Hello everyone! Erick Boenisch, executive producer at Visual Concepts, back once again. It feels like just yesterday that I was writing the MyTEAM Developer Diary for NBA 2K20! Writing this piece every year is something I very much look forward to; the team here at Visual Concepts makes it easy with their endless ambition and relentless work ethic.
This has been an interesting year for, well, all of us. Our world has changed in many ways. The way we go about our lives is very different than it was at this time last year, but one item that has remained constant is the drive and ambition behind the team working on MyTEAM. We designed much of this game from our homes. Thanks to Zoom, I now know the name and face of every kid that has a parent working on MyTEAM. You better believe they made sure to make cameos during meetings. From our homes to yours, let’s learn about what we have in store for you in NBA 2K21!
Before we dive in on the new features you’ll be playing this year, I want to first cover a very important piece when it comes to MyTEAM and the transition between current and next generation for PlayStation and Xbox.
For those of you who start your NBA 2K21 MyTEAM experience with the launch of PS4/Xbox One on September 4, I am excited to confirm that your entire collection AND progress will carry over once you start playing the next generation version of the game. This means you will have access to all of your pulled and earned cards (and any evolution progress associated with them), your progress in Domination, Triple Threat, etc., and your entire balance of VC, MyTEAM Points, and Tokens. It’s all there! The only caveat is that this only works across matching generations on the same account. Specifically, PS4 to PS5 works. Xbox One to Xbox Series X works. PS5 to PS4 and Xbox Series X to Xbox One also work. PS4 to Xbox Series X and Xbox One to PS5 does not work. Having the game on PS4 or Xbox One on one account and using a different account for PS5 or Xbox Series X also does not work. Pretty straightforward.
In NBA 2K21, your entire MyTEAM collection and progress will seamlessly carry over from PS4 to PS5 and Xbox One to Xbox Series X, so you can enjoy MyTEAM, uninterrupted, all year long!
The carryover is quite simple and there is nothing you need to do. In fact, you can even go back and forth playing the current gen version and the next gen version at-will. You’ll learn more about our next generation game soon enough.
Last bit here, and this is a good reminder. For anyone who purchases the Mamba Forever Edition of the game on PS4/Xbox One, you will receive a copy of the Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 on the matching next generation console. You can get all the details in our FAQ here. For all of my MyTEAMers out there, this is great value and lets you start playing MyTEAM ‘early’ this year without the worry of losing any progress/time spent. We got you!
Enough. Let’s finally talk features.
One of my favorite things about MyTEAM is how the mode is always evolving, whether it be through new cards that change the meta, or new content that provides exciting rewards. That being said, I have become very interested in structuring that evolution into a mechanism that you, our community, can really sink your teeth into. In NBA 2K21, we are going to introduce the Seasons concept into MyTEAM. Let’s clarify one thing at the top; Seasons are free for everyone, there is no paid component to it.
I have two key tenets to the MyTEAM Season design for 2K21: 1) New prizing updates across most modes every Season, and 2) Add something NEW to the mode every Season. I’m going to be intentionally vague here so as not to spoil any plans, so please bear with me. Some Seasons will add new content for you to play (think something like Spotlight Sims), while other Seasons may add new features to the game, or add a reward twist that you will be chasing all Season. The main point is, I really want each passing Season to feel fresh. I want the start of a new Season to create a buzz in the MyTEAM community that we can all rally behind and be excited about.
With the high level ideas out of the way, let’s dive a little deeper into what a Season truly is. While the duration of each Season is not a fixed period of time, they will generally be about 6 weeks in length. As a team, this was one of our longest discussions of the year and in the end, we felt this is the perfect amount of time to allow you to make progress towards Seasonal awards in your favorite modes without it becoming a little too long.
During the Season, you will be working to complete Daily, Weekly, and Seasonal-based Agendas. As objectives are completed, you will earn XP that will be used to raise your Season Level. Every time you level up, you will earn a reward. Reaching the final level within a Season earns you the grand prize for the Season. It’s going to take a lot of playing to get there, but we are always going to make the reward completely worth it. In fact, let’s talk about the Season 1 prize for reaching the highest level: Pink Diamond Steph Curry! A PD Steph Curry is going to be a beast to go against in the early game. All you’ve got to do is play to earn it. Interested yet?
