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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pete's Rant #1: Competivity

For the new blog post, go to this link:
http://www.ausmash.com/2010/07/petes-rant-1-competivity/
Or just read further down, whatever:

Hello everyone, and welcome to Pete278’s rant/essay/article/whatever else you want to call it. You’ve probably seen me on the boards, and probably reported at least one of my posts for trolling. Truth be told, while I am trolling some of the time (and am a member of Perth’s infamous Troll Patrol, the much superior, subtler trolling brigade which exists to counterbalance Alzi’s blatant trolling achieved through his existence alone), I am a heavily opinionated person by nature, and possess what I’ve nicknamed Devil’s Advocate Syndrome; I tend to get into debates with people on the subtlest of points, or on pure semantics because, in my mind, it matters. So, who better to write a rant than someone who has such strong opinions?

Anyway, so, you’ve read this far, and are probably wondering ‘Pete, what’s the subject? Surely you won’t talk about yourself the whole time?’ Well, I probably could if I wanted to, but I doubt S.D would publish it, so I’ve decided to write about an ambiguous term which generates much debate and discussion on Smashboards: the word ‘competitive’, and how it affects the smash community.

A lot of people have their own opinions on what makes a game competitive, what we should do to make the game more competitive, and so on. I’ll try to remain neutral about the topic, for the sake of an objective write up, but, if you’ve read anything of mine, you’ll know it won’t end up that way.

Since we, as a community, play this game in tournaments, there are two main goals of the smash community, and every other competitive community: to have fun and to make the game as competitive as possible. Obviously, having fun is completely and utterly subjective, and is nigh impossible to achieve for every person in the same context. It is something that must immediatly come into consideration in the mind of someone who wants to play a game/do a sport/whatever competitively, they must ask themselves the fundamental question: do I have fun doing it? If not, and money is your only concern, I’d probably get a job or play a different game, since you’re not going to make nearly enough money to make up for the fact you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. If you do have fun doing it, then congratulations, you’ve made it past the first step to deciding whether or not the game is worth playing. As you progress through the ranks of skill, though, the fun quality of the game can change, as people become more cutthroat and less forgiving. I’d recommend if, at any point, you stop finding the game fun, to take a step back, look at what you’re doing and decide whether it’s worth it. Nonetheless, it’s pretty difficult for us to maximize the fun aspect without severely injuring the second aspect: competivity. No, that’s not a word, but I’m going to use it as one, since there isn’t a noun form of competitively in the way I need it.

The definition of ‘competivity’ I’m going for is kind of like ‘The aspect of a competition that defines how frequently the better player/team of competitors will win the set.’ For instance, four player free-for-alls would have a rather low competivity, since you can never even get close to a high percentage chance of the best player in the four winning. If everyone just focuses on that player, he’ll get raped and thus, the skill margin necessary for the best player to win a large percentage of matches is a lot higher than it should be. That one player has to be a lot better than the remaining three to guarantee that, even if he gets focus fired, he will still win. Games on WarioWare lower it as well, since the ‘prize’ given for the mini games is random, and if the inferior player gets a star, and the better a mushroom, then that’s definitely going to hinder the chances of the better player winning. As much of a dick I think Sirlin is (hurr I invented Yomi it’s kind of a big deal), playing to win is fairly spot on about this aspect of competition, even if it doesn’t refer to it the same way as I do. However, after the more obvious aspects, it gets a little more blurred and opinionated. For instance, if you wanted the game to have maximum competivity, you’d have to ban all characters except one and make all games be played on the most fair stage for that mirror, otherwise San, for instance, could lose to an arguably worse Metaknight player because of the matchup, meaning the better player lost. People tend to ignore situations like this though, since it is San’s own fault he’s restricting himself with Ike. You don’t ban weightlifters from tying a couple of tons to their hands before lifting the dumbbell, after all.

Normally, this is where the argument would end. Most fighting games, like Street Fighter, would just say ‘okay, ban any character that makes the rest irrelevant (i.e. Super Turbo Akuma, Gill, whatever), ban any stages that are annoying to look at/hinder colour blind people/lag the game, and we’re done’ and be done with it. The timer is another arguable thing with those games, but 99 seconds seems to work universally well, and hasn’t really been argued by anyone, since games tend to end before the timer anyway. However, Melee and Brawl both have more aspects (maybe too many aspects) that players can pick from that impact the game, those being stages (most obvious), items (generally hated by everyone, though that doesn’t necessarily make them bad), game mode (read items), and so on. Within each of those realms is a multitude of individual choices, making Melee and Brawl extremely difficult games to write rule sets from scratch for. This is the main reason why scrub tournaments end up scrub tournaments: the Tournament Organisers don’t play the game, don’t know where to go for the rules, assume everyone plays the game like them, and then you have a four way free for all items on Temple only tournament.

