Weapon modifier banning

I promised a post about banning weapon modifiers, or mods for short, from competitive matches. This would be divisive because weapon modifiers is a key mechanic, but Super Bash Sisters’ competitive scene saw fit to completely ban items altogether. I’m not in agreement about banning items as a whole in Brawl, though a lot of them do have their definite issues. Mods do involve SOME control for what they do, but that has its own point of contention too.

What the heck do weapon modifiers do anyway?
Basically, each weapon you get has modifiers that, although they increase Value, they boost the weapon in some manner. Value’s purpose is that in Light VS Dark, every death a player suffers detracts from their Team’s Life Gauge by the exact Value of their weapon. The idea is that you can use a pumped up weapon if you wish, but if you do, you must be careful or your Team’s Life Gauge will drop like a rock, preventing players from trying to use one to destroy everything effortlessly.

There is an obvious positive to this: the customization. The idea becomes that the possibilities become endless. Players can choose weapon types and give them whatever mods they please. This adds in a lot of replay argue, it’s actually easy to argue. Well, hey, I’m all for that.

It’s actually fortune that there’s plenty of replay value when mods are removed anyway.

Why should this entire mechanic be banned anyway?
Before I start off with the harsh negatives, I need to point out why it isn’t so necessary for a healthy competitive environment. Basically, there’s 108 weapon types and about 50 power types. The weapon types are, of course, basically characters, and having 108 of them goes a long way in things. Power types have their own levels and any setup can have at least 3 powers easily. This allows for a surprisingly deep variety of things to happen, even without mods.

But a lack of necessity by itself isn’t reason at all to ban something. It’s only a blind spot, but certainly not going to detract from the game. Rest assured that there are overwhelming negatives to mods though. Enough to warrant the banning at any rate.

Excessive boosting
Which negative to start with than the one that brought the entire problem to my attention. A lot of mods proved overpowered in and of themselves before I tried a random AI match, where the AI guys would have generally only 4 star “junk” and no Energy Charge spam. I was doing the match with a 100V weapon and the result was absurd: I died SIX times, because I was being killed quickly every time I did anything resembling an approach. Add to it that I had only 2 deaths when I retried with a defensively powerful version of the same thing, and this quickly made it clear that the DEF mods are expensive not to keep them from being mindless, but because they allow for the survival of mob abuse. This is a flawed balance because mob attacks being so strong inevitably favors range combat, making close range 100V weapons junk without some suffocating power setup. Yet it is happening with the AI’s relatively mediocre weapons.

What is really condemning about this? The game is built around Light VS Dark, not 1 VS 1s. And yet the former manages to be imbalanced in favor of snipers. Simply because the dedicated tank is already needed to hope to bust a sniper position that is so half-efforted. This is simply anything but acceptable.

Things get even worse: mods manage to be cost effective in general even by their lonesome. Only a few mods cost more Value than the percentage value of the increase for the stat, but even then none of the differences are significant. It’s particularly an issue even getting into 150 Value weapons, when 200+ Value weapons become the resulting standard. With those, the Value increases become so insignificant that the only things worth caring about are magic numbers, if that. This has one key problem: Kid Icarus Uprising’s combat is so fast paced that Value’s magic numbers aren’t worth caring about either. All that’s left is the boosts.

Value’s pointlessness in the angel phase
Getting past Value cost effectiveness, there’s still something to talk about: what does Value do during the angel phase of Light VS Dark? Well, simple: every time one of the angel’s teammates dies, the angel takes damage proportional to the Value of the teammate’s Value. Notice I said proportional and not equal? That’s because it’s fractional. The damage is insignificant even with 300 Value teammates, and it can’t even directly kill the angel either, which means that an angel with minimized health can end up living for so long and cause the opposing angel to die when they had a massive health advantage and kept killing the teammates who actually could fight back.

That brings up the big problem: without Value being relevant, all that is left is the pumped up opponents who tear through the angel’s health like wet tissue paper. It is such that the angel’s boosts, already hampered by the fact that his weapon type is randomized, become outpaced, and for the fact that the angel’s death causes his team to lose, this means there’s only viable strategy for the angel: running away like a wuss.

This is a red flag, because it means that camping becomes promoted. I’m sure many other players can tell you why camping becomes bad, but needless to say, the fact that a player will to do that so much means that whoever is forced into the angel phase first is going to lose if both teams effortlessly destroy camping. The end result is steep slippery slope. Pick your poison: slippery slope or a stalemate.

