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Do variations support or harm the fun?

do variatons help or harm the game

  • help

    Votes: 12 14.1%
  • harm

    Votes: 49 57.6%
  • both

    Votes: 18 21.2%
  • none

    Votes: 2 2.4%
  • dont know

    Votes: 3 3.5%
  • dont care

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters


God Fist Lao
I said this when MK11 was announced and ppl were against having complete characters and wanting variations to return. Nrs does listen to us to a degree this is in fact our fault because this is what the majority wanted. Smh


Premium Supporter
The variation system in MK11 seemed a bit stale and unnecessary. Many of the variations seemed hastily cobbled together and I think the concept has gone past its used by date. I would much rather complete characters.

Dankster Morgan

she don’t call me daddy she call me Grandmaster
Honestly I think NRS should take the Killer Instinct approach when making characters. Every character in that game has unique mechanics and all of them feel very different from one another -- including the bonus clone characters like Omen, Shin Hisako, etc.

Seriously, learning them all was such a joy. TJ Combo can cash out his combos if he does one of every poke, or he can repeat a poke to keep the opponent standing and he gets tons of +frames. With Maya you have to learn how to juggle daggers at all times. With Aganos you could create walls to change the boundaries of the stage. I could go on and on.

Maybe MK11 shouldn't be AS advanced because apart of the appeal of NRS games is the fact they are easier to learn, but they should 100% have more solid archetypes and just more unique movesets in general. A lot of characters in MK11 kinda feel the same-ish, and I do feel the variation system is to blame for that. 1) We can't even experience custom variations in competitive play even though it's the entire point of the system and how they marketed the game, but 2) it means NRS has to find a way to make every character "play how you want" which at this point I think is impossible and just holds back their character/moveset design.

Seriously imagine if Sub-Zero was unique because he could make different weapons like daggers, swords, axes, and each changes his moveset slightly. But another character like Frost could freeze huge parts of the stage causing negative status effects for the opponent.

The thing is Jax basically fits what I'm talking about. He has his special arm heating mechanic, and the gotcha grab can even be used to wallsplat and reset the opponent (very similar to KI). It's not huge but still, he's the only character that has the kinda stuff.

TL;DR, I really do think variations hurt MK11 and NRS should change the way they design characters going forward. Maybe Injustice should be the series with the gear and loadout systems, but not MK.
KI is incredible and I believe if it was on all platforms it would be more popular.

Lt. Boxy Angelman

Premium Supporter
I said it before the game was released
I will say it for the thousandth time

Getting rid of variations is the only way you're going to allow this game to reach it's full potential, and whoever made the final sale on firewalling the complete experience behind a system that was plainly shoddily put together and STILL looks incomplete (ex. still having to manually build all the tournament-legal variations - not exactly a big pain in the ass, just indicative of iffy craftsmanship) should be fired.

Do it now, while there's still a dwindling player base to win back, instead of waiting until the last moment when not nearly as many people are going to care. Because Doom Eternal, Animal Crossing, FF7 Remake, etc., are all coming up on the horizon to divvy up the gamers even further. And that's on top of there being no EVO.

This game needs an adrenaline shot.


Fujin and Ermac for MK 11
Premium Supporter
I think they do more bad than good. Reason being well take jacquis 3rd variation as oppose to idk raiden or jades...lol. MK 11 balanced? My ass.
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Lt. Boxy Angelman

Premium Supporter

If the hype and rejuvenation for DBFZ completely overhauling their Assists system + basically creating a completely new meta game isn't enough of a kick in the ass to the powers that be to ditch this system entirely, then I give up.


En garde. I'll let you try my Wu Tang style
The way they've been implemented in this game is a net negative. The characters are all designed as a really bare bones shell that they slot new moves into rather than fleshed out characters with fleshed variations. There are still characters who only have one variation really worth using (Nightwolf, Shao Kahn, a few others) and the way the DLC characters after Shang have been given variations is starting to make me think "what is really the point of playing this character over anyone else".

The DLC characters all get three base moves (projectile, combo ender, some kind of unique neutral tool) then:

  1. Launcher and some form of match control tool (Incapacitator, Gas Can, Kiba Buff, etc)
  2. Mobility + Mixup variation
  3. Space Control/Neutral Variation
It's not all used exactly the same, I admit that, but theres a general pattern I'm seeing. Especially with the "combo" variation, like why play Joker over Sindel with that?


When's Syzoth?
I think the game could benefit from custom variations, despite how crazy they'd be. That level of sandbox within a fighting game hasn't really been explored, yet, and I think it's such a missed opportunity on NRS's end. People just want more to do.


Variations are total trash in this game. They worked better in X , but overall the idea is dumb.

