Friday, February 21, 2014

FGC: The REAL American Hustle

This blog post might come off vague, but while reading, I want you to REALLY think about what it is I'm trying to say and try to piece together the puzzle... Enjoy.

Like my last blog post, I talked about how I don't like to travel too often to "Majors" anymore and I gave some insight as to why. I want to dig just a little deeper on the subject. I'm just going to come out and say it... I think most of the big name Tournament Organizers are crooks and use Fighting Game Tournaments as an outlet to gain finance from their smaller "Majors" and then their big yearly event.

Yea, they'll tell you how much money they DON'T make from their events and play The "I do it for the Community aka My Second Family" Card, but I'm someone who isn't easily persuaded and like to ask questions. You mean to tell me that some T.O who hosts multiple "Majors" a year, for many years, isn't making a profit? Though I do have information on this subject, I don't want to throw anyone or any sponsors under the bus. Instead, I want to get y'all thinking by just using logic and common sense, a task that will already be hard enough because the FGC is pretty adamant about most things...

The FGC is brainwashed: Convinced that certain clothing companies are hot, made to believe that wearing two headphones is the way to go, (Not even talking about the person who started that trend) some of the rinky-dink FGC catch phrases, etc. The players out there already donate ridiculous amounts of money to "Professional" Fighting Game Players so those players can travel even more than they already do, and they have no problem with doing that... So what makes you think that T.Os aren't on the same hustle? Normally I don't like to knock another person's hustle, but *knock* *knock*.

Let's look at one of the few things that has actually changed in Grassroots Tournaments.... THE VENUE FEE! I've been competing in games since 2006. (Before 2009) Venue Fees used to run around $20 for each tournament, sometimes less. Now Venue Fees go from $35-$90. (Early, Late, and On-Site Registration) Now keep in mind, these are the same old dusty, cramped, smelly, hotel ballrooms we always go to for all these years. Not much has changed other than the price of admission. Are you starting to see where I'm going with this? Well let me continue.

Most "Majors" are held in hotel ballrooms. It costs money to rent these ballrooms out. The players also like to stay at the same hotel that the tournament is being held at, makes for a convenient Player Village, so the tournament usually offers discount rates for these rooms. Now this is where some logic comes in... If you are hosting a tournament at a hotel and you are guaranteed to pack all their rooms with players from across the country, making the hotel itself A LOT of money, would it make sense for the hotel to charge the T.O full price to rent out the ballroom? Especially when you build that relationship with the hotel, it could wind up costing less over time.

Now let's look at "The Sponsors" for the tournaments. I personally know that sponsors put in quite a hefty sum of money into each tournament they are sponsoring. Game companies sometimes put up money for their own game for pot bonuses and then some more money in general for the event. So even if I'm completely wrong about a discounted ballroom rental; between this New Generation Venue Fee that the mass amount of players pay and all the money that all the sponsors dump into the event, does every single one of those dollars actually go into renting out the venue? Where does the rest of the money go to?

Let me make this perfectly clear. I'm not mad that the big time T.Os make money from their events, a business is a business. What I am mad about is the trash product that we wind up getting and the low prize payouts. Tournaments are late, poorly ran, falsely advertised, etc. I'm starting to see why a lot of these T.Os want to keep things exactly the same. If they tried to make it into a legit eSports spectacle, then they know they would be losing money at first and not thinking about the long run. When MLG first started, they were losing money. It wasn't until around 2009 when they started making a profit. So why should these T.O's fix something that is not broken? Hell, most of y'all see no problems with these Grassroots Tournaments or don't ask enough of the right questions. That's because they can easily say, "I don't make anything at these events" and y'all just take their word for it.

I can go to one of my LOCAL tournaments, they charge a flat rate of $25 to enter the venue AND ENTER EVERY GAME YOU WANT TO WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY THE EXTRA $10 FOR EACH GAME, and play in all of the games and some of the games come with a guaranteed prize payout where first place can range from $75-$600.... Whenever I win or place, the money is in my account 2-3 days later, never had a problem. You want to know the funny thing? This particular T.O is blacklisted in the FGC... Coincidence?

