The overall ratings from NBA Live 13 that EA Sports provided for the rookies drafted in the first round won’t tell you much about the player’s skill levels or effectiveness in the upcoming game. They’re essentially empty numbers with no context and varying by only a few points here and there between most of the picks made their reveals fairly uninteresting.
What is evident however from those overall ratings is that the new development team is reverting to a more traditional ratings scale as opposed to the one that rolled out with NBA Live 10 and was found to be quite effective in producing realistic results. The ratings in Live 10 were stretched out in a fashion that differentiated skills better than in the past.
The spread between overall ratings in NBA Live 10 and NBA Live 13 is very significant. The average rating of a first rounder in the former was 66.8 and the latter 71.8 – so Live 13 is rating players an average of 5 points higher. Live 10 had only 6 first rounders rated 70 or above while Live 13 has an astounding 22.
Of course ratings will only be reflective of design – there is no assurance to be made that more spread out ratings equals a better playing game. It’s possible that the more traditional (that is more forgiving to players) ratings scale can work just as well as long as there are elements like tendencies properly represented. Some of that was present due to the Synergy data being tunneled into the series beginning with NBA Live 09. The relationship with Synergy continues for Live 13 so the dynamic nature of ratings will be a factor. That won’t change however that players are simply being rated higher across the board with Live 13 and that presents increased challenge in differentiating the tiers of players and their skill levels.