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Perfect Balance Doesn't Exist: It's OK if Your Character is Mid-Tier

Circus

Part-Time Kano Hostage
Balance in fighting games is so complex.
Some characters are just inevitably going to be better than others and there is no getting around that.
While these higher tier characters might have more winning matchups, good developers focus more on making sure those characters have a few bad matchups so they can be similarly successful to more mid-tier characters as far as win rates go in a given community.

The way they do this is to buff characters that counter these top tiers enough that the amount of these counter characters in a playerbase increases. This evens things out for other characters in the long run because the top tiers will run into bad matchups as often as mid-tiers would.

The point is, in a community over time, mid tiers and high tiers end up having very similar levels of success. As long as a character doesn't lose the majority of it's matchups, it should be viable.

You could see this kind of "buffing the counters instead of nerfing the strong" balancing--around-the-community in games like League of Legends and Overwatch too and it's based on the algorithm called "Fictitious Play".


Knowing this, will you still use a character if they might be mid-tier?
Will you pick up a character that fills in your character's bad matchups?
 
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Circus

Part-Time Kano Hostage
For me personally, I like maining only one character in a fighting game and it eventually bites me in the ass constantly because of bad matchups.

I try picking up a counter pick to cover the bad matchups, but I just don't have the passion for that second character like my main so I end up just grinding the bad matchups enough that I power through them.

I can't help it, I just like being a character specialist.
I still do very well, but I know I could do better if I covered the holes in my game more. Hopefully that'll change in MK11, but I doubt it.
 
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FoughtDragon01

Ask me about my Mileena agenda.
My friends are new to fighting games and always ask me who they should pick up. My #1 answer every time is to pick whoever they enjoy playing the most, whether it be for their character or their playstyle. I didn't play vanilla Mileena in MKX or Sombra in Overwatch because I thought they were top tier, I played them and took so many Ls because I loved their character.

Now, it was nice that Mileena eventually got buffed to god-tier, but it wasn't like I knew that was gonna happen.

Or did I?
 

Hitoshura

"It was probably a bad spell anyway."
Tiers matter depending on what game you're playing. Some fighters are balanced enough where there are tier differences in characters, but one can still be good with mid-low tier characters. Guilty Gear, Kof and Under Night In-birth are great examples.

Sometimes a game has a lot of dishonest mechanics and tech that characters who can get massive advantage from it usually dominate tournaments. SFIII: Third strike, DBF, most versus games, etc.

I'll play who I like. For now, it's going to be Noob. If the game is well balanced and he is mid tier or a little lower then I have no issues with using him; however, if this game develops to have some abusable mechanics and tools, then a strong foundation will be built for the meta and I'll need to switch characters to keep up.
 
When MKX came out I played
Kenjutsu, Flame Fist, Cryomancer and Buzzsaw.
They were all shit back then. Ff had no cancels, Buzzsaw had shit damage and no midscreen combo out of straight hat, Kenjutsu... Cryomancer was okay.
They all got buffed except for Kenjutsu, he’s still shit. But I was really upset that my variation was bad while someone abused Erron or Bojutsu and I coudn’t do shit because there was nothing to do. And I blamed my lack of skills for that. So I hope shit like that doesn’t happen again.
And yeah, I don’t need my character to be op, I want him to be balaced.
 

Circus

Part-Time Kano Hostage
No, it's ok if YOUR character is mid tier...if my main is then there are some srs problems. .
Yea, the higher tiers have more winning matchups, but the point is that in time the counters for those popular high tiers become more common in a community (lets say online for MK11).

So while those same high tiers will have more winning matchups, they'd be winning the same amount as the mid tiers because they'd be running into optimal matchups just as often as other characters would.

No matter what way you look at it, you either have to deal with bad matchups or pick up a pocket (unless a character is straight up busted with no flawed matchups).
 

Vslayer

Ask me about my Cassie Cage Agenda
Premium Supporter
I encourage everyone to play as many characters as possible; not only will it solve problematic matchups, but your understanding of the game will evolve too. And most importantly, you will experience more of the video game as it is: a video game.
This.

