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Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:15 pm
by marurun
So, after some frustrating experiences with SFIV, I've decided I really don't like it. Capcom has taken the view that the only way to be complex and competitive is to be starkly beginner unfriendly. I think this is a mistaken view. I think a good design can accommodate both crowds just fine. Believe it or not, I think the Virtua Fighter series, considered one of the most technical around, it more beginner-friendly than what Street Fighter has become.

But that got me thinking. If you are a beginner (rather than a tournament player) and want to go on-line and play with the wider world, what are your choices these days? Which fighters are accessible enough for new players to slowly learn but retain enough depth to support an on-line netplay community?

Suggestions should also include platform, since many of us have different systems. As an example, I have a PC (which limits some of my options, I know). So knowing that a particular fighter is only available for XBone or PS4 helps me not to pine for it ; )

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:43 pm
by Bradtemple87
It may not be your desired choice, but Street Fighter V is a breath of fresh air after IV.

The character trials are easier, net play is passable, and it has the biggest audience right now. I also feel the control input is very forgiving gift starting out. If your computer ran IV, you should be ok running V.

There are other fighters getting attention right now, but they would be the next level. King of Fighters has lowered the difficulty from the last entry and has a massive roster. The game is a blast, but there are a lot more things to consider than Street Fighter.

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:02 pm
by bmoc
Killer Instinct is pretty beginner friendly. The Dojo offers a decent tutorial of the game's mechanics. And if you are new to fighters in general, it also has Combo Assist which simplifies inputs. The netcode is the best around. Season 3 still isn't over so they are actively developing and patching for it at the moment. The next big patch comes out on Tuesday and includes a new game mode.

KI gets my vote for most accessible of the active online fighters. It is available on Xbox One and Windows 10. It is free to try and has several pricing options.

If you want to look at the game in depth before downloading, check out

MK XL is also worth checking now that the netcode is better if you don't mind the violence. I haven't fired it up in a while but the mechanics are pretty easy and it also has a decent tutorial as well. It is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC (not sure if it out of beta on PC yet)

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:22 pm
by marurun
There's also the challenge of figuring out which fighters on Steam have netplay. There are a lot of great fighters on there that lack netplay. I bet I would love Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, but the netplay has been in beta for what, over a year now, with no sign of emerging as a final, finished feature.

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:03 am
by the7k
I think all fighters these days are beginner friendly. Too beginner friendly. To the point where the games are about as deep as a puddle.

If you want the easiest game on the market, it's probably KOFXIV. The game has been slowed to a crawl to such a point that a senior citizen can keep up with it, and you can just mash light punch to do combos. Yay, now everyone can be Reynald. Trying to do real combos is harder in this game than in KOFXIII thanks to them taking out the ability to cancel specials into specials, but otherwise this game is about as meaty as tofu.

Street Fighter V is also very beginner friendly, combos have never been easier to pull off in a Street Fighter game, ever. The game even tells you when an attack you get hit with is a crossup, which I rarely ever see a game actually tell you. The only real problem is that Capcom STILL isn't punishing rage quitters consistently which leads to most if not all victories turning into 40002 errors, and nothing is more discouraging than playing well for an hour and having not a single win to show for it. Nothing is more beginner unfriendly than that, it just sucks out the desire to play like nothing else.

While I haven't played Mortal Kombat X, I have many friends that do and they have confirmed with me time and time again that there's no larger group of... shall we say "unwilling to learn" players than the NRS community. For reference, one of them had gone months without playing MKX to the point where he didn't even realize certain characters were added and still won a local tournament. So, if you are willing to learn, you will likely find that MKX will make you a legend in a matter of a few days of practice compared to the most vocal "tournament" players. And let's be honest, nothing is more beginner friendly (in the sense of making you want to continue playing) than dominating others.

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:34 am
by marurun
Depth is not antithetical to being beginner friendly. That's a mistaken view many of the fighting community grognards need to come to terms with. Beginner friendly has to do with accessibility of the depth of the game. If there is an accessible learning curve, that works. Depth and complexity are not the same thing. Something can be relatively simple and still have depth. Another thing could be needlessly complex be end up being rather shallow despite that.

