SSBM Training 1: Marth's SH Double Fair

Super Smash Brothers Melee (SSBM) is hard. And it's hard to get started. I've read a lot of guides and tips. A lot of the info is very helpful. But I think most of it is way too advanced for most players.

I'm not very good at SSBM, but I think most people are probably a lot worse. No offense. I've played games from a young age, I've played a lot of games, I've played a large amount, and I've been very very good at some games. And I started playing Smash before SSBM came out. Not very well, but I've been familiar with Smash for a long time, and followed it much more closely than most fans.

I've been practicing SSBM. Mostly tech skill, alone. I like the game, I like understanding how it works, I like seeing how hard it is and facing a challenge, and I like having a better understanding of what the pros I watch in tournaments are doing, what it's like for them.

I have figured out some ways to practice that are more basic than are usually taught, and I think they could really help people. For example, people say to practice Marth's SH (short hop) double fair (forward air attack). But I can't do that. It's really hard. To some people, it's just the basics. But to me, it's an advanced skill that's going to take a lot of work. My hands have sped up a lot from practice, but I still have a long way to go to SH double fair.

So how do you work your way up? What's in between nothing and SH double fair? My main point in this post is to show you how to break down a technique, like SH double fair, into a bunch of intermediate steps you can practice one by one. Even something pretty simple can be divided into a lot of different things to practice, instead of just being all-or-nothing.

(And for my regular philosophy audience, take note: you can apply similar methods to many other topics outside of gaming. Treat this as a detailed concrete example which illustrates an important philosophical method, and see what you can learn about philosophy.)

- SH

Start with SH alone. To SH, just hit jump and let go fast (before you're in the air). Don't feel bad if you suck at it. I would stand there and hit jump and do nothing else, and Marth would full hop. It took me a ton of practice just to SH. Actually, first I learned to SH Peach, who has an easier one than Marth. Marth is 3 frames, Peach is 4, Fox is 2. Almost all the characters are in one of those three categories. If you have trouble, practice with a 4 frame SH character first. Here's the list of how many frames each character has for short hopping (smaller numbers are harder, meaning you have to let go of jump faster).

One of the cool things I found is, after I practiced Marth's SH a lot, even when I still wasn't very good at it, then when I went back to Peach she became easy. And then once I practiced Sheik's 2 frame SH, and went back to Marth, then Marth felt easier. But you can't move up too early, just starting with Sheik wouldn't have done me any good if I can never get it at all.

- SH While Distracted

As an aside, let me say that being able to stand still and do a SH, and being able to do it while playing the game against an opponent, are different things. As one example, once you can SH ok, try to run forward and SH. You'll miss some because of the distraction. Once you get better at that, try shield stop SHs. That means you dash forward, then very quickly hit shield, then very quickly after that, short hop. Even once I was good at SHing in place, I couldn't do shield stop SHs without some practice. Learning to link together the things you practice makes them harder.

The point is, don't get frustrated if you thought you could SH, but then you try to do SH and something else, and suddenly you can't SH. It's going to happen. It's no big deal, you just need more practice until your ability to SH is less barely and more solid.

- SH Nair

Once you can SH, try to SH Nair (neutral air attack, meaning A with no direction). Hit jump then A. You'll probably miss some SHs from trying to hit A also. Don't worry, practice, you can learn this.

Now to the main point: if you jump and then hit A fast enough, you will land without going into a recovery animation from the nair. The best way to see this is get the 20xx Hack Pack and turn on the flashing red and white for failed and successful L cancels. If you SH nair and you hit A slowly, you will see Marth flash red. If you do it fast enough, Marth will not flash any color.

When I started, I couldn't do this. Marth would flash red. Maybe I could get it 10% of the time. But, again, you practice and you get better. This is a hell of a lot easier than SH double fair. It's a smaller step forward. This will get your hands faster while being a smaller and more achievable goal.

- SH Fair

Next, try to SH fair. If you do this quickly, Marth won't flash red. You have to be a little faster than with SH nair. (If you don't have 20xx hack pack, you'll have to try to watch Marth and visibly see the difference between whether he does his recovery animation from landing during fair, or not. Which is a skill that takes practice. You can learn it early if you have to, but I'd really recommend getting the 20xx pack.)

- SH Uair

Next, try to SH uair (up air attack). Again, you'll have to be a little faster. You'll also have to learn to press the dstick (directional stick, the joystick used for moving) lightly so you don't double jump.

- SH Bair

If you can go even faster, you can do a SH bair (back air) with Marth and land without flashing red. If you do it successfully, Marth will turn around (so this one is easy to tell if you succeeded even without the 20xx Hack Pack).

- C Stick

Then go back through and practice all of these using the cstick (the little yellow joystick) instead of A. (Except not nair, you can't nair with cstick). Again this makes it harder. But it's possible, and with practice your hands will get faster. (As I write this, I can just barely bair with c-stick on a small percentage of attempts. And one really interesting thing I noticed is I can do it a lot easier to the left than the right. After hitting jump, I can press cstick left faster than right. The only reason I can tell the difference is because when doing the SH bairs, that tiny difference actually affected my results because I was so borderline on being able to do it at all. I think that's pretty cool to find that out, and gives me useful information, and potentially something to practice. For example, once I can start to do some SH double fairs with cstick, I'll have to practice to the left first which will be easier so I can have success sooner. And once I can do that a little, I'll have to practice to the right also. Doing it to the left first will be a little easier, another step I can practice before doing it to the right.)

- SH, Fair, Double Jump

Next, try to short hop fair, then as soon as you start the fair, start mashing jump. If you're fast enough, you'll double jump instead of landing. You can also try to learn to press jump at the right timing instead of mashing.

Once you can do that (I can only do it 10% of the time as I write this), try to SH fair with cstick and then get the double jump (I can't do that yet).

- FH Double Fair

Practice doing full hops and then doing fair twice. The point here is to learn the timing for how soon you can do the second fair after the first one. It's not something that's hard, but you do need to practice and learn that timing. Practicing it separately will be helpful. You should also practice other aerials this way just to learn really accurately when you can do a second one. Learning how long your moves last is important and worth practicing for each move individually.

- SH Double Fair

Then, finally, after you progress through all those steps, you can work on SH double fair. That means you do a SH, then you do fair twice before you land. To succeed at this, you need to do the first fair extremely fast after jumping, even faster than any of the things you practiced above. Then you have to do the second fair with good timing as soon as it's possible.

To do a SH double fair correctly, you need to be 6 frames faster than SH, fair, double jump. Fair can hit the opponent on the 4th frame through the 7th frame. Double jump comes out in 1 frame (I think). So suppose you SH, fair, and then you double jump on your last frame in the air. To do a second fair instead, you'd need to be 6 frames faster so you'd have 7 frames of airtime left instead of 1. Then you'd be able to replace the double jump with the second fair and have enough time for it to fully complete the part of the move that can hit the opponent.

The point here isn't just to teach you to SH double fair with Marth. The bigger point is to show you how to practice things step by step and work your way up, a little at a time. Instead of failing to SH double fair over and over, it's better to gradually start with something a lot easier and then keep progressing to slightly harder things. It's a lot more fun to practice when you're learning new things, successfully, as you go along.

Whatever you want to learn, for whatever character, try to figure out a series of small steps that can help you build up to it. Commonly people recommend pressing the buttons slowly at first and then speeding up. That is great advice but there's other ways to practice too.

All the information in this post, I basically had to figure out myself (except the frame data). No one told me to try practicing bairs fast enough I would turn around. But I find it really helpful as an intermediate step. I hope some Marths find this helpful, and also everyone understands the method of creating a gradual progression of small steps to practice. Most melee training information doesn't cover little things this basic, like I never ever heard anyone say "practice doing SH fair fast enough you land without going into recovery from attacking", but I think it's a really useful idea. So hopefully this will encourage a lot of really new players who are struggling. By breaking things down into smaller steps like this, you'll be able to see your progress and succeed one step at a time.

For part 2 at my blog, click here. It provides another example with the same philosophical point.

For all parts beyond 2, and some people's helpful replies, see my thread at Smashboards.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

SSBM Training 2: Reverse Dolphin Slash

Marth's reverse Dolphin Slash (up-B) is an important technique which people tell you to learn how to do. They're right. But I tried to do it, and I couldn't. There are a couple key things I figured out that really helped. I want to share them.

The inputs are simple. You do up-B, and then during the startup frames (a very small time window), you press left (if you were facing to the right). This press to the left has to be done very fast. I won't discuss why this technique is useful, other people have done that. I just want to talk about how to do it.

Also, just to be clear, you can face right and hold up-left, and then hit B, and you will do the Dolphin Slash behind you and turn around. None of the information I've read is really clear about this, but I'm pretty sure reverse Dolphin Slash is different and requires doing it the hard way of up-B first and then press behind you second, separately.

At first I thought the problem is that my hands are slow. I'll just try it more and try to do it super fast, and then hopefully I'll get it. Well, I didn't get it. I went in Training Mode and tried in slow motion to make sure I was doing the inputs right. It worked. But at regular speed I was hopeless.

Then one day, I had a thought. You know what would save time? Don't push the dstick all the way up.

So I tried doing up-B, all by itself, without pressing the dstick all the way. And I found you only have to press it a tiny bit further than for up-tilt, but really not very far. Only a fraction of the way up is far enough.

