Discussion of Stage Legality in Smash Bros. Ultimate

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ShneeOscar

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You also have to take into account that a player may have more than one character they play, who might like completely different stages from each other.
 

Skeleghost

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Oh, that's a good point. Both in favor and against what I'm saying actually, which is kinda weird?

In the past games, you could pick your stage based on what character the opponent is playing, but in SSBU, if they play multiple characters, that doesn't really work so well (unless that counter-pick stage happens to work against all characters the opponent plays). The ability to change your stage preferences based on the opponent is just not as valuable as it used to be.

But maybe your preferred stage list is totally different with all your own mains. I'm not sure how big of a problem that is though. Again, you choose characters after stages, so you can just choose whichever character you like running that stage with. I guess it might favor players who play multiple characters too much? I don't think it would be a problem but... it's kinda hard to prove that one way or the other!

Edit: Ok, thinking about it a bit more, I think this works better as an argument in favor of filter lists over striking. The most successful tournament players tend to have just one main, maybe two. Stage filters will favor players who play multiple characters, but I don't think it will favor them quite enough to make 3 or 4 mains more optimal than 1 or 2. If anything, it'll just even things out a bit between single-mainers and multi-mainers, which seems like a good thing to me. Is there a disadvantage I'm not seeing?
 
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Skeleghost

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That's probably a good idea anyway, but you can still figure out what your opponent's list consists of by reverse engineering it and figuring out at least part of the opponent's list by looking on what stages they end up fighting on. You could even create an app that creates a probabilistic model for it! Maybe nobody will be crazy enough to try though? It sounds like a lot of work, at the very least...

But at the end of the day, I don't understand WHY players need to be able to change their stage selection in the middle of an event. I disagree about that being a core part of the game! I always though that both stage striking and counter-picking were a means to an end. The goal is to get a variety of stages (which IS a core part of the game), while also picking stages in a way that doesn't favor either player. Or at least, that's the impression I always got!
 
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Veggi

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Howdy folks, I haven't posted here before but I started thinking about the issues this thread has been talking about. I think that there's just some fundamental problems with stage striking itself, and it sounds like I'm not the only one.

The solution I came up with seems to be almost the same as something Akiak said a number of pages back. Basically, each player should list all the stages in the order that they prefer, then we 'strike' the stage at the bottom of each player's list, until we have one stage left for each round in the set.

The main difference is that Akiak suggested using pencil and paper to keep track of this, which seems like a bad idea to me because of how much time and effort it would require. Instead, I made a simple utility program:
http://smashfilters.droppages.com/

Basically, the idea is you can click and drag to move stages around to create the order you prefer for stages.
You cannot create profiles with a phone at this point, but you CAN put the saved profiles on your phone and then load them up. So if someone has the profiles of everyone at the tournament on their phone, they can set up matches almost instantly (faster than stage striking with 5 stages, anyway).

I know it's a little rough around the edges, but does this seem like something that would work? I think it solves basically all the problems everyone is talking about here, assuming long as people find it intuitive enough that they can do it without wasting too much time (which might be a big if). If lots of people show interest maybe I'll try to update it so you can create profiles on a phone.
I'm considering hosting my own tournaments to test this out. It seems like a lot of fun and I believe that statistically it provides the most fair stage possible because the most fair stage between two players is more likely to appear if they are given more options. The drawback to this is that it would take more time and your tool eliminates that problem.

The problems being brought up with it I do not believe (for the most part) are actual problems. The idea that a player may not do well in certain matchups with their stage list or they main characters that are good on different stages is not a reason to not use the tool. It's a reason for that individual player to not place certain stages high on their list. It involves some strategy. If you don't feel comfortable all the time on certain stages, rate them lower.

Regarding people changing their lists in the midde of the tournament. I don't think it matters enough to outweigh the huge benefits. I think people should be welcome to change their lists before their match is called and then once the TO says what stage they're going to play on, that's what stage they play on. There's a possibility that a player may not have enough time to rework their list before their match is called but w/e. There's no way the other player can be screwed by it because it always picks a stage both players like. It's a very minor flaw especially in comparison to other things at tournaments like working with tiny stage lists that benefit certain characters over others and being matched up in bracket by coincidence with people who play a character who counters yours. Tournaments aren't 100% fair.

I think people forget that the goal here is not to find the perfect solution to selecting stages. It's to find ones that are better than the absolutely horrible way we select stages currently. Having a small and boring stage list that doesn't allow players to have a say in what stages they think are fair is not "neutral" or "fair" or "even". Certain people decide what stages are best for every player and then the people and characters that are best on those stages dominate. With the above tool, the players decide what stages are fair for themselves and then the tool produces the average. It's not perfect but it's way better than what we have now. So what if it changes the skill set and considerations required for a smash set a little?
 
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NewGuy79

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At the risk of being a shameless self promoter, I'll mention that my solution does include a "use stage morph" option. The algorithm it uses to pick the stages becomes slightly more complex if you turn it on though, which worries me slightly. I feel like it's best if everyone understands exactly how the formula works.


If we aren't going to use my filtering solution, however, then I would say that, yes, stage morph could be used to solve some of the problems inherent in a starter/counter-pick paradigm. Allowing both players to pick a stage could be good. But it's also possible that the order of the stages ends up a problem because KOs are more likely to occur at certain times, and the stage might be more important at those specific moments that a KO occurs.

