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NHL 12 Update: EASHL Tidbits, New European Arenas Video, and Old News


Alright, well both of these little news tidbits come from yesterday, but I figured I’d let my recent HockeyFest announcement simmer for the time being, as nothing here is major news, so I figured it could wait a day. Anyway, EA has released a new short blog that consisted of a quick Q&A regarding a few of the new online features, all of which pertain to the EASHL. There was also a new video found on EA’s Swiss YouTube channel, which announced that a few European arenas are to be accurately featured in NHL 12. Then there is some older news, which EA reminded me of by reminding people about it on their NHL 12 FaceBook page. I would have already covered that older news, but it’s so old that it pre-dates my time here at KK.

UPDATE: 4 PM - A new video has just been released by EA featuring Wayne Gretzky talking about the Legends, although there is no new info here, aside from a clear shot of the front of the “Legends Team” uniforms. The video has been included at the bottom of the post.

First up, let’s go over the short new EA blog, simply titled “Online Blog Follow Up” posted by EA Canada’s Nate Ng.

Hey all,

This is Nate Ng here with a follow up to the NHL 12 Online Innovations producer blog.  There have been a few questions in the NHL forums about details we announced in the blog and I am here to answer them.

Question: “My only concern is will leaderboard position be specific to position type? For example as a defensemen, I pride myself on shot blocking. A forward should never be categorized as a top shot blocker as that stat is not relevant for that position type. This is defensemen-specific.”

Answer: Center, Left Wing, Right Wing, Defense and Goalie have their own All -Star Leaderboards. Each position has its own unique set of stats and formulas to determine the amount of Fantasy Points earned. For example, the Defenseman leaderboard factors in blocked shots, hits, giveaways and takeaways, where the Center leaderboard factors in faceoff win percentage, amongst other things. The idea behind this is to have a system where points aren’t the overall factor, and that other important stats are also looked at when determining an All-Star.

Alright, before I get into the answer, I have to interject here with my own opinion on the question itself. I wouldn’t say that shot blocking isn’t relevant to a forward. Just ask any defensively responsible winger who is covering his respective point, as they are usually the first line of defense, so to speak, when it comes to blocking a shot taken from the point. The same goes for a center covering the slot, as centers are generally expected to be the most defensively responsible of the all the forwards, and might also be blocking the occasional shot as well, as a part of their overall job to cover their man and/or zone in an attempt to regain possession of the puck and get it moving to either a defensemen or a winger to get the play started going back up ice on and out of the defensive zone.

Also, let us not be so quick to forget about one of the most recent, and most spectacular shot blocks perhaps ever seen in the NHL playoffs, made by now former Boston Bruin, Michael “Wrist Shot of Death” Ryder (as I like to call him), who signed with the Dallas Stars in the offseason as a UFA. Keeping in mind he typically plays Right Wing, and managed to make this amazing shot block/glove save, that will forever be remembered as a key moment in Boston’s Stanley Cup run last season.

Clip courtesy of NHLVideo’s YouTube channel

That is the kind of shot block, that as a goaltender, you owe a guy dinner for.

Anyway, sorry for getting a bit off topic there, but that comment about shot blocking not being relevant to forwards did kind of bug me, especially remembering what Ryder did last season in the playoffs.

Getting back to EA’s answer though, they had already mentioned in the initial “Online Innovations” blog that each position would now have their own leaderboards, which ranks would now be determined by a “fantasy points” system, as opposed to the old leaderbords, which simply lumped all skaters, forwards and defensemen included together, and simply ranked them based solely on points scored. I had kind of figured that this new system would take several, if not all stats into account, with a formula in place to make certain stats more valuable to some positions as opposed to others. Which seems to have been confirmed by EA’s answer to this question. I have the feeling that they will probably take all possible stats into account, but their value will be different depending on position. For example, in this case, a blocked shot will undoubtedly be worth more points to a defenseman than it would be worth to a forward. As it is a more important stat for a defenseman, than it is for a forward, but it should still have some value for forwards as well.

