<3 Competitive Stage Lists in Smash 4.

BRoomer
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I feel like when ever I make a big thread (or a big post) like this one it is necessary to give a little back story of myself. I've been a part of this community, smash boards, for just over a 10 years now. And a competitive player for just under 9. (If you watch my videos and read my posts you know that in my mind a competitive player is one who goes out and participates in events) Over this long stretch of years I've regularly played with big melee names like Colbo, Hbox, _milktea, PC chris, and countless others you may not recognize but who, during their time, were also on par with these guys.
In brawl during my peak I was considered the best sheik main in the country and have taken games and sets off of some of the best players in one of the best smash regions in the country.
I've written multiple guides and threads like this one to help improve the community. And hope to continue to do this for a long time to come.

Alright all that said lets get into the meat of this topic. Now to be fair a lot of the ideas and points I'm going to bring up springboard off some of the posts made later in this thread. Which has kind of shifted into a debate on what stages should be playable in the new game; specifically ideas presented by @Overswarm and @ Amazing Ampharos Amazing Ampharos (I name drop these guys a lot because I have a lot of respect for them and what they've contributed to the community, look up their posts they are smart guys.)

In this thread I try to break up a very big idea into a few components. But also offer my personal experiences and some of the history (as I understand it) of the shift from a wider stage list to the smaller ones we commonly see with brawl and melee's stage lists.

Why Have Stages Been Banned in the Past?
This, I feel, is a very important understand and learn from. I think it alone almost deserves its own thread since recently we've had this huge influx of new players.
At first we hit stages like Hyrule temple. With the bounces in the cave and the HUGE stage layout on stages like this the best options were ones that created no conflict between players or 0 risk conflict. I agree with a change like this personally. Playing against or watching game play where players do not interact is frustrating and just not fun. Its like watching a movie with no conflict or suspense.
Next were stages like Flat Zone. Flat Zone had very small blast Zones and with the addition of random low warning hazards you could Lose a stock at extremely low percentages. While I really liked some of the concepts from the stage (disappearing and reappearing platforms) I agree with this choice too.


Things got a little more meaty in melee when we went for the ban on stages like Onett, both of the Mushroom Kingdoms, and Princess Peach's castle all for one reason: Fox J. McCloud.

After the discovery and practical implementation of wavedashing Fox got a huge power spike against the cast. After 1 successful shine fox could combo into another.... and another. This gave him a HUGE advantage on stages with walkoffs or permanent walls like the ones I mentioned before. Rather than ban the character, or single out the technique the community opted instead to ban the stages that gave him this huge advantage. Back in the day I would have been fine with a choice like this... but now? Not as much.

Every character has these strange situational 0 to death situations. (Ice climbers come to mind.) Should the stage list suffer because of one character? Should this one character get his situational advantage taken away but not the others? By design aren't we as players supposed to avoid these powerful situations and come up with ways to beat them?
Back then I never heard anyone ever mention how walk offs create “degenerate” game play or make people stall the game. The only reason I ever heard back when I was getting started was because of fox.

Is Random Okay for Stages?
This has been a big debate as of late.

One one side you have people like me who would argue that random aspects are part of the charm of smash. They give us an exciting way to add more risk and reward to the game, and another point to master! And because it is fundamentally built in it should be expanded upon when and where ever possible!

On the other side you have people who feel like any random aspect take away from the skill of the player. This random feature steals away or gifts victory to people who don't deserve it on a whim.

Again in the early days we didn't care much about random. Tournaments were run for with items on for a long time on the west coast. It was only when the random exploding capsules that you couldn't turn off began effecting large tournaments that people put the nail in there as well. In spite of this the stage list was huge including random stages like Yoshi's Island, Mute City, FoD, Dream Land, and Brinstar.

Now I've already said what side of the fence I was on. But I'd like to argue my case a little, I am a very... All or nothing guy, very black and white and I feel rules should follow the same logic. No exceptions to rules. If we remove only some random where do we draw the line? Smash Brothers has random at its core and removing random would limit what we were able to do immensely. Off of the top of my head the only stages without random in melee and Brawl are Hyrule Temple, Pokefloats, Rainbow Cruise, Jungle Japes, Battle Field, and Final Destination. So even our most “Neutral” stages have random elements that can and have affected the out come of matches. Should we remove these?
What about characters? Should peach, Luigi, GaW, D3, Olimar, etc. be banned because they could win (Or lose) a game as a result of some random outcome?

I believe we should we attribute the choice to play on these stages (or use of and play against these characters) as mutual risks that players both have to over come and master in order to win their sets.


Are Stage Hazards Okay for Stages?
This has been another big debate. Most people who are okay with random are okay with stage hazards in Smash Bros. and for the same reasons, but these kind of go hand and hand though. The other side again doesn't want to feel jipped out of a win they deserved.

Back in the good old days stage hazards weren't an issue either stages with very meaningful hazards were aloud and were popular counter picks. Like Brinstar (my go to counter pick) had lava that dealt a lot of damage, could kill. And was especially potent on fast fallers who at lower percents was comboed by the lava. Now at a glance you could say “Well that's no fair. I could randomly gain 50%!” But back then that's not how the community thought. Instead we would try to take advantage of these random situations. A bunch of characters with lack luster recoveries would opt to go here using the lava to help them out of quick gimps. Others would use their range or speed to get advantages while the lava was up and force people choose between damage form the lava or a losing situation trying to get on at platform.


This randomly generated situation created tons of choices for both players, but since the lava was slow moving they would only get an advantage if they prepared and worked for it. Its never some haphazard situation where there is no options or choices involved. Like with every other choice in these games it can net you some percent and at worst its 1 stock in a best of 3 set.

(I've played on this stage a lot. It was awesome to see people come up with creative ways to turn the lava in to an advantage or trump the advantage it gave me. I'd watch Gannondorfs or Marios stall until the lava came and use it to give them better recovery options. I've seen people air dodge through the lava to stall and prevent me completing my edge guard set up. Or air dodge deeper into the lava so they could DI and survive a hit from it they wouldn't have been able to otherwise.)


That's one example but I've seen the amount of depth it add to this already deep game and I can't help but wonder why people want to get rid of that depth! This added space for adaptation and new choices; that sense of risk, is something that only hazards can bring. And when you have that sort of depth you create a situation that is hard to make stagnant.

The Idea of Neutral (or Starter) Stages versus Counter Picks Stages; and Narrow Stage Lists.
After years of playing the community settled on this idea of “neutral stages” They are all stages with a wide flat base and grab-able edges. Most, bar FD, have a few platforms as well. These are supposed to be stages where no character has a real advantage... Well I'd argue that just isn't true. Some characters just don't do as well on flat stages(Young link, Toon Link, Ness, characters that control space diagonally with good aerial mobility/agility), while others do amazingly well. (Falco, Peach, characters who control horizontal space well and good ground mobility).
The Counter Pick stages would be the other stages that were legal but not deemed fair for everyone. You could only select from this stage list after the first game. In order to get around issues like these we have to get rid of this idea that there are stages that are equal for everyone in the cast. Even with a wide stage list if you use or traditional Counter picking system you can still end up with an advantage in the favor of characters who do well on those starter stages.


I'll take it a step further the more narrow a list of stages becomes the more one type of character has the advantage. Remember when Mr. Sakurai announced “For glory mode” and every moaned and groaned because FD isn't a fair stage for everyone? Well that same concept applies if only 1 stage is legal or only 2 or 4. The smaller a stage list is the smaller the pool of characters that have an advantage or disadvantages on those stages, conversely the wider the stage List the more room there is for characters to all have stages where the have an advantage, and that means more viable characters.

The big issue is finding a way to make sure that this list of fair stages isn't skewed in just one direction, and with a big cast there are a lot of directions and a lot of overlapping. Right now the best solution I can think of is a wide list of starters and a stage striking system, similar to whats been done in the past. You strike away legal stages until you are left with the one that favors you both about the same amount. And from there you go on to the counter pick phase choosing from the same stage list.


How to Pick Fair Stages.
Ask yourself why do you want this to be banned?

Does it give your character a disadvantage?
Does it give another character an advantage?
Can the stage harm you?
Can the stage heal you?

I remember watching an interview with Hbox... I can't quote him verbatim, but he said something to the effect of he enjoyed Mute City but the match where his friend Shiz, a falco main, lost to armada; a peach main, warranted Mute City's ban.

I love Hbox to death, but that kind of logic CAN'T be why we ban stages. Because I would have won tons of matches against Ice Climbers if FD and smashvillie weren't legal, I promise you that, lol. (I lived with a top level Brawl Ice Climber main for a year) At the end of the day how you feel should have nothing to do with why you ban a stage. How hard you have to work to be relevant should have nothing to do with what you ban. How often you lose should have nothing to do with why you ban a stage. So I say again, how you feel should have nothing to do with a stage.

None of those questions I asked before are really relevant. When you start to ask questions like that you let your feelings skew the logic in your favor. When most people play the best characters of the game and they all feel cheated by certain stages and ban them do you understand how a stage list can start to lean in their favor? (the same ideas apply to all kinds of aspects)

I believe that there are 3 main reasons you should ban a stage.
1.It creates one or more situations where you lose no matter what choice you make.

2.You lose before given the opportunity to make a choice.
3.The stage encourages no interaction between characters.

A Broader Stage List has Broader Appeal.
You don't catch fish with bug nets. You throw the largest net you can cast at the sea and pull up what ever you can. Having a broadest ruleset possible WILL pull in most players, just like that big net. If you are aiming for a small community focused on just a few aspects of the game than you will give up that broader appeal. Like looking for one particular fish, you get a spear.

For me the richest time playing smash was in 2007 the stage list looked like this:
Stages limited to the 6 neutral stages for random, others open for counterpicks.
Neutral stages: Final Destination, Battlefield, Yoshi's Story,
Fountain of Dreams, Kirby 64, Pokemon Stadium
Stages banned for Singles Only: Great Bay and Mushroom Kingdom 2
Stages banned for Doubles Only: Fountain of Dreams and Mute City
Stages banned for Singles & Doubles: Yoshi's Island (Pipes), Fourside, Hyrule Temple,
Flatzone, Brinstar Depths, Icicle Mountain, Big Blue, Mushroom Kingdom 1, Venom,
Yoshi's Island 64, Peach's Castle, Onett.
People traveled from all over the east coast for this one. This was the first time I met and played against M2K and I met (and beat) tons of people I never would have otherwise (most of them with my Pichu, heh). Stage hazards didn't scare top players away, and all of use were hype for the finals on these crazy levels. M2K didn't use the stages to get his victories, he just won on his own merit. He used the random and hazardous elements to his advantage better than his opponent.


