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Change the VC System for the NBA 2k Series

Diese Petition hat 66 Unterschriften erreicht


This Petition is a product of the discussion surrounding the use of VC (that is Virtual Currency, a form of artificial currency) in the NBA 2k series since it was introduced in NBA 2k14 on the next gen consoles based in a thread of the Operations Sports Forum (http://www.operationsports.com/forums/nba-2k-basketball/891887-vc-issue-perfectly-put-words.html 

I did not start the discussion but, with the consent of most of the advocates for a change in this particular forum, I have taken it upon myself to draft a petition to effect change that would benefit the gamers and therefore in the long run the games themselves and the company that develops the game (Visual Concepts) as well as its publishers (2k Sports and Take-Two Interactive software, the names of the heads of these studios are attached to this petition). 

For everyone who knows the game and the VC System this next part will not be of interest and you should skip to the end, if you are new to the game series, new to the game in general or have not heard of the VC System within the game I would urge you to read the next paragraphs.

Firstly it will be important to set out what VC is and how VC is used in the game before presenting our points of complaint as well as our suggestions for a solution. VC is the short form for Virtual Currency. This is an artificial online currency that can be gained during several of the modes of the games themselves. It can be attained by playing MyGM, MyLeague, MyTeam, MyCareer and MyPark. You can also gain VC my using the free mobile app that 2k Sports provides every year. This is capped at 2.000 VC per day which is mostly unobtainable.

You can also buy VC for around 0,000398 Cent per VC. That equals out to 1,99 for 5.000 VC

 Usually the way a player earns VC is by playing the game itself, higher VC will be awarded for better results e.g. winning, getting a certain number of rebounds, points, assists, steals, blocks, dunks, making shots in general and so forth (if you are unfamiliar with these terms please refer to Wikipedia as the petition would get to detailed if I would have to explain basic termini of the game of basketball). The VC you earn will be saved online on a server for the game and is then given to the VC account that is connected to your Steam/PS4/XBOX or 2k Account. You lose during games if you lose the game, miss shots, produce turnovers and so forth.

In the game VC is mainly used for the MyCareer mode and MyPark mode. Those two modes are connected. MyCareer allows you to create your own player and take part with him in a story complete with cut scenes that stretches over about one NBA season. After that you can still play the mode but there will be no more story elements so to speak of. This mode is a single player experience. MyPark is an online multiplayer experience that allows you to take your created player onto an online basketball park (of which there are several different ones) to play against other players online in pickup 2vs2, 3vs3 and 5vs5 games. In those modes you use VC to increase your players rating, meaning his skills on the court. You also use VC to buy so called badges for your player. These badges are specialisations if you will that allow you to improve your player in a very specific area e.g. making him a better rebounder, shot blocker, a better scorer from certain areas of the floor etc. Furthermore you use VC in these modes to buy accessories such as tattoos, clothes for cut scenes and for the park as well as shoes, different animations e.g. Steph Curry’s jump shot animation, Lebron James’ crossover and so forth. You can also use VC in MyGM. This is a mode that allows you to take over a team as their general manager. Here VC is used to buy sort of sales pitches to players and coaches alike to get them to sign for your team, take less money or stay on a year longer. You can earn those sales pitches via another system called XP but that usually takes a very long time especially since XP also allows you to buy upgrades to your medical facility and other more important areas which most players will choose over sales pitches.

To give the reader an idea of how much VC can be earned and how much the average item costs I will provide some examples taken from the game itself. I have taken these examples directly from the game.

A sales pitch in MyGM: ranges from 750 VC to 1.500 VC depending on its “strength”.

Headwear (e.g. baseball caps and the likes) for MyPark: between 250 and 2.000 VC

Legwear for MyPark: between 50 and 5.000 VC

Armwear for MyPark: between 10 and 5.000 VC

Legwear for NBA/ProAM: between 50 and 5.000 VC

NBA/ProAM Arm Wear: between 10 and 5.000 VC

NBA/ProAM Headwear (two sweatbands): 1.000 VC

ProAM/MyPark Adidas shoes: between 1.000 and 2.000 VC

ProAM/MyPark Nike shoes: between 1.000 and 3.000 VC

ProAM/MyPark Reebok shoes: between 1.500 and 3.000 VC

ProAM/MyPark Jordan shoes: between 2.000 and 4.000 VC

ProAM/MyPark Under Armour shoes: between 1.750 and 2.500 VC

MyPark Special shoes: between 500 and 2.500 VC

MyPark Tops (t-shirts and polo shirts and the like): between 300 and 2.000 VC

MyPark Bottoms: between 300 and 1.000 VC

MyNBA team store items: between 750 and 3.500 VC

Mitchel and Ness clothing: between 1.200 and 5000 VC

(The MyPark gear is the gear you will wear in cut scenes during MyCareer)

You can earn clothes during MyCareer but those clothes do not transfer to another career and have to be earned again or bought. The bought clothes do transfer between careers.

