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Variations System Is a Problem and I Can Prove

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
This text went longer then I expecte, but I have wanted bring up this discution a while so... here am'i. I'm a great fan of the entire MK Saga, and didn't came here to bring rage of any kind. I just ment to bring a healthy discution about soming I see as a problem in my so beloved game.

My major complaint about MK 11 Is the tendency from Netherrealm Studios, always creating different sets of abilities giving to the player some kind of character/gameplay customization, which are not bad in concept but execution. Then I realize that's not a recent issue, by the powers of Kronika's sands of time, I travel back to the past of this so beloved franchise and founded the first symptoms of this major disease. The problem starts on the 3D era, surprise, surprise ¬¬, don't get me wrong MK Armageddon still my personal favorite, that obscenity of roster make me horny till today, but I have to be blind to ignore all the issues this moment of the MK saga had.

MK 4 was the firs time we have any kind of combat variation, bring the mechanic of weapons, with a simple command any playable character could withdraw your nonsense weapon and throw'it in your opponent, but was MK 4 no one really care about this game. Then the PS2 arrive bring a new generation of possibilities and keep screwing things.

MK Deadly Alliance, or just, MK V, or even, The MK Game Where Debuted The Most Hated Character In The Entire Saga — Hsu Hao. Personal opinion, you guys bully the Mongolian heartless fighter a little too much, now moving on. MK DA was the first MK game we actually have kombat variations, 3 of them to be precise. Yeah, you thought MK X was original? Hell No! This, at the moment, new system bring to each character two real fighting styles and, again, a weapon, and you could change between them in the middle of Kombat, just picking your favorite, or making crazy kombos using the 3 variations in the same chain of strikes. Stop to thinking this system is way more complex and functional than MK X system, because the player don't have to chose their favorite variation, or just the best like every one do. This game also have a roster problem, bringing a new story with new, not so likeable, characters, and putting out other klassics in a limited 21 characters roster. Where I saw something like this recently ¬¬? This game even ignore characters like Jade, Baraka, Ermac and Mileena. Yeah, Mileena. An MK without Mileena, could you guys imagine? Total non-sense right... right?

MK Deception, nothing really new here, this game just follow the formula from MK DA, but this particular game shows us how the variation system interfere in the roster size. Deception brought us Noob-Smoke, a character with is nothing but Noob Saibot and robot Smoke in one single character. And you guys thinking MK X was the first to have Smoke as a variation of a full character. At this point a really hope you realize that MK X major problems are not new, they actually are more than 10 years old, Deception is a game from 2004 and MK X 2015, personal opinion, time enough to see the problems of a saga, fix'it, improve'it, or even drop'it and try something new, or just do the basics, no one are asking more than this neatherrealm, NO ONE!

MK Armageddon, as I already sad, my personal favorite, this game have as major issue the absence of Fatalities, the klassic kind of fatality at least, due to the gargantuan roster size, 62 character! 60 AND 2 FUCKING CHARACTERS!!! OH, MY RAIJIN!!! WHY NETHERRELM YOU GUYS NEVER DID THIS AGAIN, WHYYYYY!!!??? 'Cough, cough'. Leting my inner fanboy at side a moment, this game is the most unique of the saga for several reasons, but I don't want to lost my point talking about things like Motor Kombat, an MK kart game inside MK A. I'm serious, google it. The point is, this game was the first in PS2 generation to have less fighting variations per character, of course, I mean, SIXTY TWO!!! 'Cough, cough'. Ok for real this time. This due to the gingantic roster was almost impossible, or just dumb, creating different variations for each of those characters, giving to each character 1 fighting style and 1 weapon, doing this the game was able to bring all classic characters, even those irrelevants like Striker, and characters witch most player didn't remember or even knew't like Kai, do you guys remember Kai from MK 4? Both of these characters with new visual concepts. Been so, proving to the players one single fact, less variations more characters, and these this sentence proves itself again in MK X, but we will get there eventually.

MK vs DC. Just a spin off, moving on...

MK 9. Just Perfect, or I should say Flawless! Nice roster, nice story, any kind of variation, just characters each one with your own concept, why Netherrealm stop doing this to start screw their own games on porpoise? We'll never know. MK 9 is simply the best, I already sad, MK Armageddon is my personal favorite MK game, but I'm not stupid, i know all the qualities of MK 9 and none can't deny, this game kick ass, or I should say, Finish Him!

MK X. Well, we finally get here, MK X have a lot o problems, with some I already talk about in this, now I'm seeing, too long text. MK X biggest problem is the way how variations took place of characters, Kitana has variation with Jade's staff, Kano now have Hsu Hao bionic heart. Yep, a Hsu Hao reference! Well, Well, Netherrealm, looks like the spell turn against the Elder God. And also, I can't ignore the worst of the worst, Triborg, or I should say Quadriborg? As a Cyrax fan, have him as a piece of full character, not only it but also, 4 characters in 1. This game story have a lot of NPC characters like Sareena, Li Mei, and Revenants, and also fighting some of them like, Baraka, Rain and Sindel. And Tanya an incomplete character coming later as DLC. A character already in the story as opponent, and make part of a sub-plot, been sold apart in further DLC. As a player I felt offended. So just imagine how MK X could have been, if Rain, Baraka, Sindel and Smoke, characters we fight against in the game main story, made part of the roster? Just imagine.

