A new tuner & patch have been released. The changes of note (at least for EASHL) are the nerf towards a player's skating (acceleration, agility & speed) whilst backskating with the puck, some improvements towards blending of certain animations in the attempt to reduce the effectiveness of "shovel" style shots, a rise in the reliability of faceoff counters, as well as the network performance screen now correctly displaying your ping.
Regarding the 'main' change (i.e. backskating), the tweaks that EA have made are described to be "subtle" in nature. So, it should not impact play too wildly in theory, although with that said, even a small adjustment to such a widely used mechanic will invariably lead to some pretty stark differences.
The full changelog is as follows:
Hockey Ultimate Team
With the addition of Wins-Based leaderboards, we will be able to use them in any HUT Competitive Season mode while still maintaining the functionality of being able to do Points Based events. We wanted to maintain the Points-based competitions functionality as there are certain season structures (i.e. HUT Champions Qualifiers) that make a lot more sense to do in Points-based competitions as opposed to Win-based.
Additionally, we have removed the ability to see your opponent’s team name and information during the loading screen as we received complaints from a lot of players that opponents would back out against them if they recognized their name, making it harder for them to find a game. You will still be able to see the connection bar as you enter the game.
The gameplay changes made will help address some of the key areas we’ve seen complaints about: backskating with the puck, wraparound goals, and “shovel shot”-style goals. These are the only gameplay changes made in Patch 1.55
Source: EA Forums
What does everyone think of the changes? Do you think the backskating nerf was something that needed to be done, or was it a necessary evil to give teams more options on attack? Please, feel free to post your thoughts below!