Brand new for NBA 2K21, Seasons will bring new content and new ways to play MyTEAM all year long! Earn the Season 1 grand prize, Pink Diamond Steph Curry, by simply completing Seasonal Agendas!
Going back to tenet #1 above, let’s talk in more detail about the Seasonal prizing updates and what they will look like around MyTEAM:
In subsequent Seasons, we will add new ‘Wins’ available for you to play. As an example, this means you might be able to go to something like 450 Wins in Season 2. In this example, those new 150 ‘Wins’ will have prizing with the 450th win being the Season 2 Triple Threat prize. Now, why is this better than NBA 2K20? Easy; NBA2K20 launched with 1,000 Wins available to you, and a Galaxy Opal waiting at the end. The problem was, that card became outclassed pretty quickly as MyTEAM evolved. It effectively made Triple Threat less valuable as the year went on. Personally, I love Triple Threat and want it to remain a staple for everyone all year long. As we add new ‘Wins’ available to you with each passing season, this enables us the opportunity to provide rewards that fit the current Season within MyTEAM. To summarize this, it basically means we can give you better prizes that will match the time and effort you have invested to get there. Everyone wins!
MyTEAM Limited is a brand new MyTEAM game mode for NBA 2K21. This new mode is only available for play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week. The twist here is that the rules for the mode will be changing every single weekend when a new event is activated!
Let’s start with the basics. MyTEAM Limited is an online 5v5 multiplayer mode where you will compete against fellow MyTEAM players who, like you, are chasing Championship Rings (more on that in a minute). The twist that I alluded to above is where the ‘Limited’ in MyTEAM Limited comes into play. We will be introducing new lineup restrictions every single weekend to change up the meta of the game. For example, one weekend we may limit you to players 23 years old and younger. Another weekend, we may say that all players in your lineup need to be Ruby or lower. The controls we have built in will allow us to create some very fun combinations that will both allow and encourage you to use a wider breadth of the cards in your collection. Looking for high-end budget cards is going to be an important part of card collecting in NBA 2K21!
Now, about those Championship Rings. Every weekend, there is a new Championship Ring up for grabs. When you win a MyTEAM Limited game, you will be rewarded with a prize. You’ll be able to view that prize, but you have an important decision to make with it. Do you want to keep the prize we gave you, or do you want to trade it in for your choice of one of two other mystery prizes? The mystery prizes may be better or worse than what we offered you (they may also contain the week’s Championship Ring). We are going to throw some creative prizes your way to make these decisions tough for you!
New to NBA 2K21, MyTEAM Limited is a limited-time game mode available every Friday-Sunday that features new rules every weekend! Find and collect the Championship Ring from each weekend during the Season to earn a powerful card that will make you the envy of all your opponents!
After the final Limited event of the Season, you will trade in your Championship Rings for a tiered prize based on how many rings you collected. If you were lucky enough to collect every Championship Ring in a given season, you will earn the MyTEAM Limited grand prize for that season. That grand prize will be a VERY high end card that will instantly make you the envy of all of your future opponents. And let’s be real, it will wreck the CPU in Triple Threat games! For those of you who manage to get one or some of the Championship Rings available in a season, we have tiered prizes for you as well, based on how many you earned!
One more item here. To help you better identify what players qualify for the current MyTEAM Limited weekend event, some of them will appear with a championship ring sticker on their cards while the event is live. These stickers will appear on the cards in your collection as well as on the cards in the Auction House. To make it easier yet, when creating your lineup in the MyTEAM Limited game mode, we have added a filter in the lineup creator that will only display the players in your collection that are eligible for the event, making it very easy for you to create your best lineup! And for my savvy readers out there, there will absolutely be a high demand every weekend for the best players eligible for the current event. Play the market. Buy low, sell high!
All in all, I am tremendously enjoying my time with MyTEAM Limited. It is a breath of fresh air for online multiplayer. In a sense, everyone is on equal footing with the rules, and it really comes down to your ability to craft the right team to fit your skills on the sticks. I’m confident everyone is going to have a good time this year with Limited!
Introduced in NBA 2K19, MyTEAM Unlimited instantly became the go-to mode for many in MyTEAM. In NBA 2K21, Unlimited is undergoing its next evolution. This year, Unlimited will consist of 9 Leagues that you need to play through before you can reach the top!
