Monday, August 30, 2010

NHL 11: Sample Forward Builds

I have put together some sample forward builds here. These are all built on legend cards using this spreadsheet from EA dev Jason Rupert (Make sure to enable macros and hit reset before starting a build). I have built these the way I would build them and have not fully optimized them using +8s or even fully taken advantage of their strengths fully. I tried to build these with a certain goal in mind and trying to hit certain levels (listed in the second to last column) on the attributes.

So here they are:

Power Forward: This build is one I basically ran last year at least offensively with a balanced slapper and a weakish but semi-accurate wrister. It does however seem weaker this year defensively. The defensive awareness on this build starts off terribad at 45 so it costs quite a bit to get it a reasonable level. The stick check is also sub par compared with every other build I put together. Also, note I did not take advantage of two of the biggest strengths of the class which are cheap shot power and cheap dekeing (seems odd for a power forward). Balance and strength are both strong for this class and with strength modifying multiple things that could have a multiplier effect.

Grinder: This grinder build is basically a playmaker with an ok slapper for limited offense and limited one on one ability. This build is super solid defensively as well. The grinder can also bang bodies in the corners and has some extra speed to get in on the forecheck. Agility is somewhat less than where I would like it. Strength is one of the best for extra hitting and oomph on the slapper.

Enforcer: This is one I built basically as a powerforward/grinder hybrid. Has pretty sub par offensive abilities including a terrible puck control. Does have a booming if not terribly accurate slapper. Has respectable defensive ability including top notch body checking, aggression, reasonable defensive awareness, and stick checking. Has a very high fighting rating as well for when you just want to pummel someone to change the momentum of the game. The build is a bit slow off the line and less agile but also has the best balance, strength, and endurance of any of the forward builds.

Two way forward: This build is one of my favorites. It has a really nice mix of good base offensive abilities including a reasonable wrist shot (but no real slap shot) and very strong defensive abilities that rival that of the grinder. The athletics are strong as well just being slightly lower than the power forward or grinder. This is a build that should be able to put the body on people, pass well, and score goals.

Sniper: This is your basic perimeter sniper that has a really good shot and overall offensive abilities. This build is passable defensively but will obviously not be taking the body on anyone effectively. Balance and strength are lower than any other class to this point as are durability and endurance.

Playmaker: Suprisingly the playmaker's offensive abilities are even better than the sniper. This was somewhat true last year as well but this year it may even be more pronounced. This build features max passing and puck control plus a really good wrist shot and 90+s in everything else other than slapper. Defensively this build is not going to be physical but unlike the sniper it is excellent otherwise defensively with a very high defensive awareness, max discipline, and a high stick check. Athletically this build has one weakness and that is the lowest strength of the bunch. This build isn't hitting anyone but absorbing hits might be an issue with it setup this way.

One thing to note. I assumed a 70 durability but honestly we have no idea yet what effect durability will have. I am most certainly not putting a single point into it to start to see what the effect is. Also, we still have no idea if what held true last year holds true this year and we have a lot of new attributes to deal with so a lot will change over time and over patches/tuning sets.

So there you have it 6 forward types, 6 sample builds and my takes on each one.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NHL 11: Attribute Descriptions

Directly from the demo (important parts of descriptions) here you go:

Dekeing: More accurate loose puck dekes and more accurate shot after dekeing.
Hand-Eye: Affects deflections, batted pucks, one-timers, ability to pick up hard passes.
Offensive Awareness: Better vision for passing and a knack for finding the back of the net.
Passing: Passing accuracy, blind passing, passing through traffic, makes passes easier for receiving player to receive.
Puck Control: Control through hits, poke checks, and lift checks. Also, determines ability to do on knees deke on breakaway.
Shot accuracies: Shot accuracy.
Shot powers: Shot power.