For example, lets say, for round numbers, that the first stocks are lost around 1 minute, the second stocks around 2 minutes, and the third around 3 minutes. If the stage morph occurs every 1.5 minutes, then 2 of the 3 KOs are more likely to happen on the second stage. Of course, it varies a lot from one match to the next, and I'm not even sure whether the first match or the second is more important... but the point is, the order of the two stages when using stage morph could end up mattering. I'm still in favor of giving it a try though, my point is that we may find that you can't just say 'both players get to choose a stage so it's perfectly fair'.
While I definitely agree there is potential for specific stage morphing timing to favour certain situations, I see this problem as similar to the problem of pick order in chess. even in what is essentially one of the fairest games ever, going first or second drastically impacts what strategies a player can use. within this hypothetical stage morph match I see similar mindsets forming with players over time, with the order being determined by RPS I think players will be able to suitably adapt their strategy and picks so that they can take the most advantage out of the pick order they were given ( though this may take time to develop).

Also considering your example, if both players lose their stocks during the first selection then whichever player that set that stage as first either made a terrible pick or was severely outplayed, as this system allows that player to pick the most advantageous stage for his character and he still was unable to keep his stock intact. if in this same game the next stage morph allows for 2 stokes to be lost (ending the game I assume) then the player that picked that stage picked well as it seems to me that they were able to take advantage of the pick being in play and take 2 stocks as a result)

(hope that made sense, if im understanding you wrong I'd love a response for clarification)

In addition to skeleghost's points, there are 2 fundamental issues with stage morph: 1 stage must come first, and there is no "1-2-2-2 etc:" like setting for the morph timer that we know of meaning that the first stage's player as a difficult to quantify advantage and if the difference between stage advantages is great enough the player who is not on their stage pick is encouraged to camp and wait for the stage to morph into a more favorable stage.
I wouldn't be concerned about camping when it comes to stage morphing specifically when it comes to how I want it utilized ( used in game one only, morphs twice between both picks). The idea within its implementation would be that players having the ability to pick the most optimal character and the most optimal stage, essentially giving them the freedom to pick their most ideal scenario and pit it against their opponents most ideal scenario, essentially when player A is on his stage pick ideally he would have chosen it well enough so that the opportunity for player B to camp doesn't occur, he instead has massive advantage within the 1:30 that his pick remains active. the skill check for player A being can he take advantage and gain a lead, while the skill check for player B being can they survive or counter the opponent's advantage, once the stage morphs the dichotomy flips creating a pendulum of advantage and disadvantage for both players.

essentially I feel as if a game one stage morph game is the best way to determine who should gain game 1 advantage as it creates a situation in whitch only the player that is able to succeed in both advantage and disadvantage states gets the win.

Sorry if this sounds like rambling its late for me
 
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Skeleghost

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I'm considering hosting my own tournaments to test this out. It seems like a lot of fun and I believe that statistically it provides the most fair stage possible because the most fair stage between two players is more likely to appear if they are given more options. The drawback to this is that it would take more time and your tool eliminates that problem.

The problems being brought up with it I do not believe (for the most part) are actual problems. The idea that a player may not do well in certain matchups with their stage list or they main characters that are good on different stages is not a reason to not use the tool. It's a reason for that individual player to not place certain stages high on their list. It involves some strategy. If you don't feel comfortable all the time on certain stages, rate them lower.

Regarding people changing their lists in the midde of the tournament. I don't think it matters enough to outweigh the huge benefits. I think people should be welcome to change their lists before their match is called and then once the TO says what stage they're going to play on, that's what stage they play on. There's a possibility that a player may not have enough time to rework their list before their match is called but w/e. There's no way the other player can be screwed by it because it always picks a stage both players like. It's a very minor flaw especially in comparison to other things at tournaments like working with tiny stage lists that benefit certain characters over others and being matched up in bracket by coincidence with people who play a character who counters yours. Tournaments aren't 100% fair.

I think people forget that the goal here is not to find the perfect solution to selecting stages. It's to find ones that are better than the absolutely horrible way we select stages currently. Having a small and boring stage list that doesn't allow players to have a say in what stages they think are fair is not "neutral" or "fair" or "even". Certain people decide what stages are best for every player and then the people and characters that are best on those stages dominate. With the above tool, the players decide what stages are fair for themselves and then the tool produces the average. It's not perfect but it's way better than what we have now. So what if it changes the skill set and considerations required for a smash set a little?
I might be being overzealous regarding the whole "no changing lists" things, to be honest... it is actually quite difficult to exploit this for metagaming purposes. But be aware that it is possible to exploit list changing, and if it ever becomes a big thing, the results will not ideal.

Anyway, I will try to make a more mobile friendly version of the utility. Right now, it relies on click-and-drag to make the lists, but you can't touch-and-drag. However, you can LOAD two player's lists and a rules set onto a mobile device, as long as you have access to the three files in question. Warning: coding and design work does in fact take a bit of time and effort and I work full time, so I may not have anything until next weekend. I'll also put a readme out soon. Let me know if there are any features that would be useful (with the caveat that I might just say "that's awkward to make for technical reasons", but no harm in asking).
 

Frihetsanka

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User was warned for this post; censor dodging
This is an emotional rollercoaster, just when it looks like Lylat is going to be fine we get this:

Awesome link, but warning for swearing.