Value speeds up Power regeneration
This is the biggest reason to ban weapon modifiers, so much so that tame mods still need to be banned regardless, because they still increase Value regardless. The Value increases causing powers to regenerate faster upon dying is backwards, because there is no longer a penalty for dying. It doesn’t seem like it because the regen rate is simply proportional, but it gets to the point where powers get spammed, and with the increased stats in general, the powers have vastly magnified effect. Transparency + Lightweight is reported on vanilla TV Tropes as a Game Breaker that can pull a Total Party Kill right as the match is beginning and cause the angel no shortage of problems. This is a side-effect of mods boosting the player so much, but one thing should be noted: the entry mentions that if the guy with the combination gets killed, they will recover their powers for further harassment. This would not be possible in a 100 Value environment, as it would take THREE deaths to recover a charge of either of the two powers.

Here is a list of Power regen values if you need them:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ajxa2ILc_Q6ddEl6b3hDYzdRNUFzZlJNWHpNVllZTmc&usp=sharing
The big one is Playing Dead, listed at only 202. Playing Dead is frequently abused to get so much absolute invulnerability, and letting mods run rampant means that every death adds in an extra charge of its nonsense. Playing Dead, as one can imagine, is not fun to deal with. Even worse, with all the hiked up attack power, Playing Dead in combination with Slip Shot allowing for cheap attacks has NOTHING to keep it under control.

The idea that dying should be rewarded at all is a farce. It’s punishment for being hit too hard, and Value is there to prevent people from just using pumped up weapons, except with the faster regen rates, those pumped up weapon users can now use powers mindlessly. Compared to 100V weapon users who have to pay hawklike attention to what they use even against each other, let alone against stronger guys who can kill them alarmingly fast and consequently nullify their powers completely when they can’t get any charges back at all.

That’s the big issue: the removal of a key strategic factor. It’s such that even Knockback Recovery is enough of a threat to balance, especially since even one point of Value above the minimum of 100 has Playing Dead regen one death faster.

Difficulty of getting “viable” weapons
Now this is actually a double edged sword because it’s absolutely random what the player gets. This means that getting 100 Value weapons is actually luck-based. There is a get around, although it IS a glitch: on the preparations screen, pressing Right/Left on the D-Pad and then immediately pressing Start changes your weapon type but NOT anything else to what is on the set to the right/left. It’s precise, but you did it right if you saw the scroll but still have the initial set in the training room.

Some may still dislike this glitch, though, but I won’t blame anybody who uses the glitch for things that simply get around the random drop problem and the counterintuitive fusion system.

The fusion system puts this point in favor of the 100V environment. The 100V environment removes the need to try to make a min-maxed weapon just to fight back. Min-maxers, since they still are at the mercy of luck, have to do more in the game that is unrelated to the combat system. They get an unfair advantage in and of itself that the opponent can do nothing about. This is simply asking for turning the game into “who has the most broken weapon”, defeating the mere point of Value.

This is made worse by how the fusion system is counterintuitive as mentioned. What is passed through fusion is practically random for its own sake, and it makes it difficult to pass a mod like Overall DEF+. The only way to make sure it is put on a given type is by fusion chains. The game’s own organizing system is also shortsighted, as it is impossible to organize weapons by given mods. This makes it much harder to find desirable mods when weapons are already only obtained by random drops.

Comparison to powers
Now what is particularly condemning about mods? How about the lack of innate counter play? Value does nothing unless the player dies to begin with, at which point they are being defeated, which is the opponent’s very objective. It simply does not work as a counterbalancing weakness in general. The Value increase needs to be significantly stronger than the mod’s boost. This is sadly not the case with most mods in the first place. It allows a weapon to hold too many maxed mods without ANY issue, making 100V weapons even more invalid.

Adding to this, mods last the entire match. This means that nothing needs to be done for them to be useful, because they will work with absolutely no condition or drawback in general. And no, I have not forgotten about Value, because it’s been established that Value doesn’t work. All that is left is free power boosts that last the entire match.

What these two factors mean together is that mods would need to be tame. But they fail to be tame, or this post wouldn’t even exist. And there is something to contrast to mods: powers.

Powers need to be fit into a 6×6 grid within various shapes, and then they are temporary boosts anyway. These two factors, by themselves, reduce the need for powers to be tame. But what really strengthens these factors is the existence of powers such as Black Hole which are designed to be checked only by powers in general. This makes sure that space has to be expended to guard against Black Hole, creating weaknesses that allows typical BH users to fight back.

Black Hole doesn’t seem like it, but it adds depth to the user’s gameplay: they want to determine what the opponent can and can’t do to guard against Black Hole usage, with a practice known as Grid Reading. Here is an example from a recent online random match I played on: an opponent used Energy Charge and Quick Charge at the start. Then about 20 seconds later, when they lost their Energy Charge, they put the EC back up and also used Slip Shot and Tirelessness. I responded with Black Hole to quickly kill them, and then when they respawned, I immediately used Black Hole to kill them again.