You can basicly achieve the same effect , that variations do - having different styles of moves , but not access to all of them at ones , by making different and powerful ex options. That way you can have many strong options , but not unlimited uses for them and have complete characters. That's what FGs have been doing for years , and it's worked pretty well. But, you know , NRS always tries to fix what isn't broken. That's how you got this garbage system.
Reactions: JTC

John Grizzly

The axe that clears the forest
Premium Supporter
I've been vocal about my opinion on variations, but let me just say that I thought it was an amazing idea when I first heard about it for MKX. 3 versions of each character?! How cool is that?? It's also very clear they were MUCH MORE thought out than they are in MK11.

MK11's variations are a joke because NRS planned on doing customs, and then realized at the last moment before release that they couldn't balance that system competitively. So what do we get? For starters, two variations. One LESS than the previous game. Many of which are dogshit. Sure, there are outliers like Geras and Jacqui who felt complete from the start, but the majority of the variations are a joke that serve no purpose. When 3rd variations were introduced, there were a few good ones like Outtake and Arctic Anarchy, but we also got absolute turds like Truth and Light, Realm Destroyer and many others.

I'm sure there will be blind supporters of MK11 who will claim that variations take nothing away from the character, but that's just nonsense. It fragments the characters and gives their play style no real focus. Looking at the small pool of voting here, I'm not alone in this thinking.

I want to like MK11. I truly do. I love MK so, so much. Unfortunately, without changing nearly every aspect of this game, it will never happen for me. Even allowing customs won't really get me back. There's too many other aspects of the game that I despise for customs to make any sort of difference.

fr stack

Noob's saibot or noob saibot's?
I doubt it. Everyone would choose only one solid variation: Thunder God Raiden, Summoner Chi, Dragon Fire Liu, Grandmaster Sub (there are all year one variations) and I don’t remember abyone choose other variations at tourney for these and the rest of the roster. Maybe Cage, Cassie, Tremor, Scorpion and a couple of others had 2 solid variations but overall there was only one.
There was characters with 3 good variations just not many .. off the top of my head ermac , takeda, triborg, tanya. if i thought about it there is probably one or two more . It can be done right just takes careful planning and scrapping/ swapping overpowered or underpowered specials


Lean, mean, and +14
I love the concept behind variations as it gives more design creativity freedom to NRS to expand upon characters' movesets. MKX's variations had varying levels of success in creating specific gameplay styles for characters, ranging from small nuances to entirely different game plans. MK11 does the same, but there's a core fundamental issue in MK11's variation system: it doesnt appear to have been designed with forced variations in mind. MKX variations were clearly created as individual things while MK11 was built around base kits with players mixing/matching variation moves.

Let's look at bug lady as an example. Venomous and Swarm Queen D'Vorah both had clear yet different design intentions behind them. Venomous was to be a stagger monster that quickly stacked damage even from small hits and pokes while always trying to restand the opponent for more pressure. Her venom spray was key as it did great chip damage, had duration mindgames, and was a restand on hit that put the opponent at perfect distance for her key normals. In addition, her ovipositor and hand stabber attacks all caused a stacking degen so the hits she did get in during her staggers were that much more notable. All these unique aspects of the variation clearly complement each other for the core game plan. Swarm Queen was the obligatory run cancel variation which meant combos were a core aspect as run cancels would allow better strings. As such, she also had a slower yet always-launching puddle accordingly. Complementary design as there was thought put into the core idea.

In MK11, Buzzed and Arachnophobia feel like less of individual concepts brought to life and more of "the variation with the trap" and "the variation with the teleport for combos." What is Buzzed getting from the additional strings that complements being a trap variation? Air time bug makes sense, despite how awful a move it is, because it's all about covering the screen in shit and making the opponent not want to move. With all those bugs everywhere being the focus, what are the strings accomplishing in that game plan? Meanwhile, Arachnophobia has literally THE best other complementary move for Strep / Time Bug: Deadly Swarm. What is Arachnophobia getting from Deadly Swarm that complements the combo variation style? In my opinion, it actually DETRACTS from the variation's core as you're now focused on doing less combo damage in favor of doing swarm to restand as the variation has only that and the shitty base projectile to get bugs on the opponent.

It really does seem like MK11 was designed with custom variations in mind from the get go. Funny enough, I'd prefer that thought than the alternative of these variations originally WERE planned in MKX style which would be an absolute travesty.

TL;DR: MKX variations had clear complementary design within each variation which resulted in unique identities. MK11's variations feel like base kits with a couple moves tacked on.
I don't like them. The idea itself is at odds with the concept of having defined character roles. The variations let each character play like multiple characters in one, but for that to work you need to make the base character less opinionated about what their archetype is. If you absolutely must add an RPG element to the game, I'd much rather have the Injustice 2 system that lets you optimize for certain stats, or lets you slot in like 1 or 2 moves that gives a slight spin on the character.

But when you have a character, and then are able to say "this is their setup variation, this is their combo variation, this is their grappling variation, this is their zoning variation, etc." it implies that their base concept is so weak that you can slot a few moves in and have whatever archetype you want. If that is the case, what's the point in even having different characters?
Reactions: JTC