Hockey Ultimate Team Deep Dive
One of the returning game modes in EA SPORTS NHL ®13 is Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) where players can build their ultimate hockey team by collecting and winning players and training items to make the best possible team.
This year the dev team updated HUT to appeal to both new players who have never tried their hand at HUT before, and veterans of the game who are returning for another year of ultimate team building.
For the first time in HUT history you can create a fantasy team without the restrictions of career lengths or a salary cap. You can tap into a pool of over 4,000 players from across the NHL, AHL, CHL, Elitserien, SM Liiga, DEL, Czech Extraliga, and SNL.
The ability to select your favorite team when first starting up NHL® 13 will help determine the initial appearance of your HUT Team this year. Rather than having to win the home and away jerseys of your favorite NHL team they’ll be included in your introductory Free Starter Pack.
If you’ve picked the Chicago Blackhawks as your favorite team (as pictured above), you’ll be playing in their colors to start with. All you need to do is pick your team name and abbreviation and you’re off to start your career as a HUT collector.
The Free Starter Pack will not only include the uniforms of your favorite NHL team, but also a few players from that team to give you someone familiar to build your HUT team around.
The rest of your team will be filled with players from other NHL teams, the CHL and other leagues in the game.
Building the team beyond the initial starter pack can be done by using HUT Pucks, NHL 13’s in-game currency.
Pucks can be won by playing HUT games or beating challenges in NHL Moments Live, logging into HUT for Daily Rewards or bought using Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE or using real world currency through PSN. Pucks can be redeemed for new packs of HUT cards.
There are several types of items that come in HUT card packs this year:
• Player items - There are over 4000 players from 10 different leagues in the game to collect and use in creating your Ultimate Hockey team.
• Change Team – NEW for HUT 13 - will allow you to change a player’s team to get the best chemistry out of your lineup.
• Captaincy – NEW for HUT 13 – will allow a user to assign Captain/Assistant Captain to selected players in their lineup. Captains will receive a +2 overall rating, Assistants get +1.
• Legends Items – Collect ultra rare versions of some of NHL 13’s Legends which include NHL Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jeremy Roenick, Doug Gilmour, Jarri Kurri and NHL legend Dominik Hasek. For the first time in HUT this year you’ll also be able to play with four-time Olympic Medalists Angela Ruggiero and Hayley Wickenheiser.
• Logo and Jersey items –allow you to personalize your team.
• Arena items - allow you to choose which size rink you want to play in International or NHL size rink and can help your team to success. A fast team might want an International rink as it provides more space not to get caught up in a physical game. While a tough and physical team wants the small confines of an NHL rink to play in.
• Head Coach Items - will give your team a boost on the ice depending on the coach’s ratings
• Training items - for both players and goalies can be placed on players to improve the skills and make them into superstars
• Contract items - allow you to keep your players under contract and lock in their salaries long term so you can create a dynasty and compete for an EAUHL championship.
• Healing items– Like in real life players now can get injured in the EA Hockey Ultimate League. To help counter injuries you can use healing items that will allow you to reduce the length of the injury and heal your player faster.
• Change Position – will allow you to change a player’s position to get the best chemistry out of your lineup.
• Returning Rewards – Just like last year in Hockey Ultimate team, you will receive a puck bonus to start off your NHL 13 experience depending on your puck balance and collection completion percentage from HUT in NHL 12.
The HUT interface has been redesigned this year and was made easier for new players and old timers alike.
Building your lines with your player cards might not be as simple as just putting the highest ranked players first. Chemistry can affect how well your players perform with their teammates.
Chemistry is affected by whether or not players are in their preferred positions and whether or not they’re playing with players from the same team or same leagues as they are from. A bunch of out of position players from different leagues won’t be playing at their best while a team full of players from the same team in their proper positions will be everything they can be.
New this year is that goalies now contribute to the Chemistry of the defensive pairings.
Player ratings can be raised through training, though this year training only applies to a single game, so training items do not carry over from game to game.
In this year’s HUT we’ve also removed career length, allowing users to keep their players for as long as they wish.
Skaters are rated in 5 categories:
• SKT - Skating
• SHT - Shooting
• HND - Hands
• CHK - Checking
• DEF - Defense
Goalies are rated in 5 categories
• HGH - High
• LOW - Low
• QCK - Quickness
• POS - Positioning
• RBC - Rebound Control
• Whenever you are looking at a player item on any screen (Edit Lineup, your Collection, and the EA store) use the Right Stick to change the player item view and look at the different views of information available.
