🌐 The NBA Goes To The Metaverse
An in-depth review of NBA ALL WORLD, the NBA's latest digital game app, developed by Niantic the maker of Pokemon Go.
To our faithful subscribers: Today’s edition is actually NOT about web3. This year we’ll be looking at sports x metaverse projects, and expanding our scope a bit.
So today we’re writing about a fun new product from the NBA, and giving an honest opinion on it. If you like/don’t like this, please answer our poll at the bottom to help us get better.
There was a brief moment in time where I, like many of you, was obsessed with Pokemon Go.
And it wasn’t until years later when I joined web3 that I realized Niantic (the app’s parent company) had actually delivered my first ever true metaverse experience way back in 2016, when it had me and millions of others running around city parks looking for digital pokemon.
Fast forward 6.5 years (!!), and the company has launched their brand new game, NBA ALL WORLD, in partnership with the NBA.
Necessary sidenote: they have also attempted two other games, Harry Potter AR and Catan, both of which have not fare well. But hey, this is the NBA!
I’ve actually been playing the game for weeks now and in today’s newsletter I’ll give my thorough review of the NBA’s new digital venture.
And hey look, my first ever Game Review
Game Review: NBA ALL WORLD
What the game is
NBA AW is a Pokemon Go style mobile app, where you walk around, challenge players, recruit them to your team, and level up the whole squad. You can also compete against other humans in Global Arena Tournaments.
The game is fully licensed by the NBA, and features tons of All -tar, Starters, and Bench Warmers. Plus, it has a built in
Discord chat app called Bonfire
My honest review
AW is a fun and very simple metaverse RPG. I love that you collect REAL basketball players, and that you can customize with swag as you please. The global tournaments give a good sense of community, and I could see a potential for NBA teams and the league to incorporate this into their in-arena experience.
The fact that only 75x players are available is both good and bad: its very limited (although most of the top All0Stars are there), but also ripe for expansion to new people and rookies as they arrive in the league. There is plenty of room for growth.
With the backing of the NBA, this game could sustain broader interest than Pokemon GO, and also provide real world prizes for top players and participants. The NBA is a very digital forward league, and it’s great to see them try new things.
But similar to their web3 efforts, there’s a missing connection to the actual fandom experience, where the product leaves many fans (like me) wanting a closer experience than just staring at digital players on a screen. What’s the end game, NBA?
Overall rating: 7.6/10
Addictiveness - 10/10 : When you’re moving too fast, it warns you not to drive and play. I’m assuming that’s because people did this often in Pokemon Go. Its also because many users might try to play while doing other things.
Game Design - 8/10 : Overall the game looks awesome. Really smooth and well done. Only reason it didn’t score a 10 is because some players look terrible.
Gameplay - 7/10 : Its fun, but basic. There are only 5 different games you can play. Need more here! Hopefully the mini games expand into more over time.
Music - 7/10 : Some good tunes and remixes and the sound is very clear - but its often the same 3-4 songs. Would love to see more tracks in a new update.
Competition - 6/10 : You feel like you have a chance in every battle. But sometimes the CPU forces a win, which is kind of lame. Regardless, its just challenging enough to make you need to focus properly.
How It Works
Honestly, you won’t need more than 10 minutes to learn this thing. The onboarding is super slick, and you can play battles within minutes.
I’ve broken each section into bullet points to make for an easy read on the mechanics of the game. Skip ahead for my Strategy Tips.
What You Do
You walk around as an NBA Player and other players “appear”
You challenge them to 3-point contest, and when you win, they join your team!
You can also collect upgrades and gear, which improve your players
How To Collect Good Players
The game is based on a level-up system
You need to hit certain levels to be able to recruit certain players
Example: You can’t get Ja Morant and Jamal Murray until Level 3
The final player you can recruit is LeBron at Level 20
There are two types of gameplay in this:
Shooting: Your player is stationary, and you have to tap at the right moment on a sliding scale of accuracy (basically a power bar).
Within shooting, there are FOUR mini games you might play:
First to 5
3 point contest
Around The World
Most Point in 45 Seconds
1-on-1: You physically control your player, playing against the computer AI. You play first to 3 buckets, and its actually quite hard.
