The first big update for NBA 2K21 has landed, and it addresses a number of significant pain points for the NBA 2K community across shooting, core gameplay, My Career, and a host of other modes and features.
The clear focus with update 1.02 per the game’s patch notes is the gameplay controversial shooting mechanics. Changes to shooting in NBA 2K21 raised the difficulty ceiling rather considerably, shifting focus away from attributes as a sole driver and instead putting the burden onto aiming and timing as far more influential factors.
While the changes are certainly to be applauded — as I detailed in my NBA 2K21 review — it appears the community either wasn’t prepared for how significant a challenge the new shooting mechanics would be, or simply isn’t prepared to change the way they play the game.
What the justification for the uproar from the NBA 2K community, the reality is that the divide and skill gap between the top tier and mid tier players has grown significantly, and even with a widening white zone, it may take more than a single update to bring the community closer.
Nonetheless, the recent update goes to great lengths to refine the NBA 2K21 experience across a number of key areas. Let’s break it down.
Firstly, the new Pro Stick Aiming/Shot Timing selector will appear when you first boot up the game after the update. You’ll have the option to choose between using the new Pro Stick Aiming mechanic, or instead rely upon the traditional Shot Timing mechanic.
Depending on what you choose, your settings file will be updated with your desired selection, and you’ll be able to visit your settings at any time to update and change your shooting preferences.
The shooting hotfix is more apparent after this latest patch: the timing window still seems quite tight, and certainly tighter than past years, but players will ultimately need to play out of and through their hot and cold zones to really start seeing changes in this shooting proficiency.
Andrew Wiggins appearance
Interestingly, and rather hilariously, the NBA 2K21 development team has also addressed community uproar over the appearance of Andrew Wiggins. Per the patch notes, Wiggins now “appears with updated facial hair to more accurately represent his appearance”. Phew!
Gameplay changes and fixes
Back to the core gameplay changes though, and there’s quite a bit to unpack here.
Firstly, the patch enables the ability to use Pro Stick Shot Aiming with the Shot Meter setting turned off. Additionally, the ideal Shot Aiming point is now determined by how slowly or quickly the Pro Stick is initially deflected when starting a shot.
For example, a slow flick will move the ideal aim point to the left, while a fast flick will move the ideal point to the right, giving players more consistency with Pro Stick shooting.
Other key changes to gameplay per the patch notes include:
- Changed Ante Up to use competitive slider settings (more skill-based).
- When the Shot Feedback setting is set to “OFF,” players and opponents will no longer see Excellent Release (green light) animations.
- Fixed unwanted fadeaway shots that were playing after immediately shooting out of certain dribble moves.
- Improved standing dunk reliability when using the Pro Stick.
- Disabled the double team indicator in an effort to clean up the on-screen UI based on community feedback.
- Added the ability to shoot driving floaters from further away from the basket.
- Moving Park dribble moves were remapped to “holds” on the Pro Stick, allowing continued use of Hard Stops with L2/LT after unlocking the Park Handles badge.
- Cleaned up some animation pops in the dribble move system.
- Fixed ball physics bugs when Shot Timing was set to Real Player %.
- Toned down the effectiveness of the Lead to Basket pass feature to prevent exploits.
My Career update
There’s also been a number of fixes to MyCareer implemented in this latest patch. Check out the full list below:
- Fixed a Pro Am 3v3 hang that was being reported by the community.
- Fixed a hang that some users reported when entering/exiting the Cages.
- Addressed a case where some users reported loss of control of their MyPLAYER during gameplay.
- Fixed an issue in MyCOURT where the player was unable to finish some mini-games with certain NBA players as AI.
- Fixed a hang that could happen at the start of a 3-on-3 game in MyCOURT.
- Fixed an issue where fan growth in Park games was not properly accumulating.
- Addressed an issue where custom shoes were sometimes not showing up properly on other players in the Beach.
- Fixed a hang that some users reported when transitioning between Beach instances.
- Users will now receive the correct scene after winning the College Championship.
MyTEAM, MyLEAGUE and MyGM
MyTEAM appears to have launched without much of a hitch in NBA 2K21, with few changes included in the current patch:
- Fixed a hang that would occur if the user was tracking an expired Agenda.
- Fixed an issue where the progress bar would fail to show progress on the Agenda Tracker.
- Fixed user interface issues when applying and upgrading badges to player cards.
On the MyLEAGUE and MyGM front, there’s some significant changes here.
Firstly, 2K Share Content appears to have finally be fixed. You should now be able to share customer draft classes, players and rosters without a hitch. This was a major issue out of launch because it simply didn’t work, making life very frustrating for a dedicated and creative NBA 2K community.
Additional improves include:
- Tuning improvements to Player Progression, based on community feedback. With our new “Boom or Bust” system, player progression/regression has been completely re-written for 2K21 to provide a level of dynamism such that players will follow different career arcs in different playthroughs.
- Addressed a MyLEAGUE item where the user would hang when selecting the Save As option after previously accessing the shared save list.
That’s a lot to take in but it’s good to see 2K is so proactive in getting community requested included and added as part of updates. On the Shooting front, I’ve personally noticed some slight improvements, but I think there will still be a learning curve for the community, albeit not as steep a learning curve. It will be interesting to see how the community feels about it over the coming days.
What are your thoughts on the latest NBA 2K21 update? Sound off in the comments below!