I grew up (well... less so than some of you, I'm 27) in the smash community. Before sponsors, before streams. I've never really been interested in these aspects of the game because I'm not playing to make a living off of it. I've always been about the community, I want to see the community grow and expand. The goal shouldn't be to get sponsors and high stream views. I truly believe if we build a strong self sustaining community all of the rest of that will follow, that’s why brawl and melee made it as far as they did. And I think like with melee and brawl in their infancy of their communities one of the best ways to do that is though a broad stage list.

I'm probably missing some stuff but that's okay! I know its a lot but what are your thoughts on stage lists? What am I missing or don't understand?

Some posts worth reading, again, all from this thread:
http://smashboards.com/threads/afte...competitive-game.362461/page-25#post-17253305
http://smashboards.com/threads/afte...competitive-game.362461/page-25#post-17255623
http://smashboards.com/threads/afte...competitive-game.362461/page-26#post-17269278
http://smashboards.com/threads/afte...competitive-game.362461/page-26#post-17269587
http://smashboards.com/threads/afte...competitive-game.362461/page-26#post-17269656
http://smashboards.com/threads/afte...competitive-game.362461/page-26#post-17282850

Oh one last thing! Check out this video? It isn't as detailed as this post but its me voice my opinions on the subject unscripted. If you like it (or don't) and agree with a couple of my views (or hate all of them) it might be a good way to get someone involved in the conversations that otherwise may not have been. Links to this thread will be in the description.
 

pizzapie7

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I definitely agree with the fact that more stages means a broader appeal. I feel that more stages would also make games more interesting to watch, so I'm not sure how someone would argue that it'd be bad for sponsorships/stream views. I'm hoping TOs are open to trying new and interesting things with the stage list in Smash 4 and not trying to force it into a box from the beginning, and I hope they don't cave to please the masses by banning stages that players should just get good on.
 

Ussi

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People will never agree on a stage list (probably boil down to 2-3 stage lists from conservative, in the middle, and liberal) and the final stage list is then decided by the ultimate international tournament as everyone wants to prepare for that enviroment.
 
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Amazing Ampharos

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It's tough, and as I see it, the core "problem" for those who like broad stage lists is this: stages are only ever banned and not unbanned. For almost any stage, there will be some vocal minority that really likes it and some similar vocal minority that really dislikes it while the masses will support the status quo (whether it's legal or not). The problem is that complaints about what is legal that "shouldn't be" ring a lot more powerfully than ones about what isn't legal and "should be" so the voice of those who want to ban more is always carrying a little more loudly than that of the other side. Then you factor in regional ruleset disparity. Each side will win in some regions and lose in others. The issue is that pro-ban wins in a region and converts the otherwise indifferent masses, and then suddenly the force for banning that stage is a lot louder and it will spread to some more borderline regions. A bit of an equilibrium will be reached as the more liberal regions are more than happy to disregard others and keep their stages... until nationals come around. National scale TOs, probably very rationally, calculate that having too few stages legal is a much better gamble than having too many stages legal in terms of minimizing the inevitable ruleset controversy. This puts extreme pressure on those liberal regions to ban these stages to "keep up" with what is now a national trend. Of course, now that whatever stage is now nationally banned, the next stage down the list is going in the most conservative region to renew the cycle. Over the course of about half a decade, you end up losing almost the entire stage list. This has so far happened with all three smash games.

The Melee MLG rules you cite are actually the biggest ray of hope I see for keeping stuff legal. The MLG was such a massive and well sponsored organization that they didn't need to worry about catering to regional preferences; they just took the rules they thought were best, and they stuck for years across the community as the forces for change were just plain too weak to overcome the massive anchor that was the MLG. Both EVO and the MLG will almost undoubtedly be involved in the early days of smash 4 and will be present for years. These organizations adopting good rules will be important, and if both use the same rules, well, it will be all too easy to have a community standard.

Another big thing I feel strongly on is that the starter/counterpick dichotomy is really not a good one. I've discussed it elsewhere, but in terms of rational strategy to win a set, focusing exclusively on whichever stages are starters is just the best way to win since you can guarantee a majority of the set will be played on that set of stages (and thus that set of stages are the only ones you need to be able to win on). There are a lot of procedures TOs could use to get around this (full list striking, each player turning N stages off random and then randoming from the rest of a large stage list, cyclical starter list by tournament round, randoming the stage before character selection for game one, probably many more), but I think we'll be a lot better off if all of our legal stages are legal to the exact same extent whatever stage list we go with. This removes the fairly perverse player incentive not to learn cp style stages, and it also prevents us from having to make the awkward declaration that some set of stages is somehow fair enough to play on in general but not fair enough to play on for game one which really doens't mesh at all with any of the liberal stage list arguments that are ever raised. It's also a political boon too really; I can say from experience playing Brawl in the midwest that a 5 starter tournament with 20 legal counterpicks is definitely more character skewed toward the flat+plat characters than the 9 starter list with 0 legal counterpicks, and then back in Brawl we spent all of our time arguing about the legal counterpick list when it wasn't even really the main thing that was the problem.

This is going to be a tough issue, and things are going to be really crazy early on. I don't think some of the battles for the more contentious style of stages are going to really be winnable for us (like walk-offs or stages with really crazy structures), but I do think that if we put forth a concentrated effort into enshrining a larger pool of legal stages than there have been in the past that it can be done.
 

Veggi

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I posted this in the thread you were talking about, but no one responded to it. I was hoping to hear something about the idea even if it was negative.

This is my idea for First Round to make sure that characters who dominate Neutral stages don't dominate the metagame, but players will never have to play First Round on a stage they don't feel comfortable with.

1.) The stage list starts off with Final Destination, Battlefield, and Smashville (as a placeholder for a Smash 4 equivalent). As has been proved before, just because these stages are basic does not mean that they are fair.

2.) Each player can choose any three stages to bring to the table as long as they aren't banned. This means that there are now 9 selectable stages.

3.) Player 1 bans 2 stages. Player 2 bans 4 stages. Player 1 bans 2 stages. One is left over.

This way a player who is really afraid of being CP'd too hard will never HAVE to play on a crazy stage they don't like. If Player 1 bans all neutral stages, then Player 1 will waste his bans and have to play on a CP that Player 2 likes. If a player bans all of the stages you brought to the table, you can pick one of the neutrals your opponent didn't ban or have a selection of your opponent's selected stages that you might think you're better than him at. I believe both of these results would be common at tournaments.

Because of this stage select, many more stages can be included while still giving a lot of control to the players so that they don't get screwed over. Many more stages can be included for Round 1 without making it unfair at all to either player. This new Round 1 greatly inhibits the polarization of the game toward characters that are good on Neutrals.

I could be totally missing something, but I think this makes things 100% totally fair without sacrificing variety, it's easy to remember and coordinate, it keeps the metagame from being dominated by the same characters, and it gives more of a reason for non-neutral stages to exist other than to win one game out of a set that probably would have been lost anyway.
 

Amazing Ampharos

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The problem with that system is pretty straightforward Veggi. It ends up making your three "neutral" stages completely dominant as it's best to just always strike whichever three stages your opponent picked and main someone who excels on those middle stages. It gets a little weird when you factor in characters like ICs who actually will hate any three stages the ICs main picks more than the alleged neutrals, but it's still going to boil the game down to those stages to a big extent.

More abstractly, there's this issue: a smart player will always select stages he believes are maximally biased toward him. For the sake of argument, let's say all players have perfect valuation skills and thus always pick and/or strike the stage to their maximum advantage. In some arbitrary match-up in Brawl the most fair theoretical stages are Castle Siege, PictoChat, and Pokemon Stadium. I can pretty much guarantee neither player will ever pick those stages and will instead pick the three least fair stages biased toward their side. If FD, SV, and BF are all not in the set of the three most biased stages in either direction in that match-up, the match-up will be played on the middle one of those three stages regardless of the fairness of that set of stages. If any of them are, unless an exactly even number of them are also in the top three for the other character, the match-up will be played on the fourth most biased stage in favor of the character with those allegedly neutral stages in that character's most favored. This procedure will only produce a stage near the middle of the fairness ordering if the middle stage in FD/BF/SV was near the middle in the first place if no players make tactical selection or striking mistakes, and that's not good.
 

JamietheAuraUser

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The problem with that system is pretty straightforward Veggi. It ends up making your three "neutral" stages completely dominant as it's best to just always strike whichever three stages your opponent picked and main someone who excels on those middle stages. It gets a little weird when you factor in characters like ICs who actually will hate any three stages the ICs main picks more than the alleged neutrals, but it's still going to boil the game down to those stages to a big extent.

More abstractly, there's this issue: a smart player will always select stages he believes are maximally biased toward him. For the sake of argument, let's say all players have perfect valuation skills and thus always pick and/or strike the stage to their maximum advantage. In some arbitrary match-up in Brawl the most fair theoretical stages are Castle Siege, PictoChat, and Pokemon Stadium. I can pretty much guarantee neither player will ever pick those stages and will instead pick the three least fair stages biased toward their side. If FD, SV, and BF are all not in the set of the three most biased stages in either direction in that match-up, the match-up will be played on the middle one of those three stages regardless of the fairness of that set of stages. If any of them are, unless an exactly even number of them are also in the top three for the other character, the match-up will be played on the fourth most biased stage in favor of the character with those allegedly neutral stages in that character's most favored. This procedure will only produce a stage near the middle of the fairness ordering if the middle stage in FD/BF/SV was near the middle in the first place if no players make tactical selection or striking mistakes, and that's not good.
Huh, didn't think about that. Good point, though.

