Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Round 2: Of Gauges and Their Uses

We’ve discussed Ultras, but what of their close cousins, Supers? The fate of the two is somewhat intertwined, as there is sometimes a decision to be made regarding which of the two to use. Unfortunately, the decision almost always is in favor of the Ultra. Why, you ask? Well here’s a run down:

  • The Revenge gauge resets each round, the Super gauge does not - therefore if possible using an Ultra still leaves you with meter for the next round, whereas using a Super leaves you meterless
  • Using a Super means you’re missing out on the ability to do 4 EX moves
  • A Super will usually do less damage than an Ultra

Now obviously there’s more to it than this. Supers can be cancelled, and Supers are easier to combo than Ultras. Still, for chatacters that can combo their Ultras, Supers offer little incentive. But don’t fret - this is an infinitely less complex problem than the Ultra dilemma!

Decrease the length of the gauge
We mentioned that you have to trade off 4 EX moves to do a Super. So how do we make Supers more enticing? Make them cost 3 EX moves! It’s simple, quick and dirty, but this does two things: fills up your Super gauge quicker, allowing for more Super action during play, and makes the decision to use a Super a much easier one. We’re not breaking EX moves, since you will still gain them at the same rate, we’re just making Supers a little more… thrifty.

Allow the gauge to hold two stocks of Supers
The one bad thing about our previous change is that we have less EX stocks! Easily remedied: allow the Super gauge to hold two stocks instead of one. This gives you 6 total EX moves, or 3 Focus cancels, or 2 supers. Mmmm… tasty! This also lets you do interesting things like EX into Super (which of course, needs to be playtested to make sure it’s not broken). Overall this opens up a ridiculous number of options for every character and gives Supers a stronger presence.

Increase the gauge increase rate on damage dealt
One other problem is that if you use EX moves even somewhat regularly (even worse if you use cancels) you can easily end every round nowhere near getting a Super. A very slight increase in how much meter you get upon dealing damage (not taking, and not blocking) does two things: allows a faster rate of increase and thus more delicious Supers, AND rewards offense in a game that makes it easy to turtle.

That’s it for this installment, the next (and probably last SFIV) episode I’ll deal with character-specific tweaks. Fun times ahead!

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