After the SDCC tournament yesterday... I'm having doubts Smash 4 will be a good competitive game.

JamietheAuraUser

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It depends. If it's just an aesthetic difference between terrains, that's cool, but once it starts affecting the core gameplay (such as weather or even the move Misty Terrain) it starts to affect balance, and that's why it's necessary to ban stages that have that kind of effect.

I feel like this applies equally to items. A lucky item spawn is an RNG that gives one player a slight advantage regardless of skill. In games like Halo, weapons spawn at specific points at specific times, which means skilled players can take advantage of them. If smash bros items were more predictable, I wouldn't have an issue with them competitively, but as it stands, they interfere with determining who is the better player.
I was specifically referring to the type that affects core gameplay. I cited the moves Nature Power and Secret Power, both of which change depending on terrain (but that's all terrain would affect). It would be neat to actually be able to use those moves to their full effect in competitive (or at least semi-competitive) matches.

On a Smash Bros related note, it's not really the same at all. It'd be much like stage selection rather than items in that you, the players, before the match starts, could choose terrain types. Items appear completely at random, whereas the effects of the stage (or terrain in Pokémon) are much more predictable. You know what Battlefield looks like at base, just like you would know that a grass field turns Nature Power into Energy Ball and makes Secret Power inflict Sleep. An arena where there's a random chance of rain or intense sun on a turn-by-turn basis would be much more like items in Smash in terms of how it affects gameplay.
 

topspin1617

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the way we ban things is very much like smogon.
...IS it?

Smogon's bans are done by community vote after a testing period. I'm not going to argue whether this produces good results or not, but this isn't how stages are decided for Smash or how Meta-Knight got banned, is it??

(Sorry if it actually is, I haven't been around for a long time lol.)
 

SamuraiPanda

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Apologies for the delayed response. ****, as they say, went down.

I think we should mostly discard the "rather not learn the complicated counterpicks" entirely and simply say 'you should learn'. That said, if we have an option to not have that and have a tournament of 100 or DO have than and a tournamnet of 10, I think most would pick the former!
I'm glad we can agree that more people is better. I do know you belong to the camp of "learn it even if you don't want to" but I'm now of the camp that if the burden of learning is too high I know those stages will never be chosen and eventually banned. Using Pictochat as another example, the burden of learning for that stage was simply too high.

Unrelated, I was out of the scene when Halberd was being banned and I'd love to know why it was. I know it had a few unsavory elements like MK "sharking" but I'd be surprised if that was why it was banned.

That being said, the midwest has always had large tournaments with large stagelists. We have 100+ events with regularity for three years in Brawl! Entrants started dropping around the same time as the stage list, but I do not believe those are correlated; they just both occur on the same natural timeframe.
I do think this is more along the lines of the "build it and they will come" reasoning rather than the stagelist. I wish we were better at data mining and actually had people writing down what stages they went to. Like, a quick 3 checkboxes after a match on a sheet to tell us what stages people actually used.


This was a self-fulfilling prophecy. People who wanted those stages always struck down to them, but playing me often resulting in me striking those very stages and getting a better result.

I entirely agree with striking the entire stagelist being too long. Even without htat, I dislike the idea. Having a stagelist with 7 FDs and 5 Rainbow Cruises results in always playing FD anyway; there are more legal counterpicks than anything else.
"Better" is subjective.

The best solution I've come up with so far has been mandatory starter stages, similar to the Starcraft bracket. It is different and I dunno how well it'd work for Smash, but would solve the issue. Things like "WR1 - Smashville, WR2 - Halberd, WR3 - Delfino WR4- Battlefield" or something else.

I don't like the solution very much.
I'll be honest, I don't hate this idea. Like, it takes away autonomy from the player and removes originality and choice a lot of the time but it isn't horrible. Might be worth running a couple small tournaments with the idea and see how it flies. Before that happens there should be


Screw those guys, they're noobs.
And/or the core audience of the competitive scene we're discussing right now.

Don't pull a Nintendo. Nintendo aleinated the core audience who bought their games their whole lives and decided to cater towards an audience that only casually enjoyed games. The Wii failed because of that, and the Wii U continues to suffer for the same reason.

Subjective! All subjective stuff should be taken with huuuuge grains of salt.
You used to be able to get away with saying this, but "stale' gameplay will now DIRECTLY BE REFLECTED in viewership of tournaments. Tournaments are going to be a much bigger deal now that streaming is so popular. People will watch Smash. Lets not make them watch what the majority of people find to be boring just because its "subjective." Thats how you lose hype fast.

I like this idea.

  • Preconceived notion that clashes with the 'unusual' stage
  • The strategy is considered distasteful by one or more individuals or observers
  • Poor strategic relevance (i.e., the stage is so different the skill doesn't transfer, so it isn't worth to practice)
  • They feel cheated because they're 'supposed' to beat this player/matchup, but the rules have changed with the stage
  • They recognize that it takes skill, but don't feel like learning the new skill
  • They recognize that it takes skill, but don't like the skills it tests ("Why should I know the klap trap comes at 7 and 3?"
  • They dislike the emphasis on certain characters on those stages (Mute City emphasizes floaty characters, Brinstar emphasizes keepaway with Wario, etc., etc.)
  • They dislike that the skills they HAVE learned don't apply (Mute City doesn't have ledges, but I learned to sweespot, FD doesn't have platforms but I learned to waveland and ledge cancel, etc.)

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. It's a good list to see what stages people might WANT to ban, for better or worse.
- Dislike the strategies that are dominant on the stages (keepaway with Wario on Brinstar, etc)

And honestly I'm tapped. I'll continue ruminating on this list, however, and return to it later.

Of course not! Popularity is important to an extent, but Smash has always been built on the premise of "Smash is fun. If we build it, they will come." The integrity of competition is fundamental to that!

The most consistently large tournaments are anime conventions that have FFA with items on and no entry fee. That doesn't mean we should emulate it. We like entry fees to grant money; it gives our tournaments a sort of gravitas, despite eliminating large portions of smash players who would otherwise enter. Many of our decisions are made for the same reason.
Consistantly large with different people. We're talking about creating something that is consistantly large with regular attendees or people who will become regular attendees.

It's very easy to fall into the vocal popularity trap. "We got more viewers on stream" or "we got more entrants" is a wash. The goal should be to create an interesting, friendly, and most importantly deep tournament within the limitations we have. Brawl would have been way more fun with items, but due to its spawning mechanism and the air-grab feature it wasn't viable. I really wish I could have hit MK with some green shells though.
I completely disagree with all statements here. More viewers on stream and more entrants MATTERS. Quite a bit now. In fact, I'd argue that the sole measures of success of a tournament is its exposure/attendance (and I guess its successful resolution). I think we SHOULD make a game that is interesting, friendly, and deep. But WHY or for WHO is what matters here.


It's only a difference in how you view it. Why would you ban something like Pictochat in Brawl, which has spikes you can throw your opponent into, but not Battlefield in Melee, in which Marth can easily u-throw a spacie onto and force them into a nigh-unbeatable chain? Or Link's chain grab on the spacies on the BF platforms that is basically an infinite?
Character specific vs universal. Big difference between the two, I'd say.

But near-static hazards? No different than platforms. Proof is in the results -- why else do you think there's a difference between Dreamland, Battlefield and Yoshi's in Melee? It's not just size; those platforms are in the same overall position but the interaction with them is markedly different. They have to be interacted with on a drastically different level by a character-by-character basis!

Fox can u-smash you on a Yoshi platform from below, but not on BF and DL.

Marth can f-smash tipper you on YI or BF, but not DL.

So on and so forth; it's all interaction with the stage. It's one of the things that makes Smash... smash!
You note this interesting and deep diversity between stages that are all of a specific genre. Yet still quote the need for increased diversity on top of that. Are these stages not a sufficient variety?

