’s career mode for a spin. Typically, I attempt to play MyCareer at the start of every 2K season. I get anywhere from 5 to 20 games in before I get bored or frustrated and ditch it. I lead a much happier life playing MyLeague.
And this year, MyLeague is making out to be more in depth than ever. Eric Boenisch — senior producer for NBA 2K19 — broke down down the improvements made to MyLeague1 in an interview with Mazique on Hoops2. He did so, as well, in the annually anticipated MyLeague/MyGM developer blog on Operation Sports.
Let’s run through some of the highlights:
Entertaining As Hell Tournament (Lottery Edition)
NBA 2K19 will continue to expand on their rule change dynamic introduced in MyLeague two years ago. The biggest win from this expansion is the ability to choose which rules will go up for a vote. We were previously bound to the random five rule changes 2K generates.
But the addition that I got the most excited about is the implementation of an idea pervading through basketball interwebs. Specifically, an extrapolation of Bill Simmons’ ‘Entertaining As Hell Tournament’ is a rule change in NBA 2K19 this year.
This isn’t the traditional battle for the last playoff spots Simmons envisioned. Instead this tournament of non-playoff teams will determine the order of the lottery. The concept was written about earlier this year by another Grantland alum, Andrew Sharp.
Draft picks are crucial to building any NBA team. So a shift in the dynamic by which the league determines the order of those draft picks can add a fresh new layer to your MyLeague.
NBA 2K19: Your League, Your Way
The restrictions on customization in MyCareer are becoming game breaking. Despite that, MyLeague continues to make leaps and bounds concerning the depth of the mode’s customizability. In NBA 2K19, we will be able to use sliders to alter almost every mechanic within MyLeague.
And I mean everything.
Feel like players are signing for too much? Change the way teams value players.
Feel like team’s are trading away draft picks for too little in return? Change how the teams value draft picks?
Feel like team’s are getting too smart. Make teams value the player’s “name” more than they value their actual rating.
The “My” in MyLeague has never been such an apt definitive article.
A Dynamic Future
PLAYER SCULPTING IS BACK!!!
One of the best criticisms of 2K I heard last year explained how the gameplay department made a game that the animation department couldn’t quite capture3.
I believe this same dynamic existed between the care the MyLeague department put into its draft class feature and the simplicity of the visual aspects of its Create-A-Player feature.
If you ever managed to get twenty or more years into your MyLeague while playing 2K18, you encountered a beautifully diverse collection of generated basketball players. This is because — in no small part — the depth of 2K’s tendencies and attribute ratings, as well as their Storylines feature.
The only problem: with a limited number of face presets and no mechanic to really edit them in a satisfying way, the players start to all look alike.
With player sculpting back in the mix for NBA 2K19, we can expect depth not only in the variety of players that enter the league, but also with the variety of looks these players have.
NBA 2K19 also added two new features that add some depth to how your MyLeague will change as time moves forward.
The first is a Player Mentorship dynamic that ties to badges.
Want to make sure a young player develops shooting badges? Assign your best shooter as his mentor.
Want Jordan Bell to become a swiss army knife defensively? Make sure Draymond Green stays in his ear.
It’s a small thing, but it may be the thing I most excited to see implemented in the game this year.
Finally, NBA 2K19 will feature a Player DNA piece within it’s Roster and Draft Class Editors. Any aspect of any player in the game — their likeness, their ratings, their tendencies — can be imported into a player or prospect you are creating.
So let’s say you’re editing the 2023 draft class4 and you want to put LeBron James, Jr. in it. You will actually be able to create a version of Bronny based on his dad’s in game player.
I personally can’t wait to draft Canon Curry in 2038.