Thursday, September 27, 2012

NHL 13: Open Letter to EA

Dear EA,

I like a lot of what you have done with NHL 13. The new skating is great and small guys can't run over guys twice their size now so those are both good. Despite the fact I really enjoy the cross crease I like the fact you have made it not automatic like every version before. I like the new matchmaking system and the penalty for backing out. I like that playing defense is easier overall and not just because of the crazy goalies (more on that in a bit).

There are some problems though. While making the cross crease less effective is something to strive for making it less effective than a wrist shot from the top of the circles is not. There is almost zero reason to pass the puck to set a guy up for a one timer anymore. There are basically three semi-reliable ways to score against cpu goalies now. Rebounds, cannon toe drags, and breakaways. Not saying other methods don't work ever but honestly those are the high percentage options and what everyone goes to. Make the cross crease 50% effective not 10% (I would even take 30%). It is already far harder to get passes through in the first place with the active sticks (something else I like) so at least reward people who manage to do it.

Another problem is passing. The passing stat seems to do basically nothing this year from what I can tell. I can make the same passes and have my passes screw up the same way with 70 passing as my center running 95. The fact the passing is so wonky combined with the lack of one timers working results in many fewer passes. This is especially true in the offensive zone where you are mostly better off trying to score solo or generate a rebound rather than setup another one timer that either gets picked off or magic goalie stops.

Then there is the fact that cpu goalies and even human goalies tend to let in the worst possible shots despite being in position. You setup five beautiful three player passing plays that should leave the goalie scrambling for cover but he calmly knocks the chance away. Next time down the ice you throw a weak wrister from the goal line and it is in the net. I don't mind some variability in scoring but this amount is unreasonable.

The new pokecheck is amazing but seriously overpowered. It needs to be toned down just a bit. I appreciate it a lot playing defense but it is annoying when trying to score. It also leads to less setup in the offensive zone because most players are worried about losing the puck constantly.

I would harp on penalties here but it seems like the latest tuner has made the officials actually call interference and boarding more often. I do think the incidental contact needs to generate penalties though. A lot of people are abusing it.

I think all of these changes have made the game an overall less skill based game. And if not less skill based definitely less team based. It has turned into who can cheese the most wristers or rebounds rather than skillful passing and setting up chances. It rewards 1 on 1 play rather than teamwork. In general people dislike guys going one on one and dancing and trying the toe drag or deke all the time (you guys have even said you don't like this) but this year that is all that happens because passing is a terrible option most of the time.

Thanks for reading and hope you take some of this into account when planning future tuners and patches.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NHL 13: Build of the Week -- Sniper ... Again

Updating this build now that I have hit Legend 1. Thanks to VexExil from the comments for linking me to the new NHL 13 player creator here. I will be posting all of my builds in that format now. Note that this shows attributes then you have to add in the boosts in parenthesis.

Sniper (LW) Legend 1
11" skates
Regular Flex
2nd Curve from the top

Deking: 77
Hand Eye: 83 (+8)
Off Awareness: 70
Passing: 71
Puck Control: 80 (+5)
SS Accuracy: 65
SS Power: 65
WS Accuracy: 86 (+8)
WS Power: 86 (+8)

Aggression: 80
Body Check: 72
Def Awareness: 78
Discipline: 80
Faceoffs: 65
Fighting: 65
Shot Blocking: 70
Stick Check: 78

Acceleration: 82 (+5)
Agility: 80 (+8)
Balance: 65
Durability: 65
Endurance: 80
Speed: 82 (+8)
Strength: 68

As you can see the biggest changes are even bigger shot, lowered the passing, and lowered the hand eye a touch. Defense still running no boosts and 4 of those categories are maxed. 78 stick check is still plenty. Athletically all of Acceleration/Agility/Speed/Endurance are maxed. With 90 speed you can make a lot happen offensively and still be able to get back to backcheck.

This could have been it's own post but I am going to throw it in here since it pertains to this build.

There was some spirited debate in the comments of the last post about balance and it's importance. I am of the opinion for small fast builds like my sniper balance is mostly worthless. This is mainly because you are going to get crushed no matter what your balance is and any points you put in balance are going to take away from your skating.  If you are building a forward who is going to go to the front of the net a lot or try to hold the puck in a lot of traffic then balance is probably pretty important (need to do more research) but with a sniper build (the way I play it) it is all about quickness, speed, and shot. I would also say that if you want more stability in addition to adding balance and strength make your player larger. It will make you slower but also make you more stable. Some common breakpoints are 6'0" 195 and 6'3" 205 in addition to the height and weight for my sniper build.

I will try to throw up a different build type next. Either Power Forward or Offensive Defenseman. I have both setup and have played them both a bit.

Friday, September 14, 2012

NHL 13: Build of the Week -- Sniper

I should probably call these something else since I can't seem to get them out every week but it sounds catchy so there you have it.

I am doing this from memory so it may not be perfect and there aren't any NHL 13 player builders out there that I know of. These values are the total with boosts and the boosts are in brackets.

