Even for a Stop Having Fun Guy, DEAR GOD.

http://forums.warsworldnews.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13109

The guy thinks that a murdered guy deserves to be sung about how his being murdered is his fault. Which even if it is doesn't make the insults to his death right. Why is he making these insults? Because a news article linked to his YT channel, he shut it down because he didn't want employers asking why he's linked to a "murderous" game. Because it's totally impossible to make it clear to any halfway reasonable employer that they shouldn't worry, the guy did NOTHING that could have contributed to the murder.

And people like WaddlerD refuse to care? What the Link? (Blame TwitchTV for that, by the way...)

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Kid Icarus Uprising's balance fails

I had hoped that KIU would prove to be balanced, GDC 2012 even raised my hopes because I could even fight back using a club. But as it turns out, there are too many problems, such that it's a necessity to ban WEAPON TYPES just to have a functioning metagame that won't suffer a bad sense of variety.

What could have happened? Let's go into review:

Control issues

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about the cramp issues I hear about from holding the 3DS with one hand. I'm actually a lefty, but I'm not really complaining here. However, I have OTHER issues with the controls. Namely the freaking power management. If you have more than 3 powers available, you have to either slide the power palette, or tap the power you want. Here's the thing: this method is incredibly dumb. Sometimes when I try to trigger a power, it simply isn't showing. When it is, I sometimes either tap the wrong power by accident or simply slide and either tap the wrong power as a result or trigger nothing. This can cost me precious momentum just because apparently I didn't have the dexterity to handle the freaking 3DS. But let's see.

*Kid Icarus Uprising, 3DS - You can do only 4 things at a time. You can use the L button function, typically fire; move with the control stick OR use the D-Pad function; use the touch screen to aim OR use powers; and maybe the R button for its own function. And yes, I tried remapping controls, anything I can think of still requires too much dexterity. Even using the R button is already a pain.

*Battalion Wars, GameCube or Wii - You can do 5 things at a time. In BW1, L button for locking onto an enemy; Control Stick for mobility; C-Stick to change the highlighted unit type; A/B for combat maneuvers; and X/Y for ordering troops. BW2, Control Stick for mobility; Z for locking on; B for firing; D-Pad or A button for troop management; Wiichuck for combat rolls; and Wiimote for aiming.

Battalion Wars 1 and 2 have better controls, clearly. While you can't remap them, you don't need to, because they're intuitive enough as a result of being on the GCN/Wii. BW1's has issues, but they didn't stop me from all the Perfect S Ranks that you'd see on my LP. BW2 plain mocks both BW1 and KIU for controls, the Wiichucks giving more for the left hand to do--up to 4 things too, all can be done at the same time without ridiculous effort.

Oh, and guess what? BW1 and BW2 show up to 6 available unit types at a time without trouble. It's not stupidly hard to pick the one you want.

Kid Icarus Uprising has NO excuse for making sure that 8 powers could be shown at a time. Even 6 would have been a vast improvement, as long as having a surplus wouldn't be harshly punished with counterintuitive control issues.

Messed up punishment for using higher Value weapons

The Value system is designed like this: the stronger your weapon, the higher the Value, but you don't want Value too high if you are worried about being KOed. This would be to deter n00bs from abusing high Value weapons, because players will just get annoyed with them for getting the TLG destroyed.

It doesn't work in practice. Everybody flocks to the 300 Value weapons for one reason or another. If you're using anything below 250, you're just guaranteed to be a walking target unless the weapon is ridiculously efficient. And being KOed reduces the TLG by the EXACT VALUE OF YOUR TEAM LIFE GAUGE. But you're only KOed if you lose all your health. This applies for the opponent too, and they're going to be hiding behind all those traits. If you can't break through because your weapon is sub-optimal, you're simply going to lose. This only encourages n00bs, who think they're hot stuff to begin with such that they'll rush everything they can like the idiots they are, to use the high value weapons. And the actually competent players can't respond by using lower Value weapons because they'll just get pwned too. So much for rewarding actual skill.

(Dark) Pit Slippery Slope

Let's face it: if one team's Pit comes out earlier by even a halfway considerable amount, it has as good as lost. Said Pit gets hunted down easily, and against all the high value weapon abusers, he/she is a walking target. Picking off opponents won't even work because the opposing team can just as easily group to mock that, and they WILL group because they only have to kill said Pit to win. (Dark) Pit doesn't even lose much health whenever a teammate is killed.

The only real way to combat this is to play defense, using defensive powers if you have them. At that point, it just becomes a battle of attrition. You will ultimately lose said battle because the opposing Pit won't come out soon enough. It's slippery slope with no suitable way to stop it.

1HK freakjobs

1 Hit Kills. These appeal to people because you kill the opponent, you win, and the 1HK is the quickest way to do so. But the inherent concept is so cheap in duels that a site about a different game saw fit to make a rule of no KOing the opponent when they're above a certain percentage of health to shut it out. When you have to make a freaking rule that can be abused, you know there's a problem with the concept. And yet the KIU programmers didn't think that people would just flock to the 1HK weapons.

