Game Design Teacher needs to be schooled on MvC2 History


Hey guys, I’ve lurked here for a long while not because I’m a great player but because I’m a game designer that’s very interested in high level play and the communities surrounding games.

I have a class I am teaching coming up in a couple weeks specifically about multiplayer game balancing and I want to show the students how games like MvC2 can balance themselves and evolve over time without the need of patches.

So what I could use some help with is finding some threads or sites where I can research the evolution of balance in MvC2 from the release of the game up until now. There is a lot of stuff out there but its hard to discern the fact from fiction and opinions, and also not just which characters were on top but also WHY they were on top.

Any help would be appreciated.


marvel is by far the most half ass version of a game to ever exists. The game wasn’t programed properly and it resulted in one of the best games ever imo. I don’t know how capcom shitted out a diamond but they did.

I’m not sure 1 single person could explain this game properly.

if you’re teaching a class, you should watch whom you take your advice from.

there’s a write up on mvc2 from someone called viscant. I’m sure someone can post it up because its not that bad of a read. However, I’m fairly positive its pretty old now. Its gotta be circa 02-04? somewhere around there iirc and the game has changed a little in 4 years.


Also, the ‘history’ of marvel is basically all in video format on Zach’s site imo. He names the players as well as the teams they play in a series of tournaments over the past few years. If you can’t deduce the playing strategy/team strength’s just from knowing the team set-up, the vids will show you. Good stuff.


Thanks, I’ll start going through them. If I just stuck to Evo and the B series tournaments would I get enough of an impression or do I need to look at ECC and Texas showdown ect. ?


I think shoultzula sent you an important message: Mvc2 isn’t balanced.

If you really want to talk about a video game that’s balanced without patches or what not, you should look elsewhere. And even then, beta and alpha testing are used for almost all videogames so that they can be ‘patched up’ for final release.

Most of you probably weren’t around the scene when this happened, but SpiderDan and Viscant (among others) posted about beta testing for MvC2 when it first appeared at SHGL. Basically, Doom flight was godly (among other issues).

So in short, your paper’s thesis doesn’t hold much value because all videogames go through phases of testing, and furthermore, MvC2 is a poor example of a game that is balanced. It’s more like, ‘if I shoot 1000 bullets, one of them is bound to hit’ which is what Capcom did by making 50+ characters. Rather than worry about balance testing to the extreme(I mean really, how do you balance when you have teams of 3v3 with 3 kinds of assist per character… it’s an absurd number to try to test every possible combination), you have 40 or so crap characters that get very little tournament time if at all.

Almost anyone in the MvC2 forums could send you a huge list of improvements that could be made on the game. It’s not that users have found ways to make MvC2 balanced, it’s more like ‘just don’t use [xxxx, crap character, captain america, etc.] if you really want to win in a tournament.’

TTT might be a better example. I mean at least you have to be good at EWGF (which is arguably hard to execute well) to be decent. T5:DR is an even better example, but that’s a 2nd release of T5.

If you just want a history of MvC2 for the sake of having a history of MvC2, then check if SRK has some older posts of gamebreaking finds (Sent Unfly, team dynamics with spiral/cable/cyc, etc) and you can even go to for the days when Stilt argued that strider/doom was trash . Mr. Wiz might be able to help you out with getting the older articles about MvC2 and their dates.


the only positive thing you can write about marvel is that they designed it for players to be creative and for the most part, its the reason why its still around and still going strong. The engine was rather deep and the 52 characters able to form teams made the game have quite a few possibilities. You can design teams around any type of team chemistry you want and till this day, 8 years later, I’m still figuring out new teams and new things to the engine itself. Not new teams in the sense, well I haven’t paired these characters w\ each other yet but actual effective teams I can use vs other players and be able to compete.

Its hard to say if they intended for this game to be this deep but you can look @ a previous game, ST that had the same kind of following to it. It took over a decade I think for that game to be broken down to where it is now. Thats quite a progression for one game and imo, marvel is on the same path.

