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Occasionally I browse the EA Forums looking for news, videos, comments from the developers or other gamers who play the NHL series. Today I found a post made yesterday regarding changes to attributes for the EA Sports Hockey League, or EASHL.
There has been a lot of good discussion about the EASHL recently so let’s keep that up. I recently realized that I forgot to mention that we did a few small tweaks to the EASHL Pro regarding player types and how you can spend your XP. NHL is always tuned using NHL players and teams and we do not have separate gameplay for EASHL specifically. This year we have decided that you can no longer be better than an NHL player in any stats for EASHL, that way we don’t see 99 wrist shot accuracy and power being able to blow shots past goalies as easily. You will no longer be able to have 99 of any stat. We tuned the values based on real life NHL players within their respective player types. For example, for snipers, we have a hard cap at 95 for wrist shot accuracy. The cap depends on the player type and what they “Should” be good and bad at. A Playmaker for example, would be able to get up to a 95 passing, but not up to a 90 rating shooting. We feel that by adding a cap for each stat based on player type does remove some of the freedoms you once had, but also forces people to choose a player type that more or less suites their style of play. We want NHL 13 to feel different with the new skating system, and we do not want people to have unbalanced players by being able to have 99 speed and agility for example.
You will also notice the player overall ratings will be much lower. This is somewhat of an unwanted result of the offline player rating separation that happened, but really the EASHL Pro’s overall rating doesn’t mean anything. The individual stats are the most important.
Also note that these caps were set while using the Boost Slots applied so we ensured that even while using boosts you could not go over an unwanted level. This will result in some people thinking some of the caps are set too low, but you must factor in the +8 boost you would apply to your pro.
This is an absolutely fantastic change. For those of you who play Online Team Play, EASHL, or online 6v6 Leagues this will help bring some balance to player builds. With the present system, there are “broken” builds. Stacking certain attributes to 99 in conjunction with some A button and dangling skill, a lot of players could magically avoid body and stick checks, stick lifts would be ineffective, it made playing the game frustrating and not enjoyable.
Whenever I play offline or versus, which uses NHL players with realistic attributes, the gameplay better emulates realism opposed to the arcade-like nonsense most people experience. Bringing this to EASHL, OTP, and the 6v6 Leagues that exist will greatly improve gameplay and make the experience that much more enjoyable.
Typically, I’ve been very critical of EA on how the NHL Series ends up. There’s always gameplay breaking issues/exploits, glitch goals, server issues, et al. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to EA for actually addressing a major issue that existed in NHL 12, though I still remain skeptical that the game will be without at least one major issue. Here’s hoping I’m wrong, and here’s to actually looking forward to NHL 13, a welcome change from my annual gamer angst.