I’m going to assume for the second question you’re mostly talking about gloryholing via PSN/Xbox Live, rather than engaging in player matches with friends in premade rooms and the like.
Q1- Assume a fighting game with premade characters, with no multiplayer/online option. Do you find the game too repetitious/boring after you have mastered (learned all the moves and killed the last boss several times with ease) the game easily? Or do you continue playing? If yes why?
**A1-**Not really; mostly because I don’t consider myself a very investigative player. Thanks to the Internet, I’m pretty much constantly aware via match videos, combo videos, etc. that there’s always some new trick or new perspective on a character I could apply to find something new and fun to play with, such as learning a new combo/setup, a new glitch, or just a particularly fun and abusable tactic to use against the CPU. With that in mind, I’ve always got my ear to the ground for something new to try in a game I’ve recently “conquered”. Revisiting a game after a couple weeks/months/years “away” playing a different game also helps me look at a previously visited title with a better eye for new and interesting things in the “same old” game. This isn’t just true of fighting games, obviously, it applies a lot more readily to the non-fighting games I play.
Q2- Assume a fighting game with multiplayer/online option, but with premade characters only. Do you find the game to be repetitious/boring if you frequently fight against the same character despite the fact the player is different? Please state why?
A2- I think it does become a little tedious for me in certain titles, particularly fresh after such a title’s release when the game’s transient casual population (i.e. scrubby people who buy the game, get steamrolled and/or distracted by other games, and then for the most part never come back) is much higher and you tend to see a lot more of the casual favorites. In SF4 with Ken/Ryu I mostly thought it was funny, but that was because I was playing my scrubby Bison, and he has a toolset that’s been basically designed since Super Turbo around baiting flowchart Shotos. I noticed it a lot more in BlazBlue, where it seems like I couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a Jin, Ragna, or Noel. I guess I found it a bit more monotonous in that game because there was a lot less room for blundering into a huge random reversal like in SF4 with Ultras; it was more a matter of bludgeoning them to death over and over with the same B&B setup that they didn’t know how to escape/predict and waiting for the next interchangeable Ice Car spammer.
Q3- Would you prefer a fighting game in which you can create your own character with advanced customization tools to make the character as personal as possible to you – Or would you prefer premade characters you may be familiar with from previous versions (i.e. Ryu from SF Series) Please state why?
**A3-**I have actually always been a great fan of games like Armored Core/Final Fantasy Tactics where you can customize your characters’ abilities “down to the bone”, as it were, and I have always wanted to see that approach applied a bit more in-depth to a versus game (Armored Core has some good Versus, but it’s entirely too obscure to have any real cross-genre influence). I wouldn’t say that I PREFER this approach to the traditional “prefab” approach in fighting games, but I certainly would like to see more of it, at least in games with a focus on versus play similar to “traditional” fighting games.
Q4- Would you prefer premade moves in a fighting game or would you like to customize and be able create your own moves? Please state why?
A4- Premade, carefully balanced moves are definitely the safer option, and I would prefer to see them used. As any number of hilarious Fighter Maker YouTube videos have proven, giving users free reign to make their own techniques – particularly people of the SRK “anything to win” mentality (no offense meant by that statement) – is a surefire way to get a game that’s as ugly to watch as it is broken to play.
Q5- Would you prefer a character with same abilities throughout the entire game (such as characters in SF Series) or would you like to see character progress such as leveling up, choosing abilities and so on.?
A5- As a former WoW addict, I am fundamentally opposed to any kind of system of “grinding for abilities” in multiplayer games, ESPECIALLY where it pertains to versus play. People shouldn’t be held back by the artificial time constraint of having to unlock what will (in multiplayer) be BASIC character functionality; people should be able to dive in headfirst and be fully equipped if they so desire. Cosmetic functionality can be linked to “leveling up” a la Virtua Fighter/Tekken (i.e. new costumes/colors, things that have no effect on gameplay), but not mechanical functionality.
**Q6- **Fighting games often keep story in the game itself to the minimum. Would you prefer seeing more storytelling in a fighting game or do you think it would be too much?
**A6-**Fighting game stories are only good when they’re ironic/tongue-in-cheek, and preferably minimalist. The prime examples of this (perhaps the archetypical examples) would be the Street Fighter and King of Fighters franchises, where the characters are given enough backstory to somewhat justify their in-game personality, but never so much to distract you from the focus of the game, which is fighting another little pixelated dude for what is effectively no logical reason. Minimalism is preferable to keep the game from being too bogged down in what will inevitably be the shortcomings/holes of its plot, but goofiness like in Guilty Gear/Battle Fantasia’s story mode helps. Games with a more hardcore “visual novel” approach like Melty Blood/BlazBlue really turn me off, partially because I think Japanese visual-novel-style storytelling is terrible (empirical fact: IT IS), and because it seems to me like the demands of the story mode seem to have had undesirable influence on the overall character design, which carries over into the versus mode. Case in point, Noel in BlazBlue. Mechanically, she’s fascinating and solidly designed just like the rest of the cast. But she’s designed as much for the game’s kawaii sugoi wai-wai anime story mode as any of the other characters, and her disgustingly meek/stupid tendencies as they proceed from that story mode (and that stupid voice of hers, in both languages) really turn me off ever playing as her.
So no, no more storytelling in fighting games, please. Unless it’s goofy as hell and intentionally semi-stupid, like JoJo’s Super Story Mode. Best Story Mode EVER, by far. Any and all story events should be accompanied by a WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP as a still image slowly approaches your screen.
Q7- In a multiplayer/online fighting game; if you have mastered the game really well and you have not faced any challenging opponents for quite awhile, do you stop playing or do you enjoy easy opponents? Please state why?
In that case, I usually just stop playing on XBL/PSN/whatever and run through my friends list/IRC/etc. and find somebody to play against who’s not some random chump the lobby filter brings up, be they from SRK, RL friends/family, or other people I have a prior relationship with in fighting games. I’m rarely at a loss for challenging opponents, which really just another way of saying I’m not that great at most fighting games. Believe me, I’m in no danger of mastering any game I play anytime soon.
Q8- Do you prefer challenging opponents or easy opponents in a fighting game. Please state why?
**A8- ** If I’m feeling lazy and relaxing at home, I like easy opponents, but if I’m playing somebody I actually know, I much prefer a challenge, because the “release” of winning (or at least surviving a round) is a lot more satisfactory. Hell, the release from things like timing-specific combos or setups feels a lot more impressive against a challenging opponent, because of the associated adrenaline rush and subsequent release as you escape “danger”. The adrenaline wakes you up, and the games feel a lot more satisfying, whereas relaxed games against easy opponents tend to get tedious a lot faster.
Q9- Do you find fighting games in general to be repetitive which eventually turns to be repetitious in short time?
A9- Against a training dummy, things tend to get tedious, but against a live opponent, I don’t find them particularly repetitious, even in slow, pokey games like CvS2. The tactile “feel” of successfully connected hits or chunky blockstrings seems to keep my fingers amused enough, as does things that require your full attention like dancing around playing footsies or wakeup baiting with a loaded super meter.
Q10- If you think fighting games easily become repetitious, do you think adding character customization, move customization, story, character progress such as leveling up etc. would keep the game less repetitious? Which ones do you think would help the most? (Please note: Repetitive is not necessarily negative, repetitious is. With customization etc. a game can still have repetitive gameplay)
**A10-**Character customization in the form of CvS2-style grooves is always welcome to me, and it’s a system I wish I’d see in more games (that aren’t Arcana Heart). These kinds of systems not only add new fun factor to many characters, but they often prove to make certain borderline characters more powerful in a given setup. Same goes for EX characters a la KOF '98, where they have most of the same normals with different specials and/or gameplay focus. That’s the kind of stuff I’d be really comfortable with, particularly because it’s relatively easy for even the laziest/most overburdened dev teams to put in, thus guaranteeing that the game wouldn’t, say, die a horrible death in development hell.
As for cosmetic character customization, I am a sucker for cowboy hats. I would love to see more games where you can give Ryu an afro or some shit. Nothing that affects mechanical gameplay, obviously, but I’m never opposed to silly dress-up gimmicks.
Move customization I would be hesitant about less because of the potential balance issues of certain moves/builds overpowering/hard-countering others than I would because I think they’d lend themselves to a lot more bugs that make the game either unplayable or really, REALLY dumb a la Fighter Maker shenanigans. Depending on how the game’s development went, things could get really ugly.
As long as story mode doesn’t interfere unduly with the character/aesthetic design for versus mode and the like, developers are welcome to do more with it, I think. But please, spare me the anime melodrama and bring on the random shit-talking a la SvC: Chaos. Or JoJo’s Super Story Mode. Did I mention how awesome that mode was?
No leveling up, please. Ever. Not unless it’s purely cosmetic/bragging rights a la Virtua Fighter/Tekken. I didn’t quit WoW just to start grinding for a bigger fireball.