Official Competitive Character Impressions 2.0

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Krysco

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Just saw a pretty neat video of something that I assume isn't common knowledge
TL;DW you're able to have full control of your aerial drift while using the C stick for aerials if you have the C stick input for the 2nd and/or 3rd frame of jumpsquat and that's it. Essentially flicking the C stick rather than holding it. Allows for better spacing with more drift and a larger OoS punish range with uairs and dairs.
 

AxelVDP

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EDIT: As an aside, Tekken is wayyy more consistent than smash will ever hope to be if we’re talking about tier list placements, character performance, balance patches, and general meta. The same is true of pretty much every current fighting game not named SFV.
I'm not here to argue that "smash is the best fighting game ever", but you mist be kind of blind if you don't see consistency in smash games. Melee first with Ken, then with the "gods" that dominated the scene uncontested for a long time, Smash4 with ZeRo whom has achieved the longest winning streaks in fighting game history, Ultimate with Leo who, if he does not win, gets second at worst. I'm not that well versed in 64 and Brawl but I believe even 64 had had long periods of dominance by Isai, and iirc early Brawl was dominated by m2k.
I do believe that it's a player consistency that shows how "competitive" a game is (a game is competitive when the best player wins afterall), not how balanced the characters are or anything of the sort (if it were, why is Rock Paper Scissor not the pinnacle of competitive games?) (and even in character balance, I'd argue that smash fares just as well as other fighting games, and with Ultimate specifically I don't think many other fighting games have reached such levels of balance)
Again, not arguing that Smash is the best ever, there would be much more to discuss to argue such a statement (which ultimately is largely subjective anyway), just saying that you are underselling the games.


I do agree that the game should reward you if you put in the work (ie: using technical characters for example), though the extent of this reward is something that needs to be balanced itself
 
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Raito's tier list. It is not ordered.

blackghost blackghost I know your opinion on Bayo but this seems overkill
i see im building a rep on here for better or worse.

Yeah i do think her placement is a bit extreme. I dont think she should be in a lower entire tier than characters in D tier. But raito plays duck hunt and mains always influence tier lists. (GO look at his banjo placement).
That being siad puff is too low with these new changes, mewtwo is heavily underplayed due to a false reputation imo.

Bayonetta is not worse than kirby, inecinaraor, mii swordifghter, or DK. DeeDee i honestly have no idea if she's better or not i can present evidence for either side. K rool does sit at the worst character in the game imo.
 
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you mist be kind of blind if you don't see consistency in smash games. Melee first with Ken, then with the "gods" that dominated the scene uncontested for a long time, Smash4 with ZeRo whom has achieved the longest winning streaks in fighting game history, Ultimate with Leo who, if he does not win, gets second at worst. I'm not that well versed in 64 and Brawl but I believe even 64 had had long periods of dominance by Isai, and iirc early Brawl was dominated by m2k.
First issue here, for some reason you equate a game’s competitiveness with the consistency of the players and not the actual mechanics and meta itself, which is odd, to say the least. The players’ ability to play the game at a consistently high level really doesn’t have jack squat to do with the competitiveness of the game. If anything, a turbulent history of player consistency would imply a more competitive game as it suggests that the sphere of high level players is larger, meaning more competition. If one guy stays dominant for a long time it shows there's really no competition, right?



even in character balance, I'd argue that smash fares just as well as other fighting games, and with Ultimate specifically I don't think many other fighting games have reached such levels of balance
Sigh. UNIST Evo 2019: 2 Mika’s (2nd worst character in the game) in top 8 and an Enkidu places 3rd (worst character). Tekken 7 Evo 2016, Panda player wins it all against a Devil Jin (one of the worst characters vs undeniably the best at that time). GGXX ACR: The best NA player at the moment is a Bridgett main (one of the worst characters in the game). GGXRD Rev 2: The worst character in that game (Potemkin) is B- tier and arguably the 3rd worst character (Axl Low) won the summer jam super major. A Kum player (contends for one of the worst in the game) wins a supermajor with a steering wheel controller. Now, wanna find me some records of who generally won the smash events and with what character? I’m not hating on Smash, but this game is an unbalanced mess compared to the iron forged fighting games that have been perfected over a period of time that dwarfs the age of the average smash player.

just saying that you are underselling the games.
I am not underselling the games, if anything you guys are overselling this series when pretty much every good aspect about it is the result of an accident or community based action. There are fighting games out there that have been figuring out a working formula for game design before smash 64 was even thought of. Nintendo (and you all as well) would do well to take a few pointers from the companies and people who have been doing this a lot longer.

EDIT: As an aside to balance, the fact that in recent fighting game tier lists the worst placement you will see for a character is C- versus Smash Ultimate’s E and F tiers should tell you something about its balance and how it holds up to other games.
 
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Rizen

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First issue here, for some reason you equate a game’s competitiveness with the consistency of the players and not the actual mechanics and meta itself, which is odd, to say the least. The players’ ability to play the game at a consistently high level really doesn’t have jack squat to do with the competitiveness of the game. If anything, a turbulent history of player consistency would imply a more competitive game as it suggests that the sphere of high level players is larger, meaning more competition. If one guy stays dominant for a long time it shows there's really no competition, right?





Sigh. UNIST Evo 2019: 2 Mika’s (2nd worst character in the game) in top 8 and an Enkidu places 3rd (worst character). Tekken 7 Evo 2016, Panda player wins it all against a Devil Jin (one of the worst characters vs undeniably the best at that time). GGXX ACR: The best NA player at the moment is a Bridgett main (one of the worst characters in the game). GGXRD Rev 2: The worst character in that game (Potemkin) is B- tier and arguably the 3rd worst character (Axl Low) won the summer jam super major. A Kum player (contends for one of the worst in the game) wins a supermajor with a steering wheel controller. Now, wanna find me some records of who generally won the smash events and with what character? I’m not hating on Smash, but this game is an unbalanced mess compared to the iron forged fighting games that have been perfected over a period of time that dwarfs the age of the average smash player.


I am not underselling the games, if anything you guys are overselling this series when pretty much every good aspect about it is the result of an accident or community based action. There are fighting games out there that have been figuring out a working formula for game design before smash 64 was even thought of. Nintendo (and you all as well) would do well to take a few pointers from the companies and people who have been doing this a lot longer.

EDIT: As an aside to balance, the fact that in recent fighting game tier lists the worst placement you will see for a character is C- versus Smash Ultimate’s E and F tiers should tell you something about its balance and how it holds up to other games.
You're not doing a very good job selling your point if you think "winning with a steering wheel controller" shows a game's more balanced than smash. But in general your issue is comparing apples to oranges. Smash is much more of a mobile platform fighter than most other fighting games. You have a whole other dimension of mobility, recovery and things associated with that. Ultimate's balance and formula for a fighting game is fine. It just isn't the traditional game you want.

Yeah the community has to make rules to make it competitive but so what? That shows the tools to do so are present yet the game includes a broader scope. Competitive smash rules are fairly well established with a few minor changes to the stage list. Again, it works fine. I suspect other games don't use every mode either.
 
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AxelVDP

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First issue here, for some reason you equate a game’s competitiveness with the consistency of the players and not the actual mechanics and meta itself, which is odd, to say the least. The players’ ability to play the game at a consistently high level really doesn’t have jack squat to do with the competitiveness of the game. If anything, a turbulent history of player consistency would imply a more competitive game as it suggests that the sphere of high level players is larger, meaning more competition. If one guy stays dominant for a long time it shows there's really no competition, right?
I see we have quite differing opinions, so instead of trying to discuss every point you made I'll try explaining my point of view first.
Yes, I do correlate (not necessarily equate) a player consistency to the "competitiveness" of the game. And in the same post I wrote a short reason of why I think that, which you omitted in your quote.
In general, how do you define "competitiveness"? As I said, something is competitive when the better players beat the lesser players. I think you'd agree with me that a game where a complete newbie can beat a veteran with tons of knowledge and skill on a fairly regular basis is not a very competitive one.
Even if you don't agree (I don't see how but alas), try to follow me on the next step in this reasoning.
Smash has by far the largest playerbase out of all fighting games. Which means that statistically there will be lots of amazing players (a very, very small % of the playerbase is actually amazing at the game, but with such a huge playerbase you are bound to have a handful of really amazing individuals) (and even if you don't believe in statistics (lol) just ask anybody if smash lacks a huge list of great competitors). What does it mean then if the very best player manages to still be consistent in such a scene? That the game rewards him for being better than the rest. Which means that the best player won against the lesser player. Which means the game is, in fact, competitive. I know I repeated the same thing 3 times, just wanted to make this point clear.
When the scene is super chaotic and turbulent as you described then that can mean several things: 1) that the game is not actually as competitive as you think it is (worst case scenario) 2) the game is still plenty competitive but all of the top players have similar skill levels (a person "skill level" fluctuates based on physical health, mood, etc so it's not so astounding that in a scene where players have small skill gaps can top each other out from time to time)
It only makes sense that the best player with the character with the best matchup in that particular occasion and with the matchup knowledge of the other characters/players wins consistently. It should be a positive.
Do games need to be complex to be competitive? No. Plenty of games manage to be competitive while still having extremely easy rules to understand. Just look at the board game "Go".
Do games need to be diverse and offer a breadth of option to be competitive? I'd still answer no. what matters most is the -depth- of the option you have available. Overcentralized games can still be plenty competitive. They might not be -fun- or exciting, but that's another topic.
As with most things, "competitiveness" is not a binary concept, some things may be more competitive than others. But how do you judge wether a mechanic affect competition positively in a game or what makes a game more competitive than another? I'd say neither you nor I have the competence to answer such questions objectively. Even professionals should have trouble answering stuff like this.
The best thing we can do is judge things a-posteriori by observing trends and the like. Player consistency is but one of these trends. So yes, I do believe that the fact that smash game have been historicaly so consistent for top players to be evidence of their "competitiveness".
edit: this is to say, even if smash developers don't really know how to make a competitive game, you can't change the reality that the smash series is still competitive.
 
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Ffamran

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A Kum player (contends for one of the worst in the game) wins a supermajor with a steering wheel controller.
Initial T, the player who used a steering wheel controller and who beat Dogura among others with it, more or less said he uses it like a regular DualShock controller.

