The importance of a unique mechanic

NintenEdgyMan

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#1
The importance of a mechanic in smash ultimate cannot be understated. The roster is very bloated, so standing out is very important.


A lot can be done to make a character different. The most obvious ways is to give a solid mechanic. Olimar's pikmin, Shulk's arts, and Jokers persona come to mind. You can also give them properties that no one else has. Sonic's speed, ZSS's stunning properties, and the Belmont's long-range whips. There are even characters that just bring new styles of play through personality alone. Bowsers fast kaiju-ish fear factor, Captain Falcon's stylish moves, and Ridley's cruelty come to mind.


The history of character differentiation has gone through an evolution. In 64, the goal was to put in icons and make movesets that feel like them worth various references to the source material. This was able to work for Melee too, due to the roster still not being crazy big. They still managed to put unique characters like Ice Climbers and Zelda/Sheik in though. It all changed with Brawl. Brawl had some basic movesets, but it also had characters that completely stood out and played like no one else (Snake, Pokemon Trainer, Sonic, ZSS, Olimar, etc.). They started putting in characters that could do things no other character could do. Whether that be stats, unique moves, or even unique properties that made them, unlike anything we've ever seen.


Sm4sh brought this on hard. They introduced many unique fighters, and all of them felt completely unique. Villagers pocket and traps, Mega Man's almost projectile only moveset, Wii Fit Trainers unique hitboxes, need I go on? Every character brought something new to the table. All of them (except Shulk) also managed to stay true to their games, whilst also having completely unique movesets.


The reason I bring this all up is that Ultimate has set a new baseline. All the newcomers (bar Isabelle) are very unique and all play differently.


The Inklings have rechargeable ink that makes you keep track of resources. Ridley brings a very cruel playstyle to the table, with hard punishes that hurt bad. Belmont's have the longest reach on their normal attacks with their whips as well as many different projectiles, lending well to zoning and spacing. King K Rool has super armor everywhere alongside breakable armor, leading to a very reckless playstyle with lots of damage trades. Incineroar is the definition of a grappler with crazy strong grabs, while also being the slowest character, leading to a very anti approach fighting style.


The DLC is at an even higher level of uniqueness. It's to the point where I'm giving each their own paragraph.


Piranha Plant feels like the source enemy. He has a very careful zoning playstyle while also feeling like a land shark who takes control of the stage. He feels very defensive until he pops out for heavy damage. This not only reflective of the original enemy but also fills the archetype of land shark, something we had surprisingly not seen yet.


Joker is also crazy unique. The obvious thing to point to is his persona, which makes him a terrifying threat that can do anything he wants basically. That aside, even base Joker is unique. He does vaguely feel like Sheik or Greninja, but he separates himself with his specials. He is also fairly stylish and has a great punish game, just like the characters from Persona 5.


Hero is also very unique. His magic meter gives him the same resource management as Inkling, but are only for his specials. His specials alone make him a fairly unique, with many different spells all with different properties. He lends well to any situation and looks to have a great advantage state. His normal moves are very Linkish and Marthish, which may at first seem derivative, but his specials put a whole new twist on it. Link and Marth use their swords for a careful offense, while Hero uses it to space and carefully use specials.


The only exception SO FAR is Banjo. He looks unfinished and hasn’t had everything showed off yet, so I’m going to wait until the formal reveal before calling him boring or derivative.


The reason I write all of this is that I don’t think everyone really knows how important it is to have a unique character. It adds so much more to a roster having completely original fighters instead of a character with generic punches and hits.
 

Quillion

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#2
Gonna be honest here, I'm really not a fan of how a lot of the newer characters feel so overcomplicated with their unique mechanics. I appreciate the earlier characters and the more basic later characters much more since I don't like keeping track of meters and regen times for Monado arts. I like unique mechanics, but not the overcomplicating ones. I want more stuff like Pit redirecting arrows or K. Rool's belly armor.
 
