Post by Yaggleberry Finn on Dec 26, 2011 13:26:59 GMT -6
I've played some competitive Pokemon and appreciate the tier system at Smogon. Otherwise it's a real bummer to want to break out your cool looking Zangoose knowing you're going to get crushed by somebody's Palkia or Dialga.
So I think it would be great to discuss a tier system that allows Skylanders to be broken up into competitive groups. That will allow a figure like Trigger Happy and his measly 400 hit points to be playable, at least in certain environments.
I'll leave it open to initial thoughts before I post what we came up with at our house.
As an owner of only 7 SL so far I can't say I have a ton of experience. I do have a friend though with all 23 currently available SL. From what I have seen; Terrafin, Drobot, Hex, and Prism Break seem to be very powerful, but it is all in how you build them!
Post by Yaggleberry Finn on Dec 27, 2011 13:47:00 GMT -6
I made a very rough list today, hopefully we can test it out soon. I'd definitely like to hear what Tashiji has to say on this topic as well.
Here's what I have so far -
Top Tier (in no particular order) Hex Wrecking Ball Terrafin Drobot Spyro Gill Grunt Bash Prism Break Sonic Boom Whirlwind Stealth Elf Dino Rang
Bottom Tier Ignitor Eruptor Flameslinger Chop Chop Trigger Happy Boomer Stump Smash Zap Drill Sergeant Ghost Roaster Voodood
I realize there are some caveats here in regards to which path is chosen. I am going to head over to the choose your path section and add some thoughts there. IMO, there are only a handful of figures that have debatable path choices. Most of them have a clear cut winner. In that case, I will just assume that's what we're talking about unless otherwise stated.
I've actually been thinking a lot about the topic of a tier system, and I've concluded that we will have to treat it like a fighting game if we're going to make it accurate. That is to say, despite where certain characters rank in the overall power hierarchy of the game, there are still certain instances where a lower-tier character has a natural advantage against a higher-tier one.
That being said, I've cobbled together a little Excel sheet that we can use to document the overall strengths and weaknesses of each character relative to one another, and attached it to this post. Feel free to download it, and use it to keep track of your PVP findings.
There are a couple of important mitigating factors, though.
1) Certain paths are obviously better than others. While I'm sure present company has no intention of doing this, I'm posting it here for future members. Example: Forest Ninja Stealth Elf is not an accurate measurement of the capabilities of the character, who is better in all modes and all situations as Pook Blade Saint. Therefore, please do not use Forest Ninja to test Stealth Elf in PVP, because it will taint the results of the thread.
If there is no clear dominant path for your character, please note which path you used in your testing. Example: Bash is fantastic on both builds, and each amplifies a different strength, which will lead to different results in PVP. Pulver Dragon is easily defeated by Dino-Rang, who, in my opinion, is incredibly strong to Bash, while Granite Dragon's disadvantage is less pronounced--he can even win once in a while.
2) Heroic Challenges make a huge difference. A tier list of Skylanders with no HCs done and a tier list of Skylanders with all of them complete will, in theory, look completely different. Case in point: Drobot, while still dominant, doesn't benefit as severely from his Heroic Challenges as others do, and is easier to defeat when all stats are maxed on both sides than when they are not.
3) Arena, and arena hazards, can corrupt your results, as can health recovery and a host of other mitigating factors. TURN THEM OFF before you start battling, and try to pick a neutral arena if possible.
Additionally, "Fair Fight" does not actually make for a fair fight. Certain characters, such as Chop Chop, are incredibly weak in PVP when both sides are maxed out. However, Chop Chop starts off strong when no one has any abilities, and will be a force in the neutral battlefield of "Fair Fight."
The closer you can get your Skylanders to being maxed out, the more accurate your results will be.
4) Please do not battle with bias. What I mean by this is, if you are doing research, let it be strictly research. Don't intentionally lose any matches that would benefit your favorite character; play to the best of your abilities even on the ones you don't like. Example: Stealth Elf is my favorite, but in the most recent round of testing, Vhraina was playing it. In the back of my mind, I was tempted not to try as hard on characters I didn't "want" to see win, but I had to ignore that and play to win anyway. Granted, I was still soundly defeated most of the time (Stealth Elf with full HC is a monster) but it wasn't for lack of trying.
Since there is no online PVP in Skylanders, and as of yet, no official tournaments either, it is important that we try to keep this honest. After all, empirical data does not exist, and any and all findings will be local.
Post by seraphirisu on Dec 28, 2011 20:07:13 GMT -6
If you guys go by Smogon, shouldn't we use Uber, OU, etc.? You can't truly rank a character on Top and another on Bottom due to their differing abilities on how skilled the player truly is. If we truly are to create a competitive scene, then we would have to go through lots of testing on who is strong and who is weak.
Yet a lack of Wi-Fi makes this task a bit tedious, since only the ones who can even test each are those with a PvP-dedicated mind.
