Monday, November 28, 2011

NHL 12: Build of the Week -- Grinder

Haven't quite kept up with the pace of once a week for builds but here is an interesting support build I ran for about ten games.

A link to this build can be found here.

Grinder, Legend 3
195 lbs.
13" blades
Regular Stick Flex
Second Lowest Curve

Deking: 90 (+5)
Hand Eye: 60
Off Awareness: 50
Passing: 90 (+5)
Puck Control: 90 (+5)
SS Accuracy: 50
SS Power: 70
WS Accuracy: 64 (+5)
WS Power: 60

Aggression: 90
Body Check: 85 (+5)
Def Awareness: 64
Discipline: 99
Faceoffs: 60
Fighting: 60
Shot Blocking: 70
Stick Check: 91 (+8)

Acceleration: 79 (+5)
Agility: 79 (+5)
Balance: 85 (+5)
Durability: 60
Endurance: 90
Speed: 78 (+5)
Strength: 85 (+5)

As you can see this build is setup to crush the opposition and it is quite good at that. However, let us start with the offensive side of this build. This build is good for scoring from five feet out and that is about it. It is a go to the front of the net and get dirty build. It does have enough deking to score on the break as well but it is practically not fast enough to get into those kinds of positions very often. Passing feels very wooden with this build due to the criminally low offensive awareness but it can be managed. As I mentioned before, this build is defensively setup to take the body sporting high checking and aggression. The aggression also helps with picking up loose pucks both offensively and defensively offsetting the poor defensive awareness. Finally the maxed stick check allows you to take the puck away without a hit as a change of pace. This build skates pretty well for the lower skating stats but won't allow you to blow by people. Luckily you have high strength and balance so you can take an inordinate amount of punishment without being knocked down. Endurance is a touch low for where I like it but it doesn't seem to hurt the build too much.

Overall, this build is best served being used as the 3rd human forward on a line. You can use it to intimidate opposing teams and keep your team from being intimidated. Drive the net hard, play hard on the boards, and hit everything that moves and you will like this build.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NHL 12: Guide to Playing Defense

It seems like everyone online wants to deke, dance, and snipe their way to victory. While there are a select few who can actually do that the most important way you can help your team win is to play well on the defensive side of the puck. It all starts with overall team systems.


Our neutral zone system of choice is the 1-2-2. It really cuts down the ability of other teams to go cross-ice and  lets us funnel pucks to one side of the ice or the other. The basic idea is one forward pressures the puck while the other forwards sit back to the right and left side of the ice with the two defensemen behind those forwards. The formation looks like this:

F        F
D       D

The center drives the play forcing the attacker with the puck one way or the other, the other fowards and defense shift towards the side the center drives play towards. By doing this it cuts off easy passes through the middle and provides a lot of support around the puck. It also doesn't allow the other team to work up speed coming through the neutral zone. If done correctly you can basically have both forwards and both defensemen stand up in a line across the blueline while the center chases and forces the other team to dump the puck or make a risky play to enter the zone.

If it isn't possible to setup in a formal 1-2-2 we try to keep one forward high in the zone. By that, we mean one forward who is staying around the dots or higher depending on how high up the forwards on the other team are. The further down in the zone they are the further down our third guy can go. The idea here is to have three total defenders back in most situations.

When defending a rush we look for our defenders to stay in front of forwards and delay the attackers while our forwards back check hard up the middle of the ice to take away cross ice passes and poke check at the puck carrier from behind. We only like our D to go for the big hit when they have clear forward support. Typically going for big hits just puts defensemen out of the play and leads to odd man chances.

Defensive Zone

In the defensive zone we generally play a 2-1-2 zone. Our top two guys kind of chase and be aggressive while our center and two defense cover the front of the net. One defender near the left post and one near the right. The center plays around the hash marks and all three players down low look to cut off passes through the middle of the offensive zone. As the puck moves around the zone everyone shifts to keep lanes cut off and try to keep the puck to the outside.

