Game Balance

I see 3 problems with game balance, which somewhat defeat the purpose of having such a low entry barrier.

  1. There needs to be less drastic difference in health amounts. This gives certain characters large advantages over others, turning said match ups into extremely frustrating affairs even when the player with the unfavorable character is more skilled.

  2. Meter needs to not automatically refill. This allows characters like Rook to get rewarded for turtling. Just make it so that meter gain is very high on hit and only slightly lower on block.

  3. Rook needs to either have less armored moves/moves that go through projectiles and his super should be able to be interrupted, just like every other non-counter super. At the very most, his ground super should only have a single hit of armor, so that a well-placed multi-hit attack can interrupt, same as everyone else.
    As things stand, with his health, armored moves, and the universal mechanics, Rook is overpowered. He can get wins with less effort and skill, especially against non-zoners, as he only needs to land two armored throws and a ground super per round, has enough health to act as a safety net for mistakes, and he only needs to turtle until his meter auto-refills.

Being that Fantasy Strike is a fighting game that is defined by its unprecedented low executional requirement, since it will only have 10 characters it NEEDS to have a similarly unprecedented balance between those characters.
It would defeat the purpose if certain match ups feel nearly impossible just because of the character being played. Such a scenario WILL frustrate and push away the very audience you wish to draw in, same as every complex fighting game.

Otherwise, it’ll become a match up dependant “hero switcher” game, rather than a skill-based fighting game,

I want to see this game succeed but, since complexity isn’t what this game will offer, it needs to have character balance that even the most hardcore fighting game veterans can respect.

Rook isn’t nearly as good as you make him out to be. Who specifically are you having trouble beating him with? I’m sure there are people on the forums who would happily give you some pointers. Or, if you’re finding it trivial to thrash people you’re playing with Rook, I think it’s more likely they haven’t spent enough time learning to fight him.


Some Tips For Beating Rook Without Fireballs (Because I Apparently Don’t Like Winning With My Main)

  1. You can jump out of Rook’s command throw and ground super. To do this consistently, you’ll need to hold the jump button on wake-up - if you try to press it at the correct time instead of holding it (especially when you’ve been knocked down), you may not jump on the first possible frame, and will get thrown.

  2. Rook’s command throw and ground super CAN catch you if you jump in on him! To avoid his command throw, you can use either an aerial move that hits twice (both Valerie and DeGrey have this, and Setsuki can kunai + kick to break his armor, or use flying squirrel x2 to avoid landing). You can also use moves that cross-up to get free damage if Rook mistimes his throw. To avoid his super, you can still use the cross-up stuff, or if he’s at 2 HP, you can kill him with two-hit aerial moves.

  3. His air lariat and thwomp and his armored rush move are all unsafe on block. Just hit him for 2 and jump away to make him sad.

  4. His air splash is EXTREMELY PLUS on block. If Rook manages to hit you or get you to block this, it is NOT YOUR TURN to push buttons. Since you are still in blockstun for a while, he can’t throw you after this unless he waits a bit, so you can hold back for a second after blocking it (to prevent him from booting or sweeping you), and then either do nothing to yomi counter his throw (because he’s so close to you), or jump out of his command throw (because he thinks you’re going to Yomi counter).


Reading this, I’m going to guess that you are you a val or sets player?
Rook, well I don’t actually know about august build, but rook was not as good as you think he is. He loses pretty hard to zoners unless you’re super duper on top of your game, but it’s a real struggle.
We’re constantly talking about the matchups and stuff here.

meter auto filling is something they’re proud of for not having to worry about.


I think that’s kind of the point of the original poster though.
It doesn’t matter who he plays or how bad you think he might be vs Rook.
You said yourself that "He loses pretty hard to zoners unless you’re super duper on top of your game, but it’s a real struggle."
Which shouldn’t really be the case. In a fighting game there shouldn’t be hard counters, where one player has to do everything right to have a 50% chance at winning while the other can afford to make mistakes because their character counters the other too hard.
Now obviously I like to emphasize “TOO hard” and “HARD counters” because obviously the different styles of characters is what makes this game interesting. But I also hope the developers realize that with a very limited amount of buttons, the ways to deny hard countering play are very scarce.
And I sort of agree that the health difference for the charatcers in this game is a little overboard. I realize that this is a pre-alpha though so I’m not complaining.

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I agree that a game with entirely 5-5 match-ups is the goal, but… I mean, look at every single competitive game, and every single fighting game ever made, even those where that was an explicit design goal. I doubt any of them, judged by that criteria, could be said to have succeeded. It turns out it is extremely hard to get that kind of balance. If you further add the criteria “and in all those 5-5 match-ups, each player has to do the same amount of work for it to be even” I doubt any asymmetrical game with a roster bigger than 2 can say it has achieved that goal.

I still agree with you that it is a goal that should be top of mind for game designers. If anyone is passionately in pursuit of that goal, I would say it is the designers of this game. Just… you know… it turns out it’s impossibly hard.

The other thing to keep in mind is, depending on your experience with the game, balance criticism can be more or less about inexperience than about balance. Fantasy Strike is very accessible, but that accessibility belies its skill ceiling. There are real differences between a player who has just picked up a controller, a player who has been playing for 10 hours, a player that has been playing for 100 hours, etc.

I get frustrated with the game too. There are moments where, playing as Rook, I feel absolutely helpless to win against an opponent that does “X thing” over and over again. When that happens, and I feel like I’ve tried everything that I can, I try not to immediately go to “X thing” is busted. (Note: I try. I don’t always succeed!) I’ll go to the forums or discord first, and I’ll see if anyone has any suggestions. I’ll see if there’s some way to play that avoids my opponent being in a position to do “X thing” to me in the first place. I’ll ask more experienced players what they think about “X thing” and what I should do to beat it.

I hope this doesn’t come across as “don’t complain.” At the end of the day, this is not the finished game. Balance tweaks should absolutely be on the table. And they are! Heck, with the throw button change, entire systems changes are on the table right now! But if it seems like a complaint comes down to inexperience, the best approach should be to try and share information.

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I don’t think having all matchups be 5-5 is possible without making every character basically the same. There’s a kind of inherent rocks-paper-scissors type of balance between the “big bruiser”, “speedster” and “zoner” archetypes (Big Bruiser outmuscles the speedster at short range, while the speedster gets in and crushes the zoner and the zoner keeps out the big bruiser). You want everyone to have enough tools that they at least have a workable gameplan in every matchup, but it’ll probably always be the case that some matchups are slightly favoured for some characters.

I feel like if you could ensure there were no matchups worse than 6-4 that would be good enough.

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Jaina vs Geigar is nasty. Once he gets super you aren’t allowed to use an arrow for the rest of the match unless it’s in a block string/combo or he’s too close/far away. Her game without arrows is pretty abysmal.

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Sirlin has commented on Jaina vs Geiger matchup on Discord:
“With jaina especially, I just assume I will lose life every so often from his super, so I’m on a timer to beat him”

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I wouldn’t call Rook overpowered, but he’s surely on the high end of the tier list.

His design is just so simple that he has a lot of very good or very bad MUs: for example I belive that he loses 3-7 to geiger while winning 7-3 to Valerie.

The OP is right on one thing though, similar designs aren’t that good in a 10 characters game.