Post by Yaggleberry Finn on Dec 28, 2011 20:39:08 GMT -6
We're not necessarily looking to replicate Smogon's system, but rather design a similar one of our intended to keep the game competitive. The Skylanders metagame obviously isn't on the scale of Pokemon, so we don't want to limit things too much.
www.smogon.com/articles/tiers explains the thinking behind the Smogon system. The uber tier was labeled specifically due to the inherent power in a character. Nearly all of these are legendaries. The rest of the tiers are based more on usage, assuming that people playing the game will discover what works best when those ubers are removed from the equation. (Sorry if that was an unnecessary explanation, not trying to insult your intelligence.)
As you pointed out, the lack of wifi is going to make anything that is based on large amounts of cooperative playtesting impossible. However, one unique difference here is that Skylanders only have two paths to choose from, whereas a competitive Pokemon can go in many different directions and includes a lot more variables like nature, EV's and IV's. Other than the heroic challenges and hats, there's not much else to be modified here.
I think we could go along with the concept of the Uber, OU and UU tiers that Smogon has, but we could call them something else that is more Skylanderish... whatever that might be! I don't want this to become too complex, and since we only have 32 figures (of which we currently only have 23) and fewer categories allows for more participants. In our house we've really only had two tiers, although Stealth Elf and Drobot are definitely Uber. I'm not sure I would put Terrafin in that category, but that's why we're having this discussion ;D
Added: The point of the tiers is to allow for competitive play. Generally that means two players would only select figures out of the same tier. However, it would also be helpful to allow a newer or weaker player to have a competitive advantage over someone else. In that case you could purposely pit the two tiers against each other, such as when I play my kids!
When we were doing tests before winter break in our PvP tournies at home, we split our Skylanders up into their own tiers. From there, we tested each against Drobot. The ones that could defeat him or come close were then put aside. After separating them again into two groups (ones that we considered to be "top tier" and "secondary tier" characters) we paired them up against others in the same group. The one that won (teehee) would then be set aside yet again. These final Skylanders were then again paired up and so on and so on until the mix of first and second tier were indistinguishable from each other. Some of the finalists in the rounds were surprising (Prism Break and Voodood). If there was any doubt or question as to if a winner truly deserved the win, we could do several matches to make sure we were okay to move on.
Post by Yaggleberry Finn on Jan 7, 2012 18:22:33 GMT -6
Well, we've been doing a little bit of PVP today, but the results are always tough to measure since I'm playing against a ten year old.
That being said, I split the characters into two groups and let him draw from the top while I was picking from the little cup. I'm not sure where that name came from, it sounds like Mario Kart? (edit: it's a Smogon term for battling with baby Pokemon.) Anyway, I have a few quick observations:
One thing putting characters in the Little Cup is their inability to deal out much damage. That's Zap and Drill Sergeant. I know you guys like him on PS360, but he's just weaksauce on the Wii. And as fast as Zap can be, it just takes him far too long to deal out any significant damage. If you're playing with all the options turned on, he definitely fares better. I didn't try out Chop Chop yet, but he's also in the limited damage pool. Ghost Roaster can do one big hit -58- but is vulnerable during his skull charge and can't hit more than once per charge (I really don't get that).
Other characters are hurt by a lack of speed or range, such as Stump Smash and Boomer. Both have some positives and can win in certain matchups for sure, but they will never beat the big boys.
Flameslinger performed well enough for me, and I can't give a definitive reason right now, but I think he belongs in the LC as well. A borderline character here is Wrecking Ball. In the right hands he really can do well, but I don't know if he's strong enough to move up to the next level.
I originally started with Voodood in the LC, because we hadn't played since I changed paths with him, but he quickly moved up due to his absolutely huge damage output.
I have Ignitor on his sword build rather than his soul build, and am waiting to test out either one in PVP. Right now I have him in LC, but I expect he will move up too. If that's the case, I only have a handful at the bottom. I suppose that's good, making there more competition near the top.
One last thought... Prism Break is incredibly powerful. One huge advantage he has is that his prisms will attract anything that homes in on its target. That means Hex's skull rain, Flameslinger's volley shot and Drill Sergeant's rockets. Maybe others, those are the ones that come to mind.
Post by Yaggleberry Finn on Jan 8, 2012 21:08:08 GMT -6
Mmm... back to back posts. Where's the conversation?
So I got to play quite a bit with Chop Chop today and was surprised with the results. His shield build allows him to hold his own against quite a few of the top tier characters, although he has to play extremely well to have a chance to win. The main drawback is that he can't release damage from his shield until it has absorbed all it can take, which leads to a 75 damage burst. That's pretty sweet!
My newest project will be to reset him and figure out if his final upgrade is really worth it. It causes the damage to auto-release, but the one earlier says you can absorb and release damage. I don't know how it works on the earlier upgrade, but once he's fully upgraded it appears the only way to release damage is to get filled to the max. Sometimes I just don't want to wait that long.
I also discovered that when he defeats any of Hex's bone shields he regenerates health. Not sure what else works that way, but I'm going to find out.