Example 1: If the puck goes into the left corner, the near side D steps out, the LW crashes down on the boards to cut off the pass to the near point, and the RW moves to the hash marks. The C moves to the post the LD vacated. This strategy keeps attackers out of high scoring areas. It does tend to give up some cross ice one timers from the attacking D but the RW on the hash marks can move to block those and it is a lower percentage shot than something from between the dots and posts down low.

Example 2: If the puck goes to the left point point the LW attacks that D. The C, LD, and RD stay in a triangle in the middle and the RW moves to cut off the pass to the other D.

General Tips for Defensemen
  • Turn on colors for both teams. It is under My NHL 12/Settings/Visual Settings then hit RB and set Online Player Indicators to On. This makes it easier to see which forward you are up against and you can figure out tendencies for them.
  • Turn off auto back skate. This is under My NHL 12/Settings/Controller Settings then scroll down the list to find it. It is kind of hidden. This will allow you to control when you go into back skating mode (using LT). Pivoting at the right time to defend an attacker going wide is an important skill to learn and you have to have auto back skate off to do it.
  • Use the poke check rather than the body check most of the time. Take the puck from people rather than crushing them unless you have clear support. Don't use the sweeping poke check. I find multiple discreet pokes works better than sweeping it. Then again your experience might differ.
  • Try to delay forwards until you get back pressure support.
  • Don't leave your feet much if at all unless it is a clear desperation situation (trying to trip a guy on the breakaway or blocking a pass you just can't quite get to). Learn to block shots by getting legs in front of them rather than flopping to the ice. Everyone shoots high so it is going over you if you lie down anyway.
  • Take away whatever shot the player keeps trying to take.Chances are that player has scored from there before and will want to get back to his spot to get away that same shot. As I am fond of saying, "People take shots they think will go in."
General Tips for Forwards
  • Back check hard and down the middle of the ice. At least one forward should back check down to in front of the goalie on each rush to avoid easy crossing passes getting through.
  • Use poke check to harass attackers from behind as you are back checking.
  • Try to block as many shots as possible. Don't lay out. Try to block them standing up or use the LB button. Shots that don't get to the goalie aren't goals (bad bounces aside).
  • Don't cherry pick (hang out in the neutral zone looking for the breakaway while the puck is in the defensive zone). Helping turn the puck over in the defensive zone will lead to offensive opportunities while cherry picking just puts your team down a man.
  • Turn on colors for both teams as mentioned above.
  • Turn off auto back skate as mention above.
  • Take away shots that players like to take between the defenseman and your back checking it is fairly easy to keep players from taking their favorite shots.
  • Don't turn the puck over in the neutral zone or just inside the blue line. It makes getting setup on the back check hard and puts your defenders under undue duress.
If you do these things well you can keep your goals against down and give your team a fighting chance to win games even if you aren't the most offensively gifted team. If you are offensively gifted you can start winning games 6-1 instead of 6-4.

I will be putting together a guide for offense at some point but these posts are pretty big so it could be a while. I also hope to get a build of the week out sometime soon. Been running a grinder for a bit and it is a lot of fun.

Friday, November 11, 2011

NHL 12: Build of the Week -- Two Shot Two Way Forward

I made an assertion that the sniper is the only build where you can have two good shots. I think I have perhaps changed my tune on that front. Because I ran a two way forward with two shots last night and it was pretty good.

A link to the build can be found here.

Sniper, Legend 3
165 lbs.
13" blades
Regular Stick Flex
Second Lowest Curve

Deking: 90 (+5)
Hand Eye: 70
Off Awareness: 71
Passing: 90 (+5)
Puck Control: 87 (+8)
SS Accuracy: 80 (+5)
SS Power: 70
WS Accuracy: 80 (+8)
WS Power: 67 (+5)

Aggression: 66
Body Check: 75
Def Awareness: 99
Discipline: 99
Faceoffs: 65
Fighting: 50
Shot Blocking: 81
Stick Check: 99

Acceleration: 80 (+5)
Agility: 85 (+5)
Balance: 74
Durability: 61
Endurance: 90 (+5)
Speed: 85 (+5)
Strength: 75

As you can see you have to give up quite a bit in the hand eye and offensive awareness attributes but it didn't really seem to bother me offensively. The two shots include a pretty good wrister and a pretty good slapper. I managed to score a slap shot one timer from near the top of the circles with this build and a couple of wristers above the hash marks and in general was able to contribute to the offense effectively.