Follow me on Twitter: @CrackMamba

Thursday, January 23, 2014

FGC Manifesto

The following opinions are of my views and mine alone. Reader Discretion is Advised.

I'm going to go a different route with this blog entry today. I want to talk about "Professional" Fighting Game Tournaments. What makes having nice things and opportunities in the Fighting Game Community such a bad thing? It is considered complete taboo if you want to make money competing in fighting games. Why does the FGC shun away legit eSports events, yet accepts uncouth Grassroots Tournaments? Marketing to the FGC is very unorthodox. I want to dig a little deeper about the FGC and try to understand their thought process.

My name is BlackMambaMoan. Very successful fighting game player and former Pro Gamer. I am someone who used to travel a lot to these "Majors" throughout the past couple of years. At the time, I thought it was worth it. Competitive Fighting Games was something that I once believed in, but for the past year, I started to realize that it is just a mere hobby that isn't worth investing too much money into. Honestly, it is the community itself that is slowly killing it. There just isn't much demand for quality events, more money, better production, etc. For most of these players, tournaments are nothing more than their own personal playground with no real ambitions to succeed competitively.

Let's be serious here, these Grassroots Tournaments are absolute TRASH! I just can't believe most of the players are happy with these events. The problems are: Tournaments run late, tournaments run very poorly, inappropriate behavior on streams where thousands of people are watching, and no REAL money in it, then have the nerve to charge the venue and tournament fees that they do. The issue with the money is the most important issue. Money makes the world go round and you need it to live. If you say otherwise, then you probably don't have any real responsibilities.

Big companies have given Fighting Games many chances throughout the years like: CGS, WCG, and MLG. What did the FGC do with all these opportunities? Shun them away... Why does this happen? Why does the FGC choose trash over treasure in every single situation ever? (Yes, everything, but I'm only talking about tournaments right now) As the costumer, you are paying for the product, but when you aren't happy with that product, then it becomes a problem. That's 99% of all Grassroots Tournaments....

Flying out to some Hole in the Wall Major can be very expensive. You spend a couple hundred on plane tickets. Another hundred dollars to chip in for a hotel room, if you don't get free housing. You pay a ridiculous venue fee along with tournament fees. Money for food and etc. ALL FOR WHAT? To compete in a game for a 1st place prize and not even coming close to breaking even? One example for me personally is Youmacon. I got first place in SC5, second place in DOA5, and fifth place in Injustice, and I STILL came nowhere close to breaking even on the money I spent for the trip out there.

"I only compete in tournaments for respect, not money."

It's scrub talk, but whatever. Ok, you play for respect alone, but what happens when you do good in your tournament and you don't even get the respect you deserve? The FGC has a Respect Problem. If they don't like you or care about you, they will take all your credit away and give it to some False God. When there is no money for these events, all you CAN play for is respect, but you don't even get that...

"This community started out with Grassroots Tournaments and that's how it's always going to be."

Let me tell you a little something about your Majors... They are garbage, but we already knew that and y'all refuse to actually admit it. I want to tell you about eSports now, something that many of you don't know about. Previously on Major League Gaming, MLG decided to add SC5, KoF, and MK9 to their roster because MLG wanted to win back the FGC. Yes, THEY WANTED TO WIN US BACK! THEY WANTED TO IMPRESS US! They put up large amounts of money for their Fighting Game rosters, but people barely showed up.

I'm gonna go on the record right now and say that MLG was BY FAR the best ran FG Tournament I have ever been to, and I'm gonna tell you why:
1. Tournament ran on time
2. Plenty of setups for tournament play AND CASUALS FOR THE WHOLE DAY
3. Very large venue
4. Very nice stage for featured matches
5. Free Hot Pockets and Dr. Pepper for the whole weekend
6. Free Old Spice because they know gamers be smelling bad
7. Made sure to hire FGC Leaders to run the FG portion of the event
8. Cash Contests running the whole weekend
9. A REAL Top 8 payout

You see, if you made Top 8 at MLG, you were getting paid very well. Even if you got 8th place, at least you can say that you broke even. On top of all that, if you made Top 8, MLG flew you out to New York for one of their side events to compete for even more money. So I ask this question, what sounds so horrible about all this again??? There is no reason why a tournament like EVO should have had more players than MLG. EVO now is just an excuse most of us use to go out to Las Vegas. I've gotten Top 8 at EVO before, back when EVO was cool, and even then, it took almost a whole year to get paid.