What stages do you think should be still in Melee to make it more interesting? Mute City?

Good! anything you can add to it?

Let's use it when banning stages o_o
Again I'll have to return to this at a different date. I do think this list and the reasoning behind banning every stage are extremely good ideas that will help quite a bit with organization and PR.

What people want is irrelevant. People wanted to ban ICs chaingrabs in Brawl, ICs wobbling in Melee. When people said "we ban Dedede's standing infinite on Bowser and DK", they opened a floodgate of bad ideas. It should never have been banned anywhere. The result was people complaining about stuff that was, ultimately, a cry of "my character sucks, make him good".
I think you're going with a slippery slope argument here. Just because I'm saying what people want is important, things like banning characters or banning strategies is different. That said, I don't believe that banning D3's standing infinites was truly the reason people were complaining about things like that.

If I were to make a wager, I'd bet that all walk-offs would eventually be banned. But I'm willing to test everything because added depth is never a bad thing. It may actually be the case that walk-offs are better than non-walk-off stages if people hate the recovery mechanics too much. Who knows?
Again, I don't really know how much stage selection really adds to the depth of the game unless the stage striking list is more diverse. If the first stage almost always ends on a neutral,

What people want, especially before they have any experience on the matter, is irrelevant. It's surprising the amount of negative feelings people already have on things they have little experience or expertise in.


It makes sense, but it's a dangerous mentality. It can be good, but dangerous. There's two extremes you can lean towards that you need to worry about.

The first is "FFA, free entry, pokeballs and smash balls on high" style tournaments. Those are fun as hell and people love them... but it's too much frosting. There's no 'depth' to it, at least not that people enjoy. Yeah, you'll get larger events, but people won't stick around.
Exactly. There are two components to this that we're dealing with. We're trying to make a game that will consistently attract the most viewers and attendants for the longest time possible.

The second is "No items, Fox only, Final Destination" crowd. These tournaments are really shallow in the skills they test and, while competitive, ultimately get stale REALLY fast. People are all hype about Melee having tournaments now but they have conveniently forgotten there was like a 3 or 4 year period where Melee had virtually no entrants because nothing ever changed. There was no depth to it at all. The same thing will happen again to Melee when Smash 4 is released because people like "shiny" and "new", and it's hard for a 10 year old game to retain its shine when the game has basically been the same for everyone for a long time.
Why do they get stale? I'd argue that a much bigger factor to it becoming stale was not the stage selection but the dwindling character selection that was a bigger deal in the stagnation of Melee. I, for one, get VERY hype over unusual or new characters. When I saw Armada go Young Link? You can bet I stopped whatever I was doing to watch that set even more than his other sets. If he went Pokefloats or something instead? I think it'd be funny but I wouldn't really be paying much attention.

People stop playing in tournaments when it stops being fun. Meta Knight in Brawl single handedly killed off over thirty people that originally went to Brawl tournaments. You remember Dastrn's tournaments in Indiana that had so many fresh faces and then a year later they were just gone? Removing stages from the stagelist did the same thing, one at a time, because it made certain characters less viable.
Did it really? Did those players quit because of MK who never had a huge presence in the Midwest? Was it the stages being banned? I'm not sure how you can tell exactly why these players left. It could have been as simple as that they were not getting better so they stopped coming, or didn't make any friends. You're assuming you know why they quit through correlations not causation.

If you want larger tournaments though, give cash bonuses. I'd put $1,000 on a
$10,000 pot bonus for placements 1-16, spread evenly, with a huge stagelist would get more entrants and hype than a small stagelist with no cash bonus.
Yes. And how do we get those cash bonuses? Sponsors. How do we get sponsors? Increased exposure and viewership of our tournaments.

Incorrect. There is no such thing as a "neutral" stage because all stages give certain certain advantages. The point of the striking system was to reduce this advantage as much as possible. It wasn't a preferenced-based thing; if one stage was just even for everyone we'd only play on that stage.

Besides, after the first stage you say "What's your counterpick" and the response can be "Battlefield". That means it is a coutnerpick. :p
Playing with language here, you know what I mean even if you disagree with my usage of the terminology.


Agreed on the former, but you're thinking too limited. There can be more than one "good stage" in a matchup and there often is. More importantly, if Wario vs. MK on Brinstar = Wario wins and G&W vs. MK on Rainbow Cruise = G&W wins... As MK, what do you ban when you play against someone who plays both Wario and G&W?
Interesting point. I'd say you switch to your own second if they try with their second on an usual stage.

TOs won't follow a unified standard anyway unless there's some advantage to doing so. They'll all always do their own things.

What people "like" or "enjoy" is arbitrary and changes consistently. If there are 50 people in the midwest and 35 like to play with items, would you acquiesce to their demands? Of course not!

Stick to logical consistency and you get a better ruleset. It's slower, yeah. But it's better.
I still think we had a good idea with making the ruleset of "acceptable starter stages" "acceptable CP stages" and TOs can pick/choose from these stages to make the tournament they want.

So 4 man FFA with items that leads into bracket 1v1 with no items? Because that's Nintendo's tournament standard.
Before the game came out, yes. But it seems like Sakurai's standard is items off, FD only.

We don't need unity. We need a logical ruleset that isn't arbitrary so we don't end up with the mess that Brawl became. You can't "force" unity. You find a problem, you solve it, and you further move towards an ideal.


It's hard to rigorously list the qualifies a stage must have to be a candidate for both competitively meritorious play and popular acceptance by the community, but I think I can come up with a few good starting points...

1. The stage can't actually be severely random (like WarioWare) or competitively degenerate (like hard loop stages). Everyone already agrees we need to ban these stages.
2. Stages focused around permanent walk-offs are not going to fly; most people are just too uncomfortable with the loss of the off-stage game. Temporary walk-offs on transforming stages are not really a problem.
3. Stage hazards are okay in small doses and not in large doses. The most important thing about them is frequency and warning. That's why stages like Halberd are pretty okay (the hazards don't come that often and are very easy to avoid) and extending to smash 4 Mushroom Kingdom U (ridiculously huge telegraphs on all hazards) but stages like Norfair are always going to be widely hated by a lot of people and extending to smash 4 Wily's Castle would never be loved.
4. Stage movement is generally okay, but if dealing with the movement itself is a large part of gameplay, a large segment will hate it. Rainbow Cruise and Poke Floats were legal in Melee for years showing some tolerance for this point, but there's definitely a very large chunk of the competitive community that just can't accept stages like that so it may be best to have some real trepidation on including them (stages like Rumble Falls that are even more severe, of course, are super hated). On the other hand, stages like Delfino that shift around "in place" are not really a problem at all and a vast majority of players greatly appreciate the inclusion of those stages.
5. Stages with unusual geography such that severely non-traditional tactics are dominant are going to be disliked. I think the main reason Corneria was so hated in Brawl was simply that there were a lot of powerful ledge gimmicks with the fin. Luigi's Mansion is a super awesome stage from a strategic standpoint, but the gameplay there is extremely non-traditional and thus the stage is very widely despised.
I enjoy this list.

Beyond that, diversity being maximized is pretty much a good thing.
I think we can all agree that the diversity we're trying to maximize is CHARACTER diversity. The base argument here is that by increasing stage diversity we can increase character diversity. Is that actually true?

Say we stage strike to BF. Then you counterpick me to Green Greens (assuming I didn't ban it against you). Then I counterpick you to Smashville. I just played on two stages of the same genre, flat+plat. Even if you got a free win because you had the perfect oddball CP stage, I still won the set. All that stage accomplished was making the matches run longer.