At the time, I was actually not having entirely concrete proof of such, but I was right to have used Black Hole when I did. The opponent had a minimum Energy Charge level of 2. Add in the the way the other powers are shaped and they could not have fit in anything that required more than 4 spaces. Anybody who doesn’t believe me is free to try to disprove me. Remember that the combination is Slip Shot, Tirelessness, Quick Charge, and Energy Charge, with Energy Charge being leveled.

This sort of gameplay means that on-the-fly analysis is rewarded, which is good because it keeps the game fresh on both sides. The BH user would want to learn more about the game and opponents would want to try psychology and creativity. It certainly should not get shafted by some mindless power boosts.

Particularly broken mods
Now if those reasons somehow don’t do it for you, there are still too many mods that are capable of causing excessive problems which would cause them to deserve to be banned regardless. The number of them is such that it’s easier to just ban the whole collection than try to make a list that would even be painful to enforce. But of course, I’d have to prove why each one is too imbalanced to be allowed, period.

Evasion+
By and far the most broken thing in the game, with only Shot Range+ coming anywhere close to competing, Evasion+ adds invincibility frames to dodge moves. This doesn’t seem like much at first, but then consider that +3 and +4 have dodge moves’ invincibility frames last past the IASA (Interruptible As Soon As) frame. This means that as soon as one dodge is done, any attacks in a given chain become completely useless because of continued dodge moves. This already gets to humiliating powers such as Mega Laser and Heavenly Light which are built around chain attacking and consequently only feed Evasion+. Not to mention RAPID FIRE AS A WHOLE feeds it too.

This isn’t the end of the problems, either. One of the dodge moves is the dasharound, which can be performed within 10m of a given opponent. This means that the only way to stop the opponent from having infinite invincibility frames for free is to stay away from the abuser, but this is not reasonable with a low mobility weapon. Even worse, it punishes players for trying to melee the abuser, when melee is supposed to be risk-reward in the first place.

This is the definition of overcentralizing. Various powers, including Black Hole, as well as melee combat as a whole and the choice to forego mobility for other traits, and even ENTIRE MOVE TYPES, are rendered invalid. None of this serves as a balanced experience. You can argue that immediate damage and things like Invisible Shots silence Evasion+, but it is simply not healthy for the environment to need to be always Invisible Shots Rose Staffs. And some of the “counters” such as Darkness and Virus have actually failed miserably to do anything as well, so rule those out.

Even if you can get past the infinite invincibility frames problem, it’s still going to take a significant amount of superiority in skill to win, and the match will still be so dragged out that powers get dried up even with the increased regen rates. A boring competitive scene has no value because the mere point of a game is fun.

The nail in the coffin is the comparison to Counter, which similarly controls rapid fire by providing free shots, but that’s a 4 space power and it additionally adds in an automation weakness that turns it into risk-reward. Evasion+ just boosts the dodge moves for only 30 Value. Evasion+ does nothing positive and everything negative.

Shot Range+
Though not as bad as Evasion+, Shot Range+ has its own very definite culpability in the game’s imbalances. The main reason Evasion+ is still worse, besides that Evasion+ just plain invalidates too many things, is because Evasion+ actually benefits every single weapon type. Shot Range+ in fact actually weakens weapon types that do significantly more damage over range because the attacks are weakened.

But if many weapon types didn’t do the opposite, then things would get out of hand fast.

See, weapons typically deal less damage over range because if they didn’t, there would be no incentive to get close and consequently do skill gambles. Shot Range+ messes with this, because shots have their damage affected by the percentage of how far into their lifespan they are into. This ultimately results in that run-of-the-mill weapon types avoid losing damage over distance. It’s even worse: what is retained is BASE damage, which also is used to determine how much stamina higher Shot Cancel shots lose, as well as how easily statuses are afflicted. The shot destroying aspect isn’t so sickening, but the statusing can get out of hand.

The damage by itself, though, is still a problem all the same. Weapons once balanced by dealing bad damage or outright unable to even shoot at 30 or more meters become nightmares that can stay out of Black Hole’s total range. This has the same result that contributes to Evasion+’s brokenness: melee combat becomes pointless and the standard range is increased to where a power like Black Hole can’t be used to manage a constant enough threat. Additionally, what is the point of aiming a Flintlock Staff or Earthmaul Club to snipe people off when you can just use a Capricorn Club to effortlessly cause severe amounts of damage from literally the other end of Windy Wasteland? It becomes all about those weapons. And in case this isn’t a biased enough mod, things like Ore Club which can hit from far for considerable damage but have their shot speed being painfully slow can’t even benefit from Shot Range+ because they still have an innate problem that caps their effective range.

