NHL 11

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NHL 11

Postby stlbluz » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:43 pm

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Over the last three years, EA Sports' franchise has won 22 Sports Game of the Year awards from various publications.

So to the game's creative director, David Littman, it doesn't even matter that this year the game faces no direct hockey game competition on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 (2K Sports is only making "NHL 2K11" for the Wii). "Our competition has always been games like 'FIFA' and 'MLB: The Show,'" he explains. "We're not only trying to make the best hockey game out there, we're trying to make the best sports game period.

"That's how we approach the 'NHL' franchise every year. For us, it's not about the hockey category, it's about growing the sport and winning more Sports Game of the Year awards because that means that we're among the best sports games in the world and that's our goal."

So what does the team at EA Sports have planned for the "11" version of their game?

I recently caught up with producer Sean Ramjagsingh to break down the five biggest gameplay improvements hockey heads should expect when the game drops September 7.

1. Real-time physics

Hockey influenced by a boxing game? That's right, as according to Ramjagsingh, when gamers hit the open ice with "NHL 11's" new real-time physics engine, the old adage "went to a fight and a hockey game broke out" will take on new meaning.

"We saw the success that 'Fight Night: Round 4' had implementing the physics into their gameplay and the emerging organic gameplay it represented, really making every fight open-ended. We saw that and knew that's what we wanted for 'NHL 11,'" explains Ramjagsingh. "So we took one of the lead physics producers from 'Fight Night' and brought him over to our game and he's been working day and night getting this real-time physics engine into 'NHL 11.' And the great thing for us, when you think physics and hockey, most people think hits right away, and that's certainly a part of it, but it's really a foundation for all of our gameplay. I'm talking stick on stick contact, stick on puck, the way the puck hits the boards, and even the way the puck hits off the goalie and how if it hits off his chest protector, it's going to react different than when it hits off his pads."

But it's not like they forgot about the hits either as 'NHL 11' will introduce a new hit stick into the game where players can aim to hit their opponents either high or low. "Creatively, the results are amazing," adds Ramjagsingh. "Every hit looks different now because you can hit high or low and with the physics, now you have the chance where the guy goes over you. You can hit a guy into the boards, you can clip a guy and get knee-on-knee collision, and every one is different. We're really, really moving away from the confines of animation now. In 'NHL 10,' if you hit a guy and got a big hit, within minutes, somebody else playing the game would see the exact same hit. In 'NHL 11' you're going to create hits in the game that potentially, nobody else will ever see again."

2. Broken Sticks

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"Over the past three years, broken sticks is one of the most requested features," says Ramjagsingh. And with "NHL 11," EA Sports is finally delivering. "We've talked about doing it every single year, but when we implement a new feature like this, we want to do it right, so for 'NHL 11,' we got it right.

"You can break a stick, and it's the physics determining when that stick breaks, and then that stick is on the ice and it's a live object on the ice interacting with skates, sticks, and the puck. So you can be coming down with a 2-on-1 with a broken stick on the ice and when you pass it across, the puck hits that broken stick and breaks up the play.

"The other big thing for us is total user control, so even when you break your stick, you can still make plays. You can kick the puck to a teammate, drop down to block a shot, and of course, still throw hits. And in hockey, if you're a defenseman and you break your stick in the defensive zone, your forward will come back and hand you a stick. So we've added that into the game as well. Your forward will come back and pass you his stick, and if you're playing in the EA Sports Hockey League, you can actually pass your stick to a teammate."

3. Faceoffs

"We haven't worked on improving faceoffs for a few years," admits Ramjagsingh, and if you listen to the various wish lists of hockey gamers, that is one area the franchise clearly needs improvement. "Puck possession in the offensive and defensive zone is such a big part of the game in general and something we wanted to focus on this year. It's all about giving the user full control in the faceoff circle, and that means giving him control of his stick and allowing him to tie-up other players and attack another player's stick. A lot of times you'll see a guy slash his opponent's stick away and then take the puck, so again, we leverage that real-time physics engine to recognize that stick-on-stick contact to knock that stick away and then pull the puck back.