On defense the build is pretty much the same beastly build as all two way forwards, as you notice you use no boosts on defense on this build but it is still just silly how good it is.

Athletically it is pretty much the same setup as the last two way forward. Acceleration is a touch less than before at 85 but everything else is basically the same.

I have a sort of two shot playmaker I will try to put up next week unless I find something else fun to play with.

Friday, November 4, 2011

NHL 12: Build of the Week -- Sniper

Sorry about the lack of updates lately. I have been getting slammed at work and been busy playing games rather than writing about them.

My build this week is a sniper build as requested by @bret_11 on Twitter.

Here is a link to the build.

Sniper, Legend 3
165 lbs.
13" blades
Regular Stick Flex
Second Lowest Curve

Deking: 90 (+5)
Hand Eye: 86
Off Awareness: 95
Passing: 85 (+5)
Puck Control: 90 (+5)
SS Accuracy: 85
SS Power: 75
WS Accuracy: 85 (+5)
WS Power: 75

Aggression: 40
Body Check: 42
Def Awareness: 67
Discipline: 99
Faceoffs: 60
Fighting: 40
Shot Blocking: 50
Stick Check: 87 (+8)

Acceleration: 80 (+5)
Agility: 82 (+8)
Balance: 70
Durability: 61
Endurance: 90 (+5)
Speed: 82 (+8)
Strength: 64

I will admit I have not played this exact build (although I have played a similar one) and in general I am not a big fan of the sniper this year and haven't found a build I like overall. However, I think this is basically the only build where you can have a good wrister and slapper at the same time. You should be able to snipe off the rush and also setup on the far dot and uncork slappers on cross ice feeds. It is obviously heavy on the offense and athletics. Defensively you have a really good poke check and a marginal defensive awareness. This is a classic perimeter sniper and not built for battling in front of the net. Let me know what you think.

Update: I actually ran this exact build last night for a couple of games and had 5 goals and 5 assists. I scored a couple of goals from near the top of the circles off the rush using the defense as a screen, another slapshot one timer from above the hash marks, a cross crease tap in, and a wrister from around the left dot that beat the goalie to the right side. So this build pretty much performs as expected offensively. Defensively I managed to deflect one puck into my own net then poke check another own goal as well. So this build isn't just good at scoring goals against the other team it is good to score them on yours as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NHL 12: Build of the Week -- Two Way Forward

Sunday is technically the start of the new week so here is your build of the week a bit early.

2 Way Forward, Legend 2 (LW)
195 lbs.
11" blades
Regular Stick Flex
Second Lowest Curve

Deking: 90 (+5)
Hand Eye: 85
Off Awareness: 81
Passing: 90 (+5)
Puck Control: 87 (+8)
SS Accuracy: 61
SS Power: 60
WS Accuracy: 78 (+5)
WS Power: 70

Aggression: 60
Body Check: 83
Def Awareness: 94 (+5)
Discipline: 99
Faceoffs: 65
Fighting: 50
Shot Blocking: 80
Stick Check: 94 (+5)

Acceleration: 82 (+5)
Agility: 82 (+8)
Balance: 75
Durability: 61
Endurance: 90 (+5)
Speed: 84 (+5)
Strength: 71

I saw the overall basis for this build here. I gave it a shot and really really like it. Offensively you can keep control of the puck and it has a reasonable shot and good passing. Defensively it is amazing. You take away the puck like crazy with the 99 defensive awareness and stick check. Pucks just don't get by you when you are in position. Athletically you see it has more acceleration than I normally use but I am coming around on acceleration. I may put up a separate post on how hustle seems to work differently this year than last but I like the higher acceleration at least on this build. Otherwise athletically it is similar to other builds of mine. Not a lot of strength and balance but doesn't seem to suffer from it much.

