I have been watching NBA for 14 years now (15 if you count this season). I watched NBA games as a fan, and read the articles/blogs by NBA.com writers (David Aldridge, Steve Aschburner, etc.) regularly. In some sense I am still an amateur but I do consider myself knowing enough (or just enough, to show some humility:D) about the NBA and the way professional basketball is played in general. Needless to say, I play basketball too (though not professionally).
So when I adjust the sliders in NBA2K, trust me I know what I am doing. More or less.
The major problems with default sliders are that
1. The jumpshot success in general is higher than usual,
2. FG% of contested shots is MUCH lower than usual, FG% of open shots is higher than usual
3. The foul frequency is MUCH lower than usual.
2K developers have set it this way because:
1. Gamers will start complaining how hard it is to hit shots when they hit only 40-45% (real-life perimeter players %; a bit higher for big men). Hitting 60-65% in a good game, 50% in bad ones, people feel better, more in control.
2. From a game perspective, the developers have no choice but to reward open shots which you need to put in effort to work for, and punish contested shots. If the game is like reality where open shots don't always go down, and moderately/heavily contested shots sometimes go down, the game would become less predictable and gamers are bound to feel frustrated (it's one thing to feel frustrated while getting paid millions of dollars in real life, it's another thing to feel frustrated in a video game, where you're supposed to have fun).
3. A high foul frequency (like in actual NBA game) would only make gamers complain about getting called for foul too often and having their game flow disrupted (Again, it's one thing to get called for foul for the slightest of contact while getting paid millions, another thing to get called for fouls like that in a video game). As a former ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take", taking first shot opportunity, shooting a quick mildly open shot is how it works in NBA. In NBA2K, however, AI players are programmed to not take wide open shots, often only leads to poor forced shots at the end of 24 second shot clock.
2K developers won't do anything that frustrates gamers and hurts the sale.
But the resulting problem is: In NBA2K it is better to settle for spot-up jumpshots than to attack the basket, which is the complete opposite of the reality.
The motto for basketball games at the professional level is always "take it to the rim, don't settle for jumpshots". It is eternally true because shots in the paint, particularly in the restricted area (right below the basket), has the highest point efficiency all things considered. Attacking the basket/taking shots in restricted area also has a good chance of leading to another type of efficient scoring which is shooting free throws. But in NBA2K, a low foul frequency and high jumpshot success are only encouraging people to "settle for jumpshots, don't take it to the rim".
That's where this slider set comes in.
1. Open shots will not go down as often; mildly/moderately contested shots will sometimes go down
Simply because it's the truth. NBA players don't hit 80% of the open shots like NBA2K. Other times when given enough space to follow through the shooting motion, the shot sometimes actually go down even if the shooter has a hand in the face with the defender breathing right under. With this slider set, taking every available jumpshot is no longer the best approach offensively. Coupled with the increased foul likelihood, not settling for jumpshots and attacking the basket will once again be a viable option like it should in real life.
2. Dribbling and passing are more erratic, less mechanically precise
One of the first thing I realized is the game has much less human-like turnovers, and passing is much more accurate than usual. Often times it results in a lot less turnovers than there should be. Reduction in Ball Handle, Passing and Hand seem to follow reality more closely.
3. AI will shoot or drive more decisively
With increased shooting tendencies, AI seem to be crispier in their decision to attack in offense. They will shoot/waste(*) shots or drive more quickly instead of waiting and passing off to someone else to do something else. Shooting/wasting (the word waste here is debatable) a quick shot that is mildly open is also one of the features about a NBA basketball game. As a former ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take", taking first shot opportunity, shooting a quick mildly open shot is just how it works in NBA. In NBA2K, however, AI players are programmed to take only wide open shots, often only leads to poor forced shots at the end of 24 second shot clock.
4. Sliders are for ALL-STAR difficulty
I was told that at Superstar or HOF difficulty, you or your team are merely given a reduction in ratings while the opponents are given a boost. The game feels more difficult at higher difficulties only because you're put at a disadvantage, not because the AI logic is better. The reverse is true for Pro and Rookie. This slider set is based on All-star difficulty, where both teams start on equal ground.
5. Being more realistic means the game could be more difficult, and less video-game-friendly
With this slider set, you can't be happy-go-lucky with low 70s shooting abilities and still take 25 shots or so and score 30-sth points a game, hitting 50%+ of your shots. In fact real NBA players with average shooting (at this 2K scale 70-75), and not weapon-grade shooting (80-85, or higher), do not go around and take 15-20 shots a game (maybe except Brandon Jennings). In other word, know your place.
6. Both CPU and Human slider values are the same
I disagree with most slider changes posted on forums in the past, where values set for CPU are different from Human's (usually favoring Human). CPU may be thought to be more mechanically precise and was thus given a bit of a nerf, but that violates something on a wholly different dimension and that is the principle of fairness. Could you go around telling people you had 34-12-9 and hit the buzzer-beating game winner, "but yeah I set the human sliders 4-5 units higher than CPU"? Could you go to sleep at night knowing that you have owned CPU with a slider set that favors human? Could you? Could you? I mean, well... oh, nevermind.
7. Charging, blocking, loose ball fouls basically not functional in 2K14; No meaningful change made
There is basically no working mechanics in the way charging and blocking fouls are called in 2K14. You might find a charge or two called on aggressive backing-down, but mostly it is non-existent. Even so that's totally not how a charge is supposed to be like. Blocking foul is a bit better, but not by a lot. You might find blocking foul called on someone defending a standing layup, which is just not how it works. Any change made here is merely in response to the frequency of their occurance. No change in number here could make it any meaningfully more realistic. Ironic how the two most common fouls called in NBA are not functional in 2K14.