Although it is not mentioned in this NHL 12 blog, nor has it been talked about before, but based on this new ranking system for the position specific leaderboards, I would hope that EA will also take a similar approach to how a player’s grades are calculated in the EASHL, and also further take into account the “player type” at that position as well. For example, a hit should be of value to both the “Team Play” and “Stats” grades, but should be of more value to a Power Forward or Tough Guy, than it should be to a Playmaker, who are generally not built to make hits. I don’t know if EA will be taking player type into account with the grading system this year. However, from the sound of the new fantasy points based leaderboards, which will calculate certain stats to be of more value for certain positions than others, it at least sounds like grading will likely be more position specific this year, which would at least a step in the right direction.

Anyway let’s move on to the next question. Also, sorry I got a little distracted there, but this is what happens when I have the kind of time to get a day up on my writing again. I’ll try to avoid going so off-topic in the future though.

Question: “Won’t Club Scouting encourage more pausing?”

Answer: The Club Scouting screen won’t cause any more pauses than a user would make in NHL 11.  All of the player ratings were previously available last year in the pause menu. The only difference with the Club Scouting screen is that you can easily identify human users. The Club Scouting screen also includes their current in game grade levels as well as if the user is a Free Agent or not. We have upgraded the screen and made it more accessible this year.  If anything, this will cut down on the time spent in the pause menu for user’s who are trying to scout opponents.

Personally, I think this was a bit of a waste of a question, as EA addressed this very same concern when they first talked about the Club Scouting feature, and made a good point that it wouldn’t cause any more pausing than usual, which I also agreed with in my own blog post at the time of covering those announcements. Although we do get a tidbit of new info here, which is that an opposing player’s current grade levels will also be displayed in the Club Scouting tool as well. It should also be considered that this feature will available in Drop-In games as well as OTP, which makes me think that players will also be scouting their own random teammates as well. Which could potentially lead to further problems quitting problems in OTP, should players notice that their goalie’s grade average is a “D” for example.

Speaking of players quitting out early, within the 2 minute grace period that is currently allowed in NHL 11. Which allows a player to quit out of any game within the first 2 minutes of gametime without having that quitting result in counting as a game played, and giving a player F grades across the board, as a discouragement for players to stay in games until the end. Mind you that those 2 minutes are not real-time, but gametime, i.e. before the game clock passes the 18:00 mark. Now I’ve heard some rumors floating around that EA might reduce this grace time down to 1 minute, although I doubt such a thing would ever be confirmed by EA, and will simply have to be found out by the community after the game’s release.

Personally, I don’t think there should be any kind of grace period at all, as this would be the best overall way to discourage players from quitting out of games early. This currently also makes for a rather annoying beginning to the play of Club games, as usually both Clubs are just simply ragging the puck around, waiting for that two minutes to pass, so that they don’t accidently go and score, causing their opponents to quit out, without the Club who scored getting credit for their DNF Win. So rumors aside, I don’t know if any changes will be made to this system, but as I just pointed out a potential flaw in the Club Scouting tool within OTP games, I would suspect EA will change something up to counter this potential issue.

Question: “Do Club Challenges work the same as last year?”

Club Challenge still exists, however the results of those games are now unranked.  All ranked EASHL games will have to be played through the Quick Match function. The reason this was changed was to fix an issue where teams were win trading against other teams by challenging the same club to Club Challenge games.

I know that this doesn’t answer all of the online questions, but the one’s I’ve addressed here seem to be the one’s people are most concerned about.  Keep asking questions in the forums and the team will do their best to respond to them there as well.

Also a bit of a wasted question, as this was also addressed by EA at the time of the release of the Online Innovations blog, in which they stated quite clearly that Club Challenge matches would now be unranked for this very reason. Although it is good to see that EA is taking steps wherever they can, to try and keep the EASHL a fair and level playing field. This will also allow for another feature that the community had been asking for, which would be the ability to play unranked scrimmage games against other Clubs, within Practice mode. So by now making Club Challenge matches unranked, they have essentially killed two birds with one stone. As it combats some cheating, along with giving the community something they had been asking for anyway. I rather like this idea, for obvious reasons. Plus it will allow for friends who might happen to be in different Clubs to play each other, and be able to relax and have more fun while doing so, knowing that it won’t count against their stats.

