Discussion of Stage Legality in Smash Bros. Ultimate

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Here’s a crazy new idea: what if before two players do any matches in a tournament, they each draft like 3 stages to play on?

Stages that are selected by both players will be considered starters or neutrals, stages selected by one player will be that player’s counter pick and stages selected by neither are banned.

Now if neither player shares stages with the other, they’d draft again, picking slightly less this time. Before any matches after the first one, the winner bans one counterpick and the loser selects a new stage from his draft picks.

I think this is a good way at keeping things quick while not limiting the stage list but it’s a little overwhelming so I’m open to criticism of course.
Sounds time-consuming, and it might also be hard to do that in practice without using an ap or something, and it might be hard to remember which stages were selected unless you write it down or use an ap or something like that.

Edit: This thread might be worth watching, seems like they've started discussing potential ruleset and reasoning behind it: https://smashboards.com/threads/smash-ultimate-ruleset-philosophy.456499/
 
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infomon

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The question has never really been "Who is the best at the game" but rather "Who is the best at competitive Smash", which is a different story. You could make the case that in order to be best at the game one would have to beat All-Star-Mode on the hardest difficulty level with 1 stock with every character really fast, or do well in 4 player FFA with items and time, or coin battle, etc etc. We're already establishing a bunch of rules and restrictions when we talk about competitive Smash, so I don't think that's much of an issue anyway.
OK that's fair. Then I'd like "competitive smash" to resemble the full game i.e. include all legal (legit for competition) stages (and characters... I see you Miis), so that newcoming players feel welcome and not disenfranchised that our "competitions" aren't anything similar to the game they're playing at home. The "fox only, final destination" meme hurt the scene. I want more viewers and players and their money!

No-items stock-matches are easy to justify in terms of enabling competition, and it's always seemed pretty universal that that's how good-casual players tend to like to play the game anyway.
 
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OK that's fair. Then I'd like "competitive smash" to resemble the full game i.e. include all legal (legit for competition) stages (and characters... I see you Miis), so that newcoming players feel welcome and not disenfranchised that our "competitions" aren't anything similar to the game they're playing at home.
You know, this is anecdotal, but I find that newcomers tend to be more conservative when it comes to stages than competitive players. Final Destination seems popular, and even something like Town & City might be "too much". I think having a 30 stage roster is more likely to scare newcomers away than entice them. Information overload and all that. 10 stages might also a be a bit threatening, but less so.

I don't think stagelist will play a huge part either way. I don't think many people would go like "Oh, I'd like to compete in Smash, but there are too many/too few stages played in tournaments!".

I agree that the "Fox Only, No Items, Final Destination" meme hurt Melee a bit (and also Smash Wii U, maybe we would've gotten a better For Glory if not for the "Final Destination" meme), but that's the way it goes sometimes. I don't think the meme matters much at this point in time anymore, people invested in the game know that it's not true, people who aren't invested in the game but would be if not for the meme are likely really rare.

falln posted something on Twitter that I find very interesting:

Thoughts?
 

infomon

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falln posted something on Twitter that I find very interesting:

Thoughts?
I think that using the stage to your advantage and avoiding predictable hazards (like the Town&City platforms, or Halberd's attacks) is a central part of Smash, not BS. And I've known at least two players who left the scene because they felt that overly-conservative stage-lists took too much fun and legitimately competitive elements out of the game.

I could agree with falln, but it depends where we're drawing the line, and it probably isn't in the same place :)
 

Thinkaman

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The question has never really been "Who is the best at the game" but rather "Who is the best at competitive Smash", which is a different story.
But that's a meaningless label. What does "competitive Smash" mean?

Some people say "only FD"; others say "Melee". It's meaningless.

You know, this is anecdotal, but I find that newcomers tend to be more conservative when it comes to stages than competitive players. Final Destination seems popular, and even something like Town & City might be "too much". I think having a 30 stage roster is more likely to scare newcomers away than entice them. Information overload and all that. 10 stages might also a be a bit threatening, but less so.
You are onto something. It's more like that there's a valley.

Most new players love wacky stages, once they have a basic understanding of the controls and a few dozen games in to at least see them.

But once they cross a line into No Items, they slingshot into what I call a faux-competitive player. They suddenly see all this depth to the game, but it's so much and so new that they can't process it all at once. They get obsessed with reducing the game to something they can begin to understand. Easy, basic stages that are simple enough for them to exert their new-found, still-limited mastery on.

Newer players fortunately tend to dislike walk-offs, at least after experienced players abuse them there. They also unfortunately tend to dislike stages that are very in-depth to learn, including Rainbow Cruise, Norfair, and Mute City (Melee).
 

NewGuy79

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falln posted something on Twitter that I find very interesting:

Thoughts?
honestly? its a bad sign of things to come

no matter how liberal or constrictive the stage list becomes there is always gonna be players that use "Jank/BS/Things we put up with" as an excuse for matches they'll lose due to "uncompetitive stages".

now I've bonked my head a few times on Lylat cruise but I'll defend it to death tilting and all if it will prevent us from a smash future with stages only consisting of a solid stange+ assortment of 1/2/3 platforms
 
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Okay, so according to some people, vetoes won't work, random doesn't work, large stage striking lists don't work... what about the 5-2-1 game, like how people pick restaurants? Player 1 picks 5 stages to potentially play on, Player 2 names 2 of the listed stages that they're cool with, and Player 1 picks one of those. Quick, simple, opportunity for mindgames, and you can vary the numbers of stages selected if that leans too heavily towards one player having all input.

I've also been thinking about why a low stagelist bothers me, and really I think it comes down to- Smash is a game loaded with content, which is why it's so popular with casuals as opposed to core fighting games with less variety between stages and smaller rosters and fewer modes. If we have a legal stagelist of 12 stages, then in a game with 85 stages you have to be good at 14% of stages the game offers. With a small stagelist like that one main is only really necessary so you're using 1.5% of the characters available to you and that's all you have to learn. When you advocate for a small stagelist and implied solo mains, that's not only just a surefire way to get tryhards to play Cloud and for you to have to fight 5 Clouds in a row at tournaments, it's a poor representation of the game and what it offers. Nobody is advocating for a large stagelist for the sake of it or begging to play on Pac-Land competitively, we're just trying to get the most out of the game. Quite frankly I think it's ridiculous we're accusing stages like Lylat (with obvious tells for the stage tilting) or Dreamland 64 (with just wind being an issue) of "jank" considering these are unintrusive, easy to prepare for, or both. You hardly have to fight the stage on those two, or even other stages I've heard called out like Pokemon Stadium 1. I think the mindset of only floating stages with static platforms (or paths for moving platforms) and nothing else is partially where casuals get the idea of "No Items, Fox Only, Final Destination", along with prevalence of whoever is top tier and little else (which is only going to be exacerbated by a small stagelist). Plus, I hate to make an emotional argument but we've begged for hazard toggle for-ever and I think it'll be insulting to Sakurai to finally get it and still only play on a single-digit stagelist of only stuff we've deemed legal before. It seems kind of entitled and I'm sure will only lead to Sakurai resenting the competitive community more.