MLG was a product well worth investing in. They took care of you, the staff was great, and the environment was a breath of fresh air. But like I said, people barely showed up. King of Fighters players have absolutely no excuse for not coming. Y'all did it, y'all made it in the big times! Me personally, I don't know how in the world that happened, but it happened and I have no reason to be mad at that. So why was MLG KOF only a less than 20 man tournament...? The return of Fighting Games at MLG only lasted for a couple of events until MLG decided to scrap the idea again.

It's time to stop holding these horrible Grassroots Tournaments on a high pedestal and let Big Company take over. If you're a Tournament Organizer, find an eSports organization and partner up with them, and learn how to run better tournaments and have better staff so they aren't making you look bad. As for the players, stop trying to criminalize the group of players that actually want to make a living playing video games. If you have a passion for anything, and there is a market for it, go for it. Sponsored Players, most of you guys are on borrowed time. We can see that with FG Sponsorships that continue to disband. There is no real reason for a sponsor to send out players to regular ol' tournaments all the time. What would they gain? Something like MLG was a very good reason to send out players because of: Money, exposure, and media.

The FGC describes themselves as a "Family." Wouldn't you want to see your family be successful and well-off? Games like League of Legends and DotA are busy playing for millions of dollars, while FG players are busy splitting a pot of a couple hundred to a thousand dollars or these "Pro" Gamers begging their fans to donate money to them... Is the struggle really that serious? Grassroots Tournaments is what got things going, but now it is time to move on and let it burn to the ground. And also, no, I wasn't able to understand their thought process at all...

Follow me on Twitter: @CrackMamba

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

State of the DOA Address: The Rachel Report 2

Well, Rachel is just like any other DOA character now, and the faults of DOA now makes it so brain-dead players can use their regular brain-dead tactics against her.

Of course, everyone complained about something that made you have to play just a LITTLE more careful, yet no one complains about the real problems of DOA because those problems provide a nice little crutch for the bad players. DOA players will make the argument that, "A move whiffing on someone's wakeup shouldn't grant them advantage. It's not normal!" WELCOME TO DOA! A lot of things in this game isn't "normal" and shouldn't work, but it does... The science of how this works in other fighting games can be explained, but DOA players wouldn't really get it and just try and argue it. People only cry for nerfs and change when it's convenient for themselves... when it's something THEMSELVES are too dumb to figure out how to beat... I had strats against Rachel that most of the players couldn't even think of, I knew how to beat Rachel. They were simple, yet effective strats, but I knew the DOA players would just argue them down. So I only shared it with the people that ultimately changes the game, because I know the bigger picture.

The bridge between a top player and a trash player is the shortest I have ever seen in any fighting game. Even though I felt that DOA5U was, yet another, step backwards in the franchise, it still provided a little something for everyone. For the people that wanted to take away a broken DOA mechanic and have frame advantage, Rachel was for that type of player. Every other goofy aspect of the game, every other character was for that type of player. Now Rachel is just like everybody else. Unless you are a Counter Monster, who is really going to use Rachel now? LBSH...

Why does Team Ninja even listen to these type of players? Why do these players put Team Ninja in a tough situation where they eventually will have to surrender to their demands? Lets talk about facts and truths for a second. Most fighting game players HATE DOA. Nobody shows up to DOA tournaments, unless there is a pot bonus. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TOURNAMENTS ALMOST GETS AS MUCH ENTRANTS AS A DOA MAJOR! So what makes it so these players are actually allowed to give their opinion on a game that is going to eventually change the game for the worse? They don't know what they're talking about, we can look at the stats on how many people play and how many people consistently show up to tournaments. You can't argue that.

