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Better Goalie AI worries me.

kezz123
600 posts Member
This is a hard thing because in one hand, you don't want to "not improve AI" in any shape or form" but on the other hand, I really feel like one of the reason the game took a big slump was in large part due to the many goalie improvements. Better goalie AI always sounds great at first glance but is the impact in game truly positive?

-Better AI goalie makes it harder for a human to compete. Is this really a good thing for the game? I loved to play goalie but it is 100% not worth it to play goalie if the opponent has an AI goalie unless you are REALLY good at goalie...which I am not. So I stopped playing goalie.

-Better AI goalie seems to really mean, stopping many shots that they have no business stopping a large percentage of the time. Leads to WOW moments being when the goalie does NOT stop a puck he normally stops instead of the opposite. Seeing a goalie make an epic save you did not expect is exciting. Seeing a goalie miss an epic save he makes 99% of the time is offputting.

-Better AI goalies lead to more glitch goals, not less. The biggest misconception is that improving the goalies will mean less glitch goals. The exact opposite is true. The better the goalie is and harder to beat, the more players will try to abuse the one way the goalie is weak. You cant "not have weakness" in the AI or there would be 0 goals scored. The question becomes, do you prefer a game where everyone fishes for the same glitch goal or do you prefer a game with many different ways to score?

-Better AI goalies leads to more games decided by luck instead of skill. We have all seen it. 30 shots vs 8 and the guy with 8 wins due to 2 weird bounce ugly goals while the guy with 30 had 10 amazing one timer chances due to poor defense and all robbed. This CAN happen in real hockey but its very consistent in this game...unless you go for glitch shots a lot (consistent way to score....refer to previous point)

Better Goalie AI in my eyes kills creativity and also kills the need for human players goalies and defense.

In the days when goalies were weaker, good D was essential and human goalies were much more valuable as they could typically do a better job than AI goalies. The game was more exciting and more WOW moments existed both in awesome passing plays being rewarded by epic goals (instead of common miracle saves) and in epic (rarer) saves.

So those are my thoughts about this whole goalie thing. I realize that a lot of people complain about glitch goals each year but this is in my eyes a classic case of "the client does not always understand what they want". I think that as always, giving defense players better tools is always preferable to making goalies better.

New animations and rebound control is great however. I would work hard on tools for human goalies to be superior to AI goalies.

Replies

  • It really comes down to what "better" goalie AI means. IMO it shouldn't mean "makes more highlight reel saves".

    I'm still in "I'll believe it when I see it in action" mode but what EA's released about the changes to the goalie AI all sounds like good stuff to me.
    • Better rebound control on soft shots.
    • Better ability to cover the puck when it's loose.
    • Better reading of the play so the goalie can challenge the shooter when the pass is covered.

    One thing that EA never gets quite right in my eyes is the difference between shooting on an unscreened, set goalie and one that is forced to move to make a save. Getting the goalie moving side-to-side before shooting should be much more effective than it is. On the other side goalies that are set and can see the shot coming should be much stronger than they are. Getting that balance right would be another good step for goalie AI.

    My big pip-dream for goalie AI would be to have a learning system for goalies. Not just in a single game, but aggregated across all online games. If the devs could gather information about what kind of shots people are scoring with and from where the goalies could be continuously trained against that data and adjust accordingly over the year. If nothing else it would at least keep the meta from becoming stale.


  • WainGretSki
    3660 posts Member
    edited July 2019
    It is obviously debatable, and you do bring good points.

    However, this is a needed change. Those turds being chucked from everywhere, yet work a bit more than they should? This should solve that issue.

    On a 2-on-1, you play the pass, as you should, yet goalie gets consistently burned short side. This should also alleviate this problem.

    Having better AI goalies means less goals? Probably true, that is why dropins will want more human goalies because people want to score. It should actually favor 6v6 instead of 5v5. This remains to be seen, but it is what I predict.

    All in all, it will also look more organic and realistic, as it should. Having alot more options to cover the puck will greatly help human goalies.

    It doesn't matter what you program or how you do it, top players will find and exploit weaknesses. Maybe now we will see different exploits for a change.


    We will see how it plays out, but imo, these changes were greatly needed and way overdue. It may also favor more passing and less hogging/sniping. I would greatly take that change. Hopefully, these changes will make things less stale/predictable.

    Also, we have yet to see what the final tuning will be. In the beta and first couple weeks, goalies were pretty good, then got nerfed to go back to old ways. The game evolves, but users do not and then next thing you know, we get reverted back to old ways opening up new problems. If streamers are going to decide how this game plays out, and certainly not adapt, then I will move on and let streamers glitch themselves to victory with the same cheesy, predictable and boring games.
  • kezz123
    600 posts Member
    To clarify, I am 100% FOR the "better rebound control" as this is a core element of goaltending that is vastly understated in the game. I guess I meant that each year they try to "improve goalies" in various ways meant to eliminate glitch goals which I find futile and counterproductive. This is also just a re-statement of my preference for "pre-spiderman goalies" years.

