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Wiggy's Blog
Three Keys for NHL 14 Stuck
Posted on January 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM.
While NHL 13 provided a stellar hockey product, it still had a few issues that I think could be addressed in NHL 14. I was glad to see that "True Performance Skating" made such a difference, but hey, I'm still expecting great things in the next product.

These are the three things I would focus on:

1) Overhaul the Defensive Controls

We've definitely had total control given to shooting and skating over the last few years of NHL products, but I've yet to see a meaningful change to the play without the puck. Sure, you've got requisite poke-checks and stick sweeps, and the hitting is serviceable, but none of these systems gel as well as they should.

The animation priority on hits needs to addressed, as there still seems to be instances where big hits are generated with little momentum or where nothing happens after long wind-ups. Just the same, EA needs to make up its mind with stick-lifting and poke-checking and how much of a factor they should be on defense. Also, greater control of the kneel block and shot block would be much appreciated, as would additional backskating and movement options.

2) Address Lingering AI Issues and Penalty Sliders

While EA does always tote various improvements and adjustments to the AI and sliders each year, it would be nice if the CPU could react better in certain situations. I've always found it infuriating that when I go into boardplay behind the net that I often get no teammate providing an outlet for pass along the boards. Players squirrel around in front of the net or hide up the half-boards, providing no meaningful puck support.

Just the same, on offense it can be frustrating to have wingers not providing one-timer opportunities or driving the crease (particularly when completely wide open), even when the strategy is set that way. The gap control on defending players is also a bit wonky, with certain CPU schemes pressuring heavy at the blue line, whereas other times non-controlled players back off and provide easy lanes to key areas, even when it's a large defender who should be capable of bullying a small forward.

Of course, many users had issues with the penalty sliders this year, and I can't blame them. The complete absence of interference calls this year was baffling, as well as the ability for players to just freight-train opponents into the boards -- often from behind -- with little worry of a call.

3) Improve GM Connected

While I loved this mode, there certainly are many areas where it could enhanced a great deal. For starters, the stability and speed of the whole mode needs to be addressed. As I stated in my review, you often see the "EA spinny wheel" rolling away in this mode, and there are prolonged pauses when using basic menus and checking stats. This is unacceptable. The on-ice stuff is lots of fun, but when the off-ice portion hangs and takes forever to load, that's a deterrent for users wanting to stick around.

It would be great to see fantasy draft option for the leagues so that players could create their own teams completely from scratch, and league commissioners should have the ability to see more clearly when games have been played as well what games are coming up. In fact, why can't everybody see their full schedule?

How about you, OS? What needs to be added or addressed in NHL 14?
# 1 Dazraz @ Jan 14
Agree on all points. Especially the load times. They kill.
# 2 baseballboss5 @ Jan 14
I say improve the hitting like in madden because that is one of the issues that makes it not look better. Also if you watch a hockey game there are not many poke-checks in modern hockey as are used in this game. This issue leads to a greater one which is the sticky puck. I have heard people call this game "Sticky Puck 13" because the puck just sticks. They should find a way to fix this. The passing in my opinion needs rehauling because in an umbrella PP you cant hit the weak side wing for a one-timer unless the lane is totally wide open, while in the real NHL some great players like Kane and Giroux can fit the puck into about a 6 inch gap. For game modes some more improvements for Be A Gm like firing head coaches, a real presentation of the drafts(NBA 2k13), and actual names for your staff, and more front office details. For Be A Pro make it more like NBA 2k13 where there are things you buy with money. A currency system for the whole game would be exciting but a seperate currency for HUT like always. Also if the presentation was made more exciting for the playoffs that would be great because it usually does not feel like The Stanley Cup Playoffs. And I agree with you wiggy for all three. Also the AI being improved again like in 13 would be awesome.
# 3 baseballboss5 @ Jan 14
Also if anyone played Fifa the EA Sports Football Club Catalogue is awesome because you use the curreny to buy more jerseys, Be A Pro equipment, and even extra chances in Career mode(which is basically Be a Gm/Be a Pro), and even stuff for UT.
# 4 dubbs88 @ Jan 14
Creating a hockey universe. Where you can control any European, CHL, AHL, or NHL team during your Be a GM, and get fired and apply for new jobs. Better create a team options, and ability to relocate franchises. Improve the way different players grow based on potential, and have it set with a variety of outcomes. Totally agree with improving GMC, adding a actual draft in this mode would be amazing.
# 5 GlennN @ Jan 14
Are you kidding me? Not even a mention of making stats/awards of players' careers, and team rosters, available easily (or at all)? BeAGM loses sooo much without being able to follow players' careers. That's my number one, by a wide margin. Number two is putting back what they took out of 10, pushing and shoving after the whistle. Number three is an injury slider, so we have some injuries, but we can slow them down if we have too many. The fun factor of the NHL series has steadily dropped (for me) since NHL 10, and (again just for me), your fixes wouldn't change that a lick. And, since I only play offline, and thus don't have Xbox Gold, I'll never be playing GMC, so that mode is meaningless to me. Am I really that different from the other BeAGM folks?
# 6 Acedeck @ Jan 15
GlennN - Your number two improvement for this hockey game is pushing and shoving after the whistle? Other than that insane statement, I agree that the other two would be great additions.