For God's sake, 1HKing is only good in an army game, and even then requires caution. Even Game Boy Wars 3 remembers to be wary, having matchup 1HKs on Roads not be so loose, when the game actually bothers to balance around property defense. Anything that even gets 1HKed on a City tends to deserve it. Keep in mind that an army game at least gets a pass with 1HKs because a single unit loss isn't crippling unless it was some key unit that should already be protected well in the first place.

I could go on FOREVER about how 1HKing in KIU is bad, but needless to say, anybody who hides behind it is a COWARD. And as I've been called one not even without reason, take it as a sign that you just suck if you are doing so. I would work with defense, I'll admit, but at least that provides a better sense of tactics than all powerful offense ever will.

The Invincibility Trinity

I am referring to Brief Invincibility, Playing Dead, and Trade-Off. Any of these are overpowered on their own. But you can easily combine all 3 for a SICKENINGLY POWERFUL combination.

Brief Invincibility makes you invincible for only a few seconds. This doesn't seem to mean anything, until you realize how quickly people die. Somebody abuses this with a Glass Cannon weapon, you're going to have a VERY miserable time. Brief Invincibility should have been either a free escape power or a chokepoint breaker. Nothing more. No, instead, you retain attack power and watch the opponent be helpless against you except by doing evades that ultimately get punished.

Playing Dead is thankfully an immobile defense, though the abuser can move and stay under it for a few extra seconds instead of the ridiculous timeframe it has for the invincibility it provides. What makes it a problem, however, is that it provides lengthy invincibility in the first place. Sure it's called Playing Dead for a reason, but when you're attacking, YOU ARE CLEARLY NOT DEAD! Worse is when the abuser can use it as the freaking angel. If you kill somebody with Playing Dead and it turns them into the team's Pit, you have just given the opposing team 20 free seconds, quite possibly more if they have 2 charges. And the abuser can actually abuse this by intentionally forcing you to kill them just to retain ANY semblance of momentum.

Finally, Trade-Off. Good heavens, Trade-Off. When you use it, your health is reduced to 1 HP, but you get insane power boosts. Oh, and you get invincibility for the duration. It's a stupidly long 20 seconds, which is more than enough to munch a couple of players for free damage to the opposing team's TLG unless EVERYBODY is a freaking evasion freakjob, in which case, just play passive. People recommend to save it for Pit, simply to end the match quickly, but Pit inherently sucks. Even if he didn't, when you combine this with Playing Dead, you can not only survive aftermath easily, you can choose when to die so that you can intentionally become your team's Pit and then cause the opposing team to suffer having to deal with Playing Dead on the valid target.

The dumb thing about the invincibility powers is that in order to combat them or use them keeping countermeasures in mind, you have to be so passive that you couldn't get away with it in SUPER FAMICOM WARS. That is a cardinal sin of game balance. Sadly, it's not even the worst one Uprising commits, believe me. I'll get to that when I do. But the invincibility powers aren't bad for that reason bad alone. They're also bad because if you are relying on defensive power, YOU ARE A WALKING TARGET. No. Just no. That's two cardinal sins of game balance commited with one balance problem.

Statuses' bad handling

Now statuses have their place in a good game, but the problem is when they're executed poorly. And by God is it handled poorly.

Poison is useless. I don't need to explain why. Burning isn't considerably better.

Stone and Freeze, though, are worth my contempt. If you get hit by either, you are immobilized, and there is NOTHING you can do to shake off free attacks. Unless you can use Effect Recovery. Here's a problem already: having to devote power space to get rid of statuses before they give you an early demise, as the game will not let you simply overome them AT ALL. This alone earns Interference its ban, as an inexpensive support power for Freeze Attack, making Freeze hits an effective 1HK unconditionally. (Otherwise, Interference would be at most L1 as a simple stationary defense.)

Here's the funny thing: Effect Recovery is only 3 spaces for 3 uses. 3 spaces for effective immunity to statuses. What is this, Super Mario RPG? Why should there be an inexpensive equivalent of the Safety Ring? Why not just make the statuses plausible to fight off without giving the opponent a ridiculous momentum swing just because you didn't use particular powers?

Yes, that's right, punishing the player so much in multiplayer for not using particular powers is BAD GAME DESIGN.

Anti-melee fails

This brings me to anti-melee options. Now I do complain because my club and cannon power sets don't have many anti-melee options. But here's the annoying thing: I would have another anti-melee option if, oh right, I didn't need Effect Recovery to shut out statuses. It gets aggravating when having to deal with a pest with more net attack than me at melee range, since he'd be kicking my butt at my own strength and I'd rather have a way of dealing with that nonsense.

Unfortunately, KIU just doesn't provide enough options for that. If you're trapped in melee combat with somebody with a net attack advantage, you can't expect to knock them back, they're guaranteed to proc Super or Aries Armor. (Aries Armor provides better defensive power, by the way, so dumb.) While I am NOT supporting SSB's stupid unconditional flinching, the problem arises that you must have either a speed advantage, or a power that can let you escape, which typically comes at the cost of too much space on the power box to consider as just an emergency power, or is just too ineffective at ending a melee skirmish.