And finally...

MK 11. I don't really have much to say about this one, well I actually have, but this one is the current game so you guy probably know this major issues, and I'm not talking about the Server Disconnection Issue. MK 11 brought options of abilities to cutomize characters, BUT, with 3 official variations set to competitive game. Always 3 variations. Really Netherrealm, really?

I could make more companies about MK11 but at this point I really believe every one already get my point. What I really want is bring the discution about the way Netherrealm is taking MK franchise in more than two decades (MK4 is from '97). Now tell me, what you kombatants think about it, you like't this variations systems? Dislike then? Tell me why, and what you think would be the best way to MK take.
 

just_2swift

King of Edenia.
The community asked for them you can look it up on this very site. I was apposed to it and they called me a shit head. They should have not returned at all that was mkx niche.
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
TL;DR ..... sorry ! :p
Don,t judge you, but if you really want to know, about the variations system through the MK Saga, even not reading you can give your opinion. But yo be honest, is really god text, when you got you should take a look, just saying. ;)
 

Vslayer

Kurses in moose
Lead Moderator
Premium Supporter
The only reason variations are a thing it's because it's seen as another 'staple' of the MK franchise, what sets it apart from other fighters, like fatalities. I want them gone too but I doubt that'll happen.
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
The community asked for them you can look it up on this very site. I was opposed to it and they called me a shit head. They should have not returned at all that was mkx niche.
I don't understand how people could prefer more variations them more characters
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
The only reason variations are a thing it's because it's seen as another 'staple' of the MK franchise, what sets it apart from other fighters, like fatalities. I want them gone too but I doubt that'll happen.
that's bad but are probably right, sometimes looks like the devs do it more for themselves, like they have fun doing these things then actually doing for the community.
 

xenogorgeous

Mileena is the best, Mileena 4ever !
Premium Supporter
Don,t judge you, but if you really want to know, about the variations system through the MK Saga, even not reading you can give your opinion. But yo be honest, is really god text, when you got you should take a look, just saying. ;)
thanks for being nice !

variations are an issue and a problem since the very first time they came up, since MKX, people were claiming that this system don't work properly with the reality of the fighting games competitive pace, and now, on MK11, the situation \ scenario seems to be even worse, so , yeah, variations are a pain in the ass to deal with

I will always defend to return back to the MK9 system proposal : full characters complete with a moveset with various special moves, and just get rid of this experimental variation system, that brings much more problems than solutions to MK franchise and advanced gameplay ...
 
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Murilima

I criticize because I love!
thanks for being nice !

variations are an issue and a problem since the very first time they came up, since MKX, people were claiming that this system don't work properly with the reality of the fighting games competitive pace, a now, on MK11, the situation \ scenario seems to be even worse, so , yeah, variations are a pain in the ass to deal with

I will always defend to return back to the MK9 system propossal : full characters complete with a moveset with various special moves, and just get rid of this experimental variation system, that brings much more problems than solutions to Mk franchise and advance gameplay ...
I couldn't agree more, thanks for your contribution to the discussion. Happy to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way. :p
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
I don't understand how people could prefer more variations them more characters
You will never get more characters either way though, as MK games already max out for the number of characters that are reasonable to balance, and it takes a ton more work and money to make a character than a variation.

Getting less of one doesn't give you any more of the other. Variations are basically the devs giving us access to different choices that would normally be left on the cutting room floor in early dev.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
I said this on our podcast, but I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with the variation system itself. However, I think that the constraints of developing a brand-new AAA fighter within two years means that it's vary hard to both A) Balance all the variations and B) Make them all interesting and super engaging.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
^ So this leaves 3 options:
  1. If we have the variation system, then people need to understand the quick dev cycle and live with not having every variation be the bee's knees.
  2. They take the variation system out, but people then need to live with having less options. They're not going to give each character 10 special moves.
  3. They more aggressively balance the game, and change some characters more drastically from patch to patch, which people explicitly said they wanted them to stop doing in MKX.
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
^ So this leaves 3 options:
  1. If we have the variation system, then people need to understand the quick dev cycle and live with not having every variation be the bee's knees.
  2. They take the variation system out, but people then need to live with having less options. They're not going to give each character 10 special moves.
  3. They more aggressively balance the game, and change some characters more drastically from patch to patch, which people explicitly said they wanted them to stop doing in MKX.
You brought some interesting points, I didn't actually stop to think about de dev cycle, that's true MK games have a 2 years life support, even in the PS2 era, now analyzing MK DA, Deception and armageddon had their original release in 2002, 2004 and 2006 respectively. And today Netherrealm shares their main game spot between MK and Injustice, which let both games with a short life cycle.