How can we prove that increased stage diversity TRULY DOES increase character diversity?
 

topspin1617

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@ SamuraiPanda SamuraiPanda : "I think we can all agree that the diversity we're trying to maximize is CHARACTER diversity. The base argument here is that by increasing stage diversity we can increase character diversity. Is that actually true?

Say we stage strike to BF. Then you counterpick me to Green Greens (assuming I didn't ban it against you). Then I counterpick you to Smashville. I just played on two stages of the same genre, flat+plat. Even if you got a free win because you had the perfect oddball CP stage, I still won the set. All that stage accomplished was making the matches run longer.

How can we prove that increased stage diversity TRULY DOES increase character diversity?"

I think we all certainly want to see increased character diversity... but what's wrong with stage diversity for its own sake? Maybe my opinion is simplistic, but I just think it's more interesting from a player's AND spectator's point of view to showcase as many stages, as many iconic Nintendo locations, as feasible. Anything clearly broken or unbalanced should be banned, but I think erring on the side of legal whenever there's a debate or disagreement is usually the best idea. A stage can always be banned later; in my opinion, once something has been banned, it's much harder to bring it back than it is to ban it in the first place.

Let me also say that I'm not really sure what you're trying to argue when you say "Say we stage strike to BF. Then you counterpick me to Green Greens (assuming I didn't ban it against you). Then I counterpick you to Smashville. I just played on two stages of the same genre, flat+plat. Even if you got a free win because you had the perfect oddball CP stage, I still won the set. All that stage accomplished was making the matches run longer." Are you suggesting that having fewer stages is better because matches won't go to 3 games as often? Or that it doesn't matter either way because it won't change the result? The former isn't a good argument at all imo, and the latter is false I think. It should be very possible for an increased choice of stage to affect a match result, and I don't think that's a negative thing at all. Maybe there's a better way to pick stages during a match than striking, or a method that could be used in combination with striking? I don't know what that method might be... maybe from a starter list each player strikes a couple and then the first stage is randomly chosen from a few left, and then for subsequent rounds, there is a (much?) larger counterpick list that players will go back and forth on for the remainder of the match? Or maybe striking is perfectly fine and counterpicks could be changed up a bit, like instead of the winner banning however many stages before the loser picks, maybe the loser tries to pick a stage and then the winner must decide to use one of a limited number of "vetoes" to decide whether to allow that particular counterpick or not?

In any case, I just think from a straightforward PoV that allowing as many stages as possible as either starters or counterpicks would be a good thing. Would it increase character diversity as you ask? Hard to say, but I certainly don't think it would adversely affect diversity. More stages = different types of stages = different strategies needed to win = diversity because different characters excel at different things. What I think really needs to be avoided above all else is deciding stages based on viable characters. I'm sure it's difficult to divorce the two (e.g., "well these 5 characters are the most frequently used, so the list should be balanced around them") but I think it's something that is absolutely needed to leave as much unnecessary bias out of the process as possible.
 

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@ SamuraiPanda SamuraiPanda I'll have a more detailed response in a few hours I have to run to work.

What if you stage strike to Green Greens he beats you and you counter BF (assuming he didn't ban it) and HE takes you Jungle Japes?

If stage diversity can working like that then it is working in a way that stages DO increase character diversity.
 
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StarLight42

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The least I can do is hope that Smash 4 will develop it's own identity of game play that's not fully centered around defensive strategy because defensive metagame is just boring to watch.
 

infomon

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What if you stage strike to Green Greens he beats you and you counter BF (assuming he didn't ban it) and HE takes you Jungle Japes?

If stage diversity can working like that then it is working in a way that stages DO increase character diversity.
That's why we need a large variety of starter stages and should get away from this "neutral" mentality. Neutral stages don't exist.
 

SamuraiPanda

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@ SamuraiPanda SamuraiPanda I'll have a more detailed response in a few hours I have to run to work.

What if you stage strike to Green Greens he beats you and you counter BF (assuming he didn't ban it) and HE takes you Jungle Japes?

If stage diversity can working like that then it is working in a way that stages DO increase character diversity.
Exactly! Without a healthy stage strike list; or a system where the original stage is diverse (stage striking being the best solution we could come up with), then how does a diverse stage list matter?

I think we all certainly want to see increased character diversity... but what's wrong with stage diversity for its own sake? Maybe my opinion is simplistic, but I just think it's more interesting from a player's AND spectator's point of view to showcase as many stages, as many iconic Nintendo locations, as feasible. Anything clearly broken or unbalanced should be banned, but I think erring on the side of legal whenever there's a debate or disagreement is usually the best idea. A stage can always be banned later; in my opinion, once something has been banned, it's much harder to bring it back than it is to ban it in the first place.
Honestly, I have no counter to this point. I really just assumed that the priority we shoot for is character diversity rather than stage diversity for the sake of stage diversity.

I personally don't see Smashville as an Animal Crossing stage or Delfino as a Mario stage. I just see them as stages. I know I'm in the minority for the most part for that perspective though.

Are you suggesting that having fewer stages is better because matches won't go to 3 games as often? Or that it doesn't matter either way because it won't change the result? The former isn't a good argument at all imo, and the latter is false I think.
Latter.

In any case, I just think from a straightforward PoV that allowing as many stages as possible as either starters or counterpicks would be a good thing. Would it increase character diversity as you ask? Hard to say, but I certainly don't think it would adversely affect diversity. More stages = different types of stages = different strategies needed to win = diversity because different characters excel at different things. What I think really needs to be avoided above all else is deciding stages based on viable characters. I'm sure it's difficult to divorce the two (e.g., "well these 5 characters are the most frequently used, so the list should be balanced around them") but I think it's something that is absolutely needed to leave as much unnecessary bias out of the process as possible.
[/QUOTE]

So you came to the same conclusion of stage diversity = character diversity. But without striking down to different archetypes of stages, I don't see how increasing stage diversity increases character diversity on anything but paper.
 

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I think we can all agree that the diversity we're trying to maximize is CHARACTER diversity. The base argument here is that by increasing stage diversity we can increase character diversity. Is that actually true?

Say we stage strike to BF. Then you counterpick me to Green Greens (assuming I didn't ban it against you). Then I counterpick you to Smashville. I just played on two stages of the same genre, flat+plat. Even if you got a free win because you had the perfect oddball CP stage, I still won the set. All that stage accomplished was making the matches run longer.

How can we prove that increased stage diversity TRULY DOES increase character diversity?
I actually don't precisely agree. The true diversity we want is gameplay diversity, and while characters are generally the best avenue for achieving that, they're not the only one. In that example set between us, we have to ask what the gameplay was and our hypothetical standing as players. If you're a much better player than I am and I just hard CP'd you to Green Greens for a degenerate win that didn't even change the outcome of the set, yeah, we gained nothing but wasted time. If we're relatively on parity and Green Greens just had some gameplay dynamics novel to it and not found on Battlefield and Smashville that let me narrowly win while you narrowly won on the other stages, we've had a more interesting and enriched tournament experience from just including the stage alone.

As per how much stage diversity actually does increase character diversity, I think the biggest thing here is that every stage will be a really great stage for at least some character, and the main thing that helps character diversity is limiting the ability of a player to force very particular stages. Most characters have a fairly balanced performance across stages, getting only small advantages or disadvantages. A select set gain far bigger advantages and disadvantages than others. A small stage list inevitably really favors some portion of that select set that happens to really like your particular small stage list (no matter what it is; FD/SV/BF is just a different set of winners than Norfair/Rainbow Cruise/Brinstar) at the expense of the general guys to some extent and the part of the select set that liked stages other than what you picked to a large extent. Including a generally fairly diverse pool of stages for game one is all about making sure no character can force a stage that's either really, really good for them or really, really bad for the opponent whereas with a small stage list you'll inevitably have some characters that consider whichever stages you picked to be really, really good or really, really bad.