Arms have too much power

Ending melee skirmishes is hard enough, but arms by themselves have too much attack power. The arms' dash attack base damage outpaces the clubs': 64 to 60. This is already a problem because arms are considerably more mobile than clubs. Clubs still have better melee combo damage? Not a useful strength. Clubs having projectiles? They're trapping tools, and having clearly inferior melee defeats the point of trapping.

Of course, inevitably, I'd have to bring up the culprit of bringing this up: the Taurus Arm. It has a base dash attack damage value of about 87.6. Even the Hewdraw Club manages only 78. Does the Hewdraw Club beat the Taurus Arm in combo damage? Not by enough: 93.6 to Taurus's 86.8. It's a problem when an arm manages to be faster than the Magnus Club AND can easily outdo clubs in melee damage. This is just so wrong it's ridiculous.

Slip and Invisible Shot

Both of these make projectiles stupid strong. Both have problems. I will talk about each one individually.

First off, Slip Shot. This power IGNORES TERRAIN ALTOGETHER. It mocks a freaking basic tactic needed to combat projectiles. While the abuser is hiding behind mobility obstacles. If it needs to exist to mock people who get complacent with defilade, it STILL should provide a high attack power penalty, simply because terrain cover is NEEDED to deal with projectiles.

Invisible shots is also bad because the attacks are invisible and you can't tell if they're fired until it's too late to try dodging. It's particularly egregious with clubs, which have their projectiles balanced by being easier to dodge. Instead, big and strong hitboxes you can't even see result. What, players can't even think to use the shots to TRAP? Again, needs an attack power penalty.

Bad teammates

Bad teammates plague any game, but it gets aggravating when they gimp the actually good players SO BADLY. People think they should just rush and rush, which is why all the 1HK weapons exist in the first place. This is shallow logic. While being passive shouldn't be rewarded so well at all, being aggressive is incredibly dumb. Two people think they can take on three people ridiculously easily. They apparently haven't heard that net attack is an important factor for how easily 3 people can rip them to shreds. I myself favor defense and I'm potentially still target practice if I get mobbed. They will simply die in half a second if they try to bum rush.

Worse yet, Light VS Dark's inherent setup makes sure that if you don't have good teammates, tough luck, you better hope the opposing team doesn't have multiple vicious players. Every time the bad teammates freaking die, the TLG suffers. The value system makes it even worse, as the n00bs will even pick high value weapons since they think they'll pwn everything in their path, God forbid they actually *GASP* die. Newsflash, n00bs: I use freaking high defense clubs and cannons, I still use caution to avoid being kited for extended periods and whatnot. The game, unfortunately, doesn't think Value should be high enough to be worth caring about. And, of course, because they rush, I would have to skew my tactics in completely unfavorable ways. Which is an inherent problem because everybody flocks to the 1HK weapons as it is.

Oh, and guess who gets no or the fewest points? I do, even when I do such incredible damage that I only lose having the opposing team DEAD TO RIGHTS, just because the teammates are THAT HORRIBLE, and it's all because because I get no KOs. That's absolutely ridiculous. Now argue that I didn't plan around protecting my teammates? Why should I need to protect awful teammates who not only don't deserve it but make it pointless to even bother. I'm rewarded for not bothering anyway by me not dying, which means the TLG doesn't even suffer as a result. That's right: I'm rewarded for ABANDONING TEAMMATES! What the Link?

And yes, Battalion Wars 2's Co-Op has problems, but it's mainly the lack of emergency units for either player that I have issue with. However, at least in BW2 I can support my teammate with a good manual unit to prolong their survival. Not only can I survive easily with it, but if the manual unit is replaceable enough, dying doesn't punish me by any considerable amount.

Even without that comparison, you can see it's stupid.

Kid Icarus Uprising. You have disappointed me with your sense of balance.

(And there may be more I had forgotten. I'd have to check later.)

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Kid Icarus Uprising club/cannon play

Hi, guys. I thought I'd make a blog post about the recently released Kid Icarus Uprising. I will talk about the Mighty Glacier weapon types that are cannons and clubs. Staves, they're long range weapons, they wouldn't be a worry about being underpowered--if anything, overpowered is a possibility. Bear in mind that this will be about my experiences. And I don't claim to be the best player out there, but I can be sure I'm good enough to analyze the balance well.

Game Developer's Conference

While my first experience with the game was at Comic Con, it was limited to single player, so I got bothered by the shoddy controls. Kirby's Return to Dream Land definitely impressed me more, as did Skyward Sword to an extent. (Skyward Sword, I even beat Ghirahim, heh.)

Anyway, I heard about the Game Developer's Conference at the Moscone Center, and I decided to go there. I had hoped to find a way to get a job as a game balancer, preferably under Kuju Entertainment, the makers of Battalion Wars, but no luck in that regard. However, I did get involved in the Kid Icarus Uprising multiplayer. And as it turned out, despite the control issues still existing, it was a blast. When I first started, I went through the weapons a bit before seeing a Skyscraper Club with +1 Melee Defense. I chose that, as I'm a defense-minded player because it allows me to live through abuse and stay in the game, but it is beneficial to me for checking out game balance better since I can review tactics better, and what helped influence my decision was a weapon just before that seemed to have good stats otherwise but had a Status Resistance -2 mod that turned me off immediately.