    I think that going back to what goalies were before, adding more animations, better rebound control (which affect both humans and AI) and calling it a day is what is needed. The goalie AI is just too good currently IMHO and yet, for many, not nearly good enough, which says a lot.
  • kezz123
    600 posts Member
    Also as a side note, I like the suggestion of goalie AI adaptive system but I would debate that it would be healthier in a 1 game scenario. IE: Starts somewhat weak, and if a team ONLY goes for cross crease, the goalie may start cheating in "anticipation". Then it is up to the team to start playing "mind games" against the said goalie. This could be a very fun implementation of AI goaltenders in my opinion. Anything longer than a game in my opinion would lead to bad things.
  • Follisimo
    1033 posts Member
    It isn't improved goalies that have ruined the experience. It's improved defense being too fast backskating, being able to hold the stick out while still skating keep high speed, tons of auto lifts, and the nerf of puck control. It created the 1-4 trap life that made the game boring....kind of like how people feel about the real life thing.

    AI Goalies will be just as bad on many shots don't worry. I give it like 2 weeks and people will have mastered a way to manipulate an AI goalie.

  • Follisimo wrote: »
    It isn't improved goalies that have ruined the experience. It's improved defense being too fast backskating, being able to hold the stick out while still skating keep high speed, tons of auto lifts, and the nerf of puck control. It created the 1-4 trap life that made the game boring....kind of like how people feel about the real life thing.

    AI Goalies will be just as bad on many shots don't worry. I give it like 2 weeks and people will have mastered a way to manipulate an AI goalie.

    There’s no such thing as auto stick lifts. That’s stick on stick contact that causes you to lose the puck. If you’re complaining about the “ auto stick lifts” move the puck. Where are dman holding their sticks out? I see that and I’ll blow right by them.

    Goalies get manipulated because players refuse to play hockey and instead just go for cheese as they've done in years past. Goalies who hard to beat in the NHL 19 beta. Players couldn’t exploit short side cheese any more and whined. Then these “high scoring areas” came back all because they couldn’t adapt. As long as I have played an EA NHL game, there has always been an exploit to score every year. NHL 19 wasn’t any different. It tried to be different in that department. But yet again, goaltending was watered down.
  • mikeq67
    134 posts Member
    The one and only thing that worries me about better AI goalies is that they seem to only get better at stopping solid, realistic hockey plays. Yet they get worse at stopping broken plays and repetitive cheesy crap. Too many highlight reel saves on tic-tac-toe passing plays and too many soft goals on 40 mph wrist shots from the sideboards. Balance that out and were good
  • mikeq67 wrote: »
    The one and only thing that worries me about better AI goalies is that they seem to only get better at stopping solid, realistic hockey plays. Yet they get worse at stopping broken plays and repetitive cheesy crap. Too many highlight reel saves on tic-tac-toe passing plays and too many soft goals on 40 mph wrist shots from the sideboards. Balance that out and were good

    Like this?

    https://xboxclips.com/Z0mbieBabyJesus/bdb0c5fb-d80d-4fb2-9f54-a966d023ff8d
  • VeNOM2099
    3178 posts Member
    I mean, there's nothing wrong with a goalie making a great save. I think people here have been watching too many highlight reels with "best goals of the year" and playing too much EA NHL hockey to realize that a good percentage of the time (about 90% judging from NHL goalie stats) goalies WILL make a save on a shot, even a great one.

    Just because you're shooting from a "good spot" and take a good shot, doesn't guarantee that you'll score. Yet I've heard people say that just because they shot from the slot or because they're on a breakaway, it should always be a goal, 100% of the time.

    That said, I do agree that there is a discrepancy in how easy shots tend to be flubbed by goalies while harder to save shots are turned away consistently. It can make games unnecessarily frustrating. Just go watch the GWC Canadian Regional Finals between Yung Gren and MG x Nuclear... If that's not the epitomy of everything wrong with this series, I don't know what is.

    I'm all for goalies stopping good shots more often than not. But by that same logic, they should be stopping BAD shots all the more often, if not always.
  • mikeq67
    134 posts Member
    mikeq67 wrote: »
    The one and only thing that worries me about better AI goalies is that they seem to only get better at stopping solid, realistic hockey plays. Yet they get worse at stopping broken plays and repetitive cheesy crap. Too many highlight reel saves on tic-tac-toe passing plays and too many soft goals on 40 mph wrist shots from the sideboards. Balance that out and were good

    Like this?

    https://xboxclips.com/Z0mbieBabyJesus/bdb0c5fb-d80d-4fb2-9f54-a966d023ff8d

    Did you try to prove me wrong by showing a clip of a goal? LOL
  • Z0mbieBabyJesus
    1308 posts Member
    edited July 2019
    mikeq67 wrote: »
    mikeq67 wrote: »
    The one and only thing that worries me about better AI goalies is that they seem to only get better at stopping solid, realistic hockey plays. Yet they get worse at stopping broken plays and repetitive cheesy crap. Too many highlight reel saves on tic-tac-toe passing plays and too many soft goals on 40 mph wrist shots from the sideboards. Balance that out and were good

    Like this?

    https://xboxclips.com/Z0mbieBabyJesus/bdb0c5fb-d80d-4fb2-9f54-a966d023ff8d

    Did you try to prove me wrong by showing a clip of a goal? LOL

    Was mostly proving you wrong.

    "better at stopping realistic plays"

    The goalies aren't better at stopping realistic plays. The player is just not as good at executing in game mechanics to perform said plays. Subtle things like selling the shot before a pass for a cross crease, just as one example. I'm sure lots think it's just pass and shoot, and then complain about spiderman goalies.

    But hey, goalies only let it weak broken plays. So what do I know.
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