Some other quick notes on the two way forward. It doesn't seem to have the puck control issues it had last year. In NHL 11 you would lose the puck if someone looked at you funny when you ran a two way forward even with 99 puck control. I am not seeing that this year.

Also, I have a new look going here, might change it again but I welcome comments about how it looks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NHL 12: Build of the Week -- Two Way Defender

It is that time again and this time we have a two way defender. I have run this build or something very close before and it felt good:

2 Way Defender, Legend 2

195 lbs.
9" skates
Regular Stick Flex
Lowest Curve

Deking: 61
Hand Eye: 85 (+5)
Off Awareness: 70
Passing: 85 (+5)
Puck Control: 80 (+5)
SS Accuracy: 87 (+5)
SS Power: 80 (+5)
WS Accuracy: 65
WS Power: 70

Aggression: 52
Body Check: 68 (+5)
Def Awareness: 99
Discipline: 99
Faceoffs: 50
Fighting: 40
Shot Blocking: 70
Stick Check: 94 (+5)

Acceleration: 71
Agility: 80 (+8)
Balance: 80
Durability: 60
Endurance: 90 (+5)
Speed: 83 (+5)
Strength: 83 (+5)

This is a solid build defensively plus brings a measure of offense as well. Offensively you should have solid outlet passing and good enough hand eye to get away one time slappers from the point. Defensively you are really going be a more positional defender than a big hitter but given the way body checking works this year you may still be able to lay a few people out with the checking and strength at those levels. The high defensive awareness and stick checking are going to make you hard to get pucks by. I set the athletics up how I like them. Lower acceleration high agility, speed, endurance, and strength. Should be able to pivot on a dime with this setup and be able to skate laterally with attackers.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

NHL 12: Goalie Boost Pack Guide

Since goalie progression is on a different track this year from skater I think boost packs will be more important than in years past for people just wanting to dabble as a goalie. I grabbed a couple of the boost packs myself and someone on the EASHL boards was kind enough to list the other. Here they are:

Patrick Roy Butterfly Goalie Boost Pack (84 Overall)

80 Angles
80 Breakaway
88 Five Hole
85 Glove High
88 Glove Low
80 Stick High
88 Stick Low

82 Passing
86 Poke Check
92 Rebound Control
85 Shot Recovery

86 Aggressiveness
90 Agility
80 Durability
80 Endurance
82 Speed
78 Vision

Stand Up Boost Pack (85 Overall)

85 Angles
82 Breakaway
84 Five Hole
88 Glove High
84 Glove Low
88 Stick High
84 Stick Low

88 Passing
85 Poke Check
88 Rebound Control
85 Shot Recovery

85 Aggressiveness
88 Agility
84 Durability
86 Endurance
80 Speed
92 Vision

Hybrid Goalie Boost Pack (83 Overall)

84 Angles
88 Breakaway
84 Five Hole
82 Glove High
84 Glove Low
84 Stick High
82 Stick Low

86 Passing
82 Poke Check
90 Rebound Control
85 Shot Recovery

86 Aggressiveness
90 Agility
80 Durability
82 Endurance
78 Speed
80 Vision

For my money the stand up one looks strongest with the highest high stick and glove values and a monster 92 vision. Since everyone in the game pretty much shoots high it seems like the logical choice. However, I have played exactly one game in goal and have a 5.00 GAA after it though so you may just want to make your own decision.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NHL 12: Build of the Week -- Playmaker Winger

This is going to be (hopefully) a regular feature where once a week I put up a build and explain the thought process behind it. It may be one of my actual builds or just something I am thinking about. I may eventually ask for submissions for builds other people run but let's see if I can get a couple of these up in a row before we get too crazy.