NBA Gameplay moves (including jump shot animations and dunk packages from various NBA players and Hall of Famers): range between 10 and 4.000 VC for jump shots, between 50 and 500 VC for free throws, between 500 and 2.500 VC for layups,

NBA celebration (there are 5 and the player can equip up to 4 per situation): 1.000 VC per celebration

NBA Rituals (there are two): between 500 and 5.000 VC

MyCourt (this is your home base in the MyCareer mode) Wall murals: 1.500 VC

MyCourt Floors: 350 to 2.000 VC

MyCourt other (balls, nets, backboards and the likes): between 350 and 3.500 VC (for a denim ball)

MyPark jewellery (watches and the likes): between 500 and 6.000 VC (for a watch)

MyPark Swag (I do not know what this is and it hasn’t yet been filled)

Tattoos (that you can use once and then have to buy again): between 100 and 1.500 VC

MyPlayer Attrubute Upgrades: between 200 VC for one level in the lower levels and 5.000 VC for a single upgrade onto the highest possible level

MyPlayer Attribute Boosts (those allow you to boost your level in areas in which you have already upgraded your player to the maximum for one game by 5 points in one category): 200 VC per game or 1.200 VC for all attributes for one game

MyPlayer Badge Upgrades: 1.000 VC for the silver version

Gatorade Boost (those boost your stamina for one game): The bottle you need to use them in the first place costs 3.500 VC and plus 500 VC for the drink to load into the bottle but you can get 10 for 3.500 VC, 500 VC for a protein bar or a Gatorade Bar or a bottle of Gatorade and 3.500 VC for 10 of each

Park Cards: Either 1.000 VC or 2.000 VC

To give you an idea of how much VC you can earn:

The mobile app is capped at 2.000 VC a day. 1.500 maximum from a card game which lets you choose three cards from a deck of several cards that are face down. You can get a maximum of 250 VC and if you manage to get three 250 VC cards you get a matching bonus that doubles the cards value to 1.500 VC. This happens for the 100 VC, 125 VC, 150 VC and 200 VC cards as well. You can earn up to an additional 500 VC with card games against other players a day.

A game in MyCareer will vary in terms of the “pay-out”. You get between 100 and 500 VC from your contract depending on the opposition team you play. You get VC from your team grade that you gain for playing good basketball, passing, setting screens, scoring, assisting, defending, rebounding etc. The maximum here is 500 for the game and an A+ rating. If you manage to score in the double digits and rebound or assist there as well and get some other stats as well you might manage around 250 VC for these stats. This is combined into your total for the game. In the best case this would be around 1.250 VC for a game on normal difficulty. If you player on a higher difficulty than pro a modifier will adjust your earnings, in case of the highest difficulty Hall of Fame this will be twice what you earned. Which means our example will give you 2.500 VC. You might also receive endorsement money and you might also receive small rewards from Accolades but, at least in the first season, that is not extremely regular income. In the best case scenario therefore you might gain 3.000 VC. On average this equals out more to 1.500 VC per game. The average gamer will need to play 10 minute quarters at least to gain the necessary teammate grade and the necessary stat line to achieve this so this is what we will use for the following calculations.

Now your MyPlayer for the Career Mode, ProAM mode and MyPark mode will start out rated a 56. You will need around 140.000 to 150.000 VC to reach your first cap, that is the first limitation of your skills. You only get 80 of a possible 100 upgrades from the start. The rest you will have to earn through a practice mode called “Doin’ the work”. If you gain those and are able to upgrade further you will need around 240.000 – 250.000 VC all in all to upgrade your player to the best he can be. To finish this section of and before we get into the meat of the petition I would like to give you an example of how long that will take you or took and takes us:

We said that an average gamer will need to play 10 minute quarters to average around 1.500 VC per game. Let’s say you play 30 minutes per game and add another 10 minutes for cut scenes and loading times. That brings us to 40 minutes a game. At 1.500 VC per game you will need to play around 100 games to upgrade your player to the maximum before upgrades. That’s around 4.000 minutes or roughly 67 hours, not taking into account other loading times, practices, cut scenes that are not skippable and other things. Say you would like to get to 95. That would take you another 60 games or so, 2400 minutes or 40 hours. That brings your total up to 107 hours. That does not account for practice sessions to get the upgrades, loading times, cut scenes and other non-skippable stuff. So if we add those you might be looking at 150-160 hours before you actually have a maxed out player and that excludes playing MyPark, ProAM or MyGM since you do not have time for it.

