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Old 09-30-2010, 05:02 PM
Gary Gorski's Avatar
Gary Gorski Gary Gorski is offline
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Arrow MUST READ - DDS:PB2 Primer

What’s New with Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2

With the impending release of DDS:PB2 I thought I would take a few minutes to highlight some of the really cool new features as well as some items that usually get overlooked.

Player Personalities and Media Interaction
This is one of the features added to the game to expand the immersion in the game world. Players now have level of relationships in the game – one with teammates, one with the coaching staff and one with the organization as a whole. Each relationship is affected by different things – say a player can’t get along with one of his teammates. That will make him unhappy and could cause problems amongst the players but it doesn’t mean the player dislikes the management. Or perhaps he can’t ever get off the bench – he could have a dislike for the coaching staff but still like his teammates. The depth of the multiple relationship factors gives you an indicator of what is wrong and how you can fix it rather than a player just being “unhappy”. If you know it’s the coach then maybe you fire the coach. If you know he’s constantly in arguments with a teammate you can make the decision to trade or release the player he doesn’t like. Maybe the player just isn’t worth the drama and you decide to get rid of him for the sake of team chemistry…the dynamics of the in game relationships open up a whole extra level of game strategy rather than just finding players with the highest ratings.

But the relationships aren’t all negative – while players have hidden ratings to determine who they dislike they also have hidden ratings to determine who their friends are. This can be a deciding factor in determining where a player may choose to sign with as a free agent or could be an important stabilizing factor on his own morale during a tough season if he’s playing with teammates he likes. A player’s leadership and positive attitude can also help negate the negative influence of a “bad apple” on the team making a “good locker room guy” a valuable commodity even if his ratings don’t inspire you to let him see the floor.

The media interaction in the game takes things a step further even. Periodically throughout the course of the season you may be prompted with emails asking you to respond to a number of situations. (hint – to ensure you are not missing this leave the ‘stop at action email’ option checked in the sim screen) Every response you make has some impact and that impact could be positive sometimes and negative others depending on the personality and stability of the player in question. For example a player may rattle off three or four nice games and you may be asked by a local reporter for a comment on him for a news article. You could offer wild praise for the player which might really boost his morale and feelings for the organization and allow him to continue his inspired play….or the guy might be the kind of guy who gets a big head and your praise just killed the little desire he had to work hard and you can expect his production to drop off again. Or perhaps you have a player that you have placed on the trade block – if the media gets word of that they may question you and your denial may keep the unsuspecting player happy…unless he thinks there is something to the rumors and then considers you’re a liar and his respect for the organization decreases. However maybe you have a player who wants to be traded and you have admitted to shopping him – maybe he will at least appreciate that you’re trying to move him and won’t be a total drag on the rest of the organization in the meantime. He might even pick up his play to encourage a trade offer to come in. These are just a sampling of the scenarios in the game but I’m really excited about the dynamic they add because it really puts you in touch with managing the players on your team as opposed to just managing a bunch of virtual 1s and 0s.

There are also new in-game magazines included to provide further depth of the media with one of them being a constantly updated look at “metrics” in the league allowing stat-geeks to look at some of the more popular “advanced stats” used today.

New Salary Options and Rookie Management
For DDSPB2 I chose to expand the financial system by incorporating restricted free agency and player, team and early termination options to player contracts. This is especially important for those rookies coming off the rookie contracts – you can now tender them an offer before free agency begins and make them RFAs giving you the right to match any contract offer they decide to sign as opposed to the past version of the game which did not allow this and simply made them free agents with bird rights. Now you have the option of waiting the player out to see if he gets a better offer than you are willing to make.

The addition of the options is also a nice feature because it adds some more depth to the financial system. Maybe there’s a guy who wants a 5 year deal but you just aren’t comfortable with that – in the past you either paid up for that 5th guaranteed year or lost the guy. Now you could offer him the 5th year as a team option. Its not as good as him getting the 5th year guaranteed but he may take you up on that offer. And for players you would like to sign to a longer contract than they are looking for you can always offer player or early termination options so they can opt out if they are not happy with the deal later on.