I'd had an idea wherein you start with several "neutral" stages, those being (based on the rough analysis of a non-competitive player) Battlefield, Smashville, Delfino Plaza, and some other non-flat+plat stage. From there, at the first match each player gets to strike 1 of those 4 stages if they so choose, but then they have to choose 2 more stages to add to the stage list. After the first match, the loser gets to strike 1 stage from the current list, then both players add 2 more stages. This continues until the end of the set. While striking is always optional, additions are always mandatory. Additionally, you cannot use an addition pick to bring back a stage that was struck, either that round or in a previous round. All matches are played on a random stage from the current stage list. The problem with this, of course, is that the stage selection is random. You're leaving your matchup chances up to the game's RNG. There might also be numbers issues overall in terms of additions and striking not making a large enough difference to the chances of getting a favourable stage or what have you, so you might have to increase the base list and increase the number of strikes/additions.
 
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Raijinken

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This basically captured my entire view on stage hazards perfectly. Will be favoriting this to send to friends.
 

Shiliski

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I understand the concern, but at the same time many of us are going into Smash 4 from Brawl, and a lot of people seem to feel like TOs haven't been banhappy enough. Granted, that has more to do with banning a particular character (Meta Knight) than it does with banning any particular stage. I realize that the thread title mentions stages but really there's a lot of stuff that can potentially be banned.

I briefly came here back before Brawl came out (during the hype era) and I recall distinctly that there was a huge controversy about whether or not items should be banned in professional play. A lot of the players who were pro-item didn't even go to tournaments, so they were largely ignored, but it had gotten to such a point that item arguments were as common, repetitive, and annoying as Brawl vs. Melee debates are today. I actually forgot what my username and password was so I made a new account, but those who have been around long enough probably know what I'm talking about.

In the end, the Smash community is just that: a community. Communities often come up with mindsets and group consensuses that aren't necessarily right and aren't necessarily justifiable, but seem justifiable from a certain point of view. Also, once a view is adopted by the crowd and becomes a tradition, it can be very difficult to change that tradition.

Items used to be bad because of exploding capsules, but now many seem to think that they're bad just because they've "always been bad", regardless of the fact that exploding crates/capsules/barrels can all be turned off in Brawl. People adopted the dislike for items without really understanding the reason behind the ban, and now we have a social standard that doesn't really change and continues to exist "just because", even though the very cause for that standard has gone away.

I notice a very similar thing with S4 stages that have Stage Bosses. Sure, from one point of view the bosses seem disruptive as heck. From another point of view, they might just be little more than a stage hazard that can be destroyed, thereby actually being less bad than a full-on stage hazard because there is actually a way to stop them. You couldn't stop the turtle in Great Bay, but you can stop the Yellow Devil and punish anyone hiding behind him at the same time. Yet, people don't seem to see that. People just see a stage that would be great if it just didn't have a boss on it. They see a stoppable interruption as a stage-ruining problem.

Maybe it is a problem, or maybe it isn't, but I feel like we haven't even given it a shot before deciding that we might want to ban it.

I'm not really sure which side to take here. Maybe it's terrible or maybe it's fine. We should at least give it a serious shot before condemning it, however.
 

Veggi

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The problem with that system is pretty straightforward Veggi. It ends up making your three "neutral" stages completely dominant as it's best to just always strike whichever three stages your opponent picked and main someone who excels on those middle stages. It gets a little weird when you factor in characters like ICs who actually will hate any three stages the ICs main picks more than the alleged neutrals, but it's still going to boil the game down to those stages to a big extent.
I think the problem is that I believe it's in the player's best interest to sometimes play on the opponent's CP stages and that's why I believe the system works well. You believe that with the ruleset I presented, it will in almost all cases end up with the same problem we had before, which is players always playing on Neutral stages. Since we don't know everything about Smash 4, I'll make the example using Brawl's Unity ruleset (adjusted to fit my stage rules) and the top Brawl characters.

These are all of the stages that could potentially be used within the ruleset. Green are starters and red are my favorite stages that I would most commonly use, just as a placeholder.

Battlefield
Final Destination
Smashville


Delfino Plaza
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Pokemon Stadium 2


Castle Siege
Lylat Cruise
Pokemon Stadium 1
Halberd
Brinstar
Rainbow Cruise
Frigate Orpheon

The top characters in the Unity stage list are as follows:

Ice Climbers
Olimar
Diddy
Marth
Snake
Falco

Part of the reason that this stage list would work is that it forces characters that are good on Neutrals to bring stages they don't like as much to the table for the opponent to pick from. If I randomized the remaining stages that my opponent could pick, they would very likely leave me a stage that I'd rather play them on then a neutral. If they choose one of my favorite stages before I do, that gives me an even better chance of playing on stage that I want to. Let's say in worse case scenario, they choose three of the least disruptive plat/flat stages from the CP list.

[Halberd]
[Lylat Cruise]
[Pokemon Stadium 1]

I would easily pick any CP as opposed to picking a Neutral stage against the top 7 in question, other than Marth. Would you disagree that the top 7 characters in Brawl would be disadvantaged by having to pick 3 stages from the CP list?


More abstractly, there's this issue: a smart player will always select stages he believes are maximally biased toward him. For the sake of argument, let's say all players have perfect valuation skills and thus always pick and/or strike the stage to their maximum advantage. In some arbitrary match-up in Brawl the most fair theoretical stages are Castle Siege, PictoChat, and Pokemon Stadium. I can pretty much guarantee neither player will ever pick those stages and will instead pick the three least fair stages biased toward their side. If FD, SV, and BF are all not in the set of the three most biased stages in either direction in that match-up, the match-up will be played on the middle one of those three stages regardless of the fairness of that set of stages. If any of them are, unless an exactly even number of them are also in the top three for the other character, the match-up will be played on the fourth most biased stage in favor of the character with those allegedly neutral stages in that character's most favored. This procedure will only produce a stage near the middle of the fairness ordering if the middle stage in FD/BF/SV was near the middle in the first place if no players make tactical selection or striking mistakes, and that's not good.
I'm not sure if I understand this part correctly. I think that what you're saying is that the First Round stage will always end up being in the middle of fairness, which isn't good. My goal was to make it so the first match of every set would be played on a stage that both players liked, while decreasing the chance that it would be a Neutral. So I think that the end result you cam up with would be a good thing. I could be totally wrong in my interpretation of what you said though.
 
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Raijinken

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I notice a very similar thing with S4 stages that have Stage Bosses. Sure, from one point of view the bosses seem disruptive as heck. From another point of view, they might just be little more than a stage hazard that can be destroyed, thereby actually being less bad than a full-on stage hazard because there is actually a way to stop them. You couldn't stop the turtle in Great Bay, but you can stop the Yellow Devil and punish anyone hiding behind him at the same time. Yet, people don't seem to see that. People just see a stage that would be great if it just didn't have a boss on it. They see a stoppable interruption as a stage-ruining problem.
To build on that, if the bosses are nearly as predictable as most are in the source games, the majority of them can probably be classified as "predictable" stage hazards.
 

TimeSmash

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This is actually super interesting, and I'd love to do some point-counterpoint style replies to things made in your post. I guess I'll give a little background on myself too, it's only fair. I've been a competitive player for about one and a half years, but was interested in the scene very early on, hence my early join date. I play mostly PM, but I do like dabbling in Melee too. I know more of the theory of things than how to actually be great at the game, but I'm still learning. I have a strong grasp on the basic theories of Smash and knowledge of a lot of ATs, and being able to know stuff like that is easier than being able to play all the time (I'm a double major in Biology and Psychology, with a minor in Chem that I just finished so I never have time to play during the semester. Or really just not a lot of time haha).

Why Have Stages Been Banned in the Past?
This, I feel, is a very important understand and learn from. I think it alone almost deserves its own thread since recently we've had this huge influx of new players.
At first we hit stages like Hyrule temple. With the bounces in the cave and the HUGE stage layout on stages like this the best options were ones that created no conflict between players or 0 risk conflict. I agree with a change like this personally. Playing against or watching game play where players do not interact is frustrating and just not fun. Its like watching a movie with no conflict or suspense.
Next were stages like Flat Zone. Flat Zone had very small blast Zones and with the addition of random low warning hazards you could Lose a stock at extremely low percentages. While I really liked some of the concepts from the stage (disappearing and reappearing platforms) I agree with this choice too.


Things got a little more meaty in melee when we went for the ban on stages like Onett, both of the Mushroom Kingdoms, and Princess Peach's castle all for one reason: Fox J. McCloud.

After the discovery and practical implementation of wavedashing Fox got a huge power spike against the cast. After 1 successful shine fox could combo into another.... and another. This gave him a HUGE advantage on stages with walkoffs or permanent walls like the ones I mentioned before. Rather than ban the character, or single out the technique the community opted instead to ban the stages that gave him this huge advantage. Back in the day I would have been fine with a choice like this... but now? Not as much.

Every character has these strange situational 0 to death situations. (Ice climbers come to mind.) Should the stage list suffer because of one character? Should this one character get his situational advantage taken away but not the others? By design aren't we as players supposed to avoid these powerful situations and come up with ways to beat them?
Back then I never heard anyone ever mention how walk offs create “degenerate” game play or make people stall the game. The only reason I ever heard back when I was getting started was because of fox.
Thanks for giving some history on this. I'm not as informed as I would like to be on tournaments or rules in the past, and don't usually think to look it up. That being said I understand this isn't a magnum opus on stage history. Things like Hyrule and New Pork City are just way too big to be anything really notable competitive-wise, unless you wanted to watch a camp fest. (Though Hyrule is fun for its Cave of Life haha). Things like Flat Zone and Pictochat (with Pictochat being less hazardous) had random elements but the presence of those elements proved to be more harm than good.

The thing is with walls that are permanent, characters like Fox can do very well because you can't really move through a solid object. I know characters in Brawl (Dedede is all I can think of at the moment) had a field day with walls due to things like chaingrabs, most notably. I could think of things in Project M that would also be problematic if stages with permanent walls weren't bad, notably something like Ness' PK Fire, which is just annoying to DI out of. While I'd actually like stages with walls to stay in, I can see the logic behind it. No one wants to deal with Fox on Onett or Princess Peach's Castle if they can get zeroed to death so easily. Granted that's a bit broad of an assumption, but from an audience standpoint as well, is watching Fox combo someone to death in similar areas of the stage that exciting?

