Here are our gameplay suggestions for things to fix in the next Next-Gen NBA 2K21 Patch. These mainly apply to the multiplayer modes of City / Park, The Rec, and Pro-Am, with a focus on creating a more realistic / ‘sim’ basketball experience, creating a bigger skill gap, and creating more gameplay balance.
1) Nerf Curry Slide Animation Cheese
Probably the most over-used exploit in Next-Gen NBA 2K21, the “Curry Slide” cheese can be spammed too easily with OP results. 2K heralded its ‘increased skill gap’ this year, but this move decreases the skill gap to a point where just about any noob can use this overpowered dribble move.
Predictably, NBA 2K21 Builds in NBA 2K21 are over-saturated with this move, which is usually all the evidence you need that a 2K animation is OP. Nerfing the Curry Slide should have a positive domino effect of players having to look for other dribble moves to use and we may see more variety of dribble moves in the game.
2) Increase Shot Contest Effectiveness
It is still just a videogame, but one of the worst elements of virtual basketball is when things that “shouldn’t happen” (relative to IRL basketball) happen too often in the game. When you do everything right, when you play good defense and get a good shot contest, you should be rewarded for it. That’s not always the case in NBA 2K21. That’s why shot contests should be looked at by 2K and tweaked so that good defense is appropriately rewarded. Of course the success rate should also factor in a player’s Perimeter Defense attribute and the offensive player’s shooting prowess.
3) Nerf Over-Dribbling in Rec & Pro Am
Over-dribbling in Rec and Pro-Am has gone on since its inception, aided by the Handles for Days Badge. It’s debatable whether this badge should even be in the game, as it encourages more ball hogging and less ball movement in multiplayer modes. But at minimum, this badge should be refined by 2K to more accurately represent basketball and dribbling. This badge is an enabler for boring, but commonly used, 5-out basketball where the ball handler just spams dribbling moves over and over, hiding behind a screen, and waits to trigger some advantageous animation. The yin-yang counter-move to that type of gameplay should be that dribbling fatigue sets in, but this badge removes a lot of the risk, which fundamentally changes how entire teams strategize their gameplay.
4) Completely Remove Bots in Rec
New to Next-Gen NBA 2K21 was the addition of Artificial Intelligence bots in Rec while waiting in the locker room to start games. We can’t win ’em all, but this idea was on the level of Pushing in the Park of bad ideas.
With the shortage of Xbox Series X | S and Playstation 5 consoles, which resulted in less of a user base, we do understand why this was put in the game over concerns of wait times. But with stores restocking and the Christmas surge, we think this experiment has run its course.
When the game launched, AI’s started out at an abysmal 60 overall, playing like brainless zombies that players predictably took advantage of. With a recent patch, bots were upgraded to 85 OVR, but they still remain too much of a liability in Rec, especially on defense. More players would probably be happy to wait a little longer for a 4th and 5th real person, than to get stuck with another AI teammate.
5) Increase Defensive Foot Planting & Movement
Overall, defensive movement was noticeably better when Next-Gen NBA 2K21 launched. It seems after a few updates or patches, defensive movement has gotten a little more sluggish. A bump in defensive foot planting would help improve gameplay balance as well, especially vs the meta demigod 6’7 Power Forward builds.
6) Increase Attribute & Badge Grinding Progress
There are a couple “journeys” currently happening with the 2K Baller:
1) There is the Rep / Attribute / Badge grinding journey, and then
2) There is the “Competition” grinding journey
In the last few years, 2K seems to have gotten away from one of the main things that makes sports and sports videogames great — raw multiplayer competition. Right now what everyone is too focused on is “grinding” i.e. maxing out their player’s attributes and Badges and repping up through the ranks. The problem with that is it’s harder to truly measure who the best players out there are, when many of their builds are not on an equal playing field (or court). Too often the line between “skill” and “best build” are blurred. Is it the player’s organic skill and elite basketball iq, or does he or she just have an OP build? The answers to those questions become murky because many players are on different levels in the Build progress.
So buffing this progress would help the 2K Community and increase raw competition. It may seem counter-intuitive to 2K’s bottom line and revenue stream, but doing this could potentially bring in more revenue, since quicker grinding progress = more extra builds being created = more VC purchases.
