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FailWood

Thoughts on Offense vs Defense in gaming

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I feel like hyper offense has become too much of a popular trend (especially in the fighting game genre), generally having characters attacking continuously with little to no room to punish them for being reckless (block strings where the defending character is stuck in the corner unable to move, or frame data being too quick for the defending player to get a move in without getting hit first), or having tools to either overcome or straight up ignore defensive abilities/tactics.  With nerfing characters also becoming a dying ideology, Defensive play is often left dead in the water, unable to deal with the pure aggression.  Then there are other games like Fire Emblem where Offense is heavily favored then Defense (seriously, Heroes has a fetish for the Attack and Speed stats).

What are some of your own thoughts on Offense vs Defense?

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Well, as offence usually has many more options to work with, its going to be more difficult to balance out. 

Another thing, most people dislike a slow gameplay geared game (see Sm4sh for what I mean) as nothing really happens with defence, offence you can have near limitless potential, giving them more reason to gear games to combos. 

Edited by lightcosmo

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Offense is more fun than defense. You win in games by knocking HP to 0. People don't like their time being wasted. RPGs and fighting games ain't like Civilization, you can't fend off a hundred hadoukens and then win by launching a rocket into space. This is fairly simple.

As said above, coming up with alternative forms of tanking isn't as easy as alternative forms of offense. Not impossible, but it requires more creativity. And in RPGs, the same can be applied to support and healing.

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40 minutes ago, lightcosmo said:

Well, as offence usually has many more options to work with, its going to be more difficult to balance out. 

Another thing, most people dislike a slow gameplay geared game (see Sm4sh for what I mean) as nothing really happens with defence, offence you can have near limitless potential, giving them more reason to gear games to combos. 

What do you think they should do?  I've been watching footage of Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Guilty Strive recently and some of the block strings I see in those games look very oppressive where I ask myself, "how does the person defending in the corner get out of that?".  Then there's Smash Ultimate where punishing an attack is more often then not impossible without thinking ahead (I'd know as someone who plays Dedede and K. Rool.  God bless the latter's belly armor.)

24 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

You win in games by knocking HP to 0.

Yes, but you also need to prevent your own HP from hitting 0.  Swinging your weapon(s) like a madman can endanger that.

26 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

As said above, coming up with alternative forms of tanking isn't as easy as alternative forms of offense. Not impossible, but it requires more creativity. And in RPGs, the same can be applied to support and healing.

I'm reminded of how both the Attackers and Healers in Xenoblade 2 could do high damage and excess healing without letting up on the attacks.  Face Tanks really got the short end of the stick in that game.

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7 minutes ago, FailWood said:

What do you think they should do?  I've been watching footage of Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Guilty Strive recently and some of the block strings I see in those games look very oppressive where I ask myself, "how does the person defending in the corner get out of that?".  Then there's Smash Ultimate where punishing an attack is more often then not impossible without thinking ahead (I'd know as someone who plays Dedede and K. Rool.  God bless the latter's belly armor.)

First, when designing a character around offense: good attack and good speed should never be a thing. Together they are simply broken. (Alot of the better Smash characters fall under this category for example)

Second, they need to settle down with the auto comboes (comboes that are brain dead esentially) and giving high offence an easy edge right off the bat.

For Smash, basically no landing lag was really a poor idea as far as balance goes, the best way to fix that is to revert that.

11 minutes ago, FailWood said:

I'm reminded of how both the Attackers and Healers in Xenoblade 2 could do high damage and excess healing without letting up on the attacks.  Face Tanks really got the short end of the stick in that game.

There are ways to play passive with a tank blade. The Pyra fusion combo burn damage comes to mind for my example.

Ofc i assume you dont count Corvin.

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You should probably specify a single game that's bothering you. This conversation can take as many forms as there are video games. And maybe multiple forms within the same game too. In Single player pokemon, The player will always favor offense, because taking less damage from attacks doesn't count for much if healing at the pokemon center is free. Every time you score a knock out, the game alerts you which opponent is next and you earn a free switch opportunity to press your type advantage. The player also has the (nearly) unique ability to use health restoring items when they're in trouble. But if we look at multiplayer pokemon, these advantages are stripped from the player and moves geared towards defense or stalling are suddenly viable. 

