Posted by: metinahurricane | November 4, 2011

Fireside Chat — Wolf Man

Warlord: So the first thing I think we should start with is how easy it is to slap momentum onto any character with “low potential”, after that giant brute Boom Boom did it. What do you think, in your own words, that Wolfman brings to this genre of sets?
Rool: And we’re going to have to stop right there. Wolf Man isn’t a momentum character at all. Not in the way Boom Boom, Hannibal, Hugo sets, etc, are – not even close.
Warlord: Momentum sets don’t have to build up their momentum to be labeled as such. Boom Boom does it automatically with one attack, and I don’t believe Rainbow Dash built it up at all. What does Wolf Man do when he’s not running back and forth?
Rool: Okay, so we can say that he’s a motion character. I’ll agree with that. And he doesn’t do very much at all – the idea is for him not to stop running back and forth, except maybe to jump back and forth in midair. (I hope you have the set open in another window.)
Warlord: I couldn’t have very well went and handpicked every move Fulci had that could be used for attacking foes if I didn’t have your sets open.
Rool: Just confirming. (A) And that list wasn’t comprehensive anyway. But more on Fulci some other time.
Warlord: Okay, if Wolf Man is commonly in motion and doesn’t stop, what does he do besides hit them with a token attack as he whizzes past? Yes, you gave him the ability to actually stop so he doesn’t have to wait to run back to hit them again, but then he’s losing the main thing that makes him viable.
Rool: I’ll answer the second part first. Wolf Man actually has two other ways to stop and attack a foe that he missed for whatever reason – his generic shotgun NSpec, which allows him to hit at range, even if he missed a stake for whatever reason, and, more importantly, his USpec, which lets him literally double back, just through the air. Besides which, he can launch into “the main thing that makes him viable” pretty quickly. He doesn’t have to build momentum… unlike SOME characters.
Warlord: The shotgun lets him hit characters that he’s coming towards, not ones that he missed.
Rool: Look again. He can turn around in the aiming period. Little phrases in simple moves are usually pretty deliberate. How useless is that move if you’re coming toward someone?
Warlord: Based off how you said in the Side B that Neutral B and Up B end his four legged stance, I assumed he couldn’t use it while in motion.
Rool: Using the attack ends his stance, yes. I have nobody to blame but myself for the way the Side B ended up miswritten, though. I take full blame for that one.
Warlord: I assume he can’t attack during the three jumps of Up Special? If so, that’s more just a way to propel himself back towards the foe then attack in this context we’re talking about.
Rool: Any of the three jumps can be cancelled into an aerial. Last line of the USpec.
Warlord: I’m trying to say just what he does as he’s jumping back at the foe out of those aerials, because of how the Up Specials, y’know, take him up. The foe he went past will be on the ground. Dair does indeed exist, but it’s still rather counterintuitive to go up before you go down to hit them.
Rool: His USpec doesn’t take him very high up at all and has more significant horizontal distance. If I didn’t adequately convey that it’s to be used primarily to chain hits on foes near the ground, maybe it should have even less vertical distance (or maybe his fall speed should be higher?). The NAir and BAir are especially meant to work with the USpec to allow him to corral his foes into his little zone, there.
Warlord: Nair is indeed probably the best of the aerials. Bair, though, keeps his back to the foe as he jumps towards them while they’re facing him, with him ultimately ending on the ground. Rather awkward position.
Rool: BAir is supposed to be used to pursue the foe if they’re jumping over a stake to escape your territory. USpec to jump over them into BAir. Maybe into DAir into BAir if they’re lower to the ground. Kick them right back toward your pen.
Warlord: The reason I’m talking about the foe being on the ground all the time is that seems to be where Wolfman prefers they stay. He has one of those usual ground the foe air-games.
Rool: It is indeed where he prefers them to be, but his USpec allows his air game to still be based around pursuing them and the attacks themselves are meant to be easy to follow up on – which is indeed easier, or at least, more flexible, when they put them on the ground.
