Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NHL 14: Build of the Week -- Playmaker Winger

And we are back! First up is a playmaker winger. Let's get right to it:

Legend 1
Regular flex
Second curve from the bottom
13" Skates

Deking: 78
Hand-Eye: 85
Offensive Awareness: 80
Passing (+7): 90
Puck Control (+7): 90
Slap Shot Accuracy: 67
Slap Shot Power: 65
Wrist Shot Accuracy (+7): 85
Wrist Shot Power (+7): 79

Aggressiveness: 84
Body Checking: 72
Defensive Awareness: 85
Discipline: 65
Faceoffs: 65
Fighting Skill: 65
Shot Blocking: 66
Stick Checking (+7): 85

Acceleration (+12): 90
Agility (+7): 81
Balance (+7): 80
Durability: 75
Endurance: 86
Speed (+12): 90
Strength (+7): 80

This build will look pretty familiar to anyone who has seen my builds before. This has pretty good first five stats with an emphasis on puck control, passing, and hand eye. Then you have a beefy wrist shot good for beating both human and CPU goalies. I don't use one touch dekes much instead using the side to side dekes to slow down and create separation between defenders and I. It is enough to score somewhat on breakaways but will probably get increased along with offensive awareness once legend two and three roll around.

Defensively this is pretty good all around. Good stick check as long as you don't poke directly from behind (that probably goes for all builds but this one seems to trip easier than others). Good defensive awareness to cut off pucks in passing lanes and a high aggression to help scooping up pucks. This build does not hit well at all. This is however a bonus in that you can run into people almost at will and never pick up a penalty over it. You won't flatten them but you will jar the puck loose frequently.

Athletics are good from top to bottom. Agility is a bit low especially with the 13" skates but the straight line speed helps make up for that and it turns far better than you would think. Endurance is key for the ability to skate fast all day. Strength and balance are also bolstered to help with being jostled along the boards and to help maintain puck control. Almost no amount of this will help you from getting leveled this year but some is definitely worthwhile. The new thing you might notice is added points to durability. With the crazy amount of hitting and injuries I really think that adding some points here is worthwhile. Being injured, especially a skating injury, will keep you from being effective. The spare points there let you take some hits to make plays without getting hurt as often.

This build is good at both passing and scoring and solid enough defensively to get the job done there as well. I am not sure there is a better offensive class available in the game.

Monday, September 9, 2013

NHL 14: Early Release Impressions

I have updated my lists to reflect what I have seen in 40 or 50 EASHL games so far:

The Pros

  • Passing seems less random and more reliable.
  • There are some shots now that have a decent chance to beat the CPU goalies 
  • CPUs don't automatically take the puck away on cross ice passes.
  • Hits from behind are penalized more frequently now.
  • Poke check doesn't work from forever away anymore and is generally just less powerful overall.
  • Skating feels better. Fewer big turns and just overall smoother.
  • Backskating and transitions from forward to backskating feel much much better.
  • I have seen cross crease goals actually work at a semi-reasonable rate. Still a few too many crazy saves on those for my liking but better than before.
  • Overall offense feels better.

The Cons

  • Forced fighting after big hits. It is dumb in the NHL it is dumb in NHL 14. It is in everything and probably not as bad as I made it out to be but I have been forced into fighting a couple of times I didn't want to. (left stick hitting can end up with some crazy unintentional hits)
  • No turtle option for those of us who don't care about fighting.
  • Still no easy way to pick which of two players who are skating near one another that you want to pass to. I don't get why they haven't at least attempted to fix this after years.
  • Still can't pick up a puck right near you at times because you can't turn in a circle quickly even going at the slowest speed.
  • Hitting window still seems a second too long. Need to call interference more often on later hits.
  • Overall defense feels more difficult.
  • Hitting is easier. 
  • CPU goalies still throw the puck out randomly, already lost a game because of this.
  • Tie ups in front of the net are still annoying. They are easier to get out of it seems.
  • Faceoffs are still broken, can spam a faceoff move or change at the last second still.
  • Incidental contact still not being called and you can be jostled from behind to lose the puck.
  • Short passing is still terrible.
  • AI still unable to make easy passes yet somehow make crazy outlets at times.
  • AI can still just destroy you on hits no matter what your build or how fast either of you is going.
  • Wrap around is way too effective.
  • Intimidation effects are still way too effective.
  • Latest tuner seemed to scale back scoring.
Since the last tuner 14 is now basically like 13 but with better passing, skating, and slightly better scoring. Hitting and fighting are also better in that they seem a bit more realistic (not as many crazy flying bodies) but a lot of the fundamentals of these systems are broken (forced fights and not enough penalties for late hits). They need to fix some of these simple things that have been broken for ever and balance out playstyles so that running around hitting everything isn't rewarded as much.