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A Necessary Preface
To start things off, some baselines need to be set for the sake of sidestepping a lot of talking points. This post will come entirely from the perspective that fighting games are a multiplayer genre first. There's a lot of very valid criticisms of the genre's single player aspect. I am actively choosing to ignore them for this post. When these discussions occur, it's meant from the perspective of the fighting game community trying to convince people to play and stick
with the genre. For hundreds or even thousands of hours. In the same way that people would League of Legends, Apex, Rocket League, etc. The single-player aspect ultimately have very little bearing on the multiplayer aspect since it only increases impressions
and not retention.
I'll also make a deeply arbitrary distinction between accessibility and accommodations for the disabled. They're two very different issues where the latter needs to be tackled in ways that I, or most people, am completely uninformed in. I am going to be addressing the layman's accessibility concerns.
FGC-heads, I know many of you have also thrown in the towel and now sing the virtues of gatekeeping due to not wanting "intolerants". But don't be an ass about it and remember there's a lot more wiggle room than you think. This post already comes across as condescending despite my best efforts, so cool it.
Finally, you don't have to read all of this. Just keep an eye out for the bolds that catch your eye. I'll try to keep things as simple as much as I reasonably can, but things will ultimately be technical. You will likely need a passing familiarity of the terms I'll be using, and I'll try to assist you in that by linking to a definition
when appropriate. I will avoid requiring rigorous knowledge of the subject matter though, so don't get too caught up in the details.
This conveniently segways to one common criticism.
There is too much terminology for me to learn
There sure is a lot of them. But they're not used to make things esoteric. They're words meant to concisely convey otherwise intuitive concepts for the purposes of discussion, learning, and troubleshooting.
In other words, you don't really need to explicitly learn them. Eventually, you'll implicitly learn all the terminology. Just not the words to express them. Think of it like how many of us trying out chess will start games by moving a pawn to allow the Queen to move around, completely unaware of the fact that what we're performing is likely a Queen's Pawn
or a King's Pawn
opening. In the same vein, many are likely already familiar with certain popular concepts in fighting games. You're just unaware of what they're called, or know them by another name.
Take for example, spacing
. You're likely familiar with snipers in a multiplayer shooter. If a sniper is uncontested, they completely own or dominate the "space" they're looking at. Running in full view of a sniper is a terrible idea because of it, and hiding behind cover is a solid idea because they don't "dominate" the space behind cover. To shut down a sniper's control of an area, you need to either physically overpower them (kill them), approach from a space they're not in control of (ambush them), or to force them to move else where (flush them out) via grenades or simply shooting in their general direction. Or in fighting game terms, whiff punish
them (kill them), by playing footsies
(ambush them), or by zoning
(flush them out) them out. Frame data
deserves a special mention. The simplest way to put is that they're measurements of time. If you play any game somewhat seriously, you're already familiar. Reload speeds, fire rates, attack rates, and even movement speeds. Hell, something as simple as not wanting to use Knights of Round
on generic encounters due to the long animation is a decision rooted in frame data.
There are too many things I need to learn
That's fair. There's no way around it. Fighting games are so far removed on a physical level that most people will have to learn everything from scratch. But it's not for the sake of it. There's too little overlap for you to rely on to draw experience.
I'll try not to bore you with the details by delving deep into stuff like Razbuten's series about gaming for non-gamers
. But there's an inherent language to video game conventions and how things control or happen. It's all very learned behavior and not all of it translates to every game. For fighting games in particular, almost nothing translates unless you play exclusively 2d beat 'em ups, spectacle fighters, Monster Hunter, and Soulslikes. And even then.
And that's all okay. We all have a finite amount of time in our lives, with responsibilities to attend to. We can't invest the time to learn everything we need for everything we have a passing interest in. We all pick our battles.
No, seriously, it's all really overwhelming even when I'm trying
It sure is. And there are lots of ways the on-boarding process could be significantly improved upon. These days, the games with the most renowned tutorials are from French Bread or Arc System Works. And they're very excellent... at being a reference. Primary learning material they are not. I could talk about all about the ways things could be improved, but I'm not part of the industry. Waste of character limits if you ask me.