Warlord: I’d like to know why you think pretending to be Grubber with dsmash is such a bad idea. The natural movement enables him to run away while he drools over the stage, and then the foe trips whenever they touch ground and Wolfman doesn’t even have to use the four legged stance.
Rool: Drool disappears after three seconds.
Warlord: Three glorious seconds. He automatically covers the stage as he goes forward.
Rool: And is more vulnerable, besides which not really doing much of anything other than buying time if the foe is behind him. When he has a much better option in shooting them and then following up on the hitstun, or just jumping right at their throats.
Warlord: I’m still not convinced, but if you think of the dsmash this way, why was it even included?
Rool: The centerpiece of Wolf Man’s playstyle, and the goal all his moves revolve around, is to set up two stakes to make a small area of the stage that allows you to turn back and forth quickly and chain hits ridiculously, and then keep the foe there. And in a small space like that, the drool serves its purpose just fine.
Warlord: I wasn’t considering it very hard at all for Wolf Man to set up stakes. He automatically turns around if he’s in motion, so it may as well be they’re already there to start with. I wouldn’t say that’s a big “goal” of his. If he’s making the pen overly small, then he hardly has any room to run.
Rool: Yeah, making the pen isn’t really the goal. It’s taking advantage of it that he does all game long. He has plenty of ways to keep bouncing the foe across the ground, bringing them back down if they try to escape, and eventually just sweeping them toward the KO zone.
Warlord: That doesn’t really answer what we’re talking about with the drool. You say the main purpose of it is if he’s using it a small space, but why would he want to use one?
Rool: Why would he want to use the drool in a small space, or why would he want to use a small space in the first place?
Warlord: The later. He doesn’t want it to cover the whole stage, of course, but if he’s keeping the foe in a small area just for the purpose of there being less ground that’s not drooled on he won’t have much room to run about.
Rool: The small space is for the purpose of being able to turn around with the foe close enough for him to actually chain attacks without exiting his dash state.
Warlord: Indeed, but I’m questioning if it will be small enough for the drool to be all that useful. . .The idea I’m going with here is if it’s too small, he’s bordering on running in place.
Rool: He has a fair few options that deal diagonal downwards knockback, most notably the USmash. That can easily be linked into the DSmash to make them trip as soon as they try to get up and cover him while he reaches his border and turns.
Warlord: I know that he has various tools to prevent foes from leaving his fenced in area, but it really doesn’t seem to be a loss at all if they get out, because he can just use the fence they fleed out from as wall 1, then go and make a new wall 2. I know that you’re going for no set-up whatsoever to go with the aggressive feel and I like it, but that seems to make the containment aspect of his game somewhat pointless.
Rool: This is a fairer point, I guess, although it’s a pretty big inconvenience for him because he has to actually get across the stage himself and still hit that “perfect”-sized pen. As a primarily intuitive(?) set, he’s not supposed to see it as a roadblock of any sort – it just throws off the flow of his aggressive gameplay for a little while and allows the foe some breathing room to put their own playstyles into effect. Which, especially against most MYM characters, can be disastrous.
Warlord: A bigger point in your favor here would just simply be that stages in fact aren’t all that big.
Rool: I usually imagine gameplay on some generic huge stage. A lot of defensive characters kind of do the same. It’s weird to think of a lot of trap characters on a Battlefield. But yes, that is indeed another point… in my favor.
Warlord: I’m just somewhat surprised that you didn’t bring that up. Battlefield in particular presents problems because of those blasted platforms, though, because he can’t really knock foes through them and those are far too small of spaces to box him and the foe into. Yes, many trap characters and such crap assumes the stage is 100% flat, but they can still put things on said platforms.
Rool: The counterpick system exists! Those platforms also cover him nicely if he’s just going to fire off shotgun shells at any foe who tries to go up to escape him. But maybe we should move on to those problems you had with, uh, characterization or what else was it?
Warlord: I was trying to warm us up with more specific points. But, the main thing that makes me dislike the set is most of the ground attacks are largely just more ways to attack them as you pass by. What differentiates them?
