I'm a huge hockey fan from Canada. My favourite NHL team is the Montreal Canadiens, but I'm still hoping the Quebec Nordiques will come back in the NHL one day. I play EA's hockey games since NHL 93 on SNES and I'm pretty sure I still have all EA's games from 93 to 2013 at home. I also tried every 2K hockey games that came out. I have to say that I find NHL 13 amazing and I'm having a blast so far. Even with his flaws, I think this is easily the best hockey game released to date.
I personally have an NHL 13 offline league with 5 of my friends. Every year, each one selects players from all over the NHL in a special draft and we build our teams, respecting a salary cap. Other than that, I also play Be A GM when I play the game alone. So, we can easily say that my sliders are well testing for games against the computer, but also for games human vs human.
I started doing custom sliders when I made the switch from the PS2 to Xbox 360, back in 2007. After doing tests for so many years, I now know pretty well what every slider does. I had really good results in NHL 12, but I have to say that results in NHL 13 are even greater so far.
Personally, I love a game that can give the user a good mix of fun and realism, with a sloppy gameplay and a good amount of loose pucks, and I think these sliders are giving exactly that.
I will now try to explain the sliders themselves one by one…
Skill level : I’m playing on All-Star since I find it’s the best to get a good playing level from the CPU without having them cheating too much.
Game style : I use Hardcore, since it’s the closest to my set. It will change to Current after you have made changes to the sliders.
Tuner set version : I still use 1.04 since I love this tuner. It corrected the penalties issue and also have the CPU playing a bit more agressive compared to older tuners. I’m testing new tuners when they’re released though and may still change it later.
CPU aid : I use Hardcore, since Normal is giving the user too much help on a lot of things like passing and shooting. For example, if you’re trying a backhand pass from a bad spot, the game shouldn’t correct your mistake by still making it a good pass.
Broken stick frequency : I leave it at 2, since I find it realistic.
Game speed : I have this slider at 1. I started at 2, but I lowered it after some time. The reason for that change is pretty simple, I was seeing too many odd man rushes and breakaways. With lower game speed, there is less free space on the ice and it's harder to get around defensemen, which means more realistic gameplay
Attribute effect : I’m always a bit hesitant between 3 and 5 for this slider. Last year, I used 3 which means that players are performing to their respective attributes. However, the original value this year for this slider was 5 and it helps giving a bigger separation between players. Right now, I chose to continue with 5.
Fatigue effect : I use 6 to have shorter shifts and mostly to get a bigger fatigue effect when using the hustle button. We can't simply press L2 down all game long anymore without getting a real downfall to it, we have to choose the right times to use it.
Fatigue recovery : I leave it at 2, players are recovering at a realistic rate.
Injury occurrence : I use 5. I had it at 4 for a long time, but I just wasn't seeing enough injuries. There seems to be a lot more injuries when simulating than actually playing the game though.
Puck control : I use 0, since I find anything over it to be unrealistic. If I could lower it even more, I’m pretty sure I would do it.
Player acceleration : I use 3. This helps a lot for defensemen, trying to have them being able to turn without getting blown by forwards all the time. Along with game speed at 1, it gives a realistic pace and gameplay.
Created plays : I leave it On, since it doesn’t change anything, but I personally don’t use them.
AI learning : I leave it at 6. It’s the ability from the AI to learn how you play offensively and defensively, so it can adjust. With this slider at max, you should not be able to do the same move again and again, while still getting rewarded.
CPU difficulty adjustment : This slider is really up to the user. Everyone should start with it at 0 and play some games. If they find it too easy, then they should increase this slider by 1 at the time, up to 3 at the highest. It’s a boost the AI gets in all area, which means skating, shooting, passing, hitting, goaltending, etc. Since it’s a bit of a AI cheat slider, I don’t think putting it any higher than 3 is a good idea at all.
CPU strategy adjustment : I leave it at 3, since I find it to be a good balance. Lower than that, the CPU wasn’t able to adjust enough and when maxed, it’s the opposite.