There's also Greg, a Dragon Ball FighterZ player, who uses a piano keyboard and that's kind of like using a computer keyboard, a Hit Box, or a Mix Box. Keyboards and Hit Box or similar controllers are interesting since they do seem like they would be better and more ergonomic for movement since instead of using one hand or a thumb to control movement, you have four buttons and four fingers to control up, down, left, and right independently, but I digress. Other than for challenge reasons or maybe losing bets like the UNIST player with a Guitar Hero controller or people beating Dark Souls with all sorts of controllers, I think controllers are a personal preference or game by game, system by system thing. If I recall correctly, Luffy used a Playstation 1 controller, the original one without analog sticks, to compete in Street Fighter. Not sure if he does anymore. And I remember a video about controllers used during Evo or whatever and there was a guy who said the Xbox 360 controller was his choice and the D-pad on that thing isn't that great from what I remember using one.

As far as I know with Smash, almost all players play on gamepad with some variances depending on which Smash game. In particular, it's the GameCube controller that's the controller for Smash starting from Melee. To me, I think part of it is that there aren't as good of controllers or as many controller options, particularly fights sticks, on Nintendo consoles. Then there's the whole issue, "controversy" of using different controllers like the Smash Box and I remember there being a Smash fight stick sort of like the Cross|Up, but I don't remember who made them. It had an analog stick and a bunch of buttons.
 
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Sorry for the slow response time. WiFi woes.

You're not doing a very good job selling your point if you think "winning with a steering wheel controller" shows a game's more balanced than smash.
I mean sure, I can concede on the steering wheel controller bit but that feels a little nitpcicky to me when you have no rebuttal to my other evidence, namely everything I said before that sentence. My point still stands that Smash Ultimate is not as balanced as other games. This isn’t a terrible thing, but it can be a deal breaker for some.

But in general your issue is comparing apples to oranges. Smash is much more of a mobile platform fighter than most other fighting games. You have a whole other dimension of mobility, recovery and things associated with that. Ultimate's balance and formula for a fighting game is fine. It just isn't the traditional game you want.
Ultimate’s balance is not “fine” (or at least, not as fine as I assume you think it is). If it was, the tierlist wouldn’t look like it does. Though I must stress, I think what Smash Ultimate has going for it so far is really awesome and I love this game. In my criticism (which in hindsight does look more like naysaying than constructive criticism) all I meant to say is that Smash Ultimate could be an even better game if Nintendo took some pointers from other companies who have more experience in that field.

I see we have quite differing opinions, so instead of trying to discuss every point you made I'll try explaining my point of view first.
Yes, I do correlate (not necessarily equate) a player consistency to the "competitiveness" of the game. And in the same post I wrote a short reason of why I think that, which you omitted in your quote.
In general, how do you define "competitiveness"? As I said, something is competitive when the better players beat the lesser players. I think you'd agree with me that a game where a complete newbie can beat a veteran with tons of knowledge and skill on a fairly regular basis is not a very competitive one.
Even if you don't agree (I don't see how but alas), try to follow me on the next step in this reasoning.
Smash has by far the largest playerbase out of all fighting games. Which means that statistically there will be lots of amazing players (a very, very small % of the playerbase is actually amazing at the game, but with such a huge playerbase you are bound to have a handful of really amazing individuals) (and even if you don't believe in statistics (lol) just ask anybody if smash lacks a huge list of great competitors). What does it mean then if the very best player manages to still be consistent in such a scene? That the game rewards him for being better than the rest. Which means that the best player won against the lesser player. Which means the game is, in fact, competitive. I know I repeated the same thing 3 times, just wanted to make this point clear.
When the scene is super chaotic and turbulent as you described then that can mean several things: 1) that the game is not actually as competitive as you think it is (worst case scenario) 2) the game is still plenty competitive but all of the top players have similar skill levels (a person "skill level" fluctuates based on physical health, mood, etc so it's not so astounding that in a scene where players have small skill gaps can top each other out from time to time)
It only makes sense that the best player with the character with the best matchup in that particular occasion and with the matchup knowledge of the other characters/players wins consistently. It should be a positive.
Do games need to be complex to be competitive? No. Plenty of games manage to be competitive while still having extremely easy rules to understand. Just look at the board game "Go".
Do games need to be diverse and offer a breadth of option to be competitive? I'd still answer no. what matters most is the -depth- of the option you have available. Overcentralized games can still be plenty competitive. They might not be -fun- or exciting, but that's another topic.
As with most things, "competitiveness" is not a binary concept, some things may be more competitive than others. But how do you judge wether a mechanic affect competition positively in a game or what makes a game more competitive than another? I'd say neither you nor I have the competence to answer such questions objectively. Even professionals should have trouble answering stuff like this.
The best thing we can do is judge things a-posteriori by observing trends and the like. Player consistency is but one of these trends. So yes, I do believe that the fact that smash game have been historicaly so consistent for top players to be evidence of their "competitiveness".
edit: this is to say, even if smash developers don't really know how to make a competitive game, you can't change the reality that the smash series is still competitive.
Honestly I have to agree with you here. There are some specifics I disagree with but for the most part you are absolutely right that Smash Ultimate is a competitive game. The competitiveness of the game is (or should’ve been) outside the scope of my original argument. All I really meant to get at with my constant referral back to other fighting games is that Smash Ultimate could be improved if they took some inspiration from other games.
 

BitBitio

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Just saw a pretty neat video of something that I assume isn't common knowledge
TL;DW you're able to have full control of your aerial drift while using the C stick for aerials if you have the C stick input for the 2nd and/or 3rd frame of jumpsquat and that's it. Essentially flicking the C stick rather than holding it. Allows for better spacing with more drift and a larger OoS punish range with uairs and dairs.
You know, I wonder if Marth might be able to take more advantage of this than anyone. If mastered, he could be better than Lucina with this.
 

Idon

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You know, I wonder if Marth might be able to take more advantage of this than anyone. If mastered, he could be better than Lucina with this.
Eh, doubt it. Helps him space better but the actual concern of actually managing to get kills consistently in this game is still gonna be the main issue.
 
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Rizen

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Sorry for the slow response time. WiFi woes.



I mean sure, I can concede on the steering wheel controller bit but that feels a little nitpcicky to me when you have no rebuttal to my other evidence,
What "evidence"? You haven't proved anything. Cherry picking examples of bad characters winning various other games says nothing about Ultimate's balance being worse. I could say MKLeo used Ike to win a super major and he's now 48th on Orion stats. Or Brood's performance with Plant.

You say that Ultimate's tier list going down letters past C tier is bad balance but Ultimate doesn't even have an official tier list. If you stick around in this thread you'll see all manners of different tier lists placing characters all over. We can't even make an official tier list because it's so subjective and getting patched a lot. Some people say Ganon's high tier others say he's the worst in the game.
And the game has 74 characters, which is more than most fighting games. The more characters you have the more tiers you need. Like I said, you're comparing apples to oranges. A game with 20 or even 40 characters is easier to put into less tiers than a game with 74.

If you want to talk about balance you talk about match ups. The bad characters in this game don't have horrible MUs like -3s and -4s. Even Plant and Bowser Jr have shown to get good placements and keep up with top tiers. We've seen Nairo's Ganon beat Light's Fox. You can't sleep on anyone in this game. The gap between the bad and best characters is fairly small, much smaller than say Brawl which had realistically unwinnable MUs. That's not to say some characters aren't better than others of course.
 
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When from what I’ve seen people mention Ultimate being well balanced it’s in relation to

A. Other smash games
B. Character diversity and overall strength

Ultimate by far is the most balanced Smash game we’ve had so far, it doesn’t take much to see that. In the grand scheme of things no it’s not as balanced as other fighting games but smash is not like other fighting games. It’s designed around many various stage layouts, items, more than 2 players fighting simultaneously, etc. it’s not like a traditional fighting game in the sense your only balancing around 1 on 1s and because of that you can’t achieve balance the same way you would in other fighting games. The community had to come up with many restrictions to how you could play to get it to a point it had semblance of a balanced game. So I definitely see the point in saying Ultimate isn’t balanced compared to other fighting games but this is an actual apples to oranges situation you can’t do a 1:1 comparison.


The game is coming up on it’s one year anniversary soon, just looking at the meta we still have a pretty diverse selection of characters commonly seen making good placements at big events most people can tell you who the better characters are but no one can get any consensus order of even the top tiers. That’s very much unlike the other smash games at this same time period and that’s with factoring in we live in the internet age with forums, guides and WiFi play that allows for information sharing and meta development to occur much faster than it did 10-20 years ago.
 

J0eyboi

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EDIT: As an aside to balance, the fact that in recent fighting game tier lists the worst placement you will see for a character is C- versus Smash Ultimate’s E and F tiers should tell you something about its balance and how it holds up to other games.
Um

You're aware that tier names are almost completely arbitrary, right?

Also,
Ultimate’s balance is not “fine” (or at least, not as fine as I assume you think it is). If it was, the tierlist wouldn’t look like it does. Though I must stress, I think what Smash Ultimate has going for it so far is really awesome and I love this game. In my criticism (which in hindsight does look more like naysaying than constructive criticism) all I meant to say is that Smash Ultimate could be an even better game if Nintendo took some pointers from other companies who have more experience in that field.
Smash Ultimate's balance team is mostly made up of industry veterans who work at Bamco. Some of them have helped to balance all those other modern fighting games you keep sucking off. Nintendo literally is taking pointers from other companies with more experience, and have been since Smash 4.
 
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Megamang

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I disagree with the way it is being said, but I do agree we can always strive for more balance. As long as they aren't ruining character defining characteristics, balance patches are nice! Also, sometimes something that is broken is fun but that doesn't mean it should stay, lol. I found brawl MK tons of fun, but fighting him was such a slog that I'm glad we have nothing like that. Cloud too, was tons of fun to play but when someone is good at it it feels pretty oppressive, and the main goal for balance should be (IMHO) that you never feel like the opponent *must* make a blatantly wrong mistake for you to win, it should be reads/prediction/MU knowledge, but if you are thinking 'I can't get in unless he messes up his spacing'... well, that character needs a bit of a tone down. To be clear, no one is there for this game.


