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CHEL Notes

Franchise Mode Deep Dive

NHL 20

Hey, this is Gurn Sumal the Game Modes producer on EA SPORTS™️ NHL® 20. Last year we introduced an all-new scouting system, this year we wanted to build upon that by introducing coaches to Franchise Mode.

By adding coaches, it allowed us to add additional features such as line chemistry, a brand-new conversation system, and new scouting reports. All these new features tie back to the coaching staff of the team to affect the meta of building a team. In addition, we added some smaller quality of life features such as Trade Finder.

COACHES

Like any feature we develop, we want to add as much depth as possible and we think we did this with our implementation of coaches. We have a wide variety of fantasy coaches that get generated at the beginning of Franchise Mode. Much like scouts, coaches will have their own set of ratings and roles but, in addition, they will have to deal with morale and staff chemistry.

As for ratings, coaches are broken down by 6 rating attributes:

  • Offense
  • Defense
  • Powerplay
  • Penalty kill
  • Teaching
  • Influence

Each of these has a distinct impact to the team. The Offense, Defense, Powerplay and Penalty Kill attributes have direct impact to gameplay and game simulations. Teaching can grow or stunt player development on the team via player potential. Each coach also has teaching specialty, these simply let the user know what type of player the coach likes to teach. Influence ties into the growth of coaches, having a head coach with high influence will help grow the coaching staff faster. Coaches will also accumulate stats and can be awarded the Jack Adams Trophy during the end of season awards.

Coaches in NHL 20 have morale just like players. By adding the coaches, it allowed us to revamp player morale by adding 4 different morale meters, which combine to affect both on-ice and off-ice components of the game:

COACH MORALE

  • Team Performance
  • Management
  • Coaching Staff
  • Player Relationships

INTERVIEWS

In addition to standard conversations, we now also have interviews. You can interview a coach prior to offering them a contract to get extra details on the type of team they are looking to coach, the market they prefer, and fan base they gravitate towards. We also added draft day interviews which allows you to interview prospects prior to the draft to unveil extra scouting information.

One thing to note is that other teams will hire and fire coaches throughout the year as well. Each team has expectations for the coaches based on their team’s expectations. The AI will put coaches on the hot seat during the year if they go on a long losing streak, miss the playoffs, or simply don’t meet team expectations. NHL Players will also retire and become coaches, so you’ll see them behind the bench in the game.

SCHEME FIT AND LINE CHEMISTRY

Scheme Fit summarizes how well all the players fit on their current lines. This is based on the strategies the coach has set for their lineup, the style each individual player likes to play and their preferred position. This is one of the main building blocks to line chemistry. 

You’ll notice in the Edit Lines screen, there is a lot more information available to the user. You now can juggle lines to get the best line chemistry possible. Chemistry ranges from -5 -/ +5 and these ratings have an affect in both gameplay and during simulations. Coaches now have the ability to deploy lines and construct lines in different ways. Some coaches will want a balanced attack while others will want to play their top-tier players as much as possible.

SCOUTING REPORTS

This year you’ll be able to use our new scouting reports to find players. We have 2 new Amateur Scouting Reports and 2 new Pro Reports. The Pro Scout Assessment is very important as it’s the best way to determine if a player fits your coaches’ scheme and where in the lineup they fit. You may want to get a player at a lower OVR rating that fits your scheme than a player with a higher OVR rating that doesn’t fit your scheme; the lower rated player may give you a bigger chemistry boost while the higher overall player may ruin your line’s chemistry.

As for the amateur reports, we have added NHL ETA and Scheme Fit. The NHL ETA gives the user a better idea of when a player may be ready to compete in the NHL. The Scheme Fit report gives you a breakdown of the strategies the prospect likes to play, giving you the information needed to get a player that can fit in your scheme. This is another decision point for the user to make when drafting a player; will you reach to take the player that fits the team scheme or do you take the best pick available.

TRADE FINDER

Lastly, NHL 20 introduces the new Trade Finder which allows the user to make trades faster without having to go back-and-forth with trade proposals between teams. You can now select the assets you want to trade and get offers for them. You can also pick players from other teams to discover their asking price. This has made trading a lot more accessible and faster, however the traditional trade system is still available to players.

OTHER CHANGES

  • PTS/G Trade Value Mod - This gives players trade value boost or penalties based on how they are performing during the year. Players playing well can be traded for more value in trades and vice versa (goalies use SV%).
  • PTS/G Salary Mod - Performance based Salaries; Players who do exceptionally well will ask for a lot more money. In some sims players reaching 100+ points and asks for 10 million dollars, in other sims the same player has sub 1.00 PPTS/G and asks for ~8 million. This should also fix the issue where players who are in the minors and ask for 2M+ without ever playing in the NHL.
  • Teams will now put bad contracts on the trade block to free up cap space if an RFA (Restricted Free Agent) player wants a contract extension and they don't have cap space.
  • Goalies are now worth less than skaters in regards to trade value and we have improved goalie signing and trading logic in Free Agency.
  • Players with 1 year left on their deals will have less value as the season goes on. So at the Trade Deadline, players with 1 year left will be worth less than full value and at the NHL Draft, these players will be worth significantly less.
  • Players with bad value can be traded with addition of sweeteners to a trade. Increased the Bad Contract Mod so players with bad contracts require a lot to be added so a team will accept the trade.
  • Added exception contracts to the game. So players in the QMJHL, WHL and OHL don't count towards the 50 man contract limit.
  • Added a Trade Alert popup that stops the sim if someone in the league makes a big trade.
  • Added a Sim Engine scoring Setting; increases scoring or decreases scoring based on the setting (High, Med, Low). The default is set to medium.
  • Wingers are now worth less than centers and defensemen in regards to trade value.
  • We decreased Scout efficiency so now you won't have full info on all the draft-eligible at the end of the year. This should stop users from stacking Elite players in the NHL Draft.
  • Tuned Down the number of Elite and Franchise potential goalies in the draft.
  • Tuned the distribution of medium grade prospects so they are a little more hit and miss.
  • Added Scout Recommendations to the View Draft Class Screen.
  • Tuned the trade blocks of CPU teams wants/gives.
  • Added original placements to the Draft Lottery popup.
  • Added an 'Add contract year' setting for Expansion Custom Rosters flow.
  • Added 'Auto-Owner mode' setting which takes care of arena maintenance.

EA SPORTS NHL 20 is available worldwide on September 13. Pre-order the Ultimate Edition and play up to three days early.


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