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NHL 20 Patch Details April 3rd

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Check out our April 3rd patch details here.

An Update on Gameplay Feedback + Action Plan

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  • NHLDev
    1663 posts EA NHL Developer
    I may sound like a broken record but I will keep bringing these issues up until I get acknowledged.
    Everyone on this board is heard.
  • NHLDev
    1663 posts EA NHL Developer
    NHLDev wrote: »
    I actually had a discussion today with one of the better players in the world that specifically said this after playing a top level tournament in Europe with the current tuners: 'defensive players have too many tools against offenses and the games are often very low scoring, especially when 2 top teams are playing each other.'
    And here is where people feel is the disconnect. You are tuning for top players but not tuning for the vast majority of players. If you want to listen to members of your community who are uber competitive while screwing the group of friends who are just trying to enjoy the game with as little time we have available thats your right. I'm really getting worried your going to ignore peoples opinions if they are not deemed skilled enough using your CR system.
    I am in here talking to all of you and I happened to also have a conversation with a top level player today as well.

    We just hear people say 'all players think' or 'you can't do "x" anymore' or 'all that every happens is "y"' so I want people to hear other perspectives and to show that we are listening to everyone.

  • NHLDev wrote: »
    NHLDev wrote: »
    I actually had a discussion today with one of the better players in the world that specifically said this after playing a top level tournament in Europe with the current tuners: 'defensive players have too many tools against offenses and the games are often very low scoring, especially when 2 top teams are playing each other.'
    And here is where people feel is the disconnect. You are tuning for top players but not tuning for the vast majority of players. If you want to listen to members of your community who are uber competitive while screwing the group of friends who are just trying to enjoy the game with as little time we have available thats your right. I'm really getting worried your going to ignore peoples opinions if they are not deemed skilled enough using your CR system.
    I am in here talking to all of you and I happened to also have a conversation with a top level player today as well.

    We just hear people say 'all players think' or 'you can't do "x" anymore' or 'all that every happens is "y"' so I want people to hear other perspectives and to show that we are listening to everyone.

    My concern because I have seen it in the past when I played other games competitively where developers have made changes to core mechanics based on what the competitive community while ignoring the feedback from the rest the community. From my experience with NHL 19 this is exactly what happened with the tuners. 1.0 and 1.01 felt great. They felt the closest we have gotten to what felt like real hockey. Not just felt real it felt natural and fluid. Around 1.02 you could feel the skating getting sluggish like a wet sponge. The game slowly started to feel like NHL 18. It very much felt like a step back. 1.03 became repetitive skate down the ice, stake to the top of the circle and let rip short side. Or if you stepped up on the shot they would just get an easy cross crease. You very much had next generation gameplay when the game first came out. NHL 18 was the first NHL I played on the PS4 and it very much felt like a port of NHL from last generation and not what I expected from a sports game on this generation of consoles. NHL 19 felt like a next gen title and what I expected. I'm just asking don't ignore the 80% this time.
    If you see Grammar or Spelling errors. I am starting to experience the long term effects of ten plus concussions.
  • Above1988
    80 posts Member
    edited January 2019
    NHLDev wrote: »
    Appreciate all the opinions being shared in anticipation of the tuner rollback period.

    There are obviously a few different camps. One set of discussion is around what is realistic and/or balanced gameplay and the other is more around what type of gameplay we want to encourage, regardless of realism.

    A few things to consider
    -- Regardless of tuning, it is always on the defense to get the offense to play more creative.
    - There will always be players out there that are two dimensional and no matter how realistic the game is tuned will always lean towards what they feel are the higher percentage chances for them to score and thus may create a more boring game for you but if you spend your time expecting your opponent to cater to you, rather than enjoying shutting them down easily through their lack of creativity, those games will continue to be less fun for you.
    - If the game were somehow tuned such that it forced variation, even when the defense was allowing good chances, the game would just feel random. Again, it is on the defense to force variation and creativity but it isn't up to the offense to entertain poor defense by switching things up just for the sake of it (As much as that may be the more sportsmanlike thing to do).
    - We want to reward great team play. Overall, it should again be strong defense that forces the need for great team play but as others have mentioned there are ways the game can be tuned to encourage it more. So we understand peoples perspectives on single puck carriers being able to keep the puck and how easier puck loss can encourage more passing.
    - That said, we also don't want to reward poor defense. There are times to commit and there are times to position/angle and/or wait until you can get the offense to commit. You also need to be aware of the player you are using and who your opponent is and what their capabilities are.