Until things improve drastically, my only advice is to take things slow. A lot of the things you're tempted to learn are cool combos, special techniques to make people stop blocking, or every single move your character has. Maybe all at once. Don't. Pick one or two things to focus on. Play against people where your only goals in life are the one or two things. Move onto new things when you feel that you're comfortable. Rinse and repeat until you've had enough.
The controls aren't intuitive
There's a funny thing about intuition. Despite it being rooted in instinct, it's entirely learned behavior
. If you've used mnemonics before, you probably know that some just aren't very useful no matter how hard you try. It's kinda arbitrary. Things being intuitive or unintuitive also don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. Like mnemonics, intuition only go so far to help you remember or learn something.
Movement tech in other genres is often brought up as an argument for intuition. They're typically a "logical" sequence of inputs that the player is already familiar with. Smash Melee's Wavedash
actually gets brought up as an example time to time. It's jump then air dodge directly back onto the platform. On paper, it's very simple and easy to do.
It's not. The dexterity required to do it is a lot more than you'd expect it to be. Then there's frequency of its use, which causes a very real, physical strain on you. No matter how you look at it, you'll spend several orders of magnitudes more learning the rhythm than you do remembering the sequence of actions. The sequence themselves are a very minor step.
Not to mention, there is
a language to how fighting game controls. Most people aren't used to it because most games aren't anything like fighting games. Take for example the quarter circle forward
input. It's also known as the fireball input. Why? Because the average QCF input is a fireball. If not, it's probably a move that lunges your character forward. The fact that it ends in forward
usually indicates that it's designed to control space in front of you. Hey look, a made up mnemonic. It's also probably useless!
Motion controls are superfluous and should be simplified
A very popular misconception, no doubt due to the widespread popularity of Smash. But the matter of fact is that motion controls are not
superfluous and have momentous consequences. But at the same time, the consequences kinda don't matter. It creates a different type of fighting game for people to enjoy, which people do. The problem comes when people assert that it should be mandatory across the entire genre thinking that nothing would change. It's the same as saying that every FPS needs to have parkour mechanics or every action game needs to have animation canceling or every RPG needs to be real time: it's incredibly short-sighted. There's a reason why Smash has poor cross pollination or why not every TF2 player likes Overwatch.
If you're willing to accept the previous paragraph at face value, skip to the next checkpoint. The following will be dense.
The simplest example of the consequences of simplified inputs is the single input invicible DP
. Their existence completely redefines how offense is structured and how it is played out. In particular, it heavily emphasizes true gapless blockstrings
because the ease of the DP make it so that any unintentional
gaps are fundamentally bad pressure
. Because of that, pressure becomes more telegraphed and rigid, to the point of turns
becoming almost concrete. Or in other words, homogenized and potentially requiring study at all levels.
I also need to stress the word unintentional here. There are entire series and subgenres that thrive on forcing chaotic, ambiguous situations that neither player is fully aware of but have to place their bets anyway. But with a one button DP, intentionally causing mutually ambiguous situations will almost never be in your favor because doing anything will lose out to a DP.
There's some other reasons why the ease factor can cause new problems that need to be addressed, like how most motions don't end in a blocking input which means you must forgo blocking or how some inputs assume that you forgo your ability to move forward. But there are ways around this with surprisingly minimal effects on gameplay or even cause novel situations. But I'm ready to move on.
See, simplified inputs have a very inherent and significant design cost to them. Grapplers
in fighting games historically have insanely fast grabs. It's not uncommon for a grappler's command grab
to be tied for literally the fastest move in the game, while simultaneously being 2-4x the range of other similarly fast non-grabs, and typically leading to much more advantageous situations post-grab than fast non-grabs. As seen here.
Not only are they incredibly strong offensively, but also incredibly strong defensively. Almost as strong as a DP generally, and sometimes stronger than DPs in very specific (but potentially common) scenarios. This is often balanced out by the motions tied to these moves have an associated time cost to perform them in most but not all situations, ontop of the fact that it requires some modicum of effort to perform. Combined, this results in a surprisingly low margin for error to utilize this move effectively, and even players at the highest levels fail it every so often in stress-free, at home in their boxers, scenarios.
