First off I'd like to say that I love the idea of PSASBR. Its taking the idea of SSB and taking away the ability to hide in a corner and wait while everyone else beats each other up. Plus the characters are much more interesting to me, and no (or fewer) clone characters. Great job on that, Superbot!
On to the issue. It seems that there is a serious need for character tweaking if this game is to be balanced on launch day. First, let me point out the imbalance, then I'll state why this is so important DAY ONE.
The balance issue really mostly comes down to range and supers. Every character has nasty stuff that can gain lots of AP, but once you get that AP, can you actually win with it? The easiest way to balance a fighting game is to look at how players create tier lists. In most cases, it has to do with special properties vs speed vs damage. In PSASBR, the maximum number of points that can be scored from a super is the key factor. After all, thats how a winner is determined, right?
So lets look at a very popular (and possibly overpowered) character, Kratos. His score potential breaks down like this:
Lvl 1: 1-3 pts
Lvl 2: 1-3 pts
Lvl 3: 3-6 pts (9 if other players attack after respawn)
If we add up these figures assuming that Kratos did all 3 supers per match (unrealistic, I know, but works for the tier list) then Kratos has a potential score of 5-12 pts. Or an average score of 8.5
Now lets look at Fat Princess:
Lvl 1: 1-3 pts
Lvl 2: 1-6 pts (stage dependent, more on this later)
Lvl 3: 0-3 pts
Again adding up the figures as the previous example, FP's score range is 2-12 pts, or an average of 7.
8.5 vs 7 doesn't seem huge, but thats an end score difference of 3 pts. So Kratos wins more often than FP. The reasons for this simply come down to supers. All of Kratos's supers can score 3 or more points, and usually do with ease. His lvl 3 lasts forever and usually nets around 5 points (again, with ease). FP's lvl 3, on the other hand, is nearly worthless. The player has no control over any part of it, and can actually score 0 points! Its pretty heartbreaking when you save up all that meter and get nothing at all for it. If the player could control parts of it (like Radec's lvl 3) or if it was a guaranteed 3 pts (ala Prapppa's lvl 3) then it might be worth doing. As it stands, its a good reason not to pick the character.
FP's lvl 2 is also very risky. While the player has direct control and it lasts long enough to get 6 points, it can all go to waste because of the stage and the lack of attacking in mid air. If opponents just jump around on platforms, the chicken has no way of attacking them quick enough before they run away. So if you're on a flat stage, the super is pretty good. If you're on a platformed stage, its nearly as worthless as her lvl 3.
Another issue with supers is that some of them can be canceled, either by getting hit with something of force or by another super. I think this is a great idea, except when it doesn't apply evenly to all characters. For instance: Sly's lvl 1 and FP's lvl 1 are roughly the same attack. Goes in a straight line, kills everything in front. However, Sly's is far superior simply because his can't be canceled. FP's lvl 2 can also be canceled (only by supers) and is very risky because she becomes the biggest target on the screen, has less mobility than normal, and can't dodge. Thats right, you're MORE LIKELY to be hit by a super while doing her super.
I think a lot more thought needs to go into some of these supers and which can actually be canceled and which can't. After all, you want the game to be fun rather than frustrating, right?
And that brings me to my point about why these things need to be taken into consideration BEFORE the retail release. Its all about fun. First, a balanced game is much more fun, more skill based, and more timeless. Chess is known as a classic game because it gives no advantage to either player. The board is identical, indifferent, and symmetrical. The only possible advantage is maybe going first, and some would argue that is actually a disadvantage.
Fighting games need solid mechanics and good character balance above all else. If there's a cheap move in the game, players will abuse it everytime. If its a cheap move with some way around it, then it creates a rift between the players who spend all their time playing and those who don't. It cuts off accessibility. If some characters have a much better moveset than other caracters, they get played more often. Those characters eventually become the only characters played. So all your hard work on the 20 amazing characters in the game is invalidated because only 3 are ever picked. Eventually the whole online scene is 4 Radec players trying to see who can stay in the corner the longest. And since this game is about loyalties, some people are going to pick a character they feel they have some connection with. If that character sucks, then their whole experience is ruined.
But why does it need to be balanced from day one? Because thats when you have the best opportunity to captivate an audience. Most games sale's records are tracked for the lifetime of that game, but 50% of those copies sold are within the first month. So that first month is when you have the biggest audience. And its also when you lose the most players. If people pick up this game on day one only to find that Kratos is the most busted character ever, the online scene will begin to degrade before Superbot has a chance to release a patch. Once a player leaves a game like this, they're gone for good. They struggle with a bad character matchup for a few days, then trade the game in at their local gamestore. Or they put it on the shelf and wait for the patch that will fix all the problems, but by then so many other players have left and online is already starting to die.
While I enjoy playing the beta, I'm really hoping that Superbot is going to put more effort into the final release as far as balance goes. I'd hate to see this great game turn into another fighter that everyone's played, but no one is playing.
Thanks for listening
Now, this is the right idea. The argument of "the game isn't out yet so maybe the currently overpowered characters are balanced because of other characters" is a REALLY bad argument. You have to understand that, whether Raiden is equal to Kratos or not, Some of these moves are really strong against the current roster. That's bad because if the same match were to happen, one player still has the advantage. Also having a badly balanced game at launch can REALLY scare away customers.
Fresh to death
While that may be true, what if they weren't? In a beta, you are supposed to give feedback, whether it has been fixed or not. You cannot simply assume that something has been fixed when there is a chance that it may have been overlooked.
Fresh to death
First off, blaming the player is never a good solution to a problem inherent in the game.
Secondly, I've gotten multiple scores with FP's supers too, thats not the point. The point is that while its very easy for Kratos's level 3 super to get 3 or more kills, you CANNOT get more than 3 with FP's, and you have no control over it. So unless FP can get to lvl 3 twice as easy as Kratos, then she's underpowered in terms of raw scoring potential.
I'm not really suggesting nerfing any character or ability. Just raise all characters to the same basic scoring potential.
Also, whats the point of releasing a "public beta" that is 2 months old? What kind of feedback can you obtain from outdated code? How many of our suggestions are "already taken care of"? Why not just call it a demo instead of a beta?
My pre-order nerves are shaking. I've been burned by fake betas before...
So, Superbot has taken it to account and acknowledge Kratos' quick AP gain. So no worries.
Plus, the point of the beta is to stress servers. Everything else is a bonus.
But I have cursed the name Kratos so many times in the past few days that a negative association is starting to form in my mind. If he's as busted in the final version, I'm going to stop playing God of War games because its just going to **bleep** me off.
Thats another reason why character balance is so important in this game. It has the possibility to create positive or negative associations for sony's franchises.
Why does Kratos' lvl 3 last 30 seconds? It hits everything on the screen with no effort! Why does it take Sweet Tooth forever to get to lvl 3, when its his only super that can really get more than 3 points?
I know Superbot is going to ignore this entire thread. Most game companies are slaves to their investors/publishers, and must make a product by a given date, no matter the cost. It doesn't help that this forum is full of apologists who are defending a game company who has yet to release a single game.