Anyways, that c-stick tech is amazing and im hitting the lab today. That is one of my main complaints with the buffering in this game, and running into a backjump'd aerial is really nice for being super safe. Of course, the trade off is that if you drift away youre followups are going to usually be lesser, so there is a tradeoff... but its a great tool to have in your kit from the first glance at it, and it definitely looks like it can be consistent.


Speaking of, how often do you guys use attack canceling? How often do you see it at the top level?
 

SwagGuy99

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Speaking of, how often do you guys use attack canceling? How often do you see it at the top level?
Not sure on attack canceling as a whole, but with instant b-air (the most practical application of it for most characters) I think that this is somewhat character dependent. Some characters have kill confirms off of Instant-back air or their back-airs are just good approach options, or they combo into themselves so with most characters, it's a good thing to try to learn.

Characters who I can say with confidence get a lot off of this are :ultdk::ultdoc::ultinkling::ultfalco::ultisabelle::ultkirby::ultmario::ultgnw::ultpacman::ultpikachu::ultsquirtle::ultroy::ultchrom::ultvillager: although most characters will benefit from being able to do this, not just the ones I listed.
 

Thinkaman

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Someone said balance in a mirror three times. You fools! FROM THE TOP:

What is balance?

Balance is a subtractive design element--the absence of something that would hinder the (positive) elements. Balance is specifically the absence of certain factors that hinder content variety.

What are the components of balance?

Balance is the absence of:
  • Dominant options
  • Polarized options
  • Homogonized "options"
A dominant option is something that is just the best, or statistically superior in some way to other options. It is merely enough to be best most of the time in most situations. It would hinder the content variety of StarCraft if Terran won all of the time. (Or even 55% of the time.)

A polarized option is something that wins/loses to specific other strategies in an inappropriate way, normally in some sort of triangular relationship. It is simply bad to reduce an entire game to Rock-Paper-Scissors. It would hinder the content variety of StarCraft if Terran always beat Zerg, Zerg always beat Protoss, and Protoss always beat Terran. (Or even just 55% of the time.)

A homogonized option is something that is just the same as existing options. This is usually the result of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"--accidentally throwing out the unique reasons you had diverse content or choices in the first place. And obviously, it would hinder the content variety of Starcraft if all 3 races were actually just resinks, like Supreme Commander 1. (Or even if just half the unit differences were erased.)

Amateur armchair discussions of balance tends to fixate exclusively on domiant options (whether things are overall too weak or too strong), to the point of skepticism that the other factors are part of balance at all. But this reduction is exactly why their explicit inclusion is important.

It is trivial to achieve any one or even two of these goals for a given option set if the third is dismissed. It is trivial to have unique options without circular counter relationships if you never cared about dominant options in the first place. It is trivial to have options that are both unique and diverse if you allowed a ham-fisted RPS network of counters that supercedes all other gameplay. And it is trivial to have all options be perfectly viable against every other option if you make them all the same.

These goals are not diametrically opposed. Achieving all 3 is just very non-trivial.

The complete absense of these 3 factors is impossible. Balance can never be perfect, it can always be better. Anyone who thinks this means it is a waste of time is silly. But we have to acknowledge the diminishing returns.

What do we balance?

We typically apply the above design goals only to things that players are expected to identify with and invest in.

If Ryu is "your" character, YOU will naturally feel bad--personally attacked, even--if Ryu sucks. The game made a promise to you (that there was this fun part of the game's content, for YOU), and then it partially broke that promise. It's not that anyone said you are entitled to Ryu being at least X good or the game being at least Y balanced, just that adding idealy rich and robust matchup gameplay was the original design goal of adding the content, and balance issues detract from that.

We do not balance "local" choices, like the damage of Ryu's individual attacks, except in pursuit of balancing Ryu himself. We might tune them to achieve other goals (like aesthetics), but if we call that "balance" then at that point we're just using a completely seperate definition of the term.

In a somewhat similar way, we might apply the criteria differently in composition-based environments, such as when we talk about balancing Pokemon or MOBA characters. In these cases, we often do intend for players to identify-with/get-invested-in psuedo-components of an overall strategy, where we do seek non-zero targets for polarization. But this is sort of a different matter.

For whom do we balance?

Timmy says Charizard is too strong. Tommy says Raichu is too strong. Everyone in Seattle says Mewtwo is too strong, and everyone in Kyoto says Dragonite is too strong. Who is right?

On some metaphysical level, they are all right, in that they are describing their own experiences with the content variety, and ideally we do care about everyone's experience. But that's not a very helpful answer.

David Sirlin compares these diverse perspectives to a bullseye--people's opinions are like darts, scattered all over the place, but you can observe them clustered around an average. And far more often than not, the most centrist perspectives tend to be the top players. It makes sense that they would cluster in the "bullseye" and have the most accurate view of reality, because they understand the game the best and have both the broadest and deepest experience playing it.

We want to balance FOR the bottom 99% of players 99 times as much as the top 1%. But we tend to do this by listening to data almost exclusively from that top 1%. Every competitive game I know of has a clear history of strategies trickling down over time--today's top strategies are likely to one day become the meta for the entire community, especially in this Twitch day and age.

Often there emerge tactics that only excel at a particular band skill level, such as a character who is "broken" at a specific mid-level of play. These are tricky situations, since they go against the aforementioned "trickle-down" approach: Addressing the situation at one level of play is likely to damage others. Solving this is solving multiple problems at once, which compounds the difficulty and unpredictability. In most cases, developers opt for the least risky solution: Wait it out, give the trickle-down more time, and hope the abnormal data sorts itself out.

Smash complicates things in that we also have Teams and FFA formats. Most of the time, these are best-served in the same "trickle-down" way by continuing to focus on top-level 1v1. But it's an important consideration that can never be overlooked.

How should we balance?

Balance is a straightforward, mostly iterative design problem. But it's also a huge, n-dimensional problem, in which the consequences of changes are very unpredictable. Balance needs to be done efficiently due to the scope of the problem.

In early design (especially pre-public), balance tuning should be done via aggressive binary search over a generous range. This part is not very controversial.

In post-public "fine tuning", the objective becomes more conservative. The price of introducing chaos into the system increases. We want to achieve our goals with the minimum number of changes.

Suppose there's a 100-story skyscraper. I say, "Go find out what the highest floor is where you can still read this sign I'm holding up."

You'd be smart to do a binary search: First try floor 50, then if that didn't work 25, then if that did work 37, and then when that worked 43, and so forth. No matter what the right answer is, you are gauranteed to figure it out in only 7 tests.

But now suppose I gave you a few eggs and said "Go find out what the highest floor is you can drop an egg onto this giant pillow and have it not break."

A pure binary search is inefficient now. Partly because I didn't give you 7 eggs, and partly because you don't want to have to clean up a bunch of mess. Your tests are now not equal in cost: "Too high" is much more damaging than "not too high." You are now going to bias your tests on the low end--it'll be similar to a binary search, but weighted. And you can imagine a similar scenario involving balloons, where "too low" is expensive and "not too low" is cheap.

This might seem abstract, but it's a very real scenario that comes up in low-level computer science, such as doing a search when part of your search space is cached and cheaper to access. And it happens in game balance iteration, where higher-magnitude changes have dramatically steeper consequences to everything else.

You consistently have some people, usually the (how do I put this nicely) younger voices (sorry) in the public discourse, advocating for some policy of "buffs, not nerfs!" You can even occasionally find this presented in a more elevated way, sometimes with insightful-sounding allusions to loss aversion or other psychology buzzwords. To be blunt, this is dangerous thinking. Balance work is above all else a mathematical and engineering problem, seeking to maximize long-term stability and not short-term feelings. (That's the Community Manager's job.)

It's (obviously) easier, safer, and more accurate to give a small nerf to the best character than buff 50 other characters up to their level--not only is that way more characters, but most of them would presumibly need way more and way bigger changes. Who knows where the game would end up!

A lot gets said about "power creep": Usually referring to new (powerful) content being added that inflates the average without lowering the deviation. It could be each new character is a little stronger than the last, or a more subtle long-term increase. The bottom line is, the old bottom is now even worse.

But is it "power creep" when we buff weak things then? If "power creep" refers to literally any (positive) change in the "average power" of a set of elements, I think it becomes sort of a useless definition. We ought to be just a bit more specific.

If you introduced DLC to Melee that was even better than Fox, or 3 new DLC who were all just as good or nearly as good as Fox, that would certainly be power creep. But if you removed Pichu from Melee, or marginally buffed Pichu (even to the point that rare people actually play him to a relevant extent), I don't think it communicates anything to call that increasing-of-the-average "power creep."

The difference is that if you repeated the first examples, they would diverge, go to infinity. But in the latter example, if you would converge to some target level.

You can also think of it in direct numerical terms. Let's just say that Kirby's buff's are so big that Kirby is now 10% better, whatever that means. So Kirby is is "10% better" in 100% of matchups, aka just plain 10% better overall. And now Ganon, like every other character, is relatively "10% worse" in the 0.5% matches against Kirby players. So Kirby goes up 10%, and Ganon goes down 0.05%. Even if this happens multiple times, it doesn't add up to a meaningful change for Ganon. You'd have to buff literally every other character (including the top tiers!) for Ganon to experience an implicit nerf actually equal in magnitude to said buffs.

The bottom line is, appropriate buffs are not an infinite, unbounded endeavour. When a pilot is endlessly making tiny and tinier corrections to a plane's travel path, it doesn't mean he will eventually crash into the ocean.

When should we balance?

Once we've decide how fast to iterate, when do we actually do it? One tiny change a day? The whole batch once a year?

Current approaches are all over the place on this. MOBAs patch every two weeks, DBZ patches once a year. Smash is doing every 2-4 months, some projects build nightly.

The armchair crowd tends to have lots of opinions on this specific matter, but honestly, I am not sure it even matters all that much...? Overall rate of change seems infinitely more important, especially if you are making smaller changes. Minor inconviences for tournaments and replays seem irrelevant in comparison to the long-term health of the game, but that's just my opinion.

How should we compare balance between games?

Uh, don't. That's my advice.

Community perceptions of balance are almost exclusively social phenomenon. There is (broad strokes) rarely any coorelation to any sort of numerical basis you could construct. You could interpret what I'm saying as "Many games people regard as 'balanced' are actually less balanced than many regarded as not", but the real message it "Objective comparison is sort of impossible, or at least not worth it."

