Banning for balance?


#1

So, I want to generalize the 3S discussion into something productive. Let me start with what Viscant said about banning for balance. (Not the correct term, I will get into that)

It is certainly true that when you ban the best thing, the next best thing then becomes the best thing. However what Viscant’s post failed to acknowledge is that there can be hugely varying degrees between how much better the best thing is.

What is strange is that the longest-played tournament SF game does in fact ban for balance. Which is not controversial at all. In fact, stranger still is that the banning of Akuma was largely pre-emptive.

“Banning for balance” is the wrong term. What players want to avoid is degenerate situations. These occur when a very tiny sliver of the total game takes over the entire game. In ST if Akuma were playable the game would degenerate into an Akuma-fest. In Magic:The Gathering affinity decks caused a degenerate environment where affinity was far and away the best deck and every contender had to either be affinity or specifically counter it. In Madden online for the PS2 the game devolved into pick a quaterback who can run and swap between bootlegs and deep passes. (Or so I am told - no personal experience there)

My point is that there will always be Magic decks better than others, or Madden strats better than others. But you can still talk about the health and diversity of the Magic environment or of Madden teams and tactics.

Why is it that we have no problem banning Akuma in ST when Akuma has not really proven to be an issue? How many people have played in a lot of tournaments that were ruled by Akuma? Not many. The ST community chose early on to ban Akuma for the health of the game. Yes we shy away from making those decisions in other games.

Clearly banning something like RCs is troubling in that they are impossible to detect, can be done by accident, etc. But banning characters, grooves, super arts, throwing dip settings around - these are easy to enforce, impossible to err by accident, impossible to get around on the sly.

Capcom does not release version updates, only sequels. (This is not quite true but close enough) As players we can make up for that. When rules are horribly broken we can adjust them.

MVC2 has an upper tier, but the game is not degenerate. Even among a ton of Mags you can see a lot of different tactics. Some players go for resets, some go for sure damage, some use a lot of snapbacks, some will combo into tempest, some into shockwave. There is variety.

Chun-Li in 3S is about a 50% damage low forward. That is her entire game. Every Chun plays almost the exact same as every other Chun. Yun is about abusing his super as well. Again nearly every Yun plays the same.

The problem with 3S is not that 3 characters are the best. The problem is that the game is defined by literally 3 moves. It is impossible to watch a Chun vs. Chun top 8 match and not realize that something is horrible wrong. Even someone who knows nothing about fighting games can recognize the problem with an entire game based around landing one move out of a total of hundreds.

I don’t want this to be an anti-3S thread. The point of this is to get people to rationally look at why we don’t ban certain things. The reasons people give are:

1: If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.
We can change the rules all we want. Akuma is in ST.

2: Banning things is not "playing to win."
If the thing being banned is banned for everyone, it does not affect whether or not you are playing to win at all. You can still do everything in your power, within the rules. Some would say not abusing glitches is not playing to win. The point is playing to win is defined within the rules.

3: The creators intended it to be this way.
Who cares? This doesn’t matter.

Again, think of ST Akuma. He is selectable in the arcade. Clearly he is in the game. We ban him for only one reason - the health of the game demands it. And the game is better for it. Imagine someone saying what Viscant said above, about Akuma: “You can either get used to it or play something else.” Rather than the simple step of banning Akuma we can simply allow a great game with one tragic flaw to be ruined?

Rules change in competitive endeavors all the time. When was the last year a rule in football or baseball didn’t change?

As players we have the ability to alter the rules, not the make a game “easier” but to make it healthier. And we know altering the rules for the health of the game can work.

This is about more than should be ban RCs or should we ban Chun-Li or her super art. My question is this:

We know that banning things for the same of game health should work, and we already do that in the longest running tournament SF game. So why are people so opposed to the same thing in other games?