You have changed my perspective, now I believe balance, is the key point of this discussion, no the major reason the company has to do such a thing, but balance is what makes the variation system a problem. The variation system looks much like some they did to improve the casual player experience than to improve the competitive game scenario. That's why MK 11 has 10 customization options per character but only 3 tournament legal variations. Wich creates a secondary problem, they spent so many time make each character "self-balanced", them don't have time to make other characters balanced as well, make three balanced variations for each character is too much effort for a, in my opinion, not so relevant game-changing in the competitive scenario. How they could balance a character with 10 different changeable skills, is just a trap they create for their own.
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
I could do without it. Honestly I feel it just creates more problems than solutions.
That's true, Street Fighter shows us how a game is perfectly functional and balanced with characters having only 3 or 4 skills. Some times I think this variations kind kill the character identity, I mean, if a character has so many different ways to play, what this character is about in the end? In fighting games, individuality and personality are very important to the game as a concept. and make the experience of playing a lot more enjoyable.
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
I actually like the variation system, but I wouldn't mind moving away from it just to change things up.
Just a little doubt, you like the variations as something enjoyable in casual or competitive play or just a funny cosmetic option?
 
That's true, Street Fighter shows us how a game is perfectly functional and balanced with characters having only 3 or 4 skills. Some times I think this variations kind kill the character identity, I mean, if a character has so many different ways to play, what this character is about in the end? In fighting games, individuality and personality are very important to the game as a concept. and make the experience of playing a lot more enjoyable.
Exactly like in mk11 it's hard to justify using characters when the top tier characters are doing what some of them do better in just their base kits, or have variations that can do what your character does better. Street Fighter has shotos, and you know what you can expect from that character archetype. Tekken has Mishimas and you know what to expect from that. Even deeper than that. Street fighter has Ryu, Ken, Akuma. 3 characters with defined playstyles and game plans. Ryu is a all rounder, Ken a footsies rushdown based character. Akuma set-play vortex character. Tekken Kazuya, Heihachi, Jin, Devil Jin. 4 characters 4 defined and unique identities. In MK11 why play Scorpion? Does he have the vortex centered high risk/ reward playstyles of 9, or 10? No. Does Sub-Zero have the bully trap character archetype? Do they iconic characters of the game keep their identities that long time players went to them for? Are there other characters in those other games that fulfill those roles better than them? Yes but not to the degree it does in MK11. If a player wanted to play Scorpion why not play Kabal, Jaqui, joker or Liu Kang? They play footsies better. Hit harder, way more devastating krushing blows, better restands in some instances, better mids, small hitboxes, and safer gameplans. Same goes for Sub-Zero when you could play Liu Kang, jaqui, joker, Kabal? For the same exact reasons. For much of the low or mid tier there's almost nothing they do better than any of the top tier outside of being themselves imo
 

Murilima

I criticize because I love!
Exactly like in mk11 it's hard to justify using characters when the top tier characters are doing what some of them do better in just their base kits, or have variations that can do what your character does better. Street Fighter has shotos, and you know what you can expect from that character archetype. Tekken has Mishimas and you know what to expect from that. Even deeper than that. Street fighter has Ryu, Ken, Akuma. 3 characters with defined playstyles and game plans. Ryu is a all rounder, Ken a footsies rushdown based character. Akuma set-play vortex character. Tekken Kazuya, Heihachi, Jin, Devil Jin. 4 characters 4 defined and unique identities. In MK11 why play Scorpion? Does he have the vortex centered high risk/ reward playstyles of 9, or 10? No. Does Sub-Zero have the bully trap character archetype? Do they iconic characters of the game keep their identities that long time players went to them for? Are there other characters in those other games that fulfill those roles better than them? Yes but not to the degree it does in MK11. If a player wanted to play Scorpion why not play Kabal, Jaqui, joker or Liu Kang? They play footsies better. Hit harder, way more devastating krushing blows, better restands in some instances, better mids, small hitboxes, and safer gameplans. Same goes for Sub-Zero when you could play Liu Kang, jaqui, joker, Kabal? For the same exact reasons. For much of the low or mid tier there's almost nothing they do better than any of the top tier outside of being themselves imo
That's true, these variations take the character's individuality, what's the point of having 10 customization options for each character if some of their iconic moves are not there, WERE IS SUB-ZERO ICE CLONE NRS!? The developers should stop hanging the whole concept of the characters every game, I like some character in a game but the next Boom! they chance the entire concert and move set, how could NRS expect to have iconic gameplay if the same character could be rush down, grappler, and zoner? They want so badly to be creative, but they forgot to be iconic like this franchise ever was... Was.
 
That's true, these variations take the character's individuality, what's the point of having 10 customization options for each character if some of their iconic moves are not there, WERE IS SUB-ZERO ICE CLONE NRS!? The developers should stop hanging the whole concept of the characters every game, I like some character in a game but the next Boom! they chance the entire concert and move set, how could NRS expect to have iconic gameplay if the same character could be rush down, grappler, and zoner? They want so badly to be creative, but they forgot to be iconic like this franchise ever was... Was.
It's not as much about the move as it is the role the characters play. Like we're getting rain now. Does retain his mk9 playstyles? Is he gonna retain his strong anti-airs, his cancel pressure, his ability to sap meter and prevent breakers? Is his identity tied to the roundhouse cancel pressure he is known for and if it is does it have the frame data to make it viable?
 
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