Counterpicking kinda has the opposite challenge in which a larger stage list tends to produce more extreme results, but even then, a very small list (like 3 or 5 stages) is probably your worst case scenario since at that point only a few can capitalize and no one else can "fight back" with their own cps. Once you pass the critical threshold at which the character pool that has strong cps is large, adding more stages begins to work against you as you're just increasing the opportunity for even more lopsided picks which ultimately makes game one the only game that matters which I suppose isn't bad for character diversity but sure is bad for general gameplay diversity. Stage bans are a system designed to fight back against this with the idea of guaranteeing worst case can't happen, even if they really are a very clumsy system that leads to a lot of hapless players being blindsided since picking the right stage to ban is often really hard. I was talking to Thinkaman the other day, and he suggested replacing a normal stage ban with just having the cping player pick two stages at which point the winner would pick between those two along with his character which is basically the same thing as a stage ban but a "perfect" one (you never ban something your opponent wouldn't have picked anyway). The procedure here is definitely a challenge, but in terms of count, I suspect diversity is maximized somewhere in the middle values of stages.

As per the topic of proof, it's very hard to argue since we have very poor historic data, but I think the theory is clear enough and most of what I said probably matches common experiences. Brawl was kinda a perfect test case with Ice Climbers being the most stage skewed character you could imagine who gained a ridiculously huge edge from the shrinking of stage lists with time after all.
 

infomon

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We're trying to make a game that will consistently attract the most viewers and attendants for the longest time possible.
I almost agree, but this philosophy is dangerous.

We're not trying to make a game. We're here to compete at Smash, the same Smash that people are playing everywhere all over the world. We do what we can to enable competition, to make a ruleset that lets us know who is the best at Smash.

I think this will attract the most viewers/attendants: the enormous body of players that enjoy playing, enjoy competing, will engage in our streams when they find out about them, and will maybe sometime show up to a tournament (and get hooked!). We need to be playing the same game. Otherwise our "competitive" game lacks authenticity, validity.

They'll say, "I like Smash, but they cut out all these things that I liked... I've never played that game."

If, as you suggest, we focus on: "How can we attract the most people?", we will fail. Because this reasoning gives us the authority to decide "what the people want", when those feedback channels are not available to us. Our audience is massive, and silent -- the players we never hear from, the players we need to be bringing into the scene if we want Smash to thrive.

Instead we'll hear from our familiar scene of competitive players, which are a biased bunch. They tend to have very strong opinions about what the game should be, even when they are seriously misinformed.

Sakurai is better than us at making the game, a game that reaches out to a massive audience. We are better than Sakurai at whittling down the silliness so that we can figure out who's the best. That's what the viewers and attendants want to see. And I'm pretty sure that the game Sakurai gives us is going to be awesome for this -- we stay true to the game, we will attract the most people.

We need clear, solid reasons for all our rules. When a kid asks "why is Norfair banned" at their first tournament, we need to be able to tell them why. It can't be "we don't like it," that means we've lost a smasher.
 

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@ SamuraiPanda SamuraiPanda

"Don't pull a Nintendo. Nintendo aleinated the core audience who bought their games their whole lives and decided to cater towards an audience that only casually enjoyed games. The Wii failed because of that, and the Wii U continues to suffer for the same reason."

I agree with most of what you say, but this is something I believe is off. Nintendo, including Sakurai, Miamoto, and the like, have always been focused on the more casual side of playing. Nintendo basically introduced the idea of a casual gamer with it's comparatively easy and forgiving games. Mario has always been casual. Zelda has always been casual. Pokemon has always been casual.

The industry has always favored the casual side, too. Best selling systems? DS, PS2, Wii. All casual. The PS2 especially, since it was more-or-less advertised as a DVD player. Broader appeal = more sales. Simple math really. The Wii didn't fail, it was a success. The Wii U, with it's much stronger hardcore focus, is failing because of it. Even Nintendo Land is too hardcore to attract the casual audience. You could say the Wii U has had just as much casual focus in terms of games as the 3DS, and you'd be right in a sense. The big difference is that the 3DS is a handheld. The Wii U is not. Even the Xbox one and PS4 are more casual focused at the moment with their multimedia features. The more casual system always wins the console wars.
 

Xiaphas

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...
We need clear, solid reasons for all our rules. When a kid asks "why is Norfair banned" at their first tournament, we need to be able to tell them why. It can't be "we don't like it," that means we've lost a smasher.
This.

For smash to thrive competitively, we're going to need rules, and probably stage bans. The casual/friendlies game of smash with items turned on and all stages available is always going to live on, but for people to respect Smash as a competitive game, it will need rules that make sense for balanced competitive play. Which means, RNG should have as little affect as possible on the outcome of the match UNLESS it is at the players choice (Such as Game&Watch's hammer). Additionally, for competitive smash to build an audience, spectators will need to be able to understand what they're watching with minimal exposure to the game.
 

Ryuutakeshi

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This.

For smash to thrive competitively, we're going to need rules, and probably stage bans. The casual/friendlies game of smash with items turned on and all stages available is always going to live on, but for people to respect Smash as a competitive game, it will need rules that make sense for balanced competitive play. Which means, RNG should have as little affect as possible on the outcome of the match UNLESS it is at the players choice (Such as Game&Watch's hammer). Additionally, for competitive smash to build an audience, spectators will need to be able to understand what they're watching with minimal exposure to the game.
Surprisingly, I find the best videos for viewing competitive smash bros as a new player are the ones without commentary or narration. You just get the characters (moving oddly but in ways you hadn't seen before) and nothing more. It looks really cool. When you add in the commentators, you add in the lingo. You get the odd phrasing and in jokes and comments about specific players you've never jeard of.

Don't get me wrong. I love it when a match is commentated. But when there's a voice there's that added element that a spectator has to process and any new player is going to be clueless about what is being said. Basically, the visual aspect is more likely to attract new people than anything else.

By the way, the obvious exception to this is when a video exists to purposefully break down what is being shown, pauses, and explains it. But that's not your typical competitive match.
 

Xiaphas

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Surprisingly, I find the best videos for viewing competitive smash bros as a new player are the ones without commentary or narration. You just get the characters (moving oddly but in ways you hadn't seen before) and nothing more. It looks really cool. When you add in the commentators, you add in the lingo. You get the odd phrasing and in jokes and comments about specific players you've never jeard of.

Don't get me wrong. I love it when a match is commentated. But when there's a voice there's that added element that a spectator has to process and any new player is going to be clueless about what is being said. Basically, the visual aspect is more likely to attract new people than anything else.

By the way, the obvious exception to this is when a video exists to purposefully break down what is being shown, pauses, and explains it. But that's not your typical competitive match.
I like having the announcers, I feel like it adds a layer of drama to the match. I was actually going to transition into saying that stages/items with confusing mechanics are what make the game less approachable for inexperienced spectators (rather than the addition of commentators) but it was turning into a ramble so I just cut it out.
 

Beats

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Surprisingly, I find the best videos for viewing competitive smash bros as a new player are the ones without commentary or narration. You just get the characters (moving oddly but in ways you hadn't seen before) and nothing more. It looks really cool. When you add in the commentators, you add in the lingo. You get the odd phrasing and in jokes and comments about specific players you've never jeard of.

Don't get me wrong. I love it when a match is commentated. But when there's a voice there's that added element that a spectator has to process and any new player is going to be clueless about what is being said. Basically, the visual aspect is more likely to attract new people than anything else.

