2K Sports has released yet another development blog. This time, Associate Producer Peter Cornforth gives us the lowdown on MyTEAM mode. Enjoy:

Big Shoes to Fill

Last December, I took over as the producer for MyTEAM, joining a relatively small team of incredibly dedicated developers. On my first day and throughout my orientation when people found out who I was and what I was going to be doing for the MyTEAM group, they seemed to all say the same thing to me: “You’ve got big shoes to fill.” I started hearing it so much that it became a mantra for me, something that I would internalize, think about as I walked from my car to the hangar each morning and as I lay quietly trying to sleep at night.
myteam-domination
We began the process of designing what would be NBA 2K17 MyTEAM by dissecting each area of the mode. We took a look at every screen, every flow, every pop-up message, every use-case and condition and began to build what we called our road map. The road map is a beastly flow chart that attempts to visualize in one space every possible flow through 6 gameplay modes, pack and box sales, team creation, duplicates, lineup management, card collections, and our auction house. Imagine dumping a bin of Legos into a vat of spaghetti and you’re pretty close to what I’m talking about. Looking at what we had mapped out, I began to seriously question just what I had gotten myself into. Big shoes to fill indeed.

In the Moment

This year we knew that we wanted the game to be totally keyed into what was going to happen in next year’s NBA season. Last year, when Steph won MVP for a second time, when Kobe put up 60 in his final game, when LeBron and Kyrie dropped 40 each in the finals 2K16 MyTEAM had a moment’s card out within the next few days. It was a cool feature and something that the community went nuts over but as I was quickly learning Visual Concepts is not the type of company to leave well enough alone. We knew we could do even better.
One of the first things I was asked to do was to oversee the project to completely overhaul our backend system and processes for releasing new card content. In addition we built new systems that allow us to release new “Moments” challenges as things were happening around the NBA. This year when “it” happens you will not only be able to pull the card out of packs immediately, you’ll be able to jump into MyTEAM and live the moment for yourself.
Spectacular moments aren’t anything new though. As long as there has been basketball there have been buzzer beaters, amazing shots, and spectacular plays. We wanted to reach back through history and feel that connection between current players and the NBA legends whose shoes they are trying to fill themselves. With that in mind, we made the decision to move away from specific years in our historic players’ careers and focus instead on Moments. Some Moments might be as brief as a single game, while others may reflect several years or even an era in the player’s career.
my-team-2
Building a team from current and historic players is totally unique to MyTEAM. It’s such a cool experience to build a team where Ben Simmons and Anthony Davis can play right alongside George Mikan and Sleepy Floyd, or play with a version of Chris Paul when he was crushing it with the Pelicans or Kobe the night he scored 81 points. So, this year we tried to let this theme guide our decision-making process and to help us find a sweet spot that makes the whole mode feel connected to moments of the past while being totally dialed into the upcoming NBA season. And, if the next season is anything like last year’s record-shattering year, we’re going to be in for a wild ride.
Here’s a quick bullet point list of the new features this year. I get into some more detail down below.

What’s new in MyTEAM this year?

  • New Player Overalls and Gem Levels
  • Dynamic Duos
  • Free Agent trial cards
  • Quick Challenges
  • Collection completion rewards
  • MyTEAM Blacktop
  • MyTEAM Online
  • Smarter Matchmaking
  • Stat Tracking
  • The Diamond Board
  • Defensive MT bonuses
  • New Lineup management screen
  • Hall of Fame badges