"And with the really skilled guys, you can even knock the puck between your opponent's legs and go get it on the other side."

To top things off, gamers will also be able to shoot the puck off the draw, enabling you to either shoot the puck at the goalie, or, if you're in the defensive zone, you'll be able to shoot the puck down the ice in order to clear.

4. New Dekes

Now that the goons in the game have the ability to aim either high or low on their hits, the producers at EA Sports decided that it was also time to give the players with the puck a way to counter. "So now when you're skating," says Ramjagsingh, "by holding the left bumper while flicking the right stick either left, right, up, or down, you'll perform four different dekes.

"If you played a lot online, you'd see guys lying down on the ice all the time on defense, and that's something you'd never see in real hockey because some guy would just take a slap shot to your head or step on you. So this year we added a counter where if you hold the left bumper and flick up on the right stick, you can actually jump over the guy. I've seen a couple of goals over the last few years where a guy jumped over someone and as he landed shot the puck and made it into the net. Those are the goal of the year, highlight of the year type plays and it's very cool when you see it in the game.

"But none of these dekes are gimmicks. They're all counters to what people can do defensively. You can drop the puck down to your skates, and that's a counter to guys who like to poke check. The quick dekes left or right are a great counter to the guys who like to hit. These all just add to the overall gameplay balance on the ice."

5. Compromising Positions

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Alex Ovechkin became a YouTube sensation by scoring a goal while sliding on his back. "That's probably the most famous goal where somebody scored from a compromising situation," says Ramjagsingh. "These are the types of plays that become Sportscenter moments. And now in the game, when you get knocked over, you can still take a swipe at the puck. It's all physics, so you tell your character to swipe at the puck, and with the real-time physics, if your stick makes contact with the puck, the game is going to recognize the contact and you might just recapture that Ovechkin magic.

"You can now shoot the puck from your back or your stomach, or you can pass the puck to a teammate and watch as he finishes it off. These are those unscripted, wild moments everyone has always wanted to see in the game, and with 'NHL 11,' we are delivering big time. And because these moments are organic, you can make a play that nobody else ever will in the history of the product and that's pretty amazing for us to be able to say.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby WaukeeBlues » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:08 pm

EA Sports series has the best gameplay of the two (against the 2K series) but they gotta improve some other stuff beyond gameplay.

1) Making a trade in GM mode or any Dynasty mode is effing impossible. Unless you're trading Erik Johnson for a 2nd round pick, nobody trades with you. And no team will trade their young players ever, unless you're getting raped in the trade. It's almost beyond realistic, it's painful. 2k series had a "interest" bar that helped you get a feel for how interested in the trade the other team was as you added/subtracted players/picks to or from the trade. Made it easy and fun to trade.

2) Half of the fun of playing GM mode, etc is tracking player stats and who won the cup year after year as you get deeper into the dynasty mode, yet in NHL 10 you only get to see 4 years worth of stats and trophy winners. In the 2k modes (2k7 especially) you can see any players full career stats and what team they played for and when. It makes the game more fun as you get deeper into dynasty modes.

3) Be a Pro mode is garbage. The premise is awesome, but I started 2 or 3 guys and they never improved. Even when I would be at a point per game for something like 2 seasons in a row, my players' attributes wouldn't go up, and every season some of the stat categories would drop, making all the xp I added to their attribute categories basically worthless. And even at a point per game, I was only getting offered league minimum level contracts. Garbage.

- Pretty much everything non-gameplay on the EA Sports series sucks in relation to how the 2k series is. In a perfect world the two would blend.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby Ruutu15 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:25 am

The CHL inclusion is going to be cool. Being able to use those teams will add to the depth, although I wish they would have added the ECHL because I live in Cincinnati and like the Cyclones.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby WaukeeBlues » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:37 am

And the only thing I gotta say about the broken stick thing is that could very quickly go from awesome to f*cking annoying if it happens too much.

I better not be having 5-6 shots a game negated because a stick breaks. That would cease to be cool and start to piss me off pretty quick.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby philco_3 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:33 pm

WaukeeBlues wrote:And the only thing I gotta say about the broken stick thing is that could very quickly go from awesome to f*cking annoying if it happens too much.