Frihetsanka Frihetsanka , your opinions seem strong in terms of what you do or don't like. If you were in charge of the competitive scene and could make a legal stagelist for Ultimate to use, with no upper or lower limit, and presuming hazards off works like one could reasonably expect, what stages would it include?
 

dav3yb

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I'd rather stage pick played a marginal role and player skill played more of a role.
I think you're playing the wrong game then... 90% of other fighting games the stage is literally just eye candy, and does nothing to affect the outcome.

Ya know while we're on the topic of stages again, can we discuss the prospects of Green Greens being legal?
If it takes out the boxes/bombs, wind, and fruit, like it most likely will, and just leaves the gaps, it should 100% be legal
 

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I think you're playing the wrong game then... 90% of other fighting games the stage is literally just eye candy, and does nothing to affect the outcome.



If it takes out the boxes/bombs, wind, and fruit, like it most likely will, and just leaves the gaps, it should 100% be legal
Ehhh I’m a little iffy here because I think Green Greens and Jungle Japes inherently promote circle camping and lame matches even without hazards because of its super wide layout. It’s also important to remember that the side blast zones were always pretty disproportionately close to the stage.
 

dav3yb

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Ehhh I’m a little iffy here because I think Green Greens and Jungle Japes inherently promote circle camping and lame matches even without hazards because of its super wide layout. It’s also important to remember that the side blast zones were always pretty disproportionately close to the stage.
every time i watch a game on smashville im watching a lame match, but we aren't removing it.
 
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now I've bonked my head a few times on Lylat cruise but I'll defend it to death tilting and all if it will prevent us from a smash future with stages only consisting of a solid stange+ assortment of 1/2/3 platforms
What do you think about the Project M Stagelist, too restrictive?

"Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Smashville
  • Green Hill Zone
  • Delfino's Secret
Counterpicks:
  • Final Destination
  • Fountain of Dreams
  • Wario Land
  • Dreamland"
(Note that Project M Green Hill Zone is very different from Smash 4 Green Hill Zone, and Pokémon Stadium 2 is frozen).

When you advocate for a small stagelist and implied solo mains, that's not only just a surefire way to get tryhards to play Cloud and for you to have to fight 5 Clouds in a row at tournaments, it's a poor representation of the game and what it offers.
I think you'd be more likely to face certain characters if the stage list is unbalanced (so that characters good on triplats can play on such stages often, for instance). Isn't that one of the point of having a smaller stage list, that it would be more balanced overall?

Quite frankly I think it's ridiculous we're accusing stages like Lylat (with obvious tells for the stage tilting) or Dreamland 64 (with just wind being an issue) of "jank" considering these are unintrusive, easy to prepare for, or both.
Even top level players fall prey to Lylat fairly often, so I wouldn't call it "easy to prepare for". As for Dream Land 64, the wind isn't the only issue, there are also issues with tripping, quick attack cancels, jab locks, etc. Ultimately, the biggest problem with Dream Land 64 is that it is too similar to Battlefield, which is why the current Smash 4 ruleset have you ban both if you ban Battlefield. If we didn't have Battlefield then Dream Land 64 would seem much better in comparison (though with the new ruleset hazardless Midgar might be preferable).

[...](which is only going to be exacerbated by a small stagelist)
I think it's the other way around: A smaller stagelist would allow for more platform variety (since similar stages are banned), thus allowing for more character variety. Being bad on a triplat isn't nearly as bad on a smaller stagelist where you can always ban Battlefield, but if Yoshi's Story, Midgar, and Dream Land 64 are allowed as well you might be much worse off.

Plus, I hate to make an emotional argument but we've begged for hazard toggle for-ever and I think it'll be insulting to Sakurai to finally get it and still only play on a single-digit stagelist of only stuff we've deemed legal before.
We could, potentially, run 12 stages, some of which weren't legal before (or were but with issues, such as Pokémon Stadium). The hazard toggle will help us, the point was never to get 30 stages legal though.

Frihetsanka Frihetsanka Frihetsanka Frihetsanka , your opinions seem strong in terms of what you do or don't like. If you were in charge of the competitive scene and could make a legal stagelist for Ultimate to use, with no upper or lower limit, and presuming hazards off works like one could reasonably expect, what stages would it include?
Hard to say because we don't really know which stages are available or not and we also don't know how a stage select will work. I'm also just one person, the stage list should be made by many of the community leaders after thorough testing. I think 9-12 stages would probably be ideal, anyway. I posted this sample stage list earlier and I still think it looks like a decent stage list, with plenty of variety and not much redundency:

1. Battlefield
2. Final Destination
3. Smashville
4. Town & City
5. Pokémon Stadium 1 or 2 (whichever is better)

Counter-picks:
1. WarioWare, Inc.
2. Frigate Orpheon
3. Kalos Pokémon League
4. Lylat Cruise
5. Yoshi's Island SSBB

I'm a bit worried about the wall in Frigate Orpheon. That will have to be tested, I suppose.

I think you're playing the wrong game then... 90% of other fighting games the stage is literally just eye candy, and does nothing to affect the outcome.
Oh, I'm fine with some stage variety (in fact, I want it). The core gameplay is more fun for me than standard fighting games. I also like other, similar platform fighting games, like Rivals of Aether and Slap City (and these games manage to avoid having huge stage lists as well).

every time i watch a game on smashville im watching a lame match, but we aren't removing it.
What's so lame about Smashville?
 

infomon

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Let's face it. The competitive scene will only allow something like 9 legal stages (even fewer as starters), and then be disappointed when after a year, viewer counts and pot sizes are dropping because it's boring to watch. Conservative players will strangle this game.

It's not necessary. With a good strategy for stage-picks, we can allow all valid stages to be legal, at least as counterpicks. We just have to resist the awful idea that "a few good stages is good enough". It really isn't.
 

dav3yb

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I could guess why you find it bad, but I'd rather not because there's a high probability you won't have the same issues with it as I do (I mostly dislike it in specific matchups).
My reasons for not liking it are irrelevant to the point of it's legality though, which is how any stage need to be judged.
 

NewGuy79

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What do you think about the Project M Stagelist, too restrictive?

"Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Smashville
  • Green Hill Zone
  • Delfino's Secret
Counterpicks:
  • Final Destination
  • Fountain of Dreams
  • Wario Land
  • Dreamland"
(Note that Project M Green Hill Zone is very different from Smash 4 Green Hill Zone, and Pokémon Stadium 2 is frozen).
I didn't play much PM myself as at the time I was entering university and could not really invest much time, I will say as a spectator much of my enjoyment of that game stemmed from what the characters were capable of, not really surprising considering the whole mod was made to facilitate doing cool stuff. The stages, however, are definitely not the highlight of that experience, it's disappointing that with all the tool at their disposal the pm team most daring stage elements were the use of moving platforms.

A transforming stage or 2 that would cycle through different layouts could have been a great addition, an option for players to take their opponent too if they thought they would have trouble adapting on the fly. or heck maybe a unique layout of their own, Green Hill Zone approaches that but considering the audience they were dealing with I doubt they would have been allowed to introduce anything more daring.

Part of smash's charm is the uniqueness of its design, quirky elements that too some may lead to "jank" but in truth simply allow for every pore of the game to stand out as unique. its an element that many other platform fighters try and fail to capture and even the PM team I feel began to recognize this when they introduced Turbo mode, not competitive in the slightest, full with jank but wholly unique to their mod.