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#3
Banjo and Kazooie’s Wonderwing seems to make them invincible like in the original games, and requires feather management as well. I could care less about them having moves similar to others, since they’re all taken straight from their games anyway. We don’t need every character to stand out nearly 100%, though I guess B-K already do in their own way anyway.

To be honest, though, some of the new characters already have moves, including specials, that are similar to others, but of course they’re still unique as they still work differently despite similarities.
 
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Koopaul

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#4
I'm going to disagree with your statement on Brawl. All the newcomers were unique. Not all of them had a gimmick but they all had unique moves that were like no other fight. Diddy Kong with his bananas. Meta Knight having high speed sword attacks. King Dedede tossing out minions and being one of the first heavyweights that can multi-jump. So on and so on. Are they as unique as a fighters with a gimmick? No. But having a distinct moveset makes you unique enough in my book.
 
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#6
Well, I think SSBU opened up things many might have considered broken at the time in the Make Your Move threads. If King K. Rool can have belly armor, for example, then my concept of the Omega Metroid isn't as broken as it sounded with regard to her carapace blocking attacks, if not outright cutting damage heavily like Rebel's Guard. The concept of Arsene, or even Deep Breathing can be used in Samus' favor so that she can enter "Hyper Mode".

Then there is Link's Remote Bomb with its large blast radius. Maybe my concept of Space Pirate's E-grenade Launcher can still be acceptable. Funnily, my debut slogan for Space Pirate was, "Space Pirate steals the show!" Now Joker has the "steals the show" phrase, and my slogan was made up long before Joker was announced. Anyway, I kind of don't like the door that SSBU has opened up with regard to these unique, but stupid mechanics. I'm somewhat with Quillion Quillion here.
 

Wiziliz

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#7
Gonna be honest here, I'm really not a fan of how a lot of the newer characters feel so overcomplicated with their unique mechanics. I appreciate the earlier characters and the more basic later characters much more since I don't like keeping track of meters and regen times for Monado arts. I like unique mechanics, but not the overcomplicating ones. I want more stuff like Pit redirecting arrows or K. Rool's belly armor.
Wario's Waft and Inkling's charge are great kinds of mechanics. I feel that newcomers should mostly strive for mechanics on that level, but seeing crazy unique newcomers like Olimar and Shulk every once in a while is exciting too. I still wouldn't mind more basic characters, though, and if Banjo-Kazooie end up being that, I'll be fine.
 
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#8
This definitely needs to be the case for echoes and semis, but not all unique mechanics need to be super expansive, like Rosalina and Luma or Shulk. Heck, most of the Ultimate newcomers are actually less extreme in this department than the newcomers of Smash 4, and they still feel unique.

For an example I came up with, I did a Roy rebalance/redesign a long time ago in order to completely remove all semi-clone status from Marth, as little as there is left. One of my ideas for a passive skill was to give Roy more hitstun on all his attacks for a couple of seconds after dodging, giving him more "countering" prowess that compliments his lackluster frame data and range combination. However, it doesn't define my rework idea, and is mostly a bonus for what I wanted to make Roy, rather than a key element, but it would still allow for a more specific way to play Roy optimally if my rework went through.

And I know people don't really care about my rebalance ideas, but I got a very positive reception for that particular idea.

The main point is that you can give far more subtle mechanics to characters to make them unique.
 

Quillion

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#9
I just want to say after that Hero presentation that I think Hero crosses the line with this trend of "recent characters having crazy mechanics".

Mainly because of the RNG mechanics that they have. Luigi's Side-B was already weird to me (I now prefer how several mods make it misfire after a fixed count), but Hero can do random crits with his Smash attacks. And his Down B has a lot of useful functions, but it's always a random list of commands and you have to select from a menu on top of that, making it even more awkward.

I'm not even worried about Hero being broken, nor do I even care. But that level of randomness just doesn't belong on a Smash character, faithfulness to canon be damned.
 
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#10
I just want to say after that Hero presentation that I think Hero crosses the line with this trend of "recent characters having crazy mechanics".