The truth is, regardless if Rachel stayed the same or not, DOA players would still play DOA. DOA players have nothing else going for them when it comes to fighting games. They can't play anything else, so they're not going anywhere. DOA provides a Safe Haven for those type of players who have no fighting game fundamentals and allows them to be King of the Trash Pile. Who wants to compete in a fighting game where the Bottom of the Barrel fighting game players can talk down on you and be able to beat a superior fighting game player?

So once there is something new and different from the "standard" DOA, something that makes it so you just can't wild out completely, they use all their energy and resources to get it removed. Congratulations, you have all collectively killed off Team Ninja's new character Rachel. (Which I'm pretty sure they don't appreciate in the slightest) Have fun at your 20 Man Extravaganzas.

[On a side note, I would still be able to beat 98% of the players with my TWO ACTUAL main characters. So this post wasn't made because I feel that I would start losing now. Just thought I'd point this out before people make any offhanded remarks.]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

State of the DOA Address: The Rachel Report

I want to address the Rachel problem before Team Ninja makes the irrational decision of nerfing her. This is going to be different from my usual Helena posts, but this really needs to be addressed.

After playing DOA5U for over a week, using Rachel, and having some of the most illogical conversions about the game with other DOA players, I have come to a couple of conclusions. First, DOA players have no idea how to explain their own game and lack basic fighting game knowledge. Second, most DOA players just want to mash buttons all day on wake up. The hot topic lately is everyone complaining about how Rachel can force tech opponents, getting rid of wake up kicks, doing too much damage, she's broken, etc. You DOA players have no idea what a "Broken" character is. DOA players usually only play DOA. They don't know the struggle of Vergil and Dark Phoenix, (UMvC3) Viola and Hilde, (Soul Calibur) or Superman. (Injustice) Just to name a few.

The issue here with Rachel is that she has a force tech stomp you use to end all your juggles. If it hits, it leaves Rachel at +15. If it whiffs, you still can't hit a button against Rachel when you are getting up. I've had people complain to me saying such nonsense like, "I just want to be able to get up off the ground" and "IF THE STOMP WHIFFS, BOTH SHOULD BE AT NEUTRAL..." Are you kidding me? This just goes to show you that when DOA players complain about something and the end game being that Team Ninja nerfs them, they really have no idea about fighting games. When you knock someone down in a 3D fighting game, the attacker can run up on you and continue pressure while you are getting up. I don't know why most players are looking into frame advantage if the stomp whiffs, but this is basic 3D fighting game protocol. When are both players ever at neutral on wake up? How would that even work? In Virtua Fighter, you do also have wake up kicks in that game, BUT when they hit, the one who used the wake up kick is at negative frames on hit.

I've even had someone play the most busted game of Theory Fighter with me that made little to no sense. What DOA players need to understand about their own game is that when you get force teched, you are in a mixup. When you get thrown by a throw that causes a stun of sorts, you are in a mixup. WHEN YOU GET STUNNED, YOU ARE IN A MIXUP! All these things are the same exact concept of what DOA is truly about. It's the Rock Paper Scissors System. How is that any different then when Rachel techs you up? IT'S A GUESS. THAT IS WHAT THE GAME IS. I've pretty much tried explaining how Rachel's Blender worked to another DOA player and what you HAVE to do against it, and to cut this part short, I'm going to explain this in Laymen's Terms:

ME: "If you think I'm going to throw out Rock, then throw out Paper."
THEM: "But then you can throw out Scissors."
ME: "Ok... then if you think that, then throw out Rock."
THEM: "That doesn't work because then you can throw out Paper."
THEM: "That doesn't work because then you can throw out rock."
ME: "...."