That all being said, the unique element I would suggest would be mostly unobtrusive (dreamland's wind, Randall on Yoshi's, Lylat's tilting and transformations).
If by the end of all this at leas Prism tower, Halberd are allowed to stay in the legal stage list and God forbid not every stage is forced to go hazardless, then I'd say we're in a pretty good spot.
(but this probably won't happen)
 
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Skitrel

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I can't agree with the "information overload" suggestion while League continues to be the largest and most dominant esport with 137 champions.

Quantity does not deter newcomers. Popularity of the game combined with the infrastructure and support of the events to take them to the professional next-level is what attracts people. That itself hinges on a combination of Nintendo, outside investment and how well our TOs and event owners can attract interested businesses.

I suspect we're going to see the largest boom in the scene that has ever occurred. Interest in Ultimate is higher than interest in any previous title. Things are going to be nuts. Whether that persists strongly beyond the first year is up in the air though. It depends heavily on Nintendo.

***

One of the arguments here I'm seeing over and over again seems to be "But we need to restrict the stagelist because some characters will be favoured because there are more stages that favour those characters than others."

I have to ask the people making this argument - Why do we have to balance the game for those characters? It is not our job to balance the game. It is our job to play the game as competitively as possible and aim to win, deciding who is the best at the game in the process.

By removing stages that would otherwise be perfectly legal to play and fine for the sake of making the game easier for some characters we are literally changing the game for the sake of characters.

In previous games we had limited stage lists because we literally didn't have any choice. And those stagelists decided for us who was the best at 64. Who was the best at Melee. Brawl. Smash 4.

Well, now it is time to decide who is the best at Ultimate. And Ultimate has a tonne of stages that should be perfectly legal. The player that is the best at Ultimate is the player that can work within an environment that includes as many legal stages as possible.

We should not be trying to arbitrarily make Ultimate like older games. We previously made competitive versions of those games. Now we should be trying to make a competitive version of Ultimate. To not include the fact that Ultimate is a game with a massive quantity of content is to fail at making a competitive version of Ultimate and instead to try and shoehorn a bigger game into the old familiarity of older games. It's not the correct philosophy. We played those games, this game is different, I know that's scary and it presents challenges and new thinking that has to happen, but it should be what happens.

If we assume that no other Smash games existed at all then we would not be thinking about cutting the stagelist down to an arbitrary 8-15 levels. We would be making a ruleset out of all the content Ultimate offers minus the jank stuff everyone generally agrees is bad for competitive. This would result in the inclusion of everything that would be legal.
 
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Alright, time for a (hopefully) quick post.

I hope we are smart and not assume just because stage hazards are off means that stages with jank layouts and transitions like Kongo Falls and prism tower deserve to be legal
You forgot the rule - you said 'jank' now you have to give define it / back it up with examples
Don't worry, nobody is claiming that the hazard toggle button means every stage should automatically be legal. If anyone does seriously claim such a blanket statement then I'll shoot them down myself, assuming nobody beats me to the punch. As always, each stage is judged individually based on its own merits. What the hazard toggle does do is remove a lot of the factors that previously made stages not legal. This means more stages are competitively viable, not all stages.

First off I would like to point off that there is no new difference between stage and character select order. Ultimate has the stage select screen appear before the character select screen. This is a change in the game but not how we play in tournaments. With the exception of game 1 every other game in a set the stage is chosen before the character.
I've been reading this line of thought a lot lately. Are people really not expecting the way game 1 works to be changed? Why not? The weakness of selecting characters first is the chance of a poorly matched stage being selected afterwords. Why would that ever have been a thing unless that was the order presented by the game itself?

You there, reading this - click this link and read this post
----
Brinstar
And why it should be legal
I have this vague memory about the breakable part of the floor... something about running through it (unbroken) was off. Is there a small gap between the floor proper and the breakables such that a short fall would interrupt running past it?

iirc halberd's main reason for getting banned is the cannons and hook arms.
Hopefully hazard mode should toggle them off.
The initial part of the level is still a bit of a problem though.
Halberd was a legal (though controversial) counterpick for the lifetime of Brawl. I don't know if the reasons it was banned in S4 were legitimate, or just reflectively of a more ban-happy culture.
It certainly had problems in Brawl: random-tripping-into-laser, random choice of who gets targeted, low ceiling at a transition point, and MK sharking/scrooging. Still we mainly kept it legal. So I don't know what happened with S4 where those problems are lessened.
This was mostly addressed, but there is one more point I'd like to add. Smash 4 has more characters with strong vertical kill options, and the low ceiling led to earlier deaths. This was exacerbated by the 2-stock meta.
This isn't the first time I've heard someone claim the pre-loop starting point of Halberd being an issue. What makes it an issue? It can't be the walkoff; the counterplay is to let the opponent camp near the blastzone and then die when the stage leaves them behind

Another thing that hasn't been discussed yet - How many stages should be offered in X number of legal stages?
I would actually be a little upset if we have 3 legal transformation stages and all 3 options presented to me were all transformations. So perhaps something should be done to account for that? I could imagine it being a point of contention.
It is absolutely a point of contention! The thing is, we can't make meaningful headway until a stage selection process is settled on. There's also a few decisions we can't make until we get our hands on the game, such as some alpha/omega stages having grass which affects running & turnarounds (unless it's purely cosmetic this time around) or exactly how close to FD the hazardless Wily's Castle is (The platforms had better come back....!).
To try to give your example somewhat of an answer, I wouldn't group any transforming stages together. They each have unique layouts

a lot of the arguments demonstrate a fear of not knowing what to strike. i dont buy that as a reason to say we shouldnt use this system. Striking is part of competitive smash. smash 4 players didn't develop that skill much as the stages weren't very diverse. You need to hone that skill as well. When you win game1 you are up 1-0 that is your advantage. Stage striking is not meant for you to basically pick round 2 after a win. you dont get control. the counterpick bans or strikes should be limited. When proposals list the losing player getting struck down to a hand full of stages that doesnt sit well with me.
Also, someone needs to explain to me what a "neutral" stage. I feel like the term doesnt match what my eyes and experience tell me. In the last 2 smash games and ultimate is closest to 4 the top tiers had a noticeable advantage on the starter stages: BF, T&C, SV. The people i knew that played shiek, cloud, or zss. felt the same.
This. "Just go to Smashville?" (or even just saying "Smashville?") instead of going through stage strikes was soooooo commonplace. It's terrible.
There's no such thing as a neutral stage. It's just a term people like to throw around to justify their own ideologies

I can't agree with the "information overload" suggestion ... <snip>
Agreed on all points


Thoughts on some stages I remember being mentioned:

Green Greens:
Some stages we can easily judge as legal, just as some others can be easily judged as not legal. This is not one of those stages. The blastzones are unknown (can change from previous iterations) and we don't have firsthand experience with how big a role the gaps play under Ultimate's speed and physics. I'm holding off judgement until after the game comes out

Great Plateau:
Candidate for the first (only?) hazards on edge case

Pac-Land:
This stage would be so much better with grabbable ledges. Even if it did, not legal due to permanent walkoffs
 
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[...]viewer counts and pot sizes are dropping because it's boring to watch.
I highly doubt stage variety matters all that much in the long run to viewers.