Starting off, it’s easy to scratch the stages that blatantly change the game for the worse, or don’t work at all for 1v1, the dominant competitive paradigm. Mario Bros. is my favourite example of this, as it’s completely random who wins once you know what you’re doing, and the game you’re playing isn’t really Brawl anymore. 75m, Spear Pillar, and a few others are easily slotted in here, along with Rumble Falls, which, in my opinion, is irrationally hated because it resembles a stage that was horrible. Nonetheless, that’s neither here nor there now, and Rumble Falls is gone for the moment.

The easiest way to remove the remaining stages is, of course, by removing ones that polarize matchups too much. Stages like Corneria, which give one character a huge advantage against the majority of the cast, will inevitably make a Game and Watch (using Corneria as an example here) player win a majority of games on that stage regardless of whether they’re the better player. Infamously, at a tournament eternities ago when Corneria was legal, I, as a scrub at my first tournament, defeated Vlade’s Metaknight with Game and Watch on Corneria. Obviously, personal evidence doesn’t mean anything in an argument like this, but you can see the point I’m trying to make there. Bridge of Eldin is another good example, as it will give the Dedede player wins a lot of the time regardless of whether or not he’s the better player. This entire point and paragraph, however, can be argued with the same point as the weightlifters weights: why not play characters that can abuse the most stages? If Dedede can walk off on a lot of stages, is that a problem with the stage, or a problem with you for not playing him? In the end, though, even if everyone plays Dedede, the game becomes too ‘random’, where top players will end up with randomly assorted top eights even if you could argue one is better than the others, based solely on who could get the first grab off. A regular game would be forced to ban Dedede, but, because of Brawl’s modular nature, we can simply ban the stages that enable that effect instead.

Now that you’ve narrowed the stages down to the remaining few, it becomes a lot less obvious to know what to do. Do you keep it like that, or keep trying to modify it until its perfect? You could argue Rainbow Ride for the second ban ‘criteria’, so why not ban it? How do you define a starter? As I’m not considered a top player, my arguments here will be read and considered by none, so I’ll try to just stay on the philosophical side. If you move on from stages at that point, you still have items and ‘bannable techniques’ to consider.

Items, inherently by their random distribution, lower the competivity of a game, and thus they, except for perhaps the most useless of items, really shouldn’t be considered at all for a competition, even though they make Ganondorf kind of viable. Character viability tends to be overrated by most, as once you have a viable top tier consisting of more than, say, three characters, the game has enough variation and balance to be playable and thus, after that point, it shouldn’t be factored in at all to stages and other variables unless you would make one character the only viable character. Nothing you can do is going to make Lucas a viable character without hindering the competivity of the game, so there’s no point whinging that something hurts him. It’s best if you can maximize the viable characters, yeah, but you don’t hinder the game itself by doing so. A good example is banning Dedede’s infinite on DK. What happens if someone accidentally does a loop of it? Do you take the game off them? What if someone times it perfectly so that you have one frame to dodge out of it? They’re not using the infinite on you, just grabbing you repeatedly as you fail to dodge it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to really enforce it, and check whether it was escapable, and thus, you can’t ban the infinite.

Since this is looking kind of long right about now, and this is a good place to end for the moment, I’ll wrap it up here. If it gets read by someone, and S.D will let me, I’ll continue writing this on other topics it logically flows into, but for the moment, you’ll have to settle for this. Hope you enjoyed reading this and, assuming it doesn’t get any follow-ups, you can read more of my writing at www.bulletpunch.com (shameless plug inserted).