#2

Will It Stop


#3

Banning is a very cagey issue, because people will always have very different opinions on what constitutes a ban-worthy feature. Furthermore, the degree to which certain features are abused unfairly differs greatly from region to region. This is why people are so reluctant to start banning stuff–unless it is something that absolutely, unequivocally reduces the game to unplayability when it gets exploited, if there is any significant room for debate as to whether or not it’s a game-breaking feature, it’s best not to ban it.

Banning is an absolute last resort, used for the rare feature that warrants it with 100% certainty. ST Akuma warrants it because he is a ridiculously unbalanced character who makes it far easier for less-skilled players to compete. The unfairness here is obvious, so most tournies won’t let you use him. Contrast this with roll-cancelling, which is comparatively difficult to pull off (let alone abuse), and has actually been successfully incorporated into high level strategy, as opposed to simply causing high level strategy to break down.

Not to mention, as you astutely pointed out, a roll-cancel ban would be very difficult to enforce. For ST Akuma, it’s a simple matter.


#4

It is not the job of the player to balance the game, it is the job of the developer. If a game is not fun, nor balanced, in terms of the community, you stop playing it unless you can alleviate the problem through the obvious (IE banning ST Akuma because he was clearly intended to be absurdly overpowered).

If Ky is good, in Slash, it doesn’t matter, he’s an arcade character who’s been there since the start, and sucked in the past, however if Justice somehow became this godly character, people would still keep her banned. If Gill was available in Arcade through a special input, would the community ban him? Likely. He’s clearly designed to be insanely powerful (hello, ressurection, chip damage super), but someone like Yun really isn’t, he has weaknesses, he just easily covers them, and he’s got a super that was poorly refined.

However, you have games like SvC:Chaos, where the hidden characters are really good, but through clearly bad tuning, they don’t have amazing bullshit, just stupid shit that was probably overlooked.

Also, you don’t ban glitches unless they completely stop the game from actually being played, I don’t care how stupid they are.


#5

A couple of points:

1: Clearly, you can only ban things that are feasible and leave no margin for error. RCs are not bannable. You cannot always detect them. Banning “too many low tigers in a row” is not possible. Banning tick throws is not possible because the question becomes how long do you have to wait for a throw after a hit to not be a tick? (Not that I want these things banned, just examples)

2: It pains me to see games that have a high level scene much weaker than it should be, or to see games fall out of popularity entirely, when a few tweaks could make them so much better, healthier and more popular.

I think A3 is a good example of this. The reason A3 lost popularity (IMO) is that people got sick of whiff throws to charge your VC, then try to VC your opponent. The game encourages you to stand on opposite sides of the screen and whiff throws, which is neither fun nor skillfull, and in V-ism normal moves do so little damage that VCs are almost always the deciding factor. It just isn’t interesting when an entire game revolves around landing one move. That is a slight simplification but I do think A3 is not popular because people got sick of the staleness of VCs.

It’s not even a question of whether V-ism is too good. It’s just that V-ism makes the game really damn boring and not fun.

So rather than ban V-ism, we just don’t play A3 an more, and every year the A3 players whine about how it isn’t at EVO. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Rather than make adjustments that might revitalize a game, we drop it entirely!

1: If the developer doesn’t do the job properly, why can’t we step in? Who assigned us our “job”?

2: How do you know what the intention of the developer is? Akuma doesn’t have a super meter, maybe they thought that would be balanced. Even if you do know the intention, why does it matter? It doesn’t.

I don’t like that idea either. But really you can ban anything that happens on the select screen, not just character choices. Characters, assists, ratios, grooves, super arts, bust/slash.

The question is what is the problem? In ST the character Akuma is the problem, and you can’t really ban air fireballs even if you wanted to. If in MVC2 the huge problem was Doom rocks assist, we could just ban that rather than ban Doom.


#6

I just never liked the idea of knocking entire tiers of characters out of a game, if it was a single character, who was above everyone else, it makes it easy, but when you get to characters which have peers than it gets harder to justify ban.