The main reason I couldn't do it is because I was pressing the dstick all the way up, then pressing it to the side. And that takes too long. Maybe if you play in tournaments and you're really good, you could press it all the way up and still be fast enough. But I sure can't.

Well, once I had this insight, I was able to do reverse Dolphin Slash successfully about half the time in only 10 minutes of practice.

But I didn't just start doing it. I practiced an intermediate step that I think was a really good idea. If any guide had told me to practice it this way, it would have really helped me.

Press the dstick up half way. Hold it there. Now if you hit B, you will Dolphin Slash. Try it. So now instead of pressing up-B for dolphin slash, you start with half the work done, you just have to press B. Now do this: press B then, almost at the same time, press left (if facing right. press behind you).

When I just tried to hit up-B then left, it was so hard, I couldn't do it. But when I held up and then tried to hit B and left, it was so much easier, I could do it pretty much right away. It's not that hard to do one thing with your right thumb and one with your jump thumb, and do them very close together. Doing two things with your left thumb and something with your right, and coordinating the timing, that's hard. But only one thing with each thumb isn't too hard.

So practice that a bunch and you can learn the timing of when to hit left relative to when to hit B. Without a bunch of stress and failure. You can learn part of the technique by itself without having to be able to do the whole thing.

Once you're good at that, then practice the dstick motion without B. Press it up only a little of the way, definitely not all the way up, and then jam it left hard and quick. And practice it to the right also.

When that feels OK, then try another small step. Press up a little ways, pause for a split second, then press B and left. So it's like doing it with up already pressed, but instead of just holding up and not thinking about it, you do the up press only a moment early, so it isn't totally separate.

Once you can do that, then try to do the whole thing. And because of all the little steps you did, I bet you'll be able to do it sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes. And once you can do something 5% of the time, then you have a good start and you just practice more and increase that percent. Whereas if you can't do it at all, it's hard to get started and you'll need some easier steps.

So you press up a little ways and B, and then hard left. It won't work every time. You'll get some neutral B (Shield Breaker) and some side B (Sword Dance) at first. But now you should have a good enough idea of how to do it that you can practice until you get it consistent. These little steps to work up to it will get your foot in the door and make the technique approachable.

Again, I'd like you to learn not just how to reverse Dolphin Slash, but also how to approach learning anything that's hard to get started with. This is both a specific example that will help Marth players, but also it's about the method of how to learn.

For part 1 at my blog, click here.

For all parts, and some people's helpful replies, see my thread at Smashboards.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Learn Super Smash Brothers Melee and Philosophy!

you want to learn philosophy? except maybe not really.

i bet you couldn't even learn super smash bros melee. that's a challenge.

if you can't learn smash bros, i doubt you'll ever learn philosophy.

if you managed to learn smash, you would have used various methods of learning successfully. you could then re-use some of them for learning philosophy.

if you learned smash, you would have dealt with details. you would have done precise thinking successfully. you could use that for philosophy.

but maybe it's too hard for you. playing smash well requires being able to research information online, understand it, and apply it.

playing smash well requires patience at appropriate times.

playing smash well requires effective practice. you have to practice in such a way you get better.

playing smash well requires succeeding at things you were bad at initially. you will be very bad at lots of the game initially. you'll have to change that.

playing smash well requires asking questions productively.

playing smash well involves running into players who are better than you, and seeing really plainly and clearly they are better than you. no excuses, no denials, you're outclassed. and it involves watching games from top players and learning from them and aspiring to be better.

playing smash well requires learning to do some thinking and situation-handling quickly.

playing smash well requires learning new terminology and physics. the terminology is easier than in biology or philosophy. the physics is much easier than the real physics.

playing smash well requires persistence and effort.

playing smash well requires strategy. you have to think about strategies well and implement them.

playing smash well requires good use of testing. is something a good idea? test it out. you can test out lots of your ideas and see how it goes. to make progress you'll need to choose useful tests, and learn from the results. smash allows doing lots of tests quickly, so if you fail at first, you can try again cheaply.

playing smash well requires discussing smash in a productive way.

playing smash well requires objectivity. biases don't win games. myths you tell yourself (like strategy X or character Y is really great – when actually they aren't) don't win games.

playing smash well requires initiative. no one will hand you smash skills. you have to pursue them.

learning smash requires creative practice techniques. play some slow paced games. play some games where you focus on doing one or two things right and autopilot the rest.

learning smash requires developing some autopilot strategies that you can perform with little attention. but you need to be able to turn them on and off. and you need to be able to make changes to them as you get better.

learning smash requires forming habits but then dropping or improving them as you make progress.

learning smash involves making mistakes and and then fixing it and not making those mistakes anymore.

learning smash involves making many tiny improvements which add up to big progress overall.

learning smash requires judging ideas on their merits, not by how fancy the writing is. there's lots of good ideas about smash that are written casually. here's an example written by a player (MaNg0) who some consider to be the best ever: "My summary for this matchup is..Shielding is your best frienD!!!This match is all about spacing! U gotta like run to them shield but space it.. then fair out of shield..Not much really to say about this match... BEtter Spacing and PATIENCE Wins .."

learning smash requires learning from criticism. if you never seek out criticism, you'll get stuck. if you dislike criticism instead of appreciating it, you'll get stuck. if you don't understand what to do with criticism, you'll get stuck.

if you don't have the initiative, persistence and ability-to-learn to play smash well, you'll never get far with philosophy (which requires far more of those skills).

if you think smash is too much work as a step forward, you'll never get competent at philosophy, which is far more work.

if you're too busy for smash, you'll never get competent at philosophy, which takes far more time.

if you don't want people to see your smash mistakes, and want to learn it all alone in private, you will fail at both smash and philosophy.

if you silently ignore this, you will fail at philosophy.

Smash is available on Windows and Mac for online play.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (32)

SSBM Tier List

curi's SSBM Tier List:

1: Fox, Falco, Marth, Sheik, Puff, Peach
2: Falcon, Pika, ICs, Samus, Yoshi, Luigi
3: Doc, Mario, Ganon, Young Link, Mewtwo, DK
4: The rest.

The focus is mostly on the tiers, not the ordering within tiers.

Comments on tiers:

1: We know they can win a major. Demonstrated top tier tournament results.
2: Some of these characters can win a major. We aren't totally sure which.
3: Harder to win with. Can win a smaller tournament.
4: Bad enough I'd recommend you avoid them. Pichu is underrated but still bad. Zelda and Roy are overrated. Link and Game & Watch aren't good enough. Yes, you could still win a tournament with any character if you're significantly better than the other players.

I'm not good enough or experienced enough at the game to know what I'm talking about that way, but I'm good at taking top players' explanations and judging which make sense.

I'd generally recommend people play tier 1 or 2 characters.

Peach and Puff are top tier because of proven tournament results from Armada and Hbox. Falcon looks like he should be a competitive character, and has put up some promising results, but he doesn't have the track record of the top tiers. The rest of tier 2 ranges from similar to Falcon to being more speculative.

I drew the line at Luigi, ahead of his clones, because having the best wavedash is more promising than a simliar character with worse mobility.

I'm not a big ICs fan because I place a high value on neutral game (getting the first hit in an even situation) and mobility. ICs has very strong punishes (e.g. wobbling) and is a skill test for opponents (if they mess up, they lose). That doesn't work well at the highest level and it isn't fun because it makes the other player control the outcome of the game more than you. I also don't like the idea of babysitting the computer-controlled character (that sometimes plays very stupidly) and playing a low tier when the other climber is dead. But fighting a two on one, even with some limits, is really powerful. So ICs do have potential.

And punishes do matter. If you win neutral 30% of the time for 40 damage on average, and lose neutral 70% of the for an average of 15 damage, then you're coming out ahead (120 damage to 105 per 10 engagements). And everyone does make mistakes. You can't play perfectly or react to everything.

Falcon has strong punishes but also has a strong neutral game due to amazing mobility.

Peach has some strong punishes but also has float cancels and turnips for neutral. Her problem is being a little slow.

Yoshi I don't understand very well. Partly, to me, he looks overly focused on his punish game. But he has parrying and super armor on his double jump that are unique and powerful tools, and I don't really know how good they are.

Luigi has a decent, viable moveset along with the best wavedash. The mobility gives him potential.

Samus has range, defense, wavedash back, projectiles, and recovery. But she's slow.

Puff has bair, horizontal air mobility, rest, and 5 double jumps. Puff would be bad without the large hitbox on bair that goes way beyond her foot. That one move really increases her range and zoning ability.

Fox and Marth have the best neutral games at the top level. Falco has the best neutral game at lower level where people struggle with his lasers. Marth sometimes struggles to get kills and has to win neutral a lot, and he has bad defense. Fox and Falco have the best offense but can be super vulnerable if you hit them.

Sheik has tools for neutral game (some speed, needles, auto cancel aeriels), edge guards, strong defense, strong grab punishes, and generally strong low-lag moves.

Dear new players: Fox's edge is small, don't worry about it, the other top tiers are fine too. At the start, pick any character from tier 1 or 2 that you like (or tier 3 if you really like them) and play that character until you're a halfway decent player who understands what's going on. Then reconsider what character you want to play once you actually understand what all the characters do and have a feel for playing the game.

Impatient players should choose Fox or Falco. Shine gives them the most aggressive options to do a variety of safe approaches and shield pressure. Or, better yet, learn to play patiently. Playing aggressively can be good if done in the right way, but charging in all the time isn't optimal on any character.