Communities vary wildly, including in their competitiveness, their information sharing, and their willingness to complain. All of this effects the attitude one has about the advantage/disadvantages of characters (or other game elements) they prefer.

Even attempts to establish objective, numerical measures fall short. Matchup numbers and tier labels are not even consistent within a single game's community, much less two different games. Even if you do define it, no one controls for different set formats. Is your matchup data for a game, or a set? What size set? Are you comparing to a game that runs a different stock count? Or a TFG with rounds instead of stocks???

Another factor is, well, us getting spoiled in this modern day. Over the last 3 decades, there has been a gradual improvement in the balance of pretty much every genre of competitive games. (There are a variety of possible, logical reasons for this.)

A game called "broken" in 2019 would have been considered nearly flawless for its rich, stable diversity in 1999. Between massive competitive communities pushing games to their limit, YouTube accelerating development of the meta, and patches changing the way we regard bugs and exploits, we judge games in a radically different context today.

Beware: You too will get old and roll your eyes when kids complain.

At the end of the day, it's just not a productive type of comparison. I wouldn't devote much energy to it, which I say from a position of regret.

How do we measure balance?

We mentioned the unfortuante reality that balance is in some ways hard to pin down meta-physically, given that we're ultimately talking about measuring the (aggregate) experienced reality of human beings. All we can do is model it, and accept the limitations of whatever model we provide.

First, let's call out the 3 major confounders that interfere with those measures in different way:
  • Choice Elasticity
  • Self-Selection Bias
  • Community Development/Discover/Trends
Elasticity refers to an agent's willingness to change their behavior. Economic models are completely different for elastic consumers (who will buy a cheaper alternative) vs. inelastic consumers (who will buy a product no matter the cost). Do players switch to the best character instantly, or stay with their initial favorite forever no matter what? Almost all players are somewhat elastic.

Self-Selection Bias refers to the fact that no player selections happen in a random vacuum. Wolf is played by the sort of players who would pick Wolf. That could be a specific type of personality, or a population more likely to be competitive, or biased towards a certain game type, or age, or gender, or who knows! Anything could introduce a major confounder that can't be controlled for.

Trends refers to the time it takes a community to figure out a complex game, derive optimal strategies, master the execution of those strategies, and diffuse all of this to the rest of the community. As you probably know, this can take years.

With that out of the way, there are 3 general categories of measures here:
  1. Win Rates
  2. Usage Rates
  3. Theorycraft
Win Rates would perfectly model balance for a world where all players were fully inelastic. (And there is no self-selection bias.) However, as most players are somewhat elastic, raw win-rates ultimately have limited value.

Usage Rates would perfectly model balance for a world where all players are fully elastic. (And there is no self-selection bias.) This is also inaccurate. However, competitive players tend to be more elastic than not, so usage rates do end up being consistently more useful than win rates.

Hybrid measures that attempt to offer a balance of both data measures can be very helpful, in some ways balancing out the opposing elasticity concerns. Das Koopa Das Koopa 's weighted results data is one such measure. General VOD/stream observation or counting is itself a hybrid measure, since tournament structures have an implicit survivorship bias towards the winner.

Deep cut hybrid measurements are probably the best way of dealing with elasticity while staying numerically rooted in objective, measurable reality.

Theorycraft is doomed to be less objective and numeric, but can attempt to discern trends before they manifest in win or usage rates. Theory can, ideally, be superior at predicting community trends or controlling for factors that are known to confound use data, such as extraordinary execution barriers. ("We know no one is playing this character now because they are too hard to play, but we have reason to believe they will perform highly once this is overcome.") Theorycraft has a lot of weakness, but we can control for some of them by at least doing aggregate opinions that filter out some degree of individual bias.

The best way to handle development and trends is to focus more on the first derivative of any of these measures than the rates themselves. In pretty much all cases, the rate of change is the far more relevant measure to long-term game health and future player experiences.

Conclusion

idk Joker's generally fine but people keep switching to him so maybe nerf Arsene meter a bit, this isn't hard guys
 
Joined
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Messages
619
Umebura SP7 seedings are unveiled; between this and DreamHack Atlanta, things are definitely gonna shake up starting tomorrow.

Top 60 seedings:

1. Zackray :ultrob::ultjoker:(:ultgnw::ultwolf::ultmario::ultpokemontrainer:)
2. Kameme :ultmegaman::ultwario:
3. Shuton :ultolimar:(:ultshulk:)
4. Tea :ultpacman:(:ultroy:)
5. ProtoBanham :ultlucina:(:ultinkling:)
6. Abadango :ultpalutena:(:ultwario::ultinkling::ultmetaknight:)
7. KEN :ultsonic:
8. Kome :ultshulk:
9. Raito :ultduckhunt::ultbanjokazooie:
10. Kuro :ultzss:
11. Choco :ultzss:
12. Nietono :ultpichu:
13. Umeki :ultdaisy:
14. kept :ultvillager:(:ultisabelle:)
15. T :ultlink:(:ultrobin:?)
16. Lea :ultgreninja:
17. HIKARU :ultpokemontrainer:(:ultwario::ultbanjokazooie:)
18. Kirihara :ultrosalina:(:ultsheik:)
19. Atelier :ultwolf:
20. Tsu :ultlucario:
21. Brood :ultbanjokazooie::ultpiranha:
22. shky :ultzss:
23. Somé :ultgreninja:
24. Kie :ultpeach::ultpalutena::ulticeclimbers:(:ultkirby:)
25. Gackt :ultness:
26. Etsuji :ultlucina::ultpalutena:
27. Shogun :ultsnake:
28. Nishiya :ultfalcon:
29. Eim :ultjoker:
30. Lunamado :ultbowser::ultluigi:
31. ZAKI :ultkingdedede:(:ultbanjokazooie:)
32. Rotsuko :ultyoshi:
33. Jagaimo :ultpalutena:
34. Tarakotori :ultlittlemac:
35. Mossan :ultjoker::ultpichu:
36. DoubleA :ultshulk:
37. Rain :ultjoker:
38. tk3 :ultchrom:
39. AIR :ultfalcon:
40. Rizeasu :ultzelda: + whatever your heart desires
41. Yamanyon :ultzss:
42. Kisha :ultsnake:
43. Es :ultzss:
44. GForce :ultrob:
45. Lv. 1 :ulttoonlink:(:ultisabelle:)
46. YOC :ultjoker::ultcloud:
47. ikep :ultdaisy:
48. Manzoku :ultlink:
49. Paseriman :ultdiddy:
50. JILL :ultfox:(:ultgreninja:)
51. Suinoko :ultpeach:
52. Hayato :ulttoonlink::ultbanjokazooie:
53. Kishiru :ultpikachu:
54. Yakara :ultfox::ultfalco:
55. Akasa :ultjoker:
56. Arika :ultjigglypuff:
57. Renya :ultpikachu:
58. Reumina :ultlucas:
59. Mojako :ultness:
60. Rattsu :ultgreninja:
 
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Ryu Myuutsu

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I think you’re equating a character’s perceived placement on the tier list with how fun they are. Good =/= Fun and Bad =/= Unfun. Buffs are designed purely to balance the roster. If a character is perceived as unfun by the community and balancing team, they rework the character’s aspects, which is just as likely to include nerfs as buffs.
I'm actually not though. I speak separately from tournament results and tier placements. A buffed character who was previously considered weak not only stands a better chance against the rest of the cast but most of the time becomes much more satisfying to use. While fun is always subjective, someone like Brawl or even Smash 4 Ganondorf wasn't always fun to use because he literally had some helpless matchups, while Ultimate Ganondorf is much more enjoyable to play as due to being a better incarnation of the character despite still being perceived as a low tier. In Smash 4, post patch Mewtwo became much more rewarding to play as when compared to release Mewtwo. After Patch 6.0.0, Ultimate Kirby is also much more fun than he was on release because his Inhale comes out at frame 10 instead of 14 and he loses his Copy Ability way less often than before, meaning that players can now make better use of his unique perk of having every Neutral B in the game. This is also why I advocate buffs rather than nerfs at first.
 
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Apr 18, 2016
Messages
82
Someone said balance in a mirror three times. You fools! FROM THE TOP:

What is balance?

Balance is a subtractive design element--the absence of something that would hinder the (positive) elements. Balance is specifically the absence of certain factors that hinder content variety.

What are the components of balance?

Balance is the absence of:
  • Dominant options
  • Polarized options
  • Homogonized "options"
A dominant option is something that is just the best, or statistically superior in some way to other options. It is merely enough to be best most of the time in most situations. It would hinder the content variety of StarCraft if Terran won all of the time. (Or even 55% of the time.)

A polarized option is something that wins/loses to specific other strategies in an inappropriate way, normally in some sort of triangular relationship. It is simply bad to reduce an entire game to Rock-Paper-Scissors. It would hinder the content variety of StarCraft if Terran always beat Zerg, Zerg always beat Protoss, and Protoss always beat Terran. (Or even just 55% of the time.)

A homogonized option is something that is just the same as existing options. This is usually the result of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"--accidentally throwing out the unique reasons you had diverse content or choices in the first place. And obviously, it would hinder the content variety of Starcraft if all 3 races were actually just resinks, like Supreme Commander 1. (Or even if just half the unit differences were erased.)

Amateur armchair discussions of balance tends to fixate exclusively on domiant options (whether things are overall too weak or too strong), to the point of skepticism that the other factors are part of balance at all. But this reduction is exactly why their explicit inclusion is important.

It is trivial to achieve any one or even two of these goals for a given option set if the third is dismissed. It is trivial to have unique options without circular counter relationships if you never cared about dominant options in the first place. It is trivial to have options that are both unique and diverse if you allowed a ham-fisted RPS network of counters that supercedes all other gameplay. And it is trivial to have all options be perfectly viable against every other option if you make them all the same.

These goals are not diametrically opposed. Achieving all 3 is just very non-trivial.

The complete absense of these 3 factors is impossible. Balance can never be perfect, it can always be better. Anyone who thinks this means it is a waste of time is silly. But we have to acknowledge the diminishing returns.

What do we balance?

We typically apply the above design goals only to things that players are expected to identify with and invest in.

