Wake-up Monkeys

"Wake-up Monkey" is a term that I coined from a very good East Coast SF3:3S player that goes by the alias KOFiend (who plays Yang, by the way). It basically refers to players who try to do too many offensive options when getting up off the ground, rather than using their defensive options.

If you know absolutely nothing about game theory or strategy or mathematics, just know this: It's almost always in your best interest to try and defend on wake-up. This is because the opponent has the advantage in this situation.

SF3:3S has inadvertently taught a lot of players bad habits. Too often will you see players trying to parry or perform a wake-up reversal when getting up off the ground, and they very frequently get punished for it in the long run.

Fortunately it seems that Monster has a mechanic that may help to teach good habits. It would seem that a lot of attacks are back-dash cancelable during their startup frames, which is basically a whiff cancel (also known as kara-cancel). The niffty thing about this is that it's easy to do on reaction to the screen-freeze from a shift or super. Thus, you are able to stick out a meaty 2A attack in the opponent, and if the screen flashes due to them performing a wake-up super, you're able to backdash cancel the 2A on reaction to avoid the super.

I can see this teaching some people to stop doing stupid things on wake-up. Hopefully people start blocking on wake-up a lot more often once they get use to this game.

Speaking of teaching good habits, I love the fact that this game can be played online. I've met quite a few "Training Mode Knuckleheads" (which is a spin off Wake-up Monkey), who are basically players who spend entirely too much time playing single player or practicing combos in training mode. These players have a lot of knowledge about the technical side of the game, but lack experience against human opponents. This is something that is really prevalent with the Melty Blood community in America. There's some very small pockets of players in specific areas that play Melty Blood quite a bit with some human opponents. This let's them get competition and increase their skill and understanding of the game. But unfortunately not many players have access to human competition in this game because there aren't many arcades that carry it. America is really big and spread out, so in order for many players to compete they have to travel really long and impractical distances in order to play -- not something they can do frequently. Thus, players spend a lot of time in training mode because they don't get any competition, and these players have learned to execute advanced combos on the fly. Thus, the training mode knucklehead is born. They may be very experienced with combos, but they don't actually know how to play the game properly against other humans.

Fortunately, Monster's network mode gives people the ability to play with people from other states or even other countries, which is absolutely wonderful.

Of course, X-Box Live does the same, but the netcode on X-Box Live is terrible and sucks. In fact, you can actually get worse from playing on X-Box Live too much, hahaha!

- Copyright © Xenozip.


Maj said...

You brought up a really good point about certain games teaching players certain bad habits. There is a lot of guessing game bullshit that 3S players love to use to get out of bad situations. Because of parries, that game actually offers you an opportunity to turn a disadvantageous defensive position into an opportunity for huge damage. The problem is that the odds are still stacked against the defender in wakeup situations. It's easy to miss that fact while you're fantasizing about how cool it will be once you score that parry.

I remember legendary SHGL 3S player sicdic trying to explain to me how much of bad idea wakeup parry was. Basically his point was that while it can win you a match now and then, it's a horrible strategic policy. He illustrated it to me by having me imagine the number of times that you guess wrong compared to the number of times you could have simply blocked. Then imagine the amount of extra life you would have at the end of the round if you had never guessed a wakeup parry. There is SOOOOOOO much more that you can do with extra life, that you simply can't do when you're one combo away from dying.

That's why i think that playing multiple games (for those who can find the time) is a really good way to avoid these traps. For example, some CvS2 players are terrible at blocking a crossup because there are so many ways of escaping in that game. You have tons of wakeup options like delayed getup and tech recovery, and lots of free escapes like rolling. Put that same player in ST and they would get rocked by crossups. Also, put that player in a CvS2 situation where they're forced to try to block the crossup, and they are at a huge disadvantage compared to players with ST experience.

- Maj

Xenozip. said...

Something that I left out of the post was how the conversation started. KOFiend had remarked to Exodus about how good it was to play people who actually block for a change. :)

And you are correct, there are many different ways to break it down but the results are always the same. Even without a parry system the odds are weighted against the fallen opponent, which is why the act of rushdown is so strong and widely celebrated in the first place.

On a side note, I sometimes feel that when people accuse SF3:3S of being "random" other players will often assume that it means you have to play randomly and guess a lot. The truth is that 3S is indeed random on some levels, but you should never really be guessing unless you have to.

There's a world of difference between guesses and educated guesses.

spiralon said...

Is knucklehead a good word for players who just train due to lack of competition? I guess if you could say Larry bird was a basket shooting knucklehead from Indiana.

spiralon said...

I agree online can actually make you worse, one reason why training mode junkies aren't necessarily knuckleheads. Beside that, most online players troll or leave quickly, almost afraid to share tech. It's extremely difficult to find a dependable sparring partner. Sometimes it's gdlk to just knockdown training dummies over n over at diff ranges and brainstorm their options, or solidify your bnb hit confirms beyond human, or set the dummy to different moves and actions, seeing what beats this or that so when you next face a human you can download their style more efficiently. But it's true... You really only improve by playing people on your level and higher. This is nearly the sole reason the Japanese are so superior at arcade games.

I do understand the difference between brainless combo junkies and footsy/punish players.

Xenozip. said...

Because everyone who shoots baskets by themselves all day becomes Larry Bird. And everyone who sits in training mode all day doing the same combo becomes Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara.

No, no, no. The point was, when you've been going to tournaments for a long time it's really easy to point out these training-mode-knuckleheads and online-scubs very easily due to their complete lack of experiencing and their very easily abusible habits. That's not to say everyone is like this.

Training mode is a very essential tool to have, every game needs it and every player should have spent a little time in training mode. Online is also godsend to many people who have busy work schedules and friend/family/life obligations that can really make use of online play at odd hours, or for those who live in remote/isolated areas.

But if online/training mode is relied upon too heavily then players tend to fall into some really bad habits they can't break out of (because of muscle memory / auto pilot, etc), and also tend to have large gaps in their gameplay.

But keep in mind this post was written back in March of 2007, and in the past five years we've seen quite a huge shift in the online and offline scenes, and also a bit of a merge between the two.

Still, I believe the best thing to do is not rely on randoms online. Go to forums and find people local to you. Play them online or offline, but try and find people to play regularly rather than relying on random. And don't rely on training mode alone, play people, but use training mode as it was intended (sparingly).