Alright, well that does it for EA’s new blog. Like I said, not much new information there, just tidbits of things, and further hints at other things that for now we can only speculate about.

Moving on, the following video was found yesterday on EA’s Swiss YouTube channel. Upon first glance, it might appear as nothing more than EA’s Swiss trailer for NHL 12. However, after a careful look, several members of the NHL 12 community, as well as myself, have noticed that there are three distinct arenas from the National League A, which is Switzerland’s top professional hockey league, which has been featured in the NHL-series ever since they started including top European leagues. However, these European leagues have featured accurate uniforms, rosters, refs, and even accurate ice to some extent, but they always had rather bland, and generic arenas. Until now. Take a look for yourself.

Video courtesy ElectronicArtsDE’s YouTube channel

The three arenas that are now accurately represented are as follows, in order of their reveal in the trailer.

1. PostFinance Arena - Home of the SC Bern (also the largest and most attended area in any of the European leagues)
2. Hallenstadion - Home of the ZSC Lions (the second largest arena in the NLA)
3. Vaillant Arena - Home of the HC Davos

Oh, and yes, at the end of the trailer, that is Jonas Hiller on the cover of NHL 12, as it has been long known that he will be the cover athlete on the Swiss version of the game, which is a nice touch, since it is his native country.

The only question that remains for now, is will these accurate European arenas be featured in the North American version of the game too? That remains unknown for now, as they might simply be exclusive to either the Swiss version of the game, or the European version in general. Although I don’t see any reason why EA wouldn’t include these in all versions of the game, but time will tell.

Seeing this makes me think that they have likely gotten all 30 of the NHL arenas to be more accurate as well, although from my knowledge, there were all fairly accurate last year, with a few minor exceptions of little things like what color border was used between the panes of glass surrounding the rink. Although minor little touches like that count when it’s your favorite team in question. I know that EA has gotten more actual arena names into the game now, as can be seen by Rodgers Arena in the NHL 12 demo, although I don’t know if they have quite gotten all of them yet, as these rights, just like everything else, have to be licensed on a individual basis. At least they have gone to some lengths to include some accurate arena entrances and other such theatrics now. A few examples being the Oil Tower in Edmonton, and the Shark Head in San Jose, both of which have been posted up online for a long time now, as they were some of the very first NHL 12 quick-clips released by EA.

Speaking of old news, as I mentioned in the title of this blog post. This is quite lame in my opinion, but since I haven’t covered it yet, I might as well throw it in, as it might appeal to some people.

Shortly after Steven Stamkos was revealed as the cover athlete for NHL 12 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. EA posted up a blog about a special FaceBook app called “You’re Covered” which allows to pick a version of the game, be it Xbox 360, or PS3, then select your favorite NHL team, and then upload your photo, to make your own personalized cover for NHL 12. This is the link to the original EA blog post if you wish to read more about it.

However, if you’re really not a fan of Stamkos on the cover, you can always just type in “NHL 12 Custom Covers” into a Google image search, and pull up plenty of other very well made options, as here have been a handful of talented graphic designers in the NHL-series community doing this kind of thing every year for the series for quite a while now.

UPDATE - This just hit the web, but since it doesn’t have any major news in it, I figured I’d throw it in this update where it belongs. EA Sports released a video of Gretzky going over all the Legends stuff. No new info here, other than a nice clear shot of the front of the Legends Team uniforms… enjoy.

Video courtesy of GameFrontDotCom YouTube channel

EA actually did have some embed coding on their official video for once, but as I figured by looking over it, it was way to overly complex and thus, didn’t really work too well… thankfully someone got it on YouTube shortly after it was released. My thanks to those people, as they make my job a heck of a lot easier.