At first, I did poorly, thinking my team was losing in the first match when the opponent's Pit was out because I had been KOed, us only winning that match by timeout decision, and us outright losing the second match. But I picked up soon enough, as I realized well enough that clubs were Melee Tornados, just like Flame Vets in Battalion Wars. As a result, I figured to use defilade to considerably cut damage from the high amount of projectiles that the game would no doubt have. Once I got rolling, especially when I saw the power system and the Super Armor power with it, I found that anybody I ever got close to with the club was guaranteed to die, thanks to the club's blatant net attack edge and the apparent difficulty in breaking melee combat. And yes, Mighty Glaciers are at least actually more usable than the likes of Bowser in the SSB series.

When I had club play understood like that, I decided to use a few other weapons. I started off poorly with bows and claws but ultimately did okay. I then chose a Fireworks Cannon just as a female newbie sat in the stand next to me, which had me worried because I wasn't sure I'd be using a weapon type synergetic to my playstyle. I was right to worry, because the Fireworks Cannon ended up making me a walking target. Range combat did nothing to help because the shots were slow, allowing a claw user to get close to me repeatedly and rip me to shreds. What didn't help was the lack of available Super Armor on the power set to prevent lolkb shenanigans that still existed, if not as bad as in SSB because at least you can fight them off well with Super Armor, so I ended up wanting to have Super Armor as a staple power, so that I wouldn't worry about being such an easy target for Fragile Speedsters. And yes, unconditional flinching bugs me in Super Smash Bros. Same with traditional fighting games, but those just plain have mobility and learning problems that turn me off from them.

So I went back to the Skyscraper set, especially helped by the power set's Super Armor being at L2 for 2 uses. Sadly, I lost the next 3 matches too, I don't know what was to blame, but while I later suspect either stage problems or Petrify shenanigans at work, at the time, it was suggestion that clubs aren't all powerful, though still definitely able to function, since I won every match after that. One match, I had the idea of dying intentionally to become Pit and give the opposing team incredible grief in getting the angel KO via survival skill abuse, and while I didn't remember to bother with the idea, I still became the angel and proceeded to hide in a corner while my other teammates handled the opposing Pit. Somebody came by and actually fought through my camping, but by then, it was too late, the opposing Pit was soon KOed first.

But the most impressive victory was the one in the final match before the place closed. I managed to be on for it, getting a stand next to some charismatic chap. At first, my team took a serious beating, I don't know how we ended up having the worse-off starting momentum but I feel I was doing sub-optimally. This ultimately resulted in our Pit coming out first, and I was not the one to be Pit, which annoyed me at first, but the guy next to me made it clear he was Pit. His wariness was a blessing in disguise because I at least had picked up by then, and we got the KOs needed to force the opposing Pit to come out before he could take anything bothersome. Of course, comebacks aren't that simple, as our Pit player came under attack, I suspect from a claw user given how things turned out. I searched for him immediately to defend him and managed to smash the responsible opponent in an ambush, leaving him helpless in a 2-on-1 melee matchup, one of the two definitely being a clubbie while the lone opponent was probably a Fragile Speedster. However, just as we KOed him, we got pincer attacked by the other two opponents, which thanks to the beating that the Pit teammate took ensured that the match was not lasting past this skirmish. Luckily, this ended up being a fatal mistake for them, because the way the terrain was set up, the opposing Pit could be attacked up close from terrain that would cover against back attacks, seriously weakening the third player's ability to do anything. Even without that, the opposing Pit was already weakened enough too that me and the Pit player double teaming him resulted in my teammate getting the KO for game, set, match.

With that, my GDC win-loss record was at 19-8. Off topic, but I also played the Mario Tennis game a bit during one of my waiting periods, but not my style. Don't get me wrong, I haven't found problems with the game itself, I simply don't understand how the moves work out there. I'm still open to play, but you might want to help me learn what the moves do.

Waiting for the game

With that victory, the guy and I chatted a bit in celebration. I provided my email address to let him contact me later. Alas, no response, I don't know what happened. Then again, he did ask if I was coming to the Los Angeles tournament, which I couldn't because of reasons beyond my control. Not that I'd be sure of how well I'd place. Probably decently, thankfully, thanks to clubs being actually viable, but even then, I would probably have had to place stupid high to get a decent monetary prize that could make up for the expenses of going to a non-local tournament.

Nevertheless, that last win was immensely satisfying, especially considering that I typically play like a lone wolf to begin with. It has the added bonus of suggesting that good tactics could actually work in the game. Even my concern about clubs couldn't bog me down about the victory. Of course, that does bring up why clubs can be concerning. They are, after all, monstrous in melee combat thanks to net attack power being actually useful, and there's plenty to protect them from range attacks. And the mechanics only help them, as I'll indicate how with the following points:

*Decent mobility. This is actually likable for providing a good, fast pace, as well as a good standard for balance, but should be treated with caution. Even with minimal functioning mobility, Mighty Glaciers can provide surprising amount of trouble by using tactics to manage tempo. With everybody having decent mobility, cover hopping wasn't terribly hard, and it can easily take one mistake and the opponent will be taking punishment.