Mainly because of the RNG mechanics that they have. Luigi's Side-B was already weird to me (I now prefer how several mods make it misfire after a fixed count), but Hero can do random crits with his Smash attacks. And his Down B has a lot of useful functions, but it's always a random list of commands and you have to select from a menu on top of that, making it even more awkward.

I'm not even worried about Hero being broken, nor do I even care. But that level of randomness just doesn't belong on a Smash character, faithfulness to canon be damned.
Seems we might be reaching a new philosophy of unique fighter with Hero. I personally cant wait.
 

Quillion

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#11
Seems we might be reaching a new philosophy of unique fighter with Hero. I personally cant wait.
It makes some of the older characters look bad though. Why can't the Pokémon and Fire Emblem characters do crits for example? Why can't any of the Links have a "selection" down-B? It wasn't a good idea back then, so why now?
 
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#12
It makes some of the older characters look bad though. Why can't the Pokémon and Fire Emblem characters do crits for example? Why can't any of the Links have a "selection" down-B? It wasn't a good idea back then, so why now?
The obvious solution is to update the older characters to make them unique in some ways. Maybe not exactly what you said, but it would make them not feel "bad" compared to newer fighters.

And I'm not sure why you say these ideas weren't good then. Who even said this? And are newer characters supposed to be shackled to only older characters' mechanics simply because those are the actual "good ideas"?
 

Quillion

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#13
And I'm not sure why you say these ideas weren't good then.
RNG-based move mechanics are bad enough because it interferes with forming and executing a good gameplan on both your and the opponent's side. Menu-based move selection in a non-turn-based game is bad enough because it disrupts the flow of the game.

Putting the two together in one character is a recipe for disaster. Some people will eat these mechanics up for the sole sake of "uniqueness", but I'm not buying into that.

If anything, though, I can tolerate something menu-based, but A: it needs to be done Ultimate Shulk style, and B: it needs a fixed set of things to select. Maybe Link could be updated in a future game so that down-B tap is Bomb by default but down-B hold lets you swap out for something else like a hammer, fire/ice rod, ball and chain, or any of the other offbeat tools in Zelda, then that changes your down-B tap until you change it again.
 
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#14
RNG-based move mechanics are bad enough because it interferes with forming and executing a good gameplan on both your and the opponent's side. Menu-based move selection in a non-turn-based game is bad enough because it disrupts the flow of the game.

Putting the two together in one character is a recipe for disaster. Some people will eat these mechanics up for the sole sake of "uniqueness", but I'm not buying into that.
I will admit it could potentially be done better, but I've always seen certain forms of RNG as a way to basically test the player to work off of all possibilities and account for them. Combined with the fact that the only RNG in Hero's kit is in the form of positive RNG, and it becomes less of a disruptive nuisance and more something you can actually play around with without being hindered too much while fighting.

As for the opponent's side of things, firstly critical hits are only on smash attacks, which are almost never used in neutral or disadvantage, meaning it's only going to be useful in a "win more" scenario, not the "lose less" scenario most people like to complain about when they talk about RNG.

Secondly, it seems a lot of the more powerful spells from the command selection are slower to come out. Plus there is probably a pseudo RNG in the background to disallow repeated uses of particular spells without cycling through the menu multiple times. But even if that isn't the case, simply fishing for a particular spell without using what is given to you will give you ample opportunity to be grabbed.

But again, pretty much every spell seems somehow useful, so it's more of using what you are given for the situation. I see no problem with this.
 

CodakTheWarrior

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#15
Yea I agree with quillion here, the rng for hero is, in my opinion so don’t get too upset with me, the worst designed move in the entirety of ultimate. I think the spells themselves are fantastic, but in order to actually land the melee ones you have to perfectly land in front of the opponent, pray to rngesus that you get the spell you want, and then execute it and hope the opponent doesn’t just move or attack you first, nevertheless worrying about mp. The down Special honestly kinda ruins the character overall for me, just because of it’s utterly atrocious design which bothers me as someone who is thinking about going into design in this type of stuff maybe
 