    The first version everyone played of the game established some big changes. Obviously we added new skating and physics systems but we also took a big crack at diminishing what the community called 'skillzone defense' in VS and HUT play and aggressively tuned tripping penalties and with the new physics, increased low relative speed hitting success to change the dynamic of the way the game was played.

    The whole point of the Beta, aside from giving everyone a glimpse of the new mechanics and testing our online infrastructures, from the gameplay side, was to see how the new meta played out in the competitive environment relative to what we had heard in previous years.

    We got two pieces of feedback during the Beta. The unanimous one was that tripping penalties were too harsh and the other was that there wasn't enough differentiation in skating -- that although the skating was almost unanimously liked, big players shouldn't have been as agile. We already had a bunch of updates complete for the Day 0 build of the game for the pokecheck/dss mechanics vs tripping logic so we didn't touch that at all. The only things we tuned in the Beta tuner were increasing the effect agility ratings had on skating to differentiate players more (which was tuning we almost opened the Beta with but waited until we got that feedback first to be sure) and updating how stamina regeneration worked in Ones.

    We then launched the game in that same state but also had some of the mechanics updates to pokechecking/dss and tripping that we had already made before any feedback that tightened up the mechanics. We felt those changes would solve the issues where people felt things were inconsistent and not justified and that much more of the negative feedback was what was expected when we were making such a harsh change to the meta of the game, where we wanted to encourage players to use more tools on defense that fit the context. And over time, it has proven to be a good skill gap where players are able to have extremely low penalty minutes and also very low goals against even though some players are still far too aggressive with their sticks and get sent to the box often.

    The next bit of feedback I continued to get hit with was regarding 'skillzone defense' and 'bumps'. I took longer to consider tuning around these two pieces of feedback as we had already made the big change to turn off all ai defense against puck carriers after 4 frames of puck possession and that we wanted to maintain what we had tuned with the new physics for longer to see what was player skill in offense/defense/learning curve vs what were holes in the tuning/mechanics.

    Competitive HUT and VS players continued to show clips regarding skill zone and I gave counter arguments around it not being the defensive players responsibility to chase the offensive player when they aren't a threat themselves to score just to be seen as playing 'active defense'. That if they wanted to drop back and block the pass, especially when the ai wasn't actively taking the puck away, that should be in their full right playing defense.

    I was also sent examples of what players meant by 'bumps'. These were commonly players on breakaways that were losing the puck from slight incidental contact from behind on breakaways, or players that would chase and get beat out of the corner only to throw a check back against their momentum only to get a slight piece of the puck carrier and cause them to stumble and lose possession. There were also some of those over the top cases where a player getting shoved from behind would keep attempting to pick up a puck and not be able to even though they were trying to pick up the puck and skate away in the direction they were being pushed to.

    I held ground on both of those for a bit to stand by our original goals and ensure tuning was needed more than players adapting but started to understand with more examples why it was seen as having a lower skill gap on defense where lower skilled players were getting bailed out from poor play. A higher skill gap where we felt that defensive players had more than enough tools to still shut down players when playing properly still completely aligned with our original goals so we looked at tuning what could isolate those issues -- thus the changes around reducing the time of puck possession before the ai couldn't trigger a defensive action on the puck carrier to 0 frames and tuning low relative speed checks from behind a player.

    The last thing we did in the last patch/tuner was look at what was being called out as the weakest way to score, which were the weak rebound goals. My opinion is that tuning, although it helped some of the goalie positioning to give up less weak rebounds and/or have a better chance at a rebound save, also opened up more chances at short side goals as it meant the goalie was thinking of the secondary threat more often when they were there and not challenging the puck as much as they were. I don't think it is as drastic as some think as the ai defense tuning, ability to nudge players off the puck easier after being beat and possibly lower HUT ratings at the time also bailed players out from giving up many of these chances but I know we could improve the goalie short side with tuning and it will be something we can verify in the rollback period as HUT lineups and player skill gap/matchmaking rank will all stay the same and only tuning will change. There are mechanics we can improve in the future with the goalies as well in terms of more logic around puck carriers threat to score, secondary threats and save ability on weaker shots but if given the choice right now with what we have, would elect for the defense to have to do more covering the pass option/rebound and have the goalie focus on the puck carrier more aggressively like they were before.