That all being said, the unique element I would suggest would be mostly unobtrusive (dreamland's wind, Randall on Yoshi's, Lylat's tilting and transformations).
I think it's fairly likely that we'll be playing with hazards switch off all the time, though it depends a bit on how the hazard switch is handled. If it's as easy as selecting an Omega it's less of an issue, if we have to select it from a menu it's more of an issue. Do we have confirmation either way?

One of the arguments here I'm seeing over and over again seems to be "But we need to restrict the stagelist because some characters will be favoured because there are more stages that favour those characters than others."
To quote PractialTAS*: "In addition, the fact that we're expecting a significant number of potentially legal stages (ie ones that would be unquestionably legal in WiiU if they were the only addition to the stage roster) means that we can be very strict when it comes to stages with matching functionality: the ruleset doesn't need a place for hazardless Dream Land if we have 10 other equally good stages with unique layouts."

I think having a variety of layouts is better than having duplicates.

*Full post: https://smashboards.com/threads/smash-ultimate-ruleset-philosophy.456499/#post-22204299

PracticalTAS had a suggestion similar to ones mentioned before here, but somewhat different still:

"Furthermore, I think we should reconsider the counterpicking process. Selecting a single ban from any more than 6 stages is tedious and unfriendly to newcomers; I'd like to float the idea of:
  • all stages that the loser has previously won on cannot be chosen (DSR),
  • the previous match's loser selects 3 stages,
  • the winner bans one of those 3,
  • and the loser selects from the other 2,"
I would like to make an adjustment to it: The loser selects 4 stages, the winner bans 4, and the loser selects one. This way, even on a larger stage list (like 12 stages) you would be able to remove two of your worst stages. Thoughts?

I think this could potentially be a better methods than just banning outright. This way, the winner won't overlook some stage, which should make it easier to ban (it does add some mindgames, perhaps the loser could add some stage they don't intend to play on in order to bait a ban from one of the stages they want to play on, in Smash 4 I could see people picking Lylat to bait this).
 

dav3yb

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It is absolutely a point of contention! The thing is, we can't make meaningful headway until a stage selection process is settled on. There's also a few decisions we can't make until we get our hands on the game, such as some alpha/omega stages having grass which affects running & turnarounds (unless it's purely cosmetic this time around) or exactly how close to FD the hazardless Wily's Castle is (The platforms had better come back....!).
In one of the directs when they were talking about stages having both forms, it was said they behave identically, which I would assume means the traction/terrain stuff. not 100%, but we can assume they're just cosmetic differences.

While it's certainly a good discussion to have, this does highlight some of my concern with how things are decided on. The post is locked away behind some "VIP" section, where far fewer rational arguments can be brought against some idea's. Not saying it needs to be completely open to everyone, but I certainly wouldn't want a grand total of 4 people deciding things for the "community"
 
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I think you'd be more likely to face certain characters if the stage list is unbalanced (so that characters good on triplats can play on such stages often, for instance). Isn't that one of the point of having a smaller stage list, that it would be more balanced overall?
I admit I'm utterly confused by this assertion. Since when has there ever been a "point" to the size of a stage list? It's just whatever stages are generally accepted for play. No deeper meaning or grand purpose.
 
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I admit I'm utterly confused by this assertion. Since when has there ever been a "point" to the size of a stage list? It's just whatever stages are generally accepted for play. No deeper meaning or grand purpose.
Take Project M for instance. Project M could easily have used a larger stage list, yet they still decided to limit it. Clearly, they had some reason for choosing a smaller (9) stagelist rather than going with 15 stages or so.

While it's certainly a good discussion to have, this does highlight some of my concern with how things are decided on. The post is locked away behind some "VIP" section, where far fewer rational arguments can be brought against some idea's. Not saying it needs to be completely open to everyone, but I certainly wouldn't want a grand total of 4 people deciding things for the "community"
I think it's probably fine. These people have shown in the past that they know how to create good rulesets, and if the community disagrees we could voice our disagreement on Reddit or Twitter, I suppose (or in this thread, although I doubt many of them follow this thread).

You can vote with "Likes", I suppose. Or hope they create some more Twitter polls or something. Seems like more than 4 people will be allowed in, would you be more okay with 20-30 people making the decision?
 
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Take Project M for instance. Project M could easily have used a larger stage list, yet they still decided to limit it. Clearly, they had some reason for choosing a smaller (9) stagelist rather than going with 15 stages or so.
But what was that reason? You seem to be assuming it was for the sake of character balance with no supporting evidence.
 

NewGuy79

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I highly doubt stage variety matters all that much in the long run to viewers.
I don't have hard data to back this up, but the return to town and city and Smashville constantly was definitely a deterrent it seemed for some. the problem only being exuberated because of stages similarities and dullness, to say the least. not much of a problem for long time watchers who knew the differences in the stages but for newer viewers the situation seemed to be much more problematic.

I think it's fairly likely that we'll be playing with hazards switch off all the time, though it depends a bit on how the hazard switch is handled. If it's as easy as selecting an Omega it's less of an issue, if we have to select it from a menu it's more of an issue. Do we have confirmation either way?
it's been confirmed that its a simple button press on the stage selection menu, the icons on some of the treehouse build of the game denoting a symbol of battlefield is apparently that button. but your probably right that even if unnecessary the community will push for an always-on approach.

EDIT: on second though no I am not sure of this, I belive I heard as much on the treehouse stream, but I cannot find a clip of the sytatment so I cant really state 100% that the simbole is indeed a buton that indeed toggle stage hazards.

To quote PractialTAS*: "In addition, the fact that we're expecting a significant number of potentially legal stages (ie ones that would be unquestionably legal in WiiU if they were the only addition to the stage roster) means that we can be very strict when it comes to stages with matching functionality: the ruleset doesn't need a place for hazardless Dream Land if we have 10 other equally good stages with unique layouts."

I think having a variety of layouts is better than having duplicates.
while I agree that duplicates should be grouped up with their counterparts I am not convinced that this statement is truly referring to pure duplicate stages mostly due to the fact that we don't have that many of them.

**Disclaimer I am making this statement with the assumption that all Ultimate stages will be brought back in their most original forms, so Dreamland 64 gets to be big again, and Yoshi's will be kept small**

right now Midgar and Miivers to Battlefield is probably our best example of Duplicates, the stages are completely identical in what seems to be both layout and blast zones, but let me suggest to you another case where stages are dismissed for being duplicates.

poekemon stadium 1, pokemon stadium 2 , Unova pokemon league and Kalos Pokemon League.

now all of these stages are rather similar, they all feature a solid platform along with two platforms adjacent to each other above the stage. with that being said however only Pokemon stadium 1 and 2 are truly duplicate, both pokemon league stages have unique elements that may be favoured for certain situations.

to be clear:
Unova pokemon league
  • the stage is slightly smaller then pokemon stadium's
  • its two platforms are however closer to the edges
  • may be preferred for players or characters looking to combo and kill character closer to the side blast zones
Kalos Pokemon League
  • has the smallest stage out of the 4, with it being close to battlefields
  • its two platforms hang off the edge of the stage
  • would probably be preferred for a higher recovery option and smaller size
The issue is that despite the differences in these stages many individuals hardly consider them for their inclusion, why is this? they are certainly not duplicates so the only reason that I can conclude is that they are simply too similar, similarity, however, is not good enough of a justification for banning these stages. situations or character matchups may very well arise where picking a certain one of these stages would be ideal, we, however, will never see these possibilities if similar stages are misrepresented as being duplicates.

if we are to chose between these stages however who gets to decide which of these attributes are better suited for the game? who gets to decide which of these stage double platform layouts is the "correct" one?

simply put no one can without potentially sacrificing strategy within the game.
 