*The Power system. Now this can help speedsters too by allowing them to escape unwanted scenarios, but power-focused fighters benefit more because they can use it to provide so much chaos that the faster opponents will have trouble finding out what they're up to fast enough or else BAM, they're dead. Super Armor also prevents flinching from being unconditional, which was a problem in Super Smash Bros. because it can easily ruin approaches and it only serves to help faster players as a result, never mind that they totally can't pull kiting headaches to begin with. Of course, the creativity is a good thing, just make sure that the speedsters can fight back too.

*Sweetspot KO rate. Typically, my teammates would survive a good amount of time. This allowed me to suddenly halt my advance if I needed to arrange powers to make sure I had them ready to help me "tornado" the opponent as it were, since I could still make it to the skirmish in time to do my job. This means, then, that an attrition war would be a HORRIBLE idea at the sign of so much as a single decent club user. Especially when clubs punish clumps to begin with thanks to high reach attacks.

As a result of this, it was worth warning people to learn how to combat clubs. It's actually worth having net attack advantages actually work, but useless power at least still wasn't devoid of strategy. It simply has stupidly stagnant strategy because the counter to somebody who hits more easily is being able to use a power advantage to throw off those hits. Useless speed has the problem that there is simply no incentive to care about trying to be faster. Now body traits are shallow to care about compared to mind traits (the problem with useless power), but it makes body training a joke to bother with, and there becomes no reason to strategize, whoever is more powerful wins, simple as that. Just don't get me wrong, BOTH are bad.

Later, I heard that club users did poorly at the LA tournament. Now that would suggest that clubs are bad, but the problem is, there are idiots who think that isn't a problem and that they only ever need power to do well. Clubs require creativity to do well, or else they'll hit nothing and like it. Of course, if you can find a way to make a useful club set that doesn't require Super Armor or Lightweight whatsoever, and I mean one that actually addresses potential problems like kiting well, props to you.

Game is out, time to play

So I get the game, and while the singleplayer doesn't impress me as much as that of Kirby's Epic Return to Dream Land did (which by the way says a LOT about that game, making an unfocused feature GOOD), it held up nicely. If only the levels were a little shorter. And I don't mean just Chapter 19.

A certain later character: Spoiler alert!

Don't push it, guy. I like your little Easter Egg, it's pretty awesome. But it's not like mentioning a chapter number reveals THAT much.

Okay, so the story does at least prove to be solid. Although I have definite issues with a certain arc, which occurs right before a Wham Chapter. Want details, you can talk to me privately on IM or in a chat room, it involves spoilers.

Actually, now that I think about it, the levels just need to be better handled. K(E)RtDL had lengthy levels, but handled them well enough. KIU, it gets obnoxious because you typically get tired and thus unable to move when you do. It gets old fast, and makes me wish the stamina system was handled better. Like show the meter for God's sake, Skyward Sword did that. Better yet, just punish movement when tired, not stop it altogether. Battalion Wars 2 basically did that with subs' diving, having them take gradual damage if they stayed underwater with empty oxygen meters.

Enough about the singleplayer, the multiplayer had shown no blatant signs of imbalance early on. Yes, there are powers like Brief Invincibility, but they last too short to allow considerable damage to alert players. Meanwhile, my progress up the weapon mountain was going a little too well for my tastes.

However, soon enough, I kept getting abused by Petrify Attack making me an easy target. I had Effect Recovery in my power set, but it proved not very useful because I still got killed too fast to use it to respond to sudden Petrify kicking in. The problem is, halved damage doesn't stop multiple people from attacking me, nor does it change the fact that it's typically claw users abusing the bloody thing in the first place to combo me into oblivion. This for only 6 spaces, but the inherent effect by itself is a problem that should have been addressed better.

This had me discouraged until I remembered talk about something called "Aries Armor", which I proceeded to try to get, and see if it could do something about status issues. Sure enough, it does...kind of. The game says it provides status immunity, but it's actually lying there. However, the status resistance it does provide was good enough to consider worth keeping. It wasn't foolproof, but it was better than nothing. And while I couldn't beat Vhex, a good player who knows his definite share of KIU multiplayer, I could beat some of his weaker setups on Desert Tomb at least.

The Range 1HK problem

Meanwhile, people were trying to find ways to deal as much damage as they can do with their weapon stars. That honestly would make me surprised if a certain part of their bodies WASN'T small, even if they would say otherwise. They need to deal that much damage, why exactly? *sigh* I mean sure, I'll hide behind defense, but at least I'll use it gladly to get up close to opponents, rather than snipe people with invisible shots like people say is the best use for clubs. Honestly debatable, a cowardly method, and potentially can be punished anyway. At least stat boosts keep me alive against smarter opponents. Okay, so maybe I'm a coward, but never let it be said I'm an idiot. *cut to my BW2 LP intro, where I call myself an idiot*

Now this has to do with what I was planning to test now: cannons. Cannons get regarded as underpowered, just like Link gets regarded as such in SSB, never mind that his par at worst stats are just plain gimped by the messed up environment of "don't get hit" being an overly dominant strategy to the point of preventing development of anything that could be reasonable against the likes of Meta Knight. Now my experiences with the Fireworks Cannon at GDC was bad, but I'm sure there would be something I could do, since I no longer had official sponsor limitations to hold me down, let alone put on Homing Shot, a natural staple for cannons without higher homing. So I made a power set around countering claws, because I'd be sure they could subvert claws if done correctly.