    We don't have an exact date yet for the rollback but we are currently getting everything in place we will need to make the change and what feedback mechanisms will be put in place to get all the right feedback, etc.. Again I appreciate all the back and forth thus far as it is already a lot of info for us -- not that it is new -- but it is shaped a bit different under the context of the rollback and what that will mean both positive and negative vs why we should just roll back overall.

    If the player's defensive tools were stronger, it would promote more active defense and less skill zone. The problem with the original build was that the CPU defense was way too strong, so the player didnt need to do anything on defense except stand in front of the net and let the ai do all the work.

    Also, If you increase the strength of a player's ability to effectively check, poke, lift etc, without getting penalized , you would also increase the skill gap on both sides. Offense would need to create more space and make smarter plays with the puck (no puckragging) while defense would be able to step up and shut down the opposing play.

    Right now, playing defense is mostly passive and positional. Block lanes and try to pick up loose pucks is basically all you can do against anyone who's half way decent. What this style of play does is give all the power to the puck carrier, regardless of skill, promote puckragging, and make anyone who IS skilled (like a gamechanger) basically invincible on attack.

    Post edited by Above1988 on
  • i really couldn't care less on opinions from those playing vs/hut . sorry but having an AI goalie and 10/12 AI skaters on the ice at all times means that no matter what you do, the game is so far from hockey it might as well be called soccer. EA just needs to fix the goalie they broke years ago that basically over anticipates pass/onetimer and gives up short side so easy as well as stop going down in butterfly so easy in shooting situation from high slot, opening up corners. you clean up the goalie and there won't be so many trying the high percentage "cheese shots" and the VS crowd will be 100x happier. I personally feel people whining about VS or even now 3s has lead to bad changes in this game. The AI is absolutely horrible at this point if you ever end up with one in 6s EASHL.

    good EASHL teams really dont ever have to worry about any of this because they play good positional hockey and they don't let people walk into the slot and take easy shots. Of course the AI goalie (if one is being used) would also benefit from these things. None of this has anything to do with tools the defense has. I completely agree that the defense has more tools than ever and it takes really skilled smart hockey play by good teams to beat good team defense...again in 6s. I don't like "puck ragging" but i really hate the idea of taking so much individual skill out of the game. it's almost gotten to the point to where you can just clog up the middle, keep puck on perimeter and hardly ever give up a goal.

    take current code, improve AI goalies, improve hitting but be careful not to reward bad defensive plays. fix the horrible stick lifts and maybe tune the speed of the game up a notch. and this will be best game ever.

    oh i almost forgot solve the DRE issues...although there has been some improvements there that i don't understand because there's never been a single announcement about it (that a discussion for another time but you may be the worst game of all time at communicating changes to your player base in game).
  • Bmh245
    905 posts Member
    In my experience, the stick lift is virtually useless from any angle.

    I don't get this at all. I don't stick lift much, but I get stick lifted all the time, especially when I'm in a 50-50 battle for the puck. And slashing penalties are not called that often. At least in HUT, stick lift is still very useful, even if it's not as stupidly overpowered as it was in the beta.
  • Bmh245
    905 posts Member
    NHLDev wrote: »
    We had a tuner that was almost ready to go that had tuning around goalies challenging pucks short side, fine tuning around low relative speeds and a few other things but then the Beta rollback was proposed so I have parked that tuner for now.