Rool: In general Wolf Man doesn’t ever want to pass by – he wants to use those moves as he’s moving forward to push the foe along in front of him, and different moves are better for that purpose at differents percentages.
Warlord: Right, right, he wants to push foes in front of him as he moves. I’m not sure he needs much more than something like jab for that. Either way, if he’s pushing foes constantly forwards, they’ll reach the edge of the pen and things become awkward.
Rool: Awkward… you make it sound like Wolf Man’s about to rape them or something.
Warlord: He’s specifically knocking them -out- of his zone. He won’t be ahead of them, so he can’t just expand the pen with a new fence piece before they get that far.
Rool: FTilt and UTilt both function to knock the foe behind him, and if he flubs them for whatever reason, maybe because the foe is too damaged for him to stay close to them, he can always launch into a grab or a USpec -> BAir/NAir or even FAir to bounce them off the stake itself.
Warlord: That’s one thing that I really am surprised was not seen more in the set – just rebounding the foe off the walls. It’s the main fodder you have to play off of.
Rool: I could see that being the centerpiece if you had made the set, but I don’t see any thematic reason for Wolf Man to put a focus on bouncing the foes off walls… and it’s not like it’s completely nonexistent. The focus is on chasing the foe, and usually that means keeping them toward the center area of your pen, not at its edge.
Warlord: Chasing them doesn’t necessarily mean herding them to the middle like sheep. I’m not asking for you to slam them into the wall over and over again, I’m just asking for you to have him slam them into it to send them back towards the center.
Rool: Which he can indeed do with FAir, FSmash, USmash, the third hit of his jab, or even a low-to-the-ground UAir. But you keep them there too long, they have better chances of getting out. You want to keep changing direction on them, keep making them run in the other direction to try to get away from him, rather than focusing on one side of the pen to flee.
Warlord: I can’t knock a foe into the pen when I’m in the air, so that checks out the two aerials and usmash. Fsmash and jab have fairly poor knockback – the fsmash’s is even set.
Rool: FAir hits downward. Why wouldn’t you be able to knock them into the pen with it? And FSmash definitely does not have set knockback – you just can’t change it by charging.
Warlord: I was assuming the “set knockback” was more to just push them along to keep them in front of you as you ran, so forgive me, okay?
Rool: I forgive you, my son.
Rool: The FSmash is good for bouncing them along in front of you when they’re not too damaged. Later it pops them up in the air a bit, which might be what you want if you’re herding them toward the edge of the stage and ready to shoot for a quick FAir or USmash KO.
Warlord: We’ve talked a lot about most of the set already. We’ve barely even acknowledged that his grab exists.
Rool: Indeed. To be honest, I need to review that to refresh my memory on the significance of the throws. Give me a second…
Warlord: The relevance is Fthrow references Herman Cain’s 9/9/9 plan.
Rool: Indeed. (shifty) american politics
Rool: Ah, right. Most of the throws set him up for launching into his dash state, of course, although the UThrow with its long hitstun is more relevant when he’s pushing them closer to KO range. Also they’re all a lot more interesting in FFA, which is the format I had in mind when making him and Mouse Man. As is, they’re pretty functional. This is a pretty Brawl-feasible set, as I’m sure you’ve noticed: a throw is a throw.
Warlord: His game seems overly 1v1 focused to me, with focusing on the positioning of one foe. I find it very awkward when a set goes over to say that teams and FFAs exist for just a couple of moves.
Rool: The mental image I found cool when I went to make this set was of the other players fighting on only about half the stage, because the other half is being taken up by Wolf Man randomly running back and forth… and a big part of their battle becomes who’s going to get knocked over into Wolf Man’s pen. Once they’re in there, they’re going to have even more trouble getting out than usual, because the other foes are there to interrupt their escape if they actually manage to slip away from Wolf Man.
Warlord: Considering that you indeed seem to be suggesting throughout this discussion that Wolf Man’s pen is relatively small, that does sound like a more interesting scenario. However; I think it’s a bit awkward to picture Wolf Man just waiting for a bone to be thrown to him over there for what’s such an offensive 1v1 character.
Rool: Well, it depends on how the player wants to handle it. He can’t keep everyone down at once, though. And it works pretty well in team battles, with your partner bringing the foe to you and you damage racking them in your 1v1 pen setting.
Warlord: Fair. For the throws in 1v1, a big gripe I have is that two of the throws largely only seem to be relevant “if they don’t know how to tech”. . .You don’t need everything to be flowing if you’re just going to assume we’re talking overly casual.
Rool: I think that’s just the DThrow. You always have to be careful with those chain throws, and Wolf Man doesn’t have some sort of ammo bank that lets him only use them up to a certain point. I think that rewarding the competence of the player – and how cool and composed they are in the face of his constant chase – works well enough in context.
Warlord: I was wrong about bthrow, hrm. Something I’m curious about is if he just keeps running at normal speed during the grab/once he’s grabbed somebody? That would determine the context we’re judging the throws in significantly.
Rool: While toggling his grab hitbox, yes. Once he’s grabbed somebody, the cartoon cloud pops up and his speed does die down.
Warlord: Ah, then the throws really don’t have much to help them. Not sure whether I prefer this or if you kept in the dragging grab trope from all the other sets. Either way, knocking them towards the center of the pen (Generally backwards, you have many ways to knock them forwards as is) seems to be the main purpose. I really don’t see Wolf Man going for vertical KOs (Uthrow) – he doesn’t want to knock the foe that high as his juggling game is very unremarkable. He can just knock the foe slightly over the pen with diagonal knockback for the KO.
Rool: Indeed. UThrow is more notable for its hitstun than its knockback. And yeah, Wolf Man’s airgame doesn’t really function very well if the foe is knocked higher up than a first jump would take them. His main option for bringing them down if they’re purposely going high up into the air – which he shouldn’t be letting them do anyway – is his shotgun. It’s like Duck Hunt!
Warlord: I had very few characterization complaints for this set, but that shotgun was the one that stuck out – I wasn’t just poking fun with the comment. You do a very good job of turning him into a standard wolf throughout the set, then just give him that.
Rool: The main argument I can make for it is just to point at the “series” we’re working with – Looney Tunes. Every villain in Looney Tunes uses a generic shotgun at some point. Even half the good guys use it! The way Wolf Man struck me was that Snake Eyes or someone just grabbed a random wolf, gave him fancy clothes, and made him part of the gang. It makes sense for them to push a random shotgun on him and not trust him with any more sophisticated weaponry, like Flat Top’s revolvers, Pussycat’s explosives, etc.
Warlord: If you’re going to actually look at what would logically happen, then yes, what you described there is pretty much what’d happen. You’re giving a very different interpretation with the rest of the set though.
Rool: I’m not sure about that. He’s a hunter – that’s why they’d want him in the first place. In Looney Tunes, the main thing predators do is chase around Bugs/Tweety/Roadrunner/Daffy/whatever. You just look at the foe as a generic sheep.
Warlord: You’re losing me if you’re thinking Snake Eyes and Flat Top over there can’t tell the difference between an Elmer Fudd style hunter and a rabid wolf one.
Rool: Well, who says they want an Elmer Fudd? They have plenty of people with artillery. Here they’re just looking for somebody bloody scary!
Warlord: Then why did they give him a gun? Just let him do what he does best like Mouse Man. He’s too stupid to properly use that thing anyway – he’s wasting time he could spend tearing into people.
Rool: He’s not stupid! He has an animal cunning. He has that instinct. He’s not just muscle like Mouse Man – to play properly, he has to do some actual thinking on the fly, not just spam powerful attacks while popping in and out of holes.
Warlord: Yes, the player requires thought to play him, we’re judging if it’s in-character to say that it’s Wolf Man there doing all that thinking. Dave’s only complaint for the set was he was too stupid to actively use drool in his favor.
