Let me preface this with some information about me. I’m not a SFxT naysayer. I’m a huge Street Fighter and Tekken fan. I’ve been waiting for something like SFxT to come along since Namco first announced Namco X Capcom. I’ve been nothing but optimistic about this game since its announcement. When pandora was announced, I shrugged. When gems were announced, I was hype (except about the auto-throw-tech gems, but those fears have since been quelled). That being said, timers have recently come into mind as something that I’m EXTREMELY worried about, enough to make this post. I was watching this week’s WNF, and as Seth was asked about timers, he just laughed and said he heard the exact same things when MvC3 came out, and eventually it wouldn’t be an issue. I’m here to explain why I believe the situation is different, and why it needs to be addressed.
1. The math doesn’t add up.
Here’s a video of the two timers in action. http://youtubedoubler.com/3gV3
SF4 has the exact same timer as SFxT, but you have double the life to go through. I know some people will complain that this isn’t a valid argument, because people will be losing after only one character is done. However, I believe it is safe to say that on average, the average life totals will be at LEAST 1.5x as much, and more likely closer to 2x, because of recovery due to grey life. Despite this, damages in both games look fairly comparable so far, in which the DPS (damage per second) in SFxT may even possibly be lower. I know some of you will disagree with that statement, so here is evidence.
SF4: 40%ish dmg, 6 seconds. And don’t tell me Fei Long is squishy, he has 1k, exactly average.
SFxT: A very similar combo (few heavy hits into super) 40%ish (with an attack boost gem, mind you), 8 seconds. Against Ryu, probably also average health.
Based on this information, timers should be approximately 1.5x-2x longer. Even a 1.5x increase, while on the lower end of the scale, would go a long way in making rounds feel more comfortable.
2. It will become more difficult to have “close” or “patient” rounds.
You know what I mean. MvC3-type no XF pixel to pixel matches, or SF4 fireball wars with both contestants with a hit left. Hype matches. It might happen for the first characters, but getting all four characters down to low HP would probably leave you with like… 15-20 seconds max on the timer. If you’re behind, there’s no time for you to sit back for a little bit like in SF4 and wait for an opportunity to open. You have to attack at every possible moment you can. There’s no room for patience.
Let’s face it, in a close match, everyone likes seeing someone get the last hit in or KO, and no-one wants to see a time out. It’s an anti-climactic ending, and there’s no reason to increase the number of time-outs because the timers aren’t adjusted to match with the respective health totals. Yes I understand the purpose of having a timer, and why the tournament standard isn’t infinite time, but time outs should be the exception to prevent exceptionally long games from continuing, not the rule.
3. Casuals, casuals, casuals.
The main argument that I’ve heard against timers being too short is that eventually we’ll figure out how to maximize our damage, and the timers won’t be an issue anymore. However, the problem with this argument is it leaves out the vast majority of people who aren’t tournament players, and just want to play some games online. Nothing will be more frustrating and an instant turn off from a fighting game than if a large number of games are going to time out. If there’s an online option for infinite time, this is not a problem. If it’s like MvC3 and there is no option to play without infinite time, then this WILL become an issue for casuals. If we want this game to actually become something monumental, timers should not be adjusted so that professional players with the best possible combos don’t have to worry about timers, they should be long enough so that normal people can finish a round comfortably.
Again, I can’t stress enough how much I WANT SFxT to succeed. I think it CAN be the best game ever. If this change is made, I think it will make the game better for viewers and better for players. I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why the timers should NOT be lengthened, and I believe I’ve provided several reasons as to why they should.