Every League in MyTEAM Unlimited 2.0 will consist of up to 12 games. In order to advance to the next League, you will need to win a certain number of games in your current league. For example, in the first league, you only need to win 3 of your 12 games to advance. Once you get that third win, you automatically level up to the next league. You do not need to play the remaining games for that league. As you move up the league structure, more and more wins will be required to level up. To keep things interesting and to keep you on your toes, if you do not meet the win requirement to advance to the next level, you will still need to win a certain number of games (out of 12) to remain on your current level!
If you have the skill to reach the highest tier, the Galaxy Opal tier, an exclusive prize awaits if you can go 12-0 in that final League. It won’t be easy, but we will make the effort worth the reward. And just think, as you level up through the leagues, you will be completing Seasonal Agendas to earn valuable XP to help build your overall Season level, which leads to a prize in its own right! Every Season, we will be resetting everyone’s record in MyTEAM Unlimited (not unlike what we did on the first of each month in NBA 2K20) and will introduce a new grand prize that you will be chasing for that season.
The internal feedback on MyTEAM Unlimited 2.0 has been very positive. The earlier leagues allow you to establish your lineup and practice your strategy before you start to hit the higher leagues, which have higher win requirements and more skilled opponents. Between MyTEAM Limited and MyTEAM Unlimited, we are giving you more ways than ever to compete in NBA 2K21!
Full disclosure, this feature had about 13 different names during development. I had less trouble naming my children than watching the name come together for this. Whenever I see this dilemma occur during development, I know we have something special. It almost always means the feature is a labor of love for the team working on it and even the most simple item, naming it, is a multi-meeting affair to make sure every detail hits just the right note.
New to NBA 2K21, The Exchange allows you to turn in/exchange your cards for some great prizes! Every Season in MyTEAM this year will feature new Exchanges for you to collect and complete to earn exclusive cards only available here. Yes, some of the cards you get from here will be truly elite. The quality of the reward is going to dictate how much effort is required to complete the Exchange. For example, an Exchange may require you to trade in a Western Conference PG rated 90 or higher and an Eastern Conference PG rated 90 or higher to earn a higher rated player. The system is incredibly flexible and will allow us to create Exchanges geared toward our newest users as well as some of our most dedicated and passionate users.
Some cards will even look ho-hum on the surface, but we secretly have future plans for that card where they will be invaluable (cough MyTEAM Limited cough, I never told you that). We will even drop in more simplistic Exchanges in the middle of Seasons that may allow you to convert a number of silver/gold contracts in order to obtain a Diamond contract. Or a Diamond pair of shoes (side note: there are SO many unique Diamond shoes in the game this year)!
The Exchange is a new feature within NBA 2K21 that allows you the opportunity to exchange some cards you may no longer be using for cards that will become staples in your starting lineup. This sample Exchange affords you the ability to exchange a collection of cards for a Pink Diamond Bob Cousy!
My favorite aspect of this feature is that it gives you yet another avenue to utilize what were non-used cards in your collection in NBA 2K20. Between MyTEAM Limited and The Exchange, you really need to be very aware of what you are doing when you decide you no longer need a card in your collection because it doesn’t fit in your ‘best’ lineup. MyTEAM Limited has no ‘best’ lineup, and you literally never know WHAT we will throw at you in The Exchange!
After taking a one-year hiatus in NBA 2K20, the ability to customize your players with unique badges has returned for NBA 2K21! I have to be honest, I really missed this feature last year. There is something to be said for pulling the latest and greatest card and then having the ability to truly make it your own by customizing it to better fit your play style.
For those of you newer to the MyTEAM experience who may not understand this one, there will be Badge Cards available in MyTEAM that allow you to both Apply badges and Upgrade badges on players. For example, if you have a card that doesn’t have Clamps on it (and the player is eligible), you can take a Clamps badge card and apply it to your player. This is an awesome way to customize your team more than ever!
