"Strong Pokémon. Weak Pokémon. That is only the selfish perception of people. Truly skilled trainers should try to win with their favorites."
"It's one thing to enjoy leisurely battles, but real battles can be a severe trial. Truly strong Trainers sometimes must be prepared to choose Pokémon that can win rather than their favorite Pokémon."
The endless debates between Tournament Play
and Casual Play
, particularly in the Fighting Game Community
(though it can and does spread to other genres), guaranteed to split apart every game fandom in existence
. A large cause of Flame Wars
and, inevitably, death threats
The Hardcore player is the Spirited Competitor
— plays for the sake of a challenge and finds deeper immersion how far they can hone their skill. The Casual player is the Cavalier Competitor
— treats it like the game it is.
There are some valid reasons to get upset about a game pandering to one end or another, despite it often going too far. Tournament Play
thriving can cause a massive gap
between player skill levels depending on how much time one is willing and able to spend, which can alienate a lot of players. There are also the subsets of “Stop Having Fun” Guys
, who attack players even on their side of the debate if they don't choose the highest-tiered legal settings. However, Casual Play is also dangerous because gross imbalances are ignored
due to the assertion that Character Tiers
don't exist, and pandering to this area leads to shallow gameplay that stagnates quickly and the game as a whole having an overall shorter shelf life
This can also spread into Licensed Games
based on a well-established non-video game franchise, creating tension between those who play it for the game
and those who play it for the world
. Star Trek Online
, for example, has arguments between hard-core trekkies who wish the Starfleet missions featured more diplomacy and exploration and less pew-pew, and gamers who point out that it's hard to make that kind of game in an MMO environment.
Note that this doesn't just
apply to video games — anything with both a casual and competitive scene, such as sports or tabletop games, can also spiral into this debate.
Debates on this topic can get ugly, fast, especially in cases where the creator of the game takes sides
. On This Very Wiki
, a large number of pages, especially in the YMMV tab, have to be policed closely because those joining the debate on either side have a tendency to degenerate in the 1% who'd love to start a fight
Compare The Great Player Versus Player Debate
, which is this spread into MMORPG paradigms; the Console Wars
, which usually overlaps in the form of "Casual Nintendo
vs. Competitive Everyone Else"; and Technician Versus Performer
, a conflict over similar reasons.
Common points of contention:
open/close all folders
- Hardcore view: A way to add more depth to gameplay once the basics have been mastered, and can make things interesting as ones skill moves higher up.
- Casual view: Their existence causes a massive, impassable gap between beginners and experts, not to mention that they're hardly ever mentioned in-game (possibly because they were never intended in the first place) and difficult and somewhat ridiculous to pull off.
- Neutral view: Their existence can provide a gradually expanding gameplay experience if ones' skill level begins to stagnate. However, they shouldn't be so broken as to completely eclipse normal play.
- Notable cases:
- Super Smash Bros.:
- In Super Smash Bros. Melee, "Wavedashing" (a physics exploit where one air dodged towards the ground diagonally to slide, which was often faster than running) is often blamed for the radical changes made in Brawl, becoming so omnipresent in Tournament Play that in many cases nobody moved normally at all. Interestingly, it was discovered during development, but it was ignored because it was seen as a harmless bug. The eventual discovery that it was not so harmless was one factor in the sequel's total crackdown on all forms of advanced play.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the crackdown on and removal of all forms of advanced play, including Combos, was met harshly. The metagame rapidly stagnated and Melee remained popular among the competitive crowd, to the point that Gamecubes and their accessories have lost very little value over time due to the masses of Melee players willing to shell out a lot of money for a Gamecube controller in good condition. The ones who couldn't afford to maintaining a Gamecube fixed the problems themselves with...
- Project M is a serious point of contention in the Super Smash Bros. fandom for bringing back Melee's mechanics, especially among Brawl's defenders, who accuse it of just being out to ruin what they see as an already-perfect game.
- Street Fighter III completely overhauled the gameplay of its predecessors, putting heavy emphasis onto parrying and counter-attacks. The new gameplay, in addition to almost all the old cast being Put On The Bus note resulted in the casual crowd overwhelmingly rejecting the game. The Competitive Crowd on the other-hand hold the game as the Silver Standard for fighting games (only Super Turbo holds the Golden status).
- Hardcore view: An effective measure to predict the outcome of equally matched players. Nothing can have perfect Competitive Balance throughout the roster — it's just not possible.
- Casual view: An unreliable method of attempting to railroad play, encouraging use of only the stronger characters. There is no such thing as "equal skill" — any player who's talented enough can beat a Game Breaker using a Joke Character.
- Neutral View: Skill is something that cannot be measured in objective terms, because it discounts on-the-spot decision-making and individual growth levels. However, Character Tiers are useful for understanding the tools each player has at their disposal at any given time. Still, just because a player wins with fewer tools doesn't mean they're a "better" player.
- Notable cases:
- Super Smash Bros. Melee is often considered one of the greatest fighting games ever made, but it still has known flaws, which some suspect led to the removal of fan-favorite Mewtwo due to his sheer ironic weakness. Fan projects such as Project M and Super Smash Flash 2 use the tiers during development to examine the balance and fix it. However, the tiers tend to change often and drastically, which lead some to strongly suspect that tires don exits after all.
