Hello everyone! Felicia Steenhouse, Senior Producer for NBA 2K21 here, and I'm excited to talk WNBA today! First and foremost, I want to thank the dedicated fans out there still playing through WNBA Seasons, writing up wish lists, reviews, and reaching out on social media pushing us for more. You were certainly on our minds during those tough late nights, inspiring us to keep pushing. I can’t express how grateful we are as a team for your participation and feedback. While this Courtside Report is all about the WNBA and The W, I actually want to start with an addition for those fans who enjoyed last year’s WNBA Season mode. You’re going to love this.
Fully customizable. Multi-season. WNBA Franchise mode. This is MyWNBA!
As soon as we were done with NBA 2K20, we knew right away what our first goal for NBA 2K21 would be and got to work on building that foundation for league control and progression for the WNBA. You now have the sandbox to go and create the league of your dreams. Control all 12 teams, or take your favorite team from the lottery to championship rings over as many seasons as it takes.
When I say fully customizable, this is what I mean:
We want to hear from you. Get your hands dirty in our MyWNBA sandbox and let us know how you are playing. Where are you having fun and where are you looking for more? We want to hear it all so we can grow this experience together.
Now, I hope you didn’t think we stopped at our brand new MyWNBA experience. We have so much more to share today...
One of our main design goals for The W was to allow you to experience the career of a WNBA player, both on and off the court. The women of the WNBA are more than athletes and are defining professional sports as we know it in real-time. Do you have what it takes to lead this league into a new era?
The first thing you’ll do when creating your WNBA MyPLAYER is pick your player’s head. Import your Face Scan from the mobile app or choose from one of our 30 base heads (that you can completely customize) to form into your likeness.
After this, you’ll then get to one of the most important early decisions when creating a WNBA MyPLAYER – determining your player type.
A noteworthy aspect of this mode is that your player progression is triggered solely through playing games. Because of this, picking your Player Type will be one of the most important early decisions you make in the game, as it’ll determine your MyPLAYER’s initial attributes and those when the player progresses from Progression Level 1 all the way up to Level 10.
Here’s a breakdown of the Player Types:
Once you’ve picked your Player Type, you will then get to pick your Body Settings. Height, Weight, and Wingspan will all affect your MyPLAYER’s attributes from the starting point to the Level 10 maximum.
And the last thing that you’ll be choosing is your MyPLAYER’s Primary and Secondary Takeover. As your player gets hot, these will fill up, first your primary and then your secondary. If you wait for both to fill up, then you can activate them both at the same time. You can learn more about the Takeover feature in our Courtside Report #3.
As touched upon in the intro, we felt it was important to let players experience what it means to be a WNBA player on and off the court. In order to do this, we built the mode on the foundation of a set of different pillars that track the progress of your MyPLAYER and the league.
The core progression is tracked through the following – Player Progression, Player Popularity, WNBA Popularity, Player Wealth, and Teammate Chemistry.
After you play your first game, now on your off day, you will notice you have three events to choose from. What you choose here depends on how you want to progress your career in The W. What’s important to you? Growing the league? Securing money now? Setting yourself up for a career after basketball? Or maybe you just want to try a little of everything. Every choice you make, you will see one of your five career pillars change, and with each level progressed across those five pillars you’ll receive in-game rewards as you go.
Progression is basically just how good your MyPLAYER is at playing the game of basketball. The primary way to level up your MyPLAYER is by earning MyPOINTS by playing and performing well in games. Like all career pillars, you can also participate in various off-court events during the regular season and later in the offseason that will help improve your MyPLAYER’s basketball skills, which also allows you to unlock and upgrade badges.
In addition to boosting your attributes and gaining badges, leveling up your Progression will also unlock new animations, the Jumpshot Creator, the ability to influence your team’s free agent and trade targets, your team’s minutes and rotations, and even jersey numbers.