I play with a Ball Cannon a bit, find out that cannons don't have to worry about being kited like clubs can. And anti-claw results weren't too bad as long as I could use chokepoints. However, problems occurred when I suddenly kept being killed stupidly quickly. Thanks to my actually bad mobility when using a cannon, I can't cover hop as fast, making me an open target in the middle of doing so. This makes it clear that slower targets suffer from more opportunities for range fire opponents to hit them.

Of course, now I had to plan around the range combatants too. But anything I tried either was insufficient or backfired. Cannons simply didn't deal much damage, which in a 1HK-heavy environment was fatal.

So I got annoyed, and pretty much agreed with most other players that cannons did indeed suck. Clubs at least could fight off claws without too much power devotion to it, so they could easily afford to use Lightweight to hunt down distance pests. Cannons had to put too much effort to deal with both claws AND distance specialists. Was there a way to redeem them?

Weapon traits

One day, when I was checking out the shop, I saw a Skyscraper Club available for 52,200 Hearts. What caught my attention immediately was the +7 Overall DEF and +6 Health combination, compared to my 290 which had +4 Overall DEF. I wanted to buy it, and ended up selling a number of weapons because I didn't have enough Hearts to buy it on the spot otherwise.

This purchase proved to be VERY beneficial, definitely worth the weapons I sold. Both for personal combat reasons and analysis.

Now the defense is a given, the attack stars are, if slightly, better than those on my 290, but the most important thing is the Value. The club in question has a LOWER value than the 290 Value. Sure, not by much, at 288, but then this brings up something: Value only matters if I die. Club users are inherent close-range combatants, so they want more defense. But more importantly, because they're STILL not immune to being killed, just avoiding increased Value keeps them from gimping the team if they STILL get ripped to shreds. Sure the offense is rather ho-hum for Value, but I can't complain when I can use powers to bolster that defense to scary heights, rather than care about something that can end up wasted by me getting killed by kiting.

In short, clubs want Value Efficiency.

I field-tested the club a bit, the defense didn't disappoint, and I realized that Effect Recovery can be used effectively now to allow for plain Super Armor usage over Aries Armor usage and consequently more room for another power being at a higher level.

The club weapon type was thus solved well enough for me now, but cannons I hadn't investigated. Now I had an idea on focusing on good traits rather than caring about Value, because cannons would want to fight most weapon types at their bad range to begin with, but I got lax about trying to make such a cannon until when I talked to dabuz on the Sky Kings chat because I wanted to match against him, and suddenly he was talking about +8 Overall DEF being very useful for surviving the 1HK land. I didn't even have to realize it was a Halo Club, which I don't like because of its meager 50 Club Melee Strength when clubs want to melee well. Just combine the usefulness of the high defense with the fact that earlier the same day a Japanese player kited my uber defense club earlier.

Here's a useful stat triangle to remember: Power > Speed > Range > Power.

As a result, I searched for a way to make a good Ball Cannon, and ended up fusing for one. I only managed to get +7 Overall DEF on it, without a Health boost I would have liked (+5, I recall), but it proved to be sufficient. As it turns out, cannons just need to shut out range 1HKs. I figured they would want to get opponents in their unpreferred range. And now that I had a cannon that could avoid being crippled by distance specialists, I could better focus my powers to stop speed attacks, like from claw users.

This cannon still has to be backed by tactics, but the important thing is that it manages well with an inefficient power set I would like to improve on. As a result, cannons have a very high chance of redemption, thanks in no small part to defense boosts. And the moment they can subvert claws reliably enough will be the moment the balance will be cemented as good, just for Mighty Glaciers being able to function without being broken. If dabuz's own cannon setup works nicely too, that would really help, since it's much more offense-oriented than mine.

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Meta Knight in Brawl

I thought I'd X-post something from my Blogger, though with updated information. And it's about everybody's favorite controversial Kirby-bat. Because, yes, even though his moves are actually imbalanced with each other, I feel that he's actually balanced in a VERY likeable way.

Before I talk about Meta Knight as a fighter in Brawl, I have to talk about Meta Knight as a general character in his own games, because while Brawl canon isn't anything to stand by as far as the fighters' respective games go, that doesn't mean an understanding of the characters and their games can't help. Yes, Meta Knight as a general character will prove important to the points I am going to make.