    Oh, man. Why didn't you just roll that new tuner out? Tweaking precisely those things would have been great for gameplay, rather than going back to tripfest and "let offensive player go past you, then nudge him" defense.
  • i really couldn't care less on opinions from those playing vs/hut . sorry but having an AI goalie and 10/12 AI skaters on the ice at all times means that no matter what you do, the game is so far from hockey it might as well be called soccer. EA just needs to fix the goalie they broke years ago that basically over anticipates pass/onetimer and gives up short side so easy as well as stop going down in butterfly so easy in shooting situation from high slot, opening up corners. you clean up the goalie and there won't be so many trying the high percentage "cheese shots" and the VS crowd will be 100x happier. I personally feel people whining about VS or even now 3s has lead to bad changes in this game. The AI is absolutely horrible at this point if you ever end up with one in 6s EASHL.

    good EASHL teams really dont ever have to worry about any of this because they play good positional hockey and they don't let people walk into the slot and take easy shots. Of course the AI goalie (if one is being used) would also benefit from these things. None of this has anything to do with tools the defense has. I completely agree that the defense has more tools than ever and it takes really skilled smart hockey play by good teams to beat good team defense...again in 6s. I don't like "puck ragging" but i really hate the idea of taking so much individual skill out of the game. it's almost gotten to the point to where you can just clog up the middle, keep puck on perimeter and hardly ever give up a goal.

    take current code, improve AI goalies, improve hitting but be careful not to reward bad defensive plays. fix the horrible stick lifts and maybe tune the speed of the game up a notch. and this will be best game ever.

    oh i almost forgot solve the DRE issues...although there has been some improvements there that i don't understand because there's never been a single announcement about it (that a discussion for another time but you may be the worst game of all time at communicating changes to your player base in game).

    If you don't play HUT or VS how are you qualified to criticize it?

    I've played a lot of VS/HUT and a lot of 6s. VS/HUT is a lot more like hockey than what you get in LG or in VHL. Those leagues are all about drafting the best dangler available, feeding him the puck in game, and letting him do everything.

    Defense always feels overpowered in those leagues for people who aren't good danglers. But I bet the top point getters in those leagues are at least getting 2pts/gm or above on average.
  • 2pts a game is not much. If defense wasnt so easy top players would be averaging 4 a game. There are no line changes top offensive players were likely be involved in 85% of the scoring on a high powered offense scoring 5 goals a game back in the day.

    Current gen defense is much easier so scoring is down. NHL 19, even with it's flaws, is even stronger defense and I'm sure scoring is the lowest it's ever been
  • Does anyone feel the same as I do, that sticklift should be about 10% effective as it is now?
    Watch an NHL game and count the number of times a player steals the puck cleanly with a sticklift. There isn't even a counter for it in this game.
  • Here's a question: which should be easier, defence or offence? Should they be balanced somehow, or should one be fundamentally easier, and why? Maybe like in real hockey, which one is easier there?

    It seems like the 'elite' players are always more concerned about making offence more easy, as if it hasn't always been so (at least with the current gen). How easy do they think it should be? Like with the current tuner, do they think it's just walk in the park playing d now? How come very few 'elite' players are crying for better defence? It's always about defence being too easy or the AI goalies being too good.

    It's kinda funny hearing that from supposedly good players? :o
  • Sgt_Kelso wrote: »
    Here's a question: which should be easier, defence or offence? Should they be balanced somehow, or should one be fundamentally easier, and why? Maybe like in real hockey, which one is easier there?

    It seems like the 'elite' players are always more concerned about making offence more easy, as if it hasn't always been so (at least with the current gen). How easy do they think it should be? Like with the current tuner, do they think it's just walk in the park playing d now? How come very few 'elite' players are crying for better defence? It's always about defence being too easy or the AI goalies being too good.

    It's kinda funny hearing that from supposedly good players? :o

    Because defense is fine, we've got people on this board saying stick lift is broken & they never use it, meanwhile in a game with good players they're stick lifting all game long.
  • Bmh245
    905 posts Member
    2pts a game is not much. If defense wasnt so easy top players would be averaging 4 a game.

    I have no idea how you can claim 6s is more like "real hockey," then.
  • GOW_LIKE_A_BOSS
    536 posts Member
    edited January 2019
    2pts a game is not much. If defense wasnt so easy top players would be averaging 4 a game. There are no line changes top offensive players were likely be involved in 85% of the scoring on a high powered offense scoring 5 goals a game back in the day.

    Current gen defense is much easier so scoring is down. NHL 19, even with it's flaws, is even stronger defense and I'm sure scoring is the lowest it's ever been

    So, you think offense should be scoring four points per game for more realistic hockey? I think I see why you think defense is overpowered.

