Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Dr. Hates, Mar 19, 2012.

By Dr. Hates on Mar 19, 2012 at 9:27 PM
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    Dr. Hates Jerk.

    I came across Namco’s official patch notes while sorting through the “incoming” pile here at the Hate Speech News Desk, so this week I’m setting aside my regularly scheduled diatribe in favor of the hot-button issue. Of course, this may also be my last column ever, too. Like many of you, I took one look at the information in the patch notes and realized that life is no longer worth living.

    My perfect, beautiful, wonderful game—one about which I’ve never complained, ever—is now irreparably ruined and soiled. As such, my plan for the day is simple: post this article, make arrangements for bequeathing my cherished collections of celebrity bobbleheads and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and then driving my car off of the Golden Gate Bridge so I can go out like a boss.

    Actually, wait a second, everybody! THIS JUST IN: as it turns out, losing your mind over this patch actually isn’t the brilliant plan it seems to be. I guess it’s just all in how you choose to read it . . .

    Dealing With Game Updates (And Other Indescribable Traumas)

    In On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlines five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. We’re all fancy-ass gamers, though, with high-impact, fast paced lifestyles, which means we don’t have time for all that. In its place, I offer a three-step model. It’s fast, it’s sleek, and it’s even a little stylish. We’re talking about the Ferrari of coping mechanisms here, people, so I implore you to at least take it for a test drive.

    To help make things easier, I'll be providing you with some soothing images, too.

    Step 1: Ditch Your Preconceptions

    It’s easy to lose track of the fact that fighting games hinge entirely upon relative strengths and weaknesses, but it’s true. Nothing is strong or weak in a vacuum. What do you call a character with an i3 unblockable mid that does 99% life in a game where every other character has that same move, but it insta-kills? Unplayable trash. Likewise, it’s easy to look at individual changes, for good or ill, and jump to all manner of erroneous conclusions. The upcoming patch isn’t just nerfing or buffing your favorite move or your favorite character; it’s changing the entire game ecosystem in literally hundreds of tiny ways. Bearing that in mind, it’s important to take precautions against fixating on one or two things to the exclusion of everything else when no single element is as important as the changes in their totality.

    Step 2: Reserve Judgment

    This ought to be obvious, but then again, the Internet ought to facilitate intelligent, reasoned debate instead of just gay jokes and increasingly baroque porn. In any case, it’s wholly unreasonable for anyone to get too high or too low without spending a great deal of time digging deeply into these changes, which is patently impossible before they’ve even been patched into the game. Think for a moment about how much the hive-mind’s opinion has shifted in less than two months. Consider the moving targets that have been tier placements for characters like Viola, Pyrrha Omega, Alpha Patroklos, Nightmare, Astaroth, Maxi, and so on. Games take time to mature. Matchups evolve, nuances arise, and things ultimately shift in effectiveness as we continue refining our gameplay and learning new things. Everyone therefore needs to step back, put your dismay in check, and get back to the business of making things as hard as possible for the other guy. More to the point, most people aren’t playing at a level which really allows for them to make well-reasoned, objective assessments of balance issues. Even the best of us are still deep in the research process. Hell, even if you’re in contention to win every major you enter, it’s still smartest not to blame losses on your character.

    Here, have a scented candle. They're so relaxing!

    Step 3: Consider the Big Picture

    More important than any single balance change, this update signals a number of larger positive elements about which we should be getting excited. First of all, fuzzy guard, step guard, and backdash canceling are going to be out (by the way, shout outs to the fervent cadre of mouth breathers who insisted that step guard was an intentional feature), which is great news. These were glitches that had the potential to seriously undermine high-level play, and it’s good to see that Namco recognized them as such and took care of business. In fact, all of the system changes look pretty darn good. Second, Namco released a comprehensive list of patch notes, which is relatively unusual for 3D games. This kind of transparency is a very good thing for us not only because it’ll save us a lot of headaches, but because it indicates, once again, a willingness to interface with the community. Lastly, the fact that they’re patching at all is a good thing. Everything thus far points to Namco’s long-term commitment to improving gameplay balance, so it strikes me as exceedingly foolish to think that this patch will be the only revision we’ll see. Everyone needs to keep playing, keep learning, and so on. If your character was unduly hit, have a little faith that it’ll be addressed somewhere down the road rather than going completely nuclear and spamming the boards with your cries of injustice (what would Pat say about that, anyway?). The confluence of an invested dev team and living in an age of downloadable updates means that SCV is a living, changing thing. It’s imperative that we remain open-minded toward balance revisions rather than unceremoniously shitting in the laps of people who are trying to make our game better.

    Zen rock gardens are always nice when it's time to de-stress.

    So there you have it. Embrace those three steps of grief management and see if you don’t come away feeling a little better. We still have the luxury of playing backseat designer all we want, but it’s best to do it in a way that won’t put anybody at risk for bursting blood vessels. But wait, what’s that? You say it’s still not good enough? You say that game companies should make things better solely through buffs and never with nerfs? I am so, so glad you mentioned that . . .

