It’s time. Really, it is. A week from today marks the 2-year anniversary of the Rivals Clash and after a good 2-year run it’s finally time to retire the RC for good. But I’m getting ahead of myself, allow me to give a brief history of the Rivals Clash and then I’ll go into the details of why it has to go and what the solutions are.
Two years ago Cat Daddy introduced a new game mode for MyNBA2K14 called Rivals Clash! There was great excitement leading up to this event because up until that point the game was restricted to simply playing quick games and setting your season lineups. For the most part the first RC seemed to go well, despite mass confusion about the rewards system. It was Larry Bird’s Celtics vs. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. The Lakers inevitably won and the coveted RC Pro card went to the #1 finisher, a user named Ryan. At the time MyNBA grinders complained about how hard the event was, little did they know it was only going to get harder.
With each new RC the competition intensified. Juggernauts surfaced and they dominated the RC leaderboards. For at least a year Twista was the undisputed RC champion. After him came the mighty SourSyd, and then another leaderboard staple: TeamTerminator. By the time MyNBA2K14 came to a close the RC competition had become so intense that many faithful MyNBA gamers hoped it wouldn’t be brought back. A whole week of grinding was taking its toll on our social lives. I remember liking MyNBA2K15 the most in the first month the game was released, before the Rivals Clash was re-introduced. Of course the RC started back up and the MyNBA faithful were back to devoting every other week entirely to the game.
With each RC event the score totals advanced, eventually reaching more than 85,000! Something had to give. To place high in the events people were sleeping less and less and/or recruiting friends across the world in different time zones to play for them while they got a couple hours of much-needed sleep. The intensity of the grind drove some users to seek alternative methods. Those “alternative methods” filled the leaderboards with users that were cheating by using either speed hacks or bots that played the game for them, all the while RC scores continued to skyrocket. Legitimate grinders like Twista dropped off, allowing new RC champions, one of whom was a notorious botter named Egbert. By the end of MyNBA2K15 the app was dirtier than 80s baseball and 2000s cycling. One of the best additions in MyNBA2K15 was the Road to the Championship (RTTC) game mode, a much less tasking mode that lent itself towards those with good decks, however the RC remained as a bi-weekly event that you had to take part in if you wanted to have a truly competitive deck.
When MyNBA2K16 was released we had another blissful month or so without the Rivals Clash. Part of me hoped the RC wouldn’t come back at all but of course it did. In a surprising-yet-positive turn Cat Daddy began cracking down on the cheating. Scores of members were banned for either failing the verification system or registering impossible game speeds. Most of the bans were temporary, serving as a stern warning. Inexplicably others were permanently banned. Once Cat Daddy had made their point RC scores came back down to earth and honest RC grinders could once again compete, but it was only a matter of time before the scores built back up to where users had to grind non-stop all week to contend for a top spot. Now every other week MyNBA gamers are forced to spend 4 solid days grinding away on the app. The RTTC game mode has Game Nights, when you run out of Game Nights you have to wait, allowing for a break. You can buy Game Nights to go faster but you’re working towards an actual point total, whereas the RC is limitless. I love the RTTC because you can make actual plans/calculations and you don’t have to spend the whole time grinding.
