It may be offseason time in the NBA right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to download a new basketball game for your iOS or Android device. Dunk Nation 3×3 is a new game from Halcyon Network Limited, and it’s described as a massively multiplayer online sports game with stylish graphics. Unlike 2K Sports’ NBA 2K games, or a few other more elaborate mobile titles, this game doesn’t try to overwhelm you with realism and real-life players. Instead, it focuses on the fun aspect of basketball against what game makers call “real players” — human opponents in a half-court street ball setting. You can customize and upgrade your player, outfit them to your liking, and personalize your character as you dominate the courts and win more games against living, breathing opponents from all over the world. There are also a few solo play modes which you can check out if you need some practice…or rewards.
If you’ve just downloaded this game for your iPhone or Android phone, we suggest that you don’t fire it up just yet. Instead, we suggest that you get acquainted with this game in the best way possible by checking out our Dunk Nation 3×3 ultimate guide. We’ve got all sorts of tips for winning more games and improving your players, so read on and enjoy, even if you’ve been playing the game for a while!
1. Make Sure You’re Focused On The Tutorial
Like most other games, Dunk Nation 3×3 comes with a tutorial, where the game walks you through the basics of the game, meaning how to perform certain actions, what menus to navigate through, etc. As you’ll notice early on, the game’s user interface doesn’t really make the most out of the available real estate, but you don’t need to worry about that; just pay close attention and don’t rush through the tutorial, even if it’s understandable that you’re raring to play.
Fortunately, the tutorial isn’t really too complicated, as it uses simple terms and doesn’t try to overcomplicate certain aspects of the game. As such, we expect that you’ll pick up the basic mechanics within a matter of minutes, while earning rewards for doing certain tasks that are included in the tutorial. Once again, be sure that you’re paying attention, and even if you want to challenge some random guy from anywhere in the world, take it easy and learn the game before anything else.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Although 3 vs. 3 action is the main mode in Dunk Nation 3×3, the game does have some other modes which you can opt for. There’s 1-on-1 play, story mode, and also a practice mode, where you can hone your skills without having to worry about any thing being on the line. You might want to visit the practice mode first if you made the mistake of going too fast on the tutorial. Playing story mode is also a good idea — of course, it’s not as fun to take on AI opponents as it is to play against “real players” (again, human opponents, not actual NBA players or streetballers), but that’s why you’ve got AI opponents, so you can enjoy actual gameplay in a lower-stakes setting. It’s not exciting, and many could attest to that, but it’s worth a try.
3. Story Mode Is Really Worth A Try
We do honestly apologize for bringing up story mode/career mode so often, but it’s more than just a practice mode where you can hone your skills against predictable AI, instead of against real players.
Each level in story mode has a given number of stars — it’s optional to shoot for them, but if you do, you’ll be nicely rewarded. You may be asked to score a specific number of points, do a specific move, and the like, and as you earn more stars, you’ll draw closer to the ultimate goal of career mode, which is to unlock the career present. This is a set of rewards that could come in handy as you move forward in the game, but don’t fret over rushing to get all the required stars. Most stars can be earned organically, or through naturally playing the game, so don’t rush yourself too much, and prepare yourself for some tricky requirements.
4. Every Position Has Its Own Specialization
If you’re a fan of the NBA or your country’s local professional or collegiate/amateur league, then this probably needs no explanation. But for the benefit of those who aren’t basketball fans, let’s go through the different positions in the game, which are essentially the same as the positions in real-life hoops.
Although today’s centers are expected to do more than just camp inside the paint, grab rebounds, and block shots, that’s pretty much their main role in Dunk Nation 3×3. They’re the biggest players on court, and are expected to do the aforementioned big man duties.
Power forwards are typically next in size to centers, and perhaps since the game wants to recognize the likes of Kevin Garnett and Karl Malone, PFs in the game generally specialize in scoring inside, which includes dunking the ball. They’re traditionally faster than centers, but as mentioned above, aren’t supposed to be as tall. (Unless you’re the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, who’s 7’2”.)
Small forwards have been described as Dunk Nation 3×3’s answer to the “jack of all trades.” Of course, LeBron James may have something to say about that, since he’s good at just about everything, but in the in-game universe, the SF is your typical all-rounder. We suggest playing this position if you’re a first-time player.