Players who aren't really hardcore gamers should not choose Fox or Falco. This is a very hard game with every character. Fox and Falco are a level above in terms of difficulty, and you really don't have to play them.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (3)

Block Havoc Video

Block Havoc is a hard, fun game where you dodge obstacles by spinning two balls clockwise or counterclockwise. I made a gameplay video with commentary. You can see me die a ton of times and talk about what I'm doing and how I'm figuring the game out a little at a time.

Update: I made a second video! I play Hard, Dark (445 high score!) and Color mode. Lots more commentary!

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (21)

Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run is a fun new iOS game.

It has regular 2d Mario levels. It plays a lot like a regular Mario game, but you automatically run right and tap to jump. You can also spin (tap in air), wall jump (tap on an edge), jump different heights (hold tap jump for longer or shorter), and pull back while in the air (slide left during a jump). The controls are well done and the game is designed for them. This isn't a console game ported to bad iOS controls. Every level is designed to work well with the controls. And they added some stuff to work well with the controls, like pause blocks. On pause blocks, Mario stops moving until you tap, which lets you decide the timing for when to run past some obstacles, just like in a regular Mario game where you control movement.

The game has 24 levels but a lot of replay value. Replay levels to try to get all 5 pink coins in one play through. Then you get to play a second version of the level (a few things get moved around or added) with 5 purple coins. Get the purples to play the black coin version of the level.

I beat all the levels on my first day. The base levels aren't very hard. I'm over half way through getting the pink coins now, and I've done a couple purple and black coins. The pink coins usually take a few play throughs to get. Most of them aren't super hard, but a few are. And so far it looks like the later coins get a lot harder. 😄

There are 5 extra characters to unlock. Luigi can jump extra high. Yoshi has his flutter jump. Peach can float down gradually. Toad and Toadette run faster than Mario. Peach, Yoshi and Toad can't use extra characters can't use mushrooms like Mario, they just die in one hit without the chance to be big and become small when being hit. So everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Switching characters can help get difficult coins. I've used Peach and Yoshi to get some high up coins with their jumping mechanisms. Toad is my main character now since he runs faster. I used Mario to get a coin that was right after an enemy who was really hard to dodge without missing the coin, since he can take a hit. Mario is good in the ghost house levels too since you most often get hit there.

The game also features Toad Rally. This lets you run levels with a short time limit to collect coins and get applause from the crowd. You play against a real run a human did recently. Win and gain toads, lose and lose a smaller number of toads. There are 5 colors of toads and they let you build up a kingdom. You can place buildings and decorations depending on how many toads you have. There are also special buildings. Playing Toad Rally requires a ticket to enter, and the tickets are in short supply. Buying buildings costs coins, but you end up with tons of extra coins, they basically don't matter.

Here are some tips on getting a big kingdom with lots of toads quickly, which also lets you unlock more characters:

Beat all the regular levels before you play toad rally. You want to be a decent player so you can win the majority of the time.

You can rematch after you lose. Only do this if the opponent has a low score for the type of level and you feel very confident you'll win in one more try (you only lost because of multiple large mistakes). Don't rematch unless you think it's an easy win.

There are different types of levels. E.g. the sand levels for 3 red and 2 yellow toads. Cave levels for 3 red and 2 blue. Basic levels for 5 red. Ghost house levels for 3 red and 2 purple. Sky ships for 1 of each color.

Focus on one type of level at a time. And practice that type of level first, then play a bunch of rallies for it. E.g. replay all the ghost house levels several times each and work on gathering coins from them. Then play 3 red and 2 purple toad rallies which will be in ghost houses. The levels you play in the rallies aren't identical to the regular levels you can practice, but they're fairly similar and some parts are the same.

It's much easier to win a type of level you've practiced recently and then played a bunch of in a row. Only change types of levels when you reach a goal number of toads. You also occasionally don't get the right type of level from the 5 opponents you can choose. In that case, I'm not sure if waiting will change the opponents available or not. One way to continue is to play the red only levels because they're the easiest so they require less practice (just make sure you're Toad which will give you a significant advantage on those levels for a while until people catch on and also play Toad). And I did red only because losing red toads doesn't matter much, they're the easiest to get plenty of to meet the requirements for purchases (you'll get a bunch of reds while working on any other color). Alternatively, play the previous type of level you were working on which you still remember well.

In general, play the rallies as Toad. Going faster is a big advantage in most levels. Mario could be considered for ghost houses, and Peach or Yoshi could be considered for sky levels with a lot of jumping over empty space. Make sure to practice with a character a bunch on regular levels before using them in rally. They each take some getting used to, especially Yoshi. Playing only Toad in rallies is a reasonable strategy too. But dying is really punished and some other characters are safer on certain levels. (Mario can get hit by a ghost without dying if he gets a mushroom first, Peach and Yoshi can jump over pits more easily.) Also there's a cave level where coins appear in front of you in a line which you are meant to follow and get them as they appear. But Toad runs too fast, which is inconvenient. I think he needs to swipe left during jumps in order to stay with the coins better. I considered switching characters so the timings would work better, but Toad still seemed like the best on the other cave levels, and I didn't know which I'd get. So I plan to use the swipe left while jumping to slow down strategy next time I get the moving trail of coins.

To get more toad rally tickets, you need to unlock special buildings. Aim for the Yellow Bonus House and the Long ? Block first. So far (I've only used them a couple times) looks like you can get around 5 rally tickets every 8 hours from those. The blue bonus house I got coins once and nothing twice, but it looks possible to get rally tickets (don't know how many). The red bonus house appears to be a 50% chance of one rally ticket, and the regular ? block just gives 100 coins. I don't have the mega ? block unlocked yet so I don't know what it gives.

You get the red bonus house and the regular ? block pretty much right away, I forget exactly how. The game basically gives them to you just for getting started.

Then definitely focus on the yellow bonus house and long block, just play the rallies needed for those only. You might have to get the first rainbow bridge before they show up, but only do that first if they aren't showing up. (Once you get something you can't see the requirements to unlock it anymore.)

Unlocking things in the right order is important. Think of bonus houses and ? blocks as offering recurring income. The sooner you get your income, the more stuff you'll get from it. Would you rather get paid $100/week starting today or starting next month? You want to unlock the best rally ticket income right away because you will run out if you play much and be limited by tickets.

To unlock Toad, make a Nintendo account (or link it if you already have one). Do this early on so you can start getting used to Toad and use him for rallies. (You probably want to do your first play through of the regular levels with Mario, being able to take an extra hit is really useful when you're new, you aren't in a huge hurry, and the levels are designed to work well for Mario.) You get Peach for beating every level. Yoshi, Luigi and Toadette require unlocking toads. Yoshi you can get pretty early, but the other two require a lot of toads.

Here's my stats so far after the first 2 days:

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (11)

Overwatch Learning Discussion


We swapped off of zarya to Orissa even tho zarya had 75% ult charge on oasis 3rd point we also had nuke, blade, and barrage

We then lost the game

We managed to take first point with no main tank tho

And our reaper on first point convinced people to do dva zarya with no main tank.

Had a leaver in numbani right after we capped all 3 points with 4 min left, the enemy team managed to cap all 3 points but i JUST managed to get them into overtime so they couldn’t do another offence


how do u like mercy in solo queue?


We then capped first point numbani in 3 minutes, a lot of people were switching hero’s a lot so I was worried we weren’t gonna have ult

Haven’t done mercy yet


you keep switching!



How important is it to just play 1 character a bunch in a row?


it’s easier to make decisions if you have goals like to try mercy and see if you like her or not

then try some brig to compare

duo queue is not representative so u need to try them solo queue too

it’s also much better to learn a character initially if you play 80% or more that hero for 10-25 hrs

so you really get a solid idea of how to play them which you can remember

like that is what i had to do to get used to sombra’s gameplay stuff

it’s how i initially learned widow, tracer and ana too. i played mostly the one hero for a while.

once you know them better, it’s easier to swap around.

some heroes are easier to pick up than others, especially if they have similarities to heroes you already know, or you know a ton about the game. i’ve watched winston streams and played over 40 hours of dva, and understand a lot about the game, so i’ve been picking up winston easier/faster.

he’s also low mechanics and reasonably simple abilities

i picked up moira and orisa super fast cuz they fit stuff i already understood. but based on trying a few games, i’m trash at rein, hanzo and hog. those heroes don’t fit my existing knowledge that well.

my genji is trash too. i’ve watched lots of genji so that might be mostly mechanics

i’m good at supports. their style fits my pre-OW knowledge the best and i played ~125 hours of ana in comp.

you are bad at supports, so you can’t pick up mercy easily.

you understand tanks more. i think your rein knowleddge helped your winston a lot for knowing when you can jump in which is similar to when rein can charge in

so your winston was already doing half the things well very quickly (but you still don’t know some other winston stuff)

your orisa is more questionable b/c she’s more of a different style

u need to understand ranged positioning stuff for her, which actually makes her fit my skills more than yours in a way

make sense?

note: for the maps where rein is really bad (like sanctum and well), monkey is totally fine in terms of map layout. monkey handles the environmental kills stuff and highgrounds fine (2 rein weaknesses). monkey isn’t bad there like rein. orisa is only rly important if u wanna play spam wars (like how ppl usually play junkertown). it’s hard to play monkey vs orisa with low SR teams that pick random heroes and don’t coordinate a dive very well, especially on the really good orisa maps like junkertown. it can be done though. rein vs. orisa if u play long range spam is just super frustrating/stupid (ur way worse than her) tho. if u get rein vs orisa u have to play a corner and then go in hard like monkey, rather than do poke war.