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, Doug Miller, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ea+sports+nhl+12, wayne+gretzky


Primis's avatar

Having come from the PC version until they ended its run, I’ve always been disappointed with how EA does the arenas.  In the PC versions they don’t seem bad at first… until you saw the fan-made ones you could import, that were 10x more-accurate and detailed.

I want Joe Louis Arena to look like the Joe, and I want MSG to look like MSG, not just passable facsimiles that sorta’-kinda’ do maybe if you squint and use some imagination.  They’ve slowly gotten better but… honestly if I’m paying $50-60 for the game there’s no excuse whatsoever they can’t have those arenas licensed.  If they can’t, the game needs to lose $10 in retail price.

Those 3 Swiss arenas look nice though.  Especially that third one.  It seems like a small thing but some more unique-looking arenas does breathe more life in…

As far as Quitting… you should NOT be able to quit online, period.  I mean they should literally not give a Quit menu option, and then even if you turn off your console or something dumb to work around that, your account should be locked from joining a new game until the previous game you dumped is finished.

You also should not be able to Quit from the position-select team screens (you know how it is with OTP, two yahoos always get impatient and quit, and suddenly an exodus starts on both sides as guys panic that they’ll be stuck in a 3-on-2 game they don’t want to play and next thing you know the game is empty an closed).  Advancing to that screen is a commitment and should lock you in with the same quitting restrictions as above.

The ‘Penalty” for Quitting now is still a joke to most users—that 12 year-old in London could really care less what is Grades are for the game so long as his tiny little pride doesn’t get hurt by having to endure a loss.  Tying up/locking up their own personal time WOULD be a serious deterrent though to Quitters and make committing to a game mean something.

The also should be Kick option that is enabled if say, a user goalie gives up a bunch of goals—with a catch.  The Kick has to be voted on and initiated by the opposing team.  I can’t tell you how aggravating it is to score 3 on a user goalie early , have him give up and deliberately start letting in goals.  Your game is now at his mercy.  I think a lot of players on the opposing team would be quite happy to boot him and resume a decent game, instead of continuing with a Griefed trainwreck.

OwnGoals should also bring about a Kick vote.  That way if it’s an accident, no harm no foul.  But if the guy did it on purpose (and it happens a decent amount) they can be immediately removed from the game.

I’d also like to see the option in OTP of joining a game at intermission once the number of players on a team drops below a certain threshold.  You start off with 5 on your team, but 3 quit early on… by the 3rd period maybe you could add 1 or 2 guys back in to stand a chance.  It’d have to a voluntary join on the user’s part—in other words they’d have to select a “Join Game At Intermission” option.  Not everyone would be willing to of course, but I think EA would be quite surprised at how many would use this.

Anyhow I’m rambling…

Posted by Primis on 08/27/11 at 01:46 AM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

In the PC versions they don’t seem bad at first… until you saw the fan-made ones you could import, that were 10x more-accurate and detailed.

Well since that was back in 08-09, and I know EA Canada’s team, and resources have grown quite a bit since then, as it does every single year. Plus fans have a major advantage the dev team doesn’t… which is unlimited time, with no deadlines constantly looming, and presumably, only one thing to work on, as something like arenas is handled by the art department, which obviously has multiple jobs. So I would certainly hope the fan-made ones would look better, considering all the factors involved.

Also, as a side note to that, there could be the possibility of user-created arenas making a return at some point this year, in the form of premium web-based content, for more on that speculation, see my latest NHL 12 update from noon today about further Season Ticket info and speculation.

They’ve slowly gotten better but… honestly if I’m paying $50-60 for the game there’s no excuse whatsoever they can’t have those arenas licensed.  If they can’t, the game needs to lose $10 in retail price.

They will keep getting better, it happens every year. Also, I’m pretty sure that “a budget” counts as reasonable excuse as to why they can’t get every single little thing done in a less than a year’s time. It’s a slow process, but they are getting there. Plus they have no control over the price of the game, as that is dictated by the industry itself. Hmm… I’m trying to remember how much $60 would get me in actual ice time… but I’m fairly sure it’s exponentially less than the amount of hours I put into a new NHL-series game most years, especially the last few, since I went on the IR with a pretty major back injury and haven’t been medically cleared to skate again.