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infomon

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Xiivi Xiivi wrote in the VIP Ruleset thread, and I don't understand this mindset:

If we somehow had 30 unique stage/platform layouts with no issues; having all 30 as legal stages wouldn't best the best for competition. There comes a point where too many options becomes a burden to players being able to effectively practice and prepare for match-ups.
I disagree. People can compete at lots of stages just fine. Just deal with it. It's so weird to see competitive players whining about the game being too complex for them to deal with. They're trying to rebalance the game to favour their personal strengths, which are based around perfect information, that less professional players hardly expect to have anyway.

There's no external requirement that you get to practice every matchup on every stage. There's no external requirement that you should get to memorize exactly which %s kill from which parts of the stage in which matchups. Just plan for the unexpected. This is Smash Bros.

Hypothetical: If Smash had a mode where it could dynamically generate (legal) stages (like a unique but legal platform layout), that would be totally fine for competition. Actually that would be awesome, especially for viewers.

But we've got even better -- a whole bunch of beautiful hand-crafted interesting legal stages. Then yes you need to be able to play on them. Stop strangling the game and the community.
 
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Reading that thread is honestly kind of depressing. Is it really such a common viewpoint that more than 10 stages or so is actually a bad thing? Not "I prefer a smaller stage list," that's personal opinion and perfectly fine, but "too many stages will actively hurt the game" as a statement of fact. I just disagree with that on a fundamental level.

Not to mention that this will be the first game where having more than 10 or so legal stages will even be feasible, so I'm not sure what evidence they have to support such a statement.

Two related thoughts:

1. I'm worried about the Powers That Be deciding to limit the number of legal stages for literally any reason that doesn't have to do with how the stage works in actual competition. (EDIT: One of them even wants Town & City banned. WTF?)
2. If we end up with a stage list that's basically just the combined starters from other Smash games and little else, I'm honestly not sure if I'd even bother participating in the Smash Ultimate community anymore.
 
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Skitrel

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The issue is that despite the differences in these stages many individuals hardly couch for their inclusion, why is this? they are certainly not duplicates so the only reason that I can conclude is that they are simply too similar, similarity, however, is not good enough of a justification for banning these stages. situations or character matchups may very well arise where picking a certain one of these stages would be ideal, we, however, will never see these possibilities if similar stages are misrepresented as being duplicates.
I'm actually inclined to believe that it's more to do with people literally not having played those stages nearly at all. Not knowing the feel of them. Not knowing the benefits or downsides.

People tend to avoid weighing in on things they have never touched before because they don't want to say something incorrect. In addition people are often looking to others to formulate ideas as opposed to formulating them themselves. There are an awfully large number of people lurking the thread, but a specific group of people who are confident in writing who are doing the participating. Others are following along to formulate their thoughts based on the writing of others.

I think it's mainly the fact that people simply do not know that these aren't discussed. It is incredibly hard to draw an opinion on a stage that we've never been able to touch before without hazards, and pokemon sure do pose one extremely significant hazard on those stages.

Hypothetical: If Smash had a mode where it could dynamically generate (legal) stages (like a unique but legal platform layout), that would be totally fine for competition. Actually that would be awesome, especially for viewers.
I actually think it would be banned for having a randomised layout. Random layouts is always a point of contention on some of the maps that exist. Those maps have all been banned (rightfully) for other reasons also but it's always an additional "also it's random layout" tacked on to the explanation. I have a feeling that even if a stage ticked all the right boxes being random would get it banned.

I can see the argument now "RNG could decide the game because it gives a favourable starting layout for one character that puts them ahead."

If Mario Maker comes back and has a no-hazards option fulfilling this role (or something else does) I think this would be the outcome.

Reading that thread is honestly kind of depressing. Is it really such a common viewpoint that more than 10 stages or so is actually a bad thing? Not "I prefer a smaller stage list," that's personal opinion and perfectly fine, but "too many stages will actively hurt the game" as a statement of fact. I just disagree with that on a fundamental level.
Give it time. Their thoughts right now are uninfluenced like a lot of people's thoughts.

I would guess that the MAJORITY of people err on the side of what is familiar first... Then after giving it thought and discussion would start to open up to the alternates. I myself began with "Well that's too many stages for the way we play competitive" before seeing the merit in other schools of thought.

The big thing that seems to turn people is "Why is it necessary to keep striking and have a small stage list?"

When they realise the answer is "It is not necessary." and that there isn't a whole lot of argument for why one would be better than the other, then the field of thought starts to open up. Then when people ask "What is the right way to find the best player of Ultimate?" instead of "How can we make Ultimate be like our other more limited smash games?" the thoughts and feelings get pretty muddled up.
 
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dav3yb

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I think it's probably fine. These people have shown in the past that they know how to create good rulesets, and if the community disagrees we could voice our disagreement on Reddit or Twitter, I suppose (or in this thread, although I doubt many of them follow this thread).

You can vote with "Likes", I suppose. Or hope they create some more Twitter polls or something. Seems like more than 4 people will be allowed in, would you be more okay with 20-30 people making the decision?
For general rules I think it's fine. And those will sort of naturally work themselves out i think. But when talking about things like the stages and what methods of choosing, you should probably have more people involved, and I'd certainly be ok with a large handful given they are diverse enough, such as from different regions where some rules might differ. I certainly wouldn't want people who want to disregard stages before giving them a proper fielding in a proper venue.
 

Jamisinon

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I've been reading this line of thought a lot lately. Are people really not expecting the way game 1 works to be changed? Why not? The weakness of selecting characters first is the chance of a poorly matched stage being selected afterwords. Why would that ever have been a thing unless that was the order presented by the game itself?
It's simply unfair. If for game 1 you select stage first without double blind picking characters first then a player who plays only one character could be disadvantaged significantly. Say both players play the same character, let's say Sheik, so the stages they ban don't matter in the character MU bc it's a ditto. So it's all preference but they could strike to FD, a traditionally poor Sheik stage then one of them could change character and get a counter-pick advantage in game 1. The point in selecting characters first in game 1 is to allow the players to select between them the most neutral starter not giving a significant advantage to either.
Before anyone says well both players could just play multiple characters STOP.
How would you go about selecting characters after selecting stage for game 1? RPS to select who has to choose first? Try to double-blind after striking stages? No matter what you do it'll provide opportunity for an advantage for one player as opposed to the traditional method Which keeps game 1 as neutral as possible.