I’ve also added the ability to “stash” second round draft picks overseas into this version of the game. To do this you simply go to the roster page during the contract decisions period of the summer and rather than signing him to a 2nd round contract you let him go overseas and retain his rights. Each year prior to the start of the draft you are prompted to see if you want him to join the team at which point he would start up on his 2nd round rookie salary. You also can build custom roster files (as always) and assign rights of players to certain teams. You will find that a few players are started like this if you use the default roster file to represent the proper teams they belong to.
There has also been a mode added for you to play without any of these rules if you prefer a more streamlined, simplified, hard cap salary model as opposed to rules dealing with rookie options, mid level exceptions and bird rights.

New Playable European Leagues
This is one of the biggest additions to the game (and one that can be disabled if you have an older machine or just have no interest). You can take control of one of 72 teams from Europe. There are 9 domestic leagues – some for entire countries such as Spain or Russia and others for certain regions to include representatives of the strongest teams in European basketball. The fun part of these leagues are that you have the chance to play in TWO seasons simultaneously. There is the domestic league during which you play only the other 7 teams in your league and then the two championship leagues that not all teams get to participate in.

The domestic league gives you a stable league that you compete in each season with the goal to win as many games as possible to increase the prestige (and budget) of your club as well as to qualify for the championship leagues in the following season. The championship leagues are the ultimate goal and give you the opportunity to experience relegation/promotion as your status in them depends on how you’ve done in your domestic league as well as the overall prestige of your club. These leagues are modeled after their real life counterparts complete with the proper use of “groups” and rules for advancing in the season long tournament.

As I mentioned previously pro league 2nd round picks can be made available to be signed by European clubs of course with the provision that they could be bought out by the pro team any season. If you play with European leagues enabled you may see your player get signed by a team and be able to follow his statistical progression while he plays overseas. If you disable the Euro leagues you can still “stash” the players but obviously there will be no games played for him although the player will continue to develop ratings wise as if he was playing overseas.

League Expansion
Since the start of the series people have asked for expansion so here it is. You can expand most of the league sizes starting with the 22 team league all the way through a 30 team league configuration. Once you expand to 32 teams from 30 that ends the expansion.

Expansion comes complete with player protection/expansion draft rules, proper placement in the rookie draft and a limited salary cap early on just as it does in real life. Better yet for historical buffs if you expand from one of the smaller league sizes you are always automatically prompted to expand with the team that appeared during that expansion portion in history. You of course can edit the team to be whatever you want if you do not want to recreate history.

Progressive Injury Healing
This has always been an area of the game I wanted to improve on from the “realism” factor. Sure the player was out for two months with a broken wrist but in the past that meant that for 60 game days he was at 0% health and then 100% back on day 61. Now players will heal progressively over time giving you the opportunity (and risk) of bringing a player back early. So yes, you can play that player with a torn ACL two weeks before his injury was supposed to be healed…he might be at 90% only and you’re risking re-injury but now the game realizes and accounts for the 11.5 months he has already sat out and had surgery and rehabbed making this much more realistic of a feature to go along with the already implemented season fatigue which wears down players gradually over the course of a season or accounts for a noticeable temporary drop in stamina if the team has played back to back games or a number of games in short time period.

The Summer of …
As previously, DDSPB2 gives you the opportunity to start either prior to the draft this summer or right before the start of the regular season giving you the opportunity to experience or possibly rewrite what will be one of the most historic summers for pro basketball in its history or giving you the chance to pickup with where things stand now and see what the future holds for your favorite team.

Improved Functionality
There’s a ton to list here but many improvements have been made to make the game a little easier on you. Things like more streamlined player cards, an office screen with more info at a glance, a quick injury report, the ability to lock a “default” sub matrix so that you can make changes for injury and switch back at the click of a button, daily stat leaders on the simulation screen and much more.