I guess Lylat will probably end up dead, unless this is fixed. That sucks.
 
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WritersBlah

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This is an emotional rollercoaster, just when it looks like Lylat is going to be fine we get this:

Awesome link, but warning for swearing.

I guess Lylat will probably end up dead, unless this is fixed. That sucks.
While that does look pretty awful, that's also something that's likely to be fixed in a day 1 patch, so I'm reserving judgment for now.

In other news, we actually got a pretty interesting write-up on stages from somebody who actually got the game early and has played with a decent number of community members so far. He's got some relatively liberal ideals, so I think you'll find it interesting. Of note is that he's actually claiming that PS1's ledges are less pineappley than PS2's.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I8a32E3w63u4F-3M0Jk9SXO635tFa5YOFqfJ_ilnUk4/
 
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Frihetsanka

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2D Omegas/Battlefield forms confirmed different.

While that does look pretty awful, that's also something that's likely to be fixed in a day 1 patch, so I'm reserving judgment for now.
I do hope you're right.

In other news, we actually got a pretty interesting write-up on stages from somebody who actually got the game early and has played with a decent number of community members so far. He's got some relatively liberal ideals, so I think you'll find it interesting. Of note is that he's actually claiming that PS1's ledges are less pineappley than PS2's.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I8a32E3w63u4F-3M0Jk9SXO635tFa5YOFqfJ_ilnUk4/
I've heard other people say PS1 ledges are better now, too, so that might actually be legit. In that case, PS1 over PS2.

First off, hazards always off, so I'm going to ignore anything that has "on".

Rainbow Cruise: The upper right side of the stage is heavily camping, and the wall could lead to some nasty stuff. Probably banned.

Brinstar: Seems the "bubbles" have some issues, the stage is also sharkable and has tiny horizontal blastzones. Probably banned.

Yoshi's Story: Potentially legal, potentially redundant but worth testing. Slightly smaller blastzones than Battlefield (180 ceiling instead of 192), walls and slants, making it slightly different.

Pokémon Stadium (2): Obviously legal.

WarioWare: Should start legal, potentially banned later on for small horizontal blastzones combined with huge vertical blastzones. Could also lead to camping since you generally won't have to fear up-airs killing you due to the high ceiling.

Frigate Orpheon: Should start legal, might eventually be banned.

Yoshi's Island (Brawl): Legal.

Halberd: The ceiling is huuuuge. Also sharking. Probably banned.

Lylat Cruise: Potentially legal, depending on what people think about the Peach bug.

Castle Siege: Should start legal, probably banned later though.

Smashville: Legal.

Unova: Potentially legal, might be redundant but could be worth testing.

Prism Tower: Has several bad forms and sharking, probably banned.

Skyloft: If sharking is a problem, this is banned. If not, legal.

Kalos: Legal.

Town & City: People have expressed concern about camping, but I think it's worth testing at least.

Wuhu Island: The stage is nearly as big as Mushroom Kingdom U, and people think that stage is too big, so this is likely going to end up banned. Also weird ledges and potential sharking issues.

Wily Castle: Huge ceiling, really similar to Final Destination, likely banned.

Midgar: Redundant, Yoshi's Story is better if you want a Battlefield-like stage.

Mushroom Kingdom U: People are saying it's too big. I'm okay with testing it but it's probably banned.

Pictochat: Probably too similar to Final Destination, and the ledges could be an issue.

Dracula's Castle: Walls, staircase, banned.

Hmm, so I guess that gives us... Oh, he didn't mention Battlefield or Final Destination? Both legal. Anyway, that's 13 stages for early testing (14 if you include Skyloft). Some are really iffy though.

Solid stages: Battlefield, Final Destination, Smashville, Kalos Pokémon League, Pokemon Stadium (5).

Borderline: Lylat, WarioWare, Castle Siege, Frigate Orpheon, Town & City, Skyloft (6).

Possibly redundant: Yoshi's Story, Unova Pokémon League, Yoshi's Island (Brawl) (3).
 

Gunman1357

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Looks like Yoshi's story is different enough from battlefield now based on stage blastzones.
Though I will still advocate for fountain of dreams in its hazard form.
 

ShneeOscar

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- I have no idea why everyone seems to think sharking is an issue again, while it wasn't in smash 4, and with the hard ledge grab limit, it should be even less of a problem.

- Funny that Halberd's ceiling is now apparently too big.

- Mushroom Kingdom U is only like 20% bigger than Battlefield, calm down about that.

- Between Hazardless Smashville and Yoshi's Island Brawl, I say we go with Yoshi's because everyone is so sick of Smashville's music/background.
 

Veggi

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I might be being overzealous regarding the whole "no changing lists" things, to be honest... it is actually quite difficult to exploit this for metagaming purposes. But be aware that it is possible to exploit list changing, and if it ever becomes a big thing, the results will not ideal.