Every time you challenge a player, you have to “buy in” with your Rep Points, which you can only earn by winning some more. So if you LOSE a battle, you LOSE the Rep Points you bet (so make sure you win a lot!)
How To Level Up
The fastest way to progress in the game is to Level Up, and the only way to do that is to gain “Team Rep Points” and improve your players.
Rep Points: You get these from beating players, being court champ (like the gyms in Pokemon), and playing in the global tournaments.
Players: You recruit them by beating in challenges in the wild, but only once you are at the gated-level.
Travelling: You must travel a certain distance to qualify for some levels
Recruiting total: You must recruit a certain total players for some levels.
Its unclear to what level the NBA and Niantic are marketing the product just yet. However, some members of The First Mint have reported seeing billboard appear in their home towns:
And we did get a hilarious trailer for the game,in which Karl Anthony Towns, Jordan Poole, and Andrew Wiggins look menacingly at the camera while dribbling alone on empty basketball courts.
There’s even some fake snow (why??) for effect.
Strategy - How To Get Good
The objective of the game, so far as I can tell, is to level all the way up to Level 20 and beyond, and dominate in as many Arena Tournaments as possible.
Another objective would be to collect ALL players, including LeBron James, whom you cannot get until you hit Level 20.
Then, I would assume the fun is to challenge your friends, and also recruit new players as they are released in game (no guarantee that’s happening though).
What Players To Pick
You’ll be stuck with your Starter: thats fine. Level them up.
Once you hit Level 5, focus on collecting the players designated as “All-Stars”
These All-Stars will automatically start at Rank 2, and be much better in mini games. BUT, you’ll still need to level up a few Rank 1 guys, as that’s required for progressing your Team Level.
How To Win More Challenges
You’ll face many different players and challenges. Here’s how I’ve won most of them:
Energy Bar: Always keep it at 100%. Replenish it after each battle.
Shooting: Always aim for just below the “target” rectangle. You’re more likely to hit it that way because the game’s response is a bit slow.
How to win 1-on-1 game:
Upgrades: Make sure your player is equipped with maximum boosts and gear, especially on defence. This will help your player defend the court.
Moves: Use the BLOCK for defence; it works way more than the Steal. The steal will hardly ever work, and makes it easy for the opponent to blow by you for a dunk. This goes regardless of height or ability.
Pro Tip: Avoid 1-on-1 with players who have higher XP and Skill levels. You will lose, and also lose the Rep Points you bet on the battle.
How To Level Up Fast
Levelling up becomes a slog around Level 7. You need TONS of rep points, which you can only acquire by winning challenges.
Gyms: The FASTEST way to get Team Rep Points is by playing at the gyms. Right now, many of them are dominated by computer AIs - take advantage of this. Park yourself near one and play every fake players on the leaderboard. Its must faster than walking around looking for challengers, and you win more Team Rep Points.
One Star Players: Also, use one star player to do all the challenges. Although its tempting to spread out the XP from challenges, you can artificially do this by using XP boosts on certain players without ever playing them (also vital to Levelling up).
Having one super star that is a much higher level than the rest will “attract” better competition in the wild, and ensure more success.
I went with Ja Morant, and he’s my megastar for now. And YES, that’s the SLAM Jayson Tatum cover on his tshirt.
Ready to get started?
Here what’s do with your first 30 minutes in the app:
Download the game (my referral link - no affiliation)
Add me as a friend (Code: 739947036824 )
Walk 100 feet and play in the “Warm up” challenges
Walk around for 10-15minutes and challenge players to recruit them
Gather as many “power ups” as you can from stores, street corners, etc.
Check the “Arena Tournaments” section and see if you qualify for a tournament today (some have low entry barrier).
And most of all, remember to enjoy the experience and stay safe while playing (as in don’t play and drive, and don’t walk into a tree).
**This is not financial advice. Nothing in this newsletter, podcast, or publication should be considered financial or trading advice of any kind. Please do your own thorough research and make your own trading decisions. This is not advice.”
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