This one should be pretty clear – it’s how popular your MyPLAYER is and tracks how many fans you have at any given moment. You can earn fans by making highlight plays in games like and-1s, buzzer beaters, clutch chasedown blocks on star players, and so on. Participating in off-court events that are designed to promote your personal fame will help you grow your star power even more.
The main goal in increasing your player's popularity will be to earn endorsements, which earns you more money as well as game day shoes from the brand partnership you earn. These include Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Under Armour, Puma, New Balance, and Converse.
As a WNBA player, it benefits you to help the league become more popular. You will have an opportunity to help grow the league, if you choose to, by doing various off-court jobs designed to help increase the overall popularity of the entire league.
When you do this, the league will evolve and there’ll be more National TV games that you can play in, which earns more personal fans than non-nationally televised games. It also produces increases to player salaries that will positively impact your wealth, which has benefits that we’ll get to…well, right now!
Hey, let’s be honest, there is a little satisfaction in earning that paycheck. This career pillar tracks the growth of your player’s bank account; it includes money earned with your WNBA salary that gets paid out by playing WNBA games and from doing various jobs off the court.
Now let me drop a teaser here. Progressing your wealth will unlock exclusive gear to wear when competing in The W Online…more on that to come!
The last of the career pillars where we track your MyPLAYER’s progress is with Teammate Chemistry. This gauges how well you play with and get along with your teammates. You can increase this with a good in-game teammate grade or by spending time with your teammates on off-days. You’ll have to balance this with improving your own skills or popularity, that of the leagues, and increasing that number in your bank account.
Having a high Teammate Chemistry level will have some important game impacts, such as unlocking the Secondary Takeover (that we talked about in the MyPLAYER creation section above). It also unlocks the Team Takeover feature and the new feature of ‘Control All On-Court Players’ – that lets you play The W with full 5-player control like in Play Now instead of locked to your MyPLAYER. Furthermore, you can also unlock Accessories like armbands, socks, headbands, etc, that you can wear both in WNBA games and in The W Online.
What you choose to do off the court matters a lot in this mode and that’s where these off-day and offseason jobs come into play. This is where we get into the flavor of the WNBA. A lot of research went into defining what players do off the court and we had a lot of fun translating that into the game. I hope even the die-hard WNBA fans will find something new here.
What makes this league so amazing is the diversity of its players. The ways in which they market themselves, each other, and the league itself is varied and unique. Going over our research on what players do off the court that contribute to those five pillars we discussed above, we categorized these into five groups – Coach, Entrepreneur, Global Icon, Fashion Icon, and Influencer.
As an added bonus, as you progress in these jobs, you’ll gain WNBA players as contacts who will send you texts to help you out along the way. To start your career you will hear from Nneka Ogwumike to help get you moving in the right direction.
Ok, so what exactly is The W Online? Simply put, The W Online is a 3v3 multiplayer experience (exclusive to The W) where you can take your homegrown MyPLAYER and compete against other players and their MyPLAYERs. Once in the game, you will find yourself in arguably the most beautiful location to play in the game. If you want to see next gen visuals; this is the place to be.
Games played in The W Online will earn you MyPOINTS toward your player’s progression, but this is also where you get to show out. These street rules games to 21 are a stage to showcase your MyPLAYER. As you are progressing in your career, you are unlocking animations and exclusive clothing items for this experience. Once you unlock that coveted level 10 gear, The W Online is the place to go to show the world you've reached the pinnacle of your profession!
YOU ultimately make our game what it is, and this year we have greatly expanded the ‘you’s who are represented in our game. There are so many new ways to play with the WNBA in NBA 2K21! I can’t wait to hear about how you shape the league in The W, see your highlights in The W Online, download your custom rosters and scenarios, and see what you are able to build with MyWNBA!
Before I let you go, I want to give a quick shout out to the best development team in the world. The talent and resolve of everyone at VC continuously blows me away. While we are very proud of what we were able to accomplish together, we are always thirsty for more. There are new, never-before taken paths ahead of us. This is a journey we are honored and excited to be taking with you. Now it’s time to see where you take the WNBA in NBA 2K21! Do you have it in you?