As far as stage selection goes I agree we should try to find unique stage layouts. We aren't limited like in Melee and half the stages while different in many ways all have a similar triplat layout. I feel like the slight differences don't mean as much in sm4sh and thus likely would hold true in Ultimate (i.e. same platform layout but slightly different plat heights). Even though these do affect certain characters a simply different layout altogether would mean even more of a difference. So even though I'm fully confident stages like Dreamland 64 and Yoshi's Story (Melee) would be competitively viable I'm leaning more and more towards their omission BC of the perceived similarities with BF.
There could still be some trial and error with more unique stages as counter-picks. But I hate the notion of using as many stages as someone feels are "viable." It makes it harder to relatively balance the stage list thus skewing it in favor of certain characters. You also run a much higher likelihood of similar layouts being repeated.
Is it really such a common viewpoint that more than 10 stages or so is actually a bad thing?
I personally think it's a bad thing. Not so much that it in itself is a horrible idea that would make the game completely unplayable competitively. But simply that it is inferior for a number of reasons.
Project M is the best example of having plenty of good stages and not using all of them. But that's the most similar to the situation we are likely in with Ultimate as Melee and Sm4sh didn't have as many viable stages by our current standards. While I do acknowledge that from a purely spectator perspective more stages could be better, it would at least have some upsides I feel that it would be worse for the competitors. My focus is that you have to do right by the players first but of course spectators opinions shouldn't be outright ignored. I've done several mock-ups of potential stage lists and for the most part I take the stages melee, brawl and sm4sh used. I would gladly prioritize a new stage that was added if I felt it was competitively viable. But as of yet we haven't been many new stages and none of which have shown competitive viability by my standards. I'm simply of the belief that the smaller stage list with the rules we have already or relatively close to the current rule set would be best for the players.

I'm not outright opposed to certain ideas like 7 starters or trying out 12 stages with an extra ban but I'm very unlikely to ever be on board with 20+ stages. I also don't love the idea of selecting a predetermined group of stages. I don't think you can fairly make any grouping of stages BC there's too much stage variety, even with a smaller group of stages let alone a massive one. While there is merit to ideas like selecting 3 stages and your opponent picks 1 it's simply easier to have the opponent ban 2 stages then you pick one. Hypothetically in both scenarios you'd get your 3rd best counter-pick. So it shouldn't make a huge difference but it would be a slightly faster process and it is essentially what we already have in place. Maybe your opponent doesn't ban what you feel are the two best stages for you and thus you get to pick your 2nd best counter-pick instead of your 3rd. If you select 3 stages it's always going to be here are the 3 stages I feel work best against you and it shows more of your hand actually making for fewer mind games. Assuming we still select stage before character having a group of stages also makes it harder to pull out a character swap. You could want to go DK but only on FD and if you give them 3 or 4 stages to pick one of your chances of getting FD are far less than if they ban and you get to pick. Those are some reasons I feel the way I do about proposed stage grouping and letting your opponent pick from a group of stages.

Even though a large stage list seemingly offers more variety it also offers more similarities. So if you have a stage list of X amount of stages and you have Yoshi's Story (Melee), BF, DL, Midgar they are all of a similar layout and I'm just going to try to take you there over and over if my character benefits from triplats. Now if I use a character that benefits from no platforms I'm likely going to be hurt by a large stage list. With that many stages there would presumably always be a band or strike, so it would be ensured I'd never get FD in the match. But you add in even more stage then Smashville or Pokemon Stadium also get removed and my counter-picks simply get weaker bc the overall stage list from what we've seen thus far does favor more platform play. (I assure you this isn't bias as I'd personally benefit a lot from the platforms as Sheik is top contender to main in Ultimate. Letting me always avoid FD just makes Sheik stronger. The large stage list would create a lot of scenarios like this where it affects how the meta shifts BC it's not an even balance. That's just my two cents. There's still validity in wanting as many stages as possible but I genuinely believe it comes at the cost of making the game less competitive and I'm not willing to pay that price.
 
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But what was that reason? You seem to be assuming it was for the sake of character balance with no supporting evidence.
I assume they had some good reason, but I admit I haven't actually looked into it. Still, it's interesting to me how Project M decided to keep a somewhat small stagelist. Rivals of Aether and Slap City also have small legal stagelists, and those are games made for the competitive community in mind (I assume), so if the devs wanted to they could make more legal stages (perhaps there will be in the future, though).

Hypothetical: If Smash had a mode where it could dynamically generate (legal) stages (like a unique but legal platform layout), that would be totally fine for competition.
You mean something like the Mario Maker stage, but with actually good layouts? One issue with this is, again, RNG.

I don't have hard data to back this up, but the return to town and city and Smashville constantly was definitely a deterrent it seemed for some.
From what I've gathered, it was mostly because people disliked some of the music on those stages, and I agree that some of the songs are pretty anti-hype (I usually turn those off in local tournaments, because who wants to listen to "The Roost" during a tournament set?). Maybe tournaments should turn off the most anti-hype songs, that would solve part of the viewer issue, at least.

Is it really such a common viewpoint that more than 10 stages or so is actually a bad thing? Not "I prefer a smaller stage list," that's personal opinion and perfectly fine, but "too many stages will actively hurt the game" as a statement of fact.
Yeah, that's generally the case people are making against a larger stage list. Adding too many similar stages carries with it problems, and most alternatives to stage striking/counter-picking seem somewhat problematic as well. While the stages are more varied that before they're still not varied enough to enable 20 good stages (most likely).
 
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It's simply unfair. If for game 1 you select stage first without double blind picking characters first then a player who plays only one character could be disadvantaged significantly.
im going to admit i stopped reading your comment at the above mentioned point.
first That has nothing to do with how we should or shouldn't be using for stage selection methods.
if a play more characters than you or vice versa that is my reward for the time and effort i've invested into doing that. you do not get to punish me for it. ok i'll go read the rest of the comment now.
define "similar" factoring in blastzones, ledges, and stage physics it can truly vary on what counts as similar. it will require testing and data for players to determine whether or not these stages are actually close enough to warrant a ban.
 
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Jamisinon

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As far as music goes I think having 2 animal crossing starters hurt sm4sh, especially with SV being the most common stage. I mean look how often Dreamland 64 is played across how many games and the fact it's the only stage in Smash 64 currently shows that a decent song can be played over and over. Unfortunately Animal Crossing music is viewed by many to be not as good as so many other game series' music. If there was a Zelda or Metroid or Mario stage identical to SV I think most would be in favor of using that and dropping SV.
This isn't fully relevant to stage legality but I wonder if a music randomizer has any chance of implementation in Ultimate. I know there are 20XX Melee options to use a large pool of music regardless of stage and just randomize. That would likely solve the apparent music issue SV and T&C have. I personally doubt Nintendo would do this as it feels more likely they'd want music to fit the franchise but it would be a nice option. While there are stages that definitely don't offer anything competitively, often they still have music that people enjoy.
 
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if a play more characters than you or vice versa that is my reward for the time and effort i've invested into doing that. you do not get to punish me for it.
Your reward is that you get to counter-pick in later games. You're not supposed to counter-pick in game one. I also think that we should pick character before stage for game one, and both I and Jamisinon have given good reasons why.

TheTantalus made an interesting post:
So, Project M had plenty of legal stages but not all of them are used. When I was doing rulesets we based the rules on balancing the sizes of the stages compared to the layouts. You consider Small, Medium and Large stages as well as tri plats, twin plats, and FD. For matchup purposes, if we felt stages were accomplishing the same thing, even if the layouts or ledges were slightly different, they got axed.