If Ryu is "your" character, YOU will naturally feel bad--personally attacked, even--if Ryu sucks. The game made a promise to you (that there was this fun part of the game's content, for YOU), and then it partially broke that promise. It's not that anyone said you are entitled to Ryu being at least X good or the game being at least Y balanced, just that adding idealy rich and robust matchup gameplay was the original design goal of adding the content, and balance issues detract from that.

We do not balance "local" choices, like the damage of Ryu's individual attacks, except in pursuit of balancing Ryu himself. We might tune them to achieve other goals (like aesthetics), but if we call that "balance" then at that point we're just using a completely seperate definition of the term.

In a somewhat similar way, we might apply the criteria differently in composition-based environments, such as when we talk about balancing Pokemon or MOBA characters. In these cases, we often do intend for players to identify-with/get-invested-in psuedo-components of an overall strategy, where we do seek non-zero targets for polarization. But this is sort of a different matter.

For whom do we balance?

Timmy says Charizard is too strong. Tommy says Raichu is too strong. Everyone in Seattle says Mewtwo is too strong, and everyone in Kyoto says Dragonite is too strong. Who is right?

On some metaphysical level, they are all right, in that they are describing their own experiences with the content variety, and ideally we do care about everyone's experience. But that's not a very helpful answer.

David Sirlin compares these diverse perspectives to a bullseye--people's opinions are like darts, scattered all over the place, but you can observe them clustered around an average. And far more often than not, the most centrist perspectives tend to be the top players. It makes sense that they would cluster in the "bullseye" and have the most accurate view of reality, because they understand the game the best and have both the broadest and deepest experience playing it.

We want to balance FOR the bottom 99% of players 99 times as much as the top 1%. But we tend to do this by listening to data almost exclusively from that top 1%. Every competitive game I know of has a clear history of strategies trickling down over time--today's top strategies are likely to one day become the meta for the entire community, especially in this Twitch day and age.

Often there emerge tactics that only excel at a particular band skill level, such as a character who is "broken" at a specific mid-level of play. These are tricky situations, since they go against the aforementioned "trickle-down" approach: Addressing the situation at one level of play is likely to damage others. Solving this is solving multiple problems at once, which compounds the difficulty and unpredictability. In most cases, developers opt for the least risky solution: Wait it out, give the trickle-down more time, and hope the abnormal data sorts itself out.

Smash complicates things in that we also have Teams and FFA formats. Most of the time, these are best-served in the same "trickle-down" way by continuing to focus on top-level 1v1. But it's an important consideration that can never be overlooked.

How should we balance?

Balance is a straightforward, mostly iterative design problem. But it's also a huge, n-dimensional problem, in which the consequences of changes are very unpredictable. Balance needs to be done efficiently due to the scope of the problem.

In early design (especially pre-public), balance tuning should be done via aggressive binary search over a generous range. This part is not very controversial.

In post-public "fine tuning", the objective becomes more conservative. The price of introducing chaos into the system increases. We want to achieve our goals with the minimum number of changes.

Suppose there's a 100-story skyscraper. I say, "Go find out what the highest floor is where you can still read this sign I'm holding up."

You'd be smart to do a binary search: First try floor 50, then if that didn't work 25, then if that did work 37, and then when that worked 43, and so forth. No matter what the right answer is, you are gauranteed to figure it out in only 7 tests.

But now suppose I gave you a few eggs and said "Go find out what the highest floor is you can drop an egg onto this giant pillow and have it not break."

A pure binary search is inefficient now. Partly because I didn't give you 7 eggs, and partly because you don't want to have to clean up a bunch of mess. Your tests are now not equal in cost: "Too high" is much more damaging than "not too high." You are now going to bias your tests on the low end--it'll be similar to a binary search, but weighted. And you can imagine a similar scenario involving balloons, where "too low" is expensive and "not too low" is cheap.

This might seem abstract, but it's a very real scenario that comes up in low-level computer science, such as doing a search when part of your search space is cached and cheaper to access. And it happens in game balance iteration, where higher-magnitude changes have dramatically steeper consequences to everything else.

You consistently have some people, usually the (how do I put this nicely) younger voices (sorry) in the public discourse, advocating for some policy of "buffs, not nerfs!" You can even occasionally find this presented in a more elevated way, sometimes with insightful-sounding allusions to loss aversion or other psychology buzzwords. To be blunt, this is dangerous thinking. Balance work is above all else a mathematical and engineering problem, seeking to maximize long-term stability and not short-term feelings. (That's the Community Manager's job.)

It's (obviously) easier, safer, and more accurate to give a small nerf to the best character than buff 50 other characters up to their level--not only is that way more characters, but most of them would presumibly need way more and way bigger changes. Who knows where the game would end up!

A lot gets said about "power creep": Usually referring to new (powerful) content being added that inflates the average without lowering the deviation. It could be each new character is a little stronger than the last, or a more subtle long-term increase. The bottom line is, the old bottom is now even worse.

But is it "power creep" when we buff weak things then? If "power creep" refers to literally any (positive) change in the "average power" of a set of elements, I think it becomes sort of a useless definition. We ought to be just a bit more specific.

If you introduced DLC to Melee that was even better than Fox, or 3 new DLC who were all just as good or nearly as good as Fox, that would certainly be power creep. But if you removed Pichu from Melee, or marginally buffed Pichu (even to the point that rare people actually play him to a relevant extent), I don't think it communicates anything to call that increasing-of-the-average "power creep."

The difference is that if you repeated the first examples, they would diverge, go to infinity. But in the latter example, if you would converge to some target level.

You can also think of it in direct numerical terms. Let's just say that Kirby's buff's are so big that Kirby is now 10% better, whatever that means. So Kirby is is "10% better" in 100% of matchups, aka just plain 10% better overall. And now Ganon, like every other character, is relatively "10% worse" in the 0.5% matches against Kirby players. So Kirby goes up 10%, and Ganon goes down 0.05%. Even if this happens multiple times, it doesn't add up to a meaningful change for Ganon. You'd have to buff literally every other character (including the top tiers!) for Ganon to experience an implicit nerf actually equal in magnitude to said buffs.

The bottom line is, appropriate buffs are not an infinite, unbounded endeavour. When a pilot is endlessly making tiny and tinier corrections to a plane's travel path, it doesn't mean he will eventually crash into the ocean.

When should we balance?

Once we've decide how fast to iterate, when do we actually do it? One tiny change a day? The whole batch once a year?

Current approaches are all over the place on this. MOBAs patch every two weeks, DBZ patches once a year. Smash is doing every 2-4 months, some projects build nightly.

The armchair crowd tends to have lots of opinions on this specific matter, but honestly, I am not sure it even matters all that much...? Overall rate of change seems infinitely more important, especially if you are making smaller changes. Minor inconviences for tournaments and replays seem irrelevant in comparison to the long-term health of the game, but that's just my opinion.

How should we compare balance between games?

Uh, don't. That's my advice.

Community perceptions of balance are almost exclusively social phenomenon. There is (broad strokes) rarely any coorelation to any sort of numerical basis you could construct. You could interpret what I'm saying as "Many games people regard as 'balanced' are actually less balanced than many regarded as not", but the real message it "Objective comparison is sort of impossible, or at least not worth it."

Communities vary wildly, including in their competitiveness, their information sharing, and their willingness to complain. All of this effects the attitude one has about the advantage/disadvantages of characters (or other game elements) they prefer.

Even attempts to establish objective, numerical measures fall short. Matchup numbers and tier labels are not even consistent within a single game's community, much less two different games. Even if you do define it, no one controls for different set formats. Is your matchup data for a game, or a set? What size set? Are you comparing to a game that runs a different stock count? Or a TFG with rounds instead of stocks???

Another factor is, well, us getting spoiled in this modern day. Over the last 3 decades, there has been a gradual improvement in the balance of pretty much every genre of competitive games. (There are a variety of possible, logical reasons for this.)

A game called "broken" in 2019 would have been considered nearly flawless for its rich, stable diversity in 1999. Between massive competitive communities pushing games to their limit, YouTube accelerating development of the meta, and patches changing the way we regard bugs and exploits, we judge games in a radically different context today.

Beware: You too will get old and roll your eyes when kids complain.

At the end of the day, it's just not a productive type of comparison. I wouldn't devote much energy to it, which I say from a position of regret.

How do we measure balance?

We mentioned the unfortuante reality that balance is in some ways hard to pin down meta-physically, given that we're ultimately talking about measuring the (aggregate) experienced reality of human beings. All we can do is model it, and accept the limitations of whatever model we provide.

First, let's call out the 3 major confounders that interfere with those measures in different way:
  • Choice Elasticity
  • Self-Selection Bias
  • Community Development/Discover/Trends
Elasticity refers to an agent's willingness to change their behavior. Economic models are completely different for elastic consumers (who will buy a cheaper alternative) vs. inelastic consumers (who will buy a product no matter the cost). Do players switch to the best character instantly, or stay with their initial favorite forever no matter what? Almost all players are somewhat elastic.

Self-Selection Bias refers to the fact that no player selections happen in a random vacuum. Wolf is played by the sort of players who would pick Wolf. That could be a specific type of personality, or a population more likely to be competitive, or biased towards a certain game type, or age, or gender, or who knows! Anything could introduce a major confounder that can't be controlled for.

Trends refers to the time it takes a community to figure out a complex game, derive optimal strategies, master the execution of those strategies, and diffuse all of this to the rest of the community. As you probably know, this can take years.

With that out of the way, there are 3 general categories of measures here:
  1. Win Rates
  2. Usage Rates
  3. Theorycraft
Win Rates would perfectly model balance for a world where all players were fully inelastic. (And there is no self-selection bias.) However, as most players are somewhat elastic, raw win-rates ultimately have limited value.

Usage Rates would perfectly model balance for a world where all players are fully elastic. (And there is no self-selection bias.) This is also inaccurate. However, competitive players tend to be more elastic than not, so usage rates do end up being consistently more useful than win rates.

Hybrid measures that attempt to offer a balance of both data measures can be very helpful, in some ways balancing out the opposing elasticity concerns. Das Koopa Das Koopa 's weighted results data is one such measure. General VOD/stream observation or counting is itself a hybrid measure, since tournament structures have an implicit survivorship bias towards the winner.

Deep cut hybrid measurements are probably the best way of dealing with elasticity while staying numerically rooted in objective, measurable reality.