Aggressiveness: Bonus to hitting intensity. Big hits intimidate. Intimidation affects opponent shot quality, pass accuracy, and aggression.
Body Checking: Allows bigger hits and affects intensity of hits.
Defensive Awareness: Ability to take away passing lanes, lower susceptibility to being deked, and greater effort on back check.
Discipline: Affects likelihood of taking penalties like elbows (may apply to trips and high sticks as well, does not say).
Faceoffs: This is one of several factors in winning faceoffs (others being strategy and timing).
Fighting: This along with strength affect punching power.
Shot Blocking: Higher shot block means getting up quicker from shot blocks also means doing a diving block rather than standing two leg block more often.
Stick Checking: Ability to take the puck with poke and lift checks and likelihood of getting penalized while doing it.

Acceleration: How quickly you get to top speed.
Agility: Ability to turn and ability to turn with speed. Helps with back skating on defense.
Balance: Increases resistance to being knocked over on a hit and improves puck control.
Durability: Decreases chance of being injured.
Endurance: Rate at which players recover energy when not skating with high effort. Fatigue is a bigger factor if a player has a low endurance. Fatigue affects skating and shooting.
Speed: Top speed. A player can't sustain top speed without high endurance.
Strength: Affects shot power, fighting, checking, resisting hits, and boardplay. For boardplay affects ability to pin players and ability to slip free.

Friday, August 27, 2010

NHL 11: EASHL Developer Chat Highlights

The chat took place today here. There is also a new blog post on EASHL improvements here. I will hit some of the highlights in no particular order:

  • If a human player quits he will be replaced with a regular computer player not a computer controlled version of his ramped up player (good).
  • Custom jerseys are available now (good).
  • Three leagues Amateur, Pro, Elite. Based on percentage of teams. Elite is top 20% of teams.
  • Practice is 6v6 game mode or you can do just you and your teammates for line drills etc. (just what I wanted).
  • Leagues should be matched against similar leagues (good).
  • Quitting affects grades and DNF and they are tracking team DNF (like this).
  • Only one dressing room this year to promote more 6v6. Only one team can play at a time. (good for small teams like mine, bad for teams that have 2 full sets of 6 playing)
  • XP is based on your online level and how many games you have played and having good grades but you can get to 2nd highest level much quicker, legend is still 150 games and A-. (good)
  • Playing games with more players means more points in the standings. Beating teams with more points means more points in the standings as well. (good)
  • DNF wins will count but as they happen more you get less credit for them, to avoid cheaters. (good but a lot of teams bailed on us when we started killing them last year)
  • DNF is tied into matchmaking so you are less likely to be matched with teams that quit a lot if your team doesn't quit a lot. (good but obviously mostly good teams don't quit a lot so tougher competition overall)
I am liking these changes overall. We will definitely try and run more 6 man teams this year. Last year we played a lot of 2 and 3 man.

Edit: read up on practice mode, it is what I wanted, chat was not clear.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NHL 11 Demo: Impressions

You can get the demo (360) here (stick tap to MajorNelson).

There are a few things that have changed from 10:

  • How hard you pass depends on how long you hold in the pass button, learning the nuances of this will be one of the keys to 11.
  • The new faceoff system adds a new tactical layer. I am envisioning a lot of down by 1 goal 5 second left offensive faceoffs being tied up by the defensive center so that nothing can happen.
  • The new aggressive offensive zone faceoff layouts are far better than the old ones.
  • The new physics engine makes everything feel like it has more weight and the hitting is fantastic.
  • They slowed the game down a bit which allows more time to make plays (now this may just be the fact it was on Pro and not All-Star).
  • When you go to check someone who goes into the self boardplay you boardplay them automatically now. No more Y button cheese!
  • I was able to score some charged up forehand wristers still but not all the time and again this was on Pro.
  • The new Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) mode is really neat and can be played against the CPU. I will definitely spend more time in here than I originally thought even thought EASHL will still be my number one focus.
A couple of tips for the demo. One quit out of the play for the cup game with 5 seconds left or you are stuck with a good 2 or 3 minute unskippable Stanley Cup awarding display. To get the most time and fun out of the demo try the HUT mode, you can play 3rd periods of like 6 maybe 7 games with a randomly generated team you get to organize. Also, if you don't like your initial mix of players back out of HUT and reenter and you get an entirely new set.

If I think of other things I will throw up another post later. I will definitely be spending more time with this demo getting used to the new passing and other mechanics in preparation for upcoming EASHL season.