Anyway, I will try to make a more mobile friendly version of the utility. Right now, it relies on click-and-drag to make the lists, but you can't touch-and-drag. However, you can LOAD two player's lists and a rules set onto a mobile device, as long as you have access to the three files in question. Warning: coding and design work does in fact take a bit of time and effort and I work full time, so I may not have anything until next weekend. I'll also put a readme out soon. Let me know if there are any features that would be useful (with the caveat that I might just say "that's awkward to make for technical reasons", but no harm in asking).
I played around with it for the first time a little earlier so I wanted to get some advice regarding how you would apply it in tournament. I was thinking this:

>Create facebook event
>Put link to the page in the event description with a request to save a stage list and send it to me through Facebook messenger or email.
>Indicate that it's fine to change it as many times as needed and send a new version as long as it's before the event starts.
>Save everyone's files in one folder.
>Load the two appropriate files when the players have a set together

Is that what you had in mind? I'm actually having a hard time understanding how someone could change stage lists in the middle of a tournament if the TO takes premade files from their own computer.

- I have no idea why everyone seems to think sharking is an issue again, while it wasn't in smash 4, and with the hard ledge grab limit, it should be even less of a problem.

- Funny that Halberd's ceiling is now apparently too big.

- Mushroom Kingdom U is only like 20% bigger than Battlefield, calm down about that.

- Between Hazardless Smashville and Yoshi's Island Brawl, I say we go with Yoshi's because everyone is so sick of Smashville's music/background.
Thank you. As someone who was deeply involved with competitive Brawl I think it's unreasonable to start banning things because possible sharking when this game doesn't even have Brawl's mechanics. If you lose to someone sharking in Smash 4 or Ultimate...like I'm sorry...but they outplayed you.

Also if a stage that's somewhat bigger than battlefield is so scary in a game with significantly worse defensive options than Brawl and Smash 4, then have a large stage list and ban/strike/rate it low.
 
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Frihetsanka

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I have no idea why everyone seems to think sharking is an issue again, while it wasn't in smash 4, and with the hard ledge grab limit, it should be even less of a problem.
This will be tested day 1.

- Funny that Halberd's ceiling is now apparently too big.
Yup, seems that stage can never get reasonable blastzones.

- Mushroom Kingdom U is only like 20% bigger than Battlefield, calm down about that.
People who have played the game claim they feel it's too big, so that's something to keep in mind.

- Between Hazardless Smashville and Yoshi's Island Brawl, I say we go with Yoshi's because everyone is so sick of Smashville's music/background.
I think both should probably be legal, but if we're going with one it's probably Smashville, music/background are not that important.
 

Chaos_lord2

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I think that if you are using a pre-declared strike list system, and allow mid-tournament changes, there will be instances of people trying to play list mindgames for advantage at the highest levels as exact list preferences will become public knowledge and there is often money on the line, so trying to get the game 1 advantage will be very tempting. I don't think you can avoid this without basically asking people to make new lists every round anyway. If you are going to ask people to build a new list for each opponent, then note that it will take time and require a larger tech presence than other striking methods, though i can't directly compare it to striking so it would need to be field tested.

I wouldn't be concerned about camping when it comes to stage morphing specifically when it comes to how I want it utilized ( used in game one only, morphs twice between both picks). The idea within its implementation would be that players having the ability to pick the most optimal character and the most optimal stage, essentially giving them the freedom to pick their most ideal scenario and pit it against their opponents most ideal scenario, essentially when player A is on his stage pick ideally he would have chosen it well enough so that the opportunity for player B to camp doesn't occur, he instead has massive advantage within the 1:30 that his pick remains active. the skill check for player A being can he take advantage and gain a lead, while the skill check for player B being can they survive or counter the opponent's advantage, once the stage morphs the dichotomy flips creating a pendulum of advantage and disadvantage for both players.
This probably also needs field testing because I cannot shake the idea that the order of stages would be a balance problem if you allow both sides to pick their most preferred stage, though I'll note that games should not be going close to time. timers are usually set as high as the TO can get away with in the worst case scenario specifically to avoid games coming anywhere close to time (and thus discourage stalling) so if you want 2 goes on each stage per match you'll probably have to go for 1 minute morphs though anything match time related will be highly variable.

On similar stages: Even if you end up using a system that can select between any number of stages, I can see CP only stages being justified for these very similar stages simply because they don't fit anywhere else without causing problems, but are not an issue per-se. You'd probably need some rules for dealing with similar stages anyway so it wouldn't be a large burden.

I like the idea of multi-tier group striking, in theory it could select between 81 stages in 4 strikes each, which is completely overkill for any possible scenario, at the cost of only a small amount of precision, but think this list is backwards. Rather than trying to make a few larger balanced lists for people to strike between I think the stages should be in small groups of similar stages. My thinking is that the first pick in the listed layout is one that is not very intuitive or easy to value, making it hard to decide the best choice for newer players (who may well pick randomly or brainlessly follow whatever advice they were given due to the amount of thought needed to asses the choice) and more prone to subtle balance issues due to this. By contrast if you first divide by type of stage(tri-plat, mid-plat, flat etc:) and then by which stage in that category(flats could have FD, wilys and a 2D omega for example) what you can quite easily strike with intent even for a newer player as they can first imagine what kind of stage they want, then the more specific stuff afterwards. It also means you can give each group a descriptive name, making it easier to remember what's where and declare your strikes.