for my heroes, tracer/sombra and widow/ana have good overlap (some similar aim stuff, like i was killing that pharah with my ana on sanctum b/c of my recent widow practice, even tho i didn’t practice ana, some positioning similiarity, and recall/translocate buttons are kinda similar to GTFO), and it gives me the ability to do long range or short range gameplay to fit the situation. winston/dva also have significant similarity (both being mobility tanks who can jump in/out on similar cd, can dive ppl and context highgrounds). my other hero, brig, is easy mechanics and i found her easy to play and so far i like her more than the other healers or offtanks and she’s really useful in terms of flexibility to make team comps work (cuz she can be 2nd or 3rd support, 2nd or 3rd tank).

i find sniping and mobility fun, and they also let you do stuff with limited teamwork so you aren’t bored and waiting for your team to stop feeding.

e.g. if team is stuck at choke, widow can still play the game some (it’s harder to snipe anyone if ur team doesn’t do anything, but u can still play). tracer and sombra can go in back and play by themselves.

those are the dps. dps have a high bar for how fun they have to be b/c dps are too popular. so if i’m gonna be dps, it has to be AWESOME or it’s not worth trying to get a dps slot.

my non-dps have less ability to do things by themselves but still some. the tanks can go in and out, can dive someone for a solo kill sometimes. ana can do some sniping, or just practice aim while healing your own team.

brig has things i don’t like: low range + low mobility. she can’t flank much (no mobility to get out). so in spam wars u r helpless and waiting. but i’m liking her ok so far and finding her ez+useful. i like that she can play mini reinhardt after ur maintank feeds – i find teams often need more tanking. she can save ppl some (her E is kinda like a zarya bubble mid combat, but it also heals them if they get out of being short, and u don’t have to worry about coordinating ppl actually taking dmg on purpose to charge u.) she has some self-healing. u can save ur team from flankers. i find it interesting with her to figure out how aggro i can play, like running up and whacking enemy tanks and getting away with it.

it’s kinda like reaper where what i found fun about him was figuring out when i can walk my slow ass character into the fight without everyone shooting and killing me.

but with the benefit of not being a dps slot.

i wouldn’t wanna play that all the time tho

brig and ana also have good ability to 1v1 ppl who flank u

unlike mercy

mercy just flies away, kinda helpless on her own. which is ok but a bit team reliant for me.

i like heros with the ability to outplay ppl

sniping and mobility both offer that. u outplay with snipers by getting a good sightline they didn’t expect (or a basic one if they are bad)

u outplay with mobility by showing up at places they don’t expect, chasing htem down when they thought they could get away, finding the best place to be and being able to get there to be rly effective, dodging stuff, etc

other heroes have some ways to outplay ppl but that’s how i see it. in general mobility enhances the ways u can outplay, e.g. by reducing the risk of flanking, opening up more of the map u can go to without dying

or like u can beat someone in a 1v1 to a healthpack with any hero. that outplay is available to everyone but it’s more available to mobility heroes.

the less mobility u have, the more u need to stay with ur team so u dont get caught far away and can’t get back

why aren’t you talking?

staying with team limits your options on what u can do in the game. makes u somewhat at the mercy of what they do, just following them around.

so u can see a good opportunity but u can’t take advantage of it cuz u have to play with team.

or u can see a danger, like a reaper who is gonna jump down and blossom everyone, but on some heroes u can’t fix that problem by yourself, all u can do is talk on voice and hope ppl listen

mercy for example can’t do much about a reaper ambush even if she sees it coming. all she can do is fly away personally (but if 3 other ppl die, it doesn’t even rly matter whether u died or not) and call it out

ana can sleep it. that’s big play potential where u aren’t helpless. brig can stun reaper ult, it’s actually sad how easy it is (sleep is great but hard, high skill). brig u just put up ur shield and u aren’t taking dmg from blossom and then u stun him and just lol. ur shield is 600 hp, it takes the entire 3 seconds of blossom to do 600 dmg.


I got called a “fucking retard who shouldn’t play comp” cuz I asked for a main tank

And cuz I essentially in voice chat





I then told him that people like him were why I don’t join voice chat

But then I joined voice chat and fake apologized to him and then he was really calm and chill

And thankfull at the end of the match


i don’t like manipulating assholes and i don’t want to develop those skills




b/c it makes u part of that world and those bad ways of living and thinking about life


I have not really done/thought about it befor

How so?


cuz ur trying to understand their mindset and have it be intuitive to you

and ur interacting with it, trying to figure out what ideas will make sense to him, get different reactions from him


It seems useful if someone’s being mean to you to calm them down and be able to talk to them


ur letting him define reality and ur reacting to that and living in his world and trying to make that work

if someone makes u jump thru 50 hoops to calm them down, it’s bad to learn how to jump thru those hoops and do it, better to just ignore them.

you aren’t seeing all the hoops b/c they are normal in our culture, on TV, etc, but they are still there.


I only noticed the 1 hoop of fake apologizing


ppl are very picky about what calms them down and what gets them to flame you more


So it would be very different for different people?


they are picky about the words you say, the tone, how quickly you respond, body language and facial expressions irl, and whether everything you say before and after fits with the statement (if they detect any kinda inconsistency and catch u being fake in some way, things can go really bad)

it varies somewhat by person and the results can be a bit random (sometimes they are having a bad day and just want to yell at someone). but also there’s just lots of stuff that’s standard hoops


What’s wrong with letting them define reality? And living in their world trying to make it work?


their reality sux, it’s a world of misery, and also don’t u want ur own life with ur own ideas? why let them be in charge and adapt yourself to them? be ur own person.

this asshole held your game hostage. he said basically: he will be toxic and cause a loss unless you put on a show of pretending you were the problem (you apologized to him). he said he wasn’t willing to play and try seriously unless you obeyed some orders from him about making certain statements that publicly announce he’s better than you and higher social status than you. this is all very nasty and aggressive.

(the good news is they are frequently bluffing, and if u ignore them they just play somewhat badly instead of throwing on purpose.)


Can’t I be my own person while pretending they are right?


realistically, no.

it’s hard enough to be your own person if that’s all you do. it’s much, much harder if you have a dual life.

ppl mostly FAIL at being their own person. u have to take it seriously and really try or you will fail at it too

can’t just make compromises and half-assed effort and expect it to work out anyway


And so being your own person means thinking for your self? Instead of just being like “Elliot said X so I’m not gonna think about X and just agree with what Elliot said”


btw the books which explain these things are called Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, both by Ayn Rand. but to understand them you have to think a lot about what you read and discuss it (realistically that means FI posts).


I feel like I agree with you and [someone's name] a lot without thinking about stuff on my own, or asking questions about stuff I’m not sure about


yes, thinking for yourself, making our own decisions, living according to your own ideas (e.g. that you didn’t do anything wrong in that OW game)

if society thinks u are wrong to do X, but u think ur right … it’s much harder if ur also lying to everyone that u agree with them that X is bad.

u gotta stand up for your values and make them a visible part of your life or they will not be much of your life.

this is easier for the ones society agrees with and harder for the unpopular ones

I feel like I agree with you and [someone's name] a lot without thinking about stuff on my own, or asking questions about stuff I’m not sure about

i know u don’t do enough to learn it yourself

the way to judge competing ideas is to

  • figure out what the alternative ideas are

  • figure out what the issue is (what are the ideas for)

  • get all the ideas clear, so u know what they say

  • criticize them, look for problems

in other words, judge ideas by how they do in argument. the ones that lose the argument are wrong. (why? cuz of the reasons the arguments said about why they are wrong. what’s wrong with them gets explained in the argument.)

doing all this thinking takes time/effort/etc. it can be fun.


I’m kinda tired right now so I’m finding it harder to think about these things, but I feel like I might be using that as an excuse to not think about them


did you sleep?


But I am actually tired I’ve been awake for like 20 hours or more


you can maybe tell if it was an excuse by whether you continue the discussion later

did u read msgs about overwatch heroes?

that is an easier topic


Which ones about hero’s? The one about which ones we play the most or a different one? An is it in this chat?


i wrote like 30 messages in chat and you didn’t respond

and i asked why you didn’t respond and you didn’t respond

right before the stuff about that toxic guy


Oh I did not read all of those messages but I thought I did


why did you think you did?


I think it made sense but Im not sure about how the playing 1 character a lot in a row is more helpful than playing 2 different kinds of characters an equal amount


b/c u get in the mindset of the one character

and remember things and build on it

u can think “i did X wrong. next game i will try to fix that”

if ur swapping all the time u have way more things to think about, so it’s way harder to learn. the other heroes are distractions


It makes sense to me that playing 1 character in a row a lot would better but I don’t know exactly why it makes sense

Ok those follow up messages make me realize why it makes sense


and when u get used to a hero enuf

u can do advanced stuff

u have to get the basics really solid – so u can do them without thinking much – and then u can refine some details and add extra stuff

if u play a hero enuf to get the basics good, it’s easier to go back to them later and still do fine. but when ur first learning the basics it’s hard to switch, it disrupts the process of creating habits

if ur trying to improve with a hero that u already know – add some new things to ur gameplay – then it also helps to play them a bunch in a row

but the amount of games can be shorter

like to first learn a hero to get the foundation, maybe u need 30 hours. but to add one little thing later, maybe you just play them for 12 games in a row (~3 hrs).

it’s easier to learn heroes u can pick every game

rather than the situational ones

i talked about why i like particular heroes and think they’re fun and stuff

do you have any thoughts about that or any ideas about why you like heroes?


