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Fights On the subject of Invincible Fullscreen Unblockables

Discussion in 'Feedback & Suggestions' started by missingno, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. missingno

    missingno Member

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    After a, uh, heated discussion on Discord the other day, I was asked to post a more detailed writeup of my thoughts on the matter here. Strap in, 'cause this is gonna be long and blunt. And if a fight breaks out, I'm just gonna blame @Liam so go yell at him instead of me.

    But before I get into my own thoughts, I'd like to defer to a much smarter man who also has very strong opinions about things fighting games should and should not do. Start at 53:51 if the embed doesn't automatically jump there.



    One of the most important principles of fighting game design is that everything should have a clear way to beat it. From general concepts like attack/block/throw to more specific cases like DPing to beat a meaty, there should always be some sort of answer to anything your opponent throws at you.

    But when a fighting game includes unblockables, whether by design or by those 1f "hard-to-block-able" mixups, you can expect devious players to look for ways to create truly unavoidable setups with them, trapping the opponent so that there is no way to counter it. Worst case scenario, you may even get loops where the attacker can do the setup over and over until the opponent is dead, and there is nothing left that can be done once they get you in that loop. This is what Mike demonstrates with the UMvC3 clip, where Firebrand is able to charge up the unblockable while the assist holds his opponent in place, and can keep doing this until the entire enemy team is dead, and it will always work regardless of anything the opponent tries to do.

    Still, some games do choose to include unblockables while carefully including failsafes to prevent setting them up. At the start of the segment I linked, Mike mentioned that if you really insist on having unblockables, they should at least be special-cased so that you can block them if you are already in blockstun - this would've stopped Firebrand from using an assist to trap the opponent like that. It's the same principle as how most every fighting game after SF2 doesn't let you tick throw while the opponent is still in blockstun, you have to get them while they are able to act and could've tried to do something about it.

    For another type of failsafe Mike didn't mention, Tekken is a good case study in how to have unblockables but keep them fair. The game doesn't have assists and there aren't many examples of ways to hold an opponent in blockstun while you're free to try and charge one up, so as far as I know no setups exist (Disclaimer: I've only ever played Tekken off and on casually so I have no idea if there actually are some setups I don't know about). But besides just not having a way to create setups, Tekken also makes its unblockables very slow and telegraphed, signaling to the opponent that they need to do something in response. When you see an unblockable coming, you have two options to try and deal with it:
    • Hit them first and interrupt the startup
    • Move out of the way so it whiffs
    Which brings me to SG Mobile and its Invincible Fullscreen Unblockables, or BB3s as I think you kiddos like to call them. There are normally two ways to beat an unblockable, but BB3s negate both of them. You can't hit them out of something that's invincible, and you usually* can't dodge something that's fullscreen. And even if they weren't fullscreen, the limited movement options in this game can still put you in positions where dodging is not possible, try Charge Attacks in the corner for a similar effect.
    *I have seen Filia and Parasoul manage to use their own invincibility frames to dodge, Peacock and Painwheel may also be able to do this too, but in my experience this is extremely difficult to do consistently since you'd have to predict the exact timing they will super, and it won't work at all on longer supers that outlast your active frames. And since doing it too early causes the super to just wait for the iframes to end, I assume you weren't supposed to be able to do this in the first place.

    So as a result, BB3's are almost completely unavoidable, and you don't even need to come up with a special setup for this. You click the button, it will hit, no matter what the opponent is doing. There is no possible counterplay here, making it a completely uninteractive mechanic. In many cases they can do enough damage to straight up kill a character from full health, leaving you to reflect on the fact that there was nothing you could've done about that, no amount of player skill that would've changed the outcome. If I see my opponent get to full meter, I know that I'm already dead.

    Now, when discussing this the other day, I was told three potential ways to get around BB3s:
    • Kill them before they build the meter
    • Be beefy enough to tank the hit
    • Just sacrifice one character then let the rest finish the job.
    But none of those are reliable or consistent solutions, as this game's RPG mechanics ensure that it is not always possible to do any of these. High level Prize Fights and late game Expert missions expect you to beat opponents way above your level, with stats big enough that you can't kill them that quickly, tanking is not an option as you definitely will die, and if it's a 1vX mission then you can't make any sacrifices either. When it's virtually guaranteed that they will build the meter and they will kill you, then what?