A normal gamer like yourself might have at maximum 3 hours a day to game if he works and has a family or other obligations even less, but we will calculate with 3 hours for the sake of argument. This would mean that you would need around 53 days or nearly two months without playing anything else to actually get a player rated this high, without upgrading badges, buying animations, clothes or whatever. Just for your upgrades.

To put this into perspective:

The Witcher 3 the largest open world role playing game so far has a core content of around 120 hours (including all quests, side quests, treasures and what not). The first DLC Hearts of Stone added around 15-20 hours a game, the second DLC Blood and Wine added maybe around 40 hours. That brings this game to 180 hours set in the biggest world (around five times the size of TES Skyrim if you count the DLC) that has ever been seen in gaming history. NBA 2k17 expects from you to invest as much time into playing basketball every day for two months to level one player to a 95 without anything else besides and playing nearly 2 full basketball seasons.

But wait… there is another way and we finally arrive at the meat of the petition. The other way is to buy VC, which I mentioned earlier. The prices are thus (in Euro for me):

5000 VC 1,99

15.000 VC 4,99 (you get 2.500 for free)

35.000 VC for 9.99 (you get 10.000 VC for free)

75.000 VC for 19.99 (you get 25.000 VC for free)

200.000 VC for 39.99 (you get 75.000 VC for free)

450.000 VC for 89.99 (you get 200.000 VC for free) this pack is also designated as the best value pack

The game itself is sold for between 40.00 and 59.99 Euro in the basic Version.

The Legend edition is sold for around 69.99 (includes 35.000 VC)

The Legend Gold edition is sold for 89.99 and includes 100.000 VC (or around 30 Euro worth of VC)

From here on out people interested in signing the petition and supporting our cause who also have a prior knowledge about the VC system can start reading again.

Now two things are already fairly obvious here. Firstly, the best value pack is 250.000 VC for 89.99 with 200.000 VC on top for free. Isn’t between 240.000 and 250.000 VC the number we actually had to gain in order to fully maximize our player? And there is another version of this at 39.999 125.000 VC with 75.000 VC for free on top of that. That seems to be close to the number we had for the initial boost to an 85 or 86.

What this petition claims is that the use of VC in this game has gone on too long, it has penetrated every layer and mode of the game, so much so that whole modes feel like they are designed around the sale of VC and not the other way around. The next paragraphs will provide examples for these claims.

1.    The only way to actually earn the required VC is a monotonous hours long grind day, after day, after day. It’s not fun; it’s not in any way rewarding. It is a grind that can take up to 170 hours which is absolutely insane and ridiculous and therefore we claim that this is intentionally designed this way to encourage more gamers to buy VC instead of losing their minds or simply giving up. This is absolutely not acceptable in a game that is fully priced and sold at the same and higher prices than most AAA titles.

 

2.    The Story itself is designed in a way that gives you subtle and not so subtle hints that you might want to start buying VC. You are given the impression that you start out as the best player in high school, a sure fire number one or at least top 10 pick yet you are given only a 56 rating from the start. To put that into perspective, the weakest player in the NBA is a free agent rated a 61 by 2k Sports and Visual Concepts. You are supposed to be a star but are by far worse than this player who doesn’t even have a team at 24 years of age. You should be better, you do not have the VC yet and you won’t earn it in college. So what else is there but to buy it?

 

3.    Your teammate in the NBA around which the story centres this year is called Justice Young. He is a second round draft pick rated at a 69. You are not a second round draft pick, you are supposedly a first round pick but are rated a 56 and are supposed to be a star, yet this player is better than you. He also develops extremely fast. By 20 games into the season he is rated around an 89. By 20 games into the season you will have maybe earned 50.000 VC which maybe brings you to around 69 if you are lucky, nowhere near your supposed status or that of your teammate and supposed running mate on the court. What to do? Well buy VC obviously.