A reason I like genji is cuz blade is fun and I have to be very careful about who I dive, how I dive them, and when.


ya genji gets to press lots of buttons and each button is a decision about what to do, and if u make good decisions u have a big effect like winning a teamfight


Cuz like if there’s a more near the person I dive he could roll towards me the. Flash bang be befor I kill someone to get a swift strike reset



he can play forward cuz he has 3 mobility abilities + deflect to get back to team with. and he has one of the two hardest ultimates in the game i think (blade and pulse are hard to use, all the rest are a bit ez)

what about other heros


With rein getting charges are really fun, cuz it’s risky if I go to deep cuz I could like die instantly if they have like mccree reaper

And also I have to predict movement to get charges

And finishing people off with long range fire strikes is super fun

Or predicting where someone will be then fire striking there


how aggressive to be is a skill thing which is rewarding if you get it right. too aggressive = dead, too passive = don’t control objective. but if u go in hard without dying, u can have a big effect. it’s a lot like monkey i think.

it’s also the thing i think is most needed at lower SR – someone to lead the way so ppl aren’t just sitting around passively.

in plat most ppl need someone to follow

and most of the main tanks don’t know what to do and wait for something to happen instead of making it happen

rein and genji seem like ur clearest hero picks that u will keep

what about the other ones?

why aren’t you responding? is this hard?




what’s hard?

just take the next hero and say ur thots?

is ur answer “i don’t know” for all the other heroes?


No, i have some thought but I’m not saying them




Thought like : hanzo is fun to 1 shot and 2 shot people with

But I didn’t say that

I guess I thought it was to low quality? But even if it was its better to start somewhere than no where


there are other heroes which do that, like widow, mccree, and basically doomfist. even ana is 2 shots + nade, or 3shot.

if u prefer hanzo, what’s the difference?




zen has 1shots with orb volley

those are projectiles

pharah and junk have 2shots

and with junk, u do grenade + mine and u can kill someone almost instantly


Junk rats seem to slow


what is slow


His projectiles

The grenades



he has to flank for 1shots

or get dived or something


Maybe I would like pharah more than hanzo tho


i think the big difference with hanzo is headshots

which in the past it seems like u didn’t aim for headshots much


Cuz getting direct hits with pharah rockets seems super fun


also hanzo just got rework/buff and u didn’t start playing him a lot which i thought might mean u don’t care about him much

pharah is a very high mobility hero, like tracer and genji. if u watch pros play pharah, they use it really well. they hover around tall buildings and stuff.

but they only play her on maps with the right terrain to give them cover up in the air.

cuz at higher SR she gets shot down too ez without cover

the two things i don’t like about pharah (besides my own lack of projectile aim) are the situationalness and the need for healer support

u can probably play her on every map in plat and diamond if u have some heals

and u can outplay hitscan heros by using your mobility to sneak up on them from a way they weren’t looking, and then u can beat them


I probably want to stop playing hanzo and do pharah instead

The main thing I’m worried about thonis the situational thing


u can try it. my concern is you will go back and forth like you have with healers and some others.

i think forcing pharah on all maps is less hard than widow

at least if you aren’t GM

i used to force widow everywhere

i think u can predict things less so u have to play more to see. also cuz u figure less out from streams.

compared to me.

but the amount of swapping u’ve done overall is a lot. like u used to play tracer zarya for ur first 100+ hours and u don’t play either now.

the main heroes i dropped are 76 and zen. i think they are the ones i had over 20 hours on and stopped playing.

and zen is partly just cuz ana came out and i like her more.

i’d prob play him if ana didn’t exist

for tank i can’t tell if u actually wanna play orisa or not

i tried her and she’s relatively ez+good but i decided i don’t like her spam gameplay

i think u actually like monkey?


I prefer rein but I think monkey is necessary some times


for healers u’ve done lucio zen mercy and now brig is out too (i thot u would like her, and i think u did too but u haven’t played her much yet). u also played roadhog a while. and some bastion, torb, a few dva games, various things at different times.

yeah i think rein just doesn’t work well at all times

but if u don’t want to play monkey or orisa u can potentially just pick a different hero on those maps

u don’t HAVE to play them

there are maps where swapping in the middle is good. ppl have done that on hollywood. rein on 1st, monkey on 2nd for the big buildings. but u can just try to make rein work now and then, take elevator up, walk up stairs for gibralter 2nd, etc. also new sym will be able to teleport u up!

also i like monkey ok so we could hero + role swap sometimes maybe

he’s my preference of the main tanks and i want to have a main tank i can play

cuz games can be boring when u have no main tank and ppl just feed


Yeah that sounds like it would work


and going main tank can save the game

so do u actually not want to play monkey or orisa?


I would really like to just be able to rein all the time for main tank


if u can’t, do u want to play monkey or orisa some or just not main tank?

like i think u shouldn’t play rein on well or sanctum, but u could switch in spawn


Probably just not main tank.


or the oasis one with the thing in the middle

and the jump pad

rein is god awful there

where ppl run in circles around point

and sombra or whatever stands on the highground in the middle of the point or the highground by jumppad and shoots u

or hacks u

ok so then

off tanks

do u prefer

road zarya dva brig?

or none

also do u appreciate this? i hope it’s helping u organize how u practice and getting u onto the heroes u want + good at them more.

rather than e.g. u feeling pressured to play or not play stuff.


Yes I do very much


or finding decisions hard/stressful

ok good

i have been working on it a lot myself b/c i have 7 heroes currently which is kinda a lot

and i was trying others in the past and also recently to compare

and try to get it right

i kept playing 76 cuz he was useful and stuff but finally decided to stop

and i especially kept trying all the tanks to find one i liked


I prefer zarya the most as off tank but I feel like the maps I could play zarya are also the ones I could rein


and recently decided monkey is ok (originally i thought he was boring cuz u just run at ppl without aiming)

yes that’s true that zarya is bad on the maps where rein is bad

at high level, currently zarya is only used if u have rein

not used with orisa or monkey

in the past there was monkey+zarya, but now they just do dva instead


I don’t think I like dva


this is partly a meta thing, and u should try not to chase the meta

zarya is gaining in meta and dva losing cuz brig

2 rly good comps now are

rein zarya brig zen hanzo + healer (mercy, ana or lucio)

orisa brig zen mercy junk widow

b4 brig patch dva was played so much, always with monkey (so most of the time) + reasonably often with other tanks too

but u gotta try to pick by the hero design, not current meta

so u aren’t changing everytime there is a patch

do u like road or brig more?

did u try brig enuf to see?

zarya hog and brig are also similar maps to rein. which is actually most maps if the meta favors them. if they are strong, then they can be OK on most maps, just not some with the most highground and environmental kill stuff.


I don’t like brig that much but I have tried her that much either


u should try her more b/c she’s sorta similar to rein


I would like just rather play rein than brig


with shield + melee weapon


She’s not as big and clunky as rein


u can play brig when u have a different main tank


And she doesn’t have charge


u don’t wanna rein+monkey or rein+orisa generally

also u can play her when u need 2nd healer

so those are upsides

ok what about healers

mercy zen lucio? any ideas?

i guess not ana or moira?

in the past whatever ur healer was, u never played them that much and never played them enuf to get good at them.

too on and off


I’m slightly interested in Ana but it’s about as much as I am with lucio and zen


and healer is ur least played type

ana is the hardest healer by a lot cuz of the aim stuff


So it would be better to not have that hero conflict I think


how did u like mercy yesterday


I liked playing her but idk if I will continue to like playing her


FYI what’s fun about moira is she has the mobility to play forward and then get back. i’m not a big fan of her. she’s reasonably ez. lucio and brig can also play up. ana zen play back, and mercy flies around.


I like the guardian angel, and trying to get tears while not firing


ana and zen need help if they get dived. no mobility. the other healers have more chance to take care fo themselves



Trying to get rez while not dieing*


ana and zen can fight some flankers tho. not monkey or dva very well tho

ok so let’s summarize

rein: yes. genji: yes.

pharah: try her and compare to hanzo (play him a little if u need to compare) and see how u like her.

zarya: try playing her a bit when rein isn’t a good option (someone already took a main tank)

mercy/zen/lucio/ana/brig: try them all and figure out at least one u like play (being unable to pick healer sux and throws games)

moira hog dva monkey orisa: no

other dps: is there anyone u would really love if you were great at? or just no to the others?


I might be fine with prods if we are doing like a full on spam/shield war comp






what an autocorrect lol

ok add orisa with zarya, to play sometimes when rein is a bad option.


I’m gonna blame my self for those auto corrects and not the software


but no monkey, right?