    At first this problem may have been less obvious since most of those late game missions, as well as the bots when you're already at the top of Prize Fighter, did not carry supers at all, so you didn't have to worry about them often. But now 1.2.1 has 'fixed' this, so you can be subjected to BB3s on top of having all the numbers stacked against you. You can still get lucky and retry until they aren't carrying the BB3, but that's still just temporarily sidestepping the problem, you will still have those unlucky fights that rob you of your Prize Fight streak and/or energy. It's never fun to put the player in a position where they are nearly guaranteed to lose regardless of what they do, is it?

    And even if just grinding your way out of these predicaments was an option, is that really a healthy thing for the game to have? Should player skill take a backseat to hard barriers that literally say "your numbers must be this big to pass" with no other way out? BB3s completely nullify player skill, ultimately reducing the game to a stat check any time they're involved. To me that sort of thing makes the game feel less like a fighting game with some RPG elements and more like a grinding treadmill that's only vaguely fighting game-flavored.

    I think I've rambled on about game design long enough now, so for anyone who read all that and still thinks BB3s are fine the way they are, I'll leave you with a dare to prove me wrong. Try and take The 1.2.1 BB3 Challenge:
    • Find this mission located in Expert Going All In, River King Casino.
    • Retry until you see one or both opponents carrying a BB3. Might take a few refreshes before one shows up.
    • Prove to me that this is at all winnable! And for extra credit, can it be consistently done by any character, without just getting lucky or abusing a specific overpowered ability or effect?
     
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  2. BambooEarpick

    BambooEarpick Member

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    A well argued and thoughtful post, missingno.

    This will sound stupid but I don't think they are exceptionally unhealthy for the game because it's a RPG-type game. Yes, if you're fighting a team much higher level than you are, even if you're skilled, you'll lose. That's an eventuality that must be accepted in games that weave RPG elements into themselves.

    One example are MMORPGs. There is most definitely an amount of skill that goes into PvP in say, World of Warcraft. However, a huge level difference or gearing difference will allow the less skilled player to beat a skilled player because of how numbers smash together.

    That being said, I don't mean to say that I love getting 1HKO'd by an opponent without much recourse. Right now I manage BB3s by watching how close they are to completing it. Once they're close I'll try to "snap back" them to tag in a different team member until my BB3 is charged. Then when the previously almost (or completely) full BB3 character comes back in I land my BB3 first to hopefully seal the deal. It's not entirely an elegant solution but it works sometimes.

    -----

    In the era of mobile games that base their revenue system on people spending money on gatchas I think power walls are unavoidable. It's annoying, sure, but how much did you spend to actually download and play the game?
    Does that mean they can push out a steaming pile of garbo? (This game is not a steaming pile of garbo) Of course not.

    If not for BB3s would you be able to steam roll everyone? That's not true either. You'd reach a natural wall by not being able to finish fights fast enough just because of differences in power vs defense.

    I feel like the distillation of the problem with BB3s is less about BB3s and more about RPG based grinding. Unfortunately, if that's the problem then we're at sort of an impasse.

    -----

    I do not, in the slightest, take your argument lightly or as folly. I think you, and those who share your sentiments, may just be looking for a game that is not this one.
     
    Quirkilicious and missingno like this.
  3. ThanatosDK

    ThanatosDK Active Member

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    I don't think making a way to block bb3 would undermine the idea of mobage as a whole.
    It would however bring bb3 in line with other BBs, which is where it should be. The "wall" in the game should come from stats, like a 3k fighter barely chipping an 8k fighter with full combos. Instead the "wall" is coming from equal level opponents where the opponent selected happened to have a good BB3 that will trump you. This makes it specially hard when you are trying to level up your weaker characters with 1 carry character in Prize Fights, you'll sometimes get 1shot by a tag out surprise bb3 (PF carries because they took out quick fights and I've finished all of the story mode so bye decent exp).
     
  4. Poringsmasher

    Poringsmasher Member

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    I said this in the thread about invincibility frames in BBs but I feel like the damage of BB3s should be toned down to make up for the fact that it's guaranteed safe, unblockable and unavoidable.

    In basically any other fighting game as you said you have ways to deal with moves like this but not here. I think toning down the damage is the easiest and most fair way to keep them still quite good and usable without having to do anything major. I mean, this is a stripped down touched based fighter with limited movement so there's only so much you can do. You'd still run into situations where a much higher level fighter can take you out with them, and then it's more like a "berserk timer" you'd find in RPGs/MMOs that shows you aren't high enough/geared enough to win yet.
     
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  5. ONI666

    ONI666 New Member

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    I am against making unblockable moves avoidable in any ways, otherwise might as well remove the unblockable tag in first place.
    Now, nerfing them down some i can get behind with, but only if it's not a nerf as serious that would just bring them to the same levels of normal blockbusters in terms of damage.