Sliders are adjusted many times, after many hours of playing time and observation.
Custom sliders only reflect in "played" games, not simulated games
By "played", I mean games that are actually playing, either by Human or by AI vs AI. Simulated games do not follow custom sliders; they only follow the default "simulation" sliders. It's how the game works. See this link for more details.
Custom Slider for ALLSTAR difficulty, 12 min quarter, User shot timing (same for CPU/Human; not mentioned, no change)
*Start with "Default" sliders (all at 50), then proceed to change sliders.
Updated on 29/Nov/2013 - Red below means updated (Final)
Game speed: 49 (Lowered to reduce a certain mechanical feeling about the game, but if lowered too much, the shooting motion slows down by a lot, relatively speaking, and it only allows for easier release point timing; 49 is probably the optimum value all things considered, after increase in speed attribute)
Free throw difficulty: 60 (Preferably 58, attainable only through the use of a save editor/trainer like this one here http://forums.nba-live.com/viewtopic.php?f=153&t=92987)
Defensive assist strength: 85
Inside shot: 40
Close shot: 44
Mid range: 43
3PT: 44 (Reducing shot success and jumpshot defense has the combined effect of reducing open shot FG% and increasing contested shot FG%; delicate balance struck as to not ruin gameplay, ie. still have to work for open shot)
Layup success: 49
Dunk in traffic frequency: 45
Pass accuracy: 44
Alley-oop success: 45
Contact shot success: 45
Layup D (release): 54 (layup is more successful than usual once gotten past first defender; late contest of layup on release is relatively ineffective)
Jumpshot D (gather): 41 (See note 1 above)
Jumpshot D (release): 37
Help defense: 73 (AI seemed inherently inept in escaping/passing ball off in double team situation, but defenders are otherwise too "civilized" in help defense at default. Again, no change in number could make it meaningfully more realistic)
Speed: 54 (Real player speed is faster than in game; this should be an increase as opposed to a decrease. In fact I'm afraid the increase isn't quite enough, but I also have to take video game viability into account)
Ball handling: 48 (See note 2 above)
Blocking: 53 (Blocks are less than that in real life, but if this number is rammed up, players get a lot better in blocking jumpshots(!) rather than layups or inside shots. There is no foolproof way to do it; the problem lies in the game mechanics itself)
Offensive awareness: 56
Defensive awareness: 38 (AI is too smart and precise in 5-men defense network, as if everyone has got 360 degree vision and a telepathic connection; defense is never THIS precise; defensive let-ups that are common in real games are impossible at default value)
Offensive rebounding: 44
Consistency: 37 (Consistency lowered to increase general shot difficulty; meshes with altered shot success in each area to mimic reality)
Fatigue rate: 47 (At this 2K scale no one is able to play 38-40 minutes, or above, and still remain functional on court, something not uncommon in real games; a drop in fatigue rate is in order)
Inside shot: 68 (It's an unspoken rule to not give up an inside shot opportunity easily, especially when you have deep position in the paint, for an inside shot has the highest point efficiency than any other shot all things considered)
Close range: 53
Mid range: 81 (Increase in great magnitude in shots tendency is in order given how AI gives up mildly open shots often and ends up throwing up poor shots at the end of 24 seconds, while in NBA taking/wasting a slightly open shot is common, see detail in note 3 above)
Post shot: 64
Attack basket: 84 (Attacking the basket is always the top priority, to the extent one should give up open jumpshot for open lane drive; value increased relative to increase in shot tendency)
Look for post player: 62
Throw alley-oop: 38
Attempt dunks: 57 (Players attacking the basket is attempting dunks less frequently than usual; big men attempting dunks after offensive rebound (N.B. not flying putback dunk in mid-air) more than usual. Again it's the game mechanics, can't perfect one without whacking another)
Attempt putback: 55
Contest shots: 45 (Meshes with lowered defensive intensity to match reality)
Over the back: 42
Charging: 75 (neither charge nor blocking foul is functional in the game, no particularly meaningful change here; see note 7 above)
Loose ball: 100
I must admit I hold a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality when I adjust the sliders. I did not overhaul everything, just the ones that are obviously off. I feel that an adjustment in unnecessarily large magnitude would only upset a certain balance in game that is hard to achieve. A problem may arise out of it and in turn another change of great magnitude is needed to counterbalance that. It's like doing face implant to make yourself look pretty, but at the end too much change makes it look worse, cosmetic.
If there are changes that you do not quite understand and that I have not explained above, please pardon me for not being too wordy on every single change I have made. If I changed them, I did it for a reason. But then I am a human being, I definitely have room for error.
But bear in mind that some of the discrepancies between a video game simulation and a real NBA game does not merely lie in the difference in difficulty slider; often times it lies in the game mechanics itself. There is simply no way to mimic a realistic James Harden or Tony Parker or Tyreke Evans simply by numbers and a limited rotation of animations.
Finally, these changes are only made with the purpose of making the video game 2K14 as close to real life basketball as possible. If you do not agree with some of the changes here, you can still make your own final adjustment. After all isn't that the meaning of allowing users to adjust difficulty sliders?
May I wish the odds be always in your favor.
Last edited by brump on Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:15 am, edited 84 times in total.