Needing to keep every branch following n4+1 can be limiting for stage selection though, which may be troublesome.
 

dav3yb

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he literally cited a doc posted by someone who played the game and says brinstar is sharkable
  • Brinstar - hazards off
This stage is very unique. Again, bottom passthrough for all of the stage, not just the bubbles as some have reported. With hazards off it’s like drunk battlefield - it’s got all the parts, but in weird places. The norfair bubbles move slightly, but won’t break, which I think is a very entertaining feature, that only slightly modifies the standing area just there. You cannot interact with or “break” the side platforms with hazards off.


literally only says the stage has a sharkable bottom, and zero evidence that there is any issue with that thus far.
 

dav3yb

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so sharking isn't an issue and no stage should be banned because of it. glad we're on the same page.
 

Veggi

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I think that if you are using a pre-declared strike list system, and allow mid-tournament changes, there will be instances of people trying to play list mindgames for advantage at the highest levels as exact list preferences will become public knowledge and there is often money on the line, so trying to get the game 1 advantage will be very tempting. I don't think you can avoid this without basically asking people to make new lists every round anyway. If you are going to ask people to build a new list for each opponent, then note that it will take time and require a larger tech presence than other striking methods, though i can't directly compare it to striking so it would need to be field tested.
After playing with it earlier, I think that it would just require players submitting a stage list before each tournament...or none at all if they want to use the default list or they have submitted a list in a previous tournament and don't want to submit a new one. If that's the case, I don't think people changing their lists in the middle of a tournament will be an issue because it doesn't seem to be possible. The tool saves each list as a a text document and stages are generated by the TO using the premade text documents with the tool. So the TO just uses the original document. Because the stage list is only seen by the player who made it and the TO, I don't think it's possible for another person to adapt to another player's list. Especially considering it may screw them up against other players in the tournament because they can't change their list once the tournament starts.

It makes it so that each player has to take possibilities into consideration before the tournament as opposed to within the tournament. Which isn't a bad thing. If anything maybe players should be able to get one ban in addition to the system. So a player who loves FD except in certain matchups has the option to ban FD.

I would like to test and come up with solutions to any problems with this system rather than scrapping it because I think it could make competitive smash way better.
 
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dav3yb

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The game is not even out yet, how can you say with certainty that sharking isn't a problem? It needs to be tested.
I can't, but it seems like everyone is trying to use it to preemptively ban stages, which is so completely backwards i can't even understand it. It's just like stages like Green Greens with mid-stage pits. I don't really see an issue with those (at least the ones without solid walls on either side like Saffron), but everyone seems to be claiming with zero evidence so far that they're bad and need to be banned. This is a new game, built from the ground up, I just want as much content to have a FAIR chance as humanly possible. If a stage is demonstrably at issue in some way, fine, I won't be complaining that it's let go, but otherwise, it needs to stay.
 
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Skeleghost

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Listing sharking as a downside implies that it is bad. It's not a neutral statement of observation, it is making a claim: "sharking in smashU is bad." But I haven't seen any evidence of that claim, or heard any reasoning for why it is true. So I think it is reasonable to take issue with with the original statement. Frihetsanka should probably either make an argument for why sharking is bad, or admit that one of the reasons they listed for banning brinstar is not valid, and that they were mistaken.

I mean, maybe sharking is bad! I said we haven't seen evidence or heard a good argument of that yet, but maybe that will change. I'm absolutely in favor of testing it, and if it's actually a true problem, then I am in favor of banning it. We have enough viable stages in smashU, we don't need to try to make due with bad stages like previous smash games did.

But if we start assuming it's a problem BEFORE we've seen it in action, then we probably won't be able to make logical decisions about it (as an example, see how ready people were to ban Lylat, even though the glitches that started the argument turned out not to be specific to the stage).
 

Frihetsanka

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I think sharking should be tested once the game is released, and I strongly suspect sharking stages will end up banned.

Gaps in the middle of the stage (like with Green Greens) means that you can camp really hard and force the opponent to jump, putting many characters at a significant disadvantage.
 

Skeleghost

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I played around with it for the first time a little earlier so I wanted to get some advice regarding how you would apply it in tournament. I was thinking this:

>Create facebook event
>Put link to the page in the event description with a request to save a stage list and send it to me through Facebook messenger or email.
>Indicate that it's fine to change it as many times as needed and send a new version as long as it's before the event starts.
>Save everyone's files in one folder.
>Load the two appropriate files when the players have a set together

Is that what you had in mind? I'm actually having a hard time understanding how someone could change stage lists in the middle of a tournament if the TO takes premade files from their own computer.
As someone who hasn't actually run a tournament, I am not going to claim to know exactly the best methodology. But that's pretty darn close to what I was thinking. If you have multiple devices that players can use before the tournament to setup, that might be good... but... well... how many spare tablets and laptops do you have laying around? That said, if a TO learns to be quick at it, they might be able to translate someone's list pretty fast using their own device. Maybe.

Regarding the changing of stage lists: This is only a problem if TOs allow it. That is, if someone has reached round 3 of the tournament, and then says "I've changed my stage list, use this from now on", that can be exploited. If the TO says 'ok, the tournament has started, your list is locked now' then it's unlikely to produce issues. Although it's still probably better if players never have access to each other's lists (unless they willingly share them, of course).

I will say that the logistics of getting started and set up is the one thing that makes me doubt this system. I think that 'rank the stages in order' is pretty intuitive for a new player, much moreso than "stage striking". But actually getting the stage filtering list into your phone or computer before the tournament starts? Well, I hope the overhead isn't too much. Like I said, I'm planning to work a bit more on the application this weekend to make it more phone-friendly.