Now who is Meta Knight? That's the question that tends to bite everybody's lips, but let's start with what we do know. First and most importantly, in Kirby's Adventure, Meta Knight has seemingly inconsistent behavior, throwing invincibility candy at Kirby to allow him to charge through enemies, but then he throws his mooks at Kirby apparently to have them kick his butt. After the last time he does the latter, he challenges Kirby to a sword duel. Notice how you're supposed to grab the sword? He left it there intentionally, and won't attack until you grab it. This makes it clear that he is an honorable fighter, who when defeated turns out to look like Kirby when his mask breaks apart. But what is his purpose? Not to stop Kirby, or else he wouldn't be giving Kirby invincibility candy. Not to give Kirby an easy time, or he wouldn't have Kirby fight him OR his mooks.

As it turns out, Kirby, turning out to be guilty of a Nice Job Breaking It Hero job--the first of many he manages to do throughout the series--ends up fighting an Eldritch Abomination called Nightmare, whom King Dedede had sealed with the only way to break him free via several MacGuffins that were naturally spread out, even if the method of sealing was ultimately inconvenient, which is why Kirby was trying to undo it in the first place, not realizing what had really happened. As it turns out, Kirby uses the Star Rod like a sword, albeit one that can fire projectiles, to beat Nightmare.

It is VERY easy to guess, if not outright clear, from this that Meta Knight was being a Stealth Mentor. And not only that, there's the likelihood that he KNEW Kirby would inadvertently free Nightmare. By making himself a guard for one of the MacGuffins, Kirby either couldn't do so, or he would first have proven himself competent enough to hope to take on the monster. In one move, Meta Knight makes IMMENSE progress in a Xanatos Gambit designed to dismantle the real bad guy, and one even designed with hopes of a best case scenario. Further moves, either by keeping Kirby alive or testing him, only serve to bolster it. There are people who like Meta Knight in general, but Kirby's Adventure is his Crowning Moment of Awesome, an impressive feat for an NES game AND the first game where he appears in.

But what about other games? Well, whether he is hero or villain depends on the game, but his location on the morality scale is always in the same area. The only game where he's an outright bad guy is Revenge of Meta Knight in Kirby Super Star, where he definitely wants Kirby dead once things get really out of hand as well as wanting to take over Dream Land, but even then, he turns out to be the same Worthy Opponent that you see in KA, as well as a Father to His Men. And his motive for the Dream Land takeover is because he finds the denizen overly lazy. Killing Kirby? Actually, I don't think he wanted to at first, just when Kirby doomed the Halberd. Whatever, it's not like RoMK is necessarily canon anyway.

As for the anime, I haven't paid much attention to it, but from what I have heard, Meta Knight is a more blatant Stealth Mentor to Kirby there. And the bad guy is Nightmare from KA. So there are parallels to KA, but none of the MacGuffin business, so Meta Knight doesn't get to send Nightmare's threat value to bearable levels in a single move. Of course, I believe that's fine by the Dream Land paragon, who still has loyal followers, high skill, ability to strategize, and Stealth Mentor faith in Kirby to work with.

But if he is such a paragon, why doesn't he just curbstomp the bad guys himself rather than just train up Kirby? (Meta Knightmare Ultra aside, that's even less canon than RoMK.) It's not like Meta Knight needs to care about any "chosen one" business without good reason. Well, somebody like Meta Knight would likely understand one thing clearly: Power at a Price. Meta Knight, from what I'm guessing, realizes that he's a Fragile Speedster and figures that the bad guys will abuse hyper accuracy on him to prove themselves outside his weight class, so he would need to train up Kirby to be able to combat them. Proof that he's a Fragile Speedster? Kirby can outlast him in RoMK, and doing so in KA, albeit by being smart, is the main key to defeating him there too. And please note what I just said there, because that's actually important. Kirby's Epic Yarn? I haven't played that, but from what little I saw, apparently Meta Knight was controlled, so the bad guys ultimately prove powerful if that is anything to go by. And let me talk about something: I played Kirby Wii at Comic-Con. Some kid came on and chose Meta Knight, and proceeded to corner camp Whispy Woods using a completely safe location to keep attacking. Now this might be an oversight on the programmers' part, but we're talking about Whispy Woods. I would not be surprised if later bosses turn out to have good enough AA attacks to force the Meta Knight player to be diligent, considering they were good enough to punish me in KDL2 when I was a flying-crazy kid who had seen that Kirby was able to fly. Meanwhile, the Meta Knight kid's DPS was proving to be not so impressive. Bear in mind that IIRC I was playing as Kirby himself, probably trying one of my solo runs, not King Dedede, who I generally kept picking when other players were on the system.

Kirby's Epic Return to Dream Land, by the way, has been out for a few months as of the update, so I can confirm that while Shuttle Loop and Spin Attack have excessive attack power, Meta Knight in general doesn't, and bosses have things like background attacks to survive more easily, making power more important and speed not as useful.

Well, I think that's enough talk about Meta Knight's character. To sum it up, he's the Dream Land paragon, a Worthy Opponent, and occasionally a Stealth Mentor. How does this fit into how he fights in Brawl?

Well, as we know, Meta Knight is a combination of Fragile Speedster and Melee Tornado. We can compare him to Marth and Sonic. Marth has range, and makes such nasty use of it that the mere existence of Counter makes him powerful against anybody who can't grab well enough. Sonic has immense movement speed, though his good KB moves are ironically slow. Meta Knight? Well, he gets high priority to break through most attacks, as well as all of his B moves providing high approach potential to compliment his Melee Tornado status. And he's somewhat of a Glass Cannon in that he has a very strong recovery that allows him to try to kill opponents early but he's light enough that he can be killed outright. This makes him seem broken, but is he really broken?