For example, their 2017 ruleset was 9 stages:

Starters:
  • Battlefield (tri plat, medium size)
  • Pokemon Stadium 2 (dual plat, large size, short ceiling)
  • Smashville (1 plat, small size)
  • Green Hill Zone (1 plat, medium size)
  • Delfino's Secret (tri plat, large size)
Counterpicks:
  • Final Destination (no plat)
  • Fountain of Dreams (tri plat, small size)
  • Wario Land (quad plat, small size)
  • Dreamland (tri plat, large size)

That was whittled down from originally 14 back in the day. I'm sure we can come up with something similar with what is available via the hazards off. When there were 14 stages I believe there were 2 or 3 stage bans. Stages are one of the things that makes smash unique compared to other fighters, so if we restrict them down to just a few, I think we'd be doing ourselves a disservice. I'm looking to end up at a 9 stage sweet spot at some point but I'm willing to start as large as 14 or 15 to make sure we factor in all possible elements.
I am inclined to agree with him, and this post makes me hopeful that Smash Ultimate will have a great stagelist.
 

Munomario777

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Rivals of Aether and Slap City also have small legal stagelists
In rivals of aether, each stage has a basic form and an aether form. The basic form is a competitive friendly layout, while the aether form has a gimmick of some sort – sometimes the layouts are altered between forms, but largely it's very similar to a hazard toggle. The game has twelve stages in total.

As you mentioned, roa is very much designed with a competitive mindset. As a result, the game is designed so that every basic form stage works well in competitive gameplay. The game's competitive online modes – and, as far as I'm able to gather, major tournaments held for the game – allow all twelve of these competitively-designed stages. Unlike with smash, roa's developers have a competitive mindset, meaning the playerbase doesn't have to pick and choose at all for their stages. Instead, they're given a legal version of every single stage in the game.

It's inaccurate to call the game's stagelist "small" when 100% of its stages are played in tournament, and it's unhelpful to compare roa and smash in the first place when the developers of each game have such drastically different mindsets in such a relevant way.



As far as music goes, I think it'd be pretty swell to expand the my music function to allow any song on any stage. That'd open things up a ton, for sure. Since omegas / BF forms look a lot more universally viable this time around, though, we might essentially be getting that for BF and FD at least.
 
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lmntolp

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After reading every page, I see valid points from many different posters. One of the biggest issues to tackle that I see is the fact that duplicates grow the stage pool while wasting bans or not giving as much value as unique stages. I want to talk about dupes here without talking about the best way to pick stages.

I saw groups mentioned in here so this isn't totally original, but more combining different ideas into one. Here's an example group layout, which might not be perfect but it's just to get the idea across. Hazards Off assumed.

Group A (FD epsilon)
FD, Wily, Random Omega(?)
Group B (Battlefield epsilon)
BF, Dreamland, Miiverse/any other tri-plat we end up with
Group C (Pokemon epsilon)
PS1, PS2, Kalos
Group D (Semisolids)
Halberd, Delfino, Prism Tower (?). This group is just another idea. It would be to control the number of semisolids, rather than purely dupes.

Every stage not in a group can be treated like a normal stage for stage selection (T&C, smashville, frigate, anything else).

I am assuming that the stages within a group are similar enough that it's not a major issue which one to pick (i.e. the tier list won't drastically change). I know there are differences, like pika can sometimes QAC on dreamland in smash4 but never on BF, blastzones are different, etc, but hear me out first.

Here are 3 ways to treat each group as "one" stage to make the process smoother. We can let individual TOs decide which option to use or come up with a standard for every tourney to use. It would be good if at least the list of groups becomes standard though.

OPTION 1: Include every stage as legal at the start of a match, but narrow them down quickly.

When picking stages, as soon as either player offers, picks, OR bans any one stage in a group, all the other stages in that group are banned immediately from that game. OR, they could be banned for that game as well as the rest of the set. OR, you can apply DSR so that the winner can't play on more than one stage in a group in a set. I'm not sure which is better, so I put that up for discussion/testing. This can apply to either the proposed veto methods or offer x choose y methods, doesn't matter. It's trickier to apply it to random stage select though. Stages not in groups are treated normally of course.

To me this makes sense. You'll see all these dupes in tourneys, but not all in the same set for MU fairness. You also won't have to waste picks/bans on similar stages. So the stage list will be large, but will be wittled down quickly and fairly.

OPTION 2: Rotate through stages in a group using seasons. All other stages in the groups are banned, but all stages not in groups are legal.

Example:
Season 1: FD, BF, PS1, Halberd are legal
Season 2: Wily, Dreamland, PS2, Delfino are legal
Season 3: Random Omega, Miiverse, Kalos, Prism Tower are legal
Season 4+: mix and match from there, but always make exactly one stage from each group legal

I think this could be exciting and would hopefully not mess up the balance too much. It does restrict the stage list but maintains some variety over time. It also alleviates some of the logistical/political nightmares about setting up seasons because most of the stage list would remain the same every season (the stages not in groups). Also because the differences between seasons wouldn't matter THAT much, it's not 100% required for every tourney to use the same set of stages in the groups. If some tourney decides to use one custom season forever, it wouldn't break the system.

OPTION 3: Ban all stages in a group but one

This is simply the option where you are picky about which stages are legal. Heck, all of group D might end up being banned for all I know. This obviously narrows the stage list and prevents most of these stages from seeing tourney play, which has its pros and cons.
___________________________________________
Does any of this sound good?
 

Jamisinon

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It's inaccurate to call the game's stagelist "small" when 100% of its stages are played in tournament, and it's unhelpful to compare roa and smash in the first place when the developers of each game have such drastically different mindsets in such a relevant way.
You're right about the first part. It's not fair of us to call RoA's stagelist small.
We tend to think in terms of what we are familiar with. We compare things to the Melee/Brawl/PM/Sm4sh stage lists and by comparison Rivals has a very small stage list. But I think we can still draw a few things from what Rivals has done. They've shown that maybe 12 stages could be competitively viable. But Rivals also has far fewer characters thus fewer lopsided MU's etc. It's easier to keep everything balanced in a game with with 9 fighters than 69 fighters obviously.

Correct me if I'm wrong but overall the blast zone sizes for Rivas' stages don't vary nearly as much as those in Smash. Every stage has a completely flat base with ledges. There's some variance to the main stage size and of course the platform layout. But by comparison to smash, even if we only view the tournament legal stages, Rivals stages are generally speaking more similar to each other.
To me at least Rivals stages feel more like the Town & City transformations than completely different stages. The blast zones and platforms don't drastically change your game plan in a MU. The stages also aren't as extreme to the point where a stage choice alone brings about a character swap.

There's also no grabbing in Rivals which is a huge part of Smash. Grabs can lead into chain grabs or tech chases that platforms can break up (i.e. Marth has a chain grab in Melee on Fox on FD but platforms break up this chain grab on every other stage). Then in Sm4sh grabs can lead into things like DK ding-dong and at one point we had Diddy's grab leading into hu-ha KO's. So the lack of grabs in Rivals does take out a large element IMO.