Think of it like the choice between slamming on your brakes to minimize collision damage or swerving to avoid it entirely. With enough of a heads up, everyone would choose to swerve. But sometimes you don't realize that you have enough room to swerve and by the time you did, it's too late. You have to pick the next best option. Mental burden
is the concept I'm stressing here.
Of course, we can adjust how one button command grabs work to minimize the differences. The most common answer to this is by making the command grab themselves slower. But by doing so, the command grab is now a fundamentally different move. It cannot be used defensively. It is offensively neutered and the scenarios where it is a good idea to use is significantly reduced. The alternative answer is by tying the command grab to a resource. In turn, it's no longer a move that you always have access to. It's something that must be built towards and then managed alongside all the other mechanics that likely share the same resource.
Nothing mentioned so far are inherent downsides and won't make games bad. You can even omit more nuanced moves like command grabs and DPs entirely and people can still like it. The problem is that these would be the only kind of games that could exist if motion controls would be permanently retired. My preferred solution would be not to remove them, but to add more characters who don't have motions.
Anyway if you've read all that, then you might think I'm making up assumptions. That I can't know for sure that this is how one-button specials would affect the game. Except they're not assumptions. They're real world observations of games that already have one-button specials.
Games with one button specials: Fantasy Strike, Smash, DNF Duel
Games with simplified-but-still-motioned specials: Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Dragonball Fighterz, Skullgirls
Games with both: Granblue Versus, Street Fighter 6, Idol Showdown
Combos are too long
This is a really interesting complaint that comes up a lot. But what it means
is one of three very different concerns that all need to be addressed in their own ways.
...because I keep getting stuck in one and dying to them
A very common and popular problem that is unfortunately born out of complete and total ignorance. Allow me to demonstrate with a clip
Do you believe this was one combo? A really long infinite
? A 100% to 0% combo
? If your answer to any of these were a yes, then you are wrong. That was about six separate combos
. I try to not get caught up on definitions as a rule of thumb and focus on the meaning instead, but this is a pretty big deal for this concern. Because people don't actually know
the language, they misuse words all the time. They don't actually know how to express their concerns in an immediately understandable manner. This is... a huge can of worms that I won't get into for this post.
The thing about combos is that combos only work
if the recipient of those combos have failed
. One failure = one combo. Therefore, six separate combos means that the opponent has failed six times. But if it's the result of failure, then that must mean that success is an option, right?
Yes. It's called blocking
, or more accurately, having good defense
. Really focus on this bit here:
Players and characters with strong defense tend to be able to survive long offensive sequences from their opponent and take little overall damage
This leads into the next separate concern expressed in the same way.
...and there's nothing I could have done Here's a clip
. The player with the long whip (P1) looks really oppressive, right? The player with the hat (P2) had nothing they could do to stop the onslaught of combos coming their way. It was a miracle that they didn't take more damage from all of that. There's a bit of a hitch to all of this though:
None of those were combos. It wasn't oppressive at all. In the context of that clip, P2 willingly chose to do nothing but exclusively block because they wanted to see if P1 was capable of doing anything else.
What do I mean they weren't combos? They just aren't. For this specific concern, it's a simple misunderstanding of term. A sequence of attacks in quick succession are better known as strings
. Not all strings are combos, but all combos are strings. What makes a string a combo is if it makes a character start physically reeling
from an attack. This is a very important distinction for reasons that are irrelevant to this concern.
Okay, they're not combos but strings. Why does that matter? It still doesn't seem like P2 could have done anything. The thing with strings is that they must inevitably end
. When and where they end is highly game and character dependent, but it's one of the few constants of the genre. From Street Fighter, to Smash, to Fantasy Strike. One of the most significant aspects of the genre is figuring out when someone is actually
done so that you can take your turn
. How a fighting game handles "the end of offense" is one of the most common ways to distinguish itself from other games. The clip I linked is a game that likes to keep things intentionally vague for the defender. Tekken famously requires you to know frame data
to know when it's your time. Some games like to simplify things with rules of thumbs. Some games make it extremely short.
In the clip I shared, there were plentiful of solutions that P2 could have done that didn't require much thinking. Ignoring the DP
that character has access to or any of the other moves they had, they could have ran forwards
. They even had a second point
to run forward.