Arguing against this point, you could say stay away from those spots depending on which character you are. Which really is a simple counterpoint but nonetheless effective. In a game all about spacing, you shouldn't get stuck there in the first place. That's like complaining about getting hit by Rest. Furthermore, I agree with you that rather than the stage being banned, why not ban the technique?? Fourside, although a little big, seemed viable enough until someone made the point about Peach Bomber stalling. And banning that technique would surely have been more feasible than banning the stage itself.

Now taking this to Smash 4, we know that SDI is heavily nerfed or nonexistent. So when talking about walls, how can we say it's fair to get multijabbed into super-high percents because of being pushed up against a wall? I bring this up because it's much more broad range of use thing than being so Fox centric. Again, you could argue that it's your fault for getting pushed up against that wall in the first place, but that argument loses some merit when a big chunk of the cast can put you into a really bad situation if they have access to multi-jabs or the like.

Walkoffs are weird in general. It's that whole "you shouldn't have been there in the first place kind of argument" but with a lot less force, because you could pretty much be carried to a blast zone if you got unlucky. I don't really know what else to say really. Could you elaborate more on why walkoffs are banned
Is Random Okay for Stages?
This has been a big debate as of late.

One one side you have people like me who would argue that random aspects are part of the charm of smash. They give us an exciting way to add more risk and reward to the game, and another point to master! And because it is fundamentally built in it should be expanded upon when and where ever possible!

On the other side you have people who feel like any random aspect take away from the skill of the player. This random feature steals away or gifts victory to people who don't deserve it on a whim.

Again in the early days we didn't care much about random. Tournaments were run for with items on for a long time on the west coast. It was only when the random exploding capsules that you couldn't turn off began effecting large tournaments that people put the nail in there as well. In spite of this the stage list was huge including random stages like Yoshi's Island, Mute City, FoD, Dream Land, and Brinstar.

Now I've already said what side of the fence I was on. But I'd like to argue my case a little, I am a very... All or nothing guy, very black and white and I feel rules should follow the same logic. No exceptions to rules. If we remove only some random where do we draw the line? Smash Brothers has random at its core and removing random would limit what we were able to do immensely. Off of the top of my head the only stages without random in melee and Brawl are Hyrule Temple, Pokefloats, Rainbow Cruise, Jungle Japes, Battle Field, and Final Destination. So even our most “Neutral” stages have random elements that can and have affected the out come of matches. Should we remove these?
What about characters? Should peach, Luigi, GaW, D3, Olimar, etc. be banned because they could win (Or lose) a game as a result of some random outcome?

I believe we should we attribute the choice to play on these stages (or use of and play against these characters) as mutual risks that players both have to over come and master in order to win their sets.
This is hard because character randomization and stage randomization are similar but different.

Because I know a lot about Peach, let's start with her random stuff. Forward Smash is random, varying on the type of weapon used, damage, knockback, and knockback angle. It wasn't the hugest deal in any of the Smash games because it was still a Forward Smash, and getting the wrong item could be detrimental towards you. Furthermore, FSmash has considerable windup and is still a decently powerful move no matter what weapon you got. The differences here were negligible enough to not make a big deal. The heart of Peach's randomization as we all know lies in her amazing DownB, which usually pulls out a turnip. Here is a picture I often link because it's great:



The first five turnips in this picture are the most common turnips picked, and don't really differ much in terms of damage or knockback. (You already know all this, but I'm doing it more for people who don't, and myself so I can figure out how to word things haha). Adding up all of their probabilities means you have a 52/58 chance of getting a standard turnip. So no one really cares about the face. That is until we start talking about the other turnips. Winkface does a little more damage as well as more knockback, but isn't that bad compared to dot or stitchface. Dotface has considerably more knockback and damage than a standard turnip, and therefore more use overall. While turnips can be commonly used to gimp, dotfaces are a lot better than this due to their increased knockback. They can even kill instead of gimp. I don't see stitchface used for gimps as much, because it's more of a direct killing tool, because of its whopping 30 percent damage and great knockback. Peach becomes much more of a threat with this, because she can carry it with her everywhere, and even recatch it if the opponent shields it. Stitchface also does a lot of shield damage too, which really complements Peach. The Bob-Omb is somewhat comparable to the stitchface but has more risk associated with it, because it can explode and harm Peach more easily than something more predictable than a reflected or hijacked Stitchface. However, it's still a big threat, and leaves slight advantage to Peach because she starts off holding it. You could also get the less lethal Beam Sword and Mr. Saturn. Beam Sword was whatever in Melee, but was good as a thrown item. In PM, it has incredible range and is somewhat abusable, and still functions as a decent thrown object. In all games, Mr. Saturn was a prominent shield eater, again complementing Peach.

So we realize most of the objects really help Peach out in some way. Why isn't she banned? Because although random, players know how to react to whatever she pulls. It's not something as big or as damaging (well, usually) as a stage hazard, and reactions to whatever Peach pulls are standard: avoid, catch, reflect, shield. Granted those reactions become a bit more erratic when dealing with a stitchface or Bob-omb. Because Peach isn't super OP and lacks kill moves at lower percents, these items are accepted. Peach has a lot of damage racking tools, but her kill moves are not always the easiest to land, so again these random items help her out. Things like Mr. Saturn don't really have as much emphasis on a match even though they could potentially break a shield. The coup de grace in why Peach's randomness is not that bad is because the player doesn't know what they're going to get until the exact same time their opponent does, and the fact they must sit through the turnip animation (unless they're doing edge cancelled pulls). The fact that this is player initiated is the main thing here. Which is why Game & Watch isn't that bad either. Many of his Judge attacks are variances on normal attacks, and one even damages him. The fact that you can't get two consecutive numbers in a row helps with this as well. Even though one of his Judge attacks has the potential to heal (the piece of food generated by the 7), the damage healed is not anything crazy, and the opponent has a chance to get it too. There are plenty of other moves that can heal a character, and are more guaranteed (such as PK Shields, and some Ivysaur moves in PM). Luigi misfires are also not that bad, because they often can put Luigi into a really bad situation, and can be avoided with relative ease. This is balanced because misfires are an enchanced version of Luigi's regular Side B, which could be said about Peach's turnips as well. The basic premise for dealing with the move is the same. Saying that also results in Olimar getting included into randomness not being a huge deal. Although Olimar's Pikmin severely affect his moveset, the randomization of Pikmin is varied enough that he won't be able to get three Purples or something very easily. And, his moves remain the same, so even if he has different Pikmin, you can avoid the moves as normal.

Stage randomness is more controversial because usually the effects tend to be larger and they are obviously not player initiated. I'd go more into this, but I can't remember which stages are banned because of random elements or random stage hazards. Someone want to give me a list?

I'd love to reply to your other points as well but I am about to force myself off the internet. All in all you provide great arguments
 

Amazing Ampharos

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I'm not sure if I understand this part correctly. I think that what you're saying is that the First Round stage will always end up being in the middle of fairness, which isn't good. My goal was to make it so the first match of every set would be played on a stage that both players liked, while decreasing the chance that it would be a Neutral. So I think that the end result you cam up with would be a good thing. I could be totally wrong in my interpretation of what you said though.
It was the more detailed part, and I'm sorry, but this is going to get very long-winded to explain that better since it will require a lot of detailed examples. I'm going to put it in spoiler tags so it won't derail the main thread. I actually misstated a few things in that post, but this example should clarify it all. The short version is that giving players agency here is really the best way to make an unfair result more likely since picking stuff unfair in your favor is playing smart. The long version follows:

Let's say we have the match-up Falco vs Mr. Game & Watch in Brawl on a liberal stage list. Let's say if I ordered the stages from most in Falco's favor to most in Mr. Game & Watch's favor it would look like this:

Final Destination
Smashville
Port Town Aero Dive
Jungle Japes
PictoChat
Luigi's Mansion
Battlefield
Pokemon Stadium 1
Lylat Cruise
Pokemon Stadium 2
Castle Siege
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Delfino Plaza
Frigate Orpheon
Brinstar
Halberd
Green Greens
Rainbow Cruise
Norfair

That's likely not perfectly accurate to Brawl mechanics in terms of who wins and loses on each stage, but for the sake of argument, assume what I just gave you is law, is absolutely true, and is completely known to all players. Since we have 19 legal stages here, stage #10 on the list is the median stage and the hypothetical best stage for game 1. In an ideal procedure with these 19 stages, game one would be played on Pokemon Stadium 2, and the distance from Pokemon Stadium 2 the final stage is played on is the "error' of the procedure in this match-up.

Perfect procedural use by both players will result in the Falco player picking Port Town Aero Dive, Jungle Japes, and PictoChat while the Mr. Game & Watch player will pick Norfair, Rainbow Cruise, and Green Greens. Then when they strike, the G&W player will strike Final Destination, Smashville, Port Town Aero Dive, and Jungle Japes while the Falco player will strike all three of the G&W player's choices plus Battlefield leaving us on PictoChat for game one, Falco's 5th best stage out of 19 and a result very skewed toward Falco. It actually doesn't really matter what stages the G&W player picks at the start; with both FD and SV in Falco's top 5 (and let's be real, if FD is in your top 5 SV probably is too), Falco's 5th best stage will always be the game one stage.

That was the extreme case, and it's one of only two cases where you would ever play on a non-neutral, when the neutrals are so skewed toward one character that it's better for the opponent to play on the opponent's 5th best stage in general instead of on a neutral. The other case would be where the neutrals are skewed toward both ends of the spectrum such that you have neutrals in both characters' top 3, but that is a very unlikely situation. Otherwise, you'll always play on the middle neutral stage, that is the one of the three neutral stages that is of the middle value to the two players relative to the other two neutrals. This middle neutral stage very well may not be near the middle of the overall stage list in terms of fairness; in fact, the stages that are in the middle (in this case, Pokemon Stadium 2, Castle Siege, Lylat Cruise, Pokemon Stadium 1, and Yoshi's Island) are the stages most guaranteed NOT to be used for game one.

