Posted by: metinahurricane | September 26, 2011

A Defense

It’s no secret that Warlord and I disagree. It’s also no secret that when he disagrees with somebody, he has this nasty tendancy to turn their points into these little soundbites that he’ll drop over and over again to make that somebody look like the biggest fool in the world. I am not the biggest fool in the world, so I have a solution – this article. It’s a reference piece for me to direct him toward every time he makes one of these awful points against me. It’s kinda political, sorry about that. Best of all, it’s all about me! And as we all know, I’m my own favourite topic.

Untruth #1 – You like all movesets.

This is the worst offender. It take some sort of superman to like all movesets. What I do is try to find something to like in every moveset, which is very different.

Warlord goes into a moveset looking for something to satisfy his standards. If it doesn’t, he assumes that it’s because the MYMer is incompetent or not trying hard enough. The number of movesets that play by his standards are fairly few. This is why it seems like he dislikes most movesets.

When I go into a moveset, I try – not always successfully – to understand what the MYMer’s standards are. I try to figure out what YOU consider important in a moveset, and why YOU made it this way. When I try hard enough, I usually manage to find something of value, because obviously you make your moveset to the best of your ability according to your standards. If your moveset isn’t what I personally like, that doesn’t mean you’re too stupid to make it my way – it just means that you have a different idea of what makes a good moveset.

So no, I don’t like all movesets. But I try to appreciate that different people have different styles in MYMing, and different values. And I try to find something neat in every moveset, instead of getting angry that not everybody is willing to play by precisely my rules.

Untruth #2 – Number. Crunching.

It’s an old story that I don’t much care about balance. I went on about it too much back in the old days – I’m sure there are people out there who find balance to be one of the more challenging and interesting parts of MYMing, and I hope I haven’t discouraged them from doing it.

My reason, essentially, is that balancing a moveset has to do with so many variables and subtleties of play – since even the movesets in Brawl weren’t fleshed into a tier list right away, and that’s even with seeing them in action – that whatever we do is basically just pretending we know more about design than we really do. There are exceptions. There are some MYMers who DO know a thing or two about design or about Brawl, and who are actually doing a fair job balancing their movesets. But that’s tough to comment on, because I don’t know myself what makes a set balanced or unbalanced and I’d say 90% of MYM is with me on that one.

Which leaves us with this: is it fair to judge how good a moveset is based on something that can be changed in literally a couple of seconds? With just a quick edit on somebody else’s advice? Here I’m more interested in the idea than the execution, because the execution is something that can come later, passing through developers and so on. We’re doing design here, and so I tend to focus on the ideas themselves and not whether the writer knows how to balance them.

But that’s just me, and I do have great respect for anybody who CAN actually balance their movesets (not that I’d recognize a well-balanced moveset when I saw it; put it into Brawl and give me some time to play around with it and then maybe I’d be able to give you a rough estimate, but as is, no way).

Untruth #3 – You only care about writing style.

I don’t believe writing style should be ignored. This isn’t a perfect world. You can’t project your thoughts straight into the mind of the reader. Junahu’s been saying this for years; you can have the best set ever, but it doesn’t matter if, say, it’s written in a different language. Elves might be a great set, but it doesn’t make any difference; Warlord calls it the worst set ever. Precisely because of how it’s conveyed. How a set is conveyed to the reader is VERY important. I try to be a good diligent reader and bear with the writer through even the very roughest writing style – I’ve supervoted Daddy sets two contests in a row! – but I’m human, as are we all.

And the best proof of that? The Prince sat at #3 on last contest’s top 50, not just on the basis of its ideas but also on the way they were conveyed. And Banballow is not in the top 10 at all this contest. Respect your readers. They’ll try hard for you, but you have to try hard for them as well.

Untruth #4 –

 

Warlord loves to pull this picture up as proof that I want a contest of only Ganondorfs with creative specials. I don’t want that at all. I don’t say it’d be as good a set if Great Tiger’s standards were replaced – I only say it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker, because the rest of those generic attacks are given a new context by the creative specials.

Imagine this. Let’s take Ganondorf himself. He’s a slow heavyweight with approaching issues. He’s a very simple character and so a good example. And I’m going to make it very tacky to make my meaning clear.

Let’s replace his NSpec with this:

Neutral Special – Dreaded Swap
For the next five seconds, whenever Ganondorf lands an attack, there’s a sudden flash of light and both the foe and Ganondorf are pushed back with a spot of hitstun and a touch of knockback. For the rest of the stock, they have swapped attacks – the foe gains the attack Ganondorf just hit him with, and Ganondorf “steals” the foe’s attack for the same input.

Suddenly most of his moves have an entirely different purpose. They’re meant to be given away, not used to bash things over and over again. The creativity of the NSpec puts all of his moves in a different context.

Likewise, replace his specials with projectiles. He no longer needs to approach; he no longer sucks (as much). His attacks turn from clumsy attack options to turtley defense options. The context in which they’re supposed to be used changes – so even though the attacks are technically the same, they’re practically going to be very different.