What's really being complained about in this concern here is actually more along the lines of this:
I don't know what's going on and there's nothing I could do
This has a multitude of solutions. Some of them are tough pills to swallow. Some of them requires an adjustment of how information is conveyed
. Some require slowing things way down. They all work, all with their own caveats. But you can't remove the problem entirely. It's not how video games work. It's like how you know it's safer to move while the enemy is reloading or charging or whatever.
Technically, you can make it so that it's theoretically always your time to shine regardless of what the opponent is doing. There are two games I'm aware of where this idea has been played with. A character named Baiken from Guilty Gear XX, and the Touhou games' Typhoon condition.
Nobody likes playing against Baiken. Typhoon is not a good time for anyone involved.
...and I can't be bothered
We're finally here. A complaint that actually means what it means. And it's 100%, completely, unarguably, fair. This a common complaint of fans from different series/subgenres too. There are games I love that have really long combos and I still have a limit. It's actually so common that it's been very consistently addressed:
Games with short combos exist. Games with almost no
combos exist. We can go a step further: there are specific types of characters common to the genre that don't really do combos. There's usually at least one of them in most games. If you're okay with seeing them but not doing them, that's an option too.
One sidenote. The length of combos make a large difference in how games are played at a very fundamental level, beyond the combos themselves. Like everything else mentioned so far, short combos or long combos aren't better than the other. They simply offer different experiences. The problem is being shoehorned into a specific experience were one implemented genre-wide.
...and do too much damage
A bit distinct from the other concerns. It's suggesting almost
a touch of death
, but not quite. Fighting games do
have an informal equivalent to time-to-kill from FPS that is measured in how many "touches" until you lose a round but that's a little too nuanced and tangential to get into for this.
Combos that do a lot of damage exist. This is true. There are lots of long combos. Also true. Here's one for example
. It's a 30 second combo, where 17 seconds of it involves the P1 pushing buttons and then 13 seconds of watching a cinematic. You're probably not having a good time if you're on the receiving side of this.
There are some very, very important caveats. One, this particular game has an above average combo length in the first place. Two, that combo is an especially egregious example even in that game. Three, that combo is a culmination of a multitude of mistakes that required being hit by a very specific attack from P1 while P2 tried to attack, when P1 has at least 80% super meter, while P1 has nigh-max character-specific resources, while P2 is backed into a corner, while P1 has won a minigame. And it barely does enough to do 65% of a life bar. It's pretty rare for a combo this damaging to happen in most games. In some games, the opportunity can only occur once a match.
There's also the cinematic we need to talk about. Personally, I believe that the cinematic could be shorter. Especially in games where cinematic stuff happens all the time such as in Guilty Gear Strive or Tekken 7. One really big problem though:
Cinematics push copies. A very significant portion of a fighting game's marketing strategy is to showcase them because most people see something cool and think it's exciting. Think about how every time a new Mortal Kombat or Injustice comes out, gaming social media is flooded with supers and fatalities for a while. It just works. It also unfortunately has a very real effect on your personal experience when you're playing a game for >10 cumulative hours.
Games that try to make it obvious you didn't get the right answer: Guilty Gear Strive, Street Fighter 5, Skullgirls
Games with short combos: Fantasy Strike, Granblue Versus, Samurai Shodown
Games where combos don't exist: Divekick
Games that try to make it easy to do combos: Every fighting game released after 2014
There are too many buttons and it's too hard to keep track of
A pretty specific complaint that pops up time to time. And again, it's fair. Low button games do
exist and actually in fact are more frequent than high button games, but that's besides the point. Let's address the primary purposes of more buttons:
- More actions/options can be mapped
- Pressing multiple buttons can be fun
- Actions are more clearly delineated
I'll focus on the final point since I think the first two are self-evident. There are ways to make low-button games have the same amount of actions as high-button games. The problem is that no matter how you do it, the chances of input errors get increased. A clear delineation of input options makes being in control a lot more accessible. Which is a pretty big thing in this genre.
With a low button game, there are two choices: maintain a comparable amount of actions compared to higher buttons and accept we'll get more input errors, or accept that we'll have fundamentally less actions.