There is also another trait that makes Shot Range+ on certain weapons brutal: looping. Looping by itself is fine, in fact giving snipers incentive to move close to make sure their attacks have more opportunity to loop and cause more damage or give the opponent momentum issues. Shot Range+, however, takes it too far, as it allows weapons like Eyetrack Orbitars to have their shots loop and deal severe damage from mid-range. As you can imagine, this allows for killing even an Aries Armor guy from far with alarming ease and speed. This, yet again, prevents the idea of going close from ever working. I don’t need to say anything more at this point.

Ironically, the last issue with Shot Range+ causes an entirely different but still banworthy problem. Shot Range+, by extending the lifespan of projectiles, would manage to have side effects such as the Guardian Orbitars’ shots being around for longer. But the most noteworthy side effect is with the Predator Cannon’s backshot. Without Shot Range+, the backshot would unconditionally die off just as it gets close to the ground at the latest, and it only explodes if it makes contact with something to begin with. However, Shot Range+ changes the rules here, as the backshot now lasts longer, which doesn’t seem significant, but throw in Homing Boost and it not only easily chases an opponent, but hounds them so relentlessly that it becomes absolutely undodgeable at considerable ranges. Add to it that the backshot hits hard enough, and leaving this alone means that everybody will have to pack Super Armor to be able to shake off the abuse. Not having Super Armor should be a weakness, but certainly it should not be fatal at all. That would still just make things get bland fast.

(Walking/Running) Speed+ and Full Health Boost+

Melee Combo+ would have been next on the list, but as capable of mindless play as it is, that’s partly because it just boosts attack power, and I’d want to cover the mods that don’t first so that I can make a point. So I’m going on the next most OP thing: Speed+.

I have to point out that Speed+ is actually one of the few modifiers that isn’t cost effective by its lonesome, as it boosts mobility by only 1/12 per point and requires about 8 Value per level in addition to the initial 1.3. This is still minimal, and it still fails to address the key problem: mobility is a stat you NEVER try to check with off-balance weaknesses unless the mobility boost itself is too weak to care about in comparison to the weakness’s influence. In general, mobility already absolutely needs to be checked enough to prevent auto-win scenarios. No problem, Black Hole exists, right? Well, I have actually seen players run out of Black Hole’s vacuum without needing to use any powers. This is absolutely broken because Black Hole needs to force power usage to work.

Add to it that Black Hole, at the same time that it has the issue of still limited range, is completely uncontested as THE most reliable You Will Not Evade Me attack in the game. Even Mega Laser still is reliant on the user’s aiming compared to the opponent’s ability to throw it off. When it costs a full line, it can’t afford the resulting nasty problems. I have had my own Mega Lasers dodged CASUALLY by people with Speed+ mods. This is an attack with both infinite range AND an instant hitbox on activation. Add to it that Mega Laser has to deal with Bumblebee as well and things go pearshaped before long.

There’s another problem, although it isn’t caused with Walking Speed+: certain weapons are capable of moving faster than 20m per second without Lightweight. Lightweight is already banworthy for doing this because it prevents escape by Super Speed without reducing the user’s attack power, and it’s a considerable space power. Speed+ only does this with very particular weapons, but it’s still a mod. It should not under any circumstances cause any auto-loss matchups. In this case, it makes Tirelessness just as efficient as Lightweight for running weapons, which is bad.

Walking Speed+ itself allows weapons such as Compact Arm to keep doing their DPS while they become even harder to catch. This is NOT reasonable for a mod with a low Value even by the already shaky standards of the mods. It gets even worse: walking itself doesn’t even stagger stamina regeneration at all, allowing weapons like the Magnus Club to walk very nearly as fast as they run without having to care about a key mechanic, and even worse, the Magnus Club can keep swinging wildly and consequently shake off attacks casually. If it’s effectively invincible at LONG range for no effort, then what’s the point of its inability to fire shots that can go further than 20 meters?

Add to it that the Speed+ mods have low enough Value ratings anyway and either you use them or your weapon automatically sucks. That’s this nice little thing called overcentralization. That is not welcome.

Full Health Boost+, by the way, qualifies as a speed boost. It is removed by so much as chinking the abuser with a pebble, so much, but that’s if you can even hit them, and they also get a significant attack boost just to make things worse.

Shot Cancellation+

While Shot Cancel+ isn’t causing a single global problem, it is capable of significant problems that really skew matchups in certain weapon types’ favor. It’s already such that the game saw fit to limit Shot Cancel+ to 1 point and made it an expensive mod. Or certainly try to at any rate.

