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2D 3v3 Glossary (what does all this lingo mean)
Resources - refers to any resources that are shared by the team as a whole - the special gauge, assists, and sparking mechanic are resources while individual health bars are not.
Neutral game - this refers to any point in a match where both the player and the opponent are at mid screen with limited or no resources available. Rounds in all fighting games start from neutral position.
Pressure - refers to the constant application of attacks to lock down the opponent (they can't attack). Distance is irrelevant, a close range Wolverine/Akuma combo or a long range Morrigan/Doom missile blitz are both pressure.
Cross up - refers to any movement that switches the direction of your opponent's guard - traditionally caused either by jumping over them (Street Fighter jumping medium kick) or teleporting behind them (one of many reasons why people hated MvC3 Wesker). Crossing up the opponent makes guarding difficult and is known for being easy to execute while being very difficult to guard against. A classic cross up technique in 3v3 games is to call a beam assist (like MvC3 Magneto's Disruptor or Doom's Plasma Beam) and teleport behind the opponent at the same time.
Mix up - refers to the available options a character has to break through an opponent's guard. Essentially the more opportunities a character has that can make predicting a low/high/throw/cross up situation, the more powerful their mix up is. To expand upon the previous example of a classic 3v3 cross up, a character who has a diagonal teleport (MvC3 Wesker, Zero, or Dante) could make the beam assist cross up much more effective as now the opponent has to worry about high/low guarding in addition to the cross up. If that character also has a command throw (MvC3 Wesker) they could simply land and throw for a truly infuriating mix up game.
Rush down - a fighting style that focuses on overwhelming the opponent at close range.
Zoning - a fighting style that focuses on overwhelming the opponent at distance. Zoning doesn't have to full screen, it can occur at mid range as well against close range centric characters.
Turtling - a fighting style that focuses on defensive tactics to win. A keep difference between zoning and turtling is that the turtling opponent isn't actively trying to hurt you. Once a turtling opponent has the life lead, expect them to stall and win by time over.
Magic series - refers to the generic "dial a combo" button sequence that will get a basic combo for most characters in the game. Typically this sequence will look something like light attack > medium attack > heavy attack > launcher > aerial light attack > aerial medium attack > aerial heavy attack > super finisher. This term originated from the original versus games (from Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter onward) but can also be applied to Darkstalkers, Guilty Gear, Blazblue, Personal Arena, and most other games with a similar control layout.
Point - the lead character in a 3v3 team. The point character begins the match with 2 assists characters but otherwise limited resources.
Assist - while this typically refers to a character's assist attack, this can also refer to the second character in a 3v3 team as their main function will be assisting the point character.
(edited 1 year ago)
2D 3v3 Glossary continued
Anchor - the final character in a 3v3 team. While this character will also serve as an assist to the point and assist character, they will also be the final character and will need to fight alone. This character will face the most one sided and clutch moments in any given fight.
Clutch - any critical moment that can decide the match. Correctly predicting and reversing an otherwise fatal cross up (MvC3 Wesker teleport with Haggar assist, UMvC3 Morrigan pressure with Doom's Hidden Missile assist, etc) would be a clutch moment.
Happy Birthday - any scenario where one or more characters are killed from a single combo, typically on incoming. Since DBZF resets incoming characters back to neutral, this term would become interchangeable with "Touch of Death".
Hit box - the area of an attack that will do damage.
Hurt box - the area of your character that can receive damage. MvC3 Doom's Foot Dive is notorious for having a hit box that completely overlaps Doom's hurt box which means that it will beat out most other attacks.
Frames - refers to the number of frames for a given attack. Modern fighting games run at 60 frames per second so a quick attack (such as a light jab) will come out in 4 frames or 1/15 of a second.
Active frames - the number of frames an attack is active for (it will hurt during this time).
Recovery frames - the number of frames it takes to recover from an attack (you are wide open for punishment during this time). Historically any type of rising uppercuts (SHORYUKEN!!!) have a large number of recovery frames.
Safe - refers to an attack with a low number of recovery frames such as a jab/poke (read, any light strength attack).
Whiff - a missed attack, named after the sound (two jabs that hit sound like the opponent grunting in pain, two jabs that miss sound like "whiff whiff").
Execution - refers to the level of difficulty of a given combo or tactic. The basic magic series is considered low execution. An auto combo is the lowest form of execution.
Meta game - refers to the current state of competitive play.
Tiers - the level of effectiveness of a character based on the meta game.
(edited 1 year ago)
On balance and depth
Now that the basic terminology is out of lets the biggest misconceptions out of the way.
What is balance?
Balance refers to the viability of each character within the roster at competitive play. If all characters can perform reasonably well against each other (5:5 match ups, no worse than 4:6) a roster is considered balanced. If there are some characters that severely out perform others (think Brawl Metaknight) then the roster is considered poorly balanced.