There have been some changes and improvements since you last saw this feature. Badge cards will be available in Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Hall of Fame (oh yes!). To upgrade a player, you need to first apply the Bronze version of the badge. To upgrade to Gold, you will need to then apply the Silver version of the badge before adding the Gold version of the badge. Hall of Fame versions of badges are going to be very rare, and will be made available primarily through prizing and playing the game (Season level rewards is one area where you can definitely find these). For anyone familiar with the game, you know how powerful the right Hall of Fame badge can be to the game experience! Another change, and this is a really important one, is we are going to limit what badges can go on players based on their archetype/play style. It doesn’t make much sense to apply a Brick Wall badge to Steph Curry, right?
Let’s briefly talk about how this affects the next gen version of the game. As I’m sure you have heard and read, we are building a truly unique experience from the ground up on next gen and the game is looking phenomenal! Gameplay is very different on the next gen version of the game compared to the current gen version. As such, there will be a number of new badges and badge changes in the next gen version of the game. We have established a mapping that converts your current gen badges to next gen equivalents so that when you upgrade to the next gen version of our game, your customized badges will continue to live on, in slightly different/better ways!
Evolution cards will not be eligible for badge customization, however, as we have something new for Evo cards that we think you are going to love.
Evolution Cards was clearly one of our star additions to the NBA 2K20 MyTEAM experience. The ability to obtain cards and power them up to higher gem tiers felt very rewarding as it gave people a chance to build some sweat equity with their collections. Evolution Cards are back in NBA 2K21, and better than ever!
New to NBA 2K21, you will now have more control over how some of your Evolution Cards evolve as they tier up. That is because we are introducing the concept of branching in the evolution process! When you have an evo card that reaches a choice tier, you will make a selection between two badges that you want to focus on adding to the given card. Let’s use a real example here to dive into this further. Spoiler: the venerable Shaquille O’Neal is one of our Starter Pack options this year ( this means you can choose to start with a free Shaq card in 2K21!). One of his evolution tiers is going to offer you the choice between Rebound Chaser (improved rebounding ability) and Rim Protector (better shot blocking ability). It’s a tough choice. Do you want your Shaq to be a better rebounder, or more menacing around the rim? Based on the badge you choose to chase, the requirement to upgrade it will update accordingly.
Evolution Cards are back and better than ever! New to NBA 2K21, you will now have more control over how some of your Evolution Cards evolve as they tier up. Will you improve Shaq’s rebounding ability or his shot blocking ability? The choice is yours!
This means that not all fully evolved Evolution Cards will be identical in NBA 2K21, and I think that is a fantastic thing. MyTEAM is a mode about fantasy. A mode about user choice and customization. The addition of Customizable Evolutions to the game this year takes us that one step further to differentiating player lineups and gives you yet another tool to give your team the edge out there on the courts. I can’t wait to see the choices you will all make this year. We’ve got some crafty ideas planned!
Over the past couple years, we have really focused on rewarding you more and more, with better and better prizes. I’m thinking the ball drop mechanic, sweeping changes to both how Locker Codes work and how frequently they come, daily login rewards, prize wheel spins for logging in every day in a week, the Triple Threat prize ladder, the Triple Threat Vault, and so on. Not EVERY prize can be something that makes your jaw drop to the floor, I think we all know that. But when you have that moment where you earn something that is a true game changer for your team, there is no greater feeling.
In NBA 2K21, we are adding a new prizing mechanism that we are calling Ascension. The premise is quite simple. There are three vertical tiers of prizes available. Each tier contains a number of cards that you can flip over to reveal a prize. Within each tier, there is one card that, when flipped over, ‘levels’ you up to the next tier. Once you reach the third tier, there is a grand prize card hidden somewhere in the mix. If you can find and flip over that card, you will obtain a VERY high level card for free right there on the spot! Ascension is part of our Seasons program in NBA 2K21. This means that the grand prize card will update every season to be a new ‘must have’ player!
Ok, but what’s the catch? There is always a catch! The game here is you have a limited number of picks available to use. You need to find those ascension cards (these are the ones that level you up to the next vertical tier) and find the grand prize card before you run out of picks. To aid you on your mission, a number of the cards you flip over will reward you with additional picks to ensure you don’t run out. While it is going to be fairly difficult to earn the Season grand prize in Ascension, my favorite aspect about this game is that you will almost always walk away with SOMETHING cool. It might be MyTEAM Points, some Tokens, or even a free pack of cards. Whatever you collect as you flip over the cards is yours to keep no matter what happens!