I’d like to quickly talk some more about the RTTC, Cat Daddy has recently made changes to it and people are upset about that. It’s now harder to complete the RTTC, decks have to be stronger and scores have to be higher. I believe it’s been calculated out so that you are only permitted 3 hours of sleep if you want to claim the top RTTC card without spending money, and that’s if your deck is good enough to win +7’s. Personally, I like the fact that they made the RTTC harder. Last RTTC I got through the Billups card and finished only 1/4 of the way through Prince. I’m okay with that. Not everyone needs to get the best cards. If your deck isn’t good enough to get the best card then do what you can and build up your deck in anticipation of the next event. What does bother me about the RTTC is how quickly you can run into a wall. Typically I can win +7’s easily (without even looking at the screen, usually) and I transition from that to fighting to win +2’s in the harder rounds. There should be more of a transition, easily winning 7’s, barely winning +7’s but easily winning +5’s, then barely winning +5’s but easily winning +2’s, etc. Cat Daddy simply has to tweak the difficulty somewhat to achieve this, I really wish they would. As for them virtually forcing you to spend money (even if you have a stacked deck), it doesn’t really bother me. If you’re motivated enough you can complete the RTTC without spending money. One night I set my alarm every hour so I could get up and use my Game Nights, then I’d get another hour of sleep before I woke up to once again clear out the Game Nights. You can say that’s ridiculous, to that I don’t disagree but it absolutely beats grinding non-stop on the RC. Speaking of the RC, it’s time to get back to that…
On top of the continual grinding that the RC requires, the reward system has come into question. Now that Wild Cards have been introduced, anyone with an RC card has the chance to pro that card, as opposed to previous years where you had to grind for a top spot to get that card. Additionally, it’s become evident that even though you grind so hard for each of these RC cards they all soon become weak compared to the new cards that come out in the following events. Due to those factors many of MyNBA’s top grinders are wondering why they even bother with the RC at all. Twista, a top MyNBA user for a long time (and one of the founders of our site) had this to say about the current state of the Rivals Clash:
“The RC was once a battle for the top spot (to earn an RC pro card). Over time the top spot turned into the top 5 spots, then the top 25. Today the top 500 can get an RC pro. I can’t push myself to grind my life away for a reward that is only sub-par and will be replaced in a matter of weeks by a newer, shinier card. At this point the RC requires more time and money than the reward is worth. The RC not only takes tons of time but it also pulls me away from my obligations as a father and officer. Instead of focusing on helping my kids get better at basketball I was sitting on my recliner grinding the RC. When I was patrolling the streets I was parked grinding the RC instead of stopping violators. The RC has ruined the game for me to the point of near deletion.”
While I understand that nearly every game gives an advantage to whoever has the most free time, the RC makes it crucial that you either have a lot of free time, or you spend your important time (work, social events) grinding away at the game.
In light of the issues stated above I believe it’s time to do away with the Rivals Clash. It was good for a time but now it has run its course and the time has come for a new game mode. Since I’m not the type to bash on something without providing a positive alternative I’m proposing Cat Daddy introduce a new game mode called Title Shot.
Title Shot (TS for short) will (this is a fictional, proposed game mode but I’m going to treat it like it’s actually going to happen) be a playoff game mode. When you enter the mode you will be placed in a bracket (so many people will be playing at once it wont take long to get matched up). Each bracket will consist of 8 teams, all with comparable quick game deck strength. Each round will take 25 minutes. In that 25 minutes you have to play 5 quick games against your opponent’s deck. At the same time your opponent is playing 5 quick games against your deck. Whoever wins the most quick games between the two will advance to the next round. If you don’t play all 5 games by the end of the 25 minutes then any games you didn’t play will be simulated (with a high likelihood of losing). If you are eliminated in the first round you are awarded 1 point for participating. Those that advance to the second round are awarded 2 points. At the end of each round (win or lose) you must wait 25 minutes before you can play again. Eliminated members can start a new bracket after 25 minutes and those that advance wait 25 minutes before the next round. If you win the semi-final matchup you are awarded 4 points (2 if you lose) and if you win the final you are awarded 6 points (4 points for the runner-up).
As for the rewards I’d like it to be more like the RTTC where you’re guaranteed a certain card for earning a specific amount of points, that way the scores wont snowball and eventually skyrocket like they did in the RC. Between that and the 25 minute breaks between rounds the event should be way less of a continual grind like you have to deal with in the RC, thus less players should be getting burned out from playing it. To be honest Title Shot is more or less a rough draft of an idea for a game mode, I’m sure the rules and points system could use some improvement/tweaking, but I like the general idea and it would be a welcome change from the RC! Below you can see a graphic I prepared of what the Title Shot bracket could look like, simply click on it to enlarge.
What do you think? Is it time to abolish the RC? Is the RTTC fine how it is? Is Title Shot a good idea? Have your own ideas for a new game mode? Comment and let us know!