I definitely recommend creating a few template/premade lists, like maybe "wide stages" "tall stages" "small stages" "conservative stages" and "weird stages". Or maybe just the preferences of a few players you know, who have divergent tastes. Then players without their own list can choose a template, swap a few stages around, and just use that. Also, the stage list can and should be large, but if you intend to run more than one tournament, then maybe it would make sense to start small-ish, like 20-25. That way, it's easier for those last-minute players to make the list they want. The system is fair with pretty huge stage lists, but that's not what worries me, it's setting up each player in the first place.

I think sharking should be tested once the game is released, and I strongly suspect sharking stages will end up banned.

Gaps in the middle of the stage (like with Green Greens) means that you can camp really hard and force the opponent to jump, putting many characters at a significant disadvantage.
This sounds reasonable to me (and the argument against gaps, as simple as it is, seems solid). I still worry about the sharking thing becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, though.
 

mugwhump

Smash Journeyman
Joined
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Messages
382
I quite like the idea of having larger "buckets" of stages that are selected from first, then moving on to choose a stage within the bucket.
 

Akiak

Smash Ace
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Messages
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In my secret laboratory.
As someone who hasn't actually run a tournament, I am not going to claim to know exactly the best methodology. But that's pretty darn close to what I was thinking. If you have multiple devices that players can use before the tournament to setup, that might be good... but... well... how many spare tablets and laptops do you have laying around? That said, if a TO learns to be quick at it, they might be able to translate someone's list pretty fast using their own device. Maybe.

Regarding the changing of stage lists: This is only a problem if TOs allow it. That is, if someone has reached round 3 of the tournament, and then says "I've changed my stage list, use this from now on", that can be exploited. If the TO says 'ok, the tournament has started, your list is locked now' then it's unlikely to produce issues. Although it's still probably better if players never have access to each other's lists (unless they willingly share them, of course).

I will say that the logistics of getting started and set up is the one thing that makes me doubt this system. I think that 'rank the stages in order' is pretty intuitive for a new player, much moreso than "stage striking". But actually getting the stage filtering list into your phone or computer before the tournament starts? Well, I hope the overhead isn't too much. Like I said, I'm planning to work a bit more on the application this weekend to make it more phone-friendly.

I definitely recommend creating a few template/premade lists, like maybe "wide stages" "tall stages" "small stages" "conservative stages" and "weird stages". Or maybe just the preferences of a few players you know, who have divergent tastes. Then players without their own list can choose a template, swap a few stages around, and just use that. Also, the stage list can and should be large, but if you intend to run more than one tournament, then maybe it would make sense to start small-ish, like 20-25. That way, it's easier for those last-minute players to make the list they want. The system is fair with pretty huge stage lists, but that's not what worries me, it's setting up each player in the first place.
The way I saw it, I imagined players could just keep the lists on their phones (either typed down or with an app) and then when they meet they simply compare them with each other and figure out the winning stage. Is that too much to ask of them?

Also, although the system does scale well with larger stage lists, it's not without its drawbacks. The more stages you have, the more stages you have to rank, and it can get pretty crazy if you have to rank like >10 stages.
 

Midoriki

Smash Cadet
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
50
Did some math and simulations on picking a stage using the ordered lists method :)
A few takeaways:

- If the stage list is odd, you can't get worse than the middle stage on your list. For example, with 9 stages you won't get worse than your 5th favorite stage.
- If its even, you're guaranteed to get a stage in your top half + 1. For example, with 10 stages you won't get worse than your 6th favorite stage.

- The longer the stage list the less likely a tie breaker will be needed. Assuming random lists (not a great assumption I know, but its not like I have actual player lists to work with ;) )
With a stage list of 5 stages tie breakers would be needed 11.666% of the time
With a stage list of 10 stages tie breakers would be needed 5.714% of the time
With a stage list of 15 stages tie breakers would be needed approximately 3.8% of the time
With a stage list of 20 stages tie breakers would be needed approximately 2.7% of the time

So it's at least as fair as stage striking, less random than stage striking, and able to handle even numbers of stages. (although odd is still better)

After some practice I found it fairly quick to figure out which stage to use given another ordered list, especially since you only really need to know the order of the top half of your list. Even without an app it would probably be about as fast as striking off a longer stage list since there's no back and forth, and you start needing a way to keep track of which stages have been struck anyways.

Possible time save for TOs and app: Only ask players to order their top N/2 +1 stages. Players should spend less time thinking about the order of their least favorite stages and will have fewer stages to write.

EDIT: Fixed tie probabilities, I forgot to add difference based tie breaking, so ties are less frequent than I originally calculated.
 
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Kleric

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49
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NNID
MrOrdun
For all the stages that don't have the obvious degenerate abuse-able qualities, and are instead being considered for banning because of "heavy favoring of specific characters" (such as Brinstar or Green Greens), I really feel these stages need to be given a chance to allow the potential discovery of counter play. I find it super silly to say a stage should be banned because you speculate it'll heavily favor a specific character, before we have the game, and before strategies are even allowed time to be discovered and adapted.

If you end up right and nothing significant in counter-play is discovered over time, then sure it should be banned. But nothing like this should be banned day one.
 