With all the glitches and the very little beta testing the game got, I’m not going to ever say marvel is supposed to be this way. I think the original developers had something similar in mind but the engine mechanics breaking down mid sequence which results in a random glitch didn’t seem to me to be there on purpose. The game is a fluke. Its a 1 hit wonder that could never be reduplicated. People actually play this game because of the engine not being 100% accurate 100% of the time. You’re bound to see the game fuck up and I think players like watching shit like that and simply laughing @ it.


oh yea, and here if you’re bored(google cache to the rescue). it’s late into the top-tier game development, but surprisingly, much hasn’t changed in the past 5 years lol


trends have driven marvel to evolve to where it is today. The teams have been in place for years, it’s simply taken individual innovation to take each character/team to a higher level for competitive play.

while the game isn’t balanced in the traditional sense, team function and matchups between assists/basic attack priority basically give it a decent rock/paper/scissors

I could help u out on aim or something, i’ve been playing this turd of a game since around 6 months into it’s release.


Try to understand joo or my videos as much as you can. that will give you a great insight on how we look at the game and how we make content for it. They say a lot about the game design aspect.


Thank you for all the help and links, I’ve been able to collect a fair amount of data on the early years of marvel. I have a couple specific questions if anyone can shed some light on them.

Pre-launch and early on lots of people were talking doom, Ice man, Blackheart. Cable was at the top right away due to the ease of AHVB and Sentinel was at least on peoples radars as a top contender. My question is when did it become apparent that Storm was dominant? I see talk about her and people already knew about her offscreen runaway and all that but they never ranked her in the top. Was it that people had yet to find out about hailstorm DHC’s?

My other confusion is magneto. He’s never even mentioned in the conversations about top tier in the beginning. From what I understood, the ROM infinite was around all the way back in MSH so why was he never even considered until later?

My last question is what really pushed Blackheart out? was he just too limited on point or too gimicky?


I’m not sure if people thought iceman was top tier from the start. Maybe someone else can clarify that. Icebeam projectile was easily figured out and countered.

I’ve been around for a while and iirc, storm was always dominant even from the start. It wasn’t until after b5 when viscant showed jwong the storm\sent dhc was actually doable 100% of the time if you timed it right.

Mag from the start was also dominant. It didn’t take people long to figure out the infinite because its identical to the one in xvsf iirc. Being one of a few characters who had insane hi\lo in a cast where 40+ characters don’t have an AD made him instantly good.

rom was in xvsf and maybe before that in a game like children of the atom. Not sure if magnus was in that. I’m not that super OG. but yea, the technique came from the previous games and people realized that it still worked.

BH @ the beginning was super annoying. Especially when paired up with doom, throwing pink shit+bh AA all day. B5 arturo all day ftw. I think once people figured out guard cancel timing and assists layering, he slowly got pushed out because his trap techniques got nerfed up which is what made him effective then. You can even argue that he’s not even top 10 anymore. The combination of figuring out the entire cast and more of the engine nuances pushed him further and further out away from the tops. Which is what happens with early tier listings. There could always be a character who’s ranked high early but drops spots due to discoveries in the cast and the engine.

The facts may be a little off because these are really old questions.




iceman realli didn’t phase anybody once people learned cable could ahvb a blocked icebeam…or aplha counter ahvb.

doom was high tier in the beg. cause it doesn’t take a genius to see how much his dam assist chips. then, the fact that his air combos took a lot, spawned a lot of doom teams like doom/sent/cyke and doom/storm/cyke…along with strider/doom…its been here forever!

storm has been around the whole time, its just the style of play has changed with her. but yeah, everybody knew something was wrong with her priority (too good, mainly sj.fp,, s.fp, s.rh) and everybody knew you could hailstorm an assist. the runaway game with her was used a lot more back in the day because people hadn’t developed mixups that were so dam hard to block upon landing.

blackheart got pushed out when everybody learned two things.
1)on block, you can pushblock to get out of the inferno xx HOD method of chipping and infinite him before he lands. (look at clockworks adv tactics video)
2)if BH hits cable with HOD, he can get free ahvb’s because the flying screen activates…bh dashes to try and keep up with the screen but cant get out of the ground fast enough to block.


Watch these videos…

Also, watch this CVS2 and UMK3 videos…

none top tier characters…




whats up killa!!!

and I’ve heard from multiple people that you can SJC HOD on hit. Something about a SJC during his FS animation and he can block cable. I don’t know if its true because I’ve never seen it on tape. Then again, I don’t play nor care about BH. I would like to see it though if someone has proof of it.


you can’t get your free beam on the computer because it does exactly what you say…just simply sj cancels out like it is easy as pie…but nobody has figured out how to do it. if somebody has learned how to do it blackheart would start being seen more i think.


advanced BH users use inferno xx qcb+pp on Cable and against those that know/can pushblock cancel out of inferno xx hod.

