I am starting to hate fighting games. More specifically, my hate is directed at Melty Blood. For the past several weeks, we have had several newbies wandering into our IRC channel. Each time, I am unable to host a proper game to teach them how to play because of:
1) MBAACCPC’s lousy netplay code
Anything above delay-4 becomes a laggy, unplayable mess. Even though I’m on fibre and I’m connecting to a fellow SEA player, I still get ridiculous delay-8 connections (even with the custom Caster). It makes no sense, and I blame ECOLE’s lousy netcode. If the SEA players can’t even connect to each other, then what is the point of having an MBAA-SEA community?
Even if I do manage to play with them, there are a couple of extra annoying obstacles:
2) The skill gap between beginners and veterans is too high
I am willing to nerf myself by choosing an alt character just so that I can spar with a beginner. I am also willing to teach them how to play properly. The problem is that it takes super long for a newbie to get to a competent level — they need to learn combos, learn all of the mechanics, and they need to play lots of matches for the match-up experience. Most players will struggle at the combo part, and if they cannot combo consistently, the most basic bread-and-butter of learning a character, the chances of them giving up is extremely high.
I’ve already counted 2-3 potential beginner players that have given up learning Melty because of these reasons. It is completely not their fault, and I can’t blame them. Fighting games are stupid.
3) The cost of entry is high
Let’s be realistic: if you want to learn a fighting game on a semi-serious level and attend meet-ups, you absolutely have to learn how to play on a joystick, and you need to own one. Unfortunately, a good stick will cost about US$100-200, which is enough to turn off most people, even if they are working adults with income. Purchasing an expensive accessory just to learn how to play a game is simply too much, especially if you don’t have any guarantee that your investment will pay off.
My frustration from writing this post stems from my desire to find new blood to join our community. These people exist, they are definitely out there. The problem is that all these barriers, these brickwalls that I have no control of, are constantly driving them away. So many potentially new players turned away because of the idiotic constraints of the genre.
I am now praying, praying, praying very hard that the console release of UNIB/UNIEL will have decent netcode. And I hope that Nyu Media will finish their localisation of Yatagarasu 4 soon, and start getting work done on the rumoured MBAACC and UNIB/UNIEL PC port. Arcades are dying, MB netplay is dying, and I want to move on to a better environment that is more conducive for beginners.