Another way to look at this is to simplify your procedure to one that would produce equivalent results. Your system is equivalent to having whichever player sits down first be able to choose between two stage procedures: either striking between just BF, SV, and FD or playing on his opponent's 5th favorite stage (opponent names 5 stages from the legal set, you pick one). That way is more obviously not too fair, but it will produce exactly equivalent outcomes to your system. The core problem is that each player's incentive in picking stuff is to pick stuff as unfair as possible when that's exactly the opposite of the most fair outcome. In practice as well, your system would get tedious seeing as in a vast majority of match-ups in Brawl it would result in Smashville being the game one stage incredibly independent of whether SV is actually a terribly fair stage for that match-up.
 

Raijinken

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On the subject of randomness, how random is too random for a stage hazard? For instance, is the acid in Brinstar timed randomly, despite being visible in its rising and falling? Same for things like the platforms in Fountain of Dreams.

Another thing about the bosses, aside from their attack telegraphing, will probably be how their hitboxes work. For instance, at the ComicCon event, we saw one of the Nintendo reps constantly hide behind the Yellow Devil during their "3v1" fight. However, what wasn't really made apparent (at least to my eyes), was how Yellow Devil was able to be harmed. Of course, it's known that its hitbox is in its eye, and that it's fairly thick as a giant blob, but the viability of hitting the eye from behind the Devil (preferably while still covering your airspace) would determine the sacrifice being made. If that player can both hide and fight the Devil and claim the kill, it results in different considerations than if the other player was the only one in a feasible position to take the kill, and consequently force the opponent out of their hiding place under threat of explosion.
 

Shiliski

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On the subject of randomness, how random is too random for a stage hazard? For instance, is the acid in Brinstar timed randomly, despite being visible in its rising and falling? Same for things like the platforms in Fountain of Dreams.

Another thing about the bosses, aside from their attack telegraphing, will probably be how their hitboxes work. For instance, at the ComicCon event, we saw one of the Nintendo reps constantly hide behind the Yellow Devil during their "3v1" fight. However, what wasn't really made apparent (at least to my eyes), was how Yellow Devil was able to be harmed. Of course, it's known that its hitbox is in its eye, and that it's fairly thick as a giant blob, but the viability of hitting the eye from behind the Devil (preferably while still covering your airspace) would determine the sacrifice being made. If that player can both hide and fight the Devil and claim the kill, it results in different considerations than if the other player was the only one in a feasible position to take the kill, and consequently force the opponent out of their hiding place under threat of explosion.
A good point, and this is probably going to be a character-by-character thing. Will the tip of Mach tornado be able to hit the eye from behind? What about Din's Fire or Nayru's Love? What about Lucario's Forward Special? Will Marth's (or Lucina's) sword reach all the way through when he uses his fair? Can Rosalina hide behind the Yellow Devil while using Luma to attack the eye? Characters with special projectiles or long reach might have an advantage on that stage that short-reaching players don't.
 

Raijinken

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A good point, and this is probably going to be a character-by-character thing. Will the tip of Mach tornado be able to hit the eye from behind? What about Din's Fire or Nayru's Love? What about Lucario's Forward Special? Will Marth's (or Lucina's) sword reach all the way through when he uses his fair? Can Rosalina hide behind the Yellow Devil while using Luma to attack the eye? Characters with special projectiles or long reach might have an advantage on that stage that short-reaching players don't.
On the Rosaluma note, what if she just hides there while Luma does all of the fighting in general?

The extent of bias will, naturally, determine whether it's considered fair or not. I'm also interested to see some more finalized versions of stages to see what sorts of non-boss hazards there are.
 

Shiliski

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On the Rosaluma note, what if she just hides there while Luma does all of the fighting in general?

The extent of bias will, naturally, determine whether it's considered fair or not. I'm also interested to see some more finalized versions of stages to see what sorts of non-boss hazards there are.
Sound like so much cheap. At least until Yellow Devil swaps sides and Rosaluma has to deal with being exposed again, after which time she might've racked up a lot of damage. Then again Luma seems to be easy to get rid of, but I don't know if that'll remain true in the final version. Just because the Treehouse crew can't look after Luma, that doesn't in of itself convince me that Luma is weak.

It'd be nice to see some more stages. I highly doubt we're only getting the 20 or so we've seen so far.
 

PhantimGanon

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So I read the discussion that cropped up in the sdcc shielding thread because I had planned to respond to the allegations that the new shield ruin the competitive scene and I ended up reading the fantastic arguments espoused by overswarm and ampharos. I love where their heads (and yours) are at on this issue. I have played smash all my life and I've been reading smashboards for ever. While I can admit to being more liberal in my ideas than most, I think that the most fun and fairness comes from this structured approach that you guys have been supporting. I honestly think that most people have no idea how unbalanced these "neutral" stages are because you don't get to SEE them changing the tide. There's nothing they DO that clearly upsets the balance; it's probably more accurate to say it's something they don't do: they lack the variation that a huge subset of the roster can utilize--a varation that rewards creative, well-rounded, quick-witted players. Somebody playing a flat/plat with a character who doesn't benefit from that layout might--at most--have that vague sensation that this will be an uphill fight or that the apraoch is gonna be difficult, but even if someone realizes that his or her opponent has an advantage on a "neutral" stage how is he/she expected to say "hey, these stages are unfair because they don't have X around to help ME out" the opponent (and the community) is just going to say that's tough luck, that you're not supposed to have stuff around on the stage to help only you, that's unbalanced and unfair and you're a whiner; your opponent will say he's in the same boat: he only has the flat flat ground, and all stages have ground. The error in these evaluations is the idea that reductionism is inherently fair, which is frankly absurd in a game this varied. The reductionist attitude assumes that all characters have the same basic tools that work in this "neutral" setting but that some have these little unfair additions which make certain frills vastly biased towards them, but that's not the case. Not all characters work just as well in a minimalist setting, the best solution is probably completely contrary to the path we've taken so far: increase the options, increase the tools and the variety to give everyone anything they could want to help them out. Leave it to the players to get what they need out of the stages and we'll really see who's the best around. We'll see who's better and we'll see it in evermore new and exciting ways.

It's true though that people will complain and speak out and get pissed, and if we as a community give in and just try to satiate whatever opinion this or that group has most recently cultivated it will again be these deceptively innocuous-looking stages that win out because they are unbalanced due to what thy omit rather than what they include and omissions are invisible.

That's why it is crucial that we stay firm in our standards. Perspective bias is a thing. Nothing we perceive causally--without extensive data or logical mathematical deduction--has a very high chance of being at all accurate. The big shots in the smash scene and the folks organizing the biggest events and setting the trends need to be objective and get behind these predetermined criteria you've put forth. We can refine what we need to but I think you're absolutely on target with where you've started.

1. Random- if a stage itself just arbitrarily decides to kill a player irrespective of his or her choices/attempts to evade then that stage has more or less decided who wins. I personally think that the halberd's giant laser is something either player may use to his advantage with skill, but imagine if it couldn't be dodged and was a OHKO. That would clearly be unworkable.

2. Constant/disruptive- Even if a hazard/aspect of a stage is predictable, avoidable, or survivable, if it is clearly suicidal to give one's opponent more attention than one is giving the stage...like say...if hypothetically you had to dodge an endless stream of deadly turtles and crabs then you'd no longer be playing a fighting game against an opponent, you're playing "who can dodge the stage the longest" which belongs in some separate dodging tournament or something. There is a distinct difference between utilize the stage to your advantage, and trying desperately to survive its influence.

Detractors of this rational and measured approach will probably try to claim that it is idiotic because--for example--Yellow Devil is on a timer and easy to see coming and and thus not random and they will assume that this makes him legal and that we want chaos. They will conveniently forget that the other critereon may yet exclude him and use that as an excuse to start banning predictable things that are predictable and avoidable but also less than disruptive.

We gotta stay focused on this one. It's early days and we can still keep this game BIG is as long as we always reply to the ban-fanatics with the same consistent rhetoric.

I like where some of our heads are at and I am super stoked to play a video game and have fun. What's up.
 

topspin1617

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I definitely hope Smash 4 has as large a legal stage list as possible; ban whatever's obviously broken, debate the questionable, but never ban without a well-thought out and logical reason.

And I think a good stage choice procedure would obviously be helpful and allow for more legal stages. I was thinking something like... let's say a certain number of stages is deemed "legal". Maybe for round 1, each player can strike a certain number of stages, but not all the way down to 1 stage; after a certain number of strikes, the first stage is chosen randomly from those left. Ideally the number of strikes would be such that a good amount of stages are still left for the random choice. Also, this process would happen before initial character selection, so you can't have your character choice gimped by the random select, and instead can pick a character that does okay on that stage.

For subsequent rounds, the loser of the previous round would pick of course. At this point, each player would have a certain number of "vetoes"; the number I first thought of is (total # of possible rounds in the match) - 1, so for a best of 3, each player would have 2 vetoes, 4 for a best of 5, etc. These vetoes are pooled for the whole match, not round by round. Anyway, let's say best of 3. The loser of game 1 attempts to pick a stage, and then the other player may choose to allow that stage or "veto" it. If vetoed, he has 1 veto left and the game 1 loser must attempt to pick again. Again the other player has his one more veto to use or not. After the stage is finally chosen, characters (and custom moves! =P ) are chosen for the round and it is played.

This would guarantee that a player never bans a stage the opponent wouldn't have picked anyway, but the player with veto power has to think quite carefully about whether to allow each choice, because the opponent may surprise them with an odd choice after they run out of vetoes. For a match longer than best of 3, a stage vetoed by a certain player would remain unselectable by the opposing player for the duration of the match, but the player that vetoed it may choose it himself (unless vetoed by the opponent... though that would seem to be a very odd situation lol).

Also, I think the rule that a player may not select a stage s/he has won on is a good one, and I'd keep that in this ruleset as well.

I guess I haven't spent the amount of time thinking about this to see any particularly notable flaws, it's just something I was thinking about. The idea is that, coupled with a relatively large stage list, we would not only see more stage variety than the striking method, but that (in my opinion) this would make stage choice much more strategy oriented and make it a bigger part of the game. I think it would also make players be good with multiple characters, because of the variety in stages I think would have to show up with this method, and therefore increase character diversity; with Smash 4 looking to be more balanced than its predecessors so far, this could only be a good thing.