The build for this week is what I am running currently:

Playmaker (LW) (Legend 2)
164 lbs.
11" skates
Regular stick flex
Second stick curve from the bottom

Deking: 99
Hand Eye: 94 (+5)
Off Awareness: 94 (+5)
Passing: 95
Puck Control: 94 (+5)
SS Accuracy: 70 (+5)
SS Power: 52
WS Accuracy: 85 (+5)
WS Power: 70

Aggression: 40
Body Check: 40
Def Awareness: 84
Discipline: 99
Faceoffs: 60
Fighting: 40
Shot Blocking: 60
Stick Check: 90 (+5)

Acceleration: 71
Agility: 83 (+5)
Balance: 69 (+5)
Durability: 60
Endurance: 94 (+5)
Speed: 80 (+8)
Strength: 65 (+5)

I think playing small this year for forwards is a lot more viable than last year so this forward is pretty tiny and very quick. I do throw in a bit of strength to be able to take a hit effectively. I also bumped up acceleration a bit from base. Defensively this build is all about the poke check and as high a defensive awareness as I can get. The first 5 offensive categories are mostly 99s but I run 95 passing because 99 just feels off to me. The shots are a 70/90 wrister and a slap shot with a 75 accuracy. I can hit the corners a lot with the wrister and the slapshot seems just accurate enough. More points are probably going there once I get that last card.

If you use this build you want to use your speed to back off defenders and pass the puck quite a bit. Try to avoid getting run over. This build is sturdier than playmaker last year but not able to absorb huge hits. When you don't have the puck get to open space. This build is also not bad at creating solo chances and scoring off the rush.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NHL 12: Accuracy is Everything

So last week I described how high power low accuracy wasn't working. I suggested at the time that going even power and accuracy might be better. I think I have a new conclusion: Accuracy is everything in NHL 12. I have been running 70 power and 90 accuracy on my wrist shot and my shooting percentage went up half a percent in one night and nearly a percent over two nights. Obviously this isn't a scientific setup and I am not factoring in opponent skill level but lower power and higher accuracy definitely feel better. I am able to pick corners now and rarely completely miss the net. That is one of the keys to me if shots aren't getting on net they have no chance of going in regardless of how fast they are going.

What is somewhat odd is I thought I was running 75 power and 90 accuracy but I had a boost misplaced for a couple of days. Only when I hit legend two and went to distribute the extra points did I realize I only had a 70 power. I may try the 75 power to see how it affects my shot but I may just throw the extra boost somewhere else.

Monday, September 26, 2011

NHL 12: Acceleration

Last year speed and acceleration had limited effect on the game so by the end of NHL 11 I was putting very little of anything in them. This year though speed definitely has an effect but how important is acceleration? Acceleration is an expensive attribute and eats up a lot of valuable points. Are you better off spending them elsewhere? I am going to say yes. The main reason is the introduction of the hustle button last year. The hustle button allows you to press the LS in up to three times to get an extra burst of speed. Used creatively you can basically eliminate the need for acceleration altogether. To make sure your player isn't winded from using the hustle button so much you should spend the spare points in endurance which is far cheaper than acceleration. The spares can go into agility, speed, strength or balance.

I will admit if you don't use hustle a lot you may be better off just using acceleration but I would urge any serious player to use hustle. You are at a comparative disadvantage if you don't.

Friday, September 23, 2011

NHL 12: Less is more?

In most games typically if you have a higher number in an attribute or skill it is better. 18 strength is better than 17, level three hacking is better than level two, and higher shot power is better than lower shot power. Well in the NHL series sometimes down is up.

Shooting attributes have always been kind of wacky in the NHL series. One year having a lower accuracy was better. If you turned your accuracy up you started ringing pucks off of iron in no time. Last year the dev team said they tweaked accuracy to matter more but by the end of the year I was running a 90 wrist shot power and 80 accuracy and having a lot of success. It still seemed like the high shot power and low accuracy setup was the way to go.