New Player Overalls and Gem Levels

Let’s start with the cards this year. The first thing we did was squash the stats for every player in the current NBA collection. Wait, hold on, and before you flip over a table because last year’s MVP is rated at an 85 OVR, let me explain why this is actually awesome.
This year we took the concepts of Moments cards and Dynamic Ratings cards and merged them into one. We will be adding new Moments cards more frequently as well as expanding the definition of what constitutes a moment. It could be a player hitting a career high, a rookie having a breakout performance, or a rare occurrences where a player does something unbelievable. As the season progresses, upgraded Moments versions of players will start to appear in our packs. That means that any current player’s ratings can grow throughout the season based on their performance next year, so the sky is the limit and no more negative ratings updates on players. This also allows us to not hit a “ceiling” early when it comes to certain players, with steady progression throughout the year.
Historic NBA player’s ratings are now based on Moments in their career. Sometimes these will be a specific season, but they can reflect an entire era or a specific game. This means that we can pick and choose better versions of historic players. We’ve eliminated all Silver and Bronze level historic players, so every historic player is Gold or above.
This year, card levels will range from Bronze level rookies and bench players trying to break out to Pink Diamond performances engraved in NBA history. In all, we have 9 levels of cards–Bronze, Silver, Gold, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Amethyst, Diamond, and Pink Diamond. Tier colors are directly tied to player OVR ratings.

Dynamic Duos

The Holy Grail around here has been to try to find a way to reflect the magic that some players had when playing together. Those of us old enough can remember Stockton and Malone destroying defenses with their pick and roll game. Both players were great in their own right, but were amazing when they shared the court. Some of you young guns might think of Klay and Steph or KD and Westbrook.
my-team-4
This year we are proud to roll out Dynamic Duos. Player cards containing the Dynamic Duo icon are matched up with another player who is their Dynamic Duo partner. When both players are added to your lineup, they will both get boosts anytime they are on the court together. We went all the way through players’ careers to find pairings drawing from their NBA careers, international play, college, even high school, and much more. There are even a few Duos based on theoretical matchups, because of play styles, or personality. You can have 2 Pairs of Duos active at the same time if all 4 players are on the court then both Duos Bonuses are in effect.

Free Agent trial cards

One of the big pieces of feedback we got from the community last year was that many of the best cards in the game were too hard to get your hands on. This year we wanted to create a trial card for users to test out cards they’re interested in and give everyone a chance to play with some of the best in the league. Free Agent cards are limited use trial cards that give you a chance to try out some of the top players before you get lucky enough to pull them out of packs.
my-team-5
Every MyTEAM user will get to choose from 1 of 5 90 OVR rated Free Agent cards to start out in the mode Russell Westbrook, Kristaps Porzingis, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Lebron James. Each of the superstar players will come with 4 other starters that complement their play style included in the starter pack. As a bonus for finishing your first MyTEAM challenge, you will get another special FA card. Stay tuned to our social media because we will be giving out new Free Agent trial cards throughout the year.

Quick Challenges

Challenges got a complete overhaul this year. You can now jump into a quick challenge offline if you don’t want to commit to a full length game. Challenges will range from quick scenarios to player-specific challenges and offer varying MTP awards. Sometimes you may not have time to play a full game, and having different lengths of Challenges means you can still get a game and some quick MT, even in limited play time.
my-team-6
At launch, we will have two groups of challenges available. Each time you complete a group of challenges, you will earn a Challenge Token. Earn enough Challenge Tokens, and you will earn a prize. New groups of challenges will be released every week, and prizes will improve as you earn more tokens. Plus we will be dropping Moments Challenges throughout the season that will give you the chance to recreate the best moments from the ’17 NBA season.

Collection completion rewards

No more Team Balls as collection complete rewards! We definitely heard loud and clear that you wanted player rewards back for completing collections, so we have obliged. This year when you complete a Current team collection, you can lock them in and be rewarded a Sapphire player card from that team’s Historic franchise. When you complete the Historic franchise, you will get a guaranteed Diamond player.
my-team-7

MyTEAM Blacktop

Our 3v3 Gauntlet mode from last year has been reborn as MyTEAM Blacktop, with some major upgrades. You still get to build a 3v3 streetball squad using one player from your collection plus two more loaner players added randomly. We have an all new outdoor nighttime court with crowd.
my-team-8
This year we’ve added a wheel of players that you get to spin to draft your two random teammates. Players on the wheel will range from Gold tier all the way to Pink Diamonds, no more Silver and Bronze level players on the wheel.
my-team-9
Next, we totally redid the pick boards. We added 10 levels of pick boards and a cool new mechanic for advancing up levels. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
You will have a pick board and a deck of player cards for each of the 10 levels. One player card from your deck is drawn at random and shuffled into the pick board. Selecting the player from the board will “Win” the board causing it to be reset and a new card from your deck will be added. Other cards on the pick board will include coaches, team gear, and consumables just like last year, but we’ve added new game cards to the mix as well.
  • Point cards sink shots. Sink enough shots and you will unlock the next level board.
  • Add a Player card shuffles a second player card into your existing pick board.
  • Reset Lineup unlocks your 10 player lineup and lets you reuse locked players.
  • Technical foul cards will reset your progress on the board.