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#16
Yea I agree with quillion here, the rng for hero is, in my opinion so don’t get too upset with me, the worst designed move in the entirety of ultimate. I think the spells themselves are fantastic, but in order to actually land the melee ones you have to perfectly land in front of the opponent, pray to rngesus that you get the spell you want, and then execute it and hope the opponent doesn’t just move or attack you first, nevertheless worrying about mp. The down Special honestly kinda ruins the character overall for me, just because of it’s utterly atrocious design which bothers me as someone who is thinking about going into design in this type of stuff maybe
I guess the melee range spells are a bit of a problem. Maybe a way to make going through the list faster is to have each of the four spells on offer use a different direction? That way you can simply do Down-B, and at a glance, hit a direction for Flame Blade to come out for instance if you see you have it. At that point, it basically would have no delay so long as you saw the attack pop up.
 

CodakTheWarrior

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#17
I guess the melee range spells are a bit of a problem. Maybe a way to make going through the list faster is to have each of the four spells on offer use a different direction? That way you can simply do Down-B, and at a glance, hit a direction for Flame Blade to come out for instance if you see you have it. At that point, it basically would have no delay so long as you saw the attack pop up.
I think that would work well, another option would be to have pressing down-b set what the spell for the down Special is and then said spell would be used when the input is used again, that way the melee spells would actually be usable
 

Ryu Myuutsu

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#18
RNG-based move mechanics are bad enough because it interferes with forming and executing a good gameplan on both your and the opponent's side. Menu-based move selection in a non-turn-based game is bad enough because it disrupts the flow of the game.

Putting the two together in one character is a recipe for disaster. Some people will eat these mechanics up for the sole sake of "uniqueness", but I'm not buying into that.

If anything, though, I can tolerate something menu-based, but A: it needs to be done Ultimate Shulk style, and B: it needs a fixed set of things to select. Maybe Link could be updated in a future game so that down-B tap is Bomb by default but down-B hold lets you swap out for something else like a hammer, fire/ice rod, ball and chain, or any of the other offbeat tools in Zelda, then that changes your down-B tap until you change it again.
Contrary to what some people believe, some element of RNG helps make a game fun and interesting. And the level of RNG that Hero brings to the table isn't as disruptive to competitive balance as the randomness that items bring. It is very strong indeed but not something completely overpowered.

The way Hero is currently designed is fine. The menu system is jarring at first, as mechanically unusual fighters tend to be, but there are simply people who are more talented at resource management on the fly than others. Earlier you said that you prefer non complicated characters, and that's fine. That doesn't that others won't learn how to play the character just because you have no intention in going through the character's learning curve.

And strangely enough, despite saying that you prefer basic fighters over the complex ones, then why are you seeking now to complicate someone like Link even more? The character is fine as he is now. His Down B gives him already a unique option that few have. In fact, why whenever they introduce a new mechanic someone has to come along and say "if X has it then Y should have too"? People should be celebrating the options that the roster provide rather than seeking to take away something that makes someone unique or replicate it into their favorite character out of resentment.
 
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Quillion

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#19
Contrary to what some people believe, some element of RNG helps make a game fun and interesting.
Not a fighting game. Must I remind you of tripping? Also, there's a reason why crits were originally reserved to being a spirit skill rather than a default mechanic.

The way Hero is currently designed is fine. The menu system is jarring at first, as mechanically unusual fighters tend to be, but there are simply people who are more talented at resource management on the fly than others. Earlier you said that you prefer non complicated characters, and that's fine. That doesn't that others won't learn how to play the character just because you have no intention in going through the character's learning curve.
Yes, i know that people will like that sort of uniqueness. Why do you have to bring up "just because you don't like it doesn't mean anyone else won't"? That's besides the point.

I don't find menu systems great in non-turn based games, but if it's done like a circular menu how Shulk was improved, then I can tolerate it. I would probably ignore it a lot of the time, but will still want to learn it.

Hero's down B is a sign that the developers had way too many ideas for moves and shoehorned them into a system which is a combination of RNG and menu, a combination that is simply out-of-place for a fighting game.

