Lets just say a vortex is a semi-safe to safe multiple attack/mixup strategy from a knockdown that can repeat itself if it lands or that puts you and the opponent in a neutral state if they block it all.
Question for discussion
How would you go about tweaking the characteristics of the vortex so that it didn’t bother you as much? On the flip side, if you feel the power of vortexes are being blown out of proportion somewhat, state your opinions on this matter as well.
Remaining Post Organization
This post is organized into possible direct changes to vortexes and possible indirect system changes that will have a strong affect on vortexes. Next, the minority side of simply “manning up” and improving one’s defense is promoted. Lastly, the idea of giving certain characters better escape (ESCAPE, not reversal) options from their specials (most likely ex specials) is proposed as another method for dealing with vortexes.
To change a vortex directly or indirectly, that is the question.
As has been shown by others, there are actually two ways to change vortexes. You can change them directly by tweaking them in some way, but you can also indirectly change them by enacting system-wide changes. This in my opinion is a more extreme way of dealing with vortexes as it not only affects them, but affects the entire game and overall feel of SF4. It has been suggested that a safer way of going about this is focusing on changes on a character-by-character basis and not so much as on a system-wide basis. None-the-less, they will still be taken into account.
Direct Vortex Changes
[*]** 1) Limit the amount of guesswork involved in a vortex (most hard to explain suggestion): **
Very basic untrue example: If a Vortex has two attacks, each of which involves 2 truly safe truly 50/50 mixups, then you have a 50% chance of avoiding the first mixup multiplied by a 50% chance of avoiding the second mixup. You are left with a 25% chance of avoiding the vortex. Obviously SF is 10 times more complicated than this otherwise vortex characters would have 8-2 and 9-1 advantages pretty much, but it still feels like the guesswork is a little too imbalanced on the defenders side.
One option for fixing this can involve limiting the amount of mixup choices for one attack in the sequence of the vortex. Hypothetical example: Let’s say you’re at attack number 3 in your vortex sequence of 4 strong mixup attacks. At this point, you have the choice of low, dp, command throw, or regular throw. That’s 4 options. A nerf is enacted that changes the range of the command throw and/or regular throw. One or both of these no longer becomes an option at this point in the vortex and thus reduces your mixup options from 4 down to 3 or 2.
The other way is limiting the total amount of mixup attacks within the vortex sequence as a whole. A hypothetical example would be increasing pushback to where blocking two mixups in the vortex now puts the attacker out of range for what would normally have been their third mixup. This vortex just decreased from 3 mixup attacks down to 2.
[*]2) Limit the damage payoff of vortexes:
This is simply another option, not the end all be all answer.
[*]3) Make the ability to reset the vortex be harder to achieve
If the vortex has many options of which all can reset the vortex, than perhaps make some of those options just do damage but cause the opponent to be free of the vortex.
Quick note: I understand that nerfing the vortex side of characters most likely means buffing their more “honest” playstyles in order to compensate for this.
Indirect System Changes that Strongly Affect Vortexes
[*]1) Lower frame count on knockdowns to where safe jumps are still possible but vortex shenanigans are not (or at least are more difficult/situational).
While this may seem insignificant, it is honestly a radical change and would affect the entire flow of SF4 and have many unforeseen consequences for better or worse. It’s also questionable as to whether this change is even effective/possible. Some vortexes might be able to come out just as quick as safe jumps in the first place. Also, this entirely affects the setups of every character in the game with respect to their options on the opponent’s wakeup, not just vortex characters.
[*]2) Allow multiple wakeup timing options in addition to just quickrise
generic examples: 1) super-quickrise: faster than quick. 2) semi-quickrise: a rise somewhere in between quick and slow. This opens up a can of worms and can honestly go so far as to risk giving the opponent on defense too many defensive options. What normally would have been an offensive situation from a knockdown could now end up borderline neutral situation. Also, many attacks such as sweeps and throws and certain normals/specials are purposely made to only allow for one type of rise. You are meant to have a high reward for landing these attacks for whatever reason. However there is always the possibility that if done correctly and highly situationally, this could make the game richer. On the other hand, it might end up making the game too complex; there’s a fine line between richness and tedious complexity in fighting games.
[*]3) Allow for rolls.
This would be game-changing, and I tend to err more on the side of game-ruining when I think game-changing. However Capcom has had experience implementing rolls in their past fighters as well as their most recent fighter SFxT. I believe Eternal makes a good point that adding rolls tends to homogenize the metagame towards safe pokes and fast high lows while hurting knockdown mixup and pressure. The question remains as to whether SF4 fans want their game to have rolls (assuming it could be done correctly), or if they genuinely prefer and appreciate their game without rolls. I have the feeling that it is too early for Capcom to be incorporating game-changing aspects such as rolls from their other fighters into SF4.
I am not afraid of vortexes! Man Up!
The minority who take the stance of simply manning up should not be discounted. Improve your gameplay. Vortexes absolutely destroy beginners but can be managed better as a player’s skill improves. It is good to keep this in mind. While the verdict is still out as to whether vortexes are slightly too unfair and/or braindead stupid, we need to accept that some form of them has always been in Sf incarnates and will most likely always remain. It does not have to be a bad thing; vortexes are a good test of your patience, courage, and defensive prowess.
Forget this! Give me the strength to run away!
Here’s another interesting thing to consider. While vortexes are strong, their strength is nullified by the ability to completely escape them! ex) I’ve recently picked up Yang. His ex dash is one of the best escape tools out there. If I’ve got some meter and I don’t feel like dealin with a pesky vortex I see coming, I ex dash to freedom on wakeup. Many characters in this game have powerful ex escape moves. However, many of these moves are not full proof, and if there’s a way to punish them, pros will definitely find a way. Maybe all some characters who suffer from vortexes need are better escape options (most likely involving meter).