I don't know, just a random thought (well I guess a little more than that lol).
 

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Another big thing I feel strongly on is that the starter/counterpick dichotomy is really not a good one. I've discussed it elsewhere, but in terms of rational strategy to win a set, focusing exclusively on whichever stages are starters is just the best way to win since you can guarantee a majority of the set will be played on that set of stages (and thus that set of stages are the only ones you need to be able to win on). There are a lot of procedures TOs could use to get around this (full list striking, each player turning N stages off random and then randoming from the rest of a large stage list, cyclical starter list by tournament round, randoming the stage before character selection for game one, probably many more), but I think we'll be a lot better off if all of our legal stages are legal to the exact same extent whatever stage list we go with. This removes the fairly perverse player incentive not to learn cp style stages, and it also prevents us from having to make the awkward declaration that some set of stages is somehow fair enough to play on in general but not fair enough to play on for game one which really doens't mesh at all with any of the liberal stage list arguments that are ever raised. It's also a political boon too really; I can say from experience playing Brawl in the midwest that a 5 starter tournament with 20 legal counterpicks is definitely more character skewed toward the flat+plat characters than the 9 starter list with 0 legal counterpicks, and then back in Brawl we spent all of our time arguing about the legal counterpick list when it wasn't even really the main thing that was the problem.

This is going to be a tough issue, and things are going to be really crazy early on. I don't think some of the battles for the more contentious style of stages are going to really be winnable for us (like walk-offs or stages with really crazy structures), but I do think that if we put forth a concentrated effort into enshrining a larger pool of legal stages than there have been in the past that it can be done.
I forgot to mention how strongly I agree that there is nor real distinction between starter stages and counterpicks. One simply seems less biased to a casual observer. In all likelihood every stage is in some way unbalanced. It's possible that a completely neutral stage exists, but the probability that we'll be able to correctly evaluate that quality is pretty slim. If a balanced stage does exist then it's my well-reasoned but frankly unsupported opinion that it is one with a wealth of options and variation.

A counterpick is nothing more than a half-banned stage which indicates a lack of confidence and an irresolute stance that does more to kill the stage than save it. Having starter stages establishes those stages as neutral ones without any other evidence than the ubiquity which follows becoming a starter stage.
 

Raijinken

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I forgot to mention how strongly I agree that there is nor real distinction between starter stages and counterpicks. One simply seems less biased to a casual observer. In all likelihood every stage is in some way unbalanced. It's possible that a completely neutral stage exists, but the probability that we'll be able to correctly evaluate that quality is pretty slim. If a balanced stage does exist then it's my well-reasoned but frankly unsupported opinion that it is one with a wealth of options and variation.

A counterpick is nothing more than a half-banned stage which indicates a lack of confidence and an irresolute stance that does more to kill the stage than save it. Having starter stages establishes those stages as neutral ones without any other evidence than the ubiquity which follows becoming a starter stage.
After giving thought to the concept of a "completely neutral stage", I ended up deciding that it would almost have to be a gradually or at least very frequently transforming stage. Stadium 1 came to mind, but feels very small under certain transformations, and the changes are very abrupt. Dracula's Castle (PM) also came to mind, but it is very large and the full-wall sides can be a matter of debate. Dracula feels CLOSER to being neutral, to me, since its transformations are not abrupt and, frankly, disruptive, but are a gradual flowing thing that must be played to and with. A configuration of platforms in Dracula does not suddenly warrant a player to go camping behind a tree as the Fire Stadium does. It's that sort of constant gradual transformation that I feel gives the most playstyles the most time in the spotlight, without reverting to a "neutral-ish" form like Stadium does.

Really, I guess a proper term in that case wouldn't be "completely neutral" stage, but a "cyclically favorable stage", since it would be prone to favoritism, just on a timer by platform motion.

Just on a glance, Arena Ferox looks like the main stage I'll be playing on the 3DS, since it looks like its transformations are frequent and (unless I'm forgetting), rarely go back to flat mode for long. Nothing I've seen there looks particularly prone to causing "degenerate play" (though some of the solids may result in a temporary pseudo-cave-of-life), and the variety looks both fun to play on and like it holds great potential for many characters. More stages like that, or on the U version, Town And City (though that may spend more time flat than would meet my criteria).
 
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Shiliski

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1. Random- if a stage itself just arbitrarily decides to kill a player irrespective of his or her choices/attempts to evade then that stage has more or less decided who wins. I personally think that the halberd's giant laser is something either player may use to his advantage with skill, but imagine if it couldn't be dodged and was a OHKO. That would clearly be unworkable.

2. Constant/disruptive- Even if a hazard/aspect of a stage is predictable, avoidable, or survivable, if it is clearly suicidal to give one's opponent more attention than one is giving the stage...like say...if hypothetically you had to dodge an endless stream of deadly turtles and crabs then you'd no longer be playing a fighting game against an opponent, you're playing "who can dodge the stage the longest" which belongs in some separate dodging tournament or something. There is a distinct difference between utilize the stage to your advantage, and trying desperately to survive its influence.

Detractors of this rational and measured approach will probably try to claim that it is idiotic because--for example--Yellow Devil is on a timer and easy to see coming and and thus not random and they will assume that this makes him legal and that we want chaos. They will conveniently forget that the other critereon may yet exclude him and use that as an excuse to start banning predictable things that are predictable and avoidable but also less than disruptive.
I agree with this, but for the sake of avoiding the exact same situation that you described, I want to propose that common stage bans are listed in a sticky on the Smash 4 forums, listing not only Stages that are commonly banned but detailing why they are banned. Not only will this stop silly arguments over irrelevant points, but it'll also provide a consistent, clear picture of what is and is not bannable and why.

Even more importantly, if a stage is wrongly banned, people who know the logic behind it will be able to attack or disprove it, possibly resulting in a stage getting unbanned. Relying upon such reasoning to be "common sense" is a naive approach, since common sense isn't really a thing that exists. Spelling it out for people will solve a lot of problems.

Going back to items, I once thought they were banned because they were "too random" and "competitive players didn't like that", and I wasn't alone in thinking that, and I continued to think that until someone who actually knew told me the real story. That's why I think it'll help to sort things out.
 

Veggi

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It was the more detailed part, and I'm sorry, but this is going to get very long-winded to explain that better since it will require a lot of detailed examples. I'm going to put it in spoiler tags so it won't derail the main thread. I actually misstated a few things in that post, but this example should clarify it all. The short version is that giving players agency here is really the best way to make an unfair result more likely since picking stuff unfair in your favor is playing smart. The long version follows:

Let's say we have the match-up Falco vs Mr. Game & Watch in Brawl on a liberal stage list. Let's say if I ordered the stages from most in Falco's favor to most in Mr. Game & Watch's favor it would look like this:

Final Destination
Smashville
Port Town Aero Dive
Jungle Japes
PictoChat
Luigi's Mansion
Battlefield
Pokemon Stadium 1
Lylat Cruise
Pokemon Stadium 2
Castle Siege
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Delfino Plaza
Frigate Orpheon
Brinstar
Halberd
Green Greens
Rainbow Cruise
Norfair

That's likely not perfectly accurate to Brawl mechanics in terms of who wins and loses on each stage, but for the sake of argument, assume what I just gave you is law, is absolutely true, and is completely known to all players. Since we have 19 legal stages here, stage #10 on the list is the median stage and the hypothetical best stage for game 1. In an ideal procedure with these 19 stages, game one would be played on Pokemon Stadium 2, and the distance from Pokemon Stadium 2 the final stage is played on is the "error' of the procedure in this match-up.

Perfect procedural use by both players will result in the Falco player picking Port Town Aero Dive, Jungle Japes, and PictoChat while the Mr. Game & Watch player will pick Norfair, Rainbow Cruise, and Green Greens. Then when they strike, the G&W player will strike Final Destination, Smashville, Port Town Aero Dive, and Jungle Japes while the Falco player will strike all three of the G&W player's choices plus Battlefield leaving us on PictoChat for game one, Falco's 5th best stage out of 19 and a result very skewed toward Falco. It actually doesn't really matter what stages the G&W player picks at the start; with both FD and SV in Falco's top 5 (and let's be real, if FD is in your top 5 SV probably is too), Falco's 5th best stage will always be the game one stage.

That was the extreme case, and it's one of only two cases where you would ever play on a non-neutral, when the neutrals are so skewed toward one character that it's better for the opponent to play on the opponent's 5th best stage in general instead of on a neutral. The other case would be where the neutrals are skewed toward both ends of the spectrum such that you have neutrals in both characters' top 3, but that is a very unlikely situation. Otherwise, you'll always play on the middle neutral stage, that is the one of the three neutral stages that is of the middle value to the two players relative to the other two neutrals. This middle neutral stage very well may not be near the middle of the overall stage list in terms of fairness; in fact, the stages that are in the middle (in this case, Pokemon Stadium 2, Castle Siege, Lylat Cruise, Pokemon Stadium 1, and Yoshi's Island) are the stages most guaranteed NOT to be used for game one.

Another way to look at this is to simplify your procedure to one that would produce equivalent results. Your system is equivalent to having whichever player sits down first be able to choose between two stage procedures: either striking between just BF, SV, and FD or playing on his opponent's 5th favorite stage (opponent names 5 stages from the legal set, you pick one). That way is more obviously not too fair, but it will produce exactly equivalent outcomes to your system. The core problem is that each player's incentive in picking stuff is to pick stuff as unfair as possible when that's exactly the opposite of the most fair outcome. In practice as well, your system would get tedious seeing as in a vast majority of match-ups in Brawl it would result in Smashville being the game one stage incredibly independent of whether SV is actually a terribly fair stage for that match-up.
Yeah, it's probably best for me to do spoilers too.

I'll go by the list of stages you presented to me, but without the stages that are banned in accordance with Unity. I will also compare them to how the results would turn up using the standard ruleset as opposed to my own. Falco heads represent Falco bans. G&W heads represent G&W bans.

