Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

PASBR Patch 1.12 Balance Changes

April 8th, 2014 42 comments

As some of you may have heard, i’ve been working on a PASBR balance patch with the extremely talented crew at Santa Monica Studio. In implementing these changes and prioritizing bugs to fix, we incorporated as much of the community’s feedback as possible.

Hopefully the end result is a more fun and balanced experience for the entire roster. Without further ado, here is the complete changelist for v1.12 of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale!

    General Changes
• Isaac’s alternate “Engineering R.I.G.” costume and Zeus’ alternate “Young Zeus” costume have been unlocked.
• Every character’s throw attempts have been standardized to 9 startup frames, 3 active frames, and 18 recovery frames, with the exception of Isaac, Kat, and Ratchet.
• The minimum effective range of throws has been increased to 1 meter (previously 0.75m) for all characters except Parappa, Sackboy, and Toro.
• In online matches, jumping out of an opponent’s throw attempt is now resolved through the throw clash system.
• Every character’s air dodge has been standardized to 27 invincible frames followed by 9 vulnerable frames (previously 29 invincible plus 7 vulnerable).
• Every character’s directional rolls have been standardized to 18 invincible frames followed by 16 vulnerable frames, with the exception of Fat Princess, Spike, and Zeus.
• Characters can no longer perform actions for 3 frames after landing from air idle.
• Characters can no longer double jump during down tech.
• Landing during down tech or down tech canceled into air dodge now triggers the same recovery as landing during an attack.
• Getting hit in the air no longer renews a character’s double jump ability.
• All timed transformation Level 2 Supers can now be ended manually by pressing L2.
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Categories: Game Design, Strategy Tags:

PASBR Patch 1.10 Balance Changes

March 19th, 2013 438 comments

Version 1.10 of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale represents a comprehensive tuning patch that affects every character on the roster. Our goal was to identify the biggest imbalances in the game and carefully address them without diluting any fighter’s intended combat persona.

The update went live this afternoon, alongside the release of DLC characters Zeus and Isaac and the new Graveyard level. Detailed patch notes have already been posted online earlier in the week. I’m mirroring the complete verified list here, because frankly i’m proud of these changes and i hope the fighting game community embraces them.

    General Changes
• AP burst victims in online matches no longer erroneously receive the 30 AP bonus.
• Blocking another attack while in block stun reaction no longer zeroes out X velocity.
• Characters can no longer block or dodge for 5 frames after landing during an air attack.
• Characters can not perform supers until frame 12 after landing during an air attack.
• Characters now remain grounded for the first 10 frames of jumping (previously 9 for Kat, Ratchet, Sackboy, Sly Cooper, and Spike).

    Big Daddy
• Air F+Triangle has 11 additional frames of startup.
• Air D+Square now gains 20 AP (previously 10), and victim’s reaction is reduced by 3 frames.
• Level 1 Super now causes an initial stagger reaction on frame 36.
• Level 2 Super’s Triangle attacks are sped up.
• Level 3 Super attacks become active 3 frames sooner and recover 6 frames earlier.
• Level 3 Super attack volumes have been adjusted to be more centered around Big Daddy.
• Level 3 Super victims swim faster and no longer get stuck upon entering Infinite Avoidance.

    Cole MacGrath
F+Square -> Square hit volume enlarged to hit small characters more consistently.
• Neutral Triangle firing rate has been sped up by 4 frames (moved to its recovery instead).
• Ground neutral Circle recovery has been reduced to 20 frames (previously 28).
• Level 3 Super tornado movement speed has been increased.

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Categories: Game Design, Strategy Tags:

Another Don’t Jump Article

August 18th, 2012 57 comments

If you’ve ever asked someone for Street Fighter advice before, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Don’t jump.” It might be the oldest adage coined by the fighting game community.

Jumping feels good and it can lead to big combos, so beginners love to jump whenever they need to make a comeback or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Naturally this becomes a lazy bad habit, which is incredibly difficult for intermediate players to unlearn.

SF4 Fei Long's EX Shienkyaku vs M.Bison's j.HKIn tactical terms, jumping is a risky gamble because you surrender the ability to block and the ability to control your movement for around 45 frames. Your opponent can predict exactly where you’re going to descend, with plenty of time to react with suitable anti-air – unless they’re in the middle of a 40-frame attack when you jump.

In other words, the direct counter to jumping is doing nothing (or blocking or doing something fast like whiffing a jab) at the same moment as an opponent jumps. Doing nothing is usually very safe and actually counters a wide range of attacks – so experts do nothing often, which means jumping at them is frequently a bad idea.

In fact as players improve, they spend less time attacking continuously and more time looking for things to punish on reaction. Since jumping mainly serves as an easy counter to heavy attacks, it works great at beginner levels and becomes progressively weaker at higher levels.

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Endgame Strategy

November 5th, 2011 11 comments

Recently i got a chance to play Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition and (randomly) Street Fighter Alpha 3 with Ed Ma. This dude got 3rd place in SF4 at Evo2k9, so it’s no surprise that he beat me up pretty bad. I think he won something like 80% of our matches.

It seemed like all of our matches were close though. I didn’t feel like i was getting nervous toward the end either. I wasn’t dropping any more combos near the end of rounds than i was at the beginning, which made the outcome even more confusing.

That got me thinking about what he has that i don’t – and i believe it’s an “endgame.”

Lately people have been talking a lot about how LeBron James is lacking Kobe Bryant’s killer instinct. What does that really mean? Does LeBron enjoy losing more than Kobe does? I don’t think that’s the case at all. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that “killer instinct” in competitive games is an attitude. Unless we’re talking about breaking the rules, i don’t see how that can translate into success when you’re comparing two world-class athletes. Nobody gets that good without motivation, dedication, and a desire to win.

So then, how is Kobe able to step up at the end of the game whereas LeBron seems to shrink down? My answer is that “killer instinct” is a mindset and a skill, not an attitude.

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Interactive Tutorial Mode Design Proposal

February 16th, 2011 29 comments

For newcomers to the genre, learning how to play fighting games involves a ton of failure and very little guidance or encouragement. Traditionally, every version of Street Fighter has presupposed a commitment from the player to learn the game at any cost. In all these years, fighting games have yet to make a serious effort to meet new players halfway.

SSF2 Guile normal far standing attacksCompared to a first-person shooter like Counter-Strike, there’s almost nothing intuitive about Street Fighter at first glance. What’s the strongest attack? What’s the fastest move? How do you block throws? How do fireballs work? How is super meter used? What does offensive crouch do?

How do you know when to use which button? There’s no clear-cut answer to that question. Their names don’t mean anything! Guile’s standing roundhouse kick serves a completely different purpose in SSF2 than the same exact button for Bison. Guile’s far s.HK is reactionary anti-air defense, whereas Bison’s far s.HK is an offensive mid-range ground poke.

Sadly, new players aren’t even told that the button layout isn’t meant to be organized by purpose or usefulness. At the very least, they deserve to be shown how to sort attacks into basic functional categories: pokes, anti-airs, knockdowns, overheads, reversals, etc.

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Categories: Game Design, Strategy Tags: