The Hitting Zone

The NHL just makes it up as they go along, why can't we?

What Do I Want in NHL 12?

Marc-Andre Fleury being run in the outdoor venue in NHL12's new Winter Classic Mode

Y!’s Puck Daddy runs a story today about EA’s upcoming title update to the NHL franchise, NHL 12.  Apparently several new “features” are coming including a Winter Classic mode as well as the ability to knock the net off its moorings and players running goalies.  The article asks at the end what do you want to see in NHL 12?  As someone who has played more than a few (over 3200 games of online team play/EASHL in 3 years) I actually do have a few requests.  How about instead of new features for the back of the box EA goes in and fixes some of the existing problems?

The first major problem in NHL 11 that needs immediate attention is goalie angles.  Anyone who has played the 150 games needed to obtain their Legend card knows that a breakaway is about a 95% certainty to find the back of the net on the stick of a human player.  AI goalies are frequently too far out of the net and take horrible angles to the puck allowing players who have been around more than two weeks to just deke to the backhand and lift it over a sprawling, sometimes diving goalie.  As an EASHL player who has notched thousands of games at defense it would be nice to think your goalie has a chance of making a save now and again. Beyond the backhand/breakaway the angles period need major rework.

The next big problem is glitch goals.  There are spots and angles to the net that when shot from are goals every time.  There are ways to hold back on a slapper and the release it that go in every time.  EA has done nothing over the past three titles that feature EASHL to combat or address this.  In fact they routinely make tuner updates to the game after the first few weeks when players have low attributes that makes goal scoring easier only to not undo those changes as more players obtain Legend.  As a dman I have to learn these spots and tricks year to year and take away the lane/exploit and force people to play hockey for real.

EA has also been feature happy in past years and I fear that goals being knocked off the moorings will be NHL 12’s broken sticks.  Broken sticks are a nice little flavor added to the game in NHL11 .  They happen way too often.  I have a heavy slapshot as a defenseman and I have broken my stick upwards of six times in some games.  The frequency is ridiculous.  I also fear that knocking the net off and running the goalie is wide open for exploitation like boardplay was in NHL 10 and to a lesser extent in 11.  How will the AI officials know when a defending player has knocked the net off on purpose for the appropriate penalty?  The AI officiating took a step backwards in NHL 11 as compared to its predecessor.  My bigger fear is that running the goalie, if implemented poorly, could make NHL 12 look like Sega’s Mutant Hockey League, where running the goalie was encouraged.  There are enough nuisance players out there that will just run the goalie to grief others if there is not a system of control.   Defenseman are going to have a hell of a time defending their own crease if they can run their own goalies (on accident) as well.

Another issue is cherry-pickers.  There are a ton of them.  Too many OTP players that just hang out at their blueline looking for the quick outlet.  There should be a much higher frequency of those long passes being off the mark.  Over 90% of the time a pass from behind the goal line is tape-to-tape across three lines.  There needs to be a lot more incidents of icing.

EA or Xbox needs to get in and police player names.  We have no system to report vulgar or offensive player names on sweaters.  Trust me there are enough of them out there disparaging a race, my mother, & sexual orientation that I will not allow my two sons to play NHL online.  There is no way to correlate an NHL/OTP/EASHL name on a jersey to an XBL profile, so those of us who would like to police our own cannot identify the actual culprit.

Some of us play a lot and need to do rebuild of our players to change positions.  Please allow at least a forward and defenseman build slot in addition to the goalie slot.  It would save many of us time and headache.

In NHL 09/10 defensemen could clear their net front liberally.  Now it is almost a sure fire penalty.  Implement a good way for dmen to actually defend.  Its become very hard to play defense this year without the urge to ragequit often.  I would really like to clear my crease instead of just trying to take away the pass I know is coming.

Finally, get rid of the stick tap.  Every single puck hogging annoying random player just calls for the pass.  It wasn’t as annoying in NHL 10 when it was not accompanied by a tap-tap-tap of their stick on the ice every single time.  Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap.  Some of us hear it in our sleep now.

The EASHL specifically could use some tweaks as well.  I happen to have a list.

  • Allow teams to designate Captains and Alternates so that the letters appear on the uniforms during play.  Some of us have been requesting this since NHL 09
  • Impose an actual penalty for team jumping and team abandoning.  My team and it’s players have played under one banner all year.  There are a lot of one month and done teams littering the statistics of the EASHL.  Players who jump often should find themselves out of the playoffs for a month or something.
  • The monthly playoffs are a good idea but teams with more than 6 players on the roster end up cutting people out for playoffs runs.  Allow a two team/minor team affiliation so that we don’t have to have secondary team that exists just for our reserves to make a playoff appearance of their own.
  • Allow goalies to do custom work on masks
  • Allow EASHL teams to customize the goalie stick.  Everything else can be color customized.
  • Allow customization of all logos/jerseys.
I just hope EA gives a crap about the game beyond November/December which is usually when they put in their last tuner update that drastically changes the game from the balance that usually exists early to the glitch goal festival that occurs winter into spring.  They seem to stop taking requests after Christmas every year for ways to fix the game.

Written by ozman51

May 20, 2011 at 9:08 AM

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