Hence the “Even if they were, it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker.”

But let’s put all that aside. All generic attacks are not interchangeable. I’ve heard Warlord say that Goomba’s moveset is essentially Mario plus one idea in the DSpec. Do I have to point out why this is so ridiculous? Do I really have to point out that Mario and Luigi do in fact play very differently at higher levels of Brawl, and that with many similar attacks? And that Goomba’s pros and cons are completely different from either of them?

Likewise, Great Tiger’s standards are not the same as Ganondorf’s. If they were, there’s that whole story about context up there. But they’re not. Hence the “I do deny that.”

Untruth #5 – Opinion, opinion, opinion.

So obviously I think everybody deserves their own opinion. This results in Warlord cutting into debates between Daddy and I to say “Smady this is just your opinion on his opinion (CHEW)” or “Now Rool Smady has a right to his own opinion and you have no right to criticize it (CHEW)”. Essentially, this word ‘opinion’ becomes a flimsy shield.

This is the sort of opinion I think everybody should be allowed to hold without getting mocked, ignored, or belittled for it: what is most important in a moveset; what the optimal way to make a moveset is; what makes a moveset good. You may disagree with Katapultar and his fun-and-educational creed, but when you rip on him for it, I have a problem. I have a problem not only because it’s wrong in and of itself, but also because it’s the first step toward this idea I find ridiculous and also very dangerous: the idea of the Single Right Way.

Daddy explained this to me the other day. Essentially, we all share this idea of the Perfect Moveset. We’re all moving toward it. We start from different directions making movesets in different ways and gradually come to accept that our development is a straight line – that is, that we’re all moving along this Ideal Path, and that some people are simply closer to the idea of the Perfect Moveset than others, probably because they’ve accepted it more. Also, these standards by which we define the Perfect Moveset are similar to Warlord’s, because Warlord’s are among the highest and most demanding.

This is a philosophy that essentially says that there is ONE Correct Opinion. That essentially says that Katapultar makes movesets the way he does not because he wants to, but because he’s lost and has forgotten the idea of the Perfect Moveset. That essentially says that movesets today are objectively better than movesets yesterday, and that tomorrow movesets will be objectively better than they were today.

It may be an opinion… but it’s the opinion that there is only one Correct Opinion. It’s destructive. It justifies Warlord in hating movesets that aren’t made to his standards. It justifies the leaders in turning your votes upside down if they want to. It justifies them in spitting on your favourite movesets from two contests ago. And it can’t hide under the flimsy paper shield that is opinion, no more than Hitler could say that it was just his opinion that there was one Master Race.

Untruth #6 – You want every set to be equal.

I don’t really care for the top 50. I know, it’s easy to say that when you’ve won twice. I realize that that makes my whole stance a bit hypocritical. I know that there are many among you who really, really want to place highly, because, hell, I like to place highly. I understand that entirely.

But I still don’t like the top 50, because Warlord thinks that it can’t exist unless there’s one set of standards we all agree on. In other words, we need to have Daddy’s idea of the Perfect Moveset if we’re going to vote on a top 50.

What I’d like the top 50 to be is a time capsule. A list where it’s not just Warlord’s standards on display, but a healthy diverse selection of everything MYM has to offer, be it character, implementation, creativity, fun, playstyle, or whatever else. The top 50 picks/kicks/shifts exist to bring the list closer to Warlord’s standards – let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not necessary. It’s not healthy. I don’t want every set to be equal. I want everybody to do things the way that gets them the most pleasure without coming under fire for it. I want to see a day when Katapultar makes a moveset and everybody comments on whether they found it fun-and-educational, and then on the next page Warlord makes a moveset and everybody comments on how interesting they found its web of interactions.

These approaches DO NOT have to clash. You don’t have to like them all equally… but we’re all here to have fun, right? It’s not fun when people criticize you for not doing exactly what THEY want you to do. You can do what you want to do. This is all I ever ask for.

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Responses

  1. (clap) Rool. Writing style is incredibly important whether it is realized or not. I’d say that people DO recognize that, reading into the Prince placing so high and Banbollow missing the top 10 (I did regular vote him, mind you). Though most of this article was simply articulating what you’ve been saying for ages.

    I’d say that we certainly need reform for the top 50 picks/shifts/kicks after deserving sets such as Ice Man (and Clare (wary) ) got booted off: we voted them on and the leaders can push them off with simple majority. I think that they need to do away with the stupid points system that turns the shift period into mindgame wars between the leaders, and actually read and analyze every set before they just boot them out of the top 50. If it’s their DUTY to mess with the top 50 they should have read every. single. set. And also require a unanimous vote before booting any set out of the top 50: yes, with Junahu out of leadership, unanimous votes can be reached if the leaders think the voters really messed up. And if this isn’t already the case, a leader should have no say in what the other leaders do with one of their own sets. If this isn’t reformed. . . maybe we -do- have to consider getting rid of the shift period entirely.


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