Since balance is based on the meta game it is impossible to determine balance close to launch. It takes at least a few months of competitive play for players to determine character strengths and many more years before the meta game matures to a point where any sort of consensus can be formed.
What is depth?
Depth refers to the complexity of a game's base engine. While many games are designed with a specific level of depth in mind (SFII was originally designed to be simple to play, Smash was never intended to be competitive, and Virtua Fighter was designed to require calculus) in most cases depth ends up far exceeding developer intentions due to glitches and exploits. SFII's combo system is a glitch as is Melee's wave dashing. In some cases depth isn't derived from bugs or glitches but rather exploits of the game's engine. MvC2 Magneto's Rom Infinite or Budokai's combo cancel system are examples of exploiting the game's engine to optimize characters.
Bottom line is that neither balance nor depth can be determined early in a game's life span. When SFII originally released, nobody would've dreamed that characters could combo into stun for 1/2 of a life bar. Wave dashing Fox was another discovery years after launch. Iceman was considered early top tier in MvC2.
On character design and 3v3
All fighting game characters can be summed up as falling into one of 3 types:
Rush down - high mobility intended for close combat, traditionally will have lower health/defense
Zoning - control of space through projectiles and obstacles, traditionally will have average health defense
Big body/Grappler - high damage through inescapable throws at cost of speed and mobility
Even well rounded "beginner" characters will ultimately lean towards a single type; Ryu is better at zoning while Ken excels at rush down. For 1v1 combat character design has to be looked at in a vacuum: can this big body/grappler perform well against rush down and zoning? What about other Big body/grapplers? Is this rush down character too strong against zoning? Is this zoning character too strong against big body/grapplers?
This changes in 3v3 combat because of team dynamics, characters are going to have assists at their disposal so balance is no longer looked at in terms of 1v1 combat. A big body/grappler backed by 2 powerful assists can create an overwhelming rush down presence even if nobody on the team is designed as a rush down character - we saw this first hand with KaneBlueRiver's Evo15 championship team of Hulk/Sentinel/Haggar.
Again this point needs emphasis, a 3v3 team consisting of nothing but big body/grapplers was turned into a rush down machine.
Team dynamics and composition play a much, much larger role than individual character strengths. UMvC3 just finished it's (hopefully not) final Evo match, and since MvC3's premiere in 2011, there has only been 1 team that has won that was made entire of top tier characters. That team was ChrisG's Morrigan/Doom/Vergil for 2016 and he just lost highhandedly to RyanLV's Chun(mid to high tier)/Morrigan/Phoenix (low to mid) team.
Games designed around 3v3 combat are not going to balance characters in a 1v1 setting.
I know that point will drive a lot of casuals up the wall but there is a reason for it, and no, that reason is not elitism. If the game is designed around 3v3 combat, 1v1 becomes a very, very small part of an actual match. The match starts 3v3 but then can flow rapidly to 2v3, 1v3, 2v2, etc. 1v1 is never guaranteed at any point for any match unless both players are explicitly handicapping themselves and refusing to play with assists.
On concerns regarding individual character strength
Hopefully after reading all of the above it has become clear why some characters may be designed with a specific team designation (point/assist/anchor) in mind but just in case it isn't, well here is a dedicated section to elaborate.
The 3 spots of a team all have a different set of criteria to be effective.
The point character is the most flexible position as there will be 2 assists available to make up for any deficiencies. If the point character is slow, that speed can be covered by wide area assists such as beams and other projectiles to make it more difficult for the opponent to move. If the point character doesn't deal much damage, combo extension assists can be used to extend damage or utility assists can be used to force resets. The only limitation the point character has is that the point character has to be resource conscious. Unless you build your team 100% for your point character (i.e. if your point dies you no longer care about winning the match), your point character should be building more resources than they are expending so the assist and anchor are stronger when they have to come in.
The assist character is the most misunderstood position. There is this misconception that the assist is only there as an extra attack for the point character. This was only true for a single game and I sincerely doubt anyone reading this is an active player in the (now underground) MvC2 scene. While it is true that the assist character does primarily provide back up for the point, keep in mind that the assist character also still has the anchor as an assist. The flow of a properly built team doesn't go "point with assists > garbage > anchor" but "point with 2 assists> assist character with 1 assist > anchor". The assist character is called the assist because that is the only character guaranteed to serve as an assist for the point. The assist character is not "only" there for their assist unless you explicitly decided to build your team that way.
(edited 1 year ago)
On concerns regarding individual character strength continued
The anchor is the closer, the final member of the team and the last character standing before defeat. Assuming the point and assist characters did their jobs properly, the anchor will have the most meter available but also has to fight unassisted. This is the spot where the meter hungry characters (coughcoughGohanandFriezacoughcough) thrive best. Remember this is the character that may find themselves in 1v3 situations so it really does pay off to save the best for last. The anchor's will either need to have an amazing neutral game on their own (team stacked towards the anchor) or have a good assist to benefit both the point and assist character (team stacked to be well rounded).
