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NHL 21 Realistic Sliders and Settings (Part Two) - Full Slider Set and Explanation

NHL 21

NHL 21 Realistic Sliders and Settings (Part Two) - Full Slider Set and Explanation

Like most sports titles over the last several years, the in-game slider settings have become an increasingly crucial and useful in-game tool for people. Now, the sight of all these sliders and options at your disposal can be overwhelming for many, but the perfect slider settings — depending on what you’re looking for — can help to create the most realistic or unrealistic gameplay experience possible. For the last few years, EA Sports has included the ability to customize skill levels, how frequently penalties are called and even how fast the game plays. I will include these factors in my NHL 21 sliders and settings.

In this article, I will breakdown and explain the sliders I use to recreate as realistic NHL hockey as possible. You can check out my breakdown on the settings I use in part one here.

Now, by no means am I beginning to say that these settings will fix all of the glaring AI legacy issues that exist in the NHL series. Yes, you will still continue to become frustrated with the gameplay in NHL 21 at times. However, I believe that focusing in on these settings does mitigate some of the painfully brutal AI legacy issues, allowing for more enjoyable and authentic gameplay.

Important Settings I Adjust Right Away

  • Difficulty: Superstar
  • Period Length: 6 Minutes

For me, six minute periods result in the most realistic stats when it comes to: shots and hits per game.

  • Attribute Effects: 10/10

Having the attribute effect set to the max attempts to create player separation. (Full disclosure: it isn’t super effective but it is better than not playing on the max.)

  • Game Speed: 0/6

Slowing the game speed down helps to eliminate the constant back and forth, up-and-down gameplay that comes on default settings. At times, it still will play arcade style but you can’t get any lower than 0.

  • Skating Speed: 30 (this is a range, it can go a little higher than this as well as I show below — personal preference)

This goes hand and hand with game speed. Adjusting skating speed will also play a role in reducing the up-and-down gameplay.

  • Skating Agility: 90

Hockey players, perhaps the most agile of athletes, stop and turn on dimes so increasing the agility focuses in on that.

  • Player Acceleration: 30 (this is a range, it can go a little higher than this as well as I show below — personal preference)

Much like skating speed the lower the acceleration the less of the run and game you will get.

My Goal: I like to play an uptempo forechecking style based on speed and skill, so a lot of my choices with the settings will reflect that desire. To be clear though, I hate the general fast paced, up-and-down arcade style of gameplay that the NHL series has become known for over the years. The settings above help in slowing down the overall game speed but still allow my team to properly aggressively forecheck.

NHL 21 Sliders For Realism


Fighting: 1/2

Penalties: 3/4

Penalty Time Scaling: 3/6

Sim Engine Scoring: Medium

Sim Engine Shot Frequency: Medium

  • This will result in shots falling into the standard NHL range of 25-35 for most games when simulated.

Coincidental Penalty Time Scale: 5/6


Attribute Effect: 10/10

Broken Stick Frequency: 35/100

Game Speed: 0/6

Fatigue Effect: 65/100, 60/100

Fatigue Recovery: 40/100, 45/100

Injury Occurrence: 30/100, 35/100

  • In general, when I play a sports game I always try to set the sliders to give the CPU the advantage. However, with the NHL franchise I feel like their yearly releases are already set up with the computer having the far superior advantage (i.e. ping pong passing). Having said that, you will see a lot of my slider options are favoring the user in an attempt to try and balance the uneven gameplay.


Back Skating: 90/100

Puck Carrier Agility: 90/100

Puck Carrier Skating: 90/100

Player Acceleration: 35/100, 38/100

Skating Speed: 35/100, 38/100

Skating Agility: 88/100, 100/100

  • Raising the skating and agility attempts to allow your user-controlled players the ability to walk the blue line in the offensive zone and stop and start on a dime etc.


One Time Accuracy: 45/100, 55/100

Shot Accuracy: 45/100, 55/100

Shot Power: 47/100, 53/100

Slap Shot Accuracy: 40/100, 51,100

Slap Shot Power: 50/100, 50/100


Pass Assist: 100/100

Min Pass Speed: 40/100

Max Pass Speed: 49/100

Saucer Pass Speed: 55/100

Pass Accuracy: 65/100, 100/100

Pass Interceptions: 80/100, 80/100

Pass Reception Ease: 88/100, 90/100

Reception Reaction Time: 20/100, 20/100

Puck Control Rating Effect: 80/100, 80/100

Puck Speed Reception Effect: 25/100, 25/100

Pickup Type Effect: 25/100, 25/100

Bouncing Puck Receptions: 80/100, 80/100


Incidental Stick Contact: 50/100

Puck Control: 88/100, 90/100

Deking Impact: 20/100, 20/100

Spin Deke Impact: 20/100, 20/100

Skating Impact: 15/100, 15/100


Goalie Cover Frequency: 10/100

Goalie Passing: 90/100

Goalie Cross Crease Reaction Time: 60/100, 70/100

  • 99% of the time I choose to avoid trying to score using the cross crease legacy glitch goal and I instead try to snipe my way to victory.