Fast forward to this year. I am slowing getting points every 5 or 10 games and building up my attributes on my power forward. As I get to around 85 power and 75 accuracy on my wrist shot I am starting to score a lot more often. I keep adding points over more games and adding strength as well and before I know it I am sitting at 90 power and 80 accuracy and 90 strength. At this point I am almost back to where I was the year before and figure I should be scoring a lot. However now I am shooting too high a lot and scoring a lot fewer goals. As an example of how bad it got I managed to shoot the puck over the net from two feet outside the crease using a flat stick curve.

Needless to say I was rather irritated at these results. So I adopted a back to basics approach. I swapped to playmaker and balanced out my shots as much as possible. My wrist shot is 75 for both power and accuracy and my slapshot is 75 accuracy and a meager 57 power. With those shots* I had a great night last night even scoring a game winning goal in OT by sniping a shot over the goalies left shoulder from just outside the hash marks. One other highlight was a slap shot one-timer from around the left dot/left hash marks.

Once again EA has flipped the importance of attributes. Aside from my own experience, I am reading about and talking with other people who are even using lower power and higher accuracy with good results. So if you are like I was last year (high power low accuracy) flip those attributes around or knock them down a bit if you aren't scoring like you think you should. Sometimes less is more.

Note: This may not apply to defensemen and slapshots.

*This is basically the build I used. 5'9" 175lbs, 11 inch skates, regular flex, and second lowest stick curve.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NHL 12 First Impressions

I have had NHL 12 for about a week now and so far I am really enjoying most of it. I have played around 70 or 80 EASHL games so far so most of my comments will relate to that mode.

At a very high level this game feels like a hybrid of NHL 10 and NHL 11. It was built on NHL 11's physics engine mixed with what seems like NHL 10's precise passing. One of the biggest issues with NHL 11 was the passing really really finicky. You could have someone with 99 passing throwing a medium length hard pass to another player with 99 hand eye and puck control and the receiving player would fumble the puck. Also, trying to aim passes was very touchy and passing out of the corners was hampered by built in "aids" in the passing system. In NHL 12 this is not the case you can pretty much wind up passes with a 75 passing and rifle them to your teammate with a 70 hand eye 15 feet away and he is going to catch it for the most part. I have noticed at times you will put the puck behind or in a player's skates with lower passing but overall the passing is far nicer. The corner problems seem completely gone as well.

The physics engine while started in 11 is far better in 12. Last year you could get run from behind very easily and now I have been hit several times from behind and not only not been knocked over but also retained control of the puck. Everything feels more organic as well. Two players can hit one another and both fall down or the smaller one can fall down trying to knock over a large brute. The tie up in front of the net move for defenders gives them another tool in the toolbox but it will be interesting to see how that develops as players get more games in. Protip: you can get out of being held by tapping LB.

Another fun improvement in NHL 12 is the ability to shoot slapshot one-timers as a forward. You could do this last year but now even with a base slapshot power and accuracy you can possibly score. It isn't guaranteed but it is a lot of fun.

Other miscellaneous odds and ends are that the poke check seems toned down, which is good in some respects and bad in others. Also, there are definitely some cheese shots (hello short side from a bad angle) but once you know how to defend them, much like any year, you can compete. The best bet there would be a human goalie but good luck finding one with the goalie card requiring separate games played.

And finally the moon sized elephant in the rink crouching in the corner taking out your entire team ... the hip check. This is the single worst thing about this game this year. They have made the hip check almost an I Win button. I hated it last year but this year it is probably 10x as bad because you can run at people and use it. Also, with base checking, strength, etc. you can knock anyone down. Here are a couple of the more outrageous examples of hip checks in NHL 12:

I really hope EA is paying attention to this and patches this ridiculous move out of the game. Our team is learning to avoid these idiots on the rush by cutting laterally and even just stopping but if you go into the corner with someone they are just going to use the hip check and take the puck.