And BH is definitely still top 10 in the game. I think Viscant’s post is still pertinent and applicable, with IM getting even more facetime. BH as an assist is still a killer, and if you know how to use sj. jab and c. short with BH + right assist (i.e., cyclops or cc), then you have a decent point plus it’s exactly like Viscant says: block/get hit or move, you only have 2 options. Don’t forget that BH assist does as much damage as CC.

Mag being considered especially good started after ROM was shown at Evo 2k1 I believe. Duc or ShadyK could confirm the dates. Japanese players showed it at Evo, I believe during casuals. Then ShadyK and other top players fooled around with it, couldn’t catch on RIGHT away, but of course by the time next tourney showed up, Mag was now about 10x scarier than before. You didn’t have to be Jwong or ShadyK to wreck shop with Mag anymore. MSP also became a lot scarier with the advent of ROM injected into US players. Before ROM, Mag was limited to a few infinites that were largely escapable as well as limited crossups. The main defense against Mag was to learn how to mash out of hypergrav xx tempest and learn to block at key points (which are now indiscernable in a combo due to ROM).

Storm being top tier probably showed up not too long after her rushdown developed and that stupid DHC of lightning storm xx HSF was used. I’m not sure who developed that first, but that changed the game a lot. I honestly think that DHC is one of the greatest imbalances in the game because 2 meter character kills were not possible before unless you had glitched Jug on your team. And in that case, at least Jug is a liability… Storm and Sentinel are not in the least bit.

Spiral being top tier is interesting, as I’ve actually seen random good Spiral players long before the days of Duc. People messed around with Spiral/IM-A and other assists, but Duc came up with Spiral/Sent-g which to this day, there is no better version of a trap for Spiral.

If you can get a hold of Viscant, he could prob give you the best summary of MvC2 with timelines.


I’m probably too late with this thread, but here’s my two cents anyway. Marvel imo is and isn’t balanced. What broke this game was character specific abilities, abilities that even without an assist, are enough to dominate the lower tiers. Things like 8-way air dash cnaceling and fast-fly/un-fly. Because of this, low tier characters were almost abolished from the game competetively as someone will always have a top tier team. People still did and still do use low tier characters, but they have to work insane ammounts harder to gain results.

What the game turned into on the other hand, was extremely balanced. This eradication of the low tiers, created a new, scene created game which while had many broken aspects, was balanced to the point where every competetive character stood a chance. The game was in fact so broken, that it became balance by default as every available option they needed to survive was there; for the top tiers. The team aspect of Marvel helped it out so much as it offered players the choice of counter picking with their team order. In a game like Marvel, a decision like that can determine the outcome of a match. It offered the chance of there always being a weakness to any top team and in my opinion, that’s extremely balanced.


From one game design teacher to another: Marvel isn’t balanced. It’s an example I use regularly for a “tried to do too much” game, ie too many characters with too small a testing window. They needed nothing more than time.

Super Turbo is by far the most balanced fighter I have ever played. If you want to use a fighter as an example, it’s a good one. Starcraft is another example, though it involves VERY heavy patching, which you said you didn’t want. I guess fighters it is then, because competitive arcade and console gaming mostly begins and ends with …well, us! :stuck_out_tongue:

That actually sounds pretty cool…I never realized that this forums is sort of the hub of all things. ^^


Marvel isn’t balanced out of the box, but-- with so much going on with the game engine and character arsenals/repertoire, coupled with the fact that you create unique team chemistry with three separate characters with xx possible assist combinations-- it was next to impossible for Capcom to even be expected to do so.

Instead, for the same reasons as above, we get a game that rewards players who are knowledgeable about the many combinations of variables, engine nuances, match-ups, specific game scenarios, etc. etc. Of course this is true of all fighters/competitive games, but IMO marvel has soo much going on that the smarts/experience required to play at top level is magnified that much more.

What this all means to me is that we aren’t done ‘balancing’ Marvel out quite yet. God-tier does have tricks lows can’t always replicate or work around, but something like xx/Tron/AA is getting closer to even ground against MSP/MSS/SSCC etc. especially when the xx = Morrigan or Rogue or Chun or any of the mobile bum characters.

IMHO low tier is on the up and up and its only going to get scarier. Many of the lesser used characters have some wacky workable angles and bags of tricks.