…yeeeeeaaaahhhh……

But Shot Cancel+ is capable of multiple things is the key problem. Review this table here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AipeBcI1_9cPdGZKU3JzUW1aeUo4Nnd0N05XOVdYaEE&gid=11

You may notice that most weapon types in 4 weapon families as well as a few weapon types in a few others have a max Shot Cancel value of 4. This is a problem because a few weapons such as Bear Claws have 3 SC on rapid fire attacks, and SC+ increases it to 4, allowing the rapid fire to completely neutralize the weapons’ CHARGE SHOTS. Also, the vast majority of weapons have at least one 4 SC attack, which with SC+ gets increased to 5, which is not exceeded by any shot type from either any cannon or a standard club. Not cool.

This is on top of what happens with equal SC attacks: the guy with SC+ will have his/her attack get through and hit an additional object, whether it be the opponent themselves or the next attack. QED: Simple attrition gives the SC+ guy the advantage, and the game’s attempt to check this is so half-efforted that it may as well not be there.

Shot Defense+

The DEF mods have a common issue: using division defense to reduce damage. This becomes an issue when it results in anti-armor attacks, which NOBODY has any business being hit by in general, being considerably weakened. There are other games that do use division defense but are better about it: Battalion Wars gives units damage type resistances allowing for vehicles to not take reduced damage from things like tank shells; and Kingdom Rush both uses multiple defense stats and has cannon attacks ignore half the targeted defense stat. Defensive power is fine if it checks and controls the easiest method of hitting. It is NOT fine if it makes attacks that need to hit hard to work suffer and like it.

Shot DEF+ stands out, though, since it deserves more complaints than merely becoming a necessity for surviving mob tactics from mediocre attack power weapons. It reduces damage from projectile attacks twice as effectively as Overall DEF+ does at the cost that it doesn’t guard against melee attacks whatsoever. Sound like the shadow against melee justifies being only 2/3 or even less of the Value that virtually equivalent Overall DEF+ is? Well, let me point out one thing that would prove how much it does: literally over 85% of my total attacks on my Records are projectiles. This is considering that I frequently use a weapon type designed for CLOSE RANGE. Yes, there is blatant favoritism in what is used that makes a playstyle skew do nothing significant. So naturally, Shot DEF+ is going to be nearly as strong as Overall DEF+.

This isn’t true for all weapon types, but there are some such as Raptor Claws and Magnus Club where the melee blind spot is anything but significant when the weapon type itself can easily control when melee combat is happening. Those weapon types are meant to be checked by sniping, but when they take much less damage from that, the sniping falls flat on its face. One shot, no kill on fast guys is going to be in favor of the mobile weapons before long.

Not to mention players being able to survive 4 or 5 Skyscraper Club shots for only 60 Value. That’s anything but balanced.

Weaken+, Petrify+, and Freeze+

Any (Status)+ mod innately saves space on the grid by allowing for causing the respective status just by attacking without having to trigger a power. Most of the (Status)+ mods save for 3~4 space junk powers so it doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, Weaken Attack, Petrify Attack, and Freeze Attack all cost 6 or more spaces each. And they cost as much as they do for good reason. Of course, as usual, the attempts to make the respective mods cost much are too half-efforted, as +1 is all that is needed to deal the status at all.

Weaken+ isn’t particularly nasty on most weapons, but the ones that hit for considerable damage very easily such as Eyetrack Orbitars can make it problematic with alarming speed. It is very likely the victim will take a Weaken and before they even realize that they have taken the effect and can use Effect Recovery they are getting hit even more. This screams free Energy Charge and thus allows the abuser to use powers combinations that are even harder to stop from hitting. Two powers for the price of none.

Freeze+ and, to a lesser extent, Petrify+ immobilize the victim, which means either having to use Effect Recovery or take abuse like a sponge. It’s particularly nasty on things like the Taurus Arm which can cause the status in a single combo even with +1, but it becomes even worse when it gets paired with status spam, which would overwhelm Effect Recovery 3. 3 spaces isn’t a problem for tanks, but everybody else shouldn’t have to spend it on a power that is useless against BH clubs.

Remaining mods

Subtracting what has been listed above, aside from mods that boost attack power, the remaining mods are Health+/-, Overall DEF+/-, Status Resistance+/-, Knockback DEF+, (Status)+, Shot Homing+/-, Stamina+, Effect Duration+, Effect Recovery+, Knockback Recovery, Self Injury, In-Peril Auto Dodge+/-, and Heart Bonus+/-. Some of these mods still suck and are only warranting ban to prevent Value increase, but plenty are able to cause problems, though not to the level of the above or even to the level of Melee Combo+ or Power Attack+. All in all, the room for creativity with these mods isn’t terribly high.