- Virtua Fighter, like any game, has character tiers, but proponents of the series often point out that unlike other titles, every character is tournament viable. There are two things worthy to note, though. First, the VF series is not known for having Loads and Loads of Characters, so balancing them is easier than in a game like, say, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes. The second is that although VF is possibly the most respected fighting franchise in existence, it has never enjoyed mainstream appeal. Some gamers have speculated that the lack of a clear god-tier is the cause, with reasons ranging from the series thus having no "villain" to root against (like Magneto/Storm/Sentinel in Marvel 2 or Fox in Smash Bros.) or an overpowered "easy road" to top-level competitive play (like Chun-Li in SF 3: Third Strike or Lars in Tekken 6.
- Marvel vs. Capcom is notorious for having one of the most lopsided tier lists in any game franchise. In the first game, Red Venom (aka "Carnage") was the unquestioned god-tier, and in the third game, Wolverine (with Akuma assist) and Phoenix dominated the original game while Morrigan (with Doom assist), Zero and Vergil are considered the reigning kings of the roster. But the crowning example is Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes, where in a title with over 40 playable characters, only four (Cable, Magneto, Storm, and Sentinel, in various combinations) are considered tournament-viable. Good assist characters like Psylocke, Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Strider Hiryu, and Captain Commando notwithstanding, those four characters have dominated the Marvel 2 scene for more than ten years.
- In Star Trek Online, a lot of the iconic live-action canon ships that the hardcore trekkie segment of the playerbase really wants to fly are considered decidedly in the lower tiers. For example, because of the way the metagame shook out, every variant of the Galaxy-class relies way too much on tanking in a game where offense is considered the best defense in PVE. (The Galaxy Dreadnought Cruiser has the added problem that its Wave Motion Gun almost never hits anything and has way too long of a cooldown.) For another, the Jem'Hadar attack ship, rather than the Defiant-class, is generally considered the best escort available to Starfleet. This leads to massive bitching from people who wish their favorite TV-canon ship was better. The developers tried to alleviate some of these issues with Retrofitted ships - endgame ships that have the appearance of the lower tiered ships. At least players could use the old Constitution class ship and stand their own against other players, but that didn't make the ship handle any differently from any other Cruiser, so offense was still an issue.
- Pokémon is a good example of the balanced view, as the Smogon fan community organizes characters into strict tiers for metagame informational purposes but players are encouraged to use the ones they like. It helps that the tiers are determined by how often certain Pokémon are used, so their strength is an influence but not the be-all-end-all. Moreover Smogon encourages players to play in the lower-tier metagames if they want to use their favourite Pokemon but those Pokemon are too weak to be useful in the top tier.
- Note: Whether or not these viewpoints are Hardcore or Casual tends to polarize on a case-by-case basis due to the ambiguous definition of "cheap".
- Negative view: They're Scrappy Mechanics that overcentralize gameplay around defending against one thing. It's generally poor taste to use them. Also they're just plain dull to watch.
- Positive view: Players who think what they use is fair but what we use isn't are Hypocrites. If you don't know how to beat them, just admit it and don't ruin it for everyone else.
- Neutral view: While they are valid tactics, just don't be a dick about relying on them. Shake things up a bit to keep things interesting.
- Notable cases:
- In general: Spam Attacks and Ring Outs are generally considered to be escapable, but very annoying and not very fun.
- Camping in any competitive First-Person Shooter and Turtling in Fighting games. In both cases, it revolves around remaining in a defensive position until the opponent leaves themselves with an opening. Funny thing is this is an contentious strategy on both ends of the spectrum.
- The word "clause" tends to be a Berserk Button in the fandom due to Smogon passing seemingly arbitrary rules, banning things like increasing the Evasion stat (which can turn a match entirely one-sided due to the opponent having to just wish in order to a hit — see Luck-Based Mission.
- Also from Smogon (big surprise, huh?), there are various controversies over specific moves:
- Swagger, which boosted the opponent's attack sharply, but gave them a chance of attacking themselves. It was once a legitimate tactic, but as the Prankster ability gives status moves priority and is more widely accessible than ever now, it turns fights against Klefki and Sableye into a gambler's roll — either you kill them with your boosted attack, or they kill you with their now-1000+ Base Power Foul Play. There is no middle ground in these types of matches. While it was eventually banned, even Smogon is divided within about it due to the move being a mainstay in the series for over a decade.
- Stealth Rock is an unusual case, being the only attack in the game which casual players support banning but competitive player's don't — it's often accused of being a case of Selective Enforcement due to its omnipresence making types such as Fire, Flying, and Bug very risky to use. However, contrary to popular belief, it was tested for banning — the results were, no mediocre pokémon were made any more viable, and good pokémon who were normally countered by it, such as Dragonite and Volcarona, were rendered utterly unstoppable. Also, with the addition since then of Mega Charizard Y and Talonflame, who are still some of the most lethal pokémon in the game even after being damaged by Stealth Rock, it's been rendered even more vital and will not be going away any time soon.
- In Soulcalibur IV, Hilde possessed a relatively easy combo in the initial release that could ring out any opponent, even if she hit them dead center of the stage. Hilde quickly became a Tier-Induced Scrappy because of how predictable and boring this was, but the tactic was so easy and so effective that within a year, every tournament was at least 70% Hilde. A later patch fixed this, but by then, it was too late.
- In Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, Kratos, who was intended to be an easy-to-use Skill Gate Character, instead turned out to be too easy to use. Rapidly mashing the Square button would build up his AP Meter at obscene speeds, leading to a quick Finishing Move. Even though most other Game Breakers were patched in later balance updates, Kratos remained completely untouched, even when official support of the game had ended. Even casual players had gotten sick of seeing this abused in every last online match.
- In Star Trek Online, Battle cloakers, ships that can switch their cloak on while engaged in combat, are reviled by some as being annoying to fight in PVP, since they tend to use Hit-and-Run Tactics: they can and will cloak and escape if they start taking too much damage, then return