The ‘Penalty” for Quitting now is still a joke to most users

Unless you are still working towards your Legend card, in which case, no matter how bad a game is going for you, it’s still going to be better than getting all F grades, which you won’t get staying in the game, so no matter how you slice it, quitting is only going to slow down your progress towards your next rank. However, as I’ve pointed out endless times, the logic, or lack there of, of most OTP players still baffles me to no end.

The also should be Kick option that is enabled if say, a user goalie gives up a bunch of goals—with a catch.  The Kick has to be voted on and initiated by the opposing team.  I can’t tell you how aggravating it is to score 3 on a user goalie early , have him give up and deliberately start letting in goals.

Usually, goalies that are going to quit out of an OTP match, generally do it after 2-3 goals, as to keep their GAA down. I’ve rarely seen a human goalie simply just “give up” and start letting in goals without quitting shortly there after, unless they are doing it on purpose, either to help a friend on the opposing team, or just to be a jackass, of which there is no shortage of in OTP games.

Also, I know of one particular OTP game I remember very well. I had jumped into one to shake off some rust, as I hadn’t played in a while, I let in 3 goals in the first, one of which there was nothing I could do about, although most OTP players aren’t competent enough to know what goals are or aren’t the goaltender’s fault. Anyway, I had my entire team quit out on me, which was fine, since they couldn’t provide any offense or defense anyway. After which, with the only craptacular computer teammates and my own goaltending to rest the game on, I ended up pulling my game together, and had the computer go on to tie it up 3-3 by the end of the third, and then won 4-3 in overtime. So the joke’s on those that quit, although ironically, if that hadn’t, there is probably no way I would have won the game, because they were somehow worse than the incompetent computer allies in NHL 11, as that game had proven.

OwnGoals should also bring about a Kick vote.  That way if it’s an accident, no harm no foul.  But if the guy did it on purpose (and it happens a decent amount) they can be immediately removed from the game.

That much I agree with, as I can think of another example where I held yet another incompetent team into a game as they got out shot 28 - 11. I still forced overtime though, and how do I get thanked? With an intentional own goal, which due to how I keep myself square to the puck at all times no matter what, I still got a piece of it, but it went in anyway, and dropped my stats grade from a B+ to a D-. Thankfully this was long after I had my Legend card, so I didn’t really care that much, but it just goes to show the insane level of stupid that exists in OTP matches.

I’d also like to see the option in OTP of joining a game at intermission once the number of players on a team drops below a certain threshold.

That, I’m also not in favor of, as it just screws with point per game stats, and other such things for players, and would be of a major advantage to good goaltenders.

The only way I’d be in favor of such an idea is if EA would just finally pull the trigger and just make all non-Club games unranked, and thus, meaningless other than for practice, which is pretty much what they already are, although the new AI in NHL 12 will help combat some of this, but not all of it. Yes, there is the rare exception you find another competent player in an OTP game, but then you have to flip about 3 coins that all have to land the same way to hope that they have a mic plugged in.

All of your “quitting” issues only pertain to non-Club matches anyway. The whole issue of “getting games going before people quit out pre-game” should be fixed, assuming they let you select your position upon joining the room, which is how Club works. I have the feeling they might finally do that this year, which would also help OTP to some extent, but it will always have its problems, and will always be considered a joke to those of us that enjoy the real heart of the EASHL, which is Club play. You really haven’t played in the EASHL until you’ve played with a decent Club, as it is a totally different experience, as it was how the EASHL was intended to be used upon it’s creation.

People will complain that they can’t find a Club, but that argument is crap, as there are plenty of public Clubs people can join, or make themselves. As well as the constant Club recruitment that goes on in both OTP lobbies and on various NHL-series message boards.

Personally, I’ll be solving this issue for KK members in NHL 12, but that announcement will come later on, closer to the game’s release.

Also, just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to offend you with anything I might have said, I was just giving you my own personal opinion on your issues, which is sort of my job around here.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/27/11 at 08:07 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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