Speaking of…

Melee Combo+ and Dash Charge Shot+

This would have been listed before the Speed+ mods, but it just boosts attack power. Yeah.

Melee Combo+ is one move so it would be needing less Value than melee stars for the same amount of boost, right? Well, there’s one problem: melee dash attacks are excessively hard to use, and it gets to the point where the melee combo is practically the only reason to get melee stars. Why get those when you can get Melee Combo+? Well, actually, melee stars also help the damage done get increased past 2.75x. But even without that, it’s still making Melee Combo+ the priority. The abuser can add in more mods to cause more problems with their mindless play. Because believe me: people rushing with melee combos gets old fast.

Dash Charge Shot+ operates under the same principle: dash shots are the only practical attacks. However, this doesn’t hold true for too many weapons, so it’s not as bad. Still, it’s capable of the same attack power cap increase that Melee Combo+ is. That alone warrants being lumped in with Melee Combo+.

Power Attack+

This is more or less equivalent to Shot Cancel+.

This is another of the half-efforted balance mods. In this case, Power Attack+ multiplies damage done by attack powers by a very considerable amount. This becomes worthy of being given a high Value because attack powers also ignore Overall DEF+, which means Health+ is the only thing that can buffer the attack powers, and even then Power Attack+ needs only +2 to outpace Health +6. The worst part? Because of the massive multiplier, Mega Laser becomes able to kill a Health+6 target in less than 30 hits. This seems to be a lot but Mega Laser hits many times per charge. Up to 24 times to be exact. Even if Mega Laser is poorly used, it can be spammed to generally kill them in only 3 charges. Given that Mega Laser is supposed to be a power that hits easily, this is simply not right at all.

Power Attack+ gets to the point where it makes other players suffer and like it as well. It gets to the point where it got listed on Vanilla TV Tropes with the following entry:
The Power Attack modifier is a Glass Cannon example. Having Power Attack +4 (the highest possible) on a weapon usually means you won’t get much in the way of stats and other modifiers, but the trade off is that it doubles the strength of Powers like Mega Laser, Explosive Flame, Meteor Shower, Land Mine, and so on. What were once panic buttons become lethal surprise attacks, and the modifier on a weapon with decent damage and/or an innate Speed boost makes for a good one-two punch KO for whatever survives the Power spam. Granted you have to die to get your Powers refreshed after using them all up, but done right you should be gaining more than you’re losing.

This also brings up another problem: Power Attack+ causes its problems individual of the weapon type, which, in addition to making variety weaker as a whole, ends up being in favor of speedsters who move better than other players allowing them to use these powers to excessive usefulness while powerhouses are left in the cold. If attack powers stayed tame enough, this wouldn’t be a problem, but they fail to and that is why Power Attack+ is imbalanced.

Closing

About 14 severely imbalanced mods is very condemning. It gets to the point where the weapon modifiers mechanic becomes enough of a mess, because banning only those mods is going to hurt the mod variety too severely anyway. Plenty of the remains are just attack power boosts to begin with. This wouldn’t be a problem with power bans because only 3 powers even boost attack power and they all manage to warrant controversy at minimum. There wouldn’t be much that would be missed by banning the entire mechanic rather than just the problem mods.

And just for the last bit of wood on this fire, I’m going to preempt any complaints that I would miraculously just benefit. I would put it in an alternate post for courtesy, but there’s still some factors I haven’t fully addressed yet.

Personal reasons and why they’re irrelevant at least

People would no doubt think that if I want to ban something, it’s because I would just benefit from that. Let me dispute these points.

I still lose my hyper defenses

This is the key point of contention. Apparently, I don’t want to deal with the stuff because apparently I don’t know how to deal with it. This has a key problem: I use Overall DEF +7 and Health +6 on the same weapon.

Let me provide the math involved: Overall DEF +7 cuts damage by 49%, and Health +6 adds 120 Health from a total of 222. This would have the following formula:
(342 / 222) * (100 / 51) = 34200 / 11322 = 3 234/11322 ~= 3.05
Overall DEF +8 would use the following formula instead:
(342 / 222) * (100 / 44) = 34200 / 9768 = 3 4896/9768 ~= 3.5

The first one is outpaced by effective 7 stars, which would be something like Melee Combo +4 and 3 stars. The second one is outpaced by effective 9 stars. (Remember that each half-star provides +1/7 worth of attack power, and each point for (Move)+ provides +2/7 for the given move.) Fusers don’t have much of a problem fitting in the latter and having room for other mods. This proves significant when the extra mods no longer have to fear the defenses. As expensive as defensive power should be to prevent mindless play, it shouldn’t be so inept as to be rendered pointless. Defensive power is supposed to be useful to stop the opponent from doing whatever they want. If it is too weak, then mindless play becomes dominant, and I’m still reeling from the brokenness of Ring of Fire -> Signal Flare -> Rainbow Rush of Doom in Bloons Tower Defense Battles. (The RRoD will kill anybody with 50 or less Popping Power Per Second Per $1000 in their defenses. Most tower types struggle to exceed 20.)