Actually, on an unrelated note, I might as well explain the ads here, since I kinda didn't. Basically, the Amazon ads are context sensitive, and thus pick up main topics of this blog, and then procure items of interest based on them. If you see anything you want and want to buy on it, buy it, since I get a comission from it. Otherwise, I get nothing from it

On another unrelated note, the two maids in the background are Hisui and Kohaku, if you don't know them. Hisui is the much superior one on the left, with the blueish eyes. Remember their names well.The banner is made up of a few games, though, including Pokemon (CAN YOU SEE THE SNORLAX? ITS FAIRLY WELL HIDDEN), Melty Blood, Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Street Fighter and Arcana Hearts. It'll be redone later once I get my laptop back so it'll look less shit and pixally, but you can blame the gods of Nvidia for it not being here now. Also, new poll, check it out, especially if your name is Vlade (sorry Vlade).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Street Fighter x Tekken (make sure to get the order right yo)

So, gameplay videos have made it onto the net of Ono's announcement that vastly eclipsed Third Strike for PSN and XBL, even though 3S is hype as fuck and you all know it. So far, only Ryu, Chun, Kazuya and Nina have been shown, and its only in alpha, but dayum, it looks so hype. Tag team super combos, Kazuya's epic EWGF to the sky, wallbounces, fuck. Its got everything. The fact the roster is restricted to SF and Tekken makes me even more hype, since Q could finally be represented in a crossover game, and Q is amazing. Here's the video if you have yet to see it:






So, yeah, not much actual gameplay, and I really doubt they'll leave it hubless, but really, this is the biggest possibility for fanservice fighting game players have ever seen. It looks like they intend on having awesome character-specific rival intros, which could, quite frankly, be fucking hype for some rivalries, tag team specific super combos (since Kazuya's followup super EWGF looks like its part of the cinematic), and just anything else they wanted. I was suspicious at first of it working, since the two engines are so different, but if they do have two games, and the quality of both is high, then why not? Also, fuck yeah roll techs, I missed you so much. But, yeah, as I said, not much to really talk about yet.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

God Tier

So, in-game footage has been shown of Amaterasu and Thor (how clever was my pun?), and they're looking quite interesting. Amaterasu seems to have a few 'stances', which change her specials, including a sword and ice spam. One of her supers is a generic nuke the screen super that seems to hit OTG, which means it'll combo from basically anything, so yay free damage. The other seems to slow time down (lolol Atemon Game as a super) and should be useful, though I don't know if it'll always be worth the meter, which could be spent DHCing or just nuking them in general. Her level 3 wasn't shown, and if she has any other supers, they also weren't shown, but I don't think I can really judge a stance character at all from a video.


Thor, on the other hand, looks like a fairly 'simple' character, relative to Amaterasu. As expected, he has lightning everywhere, including a move similar to T.Hawk's EX Upper, i.e. it does a headbutt at a 45 degree angle, then dives down, which seems to be quite useful in extending combos. He also seems to have something similar to Captain Corridor (CapCom's lighting bolt that covered the entire vertical axis of the screen), which could be very useful as an anti-air. He wasn't shown flying, but that doesn't rule it out, so fingers crossed. He also got Magneto's Magnetic Shockwave super, which carries the opponent quite far in this, though not as far as Magneto's, it still looks useful for easy cornering for a character that looks quite good at pressure. His other super was a vortex of wind and lightning that covered him, which looks like a fine aerial combo finisher.


More updates tonight at 1 in the morning after Ono's announcements, so get hype.

Friday, July 23, 2010

SSF4 News

Forgot to mention earlier, probably should've. Two black silhouettes are on the arcade SSF4 character select screen, so that probably means two new characters to be announced. Tomorrow, maybe? Arcade Super is close to release, so, it should be fairly soon if they get announced. Maybe it really is the rumour of Alex and Rolento? If not, I'd expect R. Mika and Rolento, though I hope for Q and Urien. Who do you want, and why?

Comicon!

So, if you haven't realised, are one of the plebeians who doesn't read comics at all, or don't really enjoy fighting games (lol), its currently the Comicon weekend. This is important because, as of recent, fighting games are apparently comics, and thus they get quite a show. Obviously, Marvel vs Capcom 3 will probably get the most, since its actually related to comics, and looking quite awesome, but Ono will be making some announcements tomorrow (probably either Super Street Fighter 4 DLC or Namco vs Capcom, or Darkstalkers 4/Vampire Saviour 3, or god knows what), and Skullgirls will be there, so hopefully MikeZ has got some new footage to show us that I can talk about.

