Injustice will be at Evolution 2013, and that means that the game will be on the world stage. The impact it has at EVO will affect the community for months, if not years, afterward. It is therefore important to lay a good foundation for the game’s standard ruleset. The EVO ruleset will be the one that the most serious players will adhere to as they prepare to showcase their skills in Las Vegas. Due to the importance of this issue and the variance of opinion I have come across I feel it is a good idea to present my argument for the following ruleset:
*Best 3/5 Matches in a Set
*Interactables and Transitions set to ON.
*Random stage select at the start, based on what appears in the Character Select screen’s background. Loser can choose from three options: 1) Rematch with current stage and character. 2) Return to Character Select for a new random stage to be selected in the background. 3) Return to Character Select for a new character and a new random stage to be selected in the background.
It seems as if matches in Injustice are on track to be quick to conclude. Normally more time would be needed before deciding to upgrade to Best 3/5 Matches, but at least for local and regional events, I feel Best 3/5 is a good standard. For larger events, Best 2/3 can be reverted to. If, as the game matures and matches take longer, a return to Best 2/3 may be needed in order to help tournaments conclude in a timely manner.
Interactables and Transitions are too new for a ban to be considered reasonable. Only if they are proven, over time, to cheapen the competitive experience should they be turned off. This kind of proof needs to happen in an actual tournament and it needs to happen repeatedly. Situational combos and highly unusual glitches or other problems are not grounds for banning interactables. Again, if something happens as the game matures to merit the removal of interactables then that should be what happens. Until then, let them rock and learn to adapt and control your environment in the attempt to control your opponent.
And now for the doozy of an issue. What do we do about stage select? To 50/50, or not to 50/50, that is the question. To be random or to allow players to have a say in what stage they play on.
I have read a good amount of content regarding this issue on the main Injustice community site, Test Your Might, and I have to say that I have been, and remain, a proponent of random stage select for all matches.
My original reasoning on the matter was the following:
“This stage select ruleset is the 8 Way Run standard for Soulcalibur V, which is also a game where stages can heavily favor one character over another, or give a character significant advantages that increase his/her tournament viability. Given that stages in Injustice give similar advantages and disadvantages to different characters, I feel that mirroring the 8 Way Run ruleset is appropriate.
I do not feel that the 50/50 tool is as valuable as a completely random stage selection because if the 50/50 tends to favor one player over another, the player on the losing end can make a good case for an unfair situation. This is because the players were allowed a preference, and limited the options to only 2 out of 29 (when taking into account all levels within the stages). If the stage is selected completely at random, then there is less ability to cry foul because neither player had any say in which of the 29 options the game randomly chose. Even though a random select of the 29 options may consistently favor one player over another, the elimination of player preference that influences the game’s random choice makes for a more fair situation overall. This method of random stage select is proven in a similar game (SCV) and that is why I will go with it for my IJ events until further notice.”
Unfortunately I found that this reasoning did not really hit home in the way I felt it needed to. There was something else at work here and it irked me that I could not put my finger on it. I thought long and hard about why exactly I had a problem with the usage of the 50/50 tool for stage select, and I finally came up with this:
“My reasoning on the stage select matter extends from what I feel are the dual goals of a tournament: to accurately determine the best player and also to accurately determine the dominant strategy.
Over time, the statistical results of multiple events should lead to averages for matchup results. Those averages should reveal what strategies are dominant and what players are dominant. A perfect tournament system would replicate this data set every time in order to reinforce theoretical tier lists or see how, over time, things are changing. Unfortunately, this type of tournament system is too lengthy to be practical, as will be explained below.
With 25 characters (as of now) there are 25 potential matchups per character when including the mirror matchup. So we have 625 different matchups, but in Injustice the stages are important as well, so the actual number of different matchups by a multiple of the number of unique levels, which is 25 (Joker’s Asylum and Wayne Manor Night are functional duplicates of Arkham Asylum and Wayne Manor Day, so do not count as unique). So for all 625 character matchups there are 25 different levels that those character matchups can be played on, resulting in 15,625 matchups in the game’s statistical layout. To determine the dominant player, a round robin would have to occur where every player plays every matchup against every other player; it would just take too long.
The math is obvious but merits inclusion here because the goal of practical, time limited tournaments should be representing, as accurately as possible, the data spread of those 15,625 matchups. This data spread will be referred to as the perfect matchup data spread.
Over time, random stage select on all matches will more accurately represent that data spread than using the 50/50 or direct counterpicking of the stage by the loser. Both of those options limit the representative data sample from a single tournament. Player choice will naturally impose arbitrary restrictions on what stages are potentially included in the representative sample.
The argument could be made, however, that if stage select is randomized, then it would also be more accurate to impose random character select to better reflect the perfect matchup data spread. I agree, but the inability to do this is a product of community norms. Players would not accept the validity of random character select, but random select for stage violates no norms. We would get tournament results closer to the perfect matchup data spread.”
I also provided a response to this video posted by Aris of Avoiding the Puddle. In it he argues that characters and stages in Injustice should not be separated and that: taking away the 50/50 tool makes Injustice not as unique as it could be, it works fine as is, and the concept of having a character in addition to a stage that you can consider “yours” is totally new and exciting to fighting games.
“In regards to the argument that not using the 50/50 is removing a game feature for no reason, I would say the reason I laid out above is good enough. Also, by using the 50/50 you would be forgoing another game feature: the normal random select. I argue that using random select on its own is a more accurate method for achieving a representative sample of the perfect matchup data spread.
In regards to the argument that stages are akin to characters and thus Deathstroke – Ferris Aircraft should be considered a single entity, I feel it overlooks the fact that stages cannot be pitted against each other in a matchup. You cannot play your Deathstroke – Ferris Aircraft against your friend’s Bane – Fortress of Solitude. You can each choose a character but must share one stage. Therefore I do not feel that stages in Injustice are akin to characters. The two are indeed separable from one another.
Consider, hypothetically, that Deathstroke is statistically proven to be the dominant character on Ferris Aircraft. He is thus dominant in 24 matchups out of the 15,625 possible; one for each character matchup, excluding the mirror, on the Ferris Aircraft stage. Just because Deathstroke is dominant on Ferris Aircraft does not mean that in the perfect matchup data spread Deathstroke will always be the dominant character. This further demonstrates that stage and character are, and should be, separate considerations.”
I am sure you noticed, but just to reiterate, my entire argument rests on the assumption that the goals shared by the community in running tournaments are: to accurately determine the best player and also to accurately determine the dominant strategy. In order to do this I argue that the perfect matchup data spread needs to be replicated every time one player plays against another player. That is to say that they should really be playing all 15,625 matchups in order to most accurately determine who is the better player. Over time, this data would then provide us with patterns as to dominant players and strategies overall. The ruleset I am proposing will, I feel, most reliably set us on the path to discovering all of this valuable information.
One last thing, and something that I also posted:
“Thanks for reading and again I do not claim to have perfect logical reasoning. I’m only doing the best I can and am completely open to critique as long as there is some attempt at providing evidence, logical or experimental. I will continue to advocate for random stage select in all matches but also pledge to support the eventual community standard if it happens to differ from my opinion.”
Let’s see what the EVO staff decides to do, because no matter how strongly I feel about the issue the EVO ruleset will become the community standard. At least for a very long time.
To read the original thread “[Discussion] Injustice Tournament Rules?” started by Tom Brady, please go to this link. My posts begin on page six, and the most important posts from me are #126 and #182.