Character Difficulty Ratings

I was wondering what everyone thought about the difficulty ratings each character has been given on the tutorial videos? The rankings are as follows:

1 / 3 Stars (easy)

2 / 3 Stars (medium)
De Grey

3 / 3 Stars (hard)

Personally, I’d move Geiger into 1 star as once you get your head around the gear meter he seems pretty straight forward, and his projectile/reversal gameplay feels like a good place for beginners.

I’d also move Valerie into the 2 or 3 stars bracket because her low health and rushdown play means you have to make the most of opportunities for damage, which is something beginners may struggle to do.

I think I’d also put Grave in the 2 star bracket. I know he’s supposed to be the archetypal fighting game character, but I find all the different options for his fireball (slow, medium, fast, large) plus the effects of wind summon make him more complex than the other zoners.

I’m coming from a non-fighting game background, so I’d be interested to hear what you all think.

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These aren’t some haphazard ratings. We’ve observed hundreds (thousands?) of players at conventions play our game and these ratings are how it shakes out.

For example, we don’t have to wonder if people pick up Valerie easily. They do. So much so that when clueless new people ask who they should start with, we eventually started telling them Grave or Rook or Valerie and it continued to work out.

Meanwhile, we almost wish Geiger was not selectable at conventions unless the player clicks through a dialog box saying they understand Guile’s charge mechanic, lol. Over and over again people stumble over the gear mechanic. It’s better now than it was because of the red X and click sound when you try a gear move without meter, but just fundamentally some people have trouble wrapping their minds around it. They certainly shouldn’t start with him if they are new.

Argagarg being three stars is obvious. Setsuki, the issue is new people understand her moves and all, but they lose hard and have no chance. Low life is part of it, but not the whole thing (they do fine with Valerie who has low life). It’s that to be effective, they should probably be doing air C, divekick, A, super a lot. Or using kunai to look for a careful approach. Basically the minimum skill needed to have a chance is higher for her than most.

Since this is based on so much observation of new players over such a long period of time (years, at this point), I think the ratings are already in a good place.


Thanks for the detailed response - it’s really interesting to hear how the character ratings have shaken out over the course of the tournaments you’ve run.

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I just so happen to agree with the star ratings 100%, exactly t he way I would have tiered them


Perhaps the star ratings could show up in Event Mode and maybe some other modes? It seems like that would be helpful to minimize confusion, but I’m sure that would be very low priority compared to pretty much everything else being worked on.

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Really appreciate Sirlin’s commentary on this as I admit my experience so far with the game (just a couple days in) was the same as the topic creator. Rook was perfect for a beginner, but then I tried valerie and couldn’t get past the first fight of arcade after easily beating the whole thing with Rook and it was a little shocking. Then, even though, I figured if I couldn’t win stage 1 with Valerie I’d probably get stomped with a 3* difficulty character, I tried Geigar just cause he looked fun, and I easily walked over arcade mode. Then I went online in ranked and sure enough, Geigar and Rook continued to do work for me, while Valerie struggled. I’ve found Grave similarly tricky compared to Geigar and Rook, though not on Valerie’s level so I’d have agreed with the 2* ranking.

But obviously 1 persons experience is trumped by the hundreds/thousands of players you’ve already used as a sample size, so maybe I’m just an outlier. I’m not a guile player, so maybe the fact I wasn’t trying to use him like guile helped?

Oh, and for the record, after watching a number of training videos online, I was able to go back and not only get past the first fight, but beat Valeries arcade (admittedly with many continues), so she’s definitely not unapproachable or anything even for new players like me, I just personally struggled with her out of the gate unlike Rook or Geigar.


I’ll add anecdotally that I also would have moved Geiger into the “easier” and Valerie into the “harder” tiers, but also would never purport that to be more valuable than observing hundreds of players at events :wink:

I never played Guile in SF2 either, could never get Sonic Booms to work consistently (among the many moves I could never get to work consistently, even in SF2HDR which I played a fair bit of.) “Don’t walk forward” is pretty easy to understand for me though :slight_smile:

I’m curious if players at the events had access to the videos we do? If not I wonder if the difference is that by the time I’d watched the video I felt like I had the basics of Geigar figured out but by the end of Valerie’s video I still didn’t really feel like I understood how to make up for her low life. I could see Geigar being a lot more confusing at first with out the video explaining his mechanic.

Brand new to the game. I’ve had a similar experience myself. If computer opponents are any indicator, I personally find Valerie to be among the most challenging. Similarly, I’ve actually picked up Setsuki and had decent success with her out the gates. Like DanTheMeek, I wonder if players at events that the star difficulty ratings were based off of had access to the character learning videos. I felt they were a huge help. I’ve been pulling off 4 damage combos with Setsuki with ease, and I probably wouldn’t have even realized that was an option without her video. I’ve also watched several matches via tournament videos on youtube and have tried to mimic some of their combos and such.

Perhaps the amount of research I did into the game before even playing it for the first time means I’m not the kind of person that the star ratings are really made for anyways though. lol

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I would point out that the rating isn’t actually a ‘difficulty’ rating, it is a ‘complexity’ rating. It is talking about the initial learning curve of a character. Val’s BBB combo is very easy to understand, as opposed to Setsuki’s air mix ups (most basic being dive kick vs. kunai, which I find vital against Rook). I’ll admit that Val is a character that poses some problems for me, but that isn’t in understanding the utility of her moves. I’ve played over 100 hours at this point (124 according to steam) and Sets has been my secondary character since I began, and I only just learned the utility of her bA.

Oppose that against Rook, all of his moves you can pretty much understand after using them once (with the exception of bA - C, most seem to have to be told about that cancel). But at higher levels of play, he can be one of the hardest characters to play (no neutral, little pressure, but OH MY GOD THAT OKI!)


I understand setsukis difficulty rating if we were looking at depth (or skill ceiling) but I’ve seen so many new people I’ve introduced this game to find success against others who were also first timers by repeatedly using her B and alternating with the command throw mix up. It seems to be especially powerful with new players because neither player seems sure whether it’ll cross up or not

Except her B is so vulnerable and new players rely on it way too much. Any character with a reversal can punish ninja port. One of the biggest things to learn, and the hardest it seems, is to rarely use B with Setsuki, similar to DeGrey needing to not rely on his jB.