Shooting guards, just as their name suggests, are the players you turn to if you want some scoring. They’re smaller than centers and forwards, but not as small as point guards in most cases, and in this game, you’ll want to play SG if you fancy shooting mainly from midrange or beyond the 3-point line.
Lastly, point guards are the playmakers, and usually the fastest players on the court. They’re the ones who get the ball to the right players’ hands, though they can also do other things, such as score, if needed.
5. Upgrade Your Players
As this is a game that’s very much centered on player skill rather than character skill, you’ll start out on equal footing as other newbies. Naturally, this isn’t like how it is in the real world, where some rookies are much better than others. But at the end of the day, you will have to upgrade your players’ skills once you start winning some games. One important thing to note when it comes to upgrading skills is that your character’s level cannot go beyond your team’s level, with team level going up as you play more games and add more to your personal win column.
Aside from making your players better, upgrading your skills may also trigger special effects — take note that this is an MMO sports game with some RPG elements. Equip skills so you can earn more experience through PvP games. You can also dispatch your players to training camps to further improve their stats and unlock new talents. Generally, we suggest going for an all-rounder approach when upgrading player skills.
6. Expect To Be The Worst Player Early On
As you’ll be starting on a clean slate with stock skills/base stats, you can almost always expect to be the least-skilled player on your team, unless you end up with a three-person team exclusively made up of rookies. Strangely enough, newbie centers are the worst-shooting rookies in the game in terms of field goal percentage; if you’re a stats buff, you’ll know that real-world centers, even the bad ones, still shoot at a high field goal percentage clip if they mainly play inside.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work in Dunk Nation 3×3. Your field goal percentage, or the odds of your shot going in, is not based on your position and its traditional height, and not based on where you shoot the ball from. Instead, it’s a mostly random affair slightly skewed by your stats. Again, the selling point here is street ball action against other human players, as opposed to NBA 2K-esque realism.
7. Play The Rookie Missions
In a real basketball locker room, rookie missions often mean paying for the veterans’ restaurant bill, carrying their bags, etc. But Dunk Nation 3×3 comes with no such rookie hazing — instead, you’ve got rookie missions, which you should play in order to improve your players while still early. These are daily quests which could help you stay up to speed in the game, while earning more experience and winning more rewards. Additionally, there are story mode missions that serve the same purpose — again, it’s not the sexiest mode in the game, but a little story mode never hurt anybody.
As a bonus tip, or more like a warning, it is a bit unfortunate to note that the story mode missions and daily quests can only be completed once. There’s no grinding mechanic where you can replay these tasks as often as you please; you get one-time rewards, and that’s it.
Now that we’ve touched on the basics and set your expectations, it’s time to give you some tips on how to play the actual PvP games.
8. The Best Offense…
You’ve probably heard us say this in some variation or another in other games. But now that we’re covering an MMO basketball game, we might as well take advantage of this perfect opportunity, and say it once again — the best offense is a good defense. Good “D” is what sets great teams apart from the merely good ones, while helping weaker teams overachieve, and you can see the former in play each time there’s a playoff series, regardless of the league.
Talking about how defense plays a part in the Dunk Nation 3×3 universe, you’ll be glad to know that it seems easier to play “D” than to play offense in this game. And as an aside, the AI’s lack of defense is probably what makes so many gamers think negatively of this game’s story mode — what fun is there in scoring time and time against a team that doesn’t hunker down on defense? Take advantage of the ease in playing defense, and do what you could to steal the ball, block it, or prevent the other guy from scoring, regardless whether you’re up against a human opponent or the dopey, no-defense AI.
9. When Playing Defense, Stay Within The Highlighted Arc
For a more advanced defensive strategy, though an important enough one to be considered fundamental, you’ll want to take the highlighted arc in consideration — this arc will show up whenever you’re in front of a player on offense and trying to block their shot. If you’re standing in the arc, it will turn green, which signifies that you’re at the sweet spot, the perfect place to block your opponent’s shot. But if you’re not within that arc, it will turn red, meaning you should move within it if you’re seriously trying to defend against that shot.
Defense, of course, is more than just blocking shots. It also includes stealing the ball, and the best time to attempt a steal is if you see your opponents doing a lot off dribbling.
10. Basketball Is A Team Sport – Pass The Ball Around
You’ve probably heard it mentioned time and again, but there is no “I” in team. This old adage definitely applies in basketball, as you can’t expect to shoot the ball the moment it reaches your hands, no matter that there’s a defender in your face. Nobody likes a ball-hog. Instead, pass the ball around, and look for the open player; if someone is getting in your grill, then send the ball to an open teammate.