 

4.    Apart from the story itself there are several subtle little hints. The first one is that you no longer upgrade your players attributes and badges in a in game menu but in what is called the 2k Store. Once you enter the store you will notice that the default setting of the cursor is not on the upgrades menu or even the clothes menu but on the purchase VC button. This is default and it will be there every time you enter. You also do not buy upgrades you place them into a virtual shopping cart which lets you even add more than you have VC for and prompts you to then buy VC to make this purchase instead of simply telling you that you have to remove the item from the cart because you do not have enough VC for it or not let you place the item into the shopping cart to begin with.

 

5.    Everything costs VC this year. Animations that were free last year are now behind a paywall as well. Everything NBA related costs VC. Every Item of clothing, every tattoo, every jump shot, everything. You do not get to keep clothes for other careers that you have gained through playing, you either have to gain them back or buy them back. Your clothes purchases carry over to other careers but not your animations purchases, meaning you have to buy them again with VC. The price for the badge upgrades has been doubled compared to NBA 2k15 and the average output of the free mobile app has been halved. The VC gain for games, even on the highest difficulty, has also been lowered.

 

6.    Since from the start of this years’ NBA 2k release MyPark and its leader boards are crowded with gamers’ characters rated in their 80’s and 90’s it is pretty much obvious that if you want to have any chance of competing online you need to buy VC straight away or you won’t be able to compete for months.

 

7.    There is no proper offline MyCareer anymore. Last year you were still able to buy animations with so called SP (offline VC or skill points) this year there is no possibility to do that anymore. No clothes and no animations.

 

8.    Since NBA 2k15 on PC and NBA 2k14 on consoles there has never been a conscious effort by the games developers and publishers to allow users to transfer the VC they earned but did not use to the newer game. VC is VC. VC isn’t called 2k16 2k15 or 2k14 VC. It’s VC, it’s still there as it is connected to our accounts. There is no reason but greed to deny us this.

 

These are just several examples that serve to paint a picture, especially when one compares the insane prices for items as well as for upgrades to what you can earn, even when playing the game for hours and hours. This is pay2win and pay2lookgood at its finest and it’s sickening to us gamers to be treated this way by a company that charges 50 bucks or more for their game. Here is what we call for:

1.    MyCareer is a single player experience. If you will not remove VC from the game itself then we ask for the separation of MyPark and MyCareer. Have one player for MyPark and ProAM that can only be levelled online and another entirely for MyCareer Let us either go back to skill points or find some other way to let us gain attributes. No pay2win in a single player mode. There are plenty of fine ideas how to introduce a system that upgrades your skills based on your in game performance and practice challenges. Implement those. Tattoos and clothes for MyCareer are essential cosmetic augmentations to create you within the game. These should be free to use from the start of each career mode with special clothes to be gained through endorsements and contacts not any form of currency.

 

2.     VC should be limited to buy non-essential stuff. If you remove it from MyCareer or separate MyCareer and MyPark we ask for it to be purely usable there to buy clothes and jewellery and the like not skills, badges or upgrades. Those should be gained through playing the game and beating other players. VC limited to those areas are fine with us and fine if you continue to sell them.

 

3.    Remove VC from MyGM and MyLeague. It has no purpose there. It should not be there neither gained nor to buy anything. Remove it from there completely.

 

4.    Give us the option to start MyCareer with a 70 or 75 rating as to match the story arc.

 

5.    Start a loyalty bonus for MyCareer and allow players with connected accounts based on their careers in older versions of the game to gain free upgrades right from the start and save players MyPark character so that their rating and reputation is not lost when a new version of the game comes out.

 

6.    If the responsible people cannot in any way see the light and remove VC more or less entirely from the game, we at least petition to be given our VC from previous instalments of the games, to be transferred to our current account including the pre-order bonus VC for last years’ version of the game.

Overall the biggest concern we have and the biggest change we ask for is for the NBA 2k series not to use VC anymore in any way to gain skills since it means that the game creates a two class system. Gamers with around 50 Bucks on top of the 50 Bucks for the game who can afford to buy their way to greatness while other would need weeks and months to get to where those players are right from the start. It not only lessens the fun for several game modes but it’s also infuriating for people who have been through this grind every year since 2k14.

If you feel the same way that we do, please undersign this petition and support us as well as spreading the word via social media and forums. Let 2k now as well that we are here and we won’t be going away until this is resolved.

 

 

 



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