Wednesday, December 21, 2011

15 Minute Melee

So I have managed to end up talking too much about Meta Knight. I mention that effective player tanking and character synergy are key to defeating him. But how to train up such skills?

Look no further than 15 Minute Melee. Now before I talk about how 15MM works out quite nicely, I need to talk about it.

*ahem* 15 Minute Melee is a mode in Super Smash Bros. Melee, where you need to survive for 15 minutes against 5 infinitely respawning wireframes, which while they do get 1HKed in general and are big targets with no B moves, they nevertheless do have high melee range thanks to their size. I think their priority is ridiculous too, but I'm not sure because considering I would find trying to clank SUCH a wise idea in general.

Ridiculous range and priority, though? Why does that sound familiar? Oh wait, that sounds like Meta Knight. Now you can argue that Meta Knight is a small target, but he also has only moderate melee range. Meanwhile, as I'll explain below, you need accuracy, which minimizes the influence of evasion, to deal with the Wireframes in the endurance match, but let me get the whole thing out of the way, good God.

Now people have innate problems with 15 Minute Melee. I will address those problems one by one at the end of this post. Right now, I just want to talk about other things. Like how 15 Minute Melee is actually a balanced idea. Yes, you hear right. When you compare to 100 Man Melee or Endless Melee, you see that in comparison, 100 Man Melee makes defense near unimportant at higher levels because it's too short, and Endless Melee provides virtually NO incentive for offense, begging for abuse from safe characters like Link. 15 Minute Melee provides incentive for both offense and defense, as you need offense to rack up KOs, and defense to simply survive the whole way through. And for the record, Cruel Melee sucks. It's just planking abuse, because anything else is begging to get you outright massacred without so much as a single KO.

By the way, before I continue on, keep in mind that I'm writing this having played through only 15 Minute Melee in SSBM, not 15 Minute Brawl in SSBB. But I wouldn't be surprised if 15 Minute Brawl works similar enough. Also, if you think I have no clue what I'm talking about, tell that to my 18000+ KOs.

Now as I said, the Wireframes have high range. In order to deal with this, you have to hit them fast and properly, so that they can't even throw you off with their higher priority. If you mess up in ANY manner, there is plenty to make sure that you can easily end up getting hit, and with how long you need to last to win, taking too many hits is going to add up in only a matter of time. You must figure out the best attack in a given situation as fast as you can, because if you don't do so frequently enough, you're not going to make the 15 minutes with a decent KO count.

Now you can argue that something like planking can be abused to survive. But really, if you want to be campy, just do Endless Melee, end of discussion. Now let me talk about KO count: in order to get a good KO score, you have to actively KO Wireframes. The timer prevents you from being able to just sit by and let them come to you unless your character allows for that, so you have to apply offense here, making something like planking a bad idea. But just surviving may be a problem, and it would only get harder if you try for KOs. So the whole thing is not going to be simple.

Here are some general tips:
*Be aware of KO speed. Even if you do KO a Wireframe,  the time where it survives at all slows down further spawns. Ganondorf's Forward Tilt is a perfect example, as the Wireframe still dies, but doesn't do so at as fast a pace pretty much anything else of Ganondorf's, which is to say anything else. You can still use such moves, but use them with care. They tend to be moves to get your opponent away from you.
*Naturally, Stale Move Negation will guarantee that spamming a single move only hurts your KO count because your knockback goes down. So be sure to use different moves.
*Be careful about letting the Wireframes clump. You can easily get KOs from a clumped area, but at the same time, the Wireframes can use the crowding to bite easily.
*Anti-air moves are your friend. Be it poolsharking (hitting an enemy with a thrown one), Up Smash, Up Tilt, or any of the aerials, you definitely want to vaporize enemies as they spawn while staying near a location where you would want to be ready to escape from if needed.
*Most characters' jabs can't KO. Even in the case of the jabs that can, there are very likely more desirable KO moves. But they can be used to drive the Wireframes back if things get REALLY out of hand.
*Link your moves well. For example, Smashes have poor startup but they do hit hard, and their good cooldown means you can follow them up with either Tilts or a grab if plausible, since both have good startup, though you do have to worry about poor cooldown in the Tilts, and the delay in throws.
*Ultimately, try to make sense of the character. You'd be surprised how well that works.

Stick to these tips and who knows, you might get 18K+ KOs without broken move abuse. It's at least good practice for being able to tank well as a given character, which would be a VERY useful skill against characters like Meta Knight.

So all that out of the way, here's the problems that plague 15MM's execution, your criticisms about it most likely among them:
*It's simply too long - most people prefer not having to be extremely patient. Even though I DON'T HAVE PATIENCE TO BEGIN WITH. But I do agree with this criticism. Not because of personal reasons, mind, but because the target audience of the SSB series is kids who simply will not want to play something like Multi-Man Melee for too long. 10 minutes would be far better. Even 12 would be a considerable improvement. As long as lasting for a considerable given amount of time is needed for getting a counted KO count, the mode being a balanced idea should be unaffected.
*EXPLOSIVE SPAWNS - this is actually a general problem in the series itself in general, not restricted to 15MM, but it really hurts 15MM because whether or not a single run gets ruined wasting 12+ minutes boils down to luck. The problem of an explosive spawning into your melee attack is thankfully infrequent enough that a determined player isn't going to be stopped, but it's nevertheless obnoxious. I don't even know why hitting an explosive needs to cause it to blow up immediately. Maybe a 2 second delay, but even in Super Mario Bros. 2, Bob-Ombs didn't explode immediately upon throw, and they made their first appearance there and were Demonic Spiders that deserved their toning down in later Mario games.
*Watered down AI - I do admit that the AI is weaker than in 100 Man or Endless, but it may be to counterbalance 15 Minute's ridiculous length at least. There's also the possibility that 15 Minute's balance as the idea that it is results in a higher amount of strategy and tactics being required than in 100 Man or Endless to deal with balancing out multiple objectives at once. So this is a YMMV.
*Screw Attack abuse - abuse of a specific item. HAL got wise and nerfed/revamped the SA in Brawl to prevent you from holding onto a Screw Attack item indefinitely.
*B move abuse - abuse of specific moves. Now B moves do make up part of the character's moveset, I'll be fair in that regard. However, I have proven that 15 Minute Melee is quite possible with every single character without B move abuse. No Fake Skill abuse either. So don't go trying to claim to be better than me if you can't prove yourself halfway legitimately good at this mode.

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