NBA 2K21’s new WNBA mode “The W” is the first step, not much else

If you are not yet a fan of women’s professional basketball NBA 2K21W, a new mode of, doesn’t do much to excite you.

W is the first single-player career mode in a sports video game for women’s team sports.It’s not a tokenized experience or a skin of things NBA 2Ktwenty one We are already playing men’s games. But it’s clearly a rare or no-frills experience, and the lack of investment in player development defeats the goals of a single-player career. Therefore, you cannot warm up to mode or encourage others to try it.

Other than choosing one of the 10 player archetypes with locked minimum and maximum attributes, the only impact on player development is to play (or not) well in league games. Whatever XP (in this case “My Points”), the game is automatically applied in a very opaque process.

To NBA 2K21MyCareer allows players to set ambitious maximum values ​​for their attributes and build players according to what they are good at and what they enjoy most. During the season, players can choose how to apply their revenue to the players they create. I can only guess why this is not possible in WNBA carrier mode.

With The W, a plain career rapper, practicing is as easy as clicking a button. In fact, that’s it.
Image: Visual concept via polygons / 2K sports

Developing an off-court persona for my player is an equally rigorous and deadly advance.Previous developer diary NBA 2K21The launch of WNBA has suggested that WNBA players will play a role in the pursuit of real WNBA stars, such as promoting the league itself, side-gigging media and fashion design, and preparing for a career as a coach. Now, this is all handled by the process of player interaction, where you simply choose one of the three options from the cards between games. Again, the progression is fixed and it only offers cosmetic items that can be unlocked on a fixed schedule.

This means you’ll get into a very limited core gameplay loop very quickly, very reminiscent of the career modes you’ve seen on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s hard to call W a good first shot in career mode. Equivalence when much of that fun comes from, well, playing the game itself.At least that action can be distinguished from other actions NBA 2K21 While still having fun — but that was also when I was playing with the WNBA in My League last year.

Similarly, it’s hard to criticize the design of Visual Concepts here. It’s as if throwing a female avatar into the much larger world of MyCareer is the easiest or easiest solution. The WNBA deserves to have its own carrier ecosystem. Giving the WNBA its own mode rather than just dumping is a more supportive statement. NBA 2K21 In an aggressively competitive multiplayer world, tell them to protect themselves or, worse, raise their attributes and patronize them.

And, as a practical matter, most NBA 2K players don’t want to keep multiple player avatars in existing modes. Very heavy Affected by microtransactions. 2K Sports would be sick of offering the WNBA player as just another vector of cryptocurrency real money sales. Thanks to Visual Concepts, WNBA players will earn cryptocurrencies towards the user’s overall balance. It offers at least a small reward for trying the mode. But it’s surprisingly ironic that WNBA players themselves can’t “use” what they’ve earned, whether it’s their progress, their clothes, or whatever.

NBA 2K21 The W character management screen

Upper left: You can choose one of three things related to the time between games. Promotions proceed on a tight schedule and rewards are fixed as well.
Image: Visual concept via polygons / 2K sports

W has a multi-season team management mode called MyWNBA. However, the menu-based feature set is MLB 2K10 Or 2K11.. There’s not much to this other than getting two “tasks” at the beginning of the year. One is to trade a specific player before the deadline, and the other is to win a specific number of games (… from the governor?). In the multi-season background simulation, neither was delivered, so it wasn’t very effective. The real reason for running a team-training players, installing aggressive schemes-is as self-directed as the story that MyWNBA happens to offer.

There may be some depth, but the mode wrapper is just what you saw in a sports video game two generations ago when single-player career mode first started. At least in the early days of NBA 2K’s My Player, I was able to choose a local business that I wanted players to support. Now, when The W’s popularity reaches level 4, your name will appear on the plumber’s sign and you’ll get your shoes.

Critically, I can’t oblige the Visual Concepts to give the WNBA MyCareer’s attention and development resources if interest and markets are simply not there. However, I don’t think there are many people who want the same training and practice routines as the male side. There, exercise mini-games and shoot-around drills boost players between games, or at least give me the feeling that I was leading her growth. ..

Is W a “good first step” for women’s sports in video games? It depends on your expectations. I took into account the relative popularity of the WNBA next to men’s games. And Visual Concepts added another mouth to feed the already packed one-year development cycle. W is still more bland and restricted than I expected. There may not be many video gamers aiming for women’s professional basketball, but W hasn’t put much effort into further development.

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