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Akiak

Smash Ace
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Jul 28, 2007
Messages
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In my secret laboratory.
Possible time save for TOs and app: Only ask players to order their top N/2 +1 stages. Players should spend less time thinking about the order of their least favorite stages and will have fewer stages to write.
There's pretty much no reason not to do that, unless you need the lower-ranked stages for a tie-breaker (which is debatable).
 

Midoriki

Smash Cadet
Joined
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Messages
50
unless you need the lower-ranked stages for a tie-breaker (which is debatable)
Yeah, it's an interesting question what to do in the following case:

Player 1's top 3 stages are:
1. Final Destination
2. Battlefield
3. Pokemon Stadium

Player 2's top 3 stages are:
1. Battlefield
2. Final Destination
3. Pokemon Stadium

Is it better to tie-break by using some method (rock-paper-scissors?) to pick between BF and FD which both players prefer over PS? Or is it better to tie-break by picking PS which both players equally prefer?

I personally would prefer using some method to pick between BF and FD, since it guarantees you only need to order N/2+1 stages no matter what, maximizes average preference, and doesn't force you to deal with situations where the next best stage is much lower down on both players' lists or also a tie.

Of course in nice situations like this where the next best stage is obvious and in both players' top 3, I'm guessing they would probably just agree to play on PS rather than deal with rock-paper-scissors or something, but the rules need to deal with cases where players don't agree and this is an easy example to think about.
 

Chaos_lord2

Smash Rookie
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
5
I would like to test and come up with solutions to any problems with this system rather than scrapping it because I think it could make competitive smash way better.
Sorry if i gave the impression I didn't like it, I think list based systems are one of the ones with real potential, I just point out potential issues so they could be addressed or at least known about to avoid nasty surprises. No truly perfect solution exists, it's a matter of choosing trade offs. So please, test away.

As for the list discussion. I don't think we need to require more stages for tiebreaker purposes when RNG and stage morph exist as option. While stage morph has balance issues when the stages are very different in player preference, in a tiebreak they should be very similar making it very unlikely that the balance issues of who's stage is first or much encouragement to wait out the morph.

However I can think of 1 reason to ask for more, and it's a special option for list based systems: we can use the list to decide all of a sets stages because of how fast it is to resolve stage selection neutrally this way.

The idea is fairly simple: instead of deciding 1 stage, you take the top 3 or 5. For game 1 you can either play the most preferred stage, or strike through the selected stages. For future rounds the loser selecting one of the other stages chosen that haven't been player yet to go to.

This would require a list of N/2 +5 stages(+3 if you can live without any Bo5's) , but would completely redefine "counterpicking". Instead of playing 1 neutral and then counterpicks for remaining games people would play 5 almost-neutral stages. essentially making the CP advantage incredibly weak. This of course has several gameplay effects, off the top of my head:
  • No catchup mechanic means more blowouts. Potentially less interesting to watch but should mean matches take less time on average.
  • Completely kills the possibility of a swingy metagame where overly strong counterpicks (possibly caused by having a lot of unusual stages on the list). Such a metagame would be very game 1 centric as strong CPs would cause a large amount of games between similarly skilled people to go to whoever is currently counterpicking. There are other ways to nerf the counterpick (more CP bans or equivalent) those tend to take more time in decision-making and may become unwieldy.
  • Players would be able to basically never play on several stages if they don't to. Anything not on their list would never come up.
  • As a result of the previous point, stages with lobsided matchups are no longer as much of an issue, as characters that don't like them simply remove them from the list.
  • It's very possible that sets could be played on very similar stages with this rule, as stages with similar properties are likely to be on similar positions in lists. This would make stage similarity a bigger deal than it is normally.
  • Bracket resets would be played entirely on the same stagelists, which combined with the above point may make grand finals rather samey.
  • DSR can't be implemented very well into this ruleset, meaning innovation would be needed to mitigate that last issue.
Overall I'm not sure if this concept is good or bad, but it's certainly different , so is worth noting.
 
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Skeleghost

Smash Cadet
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
25
Taking the top 3 or 5 is what the app I made already does. It orders them with the 'best' stage in the middle, because I figured it would be lame if it started on the most favored stage and then got worse as the set progressed.

So for a set of 3, it goes like this:
Round 1) 2nd highest ranked stage
Round 2) Highest ranked stage
Round 3) 3rd highest ranked stage

If you don't use a list to decide all of the options, then you are stuck with counter-picking, which I think is actually a more flawed system than even stage striking. It favors the winner of the first round, because counter-picks are more valuable the more information you have; The most valuable counter-pick is the last one, which will always be controlled by the player who wins the first round.

You might argue "well if they won the first round, on a theoretically neutral stage, they deserve the advantage." But this is doesn't seem to promote very interesting game sets, either for the players or the audience. Comebacks are exciting. Watching/playing a match that is a foregone conclusion is boring. Counter-picks sound like a comeback mechanic, but they are actually the opposite. They favor whoever gets ahead first. I think you can argue whether we should favor comebacks, and you can also argue that we should favor rulesets that never tilt things toward either player, but I think rich-get-richer mechanics are bad, and that's what counter-picking is.

Honestly, the whole "get rid of counter-picks" idea is, in my mind, more important than getting rid of stage striking. But it sounds like I may be the odd one here.