Games with two buttons: Smash, Divekick
Games with three buttons: Fantasy Strike, Granblue Versus, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Soul Calibur
Games with four buttons: Touhou IaMP, Touhou Hisoutensoku, Persona 4 Arena, Melty Blood, Under Night, Samurai Shodown, Blazblue, Dragonball Fighterz, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, etc
Combos have no bearing on strategy
Another complaint about combos, but a lot more directed. It's a complicated concern, as misguided as it may be, isn't without reason. Doing combos at some point can
feel dialed in, and getting comboed is the equivalent of getting stunned in other video games. Except it can happen multiple times in about 30 seconds, which is frustrating to a lot of people.
A previous section already covered the idea of low-combo or comboless games, so I won't repeat myself on that front. I'll instead try to make a case for combos and why they shouldn't be removed entirely.
...because it is an exercise in rote memorization
This sort of complaint comes up a lot from very specific crowds. Primarily people who have experience in platform fighters like Smash or people who are very interested in the other aspects of fighting games but specifically dismiss combos.
I'll get the elephant in the room out of the way first: what's wrong with rote memorization? There are entire genres of games pretty much dedicated to tickling that part of the brain. If you were there for the 2000's rock band/guitar hero boom, you probably took part of it too. There are competitive rote memorization games. Jeopardy has been a worldwide phenomenon for decades. There's nothing wrong with it, and it's okay to acknowledge they're not your thing. Games that deemphasize combos exist.
Okay, there's still another reason why this complaint exists. People hate losing agency when playing video games and being comboed definitely takes it away. A very common example is brought up as a solution: Smash's Directional Influence
. While a player's typical agency is gone, they do gain a new form and a new "game" forms between both players with it.
DI is pretty cool, and can be fun. Not everyone likes it. Some fighting games try to add agency in their own way through a combo breaking mechanic called Burst
. Killer Instinct is famous for having a very specific way of handling combos through their combo breaker
mechanic. Not everyone likes these either. There are likely other ways that agency can be added that haven't been done yet. And not everyone will like them. And that's okay.
Now, let me try to sell you on the idea that losing agency while being comboed is okay. Fighting games can be a lot
. Some of them relish in being a lot
. They can be overwhelming to absorb everything that's going on. Not to mention the whole part where you're trying to outwit the opponent.
You need time to breathe and get your bearings back in order. And that's exactly the window that being comboed provides. You can take a mental step back and look at what's going on. How many more times can you get hit and still survive? What is everyone's resources at? Are you winning that weird tug of war minigame? What has the opponent been doing? What's the chances they're going to do the same thing when they're done with the combo? Do you have a response to that thing?
Breathers are really important. People aren't built for full-throttle thinking and action for long stretches. Video games have realized this decades ago. It's why even the most spastic, twitchy of monsters in Monster Hunter will stop in place and roar. Why bullet hell games constantly swap between hyper dense, rapid patterns and patterns where you can kinda veg out for a moment. Why plenty of Zelda/Mario bosses will make you do some slow paced jump roping before they expose their weakpoint again.
This all also applies for the person performing the combo provided
that they are at total comfort with the whole sequence. It won't always be the case, but it's worth mening.
...because nobody drops them so why not cut out the middleman?
A very modern take due to the prevalence of accessible high level footage, the massive
growth of fighting games overall, and due to evangelical efforts for the genre. Not to mention, the vast majority of games these days have made it very easy to do very simple combos that everyone has access to and is practical at all levels. From more lenient input buffers
, to simplified and standardized motion inputs, to autocombos
, and an overall philosophical change on how games address damage, it can feel like having to perform combos is unnecessary work.
But people still fail combos. Even players at the highest level when there are zero stakes. The simple increased likelihood that one can fail doing a combo affects their decision-making. If they fail
, the opponent can completely turn the tables. It creates tension. It opens up wiggle-room for the defender. It gives people hope. Allow me to paint a picture:
Both players are at low health and will die in about 1.5 "average" combos. P1 gets hit first, and is getting comboed. P2 has two choices: they can do their standard combo that has little chance of failing and place their bets on winning the next interaction after the combo ends. Or they can do their more damaging combo that should
kill, but if they drop it (or even if the combo is carried to completion), P2 will be significantly disadvantaged for the next interaction. Or in some cases, even potentially the rest of the round. What do they do? What should they place their chips on?
