Category Archives: meta

X-post from DWR: The importance of a main

Let’s preface this with I’m drunk as FUCK. Like, I’m so drunk, I might actually go swimming or something and enjoy myself, and I don’t actually know how to swim. At all. Hell, for all I know, I might be hydrophobic!

So, I just found out that you can have 50+ levels in P4A’s netcode. What the fuck does that mean? It means you’ve been playing entirely too much.

Now, let’s back up. Let’s address something that’s plagued me for years. I’ve, for the longest time in my Starcraft years, refused to stick with one specific build–instead, I used a build order that I could web into a variety of different builds. An instance of this that at least a few people would be able to understand is the protossian 4-gate in Starcraft 2–it started as one specific all-in build that wound up expanding to 4-gate double-robo and all sorts of other strategies. “But Travis! That only makes sense! Why would you play a video game where you’d gamble it all on your strategy?!”

Indeed.

Let’s talk about Persona real quick (by which I mean, for the rest of the entry), because a lot of people don’t understand what I mean by “learn neutral game as one character.” Let’s back up and analyze this sentiment from one specific angle:

You LOVE this game. You loved Persona 4, and you loved the anime, and if there was anything you loved more (and we’ll take my experience from this), it was the confusion about your future that was paralleled by Yukiko. I MEAN YOU’RE A WHITE SLIGHTLY-LESS-THAN-HETEROSEXUAL WHITE MALE YOU HAVE LITERALLY NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT SIT DOWN YOU FUCKING CISPRIV NERD

So you pick up Yukiko. I know a lot of my readers don’t actually play this game competitively, so I’ll break it down further.

Yukiko has normals where she just straight-up throws fans. They move about a third as fast as the equivalent of P4A’s hadouken, and hit maybe half as hard. The big thing is, she can zone you out by tossing them at really odd angles. She also has a really good mid-to-fullscreen game using her persona, who can attack at weird angles and has long lasting attacks, meaning that during the attack, you can still run or jump or hide or climb trees.

If you recall my schema on how to pick a main, many people will either pick their waifus or pick characters based off of who they can beat their friends with. Yukiko falls into either category because she’s both a waifu AND really easy to beat your friends with, and that’s a double-edged sword.

She’ll win you some games and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but she lacks the neutral-game tools that other characters have. The issue with that is, if you want to get good at fighting games, you need to learn what those tools are, and how they work. I make the joke to pick top-tier if you want to compete at a game. It’s less humorous than I make it.

Now, where picking her versus picking Yu is a bit of a bad idea, if you really want to learn a game, playing random is probably the dumbest thing I can think of. Some will argue, “well, learning the tools of all the characters will benefit me in the future!” and that’s cool, but the issue is, those tools won’t fully be realized until time is spent playing that character in, say, Training Mode. If you can figure out that you can orgia-dash cancel Aigis’ sweep on your own, then you can tell me that you’ll benefit from playing random.

Oh, you’ll learn how to deal with matchups, regardless. For instance, I’ve known–since my Yukiko days–that Labrys can’t cancel her sweep into anything but Guillotine Axe, so block low, block high. I didn’t need to play Labrys to figure that out, and that’s the best counter argument I can muster against the “play random” lifestyle. Meanwhile, you won’t learn that sweep>Guillotine Axe can go into Raging Bull>burst>Guillotine Axe>Raging Bull. Congratulations, you’ll never know how to maximize damage off of it, but you will learn how to avoid getting that maximum damage.

Even if your main sucks, learning that character is vital to your development in fighting games. Learning combos past basic combos will teach you enders and how to look for enders, and that will teach you to convert into damage off of confirms. It’ll teach you how to properly use mobility options beyond what’s available for everyone. There’s a great deal of water under the surface of fighters; people just need to figure out how to get to it.


I finished this entry like two weeks ago, but forgot to post it. I’m dumb.

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