DOA is a game heavily based on guessing. YOU HAVE TO GUESS. PERIOD. So why are people complaining about a character that uses this basic idea? One of the main problems is that they complain about throws being too fast and unbreakable, which is the only logical point I can think of from them. This is not Rachel's fault, THIS IS THE GAME ITSELF'S FAULT. If anything, Rachel just points out the issues with DOA's system. Instead of nerfing Rachel, buff the game. Make throws slower, make ducking faster, and make throws breakable. Only make throws unbreakable when it comes to Throw Punishment. If you block an attack that is -5 or higher, then the throw should be unbreakble. (It's the same concept as if you throw an unsafe attack in Street Fighter 4)

Instead of nerfing Rachel, give other characters this same tool she has. Maybe make this the Gold Standard of how DOA should be played. Rachel makes the game honest and punishes players for just mashing buttons on wake up, mashing buttons on disadvantage, and having poor decision making skills. Better yet, other characters don't even need this tool, just take out wake up kicks. They genuinely just slow down the pace of the game anyway, right? I witnessed a man get top 8 at a major tournament from just mashing buttons on wake up, with no fear or consequences. This is not appealing to the competitive fighting game scene. (Hence why tournaments have low numbers and people only showing up when large amounts of money is on the line) With Rachel, she MAKES DOA5U. She takes away this bad aspect of the game, and is why DOA players complain about Rachel because, in conclusion, they just want to be able to press buttons all day... I could share some insight on how to deal with Rachel, because quite a decent amount of people I play with know how, but I have Rachel friends that are going to TFC this weekend and I want to see them Train Wreck everyone.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Helena DOA5U

Kano: "Hello baby, did you miss me?"

Been a long time Helena enthusiasts. Welcome back to the Helena Kill Blog, The Greatest Show on Earth. Back for ONE TIME ONLY to talk about DOA5U Helena and her changes. Let me start out by saying thank you to Team Ninja for sending me an early copy of the game. Is Helena still capable of getting the job done? Well lets go over some of her changes:

Pseudo Force Tech:
Also famously known as "The White Girl Blender." For those that don't know, Pseudo Force Techs were a way for Helena to completely eliminate Wake Up Kicks in DOA5. You achieve this by ending all your juggles with the Handslaps. After Handslaps, you finish off with BKO 6P, which will either tech the opponent up if they stay on the ground, or the move will whiff if the opponent techs themselves. Either way, the wake up kick is completely out of the picture. Pseudo Force Tech... GONE! BKO 6P doesn't tech opponents off the ground anymore. Near a wall, Handslaps will slam opponent into the wall now. Her wall game was deadly in the previous version of the game because Handslaps didn't wall splat and you can really keep the pressure going. All that is gone now. The Blender is situational now because you can still catch people in the original scenario if they tech up before BKO 6P, but if they stay on the ground, BKO 6P won't FT... Moving on.

This move, and any string that ends with this move, is -9 now... This WAS her stable get in attack...

6P+K has a punch follow up now. The last punch also Bounds opponents. (This is a new mechanic for DOA5U that ground bounces) You can combo off of it into 66KP(P).

Still a good juggle ender, but when used on a grounded opponent, it has this new ground roll animation that was added into DOA5U. You can combo into 66KP(P).

You can no longer delay this string... At least it still has amazing crush properties from what I can see.

BT 7P:
This move was made into a Critical Burst. She now has a Critical Burst in all her stances now. They are all mid punches.

New move. Kinda looks 236P+K, except it is a single hit that leads into BKO Stance. Sit Down Stun in middle of stun threshold, -10 on block...

New move. This move actually seems like it has potential. Goes into BKO Stance, uncounterable stun, and hold resistant. -16 on block...

OMG,YOU CAN GO INTO BKO STANCE FROM THIS ATTACK BY HOLDING DOWN THE 2 DIRECTION! This is one of the things I suggested to Team Ninja a while back. Glad to see it in the game. It's also -1 on block when you go into BKO Stance from it. (Not bad) However, F+K by itself is only +2 now...

Another thing I suggested to Team Ninja was that this move should be at least +1 on block, annnnd the move is +1 on block now. I can really work this into my game now. (considering this is her only stance transition that is advantage on block)

New Stance Transitions:
Which brings me to my next subject. Helena gained a couple of Back-turned Stance transitions from some old moves. (6P4, 8PP4, 3PP4) The problem with this is that, on block, they range from -6 to -8.