No monkey


also “fine with” doesn’t sound good. u should actually like heroes


I like seeing the enemies all die slowly from a sustained spam


spam wars are a bit boring for most heroes IMO. but some of the heroes are more fun for it, like roadhog has high shield damage + chance to hook something. dva has high shield dmg + matrix + chance to fly on someone once some ppl die.

orisa the most fun part i think is halt




u can halt ppl so ur widow can shoot them or hog hook them or something

i am going to try the sym rework

she may be good in spam wars + i like her utility

ok anyway u should prioritize playing the heroes u need to figure out

and play the decided ones only if u need to fill with them

and then when u decide some, e.g. a healer, u should play them a bunch to get basics (fill with ur good heroes when ur team rly needs it)


I’m gonna do 1 more genji game to see if I can get into diamond on internet

I’m 21 Sr away




T Mains: rein, genji
T Flex: zarya, orisa

Choose 2nd dps: Pharah?
Choose 1-2 supports

now let’s analyze this to see how well u cover situations


This seems really fun I want to get good enough at life so I can do this kinda stuff on my own in an organized manner


spam war: rein zarya genji pharah are all kinda bad. so u would have orisa or a support (only some supports are good at this. zen has best spam, mercy has dmg boost on ur best spammer. ana can shoot. brig lucio moira can’t do much)


i’m glad

i have been telling ppl u can learn life stuff from video games

if u try to get rly good u need to organize and think and stuff

and also learn from criticism

we did that b4 when we analyzed our deaths and stuff after each game

and that helped us climb


I realized recently that I was getting tilted from losing cuz I was focusing on my wins and losses more than my personal skill

So now I’m just focusing on my skill and how well I’m doing mid game and I got a lot happpier


situation: your team wants to dive: genji and pharah great, but what if u can’t dps? zarya is playable but not rly a dive tank like dva monkey. also u maybe ur support could work with dive

yeah u need to play to learn


Mid game will text more later


situation: enemy team diving u: rein is pretty good here. zarya orisa genji pharah are all ok.

situation: sniper killing ur team. genji is great option, only problem is if u can’t swap to dps.

there’s rly not much u can do about sniper if ur support and can’t swap off. for tank that can’t swap roles, monkey and dva help. otherwise the best u can do is try to help ur team with rein or orisa shield, which can work.

situation: enemy team has pharah

(and the pharah is doing well, probably has mercy pocket)

rein, genji, orisa, pharah, zarya are all bad here. they do not solve the problem. the dps at least can try to fuck the enemy team as hard as the pharah fucks ur team and it’s hard for the pharah to kill u ( u have mobility, she will probably shoot someone else like ur supports)

the supports that help vs pharah most are zen (discord her helps ur dps handle it, assuming they go hitscan and try) and ANA (helps a ton if u can aim, plus u can sleep her barrage)

the other 4 can’t do anything

the list of heroes that are best at fighting pharah: ana, sombra, mccree, 76, widow. some others help some: zen discord, hog hook, dva fly+shoot can actually do good dmg to pharah, if she doesn’t have mercy pocket or someone else is shooting pharah then it does a lot (and matrix pharah’s stuff). tracer can do pretty well vs pharah if u catch her low enuf. hanzo with new rapid arrow has a decent chance against pharah i think.

also u can just stick up orisa shield, pharah isn’t very good in orisa spam wars, has to flank or just be a lower dmg junkrat.

oh i forgot BASTION, also a pharah killer.

pharah is interesting cuz half the heroes are pretty useless against her.


I have had some success against pharah as genji


u can do SOME but it’s not very good

it works better if they are bad.

there’s other notable counters in the game. like it can be hard to play flanker like tracer, genji vs. a torb who puts turret in back. u have pharah to spam down torb turrets from out of their range tho.


If you like wall climb, swift strike to the pharah, double jump, you get like 1.5 seconds to do damage to her


or like what if ur team is feeding to bastion, what do u do?

genji can spam shuriken from good angles if there is no shield and has deflect. pharah is pretty bad tho if u get long enuf range + no shield u can spam the bastion, but realistically if ur team is feeding both of these usually won’t work great

zarya maybe if u get charged up u can do something

rein u can play a corner and then go in hard. orisa buys ur team some time but if they aren’t on spam heroes it can be useless.


With genji I could try to get blade then attack the bastion, depending on how good the bastion is they will expect me to deflect so they won’t be shooting me very heavily



that is like a plan to salvage the situation if ur already genji

just like fighting pharah with genji

u can try. don’t give up.

but it’s not a very good play if u could pick any hero


I really like fighting pharah with genji and hanzo


i see how doing that aim is fun

ur at disadvantage tho

(unless new rapid arrow is super OP)

what about supports vs. bastion? mercy boost helps if someone else is actually being effective (common theme with mercy that someone else has to do good to make her good)

sleep is great if his shield breaks

lucio can help ur team rush him


Woah we could do like a lucio speed boost to rein charge on the bastion

Cuz speed boost increases charge speed


zen can spam his shield i guess. moira brig pretty useless.

the bastion is usually on the cart so u can’t charge him

anyway rein isn’t so bad vs bastion if u can just get ur team to hide around corner and then take a close range fight

and orisa good if ur team has proper spam heroes


If you can angle a price of high ground (like first point Route 66) then you can



another thing to look at with ur heroes is synergy

like skill overlap

like brig/rein have a lot

for me, monkey/dva, tracer/sombra and widow/ana have significant overlap on how to play them

genji and pharah are commonly heroes someone is good at both. some aim similarity (hanzo and junkrat go with them some too for that reason, some of those ppl also like zen for the projectile shots)

and they also have some similiarity with mobility (both vertical and horizontal)

and in wanting to flank and kill supports

and having some long range poke that is OK and lets u play with team, but not amazin

and they have ability to shoot from various good angles, not just straight on like a 76

so there’s solid similiarities there

rein zarya have a bit of similarity with positioning (both lack much mobility, especially vertically) and understanding how aggressive u can be without dying.

they have very different aim tho

which is also different than genji and pharah.

rein aim is pretty ez, not a big concern. zarya requires good tracking tho + her balls are a projectile but a slow arcing one so it’s quite different

u will note the only projectile on my heroes is ana non-scoped.

i have lots of hitscan overlap

orisa is projectile aim so that’s a positive for you. however she plays pretty differnetly than the others.

if u play mercy, u get to play and see both sides of the pharah/mercy combo. that’s an upside. u will be extra familiar with it and understand it more, like as pharah u will know what actions will get ur mercy killed or when to expect her to go help others. as mercy u will know when ur pharah really needs u to stay or not.

lucio zen have projectile aim. moira aim is similar to zarya. ana is mixed + harder aim.

brig is just big rein overlap

overlap gives u less stuff u have to learn. if my heroes were all super differently i would definitely have to pick fewer.

u r looking at 6-7 heroes (given 1-2 supports)

also my policy is i don’t play other heroes like at all, period. this helps me play a bigger number cuz i don’t use the others. i will never swap orisa/zen/moira/76 to try to win the game.

i currently won’t even swap lucio on a point stall. if i have to get off ana i can sombra/tracer/dva/monkey, good enuf.

i will only ever play other heroes on purpose, e.g. i tried hanzo after rework.

for like 4 games in a row

to understand him more and see if i liked him

it was good to help me see his strengths and weaknesses a bit more

i noticed it’s easy for him to shoot a specific location, like if someone is peeking a specific corner

and ez to shoot ppl who aren’t moving

even at longer ranges

but if someone is moving around and u can’t predict where they will be in 1 second, it’s rly hard to shoot them at long ranges

so being in open can be safer than predictably by corner


Would it be fine to swap between hanzo and pharah allot to see the differences better?


(plus they will sonic the corner)

yes try them both now to compare

as temporary learning thing

do like 5 in a row of pharah first

to get back into her

another way to look at heroes is how hard they are in what ways

i have a lot of heroes with hard mechanics

tracer and widow are SUPER hard. sombra and ana are hard, like genji. dva, winston, brig are easy, require way less aim and reaction time, like rein, orisa. however there’s also strategy, which i’m good at personally so it’s easier for me to put a low mechanics hero on list, i want to have some of them for when i’m tired or rusty or whatever.

for supports, if u play ana or zen they are a really BACKLINE hero, very different than ur used to on other heroes. they will have less strategy overlap, take more learning.

brig, lucio, moira can play up more instead of u needing to learn long range positioning. and mercy is her own thing with flying around to teammates (kinda her own skill that u have to learn separately)

also some supports are more voice chat heavy to be effective. zen, ana u can do good by shooting stuff. lucio u really need to talk and get ppl to work with u, him the most.

cuz of speed aura + grouping for heal aura and ult

lucio requires a lot of paying attention to ur team and figuring out who to help. this is something u don’t know a lot about from non-supports. big separate thing to learn

u get it a little with saving ppl with dva matrix or zarya bubble

also a bit with just everyone, like a tracer tip is look for what teammate needs help and go blink over there.

and u can do that somewhat with everyone, esp ppl with mobility

genji can do it. find ur teammate in a 1v1 and go make it a 2v1. or rush in front of them and deflect. it’s not that common tho

mercy also has a lot of watching team, knowing what they are doing, who needs help. moira does it too but for her it’s a bit more obvious what to do. she can reposition less than mercy and she wants to heal tanks, that’s kinda her thing

zen has a lot less watching allies. harmony orb is limited attention. he plays the most like a dps of the supports.

ana has limited mobility to choose who to help outside her sightlines. has to understand who will make a big play to nano, and who to heal first.