#7

Just wanted to comment on the ST Akuma issue. A fw months back their were Japanese tourney vids on CV I believe, and Akuma was not banned. Most of the players who picked him got owned pretty badly, someone using Cammy got a perfect on him, and this other Zangief player who was being pinned by air fireballs made a few comebacks to win. I’m guessing these guys were good players judging from the quality and skill of the matches in general. Just my 2 cents.


#8

you can also get the opposite problem if a trend of banning was to be accepted. if certain characters or tactics are banned because they are strong, why bother trying to develop counter strategies? just try and get them banned instead. 3S tournies might endup only having twelve and sean selectable.

also who decides what is banned? i feel banned tournaments might gain some popularity, but will never be taken seriously.


#9

Top Tier
Middle Tier
Bottom Tier

eliminate top tier and this leaves you with\

Middle Tier <-- Now on top
Bottom Tier

Middle now becomes top. you cant avoid tiers, you can only deal with em and enjoy the game or stop playing fighters.

only time banning is worth everything is if like a certain character is like way way above everyone else or has broken infinites or something.


#10

So once you start banning like that, where does it stop?

You can start by banning SA3 Chun, but then that’ll just highlight the brokeness of SA2 Yun/SA3 Ken further, which by your logic would eventually get them banned too. What’s gonna follow that now, unblockable aegis setups, banning kara shoryu? You’re stepping into a subjective area where anyone can have their own opinion of what should and should not be banned, which eventually causes a shitstorm of “tourney standards” where noone knows what the fuck is going on, which won’t just make it confusing, it could kill the scene.

Banning ST akuma was a different matter. He’s far stronger than the rest of the cast and not straightforward to select which implies reason to ban. Yeah, it’s still a subjective decision, but nowhere as hairy as banning default characters or SA’s


#11

chun shouldnt have been banned because ken and yun are equal to or in the same ball park to her. it just took more time for people to find that out. but her game isnt about landing the super, it’s about sitting on it and getting throws, having the threat of the super advance her gameplan. only when she has 2 meters (or close to it) is her game plan about landing the super.

i dont think the players who voted on banning chun in the first place were good enough in 3s to make that decision at that time as well.

and yes low forward into super is easy to do, but its as hard to land that against anyone who is decent as it is to use ken or yun.

as a wise players puts it… “atleast she uses her normals instead of relying on a super as a crutch”

because where would yun be without genei jin? thats a whole lot more abusable but NO ONE thought of banning genei jin yun when they banned chun. because no one wwas at that level.

i think people assume how a game should be played thats why they ban stuff, that assumption if wrong cripples the growth of players skills because it makes the game shallow.


#12

Banning characters can work. If there’s a game that’s been out for years and people can’t beat the top tier in that game then a ban would work. The next best character would be top tier but might be beatable. Yun/Ken/Chun can be beaten, but requires some skill.


#13

What is interesting about Akuma is, as I said before, to the best of my knowledge banning Akuma was largely pre-emptive. Akuma never proved to be a dominant force in national tourneys.

So in ST we have a character banned because we suspect he might unbalance the game, but in other games we don’t ban things that clearly do unbalance the game. Odd.

The criteria should be very strict, like multiple years of a degenerate environment. At this point in games like 3S and A3 we have a pretty good idea of what the environment is like, the games have started to stagnate. Hold off until it is very clear there is a real, sustained problem.

I already covered this. Try again. This simplistic reasoning fails to account for the fact that not all tiers are created equal. (Not that this discussion is even about tiers) If you ban the top tier of 1 character and replace it with a top tier of 10 characters that is obviously a win.

Not straightforward to select implies reason to ban? We don’t ban O. Sagat. I don’t see why “straightforward to select” has anything to do with anything. If anything the fact that you can try to choose Akuma and accidentally get someone else helps balance him.

Again, this is not limited to banning characters. Banning Chun in 3S is quite frankly stupid because Chun is not the problem. The problem is low forward->SA.

Even if you think there is a problem, banning Chun in 3S is the wrong solution. Chun is not too powerful overall. The problem is just that with one super art her low forward does 50% damage. Chun with other super arts is not nearly as good.