• Selecting the Edit Lineup screen will give you all the options you can perform with a player item.
• A player’s contract number is how many games the player can play before you must place a new contract item on him.
• Training – Every player has a certain amount of training item slots that they can place training items on a player to grow them into a superstar.
• Salary – Each player has a salary that is locked in for the duration of their contract. Once a user puts a new contract on a player depending on their skill their salary will change.
• Player’s size and weight matters with the Full Contact Physics engine.
• Health - Player’s now can get injured so we give you a way to see how many games you player will be out of the lineup.
Apart from buying new packs of cards with Pucks, you can also trade them in the HUT Auction House.
Trading and Auction House
• Make that championship winning deal to put your team over the top by trading.
• Bid on players that are available by other GM’s in the EAUHL.
• Improved auction searches new to NHL 13
Team of the Week – Revised for NHL 13
• Every week using real life stars of the week we will create special versions of these players to be inserted into item packs.
• These items will be improved versions of a player so look for your favorite player when he is a star of the week and collect him.
• In HUT 13, users will get the chance to view the actual stars of the week item in the ‘Team of the Week’ section.
• This team will be available to play in an offline game to so that you can see how your squad matches up against the very best
HUT Mobile Companion App
For the first time this year you will now be able to manage their team through the NHL 13 mobile app for iOS. The app will allow you to take your team with you wherever you go.
The HUT mobile companion app will let you:
• Build your Ultimate Team with the Auction House. Search, buy and sell player contracts and items.
• View your card collection and current roster to stay up to date on your team.
• Snipe auctions and sell top talent even when you‘re on the go.
This year the HUT competition will be tougher than ever, and even more rewarding.
Balancing your team will be much more important this year. Starting a fight at the right time can get your team that much needed energy to push to victory. With Full Contact physics in NHL 13 this year player weight and size is important to keep in mind as well.
A team with a good third line can wear out a highly skilled first line, causing your opponent’s star players to wear down and lose confidence.
Your team also can have up to 15 different lineups so that you can prepare for the playoffs or play in one of the many online and offline tournaments in Hockey Ultimate Team.
Have any type of lineup you create available depending on the tournament or opponent you are playing.
There are several ways to compete in HUT, appealing both to casual players looking for fun and competitive players looking for a challenge.
See how you rate by checking the leaderboards in Ultimate Team. These track the following.
• My Leaderboard – Where do you stand against the rest of the world
• Top 100 players in the world
• Friends Leaderboard letting you know where your friends rank in Hockey Ultimate Team
• When you play an EAUHL single player match you will download 4 opponents off of the EA UHL servers giving you a fresh opponent every time you play. 3 of the opponents will be in your level range and you will be shown a top 100 team if you want to test out your skills against the best.
• Always have your best team ready as they can be downloaded to be an EAUHL opponent. When your team is downloaded you will receive some EA Pucks as a reward for providing competition to other EAUHL teams.
Play A Friend
• In NHL 13 you have the ability to play online against your friends Hockey Ultimate Team and see who is better at building a great lineup.
• These games won’t count against your player’s contracts or career and there is no salary cap in these games.
• See how you are doing against your friends as you will be able to see a running tally of all the scores of the games you have completed with a friend
There is also the HUT Monthly Playoffs. The regular playoffs are the whole calendar month, while the first three days of the next season is the playoffs for teams that qualify. Qualifying teams battle to win a championship by winning their playoff bracket.
This year teams will need to win the Amateur, Pro and Elite brackets to claim the ultimate HUT championship. The higher tier the tournament you compete in, the bigger the Puck prizes you can win.
Winning Championships in HUT comes with perks. Champions will have a banner raising ceremony every time they play a home game to let the other user know they are playing HUT champion. As well there will be a championship logo on the ice stating they are a current champion in the HUT.
NHL 13’s Hockey Ultimate Team game mode is the best version yet.
These new additions and changes make it easy to jump into the action and start building your ultimate hockey team right away. Veterans of the mode will find that many of the changes make HUT a more rewarding experience this year.
Dynamic new content will be added throughout the NHL 13 HUT season, so be sure to stay tuned for more information and until then we’ll see you online.