History
One thing that seems to have been overlooked in the past is just how deep the almanac is. Every season played by every player is stored in the game’s database. You can pull up the history of a specific team and show each season any player has ever played for just that team or can search the entire history of the league for specific players. You can view the history of the league as a whole in the almanac or view team specific history on its own screen (it’s the little book icon in the top tool bar). In the team history section not only can you look at every season ever played by player but can also get season recaps, a history of draft picks, historical W/L and much more.

Player Valuation
Player valuation has been reworked so that you see the “star system” in a historical context as opposed to the context of the league. So if you see a 5 star player now you will know he’s truly one of the top players the game has seen and stands out above the rest. The already tough AI has gotten even smarter in its trade maneuvers with the ability to realize what kind of success (or lack thereof) the current team is having and will adjust its trading and free agent strategy to match its current state. IE if the team is bad the AI will try to rebuild or if the team is really good it will look to add players to make a run at the title. The AI has also had a few loopholes closed so that it is even tougher in negotiations and will not allow itself to get saddled with bad contracts or give up precious cap space.

Improved Multiplayer
One other addition has been the ability for a commissioner to setup FTP info allowing GMs to simply click a button from their screen and automatically upload their league files and allowing the commissioner the same ability to click once and automatically download the files. Some items still need to be hand done by the commissioner but this cuts out the time needed to email files back and forth.

As you can see a great deal of new features have been added to an already great game and the great news is that for some of these items I have only scratched the surface of what can be done – especially in regards to the media/player interaction stuff. My goal is to deliver a realistic basketball simulation but one that totally sucks you in. I want you to have joy when you when the title and want you to curse out the screen when your superstar demands a trade because you refuse to treat him like a diva in the media…DDS:PB2 has made leaps and bounds from its predecessor and I hope you’re as excited to try the game as I am to deliver it…which will be very soon
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:52 PM
mgsports mgsports is offline
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Expansion Draft not being able to go past 32 Teams is a Minus and not full Off Season Mode to meaning like Unrestricted Free-Agent Period from 7-1 to opening Day not 30 days but starting before the Draft is good because if you Expand or do Fantasy Draft and get to see if Miami would sign all 3 in Game.

Last edited by mgsports : 10-01-2010 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:08 PM
LightningStrike5 LightningStrike5 is offline
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Trust me guys - its worth it. Gary has really outdone himself with this one.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:29 PM
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Coinflippers_GM Coinflippers_GM is offline
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I CANNOT wait to play this game!!!!
Gary, it sounds unbelievable!!!!
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:24 PM
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Gary Gorski Gary Gorski is offline
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I'm going to do my best to get a demo out at some point this weekend before it goes on sale so you can get your basketball fix as quickly as possible!
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:23 PM
SK rulez SK rulez is offline
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Very very excited to see how European part of the game will be.
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:39 PM
mgsports mgsports is offline
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Good for the Demo.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:38 PM
galego25 galego25 is offline
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Finally! Looking forward to the release of the game!
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:04 AM
allhail22 allhail22 is offline
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Glad to hear this Gary, and I am looking forward to this. I bought the game last year but I was not able to commit to doing beta because of lack of time. So I am glad to see this coming out and I can't wait to see how good it is going to be!
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:34 AM
Pacersfan46 Pacersfan46 is offline
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I've played like 200+ seasons and still get the itch to come back to it like a crackhead going for a fix.

The best part is that it's exceedingly stable. At least for us in the beta it has been. I think I only lost 1 save the entire time, and cant recall the last time I had a crash end my game. Which the saved game I lost was at the beginning of the process. I think Gary has done a great job listening to suggestions and changing things even if he wasn't 100% in agreement with it all the time.

It took Gary a little longer than he expected, but he's had a new baby during the process, and had a couple bumps in the road. I'm glad I took part in this and look forward to the next one ..... right Gary? lol
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