Unity Rules

Final Destination:gw:
Smashville:gw:
Battlefield:gw:

Pokemon Stadium 1:gw:

Lylat Cruise
Pokemon Stadium 2 :falco:

Castle Siege
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Delfino Plaza
Frigate Orpheon
Brinstar:falco:
Halberd:falco:
Rainbow Cruise:falco:

Result: Played on Falco's 5th best stage out of 13 legal.

How it would play out without my ruleset:

Final Destination
Smashville
Battlefield

Pokemon Stadium 1
Lylat Cruise
Castle Siege
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)

Played on Falco's 4th best stage out of 13 legal.

The difference in number is not dramatic, but considering the differences in stages, pushing Falco further out of his comfort zone is still notable. However, I understand what you mean now and I agree with you. The results could vary depending on how characters react to stages in the new game, but for the most part my system would not make a lot of a difference. However, it would still increase the amount of Round One stages in the metagame even if it only mildly increased the likelihood of a fair character matchup. So thanks for replying so I know it doesn't work very well, especially with a larger stage list.

I guess it could work if the new game had 3 neutrals and 100 CPs, with Falco's top 3 being the neutrals. So, outside extreme circumstances, it probably won't work. <_>
 
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PhantimGanon

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Just on a glance, Arena Ferox looks like the main stage I'll be playing on the 3DS, since it looks like its transformations are frequent and (unless I'm forgetting), rarely go back to flat mode for long. Nothing I've seen there looks particularly prone to causing "degenerate play" (though some of the solids may result in a temporary pseudo-cave-of-life), and the variety looks both fun to play on and like it holds great potential for many characters. More stages like that, or on the U version, Town And City (though that may spend more time flat than would meet my criteria).
Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with a temporary cave-of-life. Maybe the player with the higher percentage will get to milk a little bit of extra time out of a random stage transition, but so what? It's small enough that you'd have to be good to use it, it's transient enough that it couldn't possibly lead to a permanent camp-off, it's as likely to benefit one player as another, and a really good player should be expected to predict that strategy and counter it. A little bit of random is nice. Even if something suddenly advantageous to someone does crop up I have no problem with it leading to an exciting upset as long as it asks one player to put in some work to earn it.

I don't know why everyone insists that the top player win every time. I believe the top player's chances should be the highest, but I don't think tailoring the competitive scene to produce one or two consistent winners is inherently good or that it necessarily proves they are the best. It proves they are favored. Crap happens. That's life. I am supporting the search for the "real neutral" in this thread, but frankly I don't know why we're so obsessed with having a completely controlled environment. As long as we make sure that the best players have the best shot at winning we don't owe them anything. Nobody promised to guarantee victory to anyone. Skill increases odds, but variables exist and we need to accept that if we ever want to be able to compare this competition to every other competition on earth. We need to start accepting what we're dealt in more ways than one.
 

Nontoxic

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I think there should be a stage list for tournaments atleast, but if both players want to play on a stage that is banned/contains stage hazards to make it more interesting, they should be allowed to. If one player doesn't agree they just stick to the stage list.
 

Raijinken

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I agree with this, but for the sake of avoiding the exact same situation that you described, I want to propose that common stage bans are listed in a sticky on the Smash 4 forums, listing not only Stages that are commonly banned but detailing why they are banned. Not only will this stop silly arguments over irrelevant points, but it'll also provide a consistent, clear picture of what is and is not bannable and why.

Even more importantly, if a stage is wrongly banned, people who know the logic behind it will be able to attack or disprove it, possibly resulting in a stage getting unbanned. Relying upon such reasoning to be "common sense" is a naive approach, since common sense isn't really a thing that exists. Spelling it out for people will solve a lot of problems.

Going back to items, I once thought they were banned because they were "too random" and "competitive players didn't like that", and I wasn't alone in thinking that, and I continued to think that until someone who actually knew told me the real story. That's why I think it'll help to sort things out.
While I think it would be good to have this sort of thread stickied, I'd be very cautious about doing so soon after release, as that could lead to some perceived status quo when there really is none.

It may also be worth even creating an entire subforum on the boards for stage discussion, much like there is a subforum for each character's discussion (though I'm sure it would be hard to keep this sort of forum focused on stage mechanics without delving into character specifics, but to an extent that seems like a reasonably relevant discussion). A master thread could keep a multi-pick poll of banned stages (for reference but not reliance), as well as a compilation of both the support and opposition details per stage (for instance, citing the Yellow Devil as a hazard for pro-ban, but citing his approachability and predictability as pro-keep).

Once the debate settles out over several months, then it could be reasonable to sticky a "Smashboards Official" stagelist, though that would still set a perceived status quo, and could become hard to break from. I think having that sort of wider discussion forum would be a reasonable way to set an area aside for debate (perhaps have specific threads for discussing hazards, platform layout, and so on, individually, without giving individual users the power to make more threads, in an effort to keep the discussion concentrated). The most important thing immediately post-release is to keep options open and carefully narrow them down, rather than closing options and attempting to pry them open later.
 

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I honestly don't think smashboards should host or sponsor any one list, but instead link to commonly used lists.

"We here at smashboards think there are lots of ways to enjoy smash 4 competitively! Here are links to some of the most commonly used tournament rule sets:

MLG 2015 Rule set - The official rule set for MLG 2015
Items ON! Rule Set - Items, 'nuf said. The official rule set of the Items ON! Series.
EVO 2015 Rule set - The official rule set for EVO 2015
<3 Rule set - You'll love (get it?) this Rule set.
The Bouncing Fish Rule Set - You only use the B button and analog stick.
For Glory Rule Set - Same as the Online For Glory mode. FD only, no custom moves rule set.
FlatPlat Rule Set - Cuz random, stage hazards, and variability in our stages are bad!
U versus Mii Rule Set -The (almost) official Mii only ruleset. (A great side event!)"


-This way TOs can choose something that calls to them and the community they are trying to appeal to.
-There is no huge 2 way divide within the community and so no one feels forced to choose a side.

I think it prevents big tears of "Well this is the RIGHT way to play SmashBoards/The S4BR/M2K/<3 said so" and would open up more... routes for discussion between between people, and hopefully ways to compare and widdle down what is and isn't effective at what it is trying to do or claiming it does. The community as a whole will naturally stop playing rule sets that they find unfair or unfun and flock to things they enjoy.

"Oh in the <3 rule set there is a wider range of characters in the top 16 compared to the For Glory ruleset." or "With the MLG rule set the top placers are pretty consistent, in "TBFRS" we see all kinds of people taking first." or "Items ON! tournaments have tripled the attendance records of any EVO tournament and consistently beat League of Legends Championship Series streams!"

Maybe we don't ever need to pick out one definitive rule set. Maybe THAT would be better for the community as a whole.
 

Raijinken

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I honestly don't think smashboards should host or sponsor any one list, but instead link to commonly used lists.

"We here at smashboards think there are lots of ways to enjoy smash 4 competitively! Here are links to some of the most commonly used tournament rule sets:

MLG 2015 Rule set - The official rule set for MLG 2015
Items ON! Rule Set - Items, 'nuf said. The official rule set of the Items ON! Series.
EVO 2015 Rule set - The official rule set for EVO 2015
<3 Rule set - You'll love (get it?) this Rule set.
The Bouncing Fish Rule Set - You only use the B button and analog stick.
For Glory Rule Set - Same as the Online For Glory mode. FD only, no custom moves rule set.
FlatPlat Rule Set - Cuz random, stage hazards, and variability in our stages are bad!
U versus Mii Rule Set -The (almost) official Mii only ruleset. (A great side event!)"


-This way TOs can choose something that calls to them and the community they are trying to appeal to.
-There is no huge 2 way divide within the community and so no one feels forced to choose a side.

I think it prevents big tears of "Well this is the RIGHT way to play SmashBoards/The S4BR/M2K/<3 said so" and would open up more... routes for discussion between between people, and hopefully ways to compare and widdle down what is and isn't effective at what it is trying to do or claiming it does. The community as a whole will naturally stop playing rule sets that they find unfair or unfun and flock to things they enjoy.

"Oh in the <3 rule set there is a wider range of characters in the top 16 compared to the For Glory ruleset." or "With the MLG rule set the top placers are pretty consistent, in "TBFRS" we see all kinds of people taking first." or "Items ON! tournaments have tripled the attendance records of any EVO tournament and consistently beat League of Legends Championship Series streams!"

Maybe we don't ever need to pick out one definitive rule set. Maybe THAT would be better for the community as a whole.
If we can get any ruleset or other perk that lets us break Dota/League spectation levels, I'd be extremely impressed, and would probably just quit playing Dota to play more Smash.

But yeah, I really like the idea of listing popular rulesets. Though I would still be a bit biased in favor of having a dedicated subforum to debate the merits of each ruleset (and/or stages and/or items) without it taking up space in the main forums.
 

strawhatninja

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I just like stages were I can actually enjoy stages, so anything that takes the focus away from actually fighting(scrolling stages) I don't like. However, I like to play stages that aren't just flat either. I think the different stages bring different strategies into play, like the Wario Ware stage in Brawl. Yes that stage has a lot of distractions, but you are still fighting all the time and the different mini games provide enhancements to your character.
 

Raijinken

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I just like stages were I can actually enjoy stages, so anything that takes the focus away from actually fighting(scrolling stages) I don't like. However, I like to play stages that aren't just flat either. I think the different stages bring different strategies into play, like the Wario Ware stage in Brawl. Yes that stage has a lot of distractions, but you are still fighting all the time and the different mini games provide enhancements to your character.
While I actually generally liked Wario Ware for a while after Brawl's release, I very quickly got tired of the minigames' unfair distribution of prizes. If the prizes were shared amongst all winners, or just a consistent small heal, then I would consider it much more fair. But while one player may become invincible while another just heals 8%, that is not enjoyable, predictable, or fair.
 

strawhatninja

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While I actually generally liked Wario Ware for a while after Brawl's release, I very quickly got tired of the minigames' unfair distribution of prizes. If the prizes were shared amongst all winners, or just a consistent small heal, then I would consider it much more fair. But while one player may become invincible while another just heals 8%, that is not enjoyable, predictable, or fair.
Yeah you are right about that, but I thought it was fun for one fight a play session at least.
 