Words can only tell the story so much here. Let’s take a look at an actual screenshot of what Ascension looks like so you can better understand what is happening here:
Welcome to Ascension! This new prizing mechanism in NBA 2K21 allows you to flip over cards and collect whatever prize is shown on it. Simple as that! Certain cards allow you to ‘ascend’ to higher tiers of cards. Finding the Grand Prize card on the third tier of cards will reward you with the Ascension player of the season. This card will be one of the best cards available in MyTEAM. Good luck!
In the picture, you can see the Seasonal grand prize up in the top-left corner and my number of picks remaining in the lower-left corner. On my next flip, I actually got a 2x MTP Multiplier. The flip after that I got 500 MTP. With the 2x multiplier active, that means I’m taking home 1,000 free MTP on top of whatever else I can earn. Easy, fun, and just another way for us to reward you for your accomplishments in NBA 2K21! Go get that grand prize, my friends! Oh, you want to know what the Season 1 grand prize is going to be? How does a Pink Diamond card sound? If you are doing the math between the Season Level prize, the Unlimited prize, the Limited prize, the Triple Threat Offline prize, and the Ascension prize, you can quickly see the quality of the cards that are going to be available by simply playing the mode and showing your skill on the sticks. Good luck everyone!
I want to take a quick detour, if you’ll allow me, to place a spotlight on what is going to be THE premium collection that you will be coveting during NBA 2K21’s MyTEAM run. Last year, the PRIME series carried the baton passed on to it from the 20th Anniversary Collection in 2K19. This year, the baton is being passed to what we are calling the IDOLS Series.
The IDOLS Series, as the name would imply, is going to feature some of the NBA’s most memorable players, with a healthy mix of present vs. past. These are the players you are going to want filling every position in your lineup, as they will generally be the best cards available in the mode at the time of their release.
The IDOLS Series will make its debut in September, and will feature the first pullable Pink Diamond in NBA 2K21! Our first IDOL was missing in action for NBA 2K20, but we are excited for his return this year, nay, next month! The entirety of the collection will be spread across 15 releases. We are breaking these 15 releases down into Series I (5 cards), Series II (5 cards), and Series III (5 cards). When you collect all 5 IDOLS cards in a given series, you will unlock the collection complete reward for that series. Completing Series I of the IDOLS Series will reward you with a lineup-changing Galaxy Opal card! Yes, you are going to want this!
There are so many more additions the team has made this year. I’ve picked out a select few that I really felt needed to be brought to the surface. Let’s dive into them.
For those of you pre-ordering your copy of NBA 2K21, we have some really cool packs in store for you. The Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 grants you 10 free Promo Packs, allocated at one pack per week. If you decide to go with the Mamba Forever edition, you will be granted 40 Promo Packs, allocated as 10 on the first day you play, and then 3 per week for the next 10 weeks. So what’s in these Promo Packs? Every pack will grant you an NBA player to add to your team. Beyond that, there will be rare pulls in these packs that will be some of the best cards in the game at launch! One that I have been playing with and loving recently is Diamond DeMarcus Cousins. We all need a little Boogie in our lives, right? Point being, these packs aren’t something you should overlook. They will not only give you a player in every pack, but they also have a chance to give you one of the best cards in the game at launch!
As a reminder, you can pre-order NBA 2K21 right here: https://nba.2k.com/buy/
Signature challenges are a new challenge type we are adding to the NBA 2K21 experience. They won’t happen very often, but when they do, we are going to make it worth your while to play them.
Every NBA player has a memorable experience in their career. It may be the first time they stepped on an NBA court, entering a foreign world that they set out to take over. It may be the clinching game of the NBA Finals that landed them their first NBA title. Or it may be anything that happened in between those two landmark moments.
Signature Challenges seek to tell the story of the most memorable games for your favorite NBA players, both past and present. The exciting part here is that these won’t be chosen by us, but rather will be chosen directly by the players themselves! You will literally have the opportunity to play these memorable games, through the eyes of some of the best NBA players, past and present.
We will be hosting one Signature Challenge at launch, and who better to spotlight than our cover athlete, Damian Lillard! You may be thinking, easy one. On January 20th of this year, Dame exploded for a franchise record 61 points, including a career-best 11 3-pointers. With this game, Lillard became the first player in NBA history with 60+ points and 10+ 3-pointers in a game. An absolutely incredible performance. But no, this is not it.