    You mentioned there are no line changes, which is true, so that would inflate stats. But the periods are only 20% as long as an actual hockey, which would deflate their stats. It breaks out about even. Plus, you say top offense of players would be involved in 85% of the scoring chances. That opinion once again shows that you are looking for a more unrealistic hockey game with lots of dangles and one man shows.

    It does not sound like you are looking for realistic team hockey based on the stats you think are realistic and the dominance by individual players you expect.

    if16nej628br.jpg

    That screenshot is the all-time leaders in points per game. Even Wayne Gretzky didn't score two points per game, and you are advocating the top LG players should score at a rate more twice as high as Wayne Gretzky for a realistic hockey game.

    I think it says a lot about how unrealistic a game you want when you belive scoring at a higher rate than Wayne Gretzky is "not much."
    Post edited by GOW_LIKE_A_BOSS on
  • Bmh245 wrote: »
    2pts a game is not much. If defense wasnt so easy top players would be averaging 4 a game.

    I have no idea how you can claim 6s is more like "real hockey," then.

    i can't tell if you are trying to troll me or being serious. but you realize one has nothing to do with the other. you realize how many things affect scoring in a VIDEO GAME? If an elite VS player played you he would probably put up 20 goals. I absolutely guarantee you the top vs/hut players in the world are scoring just as much if not more in these modes than in EASHL. Also I was talking about older games.

    vs/hut is not real hockey because you have 10/12 skaters as programmed robots in a game that is more dynamic, changing on the fly, than any other sporting video game. They are so easy to exploit and learn exactly what they are going to do at any given time that the only answer EA has is to basically give them super abilities that then lead to skill zoning. so that gets taken away and now they are basically just pylons more often than not. so then you have to play the game of chasing the puck by constantly switching.

    5 human skaters that a) have good hockey iq and b) understand how to play this game can create a more authenticate hockey experience. i never said it was real hockey. god far from it. but that's based on limitations of the game and it's playerbase.

    scoring is down because defense is much better now than it used to be at end of previous gen console play. i personally find defense super easy and fwd the real challenge. prev gen it was other way around.
  • Bmh245 wrote: »
    2pts a game is not much. If defense wasnt so easy top players would be averaging 4 a game.

    I have no idea how you can claim 6s is more like "real hockey," then.

    i can't tell if you are trying to troll me or being serious. but you realize one has nothing to do with the other. you realize how many things affect scoring in a VIDEO GAME? If an elite VS player played you he would probably put up 20 goals. I absolutely guarantee you the top vs/hut players in the world are scoring just as much if not more in these modes than in EASHL. Also I was talking about older games.

    vs/hut is not real hockey because you have 10/12 skaters as programmed robots in a game that is more dynamic, changing on the fly, than any other sporting video game. They are so easy to exploit and learn exactly what they are going to do at any given time that the only answer EA has is to basically give them super abilities that then lead to skill zoning. so that gets taken away and now they are basically just pylons more often than not. so then you have to play the game of chasing the puck by constantly switching.

    5 human skaters that a) have good hockey iq and b) understand how to play this game can create a more authenticate hockey experience. i never said it was real hockey. god far from it. but that's based on limitations of the game and it's playerbase.

    scoring is down because defense is much better now than it used to be at end of previous gen console play. i personally find defense super easy and fwd the real challenge. prev gen it was other way around.

    You know the human can switch players right? And the AI changes its behavior based on what the human does?

    And you complain about the AI having "super abilities," but EA has disabled all AI actions in NHL 19. They won't poke, lift, or hit. It's obvious you've never played versus this year.

    Lastly, idk why you're talking about realism or "real hockey" when you think Wayne Gretzky's ppg rate is "not much" and you believe good players should score at more than double Gretzky's rate.
  • CoreyWestermann
    1 posts Member
    edited January 2019
    Hi NHLDEV,

    I appreciate you taking time and responding to posts and explaining some of the mechanics and clips people have posted. Would you mind explaining this one that happened to me in a game recently.