This is such a popular aspect that certain content creators take this whole concept to its logical extreme and make a game show out of it.
Fighting games need no strategy beyond button mashing and combos
This opinion has largely died out in the past decade among the more dedicated video game communities, but it does still persist. Especially among the mainstream crowd.
Ignoring everything that has already been mentioned in the post so far, let's look at this clip
. A very typical and basic interaction in the genre. It may be a little reiterative to what I've already said, but here's a twelve page
explanation breaking it all down.
...because everyone picks the most optimal solution
This is a particularly strange complaint. It kind of arbitrarily ignores the fact that fighting games are primarily a real-time genre. Which fundamentally means that fighting games have imperfect information
. Ignoring the real time aspect and 4head game theory stuff that most people — including myself — don't actually understand aside, fighting games at their core are sort of like weighted rock paper scissors.
A single dominant strategy doesn't exist, because every strategy
loses to something
. You know what always picking the most logical strategy in any given situation makes you?
I don't have the reaction time for them
This is a really fun complaint, because addressing it actively involves understanding what reaction times are
. Most people will not want to be convinced that their use of it has been wrong their entire lives.
What is commonly understood as reaction time is as follow: how quickly one is able to respond to stimuli. Simple enough. The thing is that this is not actually how most people respond to things except as a very last resort.
There's an excerpt
I like to share. It's not at all a formal study and it's pretty anecdotal. You don't have to read through it all, but I do recommend it. This
is the relevant part though. The rest of the excerpt then explains how people are hitting something that is physically unreactable with the human body: because they're reacting to something else long, long, looong before the ball goes airborne.
This is what good reaction times really are. People recognizing a situation long before it happens, and reacting accordingly by adjusting their rhythm
. Trying to rely on pure stimuli to react is ignoring the entirety of a countdown and only responding to the "Go!" There's a reason why basically every track event starts with a countdown through the words "On your marks".
This is actually such an age old argument that someone made a flash game
to make a point back in 2011. You can get it going through an emulator
if you'd like, but that's optional. I'll be explaining under the assumption you haven't touched it at all.
The two moves that you are meant to block here is the weird flip kick
and the moon
. There's something really important to note here: both moves take about 256/288ms (moon/flip) before they can actually hurt you. On a technical level, they land squarely within the average human reaction time
Millia Blocker is really fucking hard. Most fighting game players can't actually react in time. But in the actual game these moves are from, blocking them isn't that big of a deal in most situations. You only ever really see these two moves in very specific situations that often occur a mile away. It ends up becoming a fairly binary "are they gonna use them or not" sort of situation where you're already blocking with whatever you decided to go with, sort of like pre-firing,
or by blocking both
. Defending against them is so little of a deal these days that more experienced players tend to opt for more complicated options instead.
...because I'm too old
When I first started playing fighting games ten years ago, the top players were in their mid-thirties. Most of them are still
top players in their forties and the young rising stars of the time are now in their thirties and top players as well. Something like 40% of the current top 100 tennis players are over thirty. Baseball and soccer both have very significant 30+ year old representation at the highest levels. 20% of the NBA is comprised of dudes in their thirties.
You can go out to your closest metropolitan community park or gym where random people meet up for a game of ball once a week. You're probably going to find an older person playing and keeping up with the rest of them, if the group isn't primarily older in the first place. And they'll steamroll the average high school senior who only play sports for gym class. They could probably keep up with the average HS sports club too.
Why? It's not that they're physically built different. It's because they decided to continue giving a damn about a game of ball in their older age. It's a conscious decision they've made to balance ball on top of whatever responsibilities they already have. This whole reaction time business ultimately boils down to a lack of experience
, not actual reaction times.
...because too much is going on
It gets easier. If you decide to stick with it that is. When you're brand new to something, you're at a total sensory and information overload. It's difficult to parse through all that and you get decision paralysis, but it gets easier. This is known as cleaning up your mental stack
. Or more concisely, turning the unfamiliar into familiar, into routine.