So when looking at the flow of a match, this is how a well built team will function.
Round starts - point character with 2 assists. Your team (again not just point character, team) should be built to work well in neutral. The combination of point + 2 assists should be building meter at a steady pace but shouldn't be afraid to expend resources if it means killing one of the opponent's characters. If all goes well you'll get a 3v0 clean sweep victory otherwise...
Mid round - Assist character backed by 1 assist. Your point character just died so now it the assist character is taking charge. Depending on how your team is built, you'll either operate just as consistently (relatively speaking) or your assist will now be building resources for the anchor. Both strategies are fine so long as resources are managed accordingly. If all goes well the match will finish with a victory from 2v0 but otherwise...
End of the round - ...and it is now down to just the anchor. If you wanted a clutch DBZ moment, this is where your character will rush in and save the day. Hopefully the opponent's team has been beaten down enough to make this a reasonable 1v1 fight, otherwise you had better have a crap ton of meter to burn through to take out those extra characters. That 1v0 victory is going to be close...or it'll be defeat and you can try again next match.
It should be clear now why all characters will naturally lend themselves better to one position over another. The point character is the most flexible position given the proper assists are chosen. Literally any team can be built around a favorite character on point. Beyond the point character however individual character strengths will naturally determine assist or anchor viability. A character with poor mobility is a terrible anchor so that immediately stacks the deck against big body/grappler characters unless they have exceptional supers. Likewise zoning characters with poor mobility are also vulnerable as anchors. Rush down characters, in theory, are the best natural anchors however if the opponent is still running a full team the combined pressure from their point + 2 assists may make your anchor irrelevant.
(edited 1 year ago)
You can't have all characters excel at all positions unless there is no character diversity
Just because a character excels more at one position, it doesn't mean they are useless when performing the other 2 roles
We all have our favorite characters and we all want to see our favorite characters represented properly. That said, there is literally no way to incorporate the character diversity needed for a traditional fighting game in a 3v3 setting without having some characters naturally lend themselves better to one team position over another. We can already see this with the 3 introductory heroes.
Goku - has a strong neutral game with a well rounded fighting style. He is a strong candidate for point.
Vegeta - has a good neutral game with an aggressive fighting style that translates into a great assist. Clearly a great candidate for assist.
Gohan - damage, damage, and more damage with an absurdly powerful level 5 Full Powered Father Son Kamehameha. Dead ringer for anchor assuming Vegeta didn't get greedy and waste resources on whiffed Final Flashes.
The draw back of this however is that team synergy takes priority over fan service. While any team can be built around a single favorite character, it is unlikely that a team made up of nothing but favorite characters will perform well. This is a real and valid complaint that is inherent to 3v3 fighters.
-The three team positions require a different set of strengths to excel
-All characters are built with inherent strengths and weaknesses
-As a result of team synergy, there is a point where a character's spot on a team is determined by their role instead of their actual character.
This is the trade off with a 3v3 traditional fighter. It has nothing to do with bias from the developers or elitism from the community. The only way to make all characters equally viable for all roles is to eliminate diversity among fighting styles
Again when thinking about your favorite DBZ characters (it doesn't matter who it is) there are going to be certain attributes, that when translated to a fighting game, are naturally going to lend to one position over another.
Lets take Krillin for example. Destructo Disk barrages and Scatter Shot Kamehameha sound like amazing assists. However is he the guy that you imagine pulling a clutch 1v3 victory? If those assists translate into good supers, absolutely however if he is meter hungry that would make him less than ideal for a point character. He could work as a point character (again, anyone can work as a point character with the proper assists) but then you are missing out on his (hypothetical) amazing assists or his (hypothetical) high damage meter busting supers.
Building off of our Krillin example, where would this put Tien? Again Solar Flare sounds like an amazing assist but Tri Beam could accurately be put in as another high damage high meter super. Assuming both Krillin and Tien are both equally great as assists and anchors, where would that put them in terms of point? Should Krillin be the better character for being faster or should Tien be better for having longer reach? Even if both characters were (again super perfect hypothetical example) equally good on point, assist, and anchor, they still provide two different assist types which different teams would benefit from. What if Black/Krillin/Gohan is only "okay" but Black/Tien/Gohan is completely broken?
Again I'm not trying to pick on Krillin or Tien fans (replace them with any characters you want, Batman and Superman for all I care) the point is that diverse fighting styles aren't possible to properly balance for all positions in a 3v3 fighting game.
Hopefully all of that helps. I really hope this helps clear up the mumbo jumbo of the fighting game community. Again this is all meant to help and inform, the more quality players we have the better.
You can't have all characters excel at all positions unless there is no character diversity
I <3 my HRAP EX-SE
Capcom, ASW, & NRS fighting games 4 Life
DrunkenPilot72 posted...You can't have all characters excel at all positions unless there is no character diversity
Skullgirls is a vastly different kind of game since it was balanced for every kind of team combination from 1v1 to 3v3