Changes should always be made in as small a scope as possible. If the problem is with one particular version of one particular character, just ban only that particular combination.

Good point. You win professor.


#14

apparently you fail at street fighter knowledge


#15

I’m glad you made this thread because I was going to have to. It’s a really good discussion that showed up out of that abortion of a thread.

My point is this. I would be in favor of banning characters/supers etc. IF (and only if) it would improve the game. However this hasn’t been the case in over 5 years.

The primary example we were talking about is 3s. It’s not like if you banned SAIII Yun, SAIII Ken and SAII Chun, game balance would flourish and everyone would be happy and flowers would bloom. The primary obstacles to picking Urien and Makoto would just instantly be wiped away and everyone would play them instead. If you got tired of the 121 Genei Jins during Evo top 8 (real figure), you’d like 100+ unblockable Aegis Reflectors even less. I fail to see how this would make the game any better or any more fun.

Although compared to CvS2 and Marvel, it’s the closest to reality. If you banned top 4 in Marvel, nobody would beat Blackheart or Doom ever again. Really the only reason Doom isn’t a top character is because Sentinel and Magneto beat him almost totally for free. Other than that Doom would beat the other slugs in the game just as hard as he was in 2000-2001 and Blackheart could go back to beating about 40 characters in the game with 2 buttons. And if you ban those 2, Cyclops and Strider, then nobody’s going to beat Omega Red, Iron Man and Cammy + other pixies. And it keeps going and going. You’d probably have to go 20 deep in banning Marvel before you would make it even a little bit better.
Same thing with CvS2. If you take out A Vega/Sak/Bison/Blanka, people aren’t going to go running to King or Terry or Zangief. Everyone’s running to Sagat/Cammy/Geese as fast as they possibly can. Really the only reason K groove doesn’t win every tournament is because of A groove. If you ban K groove top team, then the next group of characters start taking over, which would probably be C Ken, Guile, Chun, Rolento, Sagat, Blanka. It’s not getting better, it’s just different flavored and harder to counter.

This tends to be how good 2-D games work. Gamers like characters to be superpowered, and some characters superpowers are just out of control compared to others. And then there’s a group who’s just slightly below that. And a group slightly below that, etc. With one exception, banning a character or group of characters hasn’t been necessary in 10 years.
The one exception is CvS1 Nakoruru who really should have been banned. She has no natural counter characters (I don’t want to hear EX Balrog or Raiden, don’t make yourself look stupid), she completely eliminates higher ratio characters AND r1s, basically forces team orders to stagnate into 1-2-1 or 2-2 (whereas without her you could add 1-3, 3-1, 1-1-2 and 1-1-1-1).
Banning Nakoruru would have made CvS1 better because you could have had many different teams, R3s would have been more than just a curiosity (CvS1 Yamazaki is like CvS2 Yamazaki except 10x better with no recovery time and he counters the CvS1 R2 roster, basically beating Guile/Ryu/Ken/Balrog for free) and the game probably would have been more interesting. I didn’t say it would have been interesting, just slightly better. A lot of the stuff we add by taking out Nakoruru (20 minute 4 R1 vs 4 R1 matches, more SNK EX Balrog/Guile teams, Yamazaki zero recovery level 1 super that did too much damage) nobody wanted to see anyways.

Also your A3 example is way off. A3 didn’t die because of V-ism. A3 was going very strong until 3s came out (ECC4 A3 tournament was one of the biggest in SF history; the day I caught my flight back from there, 3s was out at SHGL) and was still getting big turnouts (IIRC it was 2nd biggest at B4) until CvS1 came out. A3 pretty much died because newer games replaced it. If you wanted to argue that something killed A3, I would go for crouch cancel instead of V-ism.
But for fun, we’ll apply the same test to A3 that we did to other games. A3 actually has a wide variety of characters being used. If you take out V-ism, you have one giant stumbling block in the way and his name is Dhalsim. I don’t know if you remember tournaments before V-ism was strong, but I remember 64 man SHGL tournaments with 50 Dhalsims, 10 Vega/Rolento and 4 people who didn’t know how to play. Dhalsim has only gotten better since then, Vega is out because without V-ism he loses a lot, Rolento probably wouldn’t be useful anymore so…what do we have left? We’re going to add some Guys who would get frustrated quickly, a few Gens, a decent sized pack of Karins and Charlies and…that’s about it (note: Dhalsim will crush them all anyways). This game is not better since people are picking all of these characters anyways, usually in the same small amounts. Whereas we’ve completely given away Zangief, shotos, Vega, Sagat. Also a lot of lesser characters that get slight play like Sodom, Cammy and Cody go from decent and fun characters to trash tier. The game gets way worse than any other game we’ve discussed so far without V-ism actually.