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:46 pm
by the7k
That's part of what I hate about modern fighters - they are needlessly complex in some areas and then they make things needlessly shallow in other areas for the sake of being beginner friendly, even though there's nothing beginner friendly about it.

It's one of the aspects of SFIV I hated the most - the stated intent of it was that it was beginner friendly, yet you had so many characters with 1-frame links in their Bread & Butter combos and other needless complexities. You had FADC'ing as a way to extend combos and get-out-of-jail-free (i.e. beginner friendly concept) but then using it to extend combos was very difficult to get the hang of and there's nothing more dissatisfying than preparing to punish a blocked SRK only to have the FADC backwards (i.e. beginner unfriendly).

KOFXIV is another example of a game that's trying to be beginner friendly yet doing it in a backwards way. You've got the autocombos, but all that does is raise the minimum amount of damage you have to be able to do without auto combos. A 25% to 33% damage combo in KOFXIII used to be about the average - now you can do that much just by mashing, which means to stay competitive you'll need to learn extremely complex combos that do 50%+ and take at least 10+ steps or else you might as well not even compete.

I mean, heck, multiple characters in KOFXIV have already got 100% damage combos. The game was built to prevent that from happening, so unlike KOFXIII where pulling off a 100% combo was actually fairly easy, now it's an incredibly complicated thing to do and you will be expected to pull these 100% combos off as the game progresses. There's nothing beginner friendly about that, which is why by making the game beginner friendly (i.e. trying to prevent Touch of Death combos) they have inadvertently made the game beginner unfriendly. It's the exact same thing Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 fell for, which perhaps should have been expected considering Neo_G worked on both.

Best beginner friendly fighter with netplay that I can think of is Vampire Savior on Fightcade. An ancient game that no one plays anymore but they got it right. Have all characters be built with a similar gameplan, have combos be built to be damaging, short and easy, and almost all the combat is based on footsies and spacing.

Honestly I think Street Fighter V is the best beginner friendly 2D fighter that's current, it's just that the game has a ton of faults which will be deal breakers for most folks and honestly I can't blame people for not giving it a chance as those deal breakers are pretty huge. As bad as those issues are though, it's still the best we got and... that's just pathetic.

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:19 pm
by BogusMeatFactory
Out of curiosity, what are the SF V deal breakers?

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:25 pm
by marurun
the7k, I think we're actually not too far apart on what we think of fighters, generally speaking, and what constitutes useful complexity and effective accessibility. And Vampire Savior is pretty awesome. If you can't tell, I'm also a big fan of Virtua Fighter, 2 being my favorite.

I'm OK with combos, but if the timing is 1-frame, or if they are all simply a case of "memorize these strings of inputs" like MK3 (I used to call them dial-a-combos), that kinda kills the appeal for me. I think Capcom's Magic Series made sense, as did Virtua Fighter. I also do not like the whole touch of death, where you miss a block and you're toast, because COMBOS! As much as I want to love Skullgirls, there's just WAY too much combo-heaviness going on in the game.

Have all characters be built with a similar gameplan, have combos be built to be damaging, short and easy, and almost all the combat is based on footsies and spacing.

This sounds just lovely to me. A little like chess. Most of the moves are simple and straight-forward, but varied and give you lots of options when layered on top of each other. There are only a few tricky exceptions (en passant, castling, pawn exchange/promotion, and check). It's about knowing the board, the capabilities of each piece, and anticipating the direction the other player is headed.

Re: Beginner friendly fighters with netplay

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:04 pm
by the7k
BogusMeatFactory wrote:Out of curiosity, what are the SF V deal breakers?

8-frame delay, the single player modes (granted, I think all fighters outside of a few like the Soul Calibur and Tekken series have pretty mediocre single player, but the insultingly easy story mode and the hair-pullingly frustrating survival mode of SFV are well below the average) and the unpunished rage quits of the online mode are all pretty big issues.

Some affect certain types of players more than others but all in all, whether you are a serious competitive player or a casual just-for-fun type, you'll have at least something big to complain about.

Which is a shame because I honestly feel, those issues aside, this has a lot of potential. For me personally, if they'd just bring the input delay to no more than 5 frames and actually do something about the rage quit issue, I'd be more than ready to jump back in.