Friday, December 14, 2018
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How NHL 18’s Creative A.I. improves overall gameplay

NHL 18 screenshot - Creative A.I.

One of the new features coming to NHL 18 is Creative A.I. Here’s how it will impact your gameplay experience.

Improved A.I. Analysis in NHL 18

With NHL 18, EA has improved a teammate’s ability to find you on a breakout through redoing the A.I. passing analysis and player position and paths on breakouts. The now have the ability to use bank passes and different pass strengths to find you.

Additionally, the A.I. will now look at more passing options than ever before and will be in better position to make a pass or receive one. On top of attributes like Offensive Awareness and Passing, the A.I. will also factor in a player’s handedness, speed, offensive pressure and the risk versus reward of a player when making a pass. The A.I. will also take more risks if the potential offensive return of a pass is greater than the risk.

Creative A.I. doesn’t just affect passing either. EA has also improved upon all the A.I. offensive analysis, including determining when it is best for them to skate, shoot, pass, or even use a Creative Attack deke (another new feature in NHL 18).

Creative A.I. Will Leverage the Same Tools As You

Just as you will leverage NHL 18’s all-new Defensive Skill Stick and Creative Attack Dekes, as will the new and improved A.I.

With the puck, the A.I. will utilize the same Creative Attack Dekes tools that you have access to. From simple moves like windmill dekes to more advanced moves like one-handed tuck finishes, the Creative A.I. will execute Creative Attack moves based on their attributes and likeliness to pull them off.

On the defensive side of the puck, the Creative A.I. will leverage the all-new Defensive Skill Stick to help shutdown the opposition. From blocking off passing lanes to being in better position to intercept a pass, the A.I. will showcase their defensive skill.

NHL 18 screenshot

Creative A.I. in NHL Threes

NHL 18 introduces an all-new 3-on-3 hockey experience, complete with a single-player campaign mode where you compete against different teams and leagues in a circuit-style journey.

With a smaller ice surface in NHL Threes, EA had to readjust and rework the A.I. to make sure they reacted to the smaller playing environment intuitively. In doing so, it improved computer A.I. across all modes — such as reacting better to rushes.

Offensively, the A.I. is more dynamic in how it picks the players to take part in a rush. Attacking A.I. defenders will evaluate whether or not they should jump into the rush to create a scoring chance or to sit back at let their forwards take control. Additionally, neutral zone and offensive zone entries were improved upon and the A.I. will take offensive pressure, game situations and your strategies into account more effectively now. Finally, both side and middle offensive zone entries were worked on and the A.I. will factor in the handedness of players to help recognize where they should position for a pass or a shot.

Defensively, the A.I. has been reworked to track players on the rush better. Also, the A.I. defense’s ability to transition from rush defense to set up defense has also been improved. Defensive skaters who are trailing the play will hang out and cover the point based off of pressures and A.I. strategies. For example, A.I. on Tight Point will set up higher on a rush after reentering the defensive zone to cover the points. Finally, the defensive A.I. has better man-to-man defense, will provide better strong-side pressure and will also set up in the neutral zone to force more lateral puck movement.

The A.I. will set up for one-timers or other opportunities in the zone based off what is happening in the zone. Whether it’s driving to the post to create a back door pass option or hanging in the high slot to unleash a one-timer, the A.I. is able to read and react to the play better in all zones.


Creative A.I. is just one of the improvements with NHL 18. Check out the rest here.

[EA Sports]

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