Spell Punk Division Dark/Spyro (Sheep Burner and Blitz) Double Trouble (Conjuror) Eruptor (Volcanor) Gill Grunt (Water Weaver) Ignitor (Blademaster and Soul of the Flame) Prism Break (Crystaleer) Sonic Boom (Medea Griffin and Siren Griffen) Whirlwind (Tempest Dragon) Wrecking Ball (Ultimate Spinner) Voodood (Marauder)
Chompy Division Boomer (Demolition Troll) Chop Chop (Vampiric Warrior or Undead Defender?) Flameslinger (Marksman) Ghost Roaster (Skull Master) Drill Sergeant (Megadozer) Stump Smash (Smash 'N Bash or Nut Crafter?) Trigger Happy (Golden Money Bags) Zap (Slime Serpent)
Unknown Camo Lightning Rod Sunburn Warnado Wham-Shell Zook
The stat bonuses to the Legendary versions are small enough that I would simply place them alongside their regular counterparts. On Chop Chop and Stump Smash, I'm really not sure which of those two paths is better for the Chompy Division. I've had CC on the Undead Defender path for the stun and shield build-up, but in the lower level it might be best for him to have better damage output. SS gets better damage output on his Smash 'N Bash path, but the combos are tough to pull off in PVP. He might rather go with Nut Crafter, increasing his chances of slowing down his opponents with acorns.
Also, I think it might be a good idea to place all of the 64 paths... at least the ones that wouldn't end up below the Chompy level. I don't think Bash's Pulver Dragon belongs in the Kaos group, but it is still good and could play well in the Spell Punk group. Same with several of the alternate paths for the top group.
That way, if we made this unofficially official, any character could be placed somewhere, even if your friend didn't pick the best (as determined by us, the experts =P ) path for that character.
As he can handily defeat over half of the characters in the Kaos Division, I really think Soul of the Flame Ignitor belongs there. Even the fights he loses are competitive. I know I advocate for him in nearly every post I make here, but really, he has big advantages to Drobot, Cynder, Dino Rang, and Hex, and doesn't fall easily to the others save for perhaps Stealth Elf and Slam Bam. Also, he is unfairly better than every character in the Spell Punk Division, to the point where he could conceivably win every tournament with them.
You really must try this build somehow. It's not just out of fandom that I push for him, though I do love Ignitor. He is really in the upper eschelon of all PVP characters.
Edit: And I agree with you that certain other builds deserve consideration. For example, even though Forest Ninja is atrocious compared to Pook Blade Saint, it is still better than most characters, and allows Stealth Elf fans to play their favorite character in divisions other than the top. As for which builds really do qualify and which just stink... that's another matter. Definitely Bash and Spyro, probably Cynder and Dino Rang... Brawler Terrafin is no slouch, and on the same token, blade Drobot and ice sculpture Slam Bam are decent enough to belong in a separate division. We may just want to include them all. What do you think?
Post by doubletrouble on Jan 26, 2012 20:02:55 GMT -6
IMO, the list needs to either be all of the characters listed once or all of them listed with both upgrade paths, with no middle ground in between. Both have their benefits and disadvantages, but I think that if one character is included twice, be it because the character's best upgrade path is debated or because the upgrade paths are far enough apart to be in different tiers, then all characters should be included twice.
I also would like to see more people post their rankings in the Wii thread before the list is finalized, as I think more opinions would help determine the placement of some of the more debated characters (Ignitor, Prism Break).
Absolutely agreed, but the list is definitely a work in progress. As we all discover more and more about the metagame of Skylanders, certain characters will climb and certain characters will fall. The release of Cynder shook up what we thought was a rather "set" list, and I expect perhaps one or two more real contenders from subsequent waves.
I also suggest that we make separate threads for each tier, wherein we can debate the finer points of divisional matchups.
Post by doubletrouble on Jan 26, 2012 20:57:28 GMT -6
Agree that this is a work in process, especially since there are still a few characters yet to be released. I'm expecting Sunburn with his teleporting to shake up the top tier.
Also, I think that the way that the Smash Bros community does their tiers could be a viable way to determine the Skylanders tiers. While the gameplay is different, it still is a 1 on 1 combat game similar to Skylanders. They use a voting system where the most knowledgable members rank each character from 1-35, and then the results are averaged to determine the order. I personally think this is a good system to be considered, as not everyone will agree on the placing if where characters should go.
That is definitely something to factor in, I agree. I, too, once played Smash Bros., though, and I must say, Skylanders is lacking some of the finer depth of that game. In Skylanders, it's pretty easy to tell who has a clear-cut advantage to who within just a couple of fights. For example, no matter how many people might rank Drobot at #1, it should be clear even to the most ardent Drobot supporter that he suffers against melees who can rush him, such as Stealth Elf and Slam Bam. Additionally, he has issues with characters designed to thwart keep-away, such as Ignitor. In 100 fights, I imagine Stealth Elf beats Drobot in around 90 of them provided the players of the two characters are evenly matched. It doesn't really matter how Drobot is played, he's facing stiff odds. In that sense, there's an element of Pokemon as well. Certain characters beat certain others, with little wiggle room.
A table of character advantages is probably going to be necessary, but I'm already working on it. Obviously I'd love input once it's done.