Understanding a MU is about playing that character and knowing what gimmicks and strategies people will use when you're fighting that particular character. It's all about knowing their strength weakness of your character and the opponent's character.

That said, I'm going to focus on the Cassie V Cassie MU a lot. xD
 

Kroaken

Life is a block string with no gaps.
And if you play low tier it gets even better yet because then you get to be a "character specialist" which is a sought after title.

People who only main one top tier character never become character specialists, but if you main a low tier one you get to be a character specialist. Its like winning a participation medal.
Some go their whole career without attaining this illustrious title. I pity them.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
Yeah, I never got this. Like when Deathstroke was nerfed from broken to mid-tier in IGAU, everyone just complained that he was ruined and gave up on him. It's like, if you really love a character, mid tier should be good enough. And if you specifically need a high tier char because you're focused on winning money (which is a valid approach for the top % of tourney players) then you can't expect *every* character you like to fit that bill.

Especially now, since 'mid-tier' doesn't mean what it meant back in the MK9 days, where the top characters were left 7-3'ing (or worse) much of the cast.
 
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VSC_Supreme

TYM's #1 L taker.
Lol [Top tier character I main] isn't even [good] and I'm tired of you guys [up-playing] them. How can a character who struggles with [irrelevant mechanic] and [specific bad match up] be a top tier? I'm tired of [scrubs] constantly [downplaying] their character and forming a [mob mentality] against characters that are [mid-tier at best.] :DOGE

While I think tiers are important, I always feel people get the wrong things from them.
 
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xenogorgeous

... Groovy.
Premium Supporter
the individual own skill level counts somehow to fill some of the gap .... a mid-tier designed character can highlight if the person using it , end being someone very, very very "ultra god mode" skillful on playing fighting games ..... normally, isn't how work out on fighting games ? or no, it's not possible ? :confused:
 
i play who i think is good. people who main low tiers are usually not good enough at the game to see how shitty their character is.
 

Saint Op Omen

Savagely beating his super-ego with his id...
Yea, the higher tiers have more winning matchups, but the point is that in time the counters for those popular high tiers become more common in a community (lets say online for MK11).

So while those same high tiers will have more winning matchups, they'd be winning the same amount as the mid tiers because they'd be running into optimal matchups just as often as other characters would.

No matter what way you look at it, you either have to deal with bad matchups or pick up a pocket (unless a character is straight up busted with no flawed matchups).
It was a joke, but also not a joke for people who remember that I always joke about my main being "random select"
 
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Archer

PSN: IMrArcherI
It depends what you really want out of the game, and how much time you want to commit to learning characters. NRS seems to patch their games more frequently than most studios in the first year or so, so if you're focused on playing top tier you may need to bounce around quite a bit until things settle.

For me, finding a character with unique mechanics that can do okay is what I ultimately go for. I played Konjuror Alien for most of MKX, and even after Alien got hit hard I continued to play him because of the unique delayed drone pressure and fun egg setups. But by sticking with a lower tier character, you need to accept that you wont get that W as often, and will probably cap out where you wouldn't with a higher tier character. I'm personally okay with playing a mid tier character that provides a cool matchup people don't often get to play, but I'm not planning on putting tons of money on the line to travel to tournaments, and know that regardless of what character I play I'm not making a top 8 in anything serious.
 

Circus

Part-Time Kano Hostage
the individual own skill level counts somehow to fill some of the gap .... a mid-tier designed character can highlight if the person using it , end being someone very, very very "ultra god mode" skillful on playing fighting games ..... normally, isn't how work out on fighting games ? or no, it's not possible ? :confused:
Higher tier just means that they have more winning matchups than the other characters, but that doesn't matter too much really. In a well balanced game, mid tiers should be just as capable of winning with than high tiers. Just look at Tekken or SF5 at the moment.

Just because those higher tier characters have the most winning matchups, doesn't mean that in a tournament they are going to run into those weaker characters. If that high tier character is common, then it's VERY likely that counter characters for them are common in the current meta-game too.

In a tournament setting if the current patch has been played long enough, there should be many high and mid tier characters that should still be capable of winning a huge major tournament. It just boils down to how good you are against your bad matchups with your character, regardless of if it's high tier or mid tier (just don't pick low tier lol).