In competitive fighting games though, it's tough to lock down what counts as "offense" or "defense". If we're in neutral, and I'm waiting for my opponent to throw something out that I can whiff punish, is that offense or defense? It's reactionary, but I didn't block anything, I just watched my spacing and expertly timed an attack. Defense is more than just the one option, I'd hope. Similarly, using moves on an opponent that are safe on block. Is not committing to anything offense or defense? Is lobbing projectiles from a safe distance offense or defense? Is successfully reading and countering your opponent offense or defense? Nobody who plays these games use such basic terminology.

Edited by Zapp Branniglenn

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1 hour ago, Zapp Branniglenn said:

In competitive fighting games though, it's tough to lock down what counts as "offense" or "defense". If we're in neutral, and I'm waiting for my opponent to throw something out that I can whiff punish, is that offense or defense? It's reactionary, but I didn't block anything, I just watched my spacing and expertly timed an attack. Defense is more than just the one option, I'd hope. Similarly, using moves on an opponent that are safe on block. Is not committing to anything offense or defense? Is lobbing projectiles from a safe distance offense or defense? Is successfully reading and countering your opponent offense or defense? Nobody who plays these games use such basic terminology.

I think... Young Link would be a perfect example here. He has such little shield risk (most of his aerials are less than -8 on shield is believe?) Punishing such a quick character can be difficult of the defence, making it "boring" for the defender. You have limited options here

1: you can try to predict his approach. Go for a parry and punish him. This has alot of risk of course.

2: you can reset the neutral by getting out of there ASAP.

3: you can try to zone him out and stay safe.

This is from a defence PoV ofc, which is why I didnt consider simply beating his option out with your own, I would consider that an offensive punish. Playing against a projectile camp style YL? Im pretty sure thats the most hated thing online, haha. This style is generally considered "lame" as the game is kinda stagnated at this point. 

As far as offence goes to pressure him? God, I could make a huge list for that one. So, on one hand i can see what the TC means.

Edited by lightcosmo

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I'd say Pokemon has become even more offensive as of Gen 8; one of the first mons to get the banhammer was Galarian Darmanitan, which essentially had a free Choice Band thanks to its ability (and it stacks with the item too). This, in conjunction with its speed tier, means it could blow-Texas-sized holes in teams. Or it could use a Choice Scarf and outspeed pretty much anything that didn't have a scarf itself, and STILL blow holes in teams. Then there's Dracovish, which pretty much forced water immunities on teams because pretty much nothing else could take Strong Jaw boosted Fishious Rend going first, especially if it was also boosted by Choice Band. It was so bad that a user on Smogon actually registered under the username of the name of "Is Dracovish Banned Yet?" (of course, it was banned too). And then we have Saitama, also known as Single-Strike Urshifu. It had Wicked Blow, which guaranteed a critical hit, as well as ignoring Intimidate and screens. Also, it ignores Protect because of Unseen Fist. Between those and its movepool, about the only thing that could consistently answer it was Buzzwole. Then we have Cinderace, which was ORAS Greninja all over again. Or course, the most noteworthy of the Gen 8 Pokemon is Zacian. It was so disgustingly overpowered, that it was suspect tested and banned from Ubers. Twice. And this isn't even talking about Dynamaxing, a mechanic which made pretty much all offensive mons broken, and thus got banned to Ubers. Then it proved too powerful for Ubers, and thus got banned to Anything Goes. Here's why:

  • A Dynamaxed Pokemon has its health doubled, which means that the right Pokemon can become as bulky as a Chansey or Blissey.
  • Max Moves were basically Z-Moves all over again, except offensive Max moves also had extra effects depending on the type (either terrain change, setting weather, stat boosts for the user, or stat drops for the opponent). Using Protect wouldn't save you, as you'd still take damage and have the secondary effect occur; the only way to avoid this entirely was either by hoping to switch in an immunity (if possible), or use Max Guard (which also required Dynamaxing). G-Max moves were pretty much the same, other than them having different effects.
  • Dynamax didn't require an item like Mega Evolutions did, which means that it was possible to further boost Max moves via the likes of Life Orb or Weakness Policy
  • Any Pokemon can Dynamax, making it rather unpredictable. 
  • While it could only be used once, and it only lasted three turns, those three turns would often be all it took to put the match out of reach for the opponent. And I would emphasize once again that it was usable at any time, even at the beginning.