Although it’s common in the real world for players to hog the ball and actually win games for their team, that doesn’t seem to be the case as often in Dunk Nation 3×3. We’ve seen opponents and teammates try to take the game into their own hands, only for their team to lose because they tried to play the hero far too often. Keep teamwork in mind, and you’ll likely be winning far more often than you lose.
11. Fake Out Your Opponents
It’s a fundamental move in basketball that oftentimes separates the skilled offensive players from the weaker ones. And in this game, you’ll want to do it as you see fit — that’s faking out your opponent while shooting. Quickly tapping on the shoot button will allow you to do a pump fake, and just like in real life, it’s a great way to misdirect your defenders, making them think you’re shooting when you actually aren’t just yet. Once you’ve caught your defender off their guard, that’s when you can fire away with your shot.
12. Go For The Fast Break Dunk If You’re Open
For most fans, there are few things more exciting than seeing someone drive to the hoop for a fast break dunk. You can do that as well in Dunk Nation 3×3, by hitting the Sprint button if you see an opening and a good chance to drive or dunk the ball on the fast break. If there’s a defender waiting on the other end, or chasing right after you, you can hit a pump fake as well to keep your defender off-balance and improve your odds of getting the score.
13. Open Shots Have A Better Chance Of Going In
Remember that tip above where we explained that the odds of making a shot are randomized based on your skills, and not where you shoot the ball from? Well, it’s good to know that Dunk Nation 3×3 gets a few things right in a realistic sense, and one of those things is the better chance you should have of scoring if you’re taking an open shot without anyone defending you. Unless you’re able to launch a special skill shot, it’s best to focus on making open shots for a higher clip.
14. Get Acquainted With The Skill Buttons
It’s one thing to know the basics of controlling your players, but you should also familiarize yourself with what the skill buttons do, and how you can activate the special skills equipped to your character. While you can activate these skills by tapping on one of the usual buttons on the screen, there would be many cases where you have to be at a certain part of the court in order for you to activate your skills. That’s where practice and story mode come in once again — try the skills out by yourself in the former mode, and see how well you can execute them against opponents by trying them out against the AI in the latter mode.
15. How To Unlock Players
It’s also a good thing to note that you can unlock new players, or “sign” them, in this game, with these new players having differences in terms of base stats — this isn’t a case of “everyone plays the same, but just looks different,” just as it is in other games that focus on the fun element, rather than depth, complexity, or realism. But be aware that it costs a lot of in-game currency, whether common (coins) or premium (gems), to sign new players. That means you’ll have to play the game quite a lot, or maybe even part with some real money and make an in-app purchase, to get the currency you need to unlock someone new. You might want to maximize the number of events you take part in for the best chances of earning more currency.
16. The Difference Between Skills And Talents
“Skills” and “Talents” may sound like two very similar words, but in the context of this game, they are different at the end of the day, and you may be wondering what these differences are, and what they mean for you in terms of playing the game.
Skills, for starters, are the special moves that we mentioned above, those moves that can be activated if you’re at a certain part of the court. For example, these may allow you to score on trick shots, or give you a guaranteed chance of throwing down a dunk. Indeed, you’ve got skills such as Windmill Dunk, where you need to be lined up across the hoop, and shooting while in front of it. While this dunk may now seem basic by today’s standards, it’s also a great way of getting a guaranteed score.
As for Talents, these also need to be equipped. But the main difference is that you do not need to do anything else to activate them. Additionally, they may also be more important than Skills, because Talents are the ones that give you passive bonuses. These may include, but may not be limited to stat increases, improved shot accuracy, and other potentially game-changing buffs that you’ll certainly need against those tougher opponents. Skills, as we mentioned, can only be upgraded with gold, but Talents will upgrade automatically as long as equipped, thus further underscoring their importance.
17. Should You Bother With The Outfits?
As you may have seen in the screenshots and the game description, Dunk Nation 3×3 is also about hip-hop culture and fashion, and comes with features that allow you to customize the look of your player. That may sound well and good for those who don’t want to be stuck with the same stock appearance (similar-sounding words intended), but it’s still best to focus on improving your players’ stats, and equipping them with the right Skills and Talents.
And this wraps up our Dunk Nation 3×3 ultimate guide. If you have anything to add, please let us know below in the comment area!