Feature Article
The Online World of Hoops Dynasty
WhatIfSports.com debuted in late 1999 with its historical baseball simulator, which allowed you to pit two major league baseball teams from any year in the game’s history against each other. This baseball simulator evolved to become their SimMatchup series, which also covers hockey and both professional and college football and basketball. WhatIfSports.com later released their Dynasty line, which are simulation leagues that allow you to run a baseball organization or college football or basketball program. We’ll be taking a look at Hoops Dynasty.

To get started with Hoops Dynasty, you join one of the game’s several worlds. Worlds contain the complete structure of the Division I, Division II, and Division III programs, which real people can run each season. You start off with a Division III program, and to work your way up the ranks, you’ll have to prove yourself. This method gives you control over your destiny, as you can choose to be the successful coach who rises from a tiny school to lead a major Division I program to a national title, or you can remain loyal to one of the less prestigious programs and build your own dynasty there.

When Kelvin Sampson lost another college basketball coaching job due to repeated recruiting violations, his reputation suffered, and he will have to overcome that problem to find another high profile coaching job. This concept applies to Hoops Dynasty as well. Your reputation stays with you, and you’re judged based on your reputation, loyalty, and discipline, among other factors (such as winning).

Your reputation relates to how the administration and others in this program and other programs view you. Your loyalty rating shows how faithful you’ve been to the programs at which you’ve coached. If you’re Bobby Petrino and apply for every job under the sun, your loyalty rating will probably be pretty low. Discipline concerns how you handle behavioral and academic issues in your school. All of these factors come into play when applying for a job.

Unlike with most text simulations, you play the game solely through a web browser, as WhatIfSports.com hosts it on their servers. This capability provides you with the unique opportunity to keep up with your program and manage it from anywhere, which you’ll want to do because game simulations occur at least once daily, depending on the world. During recruiting season, time becomes a factor as well because you find yourself competing real-time against other human coaches for the services of high school, junior college, and transfer players.

Recruiting takes place at the start of each season and lasts about a week real-time. You can court a player by using a variety of different methods, which range from merely mailing material about your school, to in-house visits and offering scholarships, and which all cost different amounts of money. Each option tells you something important about the recruit, such as calling his high school coach to find out more about how he plays.

Staying within your budget can be especially tricky, particularly when you’re just starting out with a low Division III program. You need to balance the talent of the player you’re recruiting with the amount of money you’d have to spend to lure the player over to your program. Many recruits won’t be interested in your program at all, so you have to pick your spots while also worrying about competition from other schools. A recruiting battle often leads only to disappointment and you wishing you had your thousands of dollars back.

When the season starts, you’ll have to turn your attention from the recruiting scene and look inward to your own team. Set your rotation to send your best players onto the floor, but make sure they know your system. Each team has their own offensive and defensive styles of play, and even some great players will find their talents aren’t put to use in certain systems. Each player has ratings representing his proficiency with every available system. The more time a player spends playing in a particular style in practice and in games, the more adept he’ll become.

Hoops Dynasty allows you to realize your dream of being a college basketball coach in a dynamic breathing world. It draws from the depth of other text simulations and adds an endless stream of multiplayer potential, with the possibility of facing off against hundreds of human opponents. This addictive combination, along with the aforementioned web interface, will be sure to draw hours of your attention.

Member Comments
# 1 babiboi @ 03/12/08 08:49 PM
This looks interesting. Might need to check this out.
# 2 bomberooski @ 03/13/08 02:08 AM
It's a very addicting website and hoops dynasty is very fun... but it gets expensive. Don't jump in if you don't have the funds or you'll wonder where your cash is going. Otherwise it's a blast.

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