With just a matter of days until NBA 2K12 arrives the details on the new Online Association mode have finally arrived. Online Association essentially takes the standard offline franchise mode to a multi-user environment allowing for the possibility of all teams being controlled while those that aren’t are handled by the CPU. Users can participate in up to three different Online Associations at a time.
There are a number of options available – from choosing a private or public league to the settings. Seasons can be designated with 14/29/58/82 games, quarter length, difficulty, and advancement pace are all adjustable. It does not appear that there are any sliders in Online Association as it has not been mentioned. Transactions can be handed through the console or on the website launching next week.
The idea behind the advancement period is one that will work for some people and not others. It reduces flexibility in how a league will move forward – automatically simming any uncompleted games when the timer runs out. That may provide motivation for owners or it could lead others to quit when they are unable to get their game/s in on time and find them simmed. While it will keep things moving along it also will prevent a league from speeding through more briskly. Better would have been an additional option for the commish to “delay” advancement or progress to the next stage early. The flex scheduling however is clearly beneficial in that it provides more opportunity to play games within the designated period especially if the league is user-heavy.
Trades require league approval – which has the potential to be annoying depending on the owners involved but could also help to prevent blatant cheating amongst teams. The off-season consists of the NBA Draft, rookie signing, and free agency. All of those events are considered to be ‘live’ and are intended for all owners to be present. Those who can’t appear will be able to set up lists in advance for the CPU to take over with.
Overall it’s an intriguing advancement for the NBA 2K series which has traditionally struggled with online-related features and performance. If it pulls everything off it could match the success and prestige of NCAA Football’s Online Dynasty – though inherently it is going to be more difficult to do just that given the structure of the NBA adds a number of variables to overcome.