By the way, the obvious exception to this is when a video exists to purposefully break down what is being shown, pauses, and explains it. But that's not your typical competitive match.
I've actually had an opposite experience myself. Before I was too familiar with the competitive scene, I started watching matches. The commentary definitely helped me understand why players did certain things or just what was going on in general. Admittedly, there were times when I had to go back and Google a term, but those weren't too often. Overall, I was never confused or overwhelmed, and the commentary added a positive learning opportunity.

I guess it depends on the commentator too. Some take the extra effort to make it easier to understand. But I also think that as a whole, commentary has been improving as the years have passed. E3 in particular, it was clear that the commentators were doing their best to make it appealing for everyone. We know that Smash 4 will bring in a whole influx of new people, and efforts are being made to accommodate for that. If the trend continues, which I suspect it will, I think all types of people will be able to appreciate commentary.
 

Ryuutakeshi

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As I said, these are just my experiences. I know that my girlfriend and a few friends have been confused by the commentary before if it started getting too technical but that doesn't mean it will be everyone's experience. But yes, I like the commentators as well (I think D1 is my favorite).
 

JamietheAuraUser

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As for the issue of stage discussion, I still think the idea of a sort of "reverse stage-striking" is an interesting one. It changes things up quite a bit because instead of having to learn 1 or 2 of your character's best stages, you have to learn all the stages your character can get an advantage on. But the biggest point is that it eliminates the 15-stage "cap" on legal stage lists. I've put a bit of thought into it and come up with the following. Keep in mind I'm not a competitive player, merely a casual of decent skill level who keeps one eye out on the competitive scene for things I can integrate into my own play.

You'd need at least a 4-stage "starter" list. Two flat+plat, and two not. Using Brawl examples, I was thinking Battlefield and Smashville would be two good starter stages, as they're pretty basic. The question then comes, how does one define a "basic" stage that is not flat+plat? It's an unusual concept, given that most stages we consider "basic" are considered such because they're flat+plat. As for the other two stages, I think Delfino Plaza might be a good choice for one of them.

Before the first match, each player gets 1 strike versus one of the initial 4 stages, followed by 2 additions. Striking is optional, but additions are not. That is, you can remove 1 stage from the initial 4, but you have to add 2 more afterwards. The players cannot use an addition to reintroduce a stage that was struck. This is why you need at least 4 stages in the initial stage list: to prevent the initial stage list from being struck down to 1 stage. The match begins on a random stage selected from the resulting stage list.

After the first match (and again after the second match), the loser gets to strike 1 stage from the current list if they so choose. Then, both players make 2 additions as before. Again, striking is optional, additions are mandatory, and you cannot use an addition to reintroduce a stage that has already been struck either this round or a previous round. Again, the match begins on a random stage selected from the resulting stage list.

The result is that instead of minimizing the chance of stages you don't want, you have to maximize the chances of stages you do want, and you have to know pretty much every stage your character has an advantage on and how to make use of it. Assuming the set goes to the third match and players use all striking opportunities, you have 12 stages in rotation for the final match.

Does this idea work for balance? I don't know, I'm not actually a competitive player. Maybe it's too randomized for players' tastes, or too randomized to be considered properly competitive. But I thought it was at least an interesting concept, so I'm posting it up here.
 
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Veggi

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The random thing is what gets people. This is my idea for a stage striking system that could easily be applied to the new game.

1.) The stage list starts off with Final Destination, Battlefield, and Smashville (as a placeholder for a Smash 4 equivalent). One of these stages could potentially still be an advantage or a disadvantage for a character though. Most characters like at least one of the three.

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.

The winner of round one can ban 1 stage that he doesn't like out of the 9 selectable for the set while all the other previously banned stages are unlocked for the loser, including his opponent's.

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.

Any criticisms/contributions?
 
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pizzapie7

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Well if you're going to tell me not to ask who I'm basically obligated to ask who.

Think I found it though http://smashboards.com/threads/proposed-ruleset-for-smash-4-tournaments.339622/

I definitely see where he's coming from though. History does repeat itself, and no matter where we start at the beginning and no matter how open minded we are, the stage list is going to shrink. An argument can be made to not experiment altogether because in all likelihood it's going to fail.
 
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Johnknight1

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Well if you're going to tell me not to ask who I'm basically obligated to ask who.

Think I found it though http://smashboards.com/threads/proposed-ruleset-for-smash-4-tournaments.339622/

I definitely see where he's coming from though. History does repeat itself, and no matter where we start at the beginning and no matter how open minded we are, the stage list is going to shrink. An argument can be made to not experiment altogether because in all likelihood it's going to fail.
Yep, that's it.

And I agree with dang near all of it as a pre-release opinion.

However, you gotta be willing to be flexible based on what the game actually plays like, as well as what the game actually is.

Then you can make the full final assessment.
 

#HBC | Red Ryu

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HugS made a thread in response to one of the worst active posters on the Smash 4 Boards (don't ask me who) about stage legality.

Someone should dig it up.
I was with him til he said this,

1. Is there **** that could kill you without directly coming from your opponent's body? Banned.
Halberd isn't even that intrusive and gives you a clear warning for stuff like that. Only stage in Brawl I know that is still legal with this kind of stuff but I don't think stage hazard = instant ban. Depends what it is and what it does.
 

JamietheAuraUser

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There's always gonna be "**** that can kill you without directly coming from your opponent's body". Battlefield in Melee has super death ledges that characters just randomly refuse to grab, for instance. Getting pitfalled by DK's Side Special on Smashville's moving platform can theoretically kill you if your % is high enough. (insert graspingatstraws.jpg here)

Also, does that ban Palutena because of Explosive Flame? It doesn't come directly from anywhere on her person, after all. :troll:
 
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Clavaat

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Halberd isn't even that intrusive and gives you a clear warning for stuff like that. Only stage in Brawl I know that is still legal with this kind of stuff but I don't think stage hazard = instant ban. Depends what it is and what it does.
Isn't Corneria legal? It used to be at least. The big laser would kill you, but the smaller ones could contribute to your loss, but that was OK. Not really that cut and dry at all. Generally, I agree, though.
 

Overswarm

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Apologies for the delayed response. ****, as they say, went down.



I'm glad we can agree that more people is better. I do know you belong to the camp of "learn it even if you don't want to" but I'm now of the camp that if the burden of learning is too high I know those stages will never be chosen and eventually banned. Using Pictochat as another example, the burden of learning for that stage was simply too high.

Unrelated, I was out of the scene when Halberd was being banned and I'd love to know why it was. I know it had a few unsavory elements like MK "sharking" but I'd be surprised if that was why it was banned.
Virtually very banned stage was banned because it wasn't flat/plat, no joke. People always had some sort of complaint, typically revolving around Meta Knight. Sharking was a big deal on Halberd. Surprisingly, Halberd and Delfino were MK's best stages. He actually did poorly on the stages people thought he did amazing on; his best results came from flat/plat stages most of the time, the exceptions being Halberd/Delfino.

The correct solution to people complaining about a unique feature of the stage is "get over it". The 'burden of learning' isn't something that should be considered a chore. If you picked up Melee for the first time right now and were told you needed to learn how to waveland on platforms, the correct response isn't "that's dumb, just ban stages with platforms".

It doesn't matter if an individual doesn't pick it. It matters if an individual can't pick it. If someone chooses not to learn it then that is their personal choice. If someone CAN'T pick it, it's someone else's personal choice that altered it for them.

More importantly, it affects balance. Saying "Pictochat has nothing wrong with it, but it's too hard to learn. Banned." drastically changes the environment for every character in the game and arbitrarily decides which ones will be good! That's bad.


I do think this is more along the lines of the "build it and they will come" reasoning rather than the stagelist. I wish we were better at data mining and actually had people writing down what stages they went to. Like, a quick 3 checkboxes after a match on a sheet to tell us what stages people actually used.
We did this with MLG; I plan on doing it with Smash 4 circuit events as well.



