NBA 2K17 MyCareer: The Problem with Attribute Caps

Over the years, the NBA 2K franchise has strived to make the most realistic basketball simulation and, without a doubt, their team has done a fantastic job. Player models look spot on, the atmosphere of the various arenas feel authentic, and the broadcast production, from the crew to the television style presentation, looks and sounds like the real deal. The game does not only look the part, but it holds its own in regards to gameplay. No one can shoot three-pointer after three-pointer, nor try to dunk on everyone in sight and expect a positive result.  

Over the past few years, 2K has rewarded the player who knows how to play the game the right way. To the casual observer, it has become increasingly difficult to dictate if the 2K franchise is a video game or an actual telecast. It is truly a marvel to see 2K crew consistently create a better product year in and year out without fail. For all of the 2K team's extraordinary ability to muddy the line between fiction and reality, there is one aspect in particular where the community would like to see realism thrown out the window. By a large margin, the most popular game mode in the 2K series has been MyPlayer/MyCareer mode, which goes without saying.

MyCareer allows players to take control of one a created character for the entirety of his NBA career. Traditionally, the 2K team allowed players to upgrade their MyPlayer however they liked, and an overwhelming majority chose to create virtual demigods of the basketball court. Players had the opportunity to create a character who excelled in each and every category; they could shoot like Steph Curry, dunk like Vince Carter, pass like John Stockton, and defend like Kawhi Leonard. Think of the dominance of a Michael Jordan or a Wilt Chamberlain personified. The community didn't just love that they had the ability to create a once in a lifetime player, but the freedom of choice as well.

Players had the option to create the greatest basketball player of all-time who could isolate each and every play, or a flawed yet realistic player who needed to play team basketball to win. 2K has run with this formula since 2010, and since then, fans have loved the game mode, enticing long-time buyers to keep purchasing the newest edition.

Despite having a winning formula, 2K tried to fix what wasn't broken. In NBA 2K17, players no longer have the ability to create the maxed out behemoths, instead of having to settle for players who have noticeable flaws in their game. As a matter of fact, players barely have the ability to max out any individual attribute.

The days of creating a basketball god are over because 2K has introduced hard caps which put a limit on how much players can upgrade their MyPlayer. Not only do they enforce hard caps, but 2K also disallows players more than one or two attribute groups to which they can max out. The result is that the 2K community now has to create incredibly flawed players who have no chance of resembling anything close to the modern-day superstar.

If a player wants to mold their MyPlayer like Stephen Curry, they realistically have no chance. Curry is not only the best shooter in history, but he has the unique ability to do so off the dribble.  The two-time MVP is also an excellent finisher at the rim, an above-average athlete, by NBA standards, and he can hold his own on the defensive end as well. With 2K's hard caps, it is impossible to create a player like Curry. 2K's Sharpshooter archetype allows players to fully max out the 3PT Shooting and Mid-Range Shooting attribute groups, as well as earn borderline unstoppable outside shooting badges.

Unfortunately, the advantages of a Sharpshooter end there because 2K's hard caps compromise the rest of the attribute groups. As a Sharpshooter, the Layups and Dunks attribute group maxes out at Level 7 out of 25, which is nowhere near the finishing ability of Curry. Players could not possibly shoot off the dribble in the same fashion as Curry either, as the Shooting off Dribble attribute group maxes out at Level 11. The Agility attribute group, which determines attributes such as Speed, maxes out at Level 11, which, yet again, is nowhere near Curry's level.

The MyPlayer has devolved from a generational superstar who redefines the game to a glorified role player who struggles to make contested layups. Other sporting games, such as MLB: The Show and Madden do not enforce these caps in their version of the MyCareer mode, which makes 2K's decision a headscratcher. According to 2K, players still have the ability to become a 99 overall superstar which, in theory, should allow MyPlayers come close to their former glory.

Redditor Amathas looked into the validity of his MyPlayer's rating and discovered that 2K is lying to its consumers about their MyPlayer's real rating. He recorded the attributes of his MyPlayer, then created a player in the settings menu with the same physical and skill attributes. Instead of seeing that this created player had the same rating as his MyPlayer, an 85, he discovered that the rating of this created player was a 72.

To put that in perspective, Nick Collison and Archie Goodwin are 72 overalls in NBA 2K17. 

It's one thing for 2K to enforce hard caps on players, but it's another to lie about the legitimacy of ratings. For all the backlash from the attributes, there is a valid argument on 2K's front, as this nerf to attributes was done specifically with MyPark in mind. Over the past couple of years, the various parks were sprawling with maxed out ball hogs who take away from the fun of the game.  

In response, 2K is creating player caps and forcing players to have a certain archetype, which forces them to play as a team while at MyPark. Chris Smoove released a video discussed this topic as well, saying that 2K is leaning towards an eSports approach where players fulfill certain roles. For online play, this is a smart idea, but 2K could handle the hard caps in a different way before it restricts players who only play the single player mode. Instead of putting a hard cap on offline players, 2K should allow the community to create a separate player for single player and multiplayer. 

Unless 2K releases a major patch, it is unlikely this attribute situation is going to change this year. It's ironic that a game which improves every year somehow simultaneously regresses. Ultimately, video games, not just 2K, are about allowing the player to have fun. To gamers, it wouldn't matter if the graphics were 8-bit or hyper-realistic; if the game is fun to play, consumers will buy it. As the name states, this is MYCareer, and the community should have the ability create their player how they want.

2K can continue to pursue the title of the most realistic sports game on the market, but when it comes to MyCareer, it needs to throw realism out the window and let its community have mindless fun. 


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