Sniper (LW) Superstar 2
11" skates
Regular Flex
2nd Curve from the top

Deking: 74
Hand Eye: 93 (+8)
Off Awareness: 70
Passing: 75 (+5)
Puck Control: 84 (+5)
SS Accuracy: base
SS Power: base
WS Accuracy: 91 (+8)
WS Power: 91 (+8)

Aggression: 75
Body Check: 65
Def Awareness: 78 (max)
Discipline: 80 (max)
Faceoffs: base
Fighting: base
Shot Blocking: base
Stick Check: 78 (max)

Acceleration: 87 (+5)
Agility: 88 (+8)
Balance: base
Durability: base
Endurance: 80 (max)
Speed: 83 (+5)
Strength: base

This year the sniper is a great build.You need shot power and accuracy to beat cpu goalies this year. The lowest power/accuracy I have beaten a cpu goalie with clean from any distance is 84/84. The next closest was 88/83. With 91 in each you can blow it by the cpu goalie from time to time. It is still not easy to score but this makes it easier. The hand eye is for catching passes and one timers and it has moderate puck control. I am still debating if I want more puck control in exchange for lower hand eye. The passing is passable. I find in this game you can't get passes through players easily so having a really high passing doesn't seem to be worth it. Most of the passes you make are obvious passes to guys who are wide open. That being said I will still probably bump it a bit more (to maybe 80-85) down the road. The way you play this build is catch and shoot or if people let you walk to the top of the circles you can rip wristers on net all day.

Defensively this build is just jam everything into stick check, discipline, and defensive awareness. They max pretty quick. You don't really need any boosts on defense since the stick check even at 78 is deadly. Might want some more defensive awareness since this build doesn't knock down pucks so well but it isn't terrible if you are in good position. Throw everything else in aggressiveness for better puck retrievals.

Athletics I prefer to go with more acceleration and agility for the ability to turn quickly and accelerate quickly. That is just my preferred style. I may try throwing more speed in the mix with the high agility to see if that is better or not maybe sacrificing some acceleration or agility. I am maxing endurance because it is pretty cheap to do it and you want all you can get.

Overall though this is a pretty fun build and the only one I have found to consistently beat goalies, both cpu and human, with. Get to open spots, get the puck, shoot, or move in backing off defenders and rip one top corner. This isn't a great breakaway build due to the low deking but you can always shoot off the rush on breakaways if you want. Enjoy and I will try to keep these going if only to update builds as I get more points and figure out better setups.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NHL 13: Attribute Maximums

As I mentioned in my first impressions there are caps on certain attributes for different player types. EA was kind enough to list them here. I reformatted them into something readable and put them up here for your enjoyment.

A couple of quick thoughts on this:

  • Effectively the max on any attribute is 95 (no one will bother with using +1 boosts since it is counter productive).
  • For center if you want the highest faceoffs you have to run Two Way Forward or Grinder. Playmaker comes in 3 points behind and I think the rest you can just throw out the window as far as center is concerned.
  • Fastest skater looks to be the Grinder on offense and Offensive and Two Way Defender are tied on the backend.
  • Max agility is effectively 90 and shared by a few builds. It looks like EA wants you to feel those turns in NHL 13.
  • This isn't about the chart per se just an observation but it looks like in general shot power is a lot more important this year than last. I didn't start beating the cpu goalies much at all until I got my shot power up to 84 and higher. I am generally matching power and accuracy this year but I could see going higher power and lower accuracy as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NHL 13: First Impressions

This is going to be a pretty quick hit but I just want to go over my first impressions of the game after around 40 games played.

Things I like:

  • The new skating engine -- feels good and makes you think about momentum by balancing speed versus turning ability.
  • Puck chop -- gives you a quick way to move the puck when someone is bearing down on you during a loose puck pickup.
  • Poke check -- easy to take the puck away
  • Easier to block passes and shots -- easy to take away passing lanes and stop shots
Things I don't like:
  • Extremely hard to score -- this is the hardest it has ever been to score in an NHL game to start and there are multiple reasons
    • The goalie are all like Johnathan Quick on crack -- they let in basically nothing aside from rebound put backs.
    • The easy of blocking shots and passes -- almost impossible to setup any kind of one timer and even then the goalie gets there 95% of the time.
  • Lack of penalties being called -- lots of away from the play interference not being called (this is not in front of the net) and you can board people from behind as much as you want and might get a two minute penalty every once in a long while. I have yet to see a 5 minute major be handed out. I suspect they took it out.
  • They put the ability to dive into the goalie and knock the puck loose BACK in -- I am not sure how this happens but they somehow managed to put cheesy behavior back into the game that they had removed last year.
  • Might as well take the A button off of your controller on defense -- stick lift is pointless now other than for getting penalties, of course the poke checking being godly makes up for this and more.
Other notes:
  • They have added hard caps on attributes per skater type -- for example the max you can get in Discipline on a sniper is 80
  • Costs for attributes has changed radically from last year -- poke check jumps up to costing over 100 experience per point for a sniper very quickly
I think as everyone gets more cards and boosts scoring will becomes easier but at this point it is like pulling teeth. I have heard that EA is basically taking the approach that they will make the goalies like gods to start and they tune them back to reality. There was a new tuner set last night and I managed to beat a goalie with a regular shot from the slot so there is hope. Overall it is a pretty solid effort and I am hoping it gets tuned to be better with time.