The NBA 2K series features a variety of game modes for its users. This includes MyTeam, MyLeague, and Play Now, to name a few. But over the past few years, MyCareer’s popularity has skyrocketed and has arguably become the centerpiece of the game.
We have seen the mode go through different facelifts, modifications, and experiments, including the introduction of archetypes, badges, new storylines, characters, and more.
NBA 2K20’s MyCareer had some nice features, such as a revamped storyline produced by SpringHill (the production company associated with LeBron James), as well as a rather deep and emotional storyline featuring A-list actors Rosario Dawson and Idris Elba.
So, let’s look into what we want to see from NBA 2K21 and its MyCareer mode.
What we know about NBA 2K21 MyCareer so far
NBA 2K21 is less than a month away from launch, but we haven’t heard a lot of official updates about the new game mode.
Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Here is a look at five potential things that could be added to improve the game mode experience for 2K21 and beyond.
Add female characters and WNBA MyCareer
One of the biggest changes in NBA 2K20 was the addition of WNBA players into the game. For the first time, we were able to use female characters in Play Now, in Season Mode, and play as WNBA teams.
In many ways, this was a huge step forward in bringing more exposure to the WNBA and professional female athletes. At the same time, it played a part in expanding the fanbase for both women’s basketball and the world of sports gaming.
Moving forward, it should only be natural for this to be implemented into the most popular game mode: MyCareer. As we have seen, the female fanbase for NBA 2K continues to grow, so, it would make sense to continue to move in that direction.
Rumors are speculating that the WNBA will be included in 2K21 MyCareer this year. If it holds true, giving players the ability to create female characters in MyCareer should be another new feature added to the game.
Not only would this add another dimension into the 2K series, but could potentially attract even more new fans interested in playing a MyCareer mode revolving around the WNBA.
More realistic AI in MyCareer
Simply put, the AI in NBA 2K20 was not up to par. There were many occasions where we saw the AI make boneheaded or unrealistic plays during MyCareer games.
Prime examples include seeing Giannis Antetokounmpo run to the three-point line on a fastbreak, instead of cutting to the basket for an alley-oop – as he does in real life.
Or Klay Thompson (with a 95 three-point rating) miss multiple wide-open threes every game, even though your play has an 80-plus pass rating and the ‘Dimer Badge’ equipped on Gold or above.
Simply put, the AI in NBA 2K20 did not do a good job of capturing the actual tendencies of NBA players in MyCareer games. Some would even argue that the AI players lacked basic basketball IQ.
For example, AI players were not cutting to the basket or getting open when our players were getting double teamed by opposing defenders. Many players have experienced “what the?” moments in MyCareer.
It’s especially frustrating for those who dedicate hours of grinding in the mode. In a sense, these nuances can severely impede the progress of earning badges and maximizing VC potential.
As a result, this may be a reason why many players neglect playing MyCareer games after upgrading their players to a decent overall, moving on to other more exciting game modes like Park or Rec.
Improving the AI is not a major change by any means, but making AI players a little more basketball-savvy and realistic could help keep players stay more engaged in MyCareer for longer.
Improved defensive assignment system
Another part of MyCareer that could see improvements is the defensive assignment settings.
In 2K20, we still saw assigned match-ups being position-based. In this way, point guards are automatically matched against point guards, with shooting guards vs shooting guards, etc.
In many ways, this match-up system is a bit obsolete, especially when we compare it to the real NBA today. As the league is becoming more of a position-less game, we see players guard outside of their position on a nightly basis.
For example, players like Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard often guard out of their position and are assigned to lock down the other team’s best offensive player.
As of now, MyCareer lacks this feature.
Players have no control over defensive assignments. This is a bit unrealistic, especially if their player is the best defensive player on their team.
It would make more sense for players to have the ability to switch onto the opposing team’s best scorer, or perhaps players should be given the ability to select their match-ups once their defensive ratings reach a certain level.
On so many occasions, we have been stuck watching an AI teammate get torched by Luka Dončić or LeBron James while we are stuck guarding Tim Hardaway Jr or Danny Green.
An improved defensive assignment system would not only make future 2K games more realistic but also keep players more engaged on the defensive side of the floor.
More incentives and rewards for MyCareer games and achievements
Another improvement that could be made is to make MyCareer games and achievements more meaningful with better incentives and rewards.
In 2K20, the game did not give players enough incentive to play hard in events like the All-Star Weekend or the NBA Playoffs. Players had little motivation to go after accolades as there weren’t any extra rewards or incentives attached.
For example, one could earn more VC by showing up to a Nike sponsored event than appearing in an All-Star game or winning an NBA Championship. Quite frankly, there is a bit of disconnect here.
In the real NBA, making it to an All-Star game, winning an NBA title, or the MVP award is a huge accomplishment, and players get rewarded for it.
In NBA 2K, on the other hand, not so much: personal accolades are not really recognized and players aren’t offered rewards or incentives.
As a result, players might simulate though events like the All-Star game or the NBA Finals after upgrading their players to a certain level. This could prove to be a considerable drawback in keeping players engaged in MyCareer for an entire season.
So perhaps giving players extra rewards (VCs, Shoes, Special Clothes, more fans, more Rep Points) for career accomplishments might be something 2K considers adding. Appearing in several All-Star games or winning multiple playoff series should reap greater rewards.
Otherwise, many players might get bored of the game mode too easily and have little incentive to go back to MyCareer games, opting to take their player to the Park or Rec instead.
Other features that 2K might consider could be bringing back the Rival feature in MyCareer games, where players get two-times VC for games against rival teams or rival players.
Or, the game could create targeted goals for players, such as averaging a triple-double or over three blocks per game in a season to earn bonus VC at the end of the campaign.
Many in the community argue that MyCareer games become very monotonous after a while. So perhaps adding incentives and rewards could keep players engaged in MyCareer for multiple seasons.
Expand the offseason mode and story
In the NBA, the offseason is one of the most exciting times of the year. From what we saw in the summer of 2019, it’s fair to say that the off-season has taken a life of its own.
As a matter of fact, many consider the NBA to be a full-year sport with so much going on in the summer; why can’t this be the same MyCareer? Perhaps this is one of the key elements missing in the game mode.
The off-season is rather underwhelming in MyCareer, and it often passes us by with the click of a few buttons.
Implementing a full-blown off-season may be a significant project, but they could start small by adding a few little things to enhance the experience of MyCareer.
Possible additions could be a summer league to boost one’s stats, player reputation, or fan count. Or there could be new opportunities to network or negotiate for some sponsorship deals with more brands.
On another front, the free agent frenzy is another area with a lot of potential. Perhaps something could be added to give players a chance to build rapport with other NBA players or influence potential big-name signings for the following season.
Instead of being so front-loaded, the storyline could be added into the offseason, with actual cutscenes in the summer league, draft, free agent frenzy, or even pick-up games with other pros.
As you can see, the ideas and opportunities to expand are endless. Adding a small portion dedicated to the offseason would give MyCareer so much more life, and possibly keep players in the mode for longer.
Stayed tuned for more details about NBA 2K21’s MyCareer mode when they’re revealed.