And strangely enough, despite saying that you prefer basic fighters over the complex ones, then why are you seeking now to complicate someone like Link even more? The character is fine as he is now. His Down B gives him already a unique option that few have. In fact, why whenever they introduce a new mechanic someone has to come along and say "if X has it then Y should have too"? People should be celebrating the options that the roster provide rather than seeking to take away something that makes someone unique or replicate it into their favorite character out of resentment.
Didn't say I want it, only that I can tolerate it. And it was only a "maybe" response to Necro'lic Necro'lic 's solution of updating Link to be a bit more complex.
 
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#21
You don’t need a gimmick to be a good addition to the roster. Look at Mewtwo; he’s not particularly unique nor can he fill up a meter to access some overpowered mode that shoots him up the tier list, but he’s more popular among fans than some of Smash’s OGs.
 

kirbsmash

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#22
I honestly don't care if the character is bad or op. Really, Hero, aside from his down-b, got flaws that you're able to kill him with. He's very laggy, and you can be easily killed if you used up your MP. The truth is, that some characters will have something to themselves, and nothing more. I don't know what everybody is fighting about what made a character unique. If they're more or less fun, I don't care what moveset is given. It's just a game.
 

NintenEdgyMan

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#23
You don’t need a gimmick to be a good addition to the roster. Look at Mewtwo; he’s not particularly unique nor can he fill up a meter to access some overpowered mode that shoots him up the tier list, but he’s more popular among fans than some of Smash’s OGs.
But Mewtwo was introduced in Melee, when movesets were a lot more simple. Plus for an example you picked one of the most unique Melee characters, being a large lightweight with a non-disjointed tail and cool psychic attacks.

Characters before Sm4sh or even Brawl should be held to a lower standard, because back then they were more focused on creating playstyles rather than creating characters with mechanics to make themselves completely unique. Every single 64 veteran with the exception of Link is really basic, and those boring movesets wouldn't fly if they were put in nowadays. It's ok though, because they are suppose to be basic. They are the core playstyles. Brawlers, heavyweights, swordies, gun(wo)man, etc.
 
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kirbsmash

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#24
But Mewtwo was introduced in Melee, when movesets were a lot more simple. Plus for an example you picked one of the most unique Melee characters, being a large lightweight with a non-disjointed tail and cool psychic attacks.

Characters before Sm4sh or even Brawl should be held to a lower standard, because back then they were more focused on creating playstyles rather than creating characters with mechanics to make themselves completely unique. Every single 64 veteran with the exception of Link is really basic, and those boring movesets wouldn't fly if they were put in nowadays. It's ok though, because they are suppose to be basic. They are the core playstyles. Brawlers, heavyweights, swordies, gun(wo)man, etc.
Different opinions.
 

TheCJBrine

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#26
You literally can't have an opinion on that. It is literally a fact that older characters are less unique than newer ones. Newer ones have unique attributes and mechanics that make them more unique.
Older characters utilize things in their own unique way, and still have some moves of their own. Some people don’t care about uniqueness anyway.
 

Zinith

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#27
I'm gonna say something that seems uncharacteristic of me, but I think the unique mechanic of my boi's doesn't matter as much as a standard mechanic that was optimized for him. For instance, his shield, recovery, grab, etc. doesn't matter as much as his air mobility :yoshi:
 
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#28
But Mewtwo was introduced in Melee, when movesets were a lot more simple. Plus for an example you picked one of the most unique Melee characters, being a large lightweight with a non-disjointed tail and cool psychic attacks.

Characters before Sm4sh or even Brawl should be held to a lower standard, because back then they were more focused on creating playstyles rather than creating characters with mechanics to make themselves completely unique. Every single 64 veteran with the exception of Link is really basic, and those boring movesets wouldn't fly if they were put in nowadays. It's ok though, because they are suppose to be basic. They are the core playstyles. Brawlers, heavyweights, swordies, gun(wo)man, etc.
Mewtwo was reintroduced in Smash 4, the game which started the trend of characters with gimmicks (as paid DLC, no less), and even though he underwent little if any changes to his moveset, his return was still met with pretty much universal praise.
 