BRoomer
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This is actually super interesting, and I'd love to do some point-counterpoint style replies to things made in your post. I guess I'll give a little background on myself too, it's only fair. I've been a competitive player for about one and a half years, but was interested in the scene very early on, hence my early join date. I play mostly PM, but I do like dabbling in Melee too. I know more of the theory of things than how to actually be great at the game, but I'm still learning. I have a strong grasp on the basic theories of Smash and knowledge of a lot of ATs, and being able to know stuff like that is easier than being able to play all the time (I'm a double major in Biology and Psychology, with a minor in Chem that I just finished so I never have time to play during the semester. Or really just not a lot of time haha).
I definitely want to reply to you, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my giant wall of text.

Thanks for giving some history on this. I'm not as informed as I would like to be on tournaments or rules in the past, and don't usually think to look it up. That being said I understand this isn't a magnum opus on stage history. Things like Hyrule and New Pork City are just way too big to be anything really notable competitive-wise, unless you wanted to watch a camp fest. (Though Hyrule is fun for its Cave of Life haha). Things like Flat Zone and Pictochat (with Pictochat being less hazardous) had random elements but the presence of those elements proved to be more harm than good.

The thing is with walls that are permanent, characters like Fox can do very well because you can't really move through a solid object. I know characters in Brawl (Dedede is all I can think of at the moment) had a field day with walls due to things like chaingrabs, most notably. I could think of things in Project M that would also be problematic if stages with permanent walls weren't bad, notably something like Ness' PK Fire, which is just annoying to DI out of. While I'd actually like stages with walls to stay in, I can see the logic behind it. No one wants to deal with Fox on Onett or Princess Peach's Castle if they can get zeroed to death so easily. Granted that's a bit broad of an assumption, but from an audience standpoint as well, is watching Fox combo someone to death in similar areas of the stage that exciting?

Arguing against this point, you could say stay away from those spots depending on which character you are. Which really is a simple counterpoint but nonetheless effective. In a game all about spacing, you shouldn't get stuck there in the first place. That's like complaining about getting hit by Rest. Furthermore, I agree with you that rather than the stage being banned, why not ban the technique?? Fourside, although a little big, seemed viable enough until someone made the point about Peach Bomber stalling. And banning that technique would surely have been more feasible than banning the stage itself.
The issue is because there wasn't a lot of testing done once this powerful technique started showing up people missed a lot of things. There are TONS of charaters that CAN'T be shine comboed well at all. (about 10 I think) So even if it was some unavoidable technique it didn't beat everyone in the game, far from it in fact. Leaving walks off on might have resulted in some of these character becoming more developed in order to counter Fox. But we'll never know
Another is there already are characters who can take low risk moves at low percents and turn them into kills usually through chain grabs. It seems like its only very early in a games cycle that we try to get rid of these and after the rules are already well established THEN you have to work to avoid it. In brawl D3's infinite was quickly banned even though it only effected a small part of the cast. A year or so later ICs are infiniting everyone in the game and its okay.

Now taking this to Smash 4, we know that SDI is heavily nerfed or nonexistent. So when talking about walls, how can we say it's fair to get multijabbed into super-high percents because of being pushed up against a wall? I bring this up because it's much more broad range of use thing than being so Fox centric. Again, you could argue that it's your fault for getting pushed up against that wall in the first place, but that argument loses some merit when a big chunk of the cast can put you into a really bad situation if they have access to multi-jabs or the like.
You can say its fair because its a situation your opponent forced you into. A situation that arose because of the choices you made before hand. By that logic I shouldn't be able to be chain grabbed.

Walkoffs are weird in general. It's that whole "you shouldn't have been there in the first place kind of argument" but with a lot less force, because you could pretty much be carried to a blast zone if you got unlucky. I don't really know what else to say really. Could you elaborate more on why walkoffs are banned
I don't know... fox's waveshine in melee, and D3's chain grab were always the reason people told me. BUt the more I think about it the more I think those were just a mask for "I don't like it." The both require similar risk, but much more of a set up than other chain grab to death combos and both only work on only a portion of the cast.


[/quote]This is hard because character randomization and stage randomization are similar but different.[/quote]

Why are they different? (I'll answer for you)
Character random is character controlled, stage random (at least so far) hasn't been. Player control, I think, is really the route of the issue even if people can't really figure out how to voice that internal thought.

Bar that though they AREN'T very different from one another. I could randomly pull a bomb-omb as my opponent is recovering at 20 percent and his only option is to land in front of me. A 1 in 58 chance got me that stock (less than that even I think). Was it a direct result of my skill? I hope no one would argue that. It was chance.

Every stage hazzard, while random, give significant warning before it has an effect on the stage. So while the player may not have direct control over what the hazzard will do. They are given control over how they interact with it. Much more so than the recovering character in my last example.

So we realize most of the objects really help Peach out in some way. Why isn't she banned? Because although random, players know how to react to whatever she pulls.
I want to stop you right there. How do they know how to deal with her random aspects? Do they just... know once they put the game into the system? I think you were trying to say it is something they learn through experience. Its just as easy to know what the possibilities of a random stage are.

It's not something as big or as damaging (well, usually) as a stage hazard, and reactions to whatever Peach pulls are standard: avoid, catch, reflect, shield. Granted those reactions become a bit more erratic when dealing with a stitchface or Bob-omb. Because Peach isn't super OP and lacks kill moves at lower percents, these items are accepted. Peach has a lot of damage racking tools, but her kill moves are not always the easiest to land, so again these random items help her out. Things like Mr. Saturn don't really have as much emphasis on a match even though they could potentially break a shield. The coup de grace in why Peach's randomness is not that bad is because the player doesn't know what they're going to get until the exact same time their opponent does, and the fact they must sit through the turnip animation (unless they're doing edge cancelled pulls). The fact that this is player initiated is the main thing here. Which is why Game & Watch isn't that bad either. Many of his Judge attacks are variances on normal attacks, and one even damages him. The fact that you can't get two consecutive numbers in a row helps with this as well. Even though one of his Judge attacks has the potential to heal (the piece of food generated by the 7), the damage healed is not anything crazy, and the opponent has a chance to get it too. There are plenty of other moves that can heal a character, and are more guaranteed (such as PK Shields, and some Ivysaur moves in PM). Luigi misfires are also not that bad, because they often can put Luigi into a really bad situation, and can be avoided with relative ease. This is balanced because misfires are an enchanced version of Luigi's regular Side B, which could be said about Peach's turnips as well. The basic premise for dealing with the move is the same. Saying that also results in Olimar getting included into randomness not being a huge deal. Although Olimar's Pikmin severely affect his moveset, the randomization of Pikmin is varied enough that he won't be able to get three Purples or something very easily. And, his moves remain the same, so even if he has different Pikmin, you can avoid the moves as normal.
Everything you've said here could be easily applies to any stage hazard or random event. Brinstar Lava is a wild range of unconnected events; there are three heights. Norfair has left lava, right lava, and back lava.

And every character controlled instance of random can be just as (and I;d argue even more) polarizing as any stage hazzard could ever be because of the low initiation time on the player controlled random. You can watch OLD vods and see it in action every time peach and luigi play a set. Luigi recovering with misfires when other wise he would have died. Peach getting lucky Bombs or stich faces or dot eyes that littereally turn the momentum of the match alone.
 

BRoomer
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Oh it can be fun, it's just about the furthest thing from being viable for actual competition lol.
I wanna get this idea of "viable for competition" thing out of the minds of people ANYTHING can be viable for competition. By definition if two people can compete then... there is competition. I can have 50 pound weights on and race against someone in a car, is it fair? no, but that's still competition.
What we are really deciding on is what defines "fair play" You have to really decide what rules you want in place to create that "fair" atmosphere.

All that said my issue with Wario Ware was that the stage just changed without warning. None. So if you was recovering and about to grab the ledge? OH well... thats your stock. If there was a tell to the stage changing then I would feel like my death was justifed since I didn't plan accordingly, but I think the idea of a game within the game is cool. Because it gives you choices and trade offs. Do I stand still and risk taking damage from, or losing a stock to my opponent and be guaranteed the prize? Do I try and stop him from getting the prize?

Now that you mention it I can agree that the random distribution of WIDLY different prizes is a little... unreasonable, particularly invulnerability.
 

BBG|Scott-Spain

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You what's pretty cool about this game so far? Even if we stick with the standards that we've established in this series, we still have quite a few options.
 

topspin1617

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I wanna get this idea of "viable for competition" thing out of the minds of people ANYTHING can be viable for competition. By definition if two people can compete then... there is competition. I can have 50 pound weights on and race against someone in a car, is it fair? no, but that's still competition.
What we are really deciding on is what defines "fair play" You have to really decide what rules you want in place to create that "fair" atmosphere.

All that said my issue with Wario Ware was that the stage just changed without warning. None. So if you was recovering and about to grab the ledge? OH well... thats your stock. If there was a tell to the stage changing then I would feel like my death was justifed since I didn't plan accordingly, but I think the idea of a game within the game is cool. Because it gives you choices and trade offs. Do I stand still and risk taking damage from, or losing a stock to my opponent and be guaranteed the prize? Do I try and stop him from getting the prize?

Now that you mention it I can agree that the random distribution of WIDLY different prizes is a little... unreasonable, particularly invulnerability.
I see you chose to take my post extremely literally.

Perhaps it's my fault and I should have spelled out "the totally random and arbitrary distribution of rewards for completing the microgames adds a level of completely uncontrollable randomness that makes the stage less than desirable to be used in a tournament setting," but I thought it was clear that that is most people's issue with the stage.
 

LancerStaff

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All this speculation is great and all, SSB4 is throwing us some big curve balls. FD mode and FD-focused balancing, stages generally being more extreme then before, (at least on 3DS,) the extreme nerfing of SDI, and what appears to be the end of chaingrabbing are all going to change our perception of legal stages.

I don't know, I'd prefer to stick to FD only or the neutral 3 because it's simple and easy. I just think it's alot of work for not much for making more stages legal. If we can get one stage without some kinda chaingrab nonsense or infinites I'd play on that all the time because it's consistent.
 
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