This is what I mainly found so far with her in DOA5U. The way Helena and the game plays, she might still be viable, but they really dumped all over her in this version. Most of the mixups are still there. (Except for The White Girl Blender) I think she still suffers from the same problems as before with her stance transitions still being high negative on block. She still is kinda slow compared to the other characters. Her wall game suffered a lot. All and all, she got nerfed.

One last thing, she has a taunt buff. HAHAHA

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pseudo Force Wake Ups

adjective [soo-doh]
1. not actually but having the appearance of; pretended; false or spurious; sham.

When Helena's old DOA4 force wake ups were taken out the game, Helena players had to start getting real creative in DOA5 when it came to coming up with tactics to get rid of your opponents wake up kick and forcing them to get up off the ground right away. Now this is something that I personally found towards the beginning stages of DOA5 and something I play around with, but I also see a couple other Helena players have discovered this as well when I see them using it online. So I'm going to explain this new piece of Helena technology that I personally feel that every Helena player should start adding to their arsenal.

Every juggle Helena has, on any weight class, can end with almost any string variation that ends in her Handslaps. The following three strings are the Handslap strings I'm talking about to use at the end of her juggles:

BT 4ppp
BKO 6p4pp

This will leave you in BKO Stance. Once the Handslaps slam the opponent to the ground, you can force tech them with BKO 6P. Here's the twist though... BKO 6P does NOT force wake ups. The opponent can actually tech up before the BKO 6P hits them grounded. The thing is though, whether they get hit with BKO 6P or they tech themselves up, Helena is still pretty much in the same advantageous situation as if she force tech'd the opponent herself. Replacing her typical Bread and Butter combos with either one of those three strings only do a tiny bit less damage, but puts you in better Oki position. Problem in DOA games is that when you knock someone down, there is always that fear of wake up kicks. So most of the time, you can't pressure a grounded opponent. Using Handslap strings at the end of the juggles takes away the wake up kick and you can continue to pressure the opponent with your attacks. (as it should be in a fighting game)

This is gonna be your most common juggle ending string considering this is out of Helena's normal stance. Whenever you launch the opponent with a launcher that doesn't leave you in a stance, use 33p4p to end the juggle and then go into BKO 6P. You can also use this string in BKO Throw combos. (BKO Throw -> 4ppk -> 33p4p -> BKO 6P)

BT 4ppp:
You use this string from BT launchers or front-facing launchers that leave you BT.

BKO 6p4pp:
This is where things get real scummy. You use this string on the opponent when their back is against the wall. The difference with this particular string on the wall and the other two Handslap strings is that the other two will kinda push the opponent back when you force tech them or they tech up themselves. With BKO 6p4pp against a wall, it leave them RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU AGAINST THE WALL. Pretty much resetting the whole situation. So when you slam the opponent against the wall, (cause it grants you a free combo) combo right into BKO 6p4pp. Once they are up again, that is where the real mind games begin. You can do 2f+k, or something that slams them into the wall to do it all over again, or 6f+p to get a wall throw where they can't wake up kick, or you can do BKO Throw -> P -> BKO 6p4pp -> BKO 6P, etc. The possibilities are incredible. All these options put them back in the same F***** up situation against the wall.

End your juggles with Handslap strings. It only does a little less damage than the combos you are using now and lets you keep up the pressure. After handslap juggle enders, use BKO 6P to either force their wake up or they tech themselves and the BKO 6P whiffs, but still puts you in a similar situation as if you hit them with BKO 6P. If the BKO 6P whiffs, I believe you are at a little less advantage, but still enough to pressure and mix up the opponent. Keep in mind that when they do tech up though, the opponent is not gonna be right in front of you. (they will be pushed back a little bit) So be sure to dash in a little or use ranged attacks. Take this to Training Mode, play around with it, find some post-tech setups that you are comfortable with, etc. You'll also start to notice that the juggles with 33p4p and BT 4ppp can kinda carry the opponent to the wall... Get the opponent to the wall...