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I'm of the rare opinion that slower gameplay is more fun. I like longer times to kill. If I die in less than a couple seconds, I think your game sucks. And if I kill in a couple seconds, the combat isn't long enough to be enjoyable.

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9 minutes ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

I'm of the rare opinion that slower gameplay is more fun. I like longer times to kill. If I die in less than a couple seconds, I think your game sucks. And if I kill in a couple seconds, the combat isn't long enough to be enjoyable.

Honestly? I feel the same way. Well, not the exact same, but i prefer slower gameplay. Gameplay being to quick doesnt give you a chance to really feel the waters, so to speak. 

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2 hours ago, lightcosmo said:

Ofc i assume you dont count Corvin.

I don't.  I'm referring to Poppi Alpha and the Shieldhammer Blades when I say Face Tanks.  I always found myself playing Tank or Healer for the fights I struggle most with (unless it's one of those two battles were Rex gets something new between phases. You know the ones.).

1 hour ago, lightcosmo said:

I think... Young Link would be a perfect example here. He has such little shield risk (most of his aerials are less than -8 on shield is believe?) Punishing such a quick character can be difficult of the defence, making it "boring" for the defender. You have limited options here

1: you can try to predict his approach. Go for a parry and punish him. This has alot of risk of course.

2: you can reset the neutral by getting out of there ASAP.

3: you can try to zone him out and stay safe.

This is from a defence PoV ofc, which is why I didnt consider simply beating his option out with your own, I would consider that an offensive punish. Playing against a projectile camp style YL? Im pretty sure thats the most hated thing online, haha. This style is generally considered "lame" as the game is kinda stagnated at this point. 

As far as offence goes to pressure him? God, I could make a huge list for that one. So, on one hand i can see what the TC means.

Anything that's 11 frames or less is safe on shield as that's how long it takes to drop it, but in reality it's more like 14-15 frames as you have to consider what you do after your shield is dropped (not to mention lag if you're playing online, so add more frames in that case).

Snake's a pain too.  He can shield his own granades that he's holding like it's nothing can use them to escape combos, and has the cheesy Down-Throw to Up-Tilt kill confirm at higher percentages.

41 minutes ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

I'm of the rare opinion that slower gameplay is more fun. I like longer times to kill. If I die in less than a couple seconds, I think your game sucks. And if I kill in a couple seconds, the combat isn't long enough to be enjoyable.

I enjoy living longer then my foes expect, being able to help my team stay alive by soaking damage for them, or by healing them.  Again, I play Dedede and K. Rool (and Wario) in Smash Ultimate, and I can't help but smirk when they can't kill me cause my characters are too fat.

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5 minutes ago, NinjaMonkey said:

"The best defense is a strong offence."

"Defense wins Championships."

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9 minutes ago, FailWood said:

Anything that's 11 frames or less is safe on shield as that's how long it takes to drop it, but in reality it's more like 14-15 frames as you have to consider what you do after your shield is dropped (not to mention lag if you're playing online, so add more frames in that case).

Snake's a pain too.  He can shield his own granades that he's holding like it's nothing can use them to escape combos, and has the cheesy Down-Throw to Up-Tilt kill confirm at higher percentages.

Oh, you were talking online. My bad on that. Yeah I really dont know how to fix online sides fixing the netcode, lmao.

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4 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

As said above, coming up with alternative forms of tanking isn't as easy as alternative forms of offense. Not impossible, but it requires more creativity.

This is what happens when you tank for too long.

 

 

Edited by Armchair General

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3 hours ago, lightcosmo said:

Oh, you were talking online. My bad on that. Yeah I really dont know how to fix online sides fixing the netcode, lmao.

I was speaking in general, not specifically online or offline.

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8 hours ago, FailWood said:

I was speaking in general, not specifically online or offline.

gotcha.

I think that's why OoS Up B is so prominent in competitive Ultimate. It's one of the few options that are such a reliable punish, that it's hard not having a good one.