my-team-10Don’t worry, because once you hit the 10th level of the board, it resets each time, meaning you’ll never run out of games to play. You can see the gem levels of what cards are in your player deck in the bottom corner, and you’ll get a sneak preview each time the deck is reshuffled.

MyTEAM Online

This year, Road to the Playoffs has been renamed MyTEAM Online. Seeds have been replaced by 9 online leagues with designated gem colors. As you win games, you can move up through the leagues and earn a gem crest icon to designate your status in online matchups.
This year, your record will matter as well. Each league has 3 levels of prizing based on your record. You will have the choice each time you win enough games to rank up to collect your prizes, or try the league again for a better record and better prizes. Each game matters this year!
my-team-11
We’re also introducing 3 levels of prestige. Once you complete the Pink Diamond League, you can choose to start all over again from the Bronze League for all new prizes and an upgraded gem crest icon to show off your elite status. We have also upgraded our matchmaking system for much smarter matchmaking that uses factors like skill level and team OVR to make sure every game gets you a competitive match. This allowed us to completely remove lineup restrictions so you can use your best players right from the get go.

Stat Tracking

Another new feature that we are really excited about is stat tracking. You can now check out your stats with every player you’ve played with in a MyTEAM game. Stats are recorded onto each player card and update as you play, allowing you to check out how well you’re shooting from the outside with Kobe or in the lane with Lebron. Stats will persist on a card until you decide to sell or auction it.

The Diamond Board

We’ve also replaced the set player awards for completing MyTEAM Online and Historic Domination with a new feature called The Diamond Board. This year you will get to pick from 6 diamond level players when reaching the top level in each mode. We even have an Amethyst Board when you complete regular Domination with your pick of 1 of 6 Amethyst-level players.

Defensive MT bonuses

In the past most of our in-game MyTEAM point bonuses were based on offensive plays. This year we wanted to give a boost for tenacious D. We’ve introduced a bunch of new defensive bonuses for things like Good Shot Defense, Smart Double Teams, and Multiple Defensive Stops. This year you will have more ways than ever to earn in-game MTP bonuses. Lock up on defense and you’ll find yourself reaching your goals!

New Lineup management screen

Another huge undertaking this year was to totally redesign our Edit Lineup menu. You can now see your entire team including bench players all on one screen. You will have access to all of your edit player tools to add badges, shoes, contracts, and manage your starting five easier than ever before.

Hall of Fame Badges

This year some players will have Hall of Fame badges assigned to them. These badges come assigned to players right out of the pack, and bestow bonuses above even the highest-level upgraded badges. Other badges will still have Bronze, Silver, and Gold level upgradability, but if you want a Hall of Fame badge, you’ll need to track down those rare and unique players that play above the bar.

The Amber tint of Nostalgia

Looking back on this mountain of new features I am amazed by what we were able to accomplish. What seemed like a tangled spaghetti-monster of interconnected features now feels like a slick and streamlined game mode. As a producer I know the long nights and early mornings that it took to pack all of this awesome in and I am bursting with pride at what the MyTEAM group has accomplished. I can’t wait for people to finally get their hands on NBA 2K17 MyTEAM. I hope that those of you out in our community know how much we listen to and appreciate your feedback. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.
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Will Mazgay
Will Mazgay lives in Toronto, Canada. He studied journalism at the University of Toronto, and he has worked as a freelance writer specializing in video games, movies, and television for the past two years. Will has a keen interest in all sports, but he loves baseball and hockey and is a diehard fan of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays. In his spare time, Will enjoys playing rugby, skiing, hiking, camping, reading, gaming, and binge-watching Netflix. Will also loves to travel.