Ea NHL Developer explaining the Defensive Skill Stick. "Won't have time to jump into too many threads at the moment but since there is some chatter on the defensive skill stick feature and the controls and only a select few of this group have got to have hands on so far, I will try to shed some light on how the design process went and where it sits currently. There are a few things to consider when looking at RS and R1 controls. Legacy expectations, new requested additions and retaining existing mechanics while also adding new ones to the same control scheme. The biggest one to consider if you want the RS to be poke without a modifier is how we know if you wanted to shoot a loose puck or poke it -- we don't really want someone to have to hit a modifier to bang in a rebound/clear a puck out of the zone vs poke it, etc.. It is great if both of those things can be on a first press. We also have to ensure we retain an ability to chop the puck as well. The other pieces we wanted to improve were making poke more responsive on loose pucks like it was prior to the chop days. After adding chop, pokes on loose pucks had to be on the release since we had to wait to see if you released or flicked your RS for a chop. It has been great to be able to unify poke again so that it behaves the same on a possessed or loose puck and thus defensive skill stick controls are unified in both states across the board as well and can be more responsive as a result. As for the point about being on/off R1 to hit, when we originally added in the defensive skill stick, we hadn't masked the hitting control yet so anytime you were in the defensive skill stick state, you were actually in hit intent as well. This was a pretty cool side effect since it wasn't intended. It showed that in the future we could do something like that where we could have a less aggressive throw hit/hit assist when in defensive stick to help you rub players out with a bit of hit assist when in the defensive stick state with a bit more force than just incidental contact but we also like that people have the control to stand up and use incidental contact vs committing to a hit without any of that being forced on them as a control that has a dual state. As it stands right now, players have manual control over those choices which is a good thing and I actually see players use both effectively depending on the situation. So with that, we have since separated the two controls the way it was originally designed so that if R1 is engaged, the RS will manually take over control of where you extend your stick and keep it to the angle you have your RS and you are only intending to forcefully hit when R1 isn't active. However, you just have to release R1 to go into a hit, you don't have to release the RS and press it again so it works fairly fast and intuitively when you are angling a player out and then want to blend right into a hit. We are looking to see if it can work in reverse as well so that there isn't a concern if you press the RS on the same frame or a frame after you press R1 when you intended to be in defensive skill stick. We will see where we get with that but overall players are having success with it as is so it would just be that much more User friendly if we can get that working. Your stick will stay extended in the direction it first went out relative to yourself as you hold R1. As you skate, your stick will stay in that direction as much as it physically can depending on what you are you doing with your skating control. If the puck moves from that point, the only way to stay with it is to manually move your stick with your RS (the speed of which is modulated based on player attributes like RS deking). Your upper body will stay facing the puck which is what Pope is referring to as a mix of the new/old vision control. This means your upper body can face the puck as you skate more laterally to the pucks direction and it doesn't matter if your lower half has to pivot as long as your upper body can counter that rotation to keep your shoulders square to the puck. You can then sweep the stick to cover the perpendicular plane to the current puck angle and at the same time your skates and lower half can be doing what they need to do to get you where you are requesting to move based on the physicality of skating and respecting your blades. This means you can do things such as start to turn on the forecheck to skate back forwards to get a better gap while still leaving your stick hanging back behind you to take away a cross ice pass lane or tight skating lane in behind you where you would interfere with the puck carrier with stick on puck or stick on stick contact. Then as you get a good gap, you can pivot around to face up all while your stick has been able to stay in that spot/lane the whole time. I strongly believe there weren't any oversights in the control scheme/mechanic choices but that isn't to say that people wouldn't prefer something else. We took all of the options into consideration and made the tough calls when we needed to so that we could preserve and add as much functionality for defenders as possible while making the prime mechanics as accessible and quick to get to as possible as well. "