"Better" is subjective.
No it isn't. "Better result" meant "better result for me". If someone said "hey, want to agree to smashville?" I struck smashville first and they got screwed over because they were noobs that only knew how to play on one stage.



I'll be honest, I don't hate this idea. Like, it takes away autonomy from the player and removes originality and choice a lot of the time but it isn't horrible. Might be worth running a couple small tournaments with the idea and see how it flies. Before that happens there should be
It has some issues, but isn't horrible. The biggest issue is that there can be a situation where a matchup is almost solely determined by the first stage (!) because there is no such thing as a neutral and never has been. If we were doing this in Brawl and made any round FD first, it's basically a free win for an IC player. If we had a round start on a stage like Battlefield then some characters wouldn't notice and ROB would get destroyed as Battlefield was one of his worst stages. That could be ugly.



And/or the core audience of the competitive scene we're discussing right now.

Don't pull a Nintendo. Nintendo aleinated the core audience who bought their games their whole lives and decided to cater towards an audience that only casually enjoyed games. The Wii failed because of that, and the Wii U continues to suffer for the same reason.
What? The Wii was the most successful console by like a million miles.

You can't have it both ways. If you want a giant tournament with whatever people want goes, then you're going to have a logically inconsistent ruleset. Period. There is no middle ground. People aren't logically consistent with their choices, especially in a group.

Why is Final Destination a starter? It has consistently been one of the most extreme counterpicks since Melee. This is common knowledge. It's a starter because it's flat and people said "this is good".

It's not good. It's stupid. It exists because there's no logical consistency to it.


You used to be able to get away with saying this, but "stale' gameplay will now DIRECTLY BE REFLECTED in viewership of tournaments. Tournaments are going to be a much bigger deal now that streaming is so popular. People will watch Smash. Lets not make them watch what the majority of people find to be boring just because its "subjective." Thats how you lose hype fast.
I care very little about large viewerships on twitch or whatever streaming site of the month is. People get excited about streaming because they are all super excited about the idea of "hype", but the ability to have a game be fun to "watch" is secondary to having a game be fun competitively.

Brawl had large stream numbers for all its major events and people that were Melee fans complained it was "too boring". They don't have to like the game. Others do!

If you want to make a ruleset centered around viewership then you just need a girls in bathing suits cheering section as a mandatory aspect to the stream and other random BS.


Consistantly large with different people. We're talking about creating something that is consistantly large with regular attendees or people who will become regular attendees.
I don't know where you got your numbers from, but we had mostly the same entrants in Brawl. We had the initial chunk leave due to MK that dropped events down to the 30-40 range, but after that it boosted up again and stayed pretty consistent in OH.


I completely disagree with all statements here. More viewers on stream and more entrants MATTERS. Quite a bit now. In fact, I'd argue that the sole measures of success of a tournament is its exposure/attendance (and I guess its successful resolution). I think we SHOULD make a game that is interesting, friendly, and deep. But WHY or for WHO is what matters here.
It doesn't matter at all. It really, really doesn't.


Character specific vs universal. Big difference between the two, I'd say.
Okay, "why would you ban something like pictochat in brawl which has spikes you can throw your opponent into, but not ban Final Destination that doesn't have a platform you can recover to".

Something being character specific or not doesn't really matter. It happens. If you go to FD as Fox and your opponent is Marth, you will be chain grabbed, often to 0-death or close to it. It being limited to Marth is irrelevant. It happens. It's a factor in the stage that is ridiculously common.


You note this interesting and deep diversity between stages that are all of a specific genre. Yet still quote the need for increased diversity on top of that. Are these stages not a sufficient variety?

What stages do you think should be still in Melee to make it more interesting? Mute City?
No, they are not of sufficient variety. I played in the grand finals of a Melee tournament yesterday and won easily because I played Marth and Fox. The stage list is so small that there were no bans. Battlefield, FD, Dreamland, Fountain of Dreams, Pokemon Stadium, Yoshi's Island.

In a 5 game set there is only one stage you don't go to.

The CP list is literally set in stone for you. Even if you TRY to deviate the amount you deviate can only be by one stage.

The stage list is so small a TO couldn't even do a best of 7.

I'd need to play more Melee to test, but from when I've played I've seen nothing wrong with Jungle Japes, Brinstar, Mute City, or Kongo 64. Those would be the first 4 I'd test.



I think you're going with a slippery slope argument here. Just because I'm saying what people want is important, things like banning characters or banning strategies is different. That said, I don't believe that banning D3's standing infinites was truly the reason people were complaining about things like that.
It wasn't the result, it was what legitimized it. The correct response to "ban D3's standing infinites" is the same response you should give to something that says "ban Marth's chain grab on Falco" -- "Pick a different character or adapt". Instead, people banned it for some reason.

What people want is and always will be irrelevant to making a good competitive game. It's why Items aren't on in tournaments and its why we charge venue fees. We know they aren't popular choices and we could get bigger events otherwise, but they'd be bad events.


Again, I don't really know how much stage selection really adds to the depth of the game unless the stage striking list is more diverse. If the first stage almost always ends on a neutral
It adds a ton of depth because it makes or breaks character viability.

do they get stale? I'd argue that a much bigger factor to it becoming stale was not the stage selection but the dwindling character selection that was a bigger deal in the stagnation of Melee. I, for one, get VERY hype over unusual or new characters. When I saw Armada go Young Link? You can bet I stopped whatever I was doing to watch that set even more than his other sets. If he went Pokefloats or something instead? I think it'd be funny but I wouldn't really be paying much attention.
Stage selection is directly correlated with what characters are viable.

You get hype when Young Link comes around? Young Link could do some serious damage on Kongo Jungle or Pokefloats.

You know WHY you don't see Young Link? Because he has no where to go.

Marth vs. YL is in Marth's favor on all of the available stages. ALL OF THEM. This means if you want to play YL you start at a disadvantage. Marth vs. YL on Kongo Jungle 64 could very well be in YL's favor due to the extra space YL is given.

When you shrink the stage list, you shrink teh characters available. Go look back at Brawl tournaments early on, then look at the results as time goes on. There is a direct correlation between the amount of stages available and the amount of characters successfully played.



Did it really? Did those players quit because of MK who never had a huge presence in the Midwest? Was it the stages being banned? I'm not sure how you can tell exactly why these players left. It could have been as simple as that they were not getting better so they stopped coming, or didn't make any friends. You're assuming you know why they quit through correlations not causation.
I know because I asked them. I still hang out with some of those players outside of smash events; I just went caving with Crash not too long ago.

"Hey, why don't you play Brawl anymore?"

"Because I can't play the character I want to play", "Meta Knight", etc.

It's not a guess. I asked, repeatedly. "Why'd you stop coming to tournaments" was answered with "MK" in the cincy area.

Yes. And how do we get those cash bonuses? Sponsors. How do we get sponsors? Increased exposure and viewership of our tournaments.
Could be.


Playing with language here, you know what I mean even if you disagree with my usage of the terminology.
No way, eff that. If you say "neutral", you're wrong. It's not a 'you know what I mean' word. People use it all the time and they mean it. They actually do not understand that the stage isn't neutral. They think unless there's something deliberately obvious (like Marth CGing on FD) that it's completely even when they use the term neutral. People took Diddy Kong to Smashville for years first roudn because "it's a neutral". It wasn't. It was Diddy's 2nd best counterpick after FD and was closely followed by Battlefield.

Don't use the word "neutral".

Interesting point. I'd say you switch to your own second if they try with their second on an usual stage.
Hooray depth.


I still think we had a good idea with making the ruleset of "acceptable starter stages" "acceptable CP stages" and TOs can pick/choose from these stages to make the tournament they want.
We could.