To be clear though, I certainly won't be mad at anyone who uses lists to decide the first round and then counter-picks the others. There are definitely some disadvantages to using the list for all 3 (or 5) stage selections. If people REALLY want counter-picks, then that's what people want. Also, I definitely agree that it would be good to come up with something to make bracket resets more interesting if the lists are used for everything.
 
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Akiak

Smash Ace
Joined
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Messages
820
Location
In my secret laboratory.
Yeah, it's an interesting question what to do in the following case:

Player 1's top 3 stages are:
1. Final Destination
2. Battlefield
3. Pokemon Stadium

Player 2's top 3 stages are:
1. Battlefield
2. Final Destination
3. Pokemon Stadium

Is it better to tie-break by using some method (rock-paper-scissors?) to pick between BF and FD which both players prefer over PS? Or is it better to tie-break by picking PS which both players equally prefer?

I personally would prefer using some method to pick between BF and FD, since it guarantees you only need to order N/2+1 stages no matter what, maximises average preference, and doesn't force you to deal with situations where the next best stage is much lower down on both players' lists or also a tie.

Of course in nice situations like this where the next best stage is obvious and in both players' top 3, I'm guessing they would probably just agree to play on PS rather than deal with rock-paper-scissors or something, but the rules need to deal with cases where players don't agree and this is an easy example to think about.
Unfortunately it could be a lot worse than that. Say you have 13 stages, and these were the lists:

P1: ABCDE(IHGF)
P2: EFGHA(IDCB)
(from most to least preferred)

This time the tie is between A and E, which is pretty swingy if you decide to randomise... And the alternative would be I, which is 6th in both lists...

However, the most important thing to remember here is that, with regular 1-2-1 striking, the result is exactly the same. Assuming they strike from the bottom up, they'll always end up on either A or E, depending on who goes first and how the last four stages are ranked. So before we criticise any new system it's always a good idea to see wether our current one doesn't have the same problems.

If we decide we want to do something about this, there's a few options. I actually like stage morph here, it's probably the first time I've felt that way about it lol.

Excluding that though, I think some kind of gentleman clause might be appropriate: if two stages are tied, then either player reserves the right to refuse randomisation. If they refuse, then both players rank the remaining stages, and the next best stage is chosen.

This is tricky however, as the next best stage might also very well be an (unbalanced) tie. Wether you let the players refuse again or not, you're introducing quite a bit of strategy and gaming into the system. If you place your best stages lower on your list, you can refuse the first tie and be at an immediate advantage to your opponent (having eliminated his best stage for free).

I actually think it's for the best if we don't mess with it at all and just force randomisation if two stages are tied. After all it's equal to what you'd get with regular 1-2-1 striking, and it avoids any kind of potential for manipulation. The only other option is stage morph which is iffy at the moment.

The idea is fairly simple: instead of deciding 1 stage, you take the top 3 or 5. For game 1 you can either play the most preferred stage, or strike through the selected stages. For future rounds the loser selecting one of the other stages chosen that haven't been player yet to go to.
Taking the top 3 or 5 is what the app I made already does. It orders them with the 'best' stage in the middle, because I figured it would be lame if it started on the most favored stage and then got worse as the set progressed.
Regarding the CP process, I don't think it's a good idea to extend the lists past the first match. It puts much more emphasis on the lists themselves, which means players are going to spend a lot more time thinking about them. It also removes a little bit of excitement since the stages are all known from the start and the players simply have to go through them one-by-one.

I don't particularly agree that regular counterpicks are flawed, although I do think that pXp1 and X-2-1 are far superior systems to bans. To recap:

pXp1: loser picks X stages, winner picks 1.

X-2-1: loser picks X stages, winner bans X-2, loser picks 1.

There's another particular advantage to these systems that hasn't really been talked about: grouped stages.

With these systems in place, redundancy ceases to be an issue. Any stage that is deemed too similar to another to be kept separate, is instead grouped with it. Then, in the CP process, the CPer may only nominate 1 of the stages of any particular group.

This means even stages such as PS1 (alongside PS2), or Wily's Castle (FD), can be legal with no real drawbacks. The CPer simply can't nominate both FD and Wily's, or PS1 and PS2.

Of course, this means we need to decide on which stages are grouped and which aren't, but this is a decision we already have to make, except no stages end up banned as a result.

One final note, the grouped stages would only be available for counterpicks and not for game one, as there isn't really a good system for that to work.

Edit: btw, thanks Munomario777 Munomario777 his idea not mine lol
 
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Veggi

Smash Champion
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I'm gonna wreck it! (Fort Myers)
I was thinking to seperate PS1 and PS2, PS1 with hazards on can be taken into consideration. As far as grouping, I don't think it would be too much trouble to just remember FD and Battlefield similar stages are all banned together.

I think it's worth mentioning though that with a list system, I would imagine echo stages being a problem is extremely low because realistically they'd never be played on if they're placed low on the list.
 

Frihetsanka

Smash Lord
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Apr 26, 2016
Messages
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Location
Sweden
I was thinking to seperate PS1 and PS2, PS1 with hazards on can be taken into consideration.
If we have Kalos Pokémon League and Unova Pokémon League already, as well as Pokémon Stadium 1/2 hazards off, do we really need Pokémon Stadium 1 hazards on? It's a pretty bad stage, after all (and hazards on is an issue unless they patch in a toggle).
 
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