Starting off with something that isn't at Comicon but happened this weekend, however, is Arc Sys's heralded announcement. While it wasn't the Guilty Gear XXX many were expecting/hoping for, it was almost as inspiring. Arcana Hearts 3 will be ported to the current gen consoles by Arc Sys, meaning this is the first time in history Arcana Hearts won't have a god awful console port that kills the community. Is this the herald of a multi-cultural Evo2011, with more brands than you can poke a stick at? I certainly hope so. Super Street Fighter 4, Tekken 6, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Melty Blood: Actress Again, BlazBlue and Arcana Hearts 3 would be a pretty damn amazing line up, really. It'd also tie in well with the 'global presence' they're trying to secure for Evo, and the Japanese Evo coming along later this year. Oh, and it'd be cool if Melee was there, but, yeah, no, I don't have very high expectations given the meshing between the Super Smash Bros. community and Shoryuken community in previous times. Anyway, with the lack of Guilty Gear, it seems the BlazBlue community will survive. Be thankful, BlazBlue fans, that your game isn't going to die due to the infinitely superior series returning. :P

Returning back to Comicon now, we've got the announcement of 4 new characters and the accidental announcing of 2 others for Marvel vs Capcom 3. This video:

Shows 3 of the 4 intentionally announced characters, Doctor Doom, Super Skrull and Chun Li. As you may have gathered from my previous post, I am a Doom fanboy, and the Marvel team (Doom, Skrull and Deadpool) is really pretty close to what I'd choose out of girlish fan screams at the moment, though I probably wouldn't go for it for gameplay reasons. Skrull is looking pretty silly damage wise at the moment, but he also looks fairly unsafe, so I'm not sure what to think, though I know for sure I love the Invisible Woman's shield and the 'He loves you' religious banter before his super. Doom didn't really do much except wiff Sphere Flame alot, and zone with the pink (now yellow light laser electricity things) beams, so he's looking fairly vague at the moment. As I said before, his Molecular Shield is looking pretty nostalgic, with nice chip, so let's hope it stays that way for the Doom/Strider players everywhere.

Chun Li maintains her three jumps from Tatsunoko vs Capcom, letting her combo higher and further than ever before in the Marvel series, though her health is either lacking severely or Skrull just lolowned her. Her super follow up combos seem to make Kikosho irrelevant for anything except chip, but we'll see as time goes on. The other three characters who were announced/'announced' are Trish (of DMC fame), Amaterasu (from Okami) and Thor, from Thor. Trish has the most shown of her, being in the trailer, and is looking fairly magicy, having a flight mode, being the first confirmed Capcom character to fly outside of Devil Trigger in the Marvel vs Capcom series. Bravo, even though Morrigan should've got it first, damnit. Amaterasu, being a wolf, is distinctly shorter than a human, and thus is bringing back memories of Servbot with her hitbox, though it is extended horizontally and could thus be lol in aerial approaches. Thor, being Thor, will probably have giant lightning bolts everywhere in his moveset, but as only one of his moves has been shown (and, lo and behold, its a giant lightning bolt), I can't really judge anything of him yet, as with Amaterasu.

That's it for the moment, but tomorrow, I'll be back with more stuff to comment on (hopefully more gameplay of Marvel vs Capcom 3, as well.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Woooaah Shit


So, it would seem that, at last, the pawns at Capcom have decided to reveal the greatest character in Marvel vs Capcom 3, the great lord Doom. Bow before his superior body, his magical talent and scientific splendor. Oh, and we'll make sure to beat up Super Skrull, because he kinda resembles Richards. Damn Richards. In other news, Super Skrull, Chun Li, Trish, Thor and Amaterasu also confirmed for MvC3, but really, why would you care about any of them when motherfucking Doom is around?

He's already been shown to keep Molecular Shield (and its chip!) so if he gets it as an assist, he'll probably be back up the usefulness tier list with such an amazing assist. Seriously, the amount of crap you can do with Molecular Shield is just so amazing, that even if I hated Doom, I'd still probably want it on my team to cover Deadpool's approach even better than his grenades can do. On that note, Deadpool's pineapple + Doom assist looks like it'll be pretty mad lockdown. Alternatively, Chris Redfield's anything + Doom looks pretty lockdown. Either way, Molecular Shield will be awesome again assuming they don't make it shit on purpose. Also returning are the pink beams but, they're not pink this time. Still looks its his best super finisher for a combo, mind you, and they look even flashier as a 3d light show. Its a good time to be a servant of the lord Doom