Before the game came out, yes. But it seems like Sakurai's standard is items off, FD only.
There has already been several Smash 4 tournaments and gameplay opportunities; they're all FFA with items on a random stage until you get to the finals, then it is 1v1 Battlefield with no items.


Because people aren't logically consistent and they say things like "we need more viewers for our stream" and "that's dumb".
 

RunawayPanda

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I definitely still have high hopes for the new game since I'm hoping it'll bring back some former brawl stars back into the scene and with that people will definitely follow.
Plus a new wave of people will take a sudden interest in the game giving us more people to figure out the game and maybe speed up or slow down the game speed.
I don't think that the sdcc was a good way to gauge how high our hopes would be for the new game, since a lot of the player didn't really seem all that competitive, except a few. The tournament started in free for all with items for christ's sake, we can't judge it off that!
Plus from what I've seen, the character balancing seem a bit better than it has been in the past. I'm still thinking there'll be characters that are semi-dominant over the others, but it seems like more characters are viable, but I need to see more at least mid level players face off with all the characters to be completely sure of that.
I'm mostly just happy that there will be a new game for me, since I came from brawl first
 

infomon

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I still think we had a good idea with making the ruleset of "acceptable starter stages" "acceptable CP stages" and TOs can pick/choose from these stages to make the tournament they want.
I'm okay with this plan, but the communication matters.

Remember back when the SBR ruleset had a "Counter/Ban" section, and the ruleset said: "The TO can decide if these are CPs or if they're banned, on a per-stage basis"? I went to two unrelated Brawl tournaments, in different regions, that used the SBR ruleset.... and included that clause verbatim in their rules. The TO just copy/pasted vanilla without reading. So during the tournament we didn't know which stages were allowed, while the TO was preoccupied with running the tournament.

This is why it matters to have a clear, easy-to-use ruleset. Let's not blame the TO, we need their job to be as easy as possible. They should be able to copy-paste, though it's ok to sanction some additional options for tweaking it.

An external-communications editor for the backroom could have caught this sort of ruleset-usability problem.

I think it's appropriate and correct for the backroom to publish a ruleset that tolerates "uncertainty": "Japes is allowed, but the TO may choose to ban it." The default needs to be clear.

Probably the best thing is for the SBR ruleset to permit anything that isn't known ban-worthy. This should make it easy for TOs: "SBR ruleset minus Japes", if they so choose. Or they could just stop being scrubby and take the whole SBR list :)
 
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BRoomer
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I'm kind of against a Back Room of any kind (you know... except THE BackRoom) I think the sudo-secretive meeting of any back room are going to cause a lot of... distrust. It makes the community as a whole feel like thier incites, opinions, and ideas aren't valid.

Also @ infomon infomon that TO was lazy, lol. He should of had that stuff set up before he posted the thread.
 

infomon

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Two. Two TOs were lazy. Except it's not lazy at all -- they're running a tournament, that's the opposite of lazy. They are busy.

The whole point of a ruleset is to make it easy for TOs to run fair, awesome tournaments. Anything we can do to help them in that regard is awesome. We need a community ruleset so we can proclaim: "It's dangerous to go alone, take this!"

TOs shouldn't even be expected to have familiarity with the game. There are many roles in running a tournament, dealing with gameplay details is not the most important.
 

DeLux

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See, my experiences don't match that. Delux hosts tournaments locally with 9 starters as the only legal stages; he runs FD/BF/YI(B)/SV/Lylat/PS1/Delfino/Siege/Rainbow Cruise. I've attended I think 3 of his events, and between them, I've struck down in tournament to every stage on that list at least once other than FD and SV for the sole reason that I strike them 100% of the time (both stages just plain suck for G&W). Right from the start, I know the "it turns out the same every time" thing isn't true because I find game one when I strike is played on a huge variety of stages with 9 starters. If you had a decently sized tournament (let's say 32 man), I'd be really surprised if any 9 stage starter list wouldn't have at least one game one in the tournament played on every stage, and I think the more familiar people get with a stage ruleset, the more inclined they are to use all of it. Even if one stage was really never picked, it has an influence for being there just because one person is striking it instead of something else which has a very signfiicant impact on the results.

As per the time issue, that's why it can't be a really huge list. Delux's tournaments, again direct and recent experience, have shown me that striking from 9 starters is actually really fast (it was also fast back in the day; MO held a few 9 starter tournaments as I recall) since picking a stage to strike is not actually a difficult decision and thus can be made pretty quickly. I think it's so fast that the tolerance is probably higher; 11 would definitely work too, 13 probably works, and 15 has a chance to work though it's beginning to push it. I'm pretty sure 17 won't work so assuming my grasp on the time this would take is solid we can conclude that 15 is the absolute upper limit (though that probably needs some experimentation). So yeah, there is a numeric limit to how big our stage list can be with pure striking, but I think we can have a decent pool with this approach.

I actually think this is kinda tied into the other problem you brought up with what's going to be popular enough to fly in the long run over a large group. I do think you underestimate the size of the minority that loves incredible stage diversity (people like Overswarm and I who love all our stages are really not that rare), but even among the more average masses, I've talked to such a huge number of competitive smashers who list their favorite Brawl stage not as something like Smashville but instead as Delfino Plaza. I think the average view is that stages changing the gameplay from the pre-conceived normal "too much" is bad but "some" is actually highly desirable. If we go with a pure striking procedure, the numeric limit of how far we can push it to be time practical and the number of stages we're likely to get that fall into that "some" category are probably going to have a pretty good overlap so by using those two ideas together could get us a good stage list that would make everyone happy. Like among the new stages from having played the demo, I can tell you with real confidence that Wily's Castle is definitely a completely legitimate competitive stage, but I can also tell you that it will never be widely accepted among the competitive community so we can probably pretty much rule it out. Mushroom Kingdom U is a dynamic stage (considerably more dynamic than Wily's really), but I think it has the potential to be a very well-loved stage that also adds some very serious gameplay diversity so it's a strong candidate to include.

It's hard to rigorously list the qualifies a stage must have to be a candidate for both competitively meritorious play and popular acceptance by the community, but I think I can come up with a few good starting points...

1. The stage can't actually be severely random (like WarioWare) or competitively degenerate (like hard loop stages). Everyone already agrees we need to ban these stages.
2. Stages focused around permanent walk-offs are not going to fly; most people are just too uncomfortable with the loss of the off-stage game. Temporary walk-offs on transforming stages are not really a problem.
3. Stage hazards are okay in small doses and not in large doses. The most important thing about them is frequency and warning. That's why stages like Halberd are pretty okay (the hazards don't come that often and are very easy to avoid) and extending to smash 4 Mushroom Kingdom U (ridiculously huge telegraphs on all hazards) but stages like Norfair are always going to be widely hated by a lot of people and extending to smash 4 Wily's Castle would never be loved.
4. Stage movement is generally okay, but if dealing with the movement itself is a large part of gameplay, a large segment will hate it. Rainbow Cruise and Poke Floats were legal in Melee for years showing some tolerance for this point, but there's definitely a very large chunk of the competitive community that just can't accept stages like that so it may be best to have some real trepidation on including them (stages like Rumble Falls that are even more severe, of course, are super hated). On the other hand, stages like Delfino that shift around "in place" are not really a problem at all and a vast majority of players greatly appreciate the inclusion of those stages.
5. Stages with unusual geography such that severely non-traditional tactics are dominant are going to be disliked. I think the main reason Corneria was so hated in Brawl was simply that there were a lot of powerful ledge gimmicks with the fin. Luigi's Mansion is a super awesome stage from a strategic standpoint, but the gameplay there is extremely non-traditional and thus the stage is very widely despised.