Goalie Save Reaction Time: 55/100, 70/100

Goalie Deflection Reaction Time: 55/100, 70/100

Goalie Screen Effect: 70/100, 65/100

Goalie Screen Persistence: 70/100, 65/100


Board Effect Non Puck Carrier: 15/100

Board Effect Puck Carrier: 15/100

Hitting Assistance: 55/100

Stumble Threshold: 30/100

Fall And Stumble Ease: 30/100

Aggression: 88/100, 85/100

Hitting Power: 39/100, 41/100

Size Effect: 35/100, 35/100

Speed Effect: 33/100, 33/100

Checking Balance Rating Effect: 83/100, 83/100

Preparedness Effect: 51/100, 51/100

Incidental Contact Effect: 20/100, 20/100

Poke Check Accuracy: 40/100, 40/100

Poke Checking Power: 45/100, 45/100

Stick Lift Effectiveness: 59/100, 59/100


CPU Penalties: 22/100

CPU Teammate Penalties: 40/100

Tripping: 12/100, 12/100

Slashing: 12/100, 12/100

Elbowing: 30/100, 30/100

High Sticking: 12/100, 12/100

Cross Checking: 30/100, 30/100

Boarding: 30/100, 30/100

Charging: 30/100, 30/100

Delay Of Game: 30/100, 30/100

Holding: 30/100, 30/100

Hooking: 15/100, 15/100

Interference: 70/100, 70/100


AI Learning: 5/6

CPU Difficulty Adjustment: 6/6

CPU Faceoff Difficulty: 50/100

Fight Difficulty: 51/100

CPU Strategy Adjustment: 4/6

User Strategy Adjustment: 0/6


NHL 21 Sliders – Final Thoughts

In short, adjusting these sliders allows me to enjoy the game more than I would if I left the sliders alone. Unfortunately, the adjustments do not fix everything that needs to be fixed in NHL 21 but it does seem to me to play closer to an authentic NHL game. As I progress in my season, it is inevitable that I will further tweak a slider or two but these current settings seem to be working pretty well right now in complementing the game style I want to play.

How are these sliders working for you with the particular game style you try to play?


Leave a Reply

  1. These look way too easy for me. I always believe in making the user more accountable rather than jacking up the skill level and making a relatively easy game artificially harder. Switched to pass assist at 0 many years ago and have never looked back. Also, I make custom goalies now, all 6'4" and jack cross crease reaction up to 100/100 on Pro and cross crease passes can go in but they can also be saved. 100/100 interceptions is an absolute must for me as well. At 6 minutes, my shot totals are low but I'm also trying to get an esport experience rather than a traditional sim as the AI aren't smart enough to attempt a traditional sim, so my immersion would be instantly lost trying to achieve that goal.
    Put all the sliders to the same # for both, use the same teams with same exact rosters. Watch how easily the AI Goalie will make saves compared to your own or how much faster AI skaters will be. Never give the AI the advantage in sliders.
    Ryan, you Sir have saved this game for me! 
    I had pretty much given up on it in favour of NBA 2k and eFootball (PES), but your sliders make this game feel, play and look like a completely different animal than the stock offering. 
    I sill admit - I was very sceptical about some of your values for sliders, but everything just bonds together really well and fluidly. I play on True Broadcast camera absolutely love the game now, 
    I am seeing things I wasn't seeing before but the biggest change is that the game really punishes you for mistakes and rewards you for some smart play. 
    My gripe with EA is that the True Broadcast camera is too zoomed in so it's still a bit too frantic and I can't see my defenders when attacking high the CPU zone, but apart from that the game is really enjoyable now. 
    Thank you, Sir! 
    These sliders are really good. I made a few adjustments and am getting a really good handful of games so far. Not sure what will remedy this but the CPU passing % is definitely too high. They’ve been over 90% in each of my last 3 games. I also had to turn down the CPU difficulty. Did not enjoy myself with that at 6.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    After several more games with these sliders I must say they are awesome. I made 2 adjustments, CPU difficulty and CPU pass accuracy both to 0 and am having some really good games. The skating speed scared me a little at first but once I got used to it it plays rather nicely.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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