and when to go in close and follow someone around instead of staying back

another thing with supports is tracking enemy ults and trying to see their dps ults coming and prevent wipes or warn team

and watching for flanks

supports generally have the most chance to do these things

dps too busy and tanks are in front and able to see overall view of fight less

as u’ve noticed from my ana callouts when ur holding up rein shield and i’m telling u what’s going on and what to do

so with supports it depends on what skills u want to learn and how much effort u want to put there. since u seem to like support the least, maybe u should try brig+mercy for now. reasons:

don’t have to learn backline positioning like ana/zan/76/etc

don’t have to try to organize team like lucio

u seem to like mercy more than moira.

brig and mercy will be relatively easy to learn

mercy doesn’t overlap a ton but she’s considered pretty ez

brig u can just have as a backup hero who doesn’t take much work due to rein overlap

and u already like that style (just not as much as actually being rein, which u can’t always be)

but try them all some. understanding backline ranged hero positioning is a good thing to know if u want to. significant part of the game.

i think mercy will be less frustrating than lucio with teams not listening or being bad.

lucio really needs teamwork to get good value from speed aura since nerfing its range

but u should just pick the ones u’d be happy with if u were good at them

and then make it work. u can learn any hero.

even if ur bad at one early on, it’s better to start getting practice on them rather than playing a hero u care about less. (this assumes u will keep playing OW longterm, which i think it’s a promising game for)

can i post this chatlog to FI?

from today

i’ve looked at the heroes i’d most like to be good at thing. i might like mccree and hanzo, but i like widow more, so i’d rather be a god at her.

i might like being a great zen, but i like ana more, so i don’t need him.

the ones i’d like most that i don’t play are genji and maybe pharah.

plus i’m interested in sym rework. we don’t know anything about torb rework yet but i predict i won’t be that interested.

i don’t like building a turret which is way better against bad players than good players.

with sym, i rly like the new teleporter as regular ability for moving around within a fight, rather than longterm building. the giant shield ult and 3 stronger turrets sound ok. and her guns sound good for a dps that’s less mechanics and can do well in spam wars.

i see significant outplay potential there.

looking at ur heroes for outplay potential: genji, and pharah have lots. rein has great outplay potential as long as u actually get heals and ur team follows u some (pretty low bar on this, they don’t have to do this great, they just have to do at some) so u can do stuff.

orisa i consider pretty low outplay potential, u just do ur gameplay (shield+shoot) and the results are pretty consistent instead of being able to make high skill decisions to win.

she does have some outplay with halt


45 direct hits in 5 min

Full held first point Hollywood then took it in 1 push


idk how good that is but i remember u had pretty good pharah when u didn’t play her much, u seemed to already know how to aim her

i tried pharah a little and my aim sucked

i don’t have prior FPS experience and only learned to aim with widow and then tracer

zarya outplay is on lower end. u just play good and stay alive and plz dear god use grav quickly. i had game the other day, zarya held grav for 3min. i asked him to use it after he held it for 2 fights and he said he was holding it cuz enemy zen had trance. so he was just gonna never use it T_T

he only used it cuz after hearing that i killed zen :D

he didn’t seem to be trying to kill zen himself and no one else was either

@pharah note u should pick the heroes u wanna be good with longterm, not the ones that come more naturally. but if ur more of a natural with someone and u like them, great!

@support outplays: brig is limited, u just stay alive and do ur stuff like zarya. play good and it’s rewarded but u don’t get BIG plays besides boops or stun a tracer/sombra/blading-genji etc

ana has them. sleep. 2shot+nade. big offensive nades. big defensive nades + mass burst healing. 1v1 a flanker. shoot down pharah.

mercy doesn’t have much. u can 1v1 ppl with battle mercy for an outplay, esp in valk on enemy sniper. she’s more stay alive and play consistently with good strategy and it helps ur team a lot overall.

u can dodge flankers who are putting effort into killing u

so they waste their time

u can get off a big rez

lucio has outplays esp with speed aura and boop

moira has very little

u can catch and 1v1 ppl with moira

but mostly that’s from them being bad

u do fixed 50 dps with ez aim

i’m not a moira fan

lucio has has outplays iwth sound barrier at key moment to save ur team from a barrage or something

zen outplays are orb volley kills, beating a flanker who comes at u, and building trances fast enuf to have it rdy for blade/barrage/grav/etc

for comparisons, in general the dps heroes have lots of outplay potential to go get lots of kills, and also hog has it with hook. other heroes tend to have more limited amounts, e.g. monkey and dva can solo jump and kill someone sometimes but have less ability to make things like that happen.

another way i analyze heroes is how much fun they are, or how helpless, if team is being dumb

brig is bad here, the rest of my heroes are specifically chosen to be good at that.

the tanks aren’t ideal there but at least have mobility, more options with low team support

compared to rein orisa zarya

and i also look at just plain “is it dps?” cuz teams really want non-dps more

so like if reaper is a little more fun than brig, brig wins cuz if i get a dps slot i can play tracer, and i need some non-dps

i don’t just wanna force dps and throw games all the time, tho i will sometimes and having a smurf is good there

actually i’d like to blog this rather than just FI post. is that ok? i can remove ur name or only put Internet Rules


Yeah just having my name as internetrules is fine

I’m fine with you posting it


another idea i had about my heroes is if i practice tracer and widow, then i can play the rest pretty easily

something interesting is we might not play any of the same heroes

another thing about supports is it’s good to be able to play a MAIN support, cuz teams need one of those. 2 supports with low healing is a problem, also u can solo heal with a main support if u have to. main support means the ones who can put out strong heals on a single target, like they are capable of pocketing a tank: mercy, moira, ana

similar to how i wanted a MAIN tank on my roster

not just dva

with double off support, u see tanks feed way too much, don’t know what to do or how to deal with the low heals.

it can be worse than solo strong healer. (the thing with solo healer is enemy team can focus them and if they die u have NO heals)

but if solo main healer stays alive it sometimes works better than double off healer

if i had to cut down my roster i’d probably go: tracer, widow, monkey, ana (so i have main tank and main heal).

sombra i just don’t wanna cut. brig and dva are currently pretty easy for me without needing to practice them, and are very useful sometimes

sombra is fun

and shares aim with tracer anyway

and recalling b4 u die

so i feel ok keeping both

i’m trying to figure out if i would drop brig if she was nerfed tho.

not sure if i should play her

she’s still in maybe mode

i kinda like having a strong short range person with low mobility. winston and dva have to be balanced for the fact they have jumps.

it’s interesting to me to play different styles.

my other issue is i’m trying to figure out how to make my widow aim easier for me and more consistent

with tracer, i can now aim OK without it feeling hard

and when i took a break i kept a lot of my tracer aim

but my widow is more of a problem

a lot of it is headshots. i actually need to aim for the head more with tracer.

headshots are hard

another thing about hero choices is to have someone good and fun for FFA

and 3v3 and stuff

i got tracer, and on some maps widow

u got genji. i not sure about pharah.

mccree is pretty popular in deathmatch and u don’t get heals

other major DM heroes are doom, junk, hanzo, hog. sometimes moira, brig

if it’s not a sniper map, then pharah is pretty good vs non-mccree so she might work pretty well.

she’s great in 3v3 and 6v6 and stuff cuz u get a healer + they might not pick hitscan that round

is a bit unfair how pharah can matchup vs some heroes there, lol

they go rein reaper lucio, u go pharah, lol rekt

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Mario Odyssey Discussion

This topic is for discussing Super Mario Odyssey (for Nintendo Switch).

Speedrunning this game is a good way to learn for people who have a hard time learning (~everyone) and who already like video games.

Single player games are best because you don't have to deal with other people. Other people are complicated and dealing with them is a big issue which distracts from the gameplay.

Single player games are mostly too easy. They don't challenge you enough. Speedrunning solves that problem by giving you a goal to work towards where taking on extra challenges gets you better results.

Mario Odyssey is a popular, modern game (in general and specifically for speedrunning) which is highly accessible (both for regular play and speedrunning). It has video guides for speedrunning, various speedrunners who stream on Twitch, and plenty of walkthroughs for regular play. It can easily be broken up into small parts to learn about one at a time, and you can practice a few minutes at a time and then pause. It's complex enough to have depth without being too complicated. It doesn't have much randomness or AI to deal with. It has some glitches but not a ton, and you don't need to do any until you're a very advanced speedrunner. The any% speedrun is a good length. Those are some reasons it's a good game choice. It's also beneficially if a bunch of philosophy-interested people play the same game so they can discuss it, so don't choose a different game that seems a little more appealing to you, it'd only make sense to play a different game if it was a lot better for you for some reason.

(Mario Odyssey has few downsides. The biggest one is it uses motion controls some. It also takes more work to record videos of console gameplay than Mac or PC gameplay, and you need a Switch.)

By playing Mario Odyssey, you can learn what it's like to get good and something and succeed. You can see how practice works and things that used to be hard become easy. Learn to practice efficiently. Learn to write down notes, to review videos (like other people's speedruns) and get useful help from them, and learn to remember a bunch of information. You can see what correcting errors is like. You can see what getting details right is like and succeed with high quality standards. You can see how to build up your skills. First you learn how to do basic movement. Then you practice until it doesn't take much attention anymore. Then you can learn harder combinations of movement which build on the basic things. Now that the basic things are easy for you, your attention is free to focus on combined sequences.