But it might not be completely fair for us to use games like Slap City or Rivals as examples as to why a small stage list works. But you take those games and even throw in Icons and a lot of stages seem copy pasted from smash. Granted it's not super original to have 3 plats, no plats or 1 horizontally moving plat but obviously these games are inspired by smash. There's a reason they copy the stages we already use competitively and part of that is that they've proven over years of time that they work both competitively and casually. So I just think that's something small to keep in mind. I don't think it necessarily propogates the notion that 12 super similar stages would work in smash.
We want to try to achieve a balance with our stage list. This doesn't necessarily mean getting a bunch of the stages that fit in the middle but rather balancing. We can have one stage that differs BC say it's smaller then balance that with another stage that is slightly larger. We have one stage with 2 platforms so we add in a stage with 4. One stage has a high ceiling but close horizontal blast zones and another stage has the opposite. Obviously we can never be 100% neutral or balanced as there are too many variables and a meta that will change over time. But we can try to get a sort of one of each type of stage so we still have variety but we have balance in that variety. That's what a lot of us pushing for a smaller stage count want. BC when you add in more stages you'll find there are several stages that are similar to but not exactly like BF but not as many are going to fit the role of say Smashville. The stage list will then just favor characters/players who do well with a BF esque layout. The stages can form the meta and we simply prefer that it be primarily the characters that affect the outcome. The more stages you have the more the stage is going to affect the outcome. It's just the two opposing views seem to be okay this way is more casual but still competitive while this other way is more strictly competitive.

You could argue that yes admittedly we might be limiting options but we are doing so with the best intentions, to keep the integrity of competition as fair and balanced as we can within the parameters we have control over.
 

Munomario777

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Munomario777
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Outside of super-blatant stuff like BF and midgar and BF forms / FD and wily and omega forms / PS1 and PS2, I'm not a fan of "grouping" stages like what was done for BF and dreamland in ssb4. Dreamland, yoshi's story, etc are different enough to warrant separate "slots" under most systems imo.

I do like the measures the "pick 3 stages, other player chooses from those 3" system could use to account for these stages, which is that you can add for example multiple triplats to your 3 stage list but they still only count as one stage. So you could maybe have BF, story, dreamland, SV, and FD on your 3 stage list (triplats all count as one), and the other player picks from those options. In that case, I'd be more okay with grouping dreamland and story with the BF clones. I don't think it's very necessary even at that point though. (I end up talking about this grouping system more in-depth later in this post.)

As for other stages, I don't think they're groupable, e.g. kalos with PS1 / PS2. Their layouts are in that case drastically different. Same for sharkable stages, which aside from that single trait are very distinct from one another.



Jamisinon Jamisinon

As someone who played roa for a good while, stages definitely have an impact depending on MU, especially in a game as mechanically diverse as rivals. In rivals, a platform is not only a place for a character to stand on, but it's also a place for kragg to put his rock or cause earthquakes from, orcane to put his puddle, maypul to put her plant, sylvanos to place his flower or to spread grass, elliana to plant her mine, etalus to spread ice... etc etc etc. Off the top of my head another example is how my main, elliana, benefits a TON from high up platforms (especially those on air armada) since they let her use her bowser jr up b to escape pressure while still landing quickly. To say the least, stage choice affects a lot of characters in rivals.

The stages also absolutely have varying widths and blastzones. The game goes out of its way to tell you stage width and all blast zone data on the stage select screen for this reason. In terms of floor width, the widest stage is 832 units, while the smallest is 512 units. The lowest ceiling is 548, while the highest is 628.

And in terms of layout, rivals has more variety than any (official) smash game has had, despite being all of its stages built on a flat base.
Fire Capitol (wider PS2, plus TC's two high platforms essentially)
Air Armada (two platforms at the edge of the stage's width, at the height of TC's high platforms)
Rock Wall (warioware but with more width added onto the main stage, and standardized platform widths)
Merchant Port (fire capitol, but heights flipped)
Treetop Lodge (narrow stage; two wide platforms, left one is low while right one is high)
Blazing Hideout (single wide platform which is also kind of high up; similar to brawl yoshi's)
Tempest Peak (PS2 style platforms, plus two platforms offstage and below ground height)
Frozen Fortress (inverted triplat)
Tower of Heaven (triplat)
Aethereal Gates (like TC's second form, but the platforms don't go out as far and they don't move continuously)
Endless Abyss (FD)
Spirit Tree (two low-height platforms which reach past the edge of the stage, like kalos's do)

Ultimately, the game's usefulness is limited when it comes to deciding what's best for SSBU.



As far as "achieving a balance" goes, that's a great philosophy to have when designing a platform fighter. I reckon rivals aims for that a good deal, and there are indeed a good mix of stage widths, layouts, blast zones, etc. In a game where those variables can give an advantage or disadvantage to certain characters, it's a smart move to balance the distribution of these in tune with character balance.

But we aren't designing a game, we're making a ruleset for a finished product. As a result, we aren't able to actually design the stages, so it's almost certainly not feasible to balance most things e.g. having an even spread of blastzones or stage widths. Try to balance one and it's pretty much impossible to not throw the others off, not to mention trying to do all of this without causing controversy in the playerbase. The two things required for such a balance are control over the game (stage design) and control over the players (e.g. how rivals enforces a ruleset in its online modes and its official tournament series), neither of which are in the right hands to make that kind of thing happen.

Completely redundant stages such as midgar, whose blast zones and everything else are (in the wiiu game at least) identical to BF, are fair to group. But go past that and you're making largely subjective choices regarding not only which stages are too similar to each other (which is only non-debatable in cases like midgar), but also which stage from each of these subjective "groups" is subjectively the best one to include.



Special treatment for similar but non-identical stages isn't out of the question. One goal for any such measure is to still treat different stages as separate entities to an extent, in terms of how players choose to play on or to not play on stages. For example, a player should be able to choose between BF and dreamland just about as much as he can choose between BF and FD, if his character calls for it. This is why I like the system I talked about in the second paragraph of this post. If Player A picks 3 stages and Player B picks from those, then this system, using triplats as an example of grouped stages:
  • Allows Player A to choose ONE of the triplats to include, e.g. he wants to go to dreamland but not BF (removing the main issue caused by straight-up grouping these stages, which is that other elements of a stage can make a big impact e.g. BF's high ceiling)
  • Does not allow Player A to fill his list with triplats, forcing Player B to pick a triplat (removing the main issue caused by having lots of triplats in the stagelist, which is that there would be too many opportunities to go to a triplat)
Most often, the most impactful element of a smash stage is the layout of its floor and of the elements above it. There are some cases where blastzones or width are so extreme that they matter more, but those are generally outliers. So stages with similar platform layouts are the only case where I'm comfortable with grouping, and even then it's very important to keep in mind that other properties can have a huge influence in certain scenarios. If Player A is at a disadvantage on BF due to the ceiling but wants to choose a triplat, he should be able to choose specifically a non-BF triplat.

One result of this system is that it's strictly a disadvantage for Player A to include more than one triplat, since he might as well just pick the best triplat and only include that one. Adding another triplat does nothing but give Player B more options. I don't think this is a downside, but it's a notable quirk.



Sorry if this post is kind of disjointed, I think I kinda rambled a lot tbh. : P
 
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NewGuy79

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From what I've gathered, it was mostly because people disliked some of the music on those stages, and I agree that some of the songs are pretty anti-hype (I usually turn those off in local tournaments, because who wants to listen to "The Roost" during a tournament set?). Maybe tournaments should turn off the most anti-hype songs, that would solve part of the viewer issue, at least.
the music is a big part of it, a lot of the tracks I feel are just not fit for fighting. way too chirpy and happy sounding to be the backdrop of a fight in any capacity.

it creates a tonal dissonance in the game that has honestly got me the mute it a couple times, only the plaza theme really has the right tone for smash IMO
 
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