High skill investment Games

Having played them for many years, Fighting games are a genre close to my heart. However, despite my enjoyment of them, I recognize they are a genre that is remarkably unfriendly to newcomers due mainly to the time requirement to grasp its basics in a useable fashion. Someone coming to the genre new will likely be able to enjoy the single player content (Despite it often being the lacking part of the game) but will likely not improve their skills in a fashion that will allow them to effectively play against other players. The same is true of RTS games like Starcraft that require a decent investment of time learning build orders and improving inputs to match human opponents when compared to the often more forgiving nature of the AI.

In recent years, training tools in these games have become far more readily available. With comprehensive tutorials that introduce each games unique elements and challenge modes that let players train their combo inputs, fighting games have never been more approachable. That being said, the time it takes to become skilled enough for decent player vs player gameplay is still higher than other competitive games such as FPS’s, MMO’s and even MOBA’s. The same can be said of RTS’s with specific maps to help teach competitive game mechanics and each army’s unique play style and unit strengths. Thanks to strong matchmaking, Starcraft itself allows players to play against other player of a similar skill level easier than fighting games do (Though whether or not this is an indictment of matchmaking in fighting games or a statement on their inherent nature would require more research)

In more recent years, we have also seen a feature implemented into certain fighting games called “Simplified or Stylish” Mode. This take what would usually be a number of complex inputs and allows them and combos to be executed at the press of a button. This allows players to not have to worry about inputs as much as focus more on the fundamentals (I.E Defence, neutral game ECT). Removing the complex inputs reduces the complexity of the game but allows for people with less time investment to build skills that will transfer between games in the genre (The fundamentals). Combos and inputs are usually learnt specifically to the game and do not cross over as well. This mode can best be thought of as training wheels allowing players to close skill gaps with less time investment.

If I was to choose this area to research, I would attempt to see if there are other methods we can provide to help close the initially large skill gap that keeps newer players from playing against other players. Stylish mode is a good step in the right direction but even with this mode, someone with better fundamentals can still win with consistency.


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