Overall though the NHL 12 experience is great. It plays smoother, has a better physics engine,  and the passing is amazing which is good for teams that like teamwork like ours.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Newbie Guide to NHL 12

So you just popped in your NHL 12 disc and are itching to get into some EASHL or OTP (Drop In) action but you have no idea where to spend your meager points. I will attempt to help make that decision easier.

Since you start off with very few points you need to figure out what to put them in and what can be ignored (for now). As a forward here is what I did. I think the only choice early on is playmaker. The playmaker's base stats are almost good enough without adding anything to get by. What I did on offense was crank up puck control to about 90, deking to about 90, and offensive awareness to about 90. You could drop some points from deking or offensive awareness and throw them in pass or shot accuracy but I liked this setup. Even with the base 75 passing you can fire the puck around no problem. I would ignore hand eye and shot power at this point. Defensively, if you are on wing, get your discipline to 90, then put everything else in stick check. As a center dump everything into faceoffs and throw the rest into discipline. For athletics I think the most crucial thing is at least 75 in balance so you won't fall down easily and for the way I play 75 in endurance ignoring anything else. Now if you don't use hustle a lot (you really should) you can split out the rest of your points into speed/agility/acceleration trying to keep them fairly even. I suggest being no more than 6' 195 lbs and if you want more speed go 5'9" 175 lbs. Definitely use the 13" blades early on if you want to have a hope of keeping up. Use whatever stick you are comfortable with.

With this setup you are really going to be looking to use your quickness to get into open space with the puck and feed teammates. You can tap in one timers but you are not going to be lasering the puck in from all over the ice.

On defense I suggest defensive defenseman. The offensive stats are pretty bad and your best bet is probably just focusing on shot power, passing (70s), and hand-eye. On defense I would go discipline, stick check, defensive awareness, and then body check in that order. The defensive dman has very good defensive abilities to start so you can pick off some passes and have a pokecheck that doesn't totally suck. Athletically again balance at 75 then spread your points out how you like, if you play proper positional defense you shouldn't need a really high endurance. I would say stay around 6' 195 lbs for this build and maybe use the 13" skates but those do keep you from turning well so you might want to play around. I would also say stick to one of the lower two curves for your blade on defense since you want to keep your shots lower and have plenty of room to roof it from out at the point if you want to try that.

On defense you should be able to play a positionally sound game and pick off a lot of passes, make a decent outlet pass, and occasionally fire a one timer or lay someone out.

So there is your newbie guide for NHL 12. I will have some early impressions of NHL 12 later in the week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

EA Sports Season Ticket the case for it

I have seen a lot of people talking about how EA Sports Season Ticket doesn't really give you any value for your money. If you just wanted to play Madden 12 early I would say sure $25 is pretty steep for four extra days of Madden. However, if you play in the EA Sports Hockey league the pass was worth it in spades. In the four days of prerelease here is what I did:
  • Played 57 games online --  This got my player to Veteran level. I am not sure how to quantify this monetarily but I have always complained about not having games right before weekends and this made the weekend great. 
  • Unlocked $40 worth of slots/boosts for my player -- during the prerelease you couldn't purchase DLC at all so I managed to unlock quite a bit. I figure I still need to buy maybe 10 more boosts/slots but even those I get for 20% off.
Other benefits I noticed for retail are if you are into the Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) mode you get an extra 20 slots for player cards (80 vs. 60) and an extra card pack per month until February (worth $1 each). Plus you get 20% off any DLC you buy in that mode as well.

One other hidden value from the Season Ticket was making my decision to not purchase Madden 12 pretty easy. That saved me $60 right there.

So let's throw some math together on all of this.

-$25 for the Season Ticket
+$10 for getting to play NHL early (this is pretty conservative for me)
+$40 in boosts unlocked
+$4 for savings on boosts
+$60 for not buying Madden 12
+$6 for free card packs in HUT (probably wouldn't have bought them but hey)

That is a ton of value. Even if you throw out the Madden decision and HUT packs you are still looking at a net benefit of $29.

Update: Found out the free HUT card packs are roughly equivalent to the $1 12 card packs.