If you have a driver's license, remember when you first learned how to drive. There are 2-3 pedals for some reason, you need to keep track of what's behind you and to your sides, what's up ahead, the traffic laws, how the fuck a steering wheel works, etc. Forget trying to have a conversation or turning on the AC, you're way too focused on trying to not to crash the car. But eventually you get used to it all and now you do something very complex almost automatically. Some people are so
used to it that they think texting during it all is no big deal. Please don't text and drive.
I don't like how you have to take out your credit card to unlock characters instead of unlocking them like you used to
This is a really interesting complaint born from yet another misunderstanding. In the overall microtransaction discourse
, this can be valid regarding things like cosmetics. The good ol' SFxT DLC fiasco during the early days of DLC really does not help things either. But I'm going to spell it out in absolutely no uncertain terms:
You always had to pay money to get new characters in fighting games. The "unlockable" characters were not new characters, they were always part of the base roster.
When most people look back on history, they look at the character roster a game ends with and compare it to a post-DLC era roster and note the differences. But it's missing such a fundamental detail that is always conveniently forgotten in these complaints: fighting games used to have an insane
amount of rereleases. Consider the age ol' meme of Super Street Fighter 2 Super Championship Turbo Edition.
Ever considered why that was? It's because fighting games were console ports of arcade games, where
updating the game was relatively "trivial" on the arcade's end. Consoles? Consoles couldn't patch games until the 360/PS3 era. Which is around the time DLC started being a thing outside of PC games. And do you know what one of the main selling points of new patches/editions were? New characters. Compare Street Fighter 2's original roster of eight
eventually growing up to a total of 16 in its final version. And you had to fork over money to buy the same game again to get those new characters.
To obfuscate things even further, each franchise had their own nomenclature to refer to patch versions. Street Fighter did "editions", reserving new numbers for actually brand new games (ala Alpha/Zero and 3). Tekken just increased the number. King of Fighters used the year they came out. Both franchises didn't properly distinguish whether it was a brand new game or a new patch either.
Anyway, it's 2023 now. Companies usually don't sell patches for $60-70 a pop anymore. Balance updates are entirely free these days with characters being the only things you have to purchase.
Fighting games are too expensive to get all the characters
Yup. Fighting games don't exactly have a better monetization method yet either, so we're kinda stuck with it.
In practice, it surprisingly doesn't matter that much. Even with the entire roster available, the vast majority of players don't actually play more than 2-3 characters. For most games, learning new characters can be really difficult for people. A new character can feel like playing a different version of the game in of itself. Combined with the fact that most people have struggle readjusting muscle memory, a lot of people put very little effort in actually playing new characters.
Alright so learning them is hard, but surely people need to study new characters because matchups
are important, right? They totally are. But most people don't actually bother since the community is far more casual than people outside realize. That said, most people do agree that we should be able to try out characters for free. And hopefully that becomes standard in the genre. In any case, it sucks. But for most people, it's an inconvenience and not a money sink.
Fighting games lack progression
My personal disdain towards progression systems and love for abstract improvement aside, it's true. Fighting games lack engaging progression systems that are popular amongst multiplayer games. And I do believe that a well-made progression system would actually do wonders to resolve a lot of the misunderstandings found in this post. But forget well-made, most fighting games don't have any
Until then, if your desire to play multiplayer games rely on concrete and highly measurable goals, fighting games are going to be a hard pass for a long while.
I’m confused? I’m on an iPhone and never had this happend when trying to open the app before
With the MLB having the most unique draft process of the four major sports, as even the top-tier prospects take years to make their MLB debuts, which are some of the best strategies for franchises to approach the draft?
In the NFL and the NBA most first-round prospect are first-day-impact guys on the teams that pick them. In the NHL at least some of the elite draftees make the league right off the draft.
But in the MLB, with many years (in most cases) between the draft and the pro debuts in the Majors, how do franchises opt to go with their picks?
Is picking the best player available an optimal strategy and the one with the best odds of turning into a win down the road? Do development get too random to approach drafting that way, instead filling the minors and the gaps in the different teams? Also related to the minors, as far as I know, each franchise has a ton of minors teams at multiple levels, so do they have all of those possible holes into consideration when drafting (like, a top-tier prospect to fill a gap at AAA, a lesser known one for a Single-A team, etc...)?
Or... is the MLB draft just an absolute lottery, in which nobody knows a thing about how it will end up shaping a few years down the road?