I better not be having 5-6 shots a game negated because a stick breaks. That would cease to be cool and start to piss me off pretty quick.


Well if your name isn't BOYES you dont have any thing to worry about.

My whole thing about the trading system, after the Blues won the cup in my game my whole team got traded away or not resigned. I won't bitch that we traded Brewer.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby ohio BLUES » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:26 pm

There is no reason to win a faceoff, in fact, I would say that every time you are better off losing the faceoff intentionally and lifting sticks until you get possession of the puck.

When does that ever happen in the NHL? Say the Blues are in their defensive zone, and Team Z loses the faceoff but immediately gangs up on Brewer and he coughs up the puck. Psh, never happens!!! :x
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Re: NHL 11

Postby philco_3 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:31 pm

I like the new NHL 11. My problems with the game is

1) The Blues still do not come out of the right locker room.
2) The goal scoring announcer sounds like a homo.

But on the plus side the music is actually pretty good this year.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby WaukeeBlues » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:47 pm

I'm still waiting for the game that has a function where you can custom create your own goalie helmet.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby Winning Unlimited » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:03 pm

When I started the Ultimate Team game, I opened a pack that had the retro Blues' jersey from the 80s, Federko style. I turned the game off an hour ago, with Pietrangelo! :-O
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Re: NHL 11

Postby Winning Unlimited » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:26 pm

By the way, I found this out the hard way...

On Ultimate Team, if you send a player (card) to your collection, or trade screen, you can no longer play that card!

You are warned.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby philco_3 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:11 pm

I'm waiting to start a season, see who makes the team out of preseason. I don't think Kariya, Weaver or King will be on the team.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby dmiles2186 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:32 pm

Just got my copy and started up my Be a Pro mode. I'm an offensive defenseman with the London Knights. I'm holding off on starting a season as well.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby stlbluz » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:36 am

Just got my 360 back last weekend & will be picking this up tonight!

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Re: NHL 11

Postby Winning Unlimited » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:40 pm

I have 50,000+ EA Pucks. WTF should I be doing with them?
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Re: NHL 11

Postby ohio BLUES » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:55 pm

Winning Unlimited wrote:I have 50,000+ EA Pucks. WTF should I be doing with them?

You could shop a few of those for Brewer...
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Re: NHL 11

Postby philco_3 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:10 pm

ohio BLUES wrote:
Winning Unlimited wrote:I have 50,000+ EA Pucks. WTF should I be doing with them?

You could shop a few of those for Brewer...


Or maybe someone who can score on a regular basis.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby glen a richter » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:20 pm

I remember the original EA Sports NHL game. I scored 20 goals a game by Hull. It was just that easy. I did have a very hard time getting shutouts though. I only had one, achieved by that legend Jimmy Hrivnak. It was the only game of the season I didn't start CuJo.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby WaukeeBlues » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:05 pm

philco_3 wrote:
ohio BLUES wrote:
Winning Unlimited wrote:I have 50,000+ EA Pucks. WTF should I be doing with them?

You could shop a few of those for Brewer...


Or maybe someone who can score on a regular basis.


So Brewer then? :)
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Re: NHL 11

Postby dmiles2186 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:53 pm

I just did the nerdiest thing I've ever done on the game. After finding out how to create and replace teams in the Byfuglien screenshot thread, I created 5 teams (Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Winterhawks (no Whalers name available), Kansas City Knights, Charleston (Illinois) Eagles, and Hamilton Vikings) and replaced the Thrashers (with the Jets), Panthers (Winterhawks), Islanders (Knights), Predators (Eagles) and Coyotes (Vikings). Then I did a fantasy draft so all the rosters were scrambled. It was kind of fun doing it. I'm going to control the Charleston Eagles at it is a mix of the town closest to me on the game mixed with my high school alma mater mascot. I used the old Capitals logo with the Eagle and the stars but didn't make the jerseys so awful. Will be fun to play over the next few months until NHL 12 comes out.
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Re: NHL 11

Postby philco_3 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:28 pm

Need to make the Barons and Seals!!!
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