Speedrunning gives you clear metrics for success and failure, which makes it much easier to learn. Did you reach the location you were trying to jump to or fall down? What does the timer say about what you're doing? One of the main reasons people have trouble learning philosophy, and many other things, is because they don't know when they're doing it right or not. They want to fix their errors, but they don't know which things are errors and which are correct. With speedrunning, you can also compare what you did to videos of what faster runners and figure out specifically how your approach is inferior (so you don't just know that you made an error, you also can get good info about what to do differently).

Overall, doing everything may not be easy, but it's easier than learning philosophy. So if you're having a hard time learning philosophy, like most people, this is an easier place to begin. You can work on your ability to learn, find and fix errors, not get frustrated, be persistent over time, and so on, without the added difficulty of trying to understand hard philosophy ideas at the same time. Practice learning with something easier than philosophy so you aren't doing everything at once. And then, in the future, when you learn philosophy ideas about how to learn, you'll be able apply them to examples from your Mario Odyssey experience. This is something lots of people can do well, it doesn't take a "genius" (philosophy doesn't take a "genius" either but many people think it does).

You have to learn the game before you speedrun it. That's step one. Play it normally first and get used to it. If you start getting bored playing normally, or finish everything, then switch to practicing the speedrun.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (237)

Learning with Easy Steps in Vindictus

This is reposted from a blog comment I wrote in 2019. On FI, Kate asked about my Hardness, Emotions, Mental Automation post:

I think the meaning of hard/easy used in the statement is the second one, i.e. hard/easy for me (now). Whether or not something is also considered inherently hard doesn’t matter. The key is whether it’s currently hard for you — whether your manager is going to have to do it.

It’s still unclear to me whether “only do things which are easy" is suggesting that people not try to fix irrational thinking methods or figure out how to use FI if they consider those things to be hard.

there is a learning/doing distinction. first you learn how to do something, say dentistry, then you do it (fill cavities, etc). so one of the meanings is you should learn enough that dentistry is easy before it's your job. don't learn enough you can do it, learn enough that it is now easy. dentists should have mastery so they can do it with a low error rate (and VERY LOW rate of major errors) even when tired, distracted, unfocused, etc.

and also the learning process shouldn't really be hard. say you're trying to beat a level in a video game. if your goal is "beat the level" then that's hard. but that's about doing, not learning. if your goal is "try strategy X and see if it works or not", that could be a step towards learning to beat the level which is also easy. if strategy X is too hard, then you could have easy immediate goals like "try action X1" and "try action X2" and so on – try out individual parts of it before trying to do the whole thing.

in Vindictus (example gameplay video) there are lots of boss fights you can do by yourself and get a gold medal for being hit 3 times or fewer. success is hard in some sense. but the learning process doesn't have to involve hard steps. first you can just stand there and let the boss hit you and watch what he does. that's easy! after you watch a bit, you can start to figure out what his attacks are. lots of the bosses only have like 5 different attacks. if remembering is hard you can write them down. you can even record video clips of each attack. that's more work but it isn't hard. so this step of seeing what the attacks are can be pretty easy, especially if you aren't rushing yourself. like if you are trying to remember every attack after you've seen it once, that's hard. but if you take your time and are OK with remembering an attack after seeing it 10 times, then it's not very hard.

the next step is blocking/dodging attacks (each character in the game has a few defensive options, mostly dodges and blocks). you can figure this out without doing anything hard, too. for each boss attack, try your first defensive move at various different timings. you can get a good idea of the right timing by letting the boss hit you and seeing what you take damage. your defensive move should generally be used around .5 seconds before the time you took damage, though it varies by move. if this isn't working well, try your character's second and third defensive moves and see if they work better for dealing with this attack.

many boss attacks have multiple parts. like they swing their sword 3 times in a row, and it's a set pattern of those 3 swings. so you can figure out a series of 2-3 defensive moves to defend against all 3 sword swings. (sometimes attacks come close together and you can stop multiple attacks with one defense.)

for each attack, there is some kind of clue that it's coming. the main clues are animations like a boss moves his sword or shoulders back before swinging forward. you see them getting ready to attack in some way. so you also need to learn some kinda thing that you will react to – the signal that it's time to do that defensive pattern for that move.

this can all be done pretty intuitively but it can also be done by conscious design and you write a list of every attack, every signal its coming, and what defensive moves you plan to use for that attack.

which part of that is hard? no part. if you do it in this methodical way, every part is easy. it's not like you need super fast reactions times. the game isn't hard in that way. if you calmly watch for the signal that a specific attack is coming, and you aren't worrying about anything else, then you can block/dodge it with a bit of practice, it's not that hard (and if a different attack happens first you just let it hit you and wait until the boss does the one you're trying to stop).

the individual parts of the game aren't that hard. but the complexity adds up when you're watching for 10 different possible attacks (on the harder, more complicated bosses) while also doing your attacks and also there are other allies on your team who the boss might target (if the boss does a move aimed at you, or aimed at a guy off to your right, then the patterns of blocks and dodges that protect you, and the timing to do them, can be different. where the boss is aiming changes where his sword ends up at different times.) and also you can be remembering to drink health potions every 4 seconds and use your cat statue every 70 seconds and tracking how much SP you have (points for doing special moves) and then managing which special moves to use, when, and so on. and then your ally dies and you want to go resurrect him but that requires standing still for 3 seconds so you have to find a safe time to do that between boss attacks. etc.

but basically all of that can be learned as a sequence of easy steps, too.

once you learn to defend attacks you practice until it becomes more of an automatic habit. you get it to the point its easy to do all the attacks for a boss, it's second nature, its intuitive, your error rate is low. then you try attacking in between the bosses attacks. you'll already have a sense of how much downtime there is after which attacks since you've seen them a bunch. so you can estimate how big of an attack you can fit in after each boss attack, and you try it out and see what works. that's assuming you can already do your attacks easily. if you can't, no problem, you just practice attacking without worrying about defense (initially just do this in an empty area with no enemies). and then practice on easy enemies where getting hit isn't a big deal, so even if your error rate for defense is high, cuz you're focused on attacking, it doesn't matter much.

before you actually use your attacking or defending as a skill – before you try to DO it for real instead of doing it in a learning/practicing context – you need to get it to be easy, you master it so an automatic mental workstation can do it. so by the time you're trying to kill the boss, you have all the skills needed to do it, and it isn't scary or hard like it would be if you just went up to him the first time and tried to win.

and after you practice, you still don't expect to win. if your goal was to go straight from practice to success then that'd be hard. instead, you practice and then you try fighting the boss for real as a test to see how well you do. you're checking how effective your practice was, what your error rate currently is. that's easy cuz the goal isn't "make no errors", the goal is "see how many errors i make". so you do the blocking and attacking in easy, automated ways, which is important cuz now your conscious attention is mostly used for just watching to see how often you screw up. that's not a hard thing to do! you just autopilot attacking and defending while consciously watching how well it works. that's it. ez. then you can see if you need more practice, and if so for which parts. and you can also identify problems like a particular strategy for blocking a particular move is unreliable, so maybe you need more practice or maybe you need to change the strategy – do a different defensive option or do the first block after an earlier visual cue. there are other errors you'll see happen, like a boss can have two different attacks that look similar at first, so you mix them up and sometimes you do the defense for attack 1 when the boss is doing attack 2, so it doesn't work. so while you're autopiloting and seeing how it goes, you can watch for issues like that with your conscious attention, and then you can figure out a solution, like you can look at the attacks more closely until you find a difference which is pretty easy for you to recognize once you know what to look for, and then you can start looking for that and, with a little practice, autopilot doing that. or you can also find a defensive option that works for the first part of both attacks, so it's ok if you don't know which is which until you're doing the second defensive move.

people find the game hard cuz they are trying to e.g. do lots of attacking right now instead of just focusing their attention on defense. or they never practice alone, they just fight in groups where other people are always moving the boss around and creating chaos, and everyone is rushing to keep up with everyone else on doing damage. and if you are just less ambitious in the short term, you can make tons of stuff way easier. i was having trouble with some bosses in the last two days and what i started doing is only using my simplest attack which takes the shortest time. that immediately solved the problem of doing an attack that is too long and then i'm not ready to defend against the boss's next attack. and it meant attacking took even less attention and i could focus on defense more. the downside is that the simplest, fastest attack does the lowest damage. but so what? a bit of patience made it way easier and actually saved time overall (cuz it takes longer to kill the boss, but fewer retries, so actually that saves time). that works great on bosses where my goal is to get the gold medal one time – if it's 5 minutes slower but saves some retries that's fine. i don't need efficient offense for a boss where i just want one good kill. there are other bosses that you fight more often so you want to learn to do your offense more efficiently, but it's not needed in all cases. (also part of the issue is some of the old bosses i was fighting, which i only needed one good kill on, actually have different designs than some of the modern bosses that people fight more. some of them actually have overly short windows for you to attack during if you are playing alone. it's fine if you play with an ally cuz then half the time the boss attacks the ally and you can just go stand behind the boss and have time to attack. but for certain heroes, soloing some of the old bosses involves shorter attack windows than you're used to with the modern bosses, so partly you just need to be willing to use your small attacks and be content with that. and if you had to fight that boss every day it'd be annoying, but you don't, and the newer bosses you fight more often have some larger downtime parts built in, on purpose, to let you do your big attacks sometimes.)

the point of this example is if you approach things step by step, every step can be easy. cuz you have a specific goal in the current step which is not big picture success, and you just do that.

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