Be A Pro strategy adjustment : I use 0, since when I play Be A Pro, even if it’s rare, I want to change my team’s strategy myself and not letting the CPU doing so.
Human strategy adjutment : I use 0 for the same reason as Be A Pro, I want to change my team’s stategy myself.
CPU faceoff difficulty : I use 4 right now, but I’m winning many faceoffs lately. I tried at 5, but wasn’t really winning enough, so I kept it at 4 for now.
Fight difficulty : I leave it at 5. Fights are rare and not that well done though.
CPU penalties : I use 6 or max. This has the CPU’s team taking a good number of penalties.
CPU teammate penalties : I use 5, since I want my teammates to take penalties, but not as often as CPU’s opponent team, because I will also take penalties myself when controlling players.
Pass assist : I use 1 right now, but I had this slider at 0 for a long time and may come back to it in the long run. It can be hard for some people, but after a bit of practicing, it’s way better than any higher number. You have full control on your passes and it gives a way more realistic and sloppy gameplay. This slider only effects human and has nothing to do with CPU.
Manual passing : I leave it On.
Pass speed : I leave it at 2, since the speed is good.
Saucer pass speed : I leave it at 3, since the speed is good.
Pass accuracy : I use 2 for human and 0 for CPU. CPU players are able to do a lot of tape to tape passes when their number is higher than this.
Pass reception ease : I use 2 for human and 0 for CPU. The same reason for this as the one I mentioned for pass accuracy.
Pass interceptions : I use 3 both for human and CPU. AI is a lot better this year to intercept passes, so you can’t pass as easily as other years, which is pretty cool.
Shot accuracy : I use 2 for human and 1 for CPU. Good amount of shots missing and also htting the net. Because of manual shot aiming, human player has to be in advantage here, otherwise CPU is scoring too easily on shots compared to human.
Shot power : I leave it at original values, since it looks pretty realistic.
Slap shot accuracy : I use 1 for human and 0 for CPU. Same reason as shot accuracy.
Slap shot power : I leave it at original values, since it looks pretty realistic.
One timer accuracy : I use 1 for human and 0 for CPU. Same reason as shot accuracy.
Hitting assistance : I leave it at 1. Like for pass assist, this slider only effects human and has nothing to do with CPU.
Agression : I leave it at 5. I get just the right amount of agressiveness from the CPU, without having them overcommitting and making bad positioning decisions because of a too high agression, like when it’s maxed.
Hitting power : I increased it to 2. It makes it harder to go to the slot or to walk in the zone, but it’s still realistic. However, I find anything over it too much, players seem to be falling all over the ice. We are not able to get real hitting stats though, because the game only counts big hits when players fall on the ice, which is not the case in real life.
Stick lift effectiveness : I use 4 for human and 5 for CPU. CPU players don’t use their stick enough, so I’m at least trying to have them being more effective when doing so.
Poke effectiveness : I use 3 for human and 4 for CPU. The same reason as stick lift effectiveness can be said for this one too.
Goalie passing : I leave it at 3. The goalie comes out of his net to play the puck at a realistic rate and I’m pretty sure it also helps him with poke checks.
Goalie cover puck frequency : I use 5. It helps to get a better rebound control from the goalie and prevent the fact that he will return the puck in play, even if an opposing player is near him.
Goalie screen effect : I use 4. The goalie has a harder time seeing the puck when screened, but is still able to make the save at a good enough rate.
Goalie reaction speed : I lowered it to 2. Goalies are made for original and online settings, where game speed is faster, puck control is higher, passes are easier and tape to tape, shot accuracy higher and so on. So, making all these changes mean we also have to lower goalie reaction speed, which was originally made really high this year, especially on passing plays. Anticipation and desparation saves were also happening too often. They would steal you most of the time on perfect plays, while it should only happen once in a while. So, to manage lateral movements speed and quickness, I had to lower this slider to 2.
Period length : I use 8 to 10 minutes. It’s user preference here. Both lengths give realistic stats, 10 minutes giving the most accurate ones. But it’s a bit too long for some people, so 8 is also a good option.
Penalties : I use Max. I think it has to be the case to get a good amount of calls.