The attack power boosts being so massive in the first place deserves its own complaint, by the way. Only 4 stars is needed to double the damage done, when that still requires less than 75 Value to reach to begin with. 20~30 base damage is not an accomplishment, which results in power weapons being painfully redundant. It gets really bad with the higher attack power jumps: 8 stars triples the damage done, and Energy Charge, which is effectively permanent thanks to the faster regen, multiplies the RESULT, rather than stacking with the mods, which means that SIX TIMES the damage is done. This turns any 40+ base damage attack into a 1HK (1 Hit Kill) against standard fighters, and 20+ base damage into a 2HK. Even worse, because of the resulting attack power arms race, everybody will have 300 Value weapons, which triples the effective damage. This makes ever getting hit more punishing than it should be, causing a spike in usage of things like Bumblebee and Overall DEF- which otherwise would have minimized influence or outright be valid weaknesses.

Meanwhile, on the flip side of the coin, people without min-maxed weapons, which is actually very understandable, would actually be able to deal more damage against me than they would with no mods banned, because I would no longer have defenses outpacing their capabilities. This does this nice little thing called rewarding skill. None of this needing to have particular weapons they can’t get to stand a chance stupidity.

Ultimately, things get more evened out.

I die infrequently to begin with

In most matches, it’s rare for me to die more than 1 time, and there’s a decent frequency where I don’t die ONCE. This can’t even be attributed to my hyper defenses, because I’m still outpaced even without Evasion+ or even Shot Range+, and it gets to such where I did an early drop of Aries Armor simply because it didn’t do enough to shut out problem statuses like Eggplant.

My low deaths amount is significant because of one thing: when I simply do not die, my Value does not, for ANY reason, matter. I don’t cause my team’s Life Gauge to suffer and there’s no power regen from death for the Value to multiply. When stats are equal, I would genuinely be unaffected because I’m not doing anything that would change in a 100V match. It’s that simple: I’m winning by skill.

Now if I do happen to die, I actually recover 1 power charge for each of 5 powers aside from Effect Recovery (which also recovers a charge whenever I die, but statuses would have to be involved). This can be significant, but generally, I have plenty of charges of those powers anyway. Except maybe Black Hole, which has only 2 charges, and it should be used wisely regardless.

Honestly, I’d rather a game punish a player for dying against non-broken setups, simple as that.

I’d have to be more cautious against attack powers in general

Even though Power Attack+ is rightfully called broken, it’s infrequently used, so powers still don’t get boosted often, which means that Health+ weakens them considerably. Removing Health+ means that I take a higher percentage of damage from powers. Though it would thankfully be lower than if Power Attack+ VS Health+ was involved. I would still not be killed too fast by attack powers, but I would still want to dodge them.

There is another power for me to worry about: Reflect Barrier. Now I have hyper defenses partially to have a lopsided defense-to-attack ratio on purpose, because Reflect Barrier is used frequently and having my shots bounced right into me would be anything but pleasant. I would have to be more wary of it since I would no longer be able to sponge my own attacks with hyper defenses.

It would be better than having to deal with Energy Charge over and over again, but I’d still want to know how to combat more things. Just because I’m not complaining about that doesn’t mean other players should.

I’d have to be more cautious about using my own powers

Although I don’t die much, I do die at all. This isn’t punished as much as it should be in a random because of the power regeneration, but in a 100V match, my only regenerating powers in 2 deaths would be Super Speed and Interference. My other powers simply requires more than 200 Value to regen. This makes me want to be conservative about my armor powers, because even though I have 6 charges worth of them, they DO run out even if I avoid multi-buffing. 15 spaces sitting there just looking pretty at ANY point in a match is a rather unwelcome risk after all. I’d have to make sure I’m using them correctly, when I already have to make sure I’m choosing correctly between safe but cost-ineffective Super Armor and risk-reward Counter.

