NHL 09 Patch Meaningful In More Ways Than One

Posted March 10th, 2009 at 8:59 am

Within the last few weeks EA has released another patch for NHL 09 on both the 360 and PS3. This news somewhat slipped by me as I didn’t realize just how significant it was until it came up in the recording of a Waiver Wire podcast that will be posted soon. Not only has it resulted in improvements to the game but this was a patch that no one really had any expectations for.

When you look at it this is really a terrific gesture by EA. They did not have to do this. The game is six months old and already is the most highly regarded sports game of last year winning the most Sports Game of the Year awards by far. Instead of being a necessity (which most patches are treated as) this is great way to really reward the consumers who have stuck with the game and doing so breeds loyalty. Games such as Burnout Paradise and Left 4 Dead have provided a great deal of post-release support much of which has been free. Because of that fans of those games have been enthusiastic and word of mouth has spread. Generally we don’t see that model followed for sports titles. Hopefully though this is the start of a trend.

Continue on for the list of what the patch provided.

Exploit fixes:
-Fixes the 99 attribute bug in OTP/EASHL by preventing players from entering games with attributes that are raised beyond the level they can reach with the card they are entitled to have. Players who have elevated their attributes this way should reset their character by changing the type and reassigning their points.
-Limit the size of human goalies in OTP/EASHL games to 6’4″ (NOTE: it will still allow them to be set larger, but the actual height in game will not go above the new limit).
-Fixed some problems that could cause the game to hang or go out of sync when pausing.
-Prevent use of LB to get up instantly after being knocked over.
-Reduce accuracy of shooting while using vision control to skate backwards.
-Prevent high, accurate slap shots from in close to the net.

Other changes:
-Reduced the ease of beating the goalie on the short side.
-Decrease the tendency of the goalies to use a desperation save unnecessarily.
-Strict calling of interference, though you can still clear players directly in front of the net without getting called for interference.
-Added stick lift to Classic controls using LB+X(XBox)/L1+Square(PS3). It is also on R3 (press Right Stick).
-Fixed shot targeting using the Always Up control when skating down ice.
-Added new NHL rule to locate face-offs in the attacking zone to start a powerplay.
-Prevent CPU players from getting delay of game penalties frequently while clearing the puck from their zone.
-Prevent puck from being poke checked away from the goalie when he has it covered under his glove.
-Reduced the amount of time it takes to get control of the last man back, holding RT(Xbox) /R2(PS3)
-Reduced the amount of time it takes to get control of the goalie, holding LB+A(Xbox)/L1+X(PS3)
– Reduce the range of heights on randomly generated CPU players, including goalies.
-Eliminate the ability to accelerate and maintain high speed while stick lifting.
-More penalties for high sticking when stick lifts are done from behind the opponent.
-Made the colours of the OTP/EASHL indicators more distinct (yellow and orange).
-Made face-off outcomes slightly more random and slightly less dependent on attributes.
-Added assistance to prevent one-timer and shot attempts from leading to accidental hits and interference penalties.
-Goalie tuning to increase goal-scoring a bit to compensate for taking away the easy short-side high goals.
-Improve hit stat tracking to not count all of the small bumps in front of the net.
-Increased injuries caused by CPU teams.
-Prevent puck from being launched with very high speed following a hit.
-AI tuning for superstar. The Aggression slider now affects how intense the CPU team is on that difficulty level.