I just want them to make the most realistic version of the game on the ice. There are still many areas that need to be improved to make the game play more realistically, particularly on defense. I shouldn't be missing the NHL2k series still. EA should have been able to make me forget about that game by now, but they haven't. There is still something missing, and I can't put my finger on it. For starters, I just don't feel as excited when I score goals in this game. It still feels like too many random variables spew out whether or not a shot will go into the net, rather than true physics. I just want more fluid gameplay, especially defensively and on the power play.
# 7 GlennN @ Jan 15
@Acedeck - Does it still count as an improvement if it was already there and was taken out anyway? Yeah, I know the pushing and shoving isn't for everyone, but it kills it for me when my goalie gets bumped, I have a tough guy defenseman standing there and I can't do anything. For me, it all goes back to whether the game is "fun." Realism is great, but it has to be fun. The physical part, for me, is fun. I just don't understand why they had to take it out - you always had the ability to press a button and skip right past it.
# 8 asu666 @ Jan 15
Agree, but my number one is make sure penalties work right.
# 9 josephid @ Jan 15
I would like to see the RT and LT triggers be for passing and shooting the puck. Make the right joystick for just stick handling. Too many times I can't pull off a move or one timer with the shoot stick.

Also, give us historic teams, 80 oilers, islanders. Lets us at least make them with a wider create a player, team option.
# 10 warnerwlf98 @ Jan 15
I find that my CPU teammates are never in position to make plays in the offensive zone . . . almost at all.

I also like the skating engine, but the CPU still makes cuts on dimes because its motion is optimized - making joystick movements that a human can never duplicate. I liken it to sliding in basketball games - if you beat a defender, they should stay beaten.
# 11 GuyinPA75 @ Jan 15
Fighting engine NEEDS redone. It is boring and not fun. After like 4 years can they not see this? Plus it needs to dump the usual "EA Sports scripted" feel that all EA Sports games have had since about 1995. This always been the true gripe I have with EA Sports.
# 12 TDKing @ Jan 15
4) CUSTOM SEASON LENGTH in GM Connected needs to be in !! 20/42/82
# 13 gsize19 @ Jan 16
As for a true hockey sim, I have found it this year with slider settings. Sure I would like to see a few more penalties called, and that if I have the penalty slider maxed out, it would mean even blowing on an opponent would be a penalty, but I have seen an improvement with the ability to draw 2-4 penalties a game this year when last year they were non existent.

My take on improvements: Stopping robbing Peter to pay Paul. Stop taking from the bread and butter GM/Franchise modes to add new features that someone may play once or twice. A historic roster? I'll pass, especially when it means code being used for this when it could be used for enhancing Be A GM. If I want to play with old rosters, I will plop in a game on my old Sega or PS1 and play with the Wings with the likes of Yzerman, Shanahan, Fedorov, etc. but not now since they have all retired. Historic rosters, I have no interest in.

I would like to see the ECHL brought in!!!
# 14 josephid @ Jan 16
Well, some would like historic teams. I understand that EA would have to pay extra. Why not have downloadable content such as rosters that you pay for.

EA could make the 80 islanders, you download for a fee, this fee gets split with the historic players. EA puts nothing up front, sign a deal to split whatever extra revenues that are made on that download.
# 15 gsize19 @ Jan 21
Josephid, I agree, if you want that type of content, it could be avaialble at a price, that would be fine and wouldn't affect the "out of the box" version where they could use more code to enhance their product. I mean they wouldn't get a buck out of me from this, but I am sure some will get it to use. I would also like them to include the "Winter Classic" into the BeAGM mode. had there been one this year, we knew it was at the big house. NCAA FB has the big house, why couldn't they have included that into the BeAGM, and all the past stadiums, that way if you play multiple seasons in your BeAGM you would have multiple stadiums that have already been used to chose from, and if this was downloadable content, they would get my money, as long as it would and could be used in Season or BeAGM...
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