Theorycraft is doomed to be less objective and numeric, but can attempt to discern trends before they manifest in win or usage rates. Theory can, ideally, be superior at predicting community trends or controlling for factors that are known to confound use data, such as extraordinary execution barriers. ("We know no one is playing this character now because they are too hard to play, but we have reason to believe they will perform highly once this is overcome.") Theorycraft has a lot of weakness, but we can control for some of them by at least doing aggregate opinions that filter out some degree of individual bias.

The best way to handle development and trends is to focus more on the first derivative of any of these measures than the rates themselves. In pretty much all cases, the rate of change is the far more relevant measure to long-term game health and future player experiences.

Conclusion

idk Joker's generally fine but people keep switching to him so maybe nerf Arsene meter a bit, this isn't hard guys
I'm sorry for wasting a post to say this; give me a warning if it must be done, but you have to be the best poster in this thread. Your messages are always extremely well thought out and insightful. I feel like I always learn something new and have something to think about from your posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please do it more often.
 
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PK Gaming

Smash Lord
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Messages
1,196
Location
Canada
I'm sorry for wasting a post to say this; give me a warning if it must be done, but you have to be the best poster in this thread. Your messages are always extremely well thought out and insightful. I feel like I always learn something new and have something to think about from your posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please do it more often.
Gotta agree with you there.

I've been on this website longer my join date implies and this era of analysis on Smashboards is pretty much unmatched imo. People like to wax poetic about the good ole days when it comes to this sort of thing, but as far as i'm concerned, we didn't get that many well-written analysis posts in the discussion threads. Too many people were overly attached to their main, obsessed with humiliating others in order to look cool, or entirely reliant on others to form their own opinion. No disrespect to anyone who participated in the older threads of course, because i'm positive we could only get here through experience and trial and error.

And it's not just him; lots of people are stepping up when they need to because this thread fosters good discussion in general.

I guess it also helps that Ultimate is significantly more well-designed than past smash games, heh.
 

Megamang

Smash Lord
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Messages
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Agree'd, wholeheartedly. While we do have our moments, hidden in the rough is a great thread with meaningful analysis on lots of stuff. That idea towards balance gives some context to why people are afraid of nerfs, its less that they want their character to be dominant (but that is part of it =P ) and more that they want their character to feel like their character.

Bayo players, for example, didn't necessarily want their character to dominate the cast, but they wanted to play the fast moving, hard to punish, infinite combo tree goddess that she was. Which I understand, Bayonetta was a fun character to play, just not to play against. You want your character to feel powerful but you don't want your opponent to feel helpless (unless there is a huge skill disparity).

There is a lot to this thing after all. Which is why the meter nerfs are often suggested for Joker, it really doesn't feel like there is much counterplay to him getting arsene… I mean you don't want to hit his counter, especially with a powerful or multihit move... but these days it feels like jokers are learning where they are guaranteed to get it and using that mostly. and then when he gets it a single read can be the destruction of a hard-earned lead, where the patterns you gleaned may not mean much because he is free to play totally different when he has meter.


And I like this because, it doesn't take away from what is Joker. Watching MKLeo play the character is pretty amazing, you see small optimizations to his playstyle, slight tweeks everywhere, and he just moves fast and overwhelms pretty much everyone. We want that, no one wants that gone, we just don't want the opponent to have no recourse for it.
 

Rizen

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Gotta agree with you there.

I've been on this website longer my join date implies and this era of analysis on Smashboards is pretty much unmatched imo. People like to wax poetic about the good ole days when it comes to this sort of thing, but as far as i'm concerned, we didn't get that many well-written analysis posts in the discussion threads. Too many people were overly attached to their main, obsessed with humiliating others in order to look cool, or entirely reliant on others to form their own opinion. No disrespect to anyone who participated in the older threads of course, because i'm positive we could only get here through experience and trial and error.

And it's not just him; lots of people are stepping up when they need to because this thread fosters good discussion in general.

I guess it also helps that Ultimate is significantly more well-designed than past smash games, heh.
I've got news for you: the SSB4 thread was no worse than this one.

On Topic: I've been playing :ultkrool: a lot and have been loving his buffs. His disadvantage state is bad but greatly improved by the Nair landing lag reduction. K.Rool actually has a pretty good landing game. Fair is good for poking and when you're in advantage. It's nice you don't have to be as close for it. That's one of his issues: big sour spots (like his hands on Dsmash, Dtilt has a small bury box and previously the late hit of DA but that was buffed before). He's not only safer but more threatening with a stronger Uair and Fair. His damage has always been good with a f4 jab that deals 14% and 20% off grabs from Uthrow and later burying Dthrow. Kannon feels a lot closer to a zoning projectile now and is good at mid range due to the vacuum being buffed.

In terms of viability he still has some abysmal MUs like vs Snake or Belmont, who wall his big hurtbox hard and don't care about his zoning. But at least he's more confident in his other MUs. I want to stress his f4 jab. FRAME DATA MATTERS. This and his recovery is why I put him above ganon. It's so useful to have a fast gtfo tool. I use jab more than any other move.
 
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Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
619
I do think having fast/good get-off-me options is important, at least moreso for characters with normally all-around poor frame data. :ultpiranha: is probably the best example that comes to mind. Having a F2 jab that launches opponents at a low angle comes with anice two-fold package: It prevents him from being a helpless waif against opponents up close, and it also sets up some nice tech chases in order to get the opponent to where he wants them to be (i.e. the ledge). In contrast, a F2 jab slapped onto a character like :ultmario: isn't quite as crucial given how stupidly privileged the character is everywhere else frame data-wise. This isn't to say it's outright useless on characters like Mario and Sheik (I know :ultzss: enjoys the heck outta her F1 Jab), but I think it's more significant on characters with really strong neutrals and zoning options, that being characters who don't want their opponents in their personal bubble. In that regard, it explains why characters like :ultpacman: and especially :ultsnake: are currently faring better than other zoners.


Speaking of characters enjoying their buffs, for the first time ever in Ultimate, we have a :ultkirby: player guaranteed TOP 24 at an A TIER EVENT. It's unlikely you've heard of the player given his seed was 580. But he defeated both Atelier :ultpokemontrainer: AND Suinoko :ultpeach: to get into Top 32 on the Winner's Side for Umebura SP 7. Their name? FerretKumaaa. I just watched his set with Atelier, man, did those buffs come in clutch when they mattered most.

When Kuma jabbed for ledge pressure, it worked; when he jabbed to get HIKARU off of him or after two attacks clanked, it worked. When he NAired to catch a jump in at the ledge, it worked AND he got a kill off of it. Even his newly buffed USmash came in clutch when he got a kill with the sour spot as early as 100%. Kirby's tilts and BAir were the stars of the set for the most part, but it's really nice to see players making good use out of Kirby's attacks that were initially not very good.

EDIT: Okaaayyy, turns out a Kirby in top 24 isn't the craziest thing to happen here. Apparently, ProtoBanham :ultlucina: is out at 257th place after losing to an :ulticeclimbers: player named Daiki. Only in Japan could something like this happen.
 
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SapphSabre777

Smash Journeyman
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Messages
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3DS FC
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Well the Kirbycord and all the Kirbys are jumping up and down or being shocked in disbelief right now with how FerretKuma fared and placed in Umebura SP7, finishing in 17th, losing only to Shuton and Tsu...with nothing but a newly buffed :ultkirby:.


Looking at this match with Atelier, you can just see how the buffs help out in this MU and in general (bar the miscue on Inhale that would've worked if he was facing the right way, oops). Kirby's new U-Air and N-Air give him forward-facing aerials that can challenge his opponents, allowing him to shark more and make more opportunities for himself, as seen with him just snuffing out Atelier with well-placed U-Airs and chasing him with either more U-Airs or tilts on landing. The knockback and damage buffs just allow Kirby to shark more potently and get much more reward for it. N-Air at ledge is insane now, and that was showcased at the game-clinching stock in Game 1: ledge jump became one of the scariest options to do on Kirby since he can air-to-air and KO you with a Frame 8 N-Air at high %s, or let the lingering hits put you back at ledge again. Jab is becoming better on practice looking at this video, seeing Kuma stuff Atelier on ledge and frame-trapping after D-Tilt against OoS grab. That U-Smash that KOed early was moreso from the few patches prior, but that's what makes these buffs from all the way back so great: altogether, they have greatly legitimized Kirby's reward and what he can get out of winning interactions, between the F-Tilt, U-Smash, and new buffs in 6.0.

He still has his problems, namely how Ivy's zoning and ledgeplay was an issue at times, but the way Kuma played him emphasized how great Kirby is playing a grounded game with an aerial mixup at hand. The buffs to his aerials really solidified the amount of reward he can get now, even if it isn't immediate from hit. Jab now gives him solid pressure against slower grabs and in clank-to-scramble situations, something that he desperately needed. U-Smash being strong all the way through makes it extremely dangerous (keep in mind a certain Pikmin-toting Captain also has a frame 12 U-Smash), and Inhale being so fast makes it much more viable along with his Copy Abilities. I was expecting results and statement wins, but not this quick and not a big one like this.

What a time to be a :ultkirby: main~
 
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Umebura SP7 Results:

1. zackray :ultjoker:
2. KEN :ultsonic:
3. Raito :ultduckhunt::ultbanjokazooie:
4. T :ultlink:
5. Shuton :ultolimar:
5. Lv. 1 :ulttoonlink:
7. Kuro :ultzss:
7. Nietono :ultpichu:
9. Shogun :ultsnake:
9. Nishiya :ultfalcon:
9. HIKARU :ultpokemontrainerf::ultluigi:
9. Choco :ultzss:
13. Tsu :ultlucario::ult_terry:
13. Kameme :ultmegaman:
13. Jagaimo :ultpalutena:
13. Gackt :ultness:
17. Tea :ultpacman:
17. Kome :ultshulk:
17. FerretKuma :ultkirby:
17. AIR :ultfalcon:
17. Eim :ultjoker:
17. Etsuji :ultlucina::ultpalutena:
17. Lunamado :ultbowser::ultluigi:
17. shky :ultzss:
25. Lea :ultgreninja:
25. Paseriman :ultdiddy:
25. Kirihara :ultrosalina:
25. Rin :ultlink:
25. Umeki :ultdaisy:
25. huto :ultbanjokazooie:
25. takera :ultryu::ultken:
25. Abadango :ultpalutena::ultinkling::ultrosalina:
33. Yamanyon :ultzss:
33. Rotsuko :ultyoshi:
33. kenkenpa :ultrob:
33. Bokin-Chan :ultike:
33. kept :ultvillager:
33. Atelier :ultpokemontrainerf:
33. tk3 :ultchrom:
33. Mossan :ultjoker::ultpikachu:
33. Brood :ultbanjokazooie:
33. karupis :ult_terry:
33. ZAKI :ultkingdedede:
33. MASA :ultfalco::ultness:
33. Nukoeru :ultyounglink:
33. Rattsu :ultgreninja:
33. Kishiru :ultpikachu:
33. Black :ultbowser:

I'll talk more about the tourney tomorrow, but all I'll say for now is that I really hope this puts the whole "MKLeo's carrying :ultjoker:!" statement to rest (I used to think this too and booooyyyyy, was I dumb).