On April 24th of last year, the Blazers had a 3-1 series lead on the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. In the closing seconds of game 5, Lillard drilled a 37-foot pull-up over Paul George as time expired to sink the Thunder and advance the Blazers to the next round. If you have no clue what I’m talking about here, consider this required homework: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMm5NtXLVDY. Why did Damian take that shot, that far out? In his own words to us, he just said, “I wanted the last word.” No one can argue he definitely had the last word that night! And through his own words, this will be your first Signature Challenge of NBA 2K21. This will be a fun one. And we’ll have more of these from different players as the year rolls on. Enjoy!
You’ll sometimes hear a company say they have added a feature as a ‘quality-of-life’ item. In NBA 2K21, that’s exactly what the Objective Tracker is. MyTEAM players are going to have a lot going on this year. You are going to get Season Agendas galore that you are simultaneously chasing down (score points with this player, win this many games in this mode, make 9 threes with a Sapphire, etc.). With this new feature, you will have the ability to tag up to 9 Season Agendas or Dynamic Goals of your choice. You will then be able to see and review those tagged Agendas/Goals when entering into offline gameplay in MyTEAM, as a reminder of what you set out to accomplish in the current game.
No longer will you have to try and remember how many points you were supposed to score with Klay Thompson. Now, set it and review it as you start your next game. This is a feature I’m really enjoying in NBA 2K21. I think there is even more we can do here to make this more useful for you in the future. Stay tuned on this one!
Astrophysical observations indicate that Dark Matter makes up as much as 85% of our known universe, yet it has never been observed directly. Maybe that will change given time...
During NBA 2K20, many of you were chasing the elusive Fire Ball. It certainly wasn’t easy to obtain, and that was completely by design. It was meant to be an exclusive club of players that earned that one. In NBA 2K21, we’re introducing a Holographic Basketball into the game. You might be thinking, what is a holographic basketball? By all means, I would encourage you to google those two words. The ball looks incredible in-game and absolutely pops on the screen. I’m not going to spoil it here with a screenshot, sorry! One thing is for sure, you will be the envy of your opponents when you roll into the gym rocking the Holographic Basketball. Keep an eye out for this one as the years moves along!
Inside NBA 2K20, we have launched a special MyTEAM Moments Challenge. Live until Friday, August 28, players who successfully complete this challenge will immediately earn 21 Tokens in NBA 2K20. More importantly, you will ALSO earn a free MyTEAM pack that will be waiting for you to open in NBA 2K21 on September 4! I’m not going to spoil the contents of this pack, but I WILL say that it doesn’t have any players in it…and that you absolutely want it! Don’t be the person that misses out here!
For more information on this challenge, please head over to our official MyTEAM Twitter account: https://twitter.com/nba2k_myteam. I strongly recommend you throw us a follow, as this is where all the latest MyTEAM news, content releases, Seasonal information, and Locker Codes will be coming from!
In many ways, I view NBA 2K19 as the rebirth of MyTEAM as we currently know it. It had a lot of new features that laid the groundwork for where we are today. NBA 2K20 did a fantastic job last year of carrying the torch and adding staple features of its own. To me, NBA 2K21’s MyTEAM proves that the development team behind it have truly hit their stride; the feature set this year speaks for itself. New modes. New ideas. And new ways to delight players all year long.
Personally, I’m a part of a number of different gaming communities. I think many of us are. The value presented to this development team by you, our MyTEAM community, is second to none. We keep each other honest, and I think that is incredibly important for the long-term growth of this mode. And we’re never going to stop growing this mode. Our implementation of Seasons this year is going to show you exactly what I mean when I say that.
I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to every single person here at Visual Concepts that worked on MyTEAM in NBA 2K21. Your hard work is about to be enjoyed by millions! It was a wild ride. Work from the office. Work from home. Work from somewhere else. COVID scares. Kids and pets in star roles during meetings. I’ll never, ever forget this year. Through it all, we never stopped grinding, and it shows!
Until next time, my friends. On behalf of everyone here at Visual Concepts, thank you for your continued support. NBA 2K21 is only a couple short weeks away. We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it!