    Remember that strength and weakness are relative values contingent upon the overall game ecosystem, as mentioned above. While issues relating to raw damage output could potentially be solved exclusively with buffs, those are hardly the whole story. Sometimes it’s not necessarily a move’s damage which makes it problematic, but instead its properties, such as guard meter damage, pushback, combo-ability, counterhit properties, and so on. In the case of a move like Leixia’s WS B BE, for example, buffing the rest of the cast does nothing to change the fact that that move is really, really nasty. Yes, you could potentially give every character an option which would lessen that move’s impact or stuff it entirely , but then you end up introducing a great many more variables into an equation already so complex it can’t be adequately solved. Moreover, even if designers weren’t committed to handling counters on a move by move basis and thus decided to simply dole out more borderline-unfair stuff which could easily break countless more matchups, would anyone be any happier for it? It’s far more efficient and reasonable to remove a little bit of the offending move’s bite, which constitutes a de-facto buff for the entire cast.

    Woops! I think my fingers slipped and I ended up searching for "mindless, gut-wrenching terror." Honest typo.

    All right, enough of my soapbox for today. Once more, just calm down, be reasonable, and be ruthless. So they changed your character? Big deal. That just means you have to find an even cheaper way to mash people’s heads in.


    Take a deep breath.

    Oh, and if you’re actually excited about any of the upcoming revisions, let me know.

    Gatsu, Sp1d3r, AzyG4Lyfe and 28 others like this.


Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Dr. Hates, Mar 19, 2012.

    1. ghost333
      I guess i am onw of the very few that liked the patch?|
      and to think that i play natsu....
    2. ultimateninja
    3. ultimateninja
      By the way I know patching take's time and effort but look what it's done for Virtua Fighter and Blazeblu.
    4. Kyo-1
      We are not facing "some minor changes on some characters", we are facing to a patch which UMBALANCE the game to the other dish. If Namco, instead of modify ALL characters aspects, only modified the low/mid tiers to make them high, the game, then, the game surely will be correctly balanced. But modifying both high and lows, the only thing they did was move the weight of the tier list to the other dish.
    5. Malice
      UMBALANCE? Seriously?

      Plus how can Namco change only the low/mid tiers when there's no tier list and the game hasn't been out long enough to make one? The game needs more time to mature and for people to learn matchups.
    6. kAb
      because U and I arent right next to each other on the keyboard right? It also doesnt sound like english is his first language.
    7. Malice
      What I am really criticizing is the concept of the game being imbalanced after a week from this patch, when everyone's idea of balance is subjective, and when there's no tier list.

      There's some changes that I don't like, but this game isn't SC4 where half of the cast couldn't be used competitively.
      LP likes this.
    8. Kyo-1

      i found a lot of tier list based on the official SC5 guide.

      Anyway, as i stated before: is a madness (no, SPARTA!!!!. XD) change ALL the chars, instead of change only the low tiers, is a very bad thing: IMO, the best way to balance a game is buffing lows, no nefering highs.

      and i do not agree with you: now, this is like SC4, Maxi, Leixia, etc, can not be use anymore at competitive level due damage reduction, decreased moves' frames, etc. PLUS the buffs suffered by Viola (damage increased and almost undodgeable orb's setups) for example
    9. Malice
      You have to take that tier list in the SCV guide with a grain of salt because it was based on an unpatched version of the game and determined by people whose time with the game was limited. Tier lists need months if not years to develop.

      But the game isn't unbalanced because one character got buffed and two characters got nerfed. What about the rest of the characters on the roster?
    10. Kyo-1
      i was refering to all them even when i wrote only 3 of them. ^^U.

      But, my point is if they nerf some characters (even a bit) but buff the rest of them instead of nerf/buff some of them, the only thing they will get is move the weight between characters instead of balancing them. That is was i were criticising. ^^U.
    11. Slidikins

      Now, I agree that some buffs do not seem warranted at all but you're missing the whole point of Hates' message! So let me reiterate for him...

      It's way too early to say that anyone is not tournament viable. People shunned Viola as low tier early on but she did solid in competition. We all wanted a damage buff at first but by the time the patch came around we had already found ways to squeeze out a respectable amount.

      The 66B buff is awesome, but is she broken or overpowered? No. Her weak points are still her weak points, her setups are not more unavoidable than before... they just come with more potential. Learn the matchup, exploit her weaknesses and focus on what your character can do instead of what he can't do anymore.
    12. Kyo-1
      why don't we talk about the buffing about orb's "tracking" system? it is harder than before to dodge due it "wilde" range, so if the orb catchs you in CH = free stun/ground combo...

      In other hand (talking about game sys fixes): the correction of the fuzzy guard was lame: now is as hard as a pain in the (piiiiii) to jump lows after a blocked hit as, for example, Slim...er.. Asta's 1AA because the character is nailed to the ground when you do "7_8_9+G" for few frames, and, if you jump hitting, you can't punish him propperly. They should write again it to make easier jump lows after a blocked hit (IMO). So, again, some characters will be rised due this as others will be lowered for the same.

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