Call_Me_Red

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#29
Unique movesets are important. 100%, no argument. But I think the point we've reached is counter productive. I think if you have movesets that are too unique or too gimmicky, then it makes the game less fun. It makes it harder for new players to hop in, it makes it harder to reach higher levels of the game because there are SO MANY match ups. I do think it makes the game more fun as a spectator just for the 'lol I didn't know that could happen' factor. But overall, I think it makes the game less fun to play competitively. It makes the game more daunting and I'm less inclined to want to get good when there are so many possibilities that I need to master in order to win.

I think Smash 4 was the line, and with the ssb4 DLC, Ultimate, and the DLC they're putting out now, I'm a little off-put tbh.

inb4 'git gud, learn the game scrub'
 
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CodakTheWarrior

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#30
Unique movesets are important. 100%, no argument. But I think the point we've reached is counter productive. I think if you have movesets that are too unique or too gimmicky, then it makes the game less fun. It makes it harder for new players to hop in, it makes it harder to reach higher levels of the game because there are SO MANY match ups. I do think it makes the game more fun as a spectator just for the 'lol I didn't know that could happen' factor. But overall, I think it makes the game less fun to play competitively. It makes the game more daunting and I'm less inclined to want to get good when there are so many possibilities that I need to master in order to win.

I think Smash 4 was the line, and with the ssb4 DLC, Ultimate, and the DLC they're putting out now, I'm a little off-put tbh.

inb4 'git gud, learn the game scrub'
I think the base version of ultimate had a great balance of uniqueness and bloated gimmicks, with all its newcomers being unique for sure but not overly complicated in the slightest, such as Inkling and the Belmont bros. With joker and hero though, they’ve appeared to revert back to the smash 4 philosophy of ‘Gimmicks! We need more GIMMICKS!!!!’ So let’s hope that banjo and the final two dlc are more like the base game in that regard
 

Call_Me_Red

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#31
I think the base version of ultimate had a great balance of uniqueness and bloated gimmicks, with all its newcomers being unique for sure but not overly complicated in the slightest, such as Inkling and the Belmont bros. With joker and hero though, they’ve appeared to revert back to the smash 4 philosophy of ‘Gimmicks! We need more GIMMICKS!!!!’ So let’s hope that banjo and the final two dlc are more like the base game in that regard
I can agree with that. I don't think we're at the point-of-no-return yet, but I think we're really close. You're right though, characters like Inkling and King K have gimmicks, but it doesn't completely change how you play against them. Joker and Hero and Little Mac and Cloud and etc etc on the other hand. I just don't think it's fun playing against them. I'm not playing to win, I'm playing to not lose to their gimmick.
 

Quillion

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#32
I would like to note that it's a popular opinion (maybe not THE popular opinion) that just echoing a character, then mainly changing hitbox properties, mobility, and frame data is enough to make a world of difference in playstyle even if the animations are clearly the same/similar. Doesn't this show that gimmicks aren't the only way to make a character unique?
 

Ryu Myuutsu

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#33
Not a fighting game. Must I remind you of tripping? Also, there's a reason why crits were originally reserved to being a spirit skill rather than a default mechanic.
Which is why I said that some RNG is good, but not all.

Tripping is an example of bad RNG for a competitive game. You can't properly react to it, and when it happens it makes you miss a potential punish or leaves you open. Items are another example, because it boils down to who gets luckier by being in the right place at the right time, and for some items are too powerful with little counterplay.

RNG like Hero's, Peach' Down B, or Pokemon Stadium's transformation cycle isn't that bad because it's reactable. You can see what Peach pulls up before she throws it at to you, and you can see Hero's menu of attacks and know what is coming. I disagree that RNG has no place in a fighting game; there are other examples of reactable RNG like Zappa and Faust in Guilty Gear and Phoenix Wright in MvC3, and while I think that there shouldn't be too much RNG like tripping, they can help make a game fun to play and watch.
 
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