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3 hours ago, lightcosmo said:

I think that's why OoS Up B is so prominent in competitive Ultimate. It's one of the few options that are such a reliable punish, that it's hard not having a good one.

*Looks at Link, G&W, and ZS Samus with jealousy*  Yep.

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14 minutes ago, FailWood said:

*Looks at Link, G&W, and ZS Samus with jealousy*  Yep.

You forgot Dolphin Slash, which is one of the top. Xd

Although I think ZSS doesnt have an amazing OoS up B, since its range is garbo.

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Let's seeTurn 

 

2D - Fighting Games - Offense better in most, but in fairness the occasional game filled with Aerial Campers or Projectile charathers in the entire high tier tends to just fail overall in attracting a commun

3D - "Arena Fighter" - Games such as Custom Robo or Virtual On - Very defense focused, even with occasional strong offensive charathers like Strike Vanishers, because Spacing to gain advantages defines the game both when going all with the Aerial Beuaty/Big Head, OR to give you the edge when two offensive players meet.

Real Time Strategy - Probbably the most famous "Defense Wins" Genre in many cases (especially in the medium to high Elo level before Offense comes back at top level) Games like Age of Empires, provide simple counters to opponets being aggresive early on (in the feudal era) because siege damage just isn't available until the castle era, so walls and towers simply can't be overcome except in lucky circumstances.... Command and Conquer (Kane's Wrath) features Turrets that build at full health, although in general it is a more offensive RTS. Starcraft might have the trademark on early-game cheese but because it is so well known most players actually overprepare for it and gurantee that games get to point of 3-4 base buildup. Company of Heroes is kinda interesting on the offense vs defense because of how your income is tied to your objectives held, and that psuedo/artillery units are given many drawbacks, but on the other hand the way penetration mechanics and supportive fire works can really punish reward defensive play.

Turn Based PVP RPGs - I think most of these are offense focused but tbh I think when defense gets a noticable advantage (per generation/patch) It can really drag down the game... Skarm/Bliss was NEVER that good, but it did troll low elo people, 4th gen celebi + Resttalk suicune + torment Heatran  on the other hand, was a stalling nightmare, especially as premier offense back then needed setup turns instead of being good out of the gate.  (6-7th gen Regenertor Cores would have been oppresive if they had appeared 1 generation earlier but were too late to handle to scaling of offense) ... Monster Santruacy is probbably a more extreme eample than pokemon, with teams that stack debuffs being generally more oppresive than teams that stack buffs.

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1 hour ago, lightcosmo said:

You forgot Dolphin Slash, which is one of the top. Xd

Although I think ZSS doesnt have an amazing OoS up B, since its range is garbo.

I only listed the ones I have the most trouble with.  I know there are others like Marth, Lucina (hate her in Smash Ultimate BTW), Bowser, and C. Falcon.

The poor range on ZSS's Up B doesn't mean as much when you frequently play as the big boys like I do, plus it can be a KO move.

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1 hour ago, FailWood said:

The poor range on ZSS's Up B doesn't mean as much when you frequently play as the big boys like I do, plus it can be a KO move.

It can still whiff the biggest characters. Up smash is the safer option and still kills.

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The reason offense tends to be favored over defense is that too much defense slows games down to a point it becomes grindy and boring. Not to mention, defense that's too efficient can just shut down offense entirely. To use Magic as an example, they've been leaning away from using first strike and deathtouch defensively because they discourage attacking too much. Deathtouch blockers practically guarantee losing at least that many attackers, and first strikers can potentially take out an attacker without fear of trading. And that goes double for double strikers. It's just too oppressive.

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15 minutes ago, lightcosmo said:

Up smash is the safer option and still kills.

I thought we were sticking to strictly Up Bs?  In that case, add any viable kill throw, the Up Smashes belonging to Mario, Wolf, Lucina, etc.

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2 hours ago, FailWood said:

I thought we were sticking to strictly Up Bs?  In that case, add any viable kill throw, the Up Smashes belonging to Mario, Wolf, Lucina, etc.

I was just saying that I wouldnt put her up b in the top, opening on frame 6 with meh range isnt reliable enough overall. 

Edit: Frame 6 is really good, but for the risk it has if it "misses"? Eh.

Edited by lightcosmo

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