Rool: So now we’re speculating on how clever Wolf Man is? Okay, I say that predators in Looney Tunes are generally pretty clever, they’re just incompetent one way or another. For Wolf Man, that’s best shown when he trips on his own drool or skids across the stage on it. But like Wile E Coyote and Sylvester and the rest, he has his brighter moments.
Warlord: When you said random wolf grabbed off the street and put in fancy clothes, I was thinking quite literal. You and I both thought he came off pretty bloody stupid when he did that stupid little woofing.
Rool: Yeah, he’s an animal, after all. He’s pretty ridiculous. But that doesn’t mean Snake Eyes and Flat Top won’t give him a shotgun anyway, to make him “one of us”. They did buy him that nice, expensive-looking hat, after all.
Warlord: I suppose it’s fair when you put it like that (HIPPO).
Rool: Clearly it’s a very important point. Does Snake Eyes believe Wolf Man to be smart enough to be entrusted with a shotgun? (HMM)
Warlord: We’ve already talked about the actual gameplay of the set, pretty much every bloody move. This should’ve come earlier.
Rool: Indeed. But now it’s out of the way. Are you swayed even a little bit?
Warlord: I like that he’s constantly pushing the foe ahead of him as he runs instead of just automatically dragging them with an infinite jab or a grab or something like that, and you did a very good job of making everything seamless without set-up.
Rool: One thing I was trying to do with this set was apply that perfect sense of logic and interactivity that you and Daddy in particular have in every move to the less complex style of moveset I obviously prefer. I’m very happy with it myself, much moreso than my other two villains and maybe – maybe – even more than with Fulci. It’s a pretty straight aggressive character, and those are hard enough to make.
Warlord: I was really expecting Flat Top and Mouse Man to be more Warlordian when you said you preferred Wolf Man just because of how little potential Wolf Man here had, but I’ve always felt that you’ve made sets more for me than for Junahu, regardless of what you think of other sets. You’ve always been one for 1v1 only and Mouse Man has much more extensive reliance on FFA and teams than Wolf Man, and Flat Top I think you would agree is the tackiest set you’ve made. In the very least, I can acknowledge that you would like this set better than either of them.
Rool: Well, that’s something. Mouse Man seems to me to pin too much creativity on the specials alone – to the point of being over-the-top – while the rest of his moveset is trying to be in the Junahu vein, generic attacks with the twist coming at the end (it’s no accident that the specials come last). And Flat Top never really came together in my mind as I was making him – so that even though he has some cool stuff going on, it ends up being in separate, kind of ridiculous strands, and yes, pretty damn tacky. Tackiest set I’ve made since Squeak Squad, no doubt.
Warlord: I think this set would’ve benefitted from going more in-depth to give a more general bone to people like me. Junahu is already more than pleased enough with the simplistic nature of the set.
Rool: Well, maybe. I had a great time writing this one and kind of flew through it – it’s another two-hour one, like Tutankoopa or Skeleton. But that’s what this review’s for, I suppose. I should put a link to it in the playstyle section or something, as it’s pretty much Wolf Man Playstyle Section: the Advanced Version.
Warlord: I would approve of this. The other thing I like that you’ve done with this set that we went over earlier is just how the no set-up approach enables you to give a very nice and versatile game to him for when he misses the foe to go back at them again immediately.
Rool: His standards kind of resemble the standards in an HR set, I think.
Warlord: The complaints that stand are that I still really think there’s not enough difference between his attacks to push forward/bulldoze past the foe along with the grab-game.
Rool: Well, we know your taste in movesets well enough to know that.
Warlord: Well I actually was giving you some bones, there. You actually convinced me on parts of it, so I’m just making everything clear. I think we’re pretty done here.
Rool: Giving me some bones 9_9
Warlord: Now don’t go and be Junahu on me.
Rool: Junahu hates 9_9 for some reason. And his favorite little face, my keyboard can’t make, and I’m not about to copy-paste the negation symbol from some html site each time. Anyway might as wrap this up on that irrelevant note. Thanks for joining us for this very pleasant chat over tea and crumpets and such.
Warlord: Wait, people not named David made it this far?
Rool: Katapultar. (Y)


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