    I know "pro players" tend to disagree that randomess can be a fun factor because they surely dislike being OTK'd by players who are otherwise below their skill level...but largest portion of a player base is composed by casuals and i think they deserve a chance to shine too, even if that is not brought forth by actuall skills. :rolleyes:
     
  6. moisterrific

    moisterrific Well-Known Member

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    git gud lol
     
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  7. RedBeene

    RedBeene New Member

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    Personally I prefer the unblockable BB3's. Even before my main team reached 20k, every fight was too easy without them. When my team reached 14k I could take out 22k aeon/Venus teams with a single 4.2k Filia. That's obviously too easy. The only thing that adds a challenge even now (although still barely) is the unblockable nature of the moves. I can't just block-combo-block-combo win now, I have to play aggressive or game the AI so that it switches out before using its BB3. I don't think the added strategy of sacrificing one character with low health to a BB3 so the other two can finish up is at all an onus.

    As for that level in Going All In, I just replayed it with my Headstrong Cerebella, lvl 30 (which you should have a level 30 bronze if you're doing expert story), and both were dead before either of their BB3's were charged.
     
  8. DarkaiXeno

    DarkaiXeno Member

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    I disagree. Casual players are just casual players who play the game sometimes just for fun. The real players that should be rewarded are the pros that you speak of: the players who devote spending most of their time honing their skill, stats, and strategy into this game for several hours, if not, 24/7. They are the players who should feel rewarded the most since they consistantly contribute to the games development.
     
  9. fatfursatan

    fatfursatan Member

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    I honestly like Unblockables since they guarantee damage at the cost of effectively having one less usable moveslot for most of the fight. They add an extra dimension to switchout moves and the use of assists. I've routinely found choosing which of my characters to sacrifice for an unblockable an interesting decision.

    It might be interesting to see Unblockable damage scale differently between fighters with vastly different fight scores. Like, it's not fun to play Prize FIght and have to choose a team with one character with a MASSIVE fight score and two weenies with an Unblockable. Having to give an opponent a one or two Unblockable charges in a row without much to do about it is.... anti-fun.
     
  10. Cellsai

    Cellsai Oh Sai
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    If you're not going to contribute meaningfully to a clearly active discussion, please don't post in it.
     
  11. Poringsmasher

    Poringsmasher Member

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    This is maybe a bit sidebar but how do people get such high numbers? I've completed the whole story so the only influx of exp now is through dailies (until all 3 difficulties are done) and PF every time energy is up. My highest character JUST passed 3k power and now it's hard to level and coin flow is a drip feed now as well which makes upgrading hard.

    To weave it into the topic, I'm constantly fighting characters many times higher in power but if I don't kill fast enough and BB3s are charged it's a crapshoot. I mean obviously I'm playing decently enough if I'm still winning most battles, but many of the losses have come from those BB3s.
     
  12. guitalex2007

    guitalex2007 New Member

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    I've ranted enough on Twitter about this (you can read through my mini meltdown here).

    Essentially, this is the life I live. I could do what moisterrific said (even though I'm sure he was trolling a bit) and git gud. This is how I see a match.

    I am at a streak of about 5. I know the game is out to kill me at this point because the power increases with each increase in streak. I have a 2k Harlequin Bella, a 1.8k Princess Pride Parasoul and a 1.2k Parasite Weave Filia. The game presents me with three teams whose weakest character is 2.5k. Well, crap, but hey I'll give it a shot. I just have to play smart, punish unsafe moves, use my special abilities and do it.

    Here is a 3.5k Cerebella up front. My Bella I wait until they do something stupid. I combo as much as I can, but I don't have enough for a super. I bait their Diamond Drop and dash back in on the offensive. I get to nearly half health. She tags out. I punish the tag properly and manage to get a decent combo. I bait another move and punish with a large combo, large enough to kill. In comes Bella, who charged her Blockbusters. Grab Bag starts, I can not move or do anything. I watch Bella run in like an idiot and do Devil Horns then jump grab bag and kill Bella from essentially full. In comes Parasoul, and I try to bait an unsafe string, but lucky me she just interrupts it with Diamond Drop and grabs me anyways. 3v vs 1.8k? At +10% damage from Special Attraction? Good night, Para. In comes Filia and I'm about to finally---never mind, it's another Grab Bag.

    AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE UNSTOPPABLE PEACOCK. DON'T. Because it's the same scenario with 10% less damage and giving her hyper armor in the process, with her still building meter for Goodfellas all the same.

    It makes a fight that could and should be completely winnable with smart and proper play into a "if I can't kill her before she gets one of these I'm going to instantly lose one character IF I'M LUCKY, two if they have more".