Beyond that, diversity being maximized is pretty much a good thing. Perhaps these criteria could be refined; in fact, I'm sure of it. This is just my experience from having known many people over the years and having been really focused on stages the whole time. It kinda pains me to say some of that because, to be honest; Norfair is my favorite stage in Brawl, playing on all kinds of crazy stages is overwhelmingly satisfying to me as a player, I strongly feel that almost all of these non-traditional stages are actually fair, and in general I think almost all of the gameplay claims Overswarm is making are pretty much correct and that there's a lot of ignorance about how most stages play. In the end though, I do have to agree with your basic position that we have to be practical about making things work for the whole community, and I know the way I feel is fringe and that being correct about claims about how widely hated stages actually play is not that big of a victory. I do strongly feel though that going too far and cutting stages down too much has actually happened in both Melee and Brawl and that in the long run most people would be happier with more. With Brawl in particular, I think it's actually a significantly worse game with 5 legal stages than it would be otherwise since 5 is just plain too few and it skews the game toward certain characters significantly, and I definitely don't want smash 4 to end up with really restrictive stage rules that make it a legimately worse game as I feel happened with Brawl.

I just want to add to speculation on AA's part, but we've also struck from 13 stages in a 1-2-2-2-2-2-1 and did stage bans in a 1-2-2-2-1 fashion without large impacts on tournament length for 16 man sized tournaments.

Big Blue was legal and used very often ;)
 

BRoomer
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I just want to add to speculation on AA's part, but we've also struck from 13 stages in a 1-2-2-2-2-2-1 and did stage bans in a 1-2-2-2-1 fashion without large impacts on tournament length for 16 man sized tournaments.

Big Blue was legal and used very often ;)
Could you go into more detail?
 

Overswarm

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I'm kind of against a Back Room of any kind (you know... except THE BackRoom) I think the sudo-secretive meeting of any back room are going to cause a lot of... distrust. It makes the community as a whole feel like thier incites, opinions, and ideas aren't valid.

Also @ infomon infomon that TO was lazy, lol. He should of had that stuff set up before he posted the thread.
Most of the community opinions and ideas aren't valid. That's because most of them are unfounded. This doesn't mean people in a back room have opinions that are more valid, just that they are expected to. Sadly many did not.
 

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Most of the community opinions and ideas aren't valid. That's because most of them are unfounded. This doesn't mean people in a back room have opinions that are more valid, just that they are expected to. Sadly many did not.
I was actually chatting with a buddy of mine about this. How do we define whats valid and what isn't? And more importantly how do we prove it? And then how do you sift through the valid ideas?

My fear is that a group of respected players start to favor, or ban rules that cater to their version of whats fun. "Well this chain grab isn't fun for me to watch..." "Well this stage is fun for my character."
Instead of looking at what is or is not unreasonable as a whole. "Ice climbers have a 100% win rate at every tournament for the past 4 months... maybe we need to figure out why? and modify the ruleset to change it?" or "This stage Transfroms randomly and without warning instantly killing (or doing 50 damage) to anyone standing in a hot spot... maybe it has lived past its life expectancy."

The smaller a pool of players "making the choices" the less diverse the opinions are going to be. ESPECIALLY when it is don't in such a way the the majority of the community has no insight into the thoughts and discussions of the group. That's why I so against a SWBR/S3DSBR.

My hope is that in a larger forum the best, or at least, the most well constructed arguments will rise to the top and everyone who wants to give input or react to input will have a chance to do so. But that isn't what happened with Brawl so... I don't know what this game will be like.
 

Overswarm

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I was actually chatting with a buddy of mine about this. How do we define whats valid and what isn't? And more importantly how do we prove it? And then how do you sift through the valid ideas?
It's easy and something I actually agree vehemently on with @Umbreon -- you decide openly what you're fighting for. After that, you're results oriented. I don't care what "fun" is unless my goal is "have the most fun".

If someone says the most important thing to them is "fun" but they ban items because they don't want randomness, then what they want isn't "fun". It's "I want to have an enjoyable experience without randomization". You find contradictions like that all the time -- it's not because people are stupid, it's because they don't articulate what they want.

If someone says "I want to see who is best at Smash brothers and, to me, Smash brothers is fighting with 4 stock 8 minute timer and no items on only flat stages with platforms and also FD" then things like "fun" and "character viability" and the like are irrelevant. Occasionally you'll have to revisit your desires when new information comes into play and sometimes the results of your actions aren't intended, but those are the breaks.

My fear is that a group of respected players start to favor, or ban rules that cater to their version of whats fun. "Well this chain grab isn't fun for me to watch..." "Well this stage is fun for my character."
They already do that. They DID do that. Melee had a lot of stages for years, it wasn't until the veeeeeeery very end (post brawl) when the Melee community was basically dead that the only players left were the flat/plat people. same thing happened in Brawl. Community starts to die, people ban 'lame' stages, stage list shrinks.

How do they decide what is lame? They just go based off instinct. It isn't logically consistent because there are multiple parties.

Typically the biggest thing you'll find is that mobility isn't enjoyable to most people, either to play or watch. I personally enjoy mobility quite a bit. If I can run away and outspace your attacks for 8 minutes I should win. That's not to say it isn't possible for you to hit me -- it's just an area that gives me an opportunity to outsmart you.

A good example of this is Kongo Jungle in Melee (both of them). Peach cannot beat Fox on Kongo Falls (one with rock) because peach can't catch Fox on the top two platforms. G&W cannot beat Falco on Kongo Jungle (barrel) because he can't catch him. If you try, Falco has multiple opportunities to fly from plat to plat. Any aerial approach results in lasers.

Those are extreme versions. What about something like Meta Knight vs. Kirby on Delfino Plaza in Brawl? It's incredibly difficult for Kirby to aerially chase anyone. You even saw this in Smash 4 on Battlefield vs. ZSS. I personally beat YbM multiple times just by camping in the air because it was easier than fighting him head on.

This kind of stuff is mind breaking in how complex it is so I won't go into it, but you'll find that these situations typically result in stuff being banned. Planking, scrooging, stages, whatever. People naturally dislike mobility when it means they lose. Study community reaction to that and you'll figure out how people "cater to their version of whats fun".

Instead of looking at what is or is not unreasonable as a whole. "Ice climbers have a 100% win rate at every tournament for the past 4 months... maybe we need to figure out why? and modify the ruleset to change it?" or "This stage Transfroms randomly and without warning instantly killing (or doing 50 damage) to anyone standing in a hot spot... maybe it has lived past its life expectancy."

The smaller a pool of players "making the choices" the less diverse the opinions are going to be. ESPECIALLY when it is don't in such a way the the majority of the community has no insight into the thoughts and discussions of the group. That's why I so against a SWBR/S3DSBR.

My hope is that in a larger forum the best, or at least, the most well constructed arguments will rise to the top and everyone who wants to give input or react to input will have a chance to do so. But that isn't what happened with Brawl so... I don't know what this game will be like.
The 'best' arguments don't rise to the top.

Wobbling has shown itself to be a non-issue but players still have strong feelings on it.

Meta Knight was voted banned multiple times in multiple venues and for good reason... and a group of TOs said "no way" and Brawl became a chore that dwindled on the vine.

PM has a list of dozens of viable stages (kudos to the PM team on the stage variety), yet people like TKBreezy can't make a balanced stage list to save their life.

What you want is a back room with a small amount of players that are all focused on the same goal. A "mission statement" if you will that describes in detail what they're doing. Unfortunately there are no checks/balances in place so it'd be hard to do that.

I meant the BBR was a complete waste because it was lead by popular vote and had random affirmative action stuff that brought in people from other countries 'just because'. Hell, Umbreon was in the BBR for a long time and he barely played the game -- let alone like it.

You want a small group of people working towards the game's best interests... but those interests have to be defined.
 
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