Armor powers aren’t the only things that suffer either. Black Hole, because it fails to recover, becomes so God awful to spam. With only 2 charges for its importance and no regen within 2 deaths, it must be used incredibly wisely. It must be saved for situations that Super Speed can’t cover, on top of making sure that the opponent can’t use a countering power. I had to learn the hard way from an actual 100V match that spamming Black Hole at the start is going to end up with me being unable to do any good offense later, because the opponent only needs to fear Super Speed from that point on. It’s such a problem that now I traded off an Interference level for max level Super Speed, simply because of how important Super Speed ultimately proves to be.

That just leaves Super Speed, which I have so many charges of regardless; Interference, which is really there to support Black Hole by stopping its counters and has its problems in frequent usage as well, such as the dreaded casting animation (which keeps Interference Hole under control); and Effect Recovery, which is only there to control statuses.

Having my key powers be much less spammable means I’d have to strategize more, even when, given I praised the game for having KB immunity handled with a happy medium on day one, you can tell that I’d be able to manage.

Section closing

It’s comedy gold to suggest that I would just want to win when I’d be in an environment where I would actually gain nothing to my benefit and the players who don’t abuse broken things get to be able to fight back.

Final verdict

As annoying as it is to have to ban an entire mechanic, it proves necessary with this about seven-thousand word count post. (Thanks for the intel, WordPress.) Mods make the game boil down to mindless play that causes the game to stale. It is such that few KIU multiplayer videos of worth even exist. Why learn things like Grid Reading when the weapons do all the work for you? And it proves to be an ugly never-ending cycle that has broken the game completely and thus managed to get in the way of the power system’s depth potential.

Mods simply have to go.

Welcome to Warriors Uprising!

This is a blog dedicated to competitive Kid Icarus Uprising play. It is designed to provide a central location for such so that players can learn things about it.

Why Kid Icarus Uprising?

There is a game called Super Bash Sisters (well, not really, but it’s easy to guess what I’m really talking about) that holds some interesting mechanics and gameplay, but they get lost in key issues such as how every time you get hit, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing as, say, Bowser, you get turned into a punching bag that can’t fight back at all. Kid Icarus Uprising, although it is a different genre where combat is taking place in a 3D shooter instead of a 2D platformer, does have enough similar mechanics, but while it does have its misfires, it also has key successes with a power system that fix those problems and allow for an enriching experience.

What are the standard rules of matches?

The standard rules for matches are as follows:

*Light VS Dark Team Life Guage value: 400

*1 VS 1 Time: 3 minutes

*No Items

*Stage bans: Windy Wasteland, Small Arena, Large Arena

*Weapon modifier bans: all

*Power bans: Warp, Jump Glide, Angelic Missile, Brief Invincibility Lightweight, Energy Charge (team battles), Random (not Random Effect)

*Power restrictions:

-Super Speed is only permitted at Level 1, and is also not allowed with Playing Dead on the same set.

-The following powers are restricted to Levels 1 and 2: Mega Laser, Meteor Shower*, Land Mine*, Reflect Barrier, Quick Charge, Homing Boost*, Slip Shot, Invisible Shots, (status) Attack*, Energy Charge, Darkness*, Interference*, Super Armor, Counter*, Tirelessness, Bumblebee, Transparency, Effect Recovery**.

Why ban weapon modifiers altogether?

This Q/A is going to get its own post, at the very least because weapon modifiers is an entire mechanic, but the key reason is the sped up or otherwise manipulated power regeneration upon dying. That does way too much to not warrant banning the entire mechanic rather than the still overpowered weapon modifiers, of which there are too many regardless.

What is up with all those restricted powers?

Another Q/A that will get its own post. The summary is, the outright banned powers cost too little for being able to create auto-win scenarios. Super Speed would also be included if not for both necessity and counter play, but it is still restricted to prevent problems. The powers restricted to Levels 1 and 2 each get an additional charge per level, making them more cost-effective than they should be but also letting this rule be enforced.

Why ban items as well?

While there is randomness, that by itself isn’t a problem at all. However, the biggest reason, easily, is the Power Up Drop, which upon pickup provides the person with free invincibility that also reflects shots. Unlike in Super Bash Sisters, there is no way to completely prevent the Power Up Drop from appearing without turning off items altogether. Smart Bomb and Daybreak also have their innate balance issues as well: Smart Bomb causes continuous flinching through Super Armor allowing for easy hits, and Daybreak parts appearing can lead to stalemates or speedster favoritism, neither of which is welcome. Otherwise, most items wouldn’t be so horrible, although Eggplant/Tempura Bomb would make carrying Effect Recovery tempting because they immediately inflict Eggplant/Tempura through Aries Armor.

Who made Kid Icarus Uprising anyway?

Project Sora, a now defunct subsidiary of HAL Laboratories.

Anything else coming up at the moment?

Not really. Generally just things warranting their own posts. Don’t be surprised if this post is edited to add in things later.