This is usually how it’s going to work. That’s just how 2-D fighting works. If banning things made the game better, people would have experimented with it before. Unfortunately it doesn’t make the game better, keeps the players from getting better and is less fun for all involved.

–Jay Snyder
Viscant@aol.com


#16

Capcom put system directions for a reason.

The way i see it.

Damage should be on 3 stars
Everybody should just 1 super bar (denjin size).
EX uses 1 star meter (mininmum).
wiffing normals doesn’t build meter.
meter can build up 1 star faster
Parrying window should be lowered to minimum (red parrying also minimum)
Stun bar fills up faster (1 more star)
All supers (optional)

I’m sure i forgot other things, but this lowers the top 3. Yun can get killed before GJ. Chun and ken only have 1 super. Unfortunatly you can’t change chun’s priority so back fierce is still dealy:sad: . These settings also reduce some other characters but at least it improves others at the same time.

Yun/Ken/Chun/Urien/Dudley/Q/Remy - reduced
Akuma/Ryu/Ibuki/oro/Elena/ Hugo/Alex/Yang/Necro/Makoto/Twelve/Sean - boost

if you’re asking why boost for some characters think stun (i tried to make it similar to SF2 but keeping the new stuff)

Edit: 3S: ban Gill (already done) as for Super Turbo: Akuma and O sagat


#17

Because you’re comparing banning SA3 chun to banning ST akuma, maybe?
O.Sagat was also in a subgroup, along with 16~ other “old” characters, making it more reasonable to keep him. Either ban none or ban them all (I’m more inclined to want to ban them all, but that’s not the way the scene went). ST Akuma is in his own division.

You still missed my main point and question though, or happened to want to ignore it completely. Once you start banning, when does it stop, and who’s gonna set the standard? You can spend fucking decades tweaking the game to the point you think its balanced, but by then the scene will be confused, conflicting and most likely dead.


#18

If you want to know why balancing a game within a community is bad, let me ask you a question:

“Why stop there?”

This question will escalate, cause arguments, and overall, no one will generally agree unless the consensus is extremely obvious. Why stop at banning Genei-jin? Ban Aegis, since it is now the best super in the game, but then something else becomes the best… why stop there?

Why stop anywhere?

Or you could simply not start, and solve the entire problem to begin with.


#19

Viscant was certainly in depth with his statements so I guess I’ll make it brief. Banning seems like a fun variation on old games because face it folks, Capcom no longer seems to care enough about us to give us a new game that we can be pleased with (which also seems like another hurdle we as a community cannot overcome) so why not try something new? The regular tourneys would still be high-level (whatever that really means) and I imagine the money matches would remain. However, how awesome would a mid-tier tourney be in some games? Tooling around with characters that might as well not be on the select screen in some folks’ eyes? (with exception to the MikeZ’s and Zazas of the world)


#20

Make Akuma in ST and Gill in Third Strike playable in tournaments. I’m not trying to be smart or anything. Akuma doesn’t even have a super bar.

The only thing that would be banned in Third Strike then would be Gill’s Angel of Death/Sepharic Wing super.

Your right…why don’t we ban everything and then we don’t have a game to play…:smile:…SF1 maybe the most balanced game yet besides Karate Champ and Ryu and Ken in SF2:WW…:lol: