What's more important: Balance or Uniqueness? What are the pros/cons of favoring each?


The title says it all. However I also phrase this hypothetical so as to encourage people to think.

Character A and character B are two completely unique characters that have a total of 10 fighting moves each. Right now, A beats B 6-4 as far as the matchup goes. You are given two options in terms of character change:

  1. Leave them alone and let it stay as a 6-4 matchup.
  2. Change only 1 single move of B’s so that it more closely resembles and/or becomes a duplicate of a move of A’s. It is confirmed this will turn the matchup into a 5-5 matchup.

Which option would you prefer?

The developers have done it! Praise the FG Gods they’ve created perfect balance and uniqueness! However a new problem has arisen, the players are still complaining! “This sucks, where’s our underdogs, where’s our David vs. Goliath matches that were 7-3 or at least 6-4???”

The developers anger has now turned into depression and crying. There’s no way they can make both perfect Uniqueness and Balance but also have the hypeness that can arise from a truly imbalanced fight!

What is the best compromise to make? Should a compromise be made at all??? Should we solely go for uniqueness and balance or should we purposely allow some imbalance here and there?


Definitely keep them 6-4, there’s no need to balance it. If you change character B’s option to help him in that fight, it eventually becomes the only tool they will use making the fight predictable. If you said let’s say 8-2 matchups, maybe considering a re-balance is viable, but 6-4’s are really just theory. You wouldn’t be able to use that formula for 39+ characters, implying it was SF4 related.


Make a game too balanced, and it’s boring as fuck.
Hype moments are generated when the random underdog comes back and breaks down the wall.

This is why nobody played MSH vs. SF. It’s arguably the most balanced in the entire Marvel series, but nobody gives two shits over a fuck on a cold day in hell about it.


Is all about the equilibrium on balancing the games while retaining uniqueness across the cast.
They are not mutually exclusive, but by the mere fact of having different types of characters with different strategies and play styles is inevitable that some unbalance will arise.

The key to minimize the impact imo, is trying to have a good balance between risk reward ratio, a balanced character has weakness, but his strengths help him cover them while not making said weakness negligible.

I disagree with this, a game too balanced is not equal to a boring game.
It all depends on how the balance is achieved, just because capcom can’t balance their games without neutering the characters doesn’t mean that all games that try to achieve balance end being boring.

Look at GG for example, with each iteration the game become more and more balanced, yet never lost is fun factor, i will even say that each iteration became more fun to play, because the characters always felt strong even in their bad matchups.


Then let me clarify.
If it’s balanced because of the engine, like Vampire or Guilty Gear, it’s fine.
If it’s balanced because every character is fucking mediocre as balls, like AE2012, it’s boring as fuck.

That more accurate?


Almost, but GG and VS are balanced not just because the engine, but also because the characters have strong tools.
One thing that i noticed is that in both games the characters are not relegated to a single strategy, for example Venom on GG while a zoner he can still try to get in and play a rushdown style :slight_smile:


At the end of the day…
balance is overrated. Just play to have fucking fun. If you’re out to win, then pick a top tier.

Also… You mentioned Venom. Best character design ever. Every character should have that many tools.


look at LoL they don’t give a shit about total char balance unless it’s broke


Go with option two. The two characters currently have 100% completely unique moves. Moving to 90% unique is a small price to pay for turning a 6-4 matchup to a 5-5 one. I disagree with the idea that hype moments can only be created by overcoming bad match-ups. The hypeness that happens on the rare times that Wesker gets in on Morrigan is more than overcome by the complete boredom of watching the majority of times that this match-up happens and Wesker just dies doing nothing.

IMHO the best hype happens when due to “player match-ups”, not “character match-ups”. Storm/Sentinel/Captain Commando vs Colossus/Ryu/Guile might be hype once out of a hundred times. An Akuma mirror featuring Tokido and Infiltration is hype every time.


Because no thread like this is complete without a reference to this old Dom101 article.


Balance (more accurately, character balance) is just a buzzword people on the internet throw around because they are unable to talk about games’ mechanics and nature on a deeper level.

One could make an argument “I think MVC3’s neutral game ends up being simpler than it could have been because there are no upward vectors of attack that are effective enough, which in turn makes the game based on either attacking horizontally or attacking downwards from the air.” Agree or disagree, it’s still an argument that required some effort in analyzing the verbalizing an issue, and all later discussion on it will also require similar effort.

And one could also make an argument of “durr hurr vergil durr hurr doom durr zero.”

The latter doesn’t require much thought so that’s the main criticism you end up getting on basically every competitive game on the internet.


What about the other characters? If the character change will turn a 6-4 matchup into a 5-5 will it turn a different matchup from 5-5 to 6-4? That’d result in a net -10% character uniqueness while not “improving” any matchups. Aiming for as many 5-5 matchups as possible while also trying to make the characters as unique as possible looks easy if you’re only considering 2 characters, but gets exponentially more difficult as you account for more and more of the cast.


Personally, I think this habit of numerically quantifying matchups is useless and inaccurate. There’s so much more that goes into matchups than saying “Character A gets a 7-3 matchup over Character B.”

To answer the question, there’s not much to say that hasn’t been said already, because the answer’s fairly obvious. Stress uniqueness as much as possible and balance around a large variety of tools and options.


What I have learned is that the 6-4 match will change if enough people complain about it, so thoughtful opinions hardly ever matter. The common knee-jerk reaction always seems to win these days. Tho, I agree with the common consensus in this thread.


A 6-4 ain’t even bad… People are just lazy as fuck.
I play Super Turbo Blanka… You think I complain? Well… I do, only against DJ though. Fuck that motherfucker. But then again… that’s a 9/1 matchup in his favor. It’s harder than Rog, Claw, Sim, and O.Gat, all of which are 8/2 against Blanka. There’s only two matchups in Blanka’s favor (Gief is about a 8/2 and Hawk about 7/3), and there’s only about 3 even matchups, and they’re SLIGHTLY in the opponent’s favor (Guile, Dictator, and N.Ken).

But seriously… Man up and stop being lazy fucks and deal with your bad matchups. It’s part of growing as a player.


People are just lazy or spoiled. I’ll never forget how Cap competed for a world record for the fastest major nerf in FG history, they nerfed Sentinel in liek a week after the initial complaint (over exaggeration alert But that shit still happened, damn fast).

I hear calls to nerf Gen and Sakura even though they were deemed “bullshit” just a version, ago. And the calls were the exact opposite back then. So wait, you want Capcom focus on making these 2 characters perfect?


Sentinel didn’t even need the nerf… Dark Phoenix and Wolverine’s dive kick needed the nerfs.
In fact, if DP activation caused you to lose your XFac, she’d have been balanced right there. That, and just fix the dive kick’s hitbox, and done… The other things, like Tron’s assist, while bullshit, weren’t even CLOSE to that level of stupid.

Thanks, kneejerk bullshit.


Balance is fun when its not retarded as fuck.
If you wanna design a character, don’t fucking design a character to be horrible while in the same game designing another character to be godlike.

Make everyone good in their own way so we don’t get cases like 3s chun, vsav talbain (fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you), and AE yun.


Comparing 3S Chun to Gallon and Yun…

Also, in regards to SOMET things… a la Dan… He shouldn’t be equal. he’s a joke character, and people asking for him to be buffed to A-tier are fucking delusional.


Joke character meaning bad character is the dumbest shit. SNK knows this, ASW knows this, even NRS kniws this. Tou can keep the hilarity of Dan being a joke without the character being ass.