Anyways, who cares about Joker, KIRBY GOT 17TH AT AN A TIER NFKSNDFLKDNVKDLNSGNDIGNODLIXNVINIGNVLINXKJFHVJFNV
 
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TimG57867

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
499
Umebura SP7 Results:

1. zackray :ultjoker:
2. KEN :ultsonic:
3. Raito :ultduckhunt::ultbanjokazooie:
4. T :ultlink:
5. Shuton :ultolimar:
5. Lv. 1 :ulttoonlink:
7. Kuro :ultzss:
7. Nietono :ultpichu:
9. Shogun :ultsnake:
9. Nishiya :ultfalcon:
9. HIKARU :ultpokemontrainerf::ultluigi:
9. Choco :ultzss:
13. Tsu :ultlucario::ult_terry:
13. Kameme :ultmegaman:
13. Jagaimo :ultpalutena:
13. Gackt :ultness:
17. Tea :ultpacman:
17. Kome :ultshulk:
17. FerretKuma :ultkirby:
17. AIR :ultfalcon:
17. Eim :ultjoker:
17. Etsuji :ultlucina::ultpalutena:
17. Lunamado :ultbowser::ultluigi:
17. shky :ultzss:
25. Lea :ultgreninja:
25. Paseriman :ultdiddy:
25. Kirihara :ultrosalina:
25. Rin :ultlink:
25. Umeki :ultdaisy:
25. huto :ultbanjokazooie:
25. takera :ultryu::ultken:
25. Abadango :ultpalutena::ultinkling::ultrosalina:
33. Yamanyon :ultzss:
33. Rotsuko :ultyoshi:
33. kenkenpa :ultrob:
33. Bokin-Chan :ultike:
33. kept :ultvillager:
33. Atelier :ultpokemontrainerf:
33. tk3 :ultchrom:
33. Mossan :ultjoker::ultpikachu:
33. Brood :ultbanjokazooie:
33. karupis :ult_terry:
33. ZAKI :ultkingdedede:
33. MASA :ultfalco::ultness:
33. Nukoeru :ultyounglink:
33. Rattsu :ultgreninja:
33. Kishiru :ultpikachu:
33. Black :ultbowser:

I'll talk more about the tourney tomorrow, but all I'll say for now is that I really hope this puts the whole "MKLeo's carrying :ultjoker:!" statement to rest (I used to think this too and booooyyyyy, was I dumb).

Anyways, who cares about Joker, KIRBY GOT 17TH AT AN A TIER NFKSNDFLKDNVKDLNSGNDIGNODLIXNVINIGNVLINXKJFHVJFNV
I mean I can say on record that while I agreed with the current observation that Mkleo was the only solo :ultjoker: consistently bringing in top level results, it was less a matter of Joker being carried and more that the other Jokers just had work to do. Many have/had the potential but a lot either play tons of other characters a lot in bracket or just weren't as skilled. But I felt it was just a matter of time before some doubled down on him and could start achieving placements not far off from Mkleo's resume and this seems to highlight that. Zackray's Joker in particular is one I've had high hopes for but usually uses a ton of his other picks in bracket like :ultrob: and :ultwolf: which gives his Joker less spotlight. Maybe with this A tier win with apparently a solo Joker, Zackray will be more confident in using him for the majority of his brackets? In any case this should be a good example for the deceptively large amount of up and coming Jokers. Watch Wolf stay #1 on OrionStats though.

On another note, like several others here, I am quite elated to see :ultkirby: finally make his big breakt at a Japanese tourney and an A tier no less! Going by event ranking, this is indeed Kirby's best placing at an Ultimate tourney as of yet and solo nonetheless. (Tho Albion 4 had 200 more entrants so Jesuischoq's 33rd certainly isn't far behind). Despite being nonexistent in most results graphics for massive Japan events up until now, there's actually a deceptively sized pool of Kirby players in Japan including Mukyu, Kumataka, Konokurro and more but they weren't able to make that big break. Seeing it finally happen and not 2 weeks after 6.0.0 update which addressed a litany of issues for Kirby is quite the encouraging sign. Hopefully the other Kirbies there see improvements in their success there as well. Also quite interesting to note of all the characters who hit the jackpot in 6.0, Kirby was the only one to place here in Top 32. Arika's :ultjigglypuff: was present but he got 97th and I am not sure of any notable :ultkrool::ultincineroar::ultrobin:or :ultdk: that were present. Will be interesting to see if they yield any breakouts as well in the future.

In any case, it's quite encouraging to see the buffs already helping out the playerbase.
 
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B_Burg

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May 1, 2019
Messages
19
I think the big thing that happened in Umebura 7 was that Zackray's Joker beat Kameme. This matchup looks much easier than it did when Leo fought Kameme at EVO.
Disregarding the differences in Zackray's and Leo's playstyles, I think the biggest reason behind this might be match up familiarity. I think Megaman is a more common pick in the Japanese scene than anywhere else.

I also think lack of match up knowledge leads to Megaman being a bit overrated as a whole, but maybe Joker is just that strong. That said, there was also a tourney where I believe MVD pulled a 3 stock as Snake against a Megaman, and that's a matchup that is said to be in Megaman's favor too, so it may be reading a bit too much into things too soon based off of just one set.
 
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PK Gaming

Smash Lord
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Aug 25, 2012
Messages
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Canada
I've got news for you: the SSB4 thread was no worse than this one.
I've got news for you too: I was there throughout all of Brawl & Smash 4's lifespan and an active participant in every single one of those threads, so I could do without the condescension.

But that aside, I feel like you completely missed the point I was trying to make with my post. If you recall, there were multiple discussion threads for Smash 4, and not just one, and the earlier discussions were absolutely pretty rough. It had been years since Brawl's release, and the Smash 4 threads were filled with newcomers; not that many people knew how to express themselves or argue their points properly, and a lot of them took things too personally when their mains were undervalued. Which makes sense, since this is the sort of thing you learn through years of trial and error. The Smash Ultimate threads have their fair share of newcomers, but tons of people who rode the Smash 4 wave as well. We're all better equipped to deal with discussing DLC characters, for example.

But even then, I wouldn't say this thread was "better" than the SSB4 threads, since it's not like those threads didn't have any appeal. But the discussion quality present is absolutely superior. I'm 100% certain of that.
 
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Disregarding the differences in Zackray's and Leo's playstyles, I think the biggest reason behind this might be match up familiarity.

I also think lack of match up knowledge leads to Megaman being a bit overrated as a whole, but maybe Joker is just that strong. That said, there was also a tourney where I believe MVD pulled a 3 stock as Snake against a Megaman, and that's a matchup that is said to be in Megaman's favor too, so it may be reading a bit too much into things too soon based off of just one set.
Well yes, but also no. I'm curious to analyze this set so if you can recall, who was this Mega Man player that MVD 3-stocked? While I don't like using individual sets to determine MUs, as of now, MVD has lost to every single Top Mega Man player (some even more than once!): Yeti x3, Scatt, Kameme, etc. Even Marss almost won back when he was first learning the character. While I feel Mega Man definitely wins vs Snake (something most top players on both sides agree with and an opinion MVD finally gave in to sharing recently), I don't think it's necessarily hard enough to where entire skill gaps can be completely overcame and MVD is a good player at the end of the day.

MVD has fought against the character long enough to not be caught off-guard, so seeing him beat a Mega Man who isn't quite on the same exact level or doesn't have the same level of MU experience isn't something that surprises me. Even Salem has suffered the same fate (beat Yeti at one point but lost to Plup and now uses Hero as a counterpick of sorts). Despite having a few objectively good tools against Snake, you still have to play it a certain way or it's easy to get overwhelmed by his high damage output. There's a lot of evidence both practical and in theory that Mega does well here while there are a lot of variables that can occur in single sets that can change an outcome which is why I try to avoid things like this when looked at by itself.

As for Mega Man vs Joker, while I do agree the MU got overrated a little at first glance when people called him the "Joker Slayer" after Leo lost to Kameme/Marss (plus I think Joker has a few harder MUs that come to mind), I still think Mega Man does quite well naturally.

Here's the set in question for anyone interested: Zackray vs Kameme Umebura

Zackray has been doing amazing lately and I think this marks him as the first person to win two Umebura's in Ultimate. I don't think it would be too hot of a take to say Zackray is a better player than Kameme or more importantly that he has much more MU familiarity with Mega Man than Leo does regardless of the fact that his playstyle seems to work better as well. Every game in this set was last hit anyways (not to mention it was 2-1) so I don't think it's indicative of anything ground-breaking or a declaration of the MU being "solved". There was reasons why some speculated about this MU before Leo dropped those sets.

Mega Man's kit often contrasts with what Joker typically does. Gun camping isn't as free with Pellets being just as long-ranged with faster startup. Pellets also cancel out Joker Side-B. Mega has better ranged aerials; especially without Arsene. Mega can rising Uair OOS careless down guns. Mega's crossup pressure is effective on Joker's shield due to his OOS options. Mega isn't an easy character for Joker to get into situations where he can reliably get grabbed which denies a lot of early damage without the Joker taking more risks which can enable whiff punish opportunities or over-extensions.