    It makes it impossible to git gud. The better you are, the larger your streak, the stronger the opponents, the easier the unblockable death.

    And you think that's bad? I didn't even mention the trait in place for these matches was Vampire. Everyone heals 50% of the damage done.
     
    #12 guitalex2007, Jun 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  13. RedBeene

    RedBeene New Member

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    Once I had 3 gold, I basically stopped buying relics, and just started farming gold prize fights. Once you hit the Aeon/Venus teams, even with the recent update, you can just keep picking them and farming them, as they are relatively easy to beat. My rule to get a streak that high was to choose the easiest team each time. I got my 3 main gold from 2k to 6k each in just a few days like that.

    I think I large part of this discussion is just disappointment with the idea that eventually, no skill will overcome a massive stat difference. There's a reason I lost like 7 times to moisterrific's 28k team. But I'm not sure I should've been winning with a team at half the FS. Now that I've gotten my characters to the point where they can withstand a grab bag or diamond drop, I haven't lost the last six times I've played that 28k team. And my team has still been 9-10k under. 9-10k is a HUGE difference and yet it can be overcome despite the BB3's because of skill. I think there's a good balance in this game between what can be overcome by skill and what just requires higher levels.

    Edit:also I definitely feel the dearth of canopy coins, and my conclusion is that I should either support the developers and spend some money, or slow down my upgrading.
     
  14. moisterrific

    moisterrific Well-Known Member

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    Unblockable doesn't mean unbeatable, nothing is unbeatable if you simply git gud.

    In fact, there are many different ways to easily beat unblockable blockbusters.

    You can:
    1. Have high enough damage per second to defeat them before anyone manages to fully charge their BB3
    2. Use fighters like Armed Forces or Resonant Evil and max out their defence stat and signature abilities so you can tank it out
    3. Use fighters like Big Top or Last Hope and max out signature abilities so you can revive after taking the entire BB3
    4. Sacrifice one of your weaker or near dead fighters to the incoming unblockable
    5. Have a Valentine on your team and equip her with Forbidden Procedure BB2 so you can revive a teammate who got killed by an unblockable
    6. Predict the opponent's behaviour and combo them into oblivion before they get a chance to use BB3 if they've already fully charged it. Usually this works well when you have a BB1 or BB2 since they're faster to charge up
    7. Enter or end Sekhmet mode at the right time to fully avoid an unblockable
    8. If you git rly gud, do a back dash at precisely the right moment to fully evade the incoming unblockable, I've seen enemies do it a bunch of times before so I believe us players can too
     
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  15. RedBeene

    RedBeene New Member

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    This can happen?!?!?
     
  16. guitalex2007

    guitalex2007 New Member

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    Most of these require you predicting they are going to use it. In my experience, they will use it randomly or tag out instead. There is no reliable way around it.
     
  17. moisterrific

    moisterrific Well-Known Member

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    I managed to predict it every time and never got caught off guard by an unblockable.

    Being able to predict your opponent's next moves and thinking of a counter beforehand is a skill in pretty much every video game.
     
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  18. guitalex2007

    guitalex2007 New Member

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    But the things you listed aren't available to every character.

    I shouldn't have to tag in a character for a move I *KNOW* is coming when I could just block or reversal. In Skullgirls, there are no unblockable moves other than throws, and there are easy ways to evade throws (say, if Peacock tried to Goodfellas you and you could MANUALLY JUMP you could completely avoid it, but not only is that impossible in the game, the game freezes your inputs once a level 3 starts).

    Don't make this into what it isn't about. It's not about skill. If I manage to be blessed by RNG and get the characters that can get around this, with the moves that can get around this, then fantastic. But it shouldn't rely on luck to have options that don't end in a dead character for no reason.
     
  19. moisterrific

    moisterrific Well-Known Member

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    Yup, didn't they just re-release Forbidden Procedure in 1.2.1? It's a BB2 that does high damage and lets you revive a teammate close to it.
     
  20. DarkaiXeno

    DarkaiXeno Member

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    I agree with moist with everything he said so far. There are several ways to deal with a BB3. Sure, they may be annoying at times. Sure, I might go into a blind fit of rage if my 50 in streak stops all because the opponent has had like 3 BB3's fully charged. Do i think its unfair? Of course not. If you're getting beat by the AI, theres only one of 2 possibilities. You either:

    1. Dont have the stats on your characters to finish out the game when you opponent has higher FS than you, or
    2. You misplayed the match and let the opponent BB3 you into submission, which is your fault, not the games all because it has an unblockable.
     
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