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

そこよ、翡翠ちゃん。~

いい機会だから、オレのブロッグに書きたいと思うよ。さあ、これのポストをたのしんでくださいよ。

If it weren't for Andrew's pestering, this post wouldn't exist, so be thankful for him doing so. Or yell at him for doing so. Either way, bring it up with him. Nonetheless, I do have some (relatively) important news (relative to the Pokemon updates, that is). Basically, up until my exams, I will be doing my goshdarn best to spread word of both BlazBlue and Melty Blood, i.e. two more obscure fighting games that really deserve a scene due too awesome. Though I may be a bit optimistic with Melty, I'm sure I'll find -someone- out there. Then, after my TEE, I'll be hosting a dual tournament for both, and from there, starting a scene. So, basically, any of you who enjoy BlazBlue or Melty and live in Perth that I haven't talked to about this yet, get ready for the tournament in 16 weeks.

Also, this means that, in between the little studying I'll do and the procrastinating of study that I really should be doing, I'll be practicing the two to make sure I can be a good representative of the future to-be scene, because nobody likes a scrub community manager. :P Plus, maining a low tier character as the community manager means you'll be more popular, since you're not just another tier whore in the eyes of the scrubs, and thus will more easily spread word of the scene. Maybe I should play C-Roa and Rachel, then. Eh, I'll probably stick to Hisui and Hazama, in the end, and be a solid mid tier main, and lose the 'low tier popularity vote' but I guess seconding H-Roa would be fun. Always liked Roa, since he is still the sexiest man alive.

Current list of recruits:

Melty:
Trav
Nasch
Vlade

BB:
Trav
Nasch
Vlade
Jesse
Kane/Romant1k

Let's see how it goes, eh?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More new stuff!

So, in the wake of a fantastic recommendation from Andrew/Zero and Tom/Summoner/Pete278 (cwatididthar?), I was still quite hyped for Angel Beats yesterday when, on facebook, I discovered Tokyo Underground had imported a new magazine which came with a free Kanade Nendoroid. So, as soon as I got into the city today, I went down, bought a copy, and got hyped to get it ready for display. So, without further adue or pointless hype, behold, Kanade:
Cute, isn't it? I love how she's holding her arm so shyly :3

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pete's Arcade!

So, as some of you may know, I have the life dream of running an arcade. Obviously, since I live in Perth, its impossible for me to live of this, since I'd die 9 times of starvation and taxes (yes, taxes are lethal) before I hit 30. So, while I have to get a job and raise the funds first, the machines will still be being made as a hobby until I reach the ripe old age where I can finally get the land for it. Course, on the flipside, since this is Perth, it might just be so barren that I'd be able to live off it because no-one has anywhere else to go, but I'd rather not take that chance.

This doesn't even really qualify as a blog post, but I'm going to pretend it does. On the right of this post, just over there, you can see a poll. Vote on the poll and all your dreams will come true, trust me. If not enough people vote, then fuck you all and I'll decide for myself, you bunch of dicks. If enough people vote, then I love you all and the top machine will be chosen. Because I'm a cheap bastard at the moment, the parts won't be top notch and the machine probably won't be legit (I don't know, maybe some would be cheap enough to do legit), but it'll be done and it'll exist nonetheless.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Updates are fun.

Next week, there'll be another tournament, and what'll possibly be the most hype fighting game weekend of my life. First off, Evo starts on Friday, with a few games I'll be hype about (though, I'll be honest, if it copied the SBO roster and added MvC2, I'd have died of hype by now) like SSF4, TvC, MvC2, MBAA and, best of all, MvC3 exhibition from a build newer than the E3 one! It'll be on the stream for an hour on Sunday, which should be good. I might make a temp room to talk about Evo on the ausmash server, just so I have a place to ramble.

Next of all, on Saturday, is my first tournament as a seeded competitor! Can't believe I finally got into the PR, let's just hope I can keep my spot there, because really, I doubt I can. :P But yeah, being seeded means there's a higher chance of me winning two games in a row in winner's, which is a huge leap compared to winning 1 and then losing. So many rounds you can skip in Loser's. I have a feeling I'll let down Trav in doubles, since I didn't get time to practice my MK with Kane, and Olimar is bad in doubles, but we'll see how it goes.