Mega also edge-guards Joker well in comparison to other characters. Marss for example didn't do anything in regards to that vs Leo and let him come back for free every time, but maybe things would've been different if he crash bomb'd ledge and tossed Metal Blade directly below ledge (to cover stalling with Tether or clip it at least). Combine that with drop-zone Fair and he could've covered a lot and be able to more consistently pressure Joker like a normal character or at least get him far away enough to start ledge drop bairing him.

Besides his mobility, Arsene is really the only thing I remotely worry about as Mega against Joker because of the damage output and how things can snowball if caught lacking in disadvantage. But the good thing is how quickly Mega can both drain meter and/or stall it out safely enough. Getting caught in a Leaf Shield chips away and wastes time while caught in it, landing Double Uair shreds through meter, Pellet & Metal Blade pressure can poke away from a distance, etc. On certain stages or situations Rush Camping is a viable option with how well Mega can execute mixups. Same applies with how well he can mixup offstage to avoid edge-guards, especially if he saves his jump as long as possible as even if he gets clipped he can just Up-B again. The defensive play vs Arsene Joker is one of the few things Marss did very well and you can see it in their set. That and how he took his time on ledge when forced there to wait out the meter as Joker doesn't have too many tools to hit below there unless he commits to ledge trump.

While I do think Mega Man players sometimes get away with things due to a lack of MU knowledge, I still believe Mega Man isn't so linear that concepts can't be played around once initially figured out. Kameme is the poster boy for the character but even he doesn't do everything as optimally as he could be and he often forgets to make use of entire moves (don't think Kameme even pressed Down-B against Zackray nor have I ever seen him LS Cancel).

Kameme is very gameplan orientated so when he encounters something that his normal autopilot doesn't work against, it takes him a bit to recenter himself and adapt. This was very evident watching him lose to Brood's Piranha Plant the first time they fought. Due to Kameme's presence, whenever he loses to something or switches off to another character, you get a lot of assumptions that Mega Man loses a certain MU based off of that alone when he honestly uses it for many other reasons too such as MU comfortability, easier execution, or even just as a player counter pick. Kameme switches off for Tea's Pac-Man or Kept's Villager for example in scenarios where on a MU standpoint he would have no need to do so. We'll see how things turn out as time goes on.
 
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873
Alright, Rizen Rizen , what’s the deal. Meta differences aside, what’s your take on why Toon Link generally does so well (in Japan) as opposed to YL? I know T is T, and he achieves results that most Links don’t.

But! Sigma (when he shows up) is generally a top 8 fixture, Ri-ma and (now) Lv. 1 put up strong work regularly.

Is it that TL, being a bit more ground based, necessarily commits less in a game where aerials are generally the neutral tools? Is it the difference in ease of kill-set ups?

TL flies under the radar in the States due to a lack of top player rep, but Japan more than makes up for that.

On a side note: KEN is a beast.
 

The_Bookworm

Smash Champion
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
2,254
Here are all the DreamHack Atlanta upsets I found so far (today's bracket is not yet over):

Ak8's Phantasmagoria 2-0 Ryo:ultike:
Rideae:ultpikachu: 2-0 Sonido:ultsonic: (Not too big of an upset, but here it is)
Goblin:ultroy: 3-1 Tweek:ultjoker: (History repeats itself for Tweek)
Wrath:ultjoker::ultsonic: 2-0 RFang:ultpichu:
Ap0stle:ultgreninja: 2-1 Tachyon:ultpichu: (Out at 65th)
OverLade:ultridley: 2-1 Blacktwins:ultpichu: (Out at 33rd)
Toast 2-1 Peabnut:ultmegaman: (Out at 33rd)
Toast 2-0 Sandstorm:ult_terry: (Out at 25th)
 

Hydreigonfan01

Smash Journeyman
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Aug 24, 2018
Messages
280
I think Tweek needs some time to get the Joker to work, both Leo and Zackray got 33rd with their Jokers' at one point but were able to get better and better with the character, and Leo is the best Joker in the world and Zackray is the second best.
 

Rizen

Smash Legend
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Messages
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Location
United States of Russia
Alright, Rizen Rizen , what’s the deal. Meta differences aside, what’s your take on why Toon Link generally does so well (in Japan) as opposed to YL? I know T is T, and he achieves results that most Links don’t.

But! Sigma (when he shows up) is generally a top 8 fixture, Ri-ma and (now) Lv. 1 put up strong work regularly.

Is it that TL, being a bit more ground based, necessarily commits less in a game where aerials are generally the neutral tools? Is it the difference in ease of kill-set ups?

TL flies under the radar in the States due to a lack of top player rep, but Japan more than makes up for that.

On a side note: KEN is a beast.
A lot of it's representation; Japan happens to be an area with a strong :ulttoonlink: presence like how Mexico has a strong G&W presence. Sorry to bring up meta but the Japanese meta does favor zoning more than the west with strong zoner players like Raito's :ultduckhunt: and Tea's :ultpacman: which creates a better environment for TL who is a strong zoner. Japan also seems more favorable to lower ranked characters.
If you look at :ulttoonlink: vs :ultyounglink: in terms of traits, TL is the stronger zoner with floaty jumps, better air speed and longer range projectiles like boomerang. Although I personally would argue YL's landing and combo game makes him the better Link overall. They both have their strengths so one could argue either way and have a point.
TL has stronger kill moves but gets less damage off individual moves and conversions than YL so it kind of evens out. This is a consistant them: YL's Fair hits twice for greater damage but the second hit is weaker than TL's 1 hit Fair. Same goes for Bair. Similarly YL's Usmash hits 3 times where TL's hits once (which IMO is better for being less punishable on wiff). TL definitely has a more passive hit and run style. IDK if I'd call him more ground based when YL is less floaty and has good conversions and pokes with Dtilt. TL does have a better OoS with a f6 spin attack vs YL's f9 SA.

Who knows, maybe there's some cultural aspect too like Japan is more friendly to cartoonish characters.
 
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The_Bookworm

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Jan 10, 2018
Messages
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I checked the VoDs of the streamed sets, and found two surprising picks (and identical situations lol):

After losing the first two games as :ultjoker:, Tweek switched to :ultkrool: against Goblin:ultroy:. Tweek took game 3 in convincing fashion, but then got virtually three-stocked on game 4.
After losing the first two games as :ultbowser:, LeoN switched to :ultbowserjr: against DWizzy:ultmario:. LeoN took game 3 in convincing fashion, but cannot secure the victory against him at game 4.

I also found out that Toast is a :ultyounglink: main.
 
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Hydreigonfan01

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Aug 24, 2018
Messages
280
I checked the VoDs of the streamed sets, and found two surprising picks (and identical situations lol):

After losing the first two games as :ultjoker:, Tweek switched to :ultkrool: against Goblin:ultroy:. Tweek took game 3 in convincing fashion, but then got virtually three-stocked on game 4.
After losing the first two games as :ultbowser:, LeoN switched to :ultbowserjr: against DWizzy:ultmario:. LeoN took game 3 in convincing fashion, but cannot secure the victory against him at game 4.

I also found out that Toast is a :ultyounglink: main.
LeoN's counterpick made sense canonically, Bowser Jr/Shadow Mario has more wins than his father does thanks to Sunshine.
 

The_Bookworm

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Other upsets that has occurred:

Key 2-0 iTheta:ultmiifighters:
AJ Sorrell 2-1 iTheta:ultmiifighters: (Out at 128th)
Mekos:ultlucas: 2-1 Mystearica(:ultzelda::ultpalutena:?)
Benny&TheJets:ultrob: 2-1 ScAtt:ultsnake::ultmegaman:
Ned:ultpokemontrainerf: 3-2 ESAM:ultpikachu:
Adachi 2-1 ScAtt:ultsnake::ultmegaman: (Out at 65th)
Rideae:ultpikachu: 2-1 RFang:ultpichu: (Out at 25th)

Edit: Apparently Rideae used :ultpichu: throughout the tournament. Interesting...
 
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B_Burg

Smash Rookie
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
19
Well yes, but also no. I'm curious to analyze this set so if you can recall, who was this Mega Man player that MVD 3-stocked? While I don't like using individual sets to determine MUs, as of now, MVD has lost to every single Top Mega Man player (some even more than once!): Yeti x3, Scatt, Kameme, etc. Even Marss almost won back when he was first learning the character. While I feel Mega Man definitely wins vs Snake (something most top players on both sides agree with and an opinion MVD finally gave in to sharing recently), I don't think it's necessarily hard enough to where entire skill gaps can be completely overcame and MVD is a good player at the end of the day...
Very well thought out post and I appreciate it.

I apologize, but my memory was completely off base in what I was thinking of. It was neither MVD nor a 3 stock I was thinking of, it was this set of Salem going 3-0 against Yeti.

Here is the video. I think highly of Yeti as a Megaman player so I guess that's why this set stood out in my mind, even though I was completely wrong in what I was remembering.

I did however go back and watch through the sets of MVD playing various Mega Man players. He did quite well at keeping all the matches close, and most of the matches in this set here with Salem and Yeti are pretty close too. A lot of impressive players in this game...

As for the Megaman-Joker match up, I think you did a great job of covering a lot of why Megaman can at the very least do a good job of holding his own in the match up. He has strong tools, and as you said, I definitely think Megaman is up there in terms of best characters one could pick to fight Joker in theory. I'm curious to see how the match up ends up panning out.

You also did a better job of analyzing Kameme's play style than I ever could. Though I never really used his performance as a metric for the viability of the character. I know he's the 'poster boy' for the character, but I've been more curious watching Yeti's play develop personally. Though I find them both a blast to watch.

I've just always found myself kind of questioning how good Megaman really is in the game, admittedly probably more than I should as I know he's good, I'm just not sure to what extent. He's such a unique character it's kind of difficult to pin down exactly how good he is or could be. I guess I feel like a lot of the discussion around his match ups and tier placement are based more on theory than practice just because he still kind of seems like a niche character. Maybe I just need to look a bit harder for high level play of the character.

Not that it effects my enjoyment of the character in the game since I'm no tourney player myself, I just like watching him at a high level and would like to see more of it. Much like the match ups, I'm curious to see how he ends up shaking out as the game's meta continues to develop and if the ones who main him will continue to, or if they will start to drift more towards other characters like Kameme with Wario or Scatt with Snake.

Thanks again for all the insight. If you know of any other Mega Man players that would be good too watch, be it at a casual or tournament level, I'd gladly take any recommendations you might have.
 
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