The SFV Guidebook

With Street Fighter V’s release, there are going to be a lot of new players looking to pick up the game. There’s a plethora of tutorials available out there, but most of them are far too long and difficult for new players to digest. This guide aims to explain the game’s basic and intermediate mechanics as clearly and concisely as possible, in hopes to get more players in on the action.

HotS Hero Concept: Diablo 2 Paladin

I would love nothing more than for Diablo 2 characters to make their way into Heroes of the Storm. To see how practical that may or may not be, I’ve been experimenting with a hero concept for the Diablo 2 Paladin, specifically that of a Vindicator variety (Smiter).

I really had a blast making this, and I hope you enjoy it as well 🙂

Diablo 2 Paladin Character Concept - Astreon
Click this image to view the full Character Concept page!

It’s probably more fun to view the image above for the full flavor, but I’ll post my original text transcript below in case you’re interested in that.

“Burn in the Light!” a guide to playing Johanna in Heroes of the Storm

If you’re only going to learn how to play one tank in Heroes of the Storm, make it Johanna. There’s really never a bad time to pick her, she’s good at everything a tank wants to be good at and she works well with any team composition. She has great displacement, crowd control, peeling, and she’s incredibly hard to kill thanks to her trait, Iron Skin. She’s easily the most effective tank in the game, overall. Other tanks can be more effective in certain situations, but no one fits into every team composition like our girl Jo does.

Competitive Gaming and the Spectator

It’s safe to say that gaming is mainstream. At any given moment, hundreds of thousands of viewers are watching live feeds of gaming-related content and competitive tournaments on Twitch.tv.

Over 11 million people concurrently watched the League of Legends World Championship last year, and LoL is only one game among many. DotA 2, StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, and Counter-Strike all garner consistently high viewership, and fighting games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. are steadily growing thanks to their strong grassroots communities.

But what about engagement? Looking further into the viewership statistics for LoL Worlds 2014, the average time watched per-viewer was only 67 minutes. Considering that the broadcast was over five hours long, it seems that most people aren’t paying very close attention to what’s happening. But this relative lack of engagement isn’t surprising, because League of Legends is a terrible spectator game.

SF5 release date: Feb 16, 2016 | Dhalsim announced

Haunts from Capcom just announced both the character Dhalsim and the release date of Street Fighter 5 via a post on Capcom Unity:

Street Fighter V has a confirmed release date of February 16 in North America and Europe!

Dhalsim sports an amazing beard and is looking quite fantastic. He seems to have a new delayed float teleport and quite a few new tricks, check him out in the trailer below.

Thoughts on Diablo, Botting, Trading, and Competitive Viability

Diablo 3, for all its terribleness on release in 2012, has actually developed into a pretty good game over the last year or two. I give a lot of credit to the dev team for pushing through and making something good out of a project that could have easily been abandoned. Since the 2014 release of “Reaper of Souls” and the introduction of Seasons, I’ve logged in each Season had a blast creating a new character, finding the best items, and slaying demons with a few of my buddies. It’s pretty impressive that Diablo 3 can call me back at all, considering how it initially violated the franchise that I loved so much.

Despite all the good that the RoS team did improving Diablo, they still made one huge error: removing trading. Their reasoning was essentially, “trading items encourages botting, so trading must die”. Of course, this was masked with, “trading isn’t as fun as killing monsters, so in order to encourage you to kill monsters, we are removing your ability to trade.”

Crush Counters in SF5

My favorite part of the Street Fighter 5 beta so far has been Crush Counters. They’re specific normal attacks that cause severe hitstun to the opponent on counter hit. SF5 is more simplified overall and has a greater focus on neutral, and Crush Counters fit perfectly with that design. Each character has 2 or 3 of them. Check out the video below for a demonstration.

As you can see from the video, you can potentially get huge damage off of this mechanic. Each character’s ability to land Crush Counters depends on their normals and spacing, and the follow up combos are just as unique to each character.

Crush Counters put a huge emphasis on proper spacing and knowing when to hit buttons (and when not to!) during the footsie game. The more I play SF5, the more I wish it was released now and not just in a weekend beta test!

Hit Confirming in Street Fighter 5 vs SF4

The second Street Fighter 5 beta is upon us, and PC players get to join the party for the first time. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it! Though I have to admit that, at first, I was really thrown off by the game’s hit confirming. Compared to SF4, there seemed to be almost no ability to do so.

For starters, most characters can hit with a maximum of only two light normal attacks before the opponent is pushed out of range, and light normals don’t link into medium or heavy normals. That’s pretty crazy, considering that in SF4 many characters could do 3-5 light attacks and still be able to confirm into a normal or special for a “finisher”.

Two light punches? Okay. Two light kicks? Okay. THREE?! Impossibru!!
Two light punches? Okay. Two light kicks? Okay. THREE?! Impossibru!!
link srk doesn't work!
And believe me, you DON’T want to have your SRK blocked in this game!

On top of that, you don’t seem to be able to link traditionally fast specials off of light attacks. For example, Ken’s Shoryuken doesn’t link after jabs. You have to special-cancel the jab for the Shoryuken to connect.

Since you have to special cancel the jab for the Shoryuken to connect, that really only gives you one light normal’s worth of time to confirm. “That’s no time at all!”, I thought. Commitment is definitely the name of the game for SF5…

Cr. MP lets you confirm into cr.LP or cr.LK, which you can special-cancel into Shoryuken.
cr. MP lets you confirm into cr.LP or cr.LK, which you can special-cancel into Shoryuken.

However, after further tinkering, this isn’t quite as limiting as I expected. For starters, you can use a beefy medium attack to give yourself more time to confirm. Since there’s so much hitstun in SF5, that’s actually quite a bit of time. From there, you can finish with a light normal and special cancel that.

So while you only really get two attacks-worth of time to confirm, that’s more than enough time in this game, where the focus is much more on neutral.

The end result is that you will get less damage for your safer confirms, which removes some of the incentive for going for ambiguous jumpins and such. You can still do them, and you can still confirm, but the reward is much lower if you want to keep things safe. You could go for two beefy medium attacks, but that leaves the opponent room to use a reversal attack.

So where is the reward in this game, if not from the ambiguous and safe “Vortex” of SF4? It’s at neutral, from Crush Counters, which I really love!!

But we’ll go over that in another post 🙂