Well, his moves are actually imbalanced with each other (excessively slow Down B VS somewhat fast Neutral B (AND YES I SAID FAST), painfully slow Forward Smash VS annoyingly fast Down Smash), but aside from that bit of Fake Balance, perhaps even with that, Meta Knight ultimately has no outstanding strengths against tanking players at the end of the day. The only thing the high priority does is make sure you can't mindlessly clash him, which makes such perfect sense against somebody like Meta Knight. Really, he doesn't have enough range or general power to make anybody generally helpless. So why is he considered broken?

Well, take a good, close look at what is not only allowed but encouraged in tournaments. Chain-grabs, infinites as a whole (must stop at 300%, like that makes a big difference), Falco's laser lock, edgehogging, planking and scrooging, C-sticking, you get the idea. Notice something? All of these make the first strike and/or speed overly important. Chain-grabs and infinites render the whole idea of the percentage moot. So does Falco's laser lock. Edgehogging makes sure that you can't recover. Planking and scrooging can be done to time out a match with a ridiculously safe tactic which by the way you're expected to do in order to handle Cruel Brawl. And C-sticking is done to make sure you get the first hit. Both players do it and the Difficult but Awesome moves suddenly become an effortless joke to do, for the fact that they're supposed to be not so easy to prevent evasion wars.

Naturally, Meta Knight's small size and maneuverability means that the first 3 don't do much to him simply because hitting him first isn't plausible. Edgehogging is also moot because of his recovery. Planking and scrooging are things he himself can do to higher efficiency. And C-Sticking means he can do stupid stuff like effortless forward airs more easily while throwing off the opponent's, spiking the value of his priority.

Clearly, Meta Knight laughs at the cheap stuff. Seems broken, right? Well, guess what? Tournament players are ultimately not creative enough, making them a clear-cut antithesis to SSB in general. Don't believe me? I have heard from a reliable source that Ice Climbers rely PURELY ON THE DEATHGRAB. Yes, that's right, they try to force a freaking grab. They rely so much on a stupid gimmick that they even ignore any possibilities that could come up from the fact that Icies is a 2-in-1 character capable of doing things like shutting down grab attempts on them, and when they can't work with the gimmick, they are defenseless like any old Unskilled but Strong person when their strengths can't be abused.

Yes, the tournament players do not care about trying out creative ideas and instead jump to trying to do one thing and one thing alone. Infinites are cringeworthy because they tend to start with ONE move connecting, when other moves can instead be used to make said move impossible to predict. Yet people try to use them as if the other moves don't exist. Never mind that Icies are supposed to work with versatility to begin with. Seriously, there's two of them, make use of the mere fact that there is, not try to grab the opponent.

Which brings me to how you're supposed to deal with Meta Knight: PLAY TO YOUR CHARACTER'S STRENGTHS. At the end of the day, TANKING SMART is a critical skill to dealing with Meta Knight because of his high ability to hit you, and thus you would want to be able to counterattack. An ability which I did not know was advanced....wait, what? But the key to making Meta Knight bow before you would be to push on critical advantages and keep Meta Knight from doing the same to you. And if he has to fight somebody who can manage good endurance combined with a blood price on every inch any opponent manages, he will have problems. Need some examples?

Well, Icies can just use their numbers advantage to keep Meta Knight from doing any effective grabs, and they can outrange him with the Down B as well as punish the Tornado with the down-air. Pikachu (and Sonic by extension) just plain outspeeds Meta Knight while making use of their net attack advantage. (Sonic doesn't have a considerable net attack advantage in the matchup, but it's still there and it's bolstered better by speed advantage.) Link not only has his projectiles but several ways to knock Meta Knight away and even counterattack, ESPECIALLY if Meta Knight even THINKS of using the tornado. (Bombs, Neutral Air, coordinated Forward Smash, well-placed Down Air, and there's probably still more.) If Meta Knight wants to use the Jab to keep Link from using his grounded Up B, Link will just Hookshot and laugh. And Kirby....good heavens Kirby. He can use Meta Knight's own tactics against him. Oh the irony. Down tilt gets past the jab, Stone is an option that easly protects him from juggling with the added bonus that Meta Knight trying to juggle Kirby could just as easily suffer an early Star KO, and Kirby can easily hit-and-run Meta Knight. So what if Meta Knight is faster, the whole thing is a maneuver war and Kirby has a net attack advantage. That itself is mitigated, but so is Meta Knight's speed edge.

All in all, Meta Knight may very well be intended to be a failsafe to make sure players have a proper understanding of their characters. None of this infinites garbage, but actually knowing how to play the characters themselves and showing some actual effort. Just like in Kirby's Adventure, this screams CMOA on his part in the manner that if you beat him soundly enough, you prove yourself worthy.

(A shame that's debatable at best with characters like Wario, Falco, and Marth, who manage to be at least overpowered all the same.)

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