In early 2001, the term “blue mixing” was coined by Five Iron Frenzy frontman Reese Roper in their song Blue Mixes. The term described a practice in the music industry where sound technicians would purposefully make smaller, opening bands sounds terrible to make the main act look and sound better.
Unfortunately, that is what Daniel Hardcastle from Nerd3 and reddit user bmont12 seem to be exposing in the wake of NBA 2K19’s September 7th release. This time, instead of sound, we are talking about progression.
The reddit post shows two different pictures of a TV screen with XP breakdowns for its MyCareer game mode, implying that one screen shot is from a review copy while the other was from post launch. Another user would draw up calculations of nearly 30% decreases in MyCareer experience in several categories. Hardcastle would go on to accuse 2K of lying to their player base by providing more desirable progression for reviewers.
If this situation feels similar, it should…
Last year, EA found itself in hot water when reviewers discovered in Star Wars Battlefront II that playable heroes would be locked behind in-game purchases with a ridiculous currency grind. Destiny developer Bungie was also raked over the coals for throttling end-game XP in the early months of Destiny 2.
While NBA 2K19 would hardly be the first game to tweak experience gains post launch, these changes, when done positively, are typically made more public within patch notes.
If you want to take the dive into the reddit thread for yourself, you can see how far the rabbit trail goes here.
What do you think of the practice of shifting XP gains in games? Does it make the experience of gaining rewards more meaningful to the players or a frustrating grind?