It also just adds an unnecessary obstacle to putting a team together to compete and build chemistry with, when some of your teammate’s builds are on significantly different levels, which often results in having to “wait” for teammates to grind out their builds. This basically results in having to wait on seeing your squad’s full potential with maxed out builds, rather than focusing more on increasing team chemistry and team strategy.
So especially in light of the emerging esports scene, we think it’d be well-received within the community if 2K tried harder on striking a good balance between the “Grind” and the “Comp”.
7) Increase Skill Gap in Pro Am by Removing ‘Training Wheel’ Type Features
Pro-Am is an esport now and people wager real money over these matches, so we think the gameplay should be looked at even more to produce a mode that stresses a bigger skill gap and simulation. A couple features can be seen as “training wheel” type features that should be looked at by 2K:
Pass Target Openness
A little known secret in the Pro-Am community is over-using the ‘Pass Target Openness’ feature in Controller Settings. This is basically a training wheels type feature, which automates passing decision-making. Why need court vision when the game can do it for you? For a game and a mode that’s an esport, it’s long past due to remove this feature from the more competitive Pro-Am mode.
Who to Guard Arrow
The ‘Who to Guard Arrow’, found in Controller Settings, is another feature that could be axed to promote more organic skill and a bigger skill gap in Pro-Am. If players don’t know who to guard in the most competitive 5v5 multiplayer mode, that should be their own liability vs players who do know where to go and how to rotate.
It can also have a positive effect by being less of a visual distraction on the court and promote more team defense concepts.
8) Nerf / Remove OP & Unrealistic Shooting Badges
There are multiple shooting badges that should be re-examined by 2K, with the bigger question of asking if some of these badges should really even be in a simulation basketball game, or at minimum be toned down:
Circus Threes Badge
Along with the Curry Slide, Fade 3’s – made possible by the clown-faced Circus Threes Badge – is a top over-used and unrealistic exploit in Next-Gen NBA 2K21. It just shouldn’t be in the game and should have never been created as a badge, as it is super rare in real basketball, completely unrealistic, and OP in NBA 2K21. It just makes the game look and play very arcade when players are doing fade-away 3’s throughout the game, and are rewarded by it.
Deep Threes Badge
Of course there are a few players who have insane deep shooting range in NBA history, notably Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, and Trae Young, but it is far from common in NBA history, nor is it a particularly high percentage shot (or nowhere near how consistently it’s successful in 2K). These players and shots are still outliers, which raises the question of how much of “outlier” / rare skills should be represented in 2K? For example, there were and are players in the NBA at a height of 7’4″ or taller, but a decision was made by 2K to make the NBA 2K21 MyPLAYER Builder more reflective of more common heights, by capping height at 7’3″. So although players like Curry have insane range, players like him and the actual taking of those shots are still very uncommon. The Deep Threes Badge also has a ton of impact on the actual gameplay and how squads strategize, by paving the way for effective 5-out sets with the insane amount of spacing on the court it creates.
The Deadeye Badge is another badge we think that should be re-thunk by NBA 2K21. While of course there are players in the real NBA and real basketball that can routinely make contested jump shots, it doesn’t make sense that having a player contest a shot can actually boost the success rate of a shot.
9) Nerf Badge Stacking
“Badge Stacking” is when multiple badges are combined into one play to create a “super boost” in NBA 2K21. Although it started out as a good idea, the problem with badge stacking is that it quickly gets beyond the limit of a realistic end-result when multiple “boosts” are stacked together to trigger a completely unrealistic combination of ratings. For example, if you combined: Special Delivery Badge (which should be nerfed as well) + Deep Threes + Catch & Shoot + Corner Specialist + Dimer + a 90 3PT shooter etc etc .. you can see how the attribute boosts can get beyond any result of realistic percentages. There should be more limits to how many badges can stack, especially for shooting.
10) Fix Invisible Players Bug / Glitch
Invisible players is a bug in NBA 2K21 that some users have been reporting, and should likely be addressed by 2K in an upcoming patch.
I can’t play with an Invisible player pic.twitter.com/Eq32OasoT1
— Magic (@shawn_ve) January 8, 2021
Let us know if you agree or disagree with this list or have other things you want to see patched in NBA 2K21 Next-Gen!