    PoliteRedKouprey.gif



  • MooseHunter10
    402 posts Member
    edited January 2019
    Take for example the Sniper class. He should be able to have good speed bursts and excellent shooting. Those are his strengths, yet having very similar speed across the board hampers this option. It affects forwards and it affects D because the Snipers are easier to keep in check. Sniper cannot exploit his speed or burst. His speed should help him blaze past a defender to negate any physical play options unless the D man is really well prepared and capable to have proper gap but given enough space, he should be able to eventually distance the D man with top speed.

    Why should the best shooters also be the fastest guys on the ice?

    I find it ridiculous that the fastest and most offensive forward classes are one in the same, while you have to decide if you want a fast defenseman or one that can play defense.

    I play defense as 5'7" 169lbs Sniper anytime I want to be more than net collapser.


    I think Sniper should be more like Yakupov / Laine, with their minimum height up at 5'11. Add another Speedster class that can be 5'7". Playing EASHL 6s with 3-4 humans a side, almost every forward takes sniper.
    EASHL player
  • jiajji
    329 posts Member
    2pts a game is not much. If defense wasnt so easy top players would be averaging 4 a game. There are no line changes top offensive players were likely be involved in 85% of the scoring on a high powered offense scoring 5 goals a game back in the day.

    Current gen defense is much easier so scoring is down. NHL 19, even with it's flaws, is even stronger defense and I'm sure scoring is the lowest it's ever been

    So, you think offense should be scoring four points per game for more realistic hockey? I think I see why you think defense is overpowered.

    You mentioned there are no line changes, which is true, so that would inflate stats. But the periods are only 20% as long as an actual hockey, which would deflate their stats. It breaks out about even. Plus, you say top offense of players would be involved in 85% of the scoring chances. That opinion once again shows that you are looking for a more unrealistic hockey game with lots of dangles and one man shows.

    It does not sound like you are looking for realistic team hockey based on the stats you think are realistic and the dominance by individual players you expect.

    if16nej628br.jpg

    That screenshot is the all-time leaders in points per game. Even Wayne Gretzky didn't score two points per game, and you are advocating the top LG players should score at a rate more twice as high as Wayne Gretzky for a realistic hockey game.

    I think it says a lot about how unrealistic a game you want when you belive scoring at a higher rate than Wayne Gretzky is "not much."

    Those guys played vs the best in the world, you realize how many people are aweful at this game?

    Have Orr play the majority of his games vs beer league competition and what do you think his stats would look like?
  • Take for example the Sniper class. He should be able to have good speed bursts and excellent shooting. Those are his strengths, yet having very similar speed across the board hampers this option. It affects forwards and it affects D because the Snipers are easier to keep in check. Sniper cannot exploit his speed or burst. His speed should help him blaze past a defender to negate any physical play options unless the D man is really well prepared and capable to have proper gap but given enough space, he should be able to eventually distance the D man with top speed.

    Why should the best shooters also be the fastest guys on the ice?

    I find it ridiculous that the fastest and most offensive forward classes are one in the same, while you have to decide if you want a fast defenseman or one that can play defense.

    I play defense as 5'7" 169lbs Sniper anytime I want to be more than net collapser.


    I think Sniper should be more like Yakupov / Laine, with their minimum height up at 5'11. Add another Speedster class that can be 5'7". Playing EASHL 6s with 3-4 humans a side, almost every forward takes sniper.

    A sniper should be quicker, not faster. There is a difference. Smaller players have smaller legs, meaning that if your racing from the front of the net into the corner the 5'7 will beat 6'4 every day..or should. Smaller legs, less distance to travel, and easier time to get more strides in within a certain amount of space. All these things are very relevant. So following that logic... Goal line to the first blue line, the little guy should win, from that blue line down the ice the larger person with their bigger stride should catch up and likely even surpass the little guy. The logic is similar as to why a smaller person should be able to execute stick lifts quicker and more effectively than a larger one. The stick simply doesn't have as long to travel and the lever(the stick) they are operating has less distance to cover.

    Anywho, whenever I see people speaking about being caught from behind and how they are upset about it the first questions that come to mind are where did it happen on the ice and to who...because it should matter.

    Viewing speed as one dimensional in hockey handicaps the discussion and since this stuff actually gets read by the dev's we should try to be more clear. More clarity hopefully = fewer unintended results.
    All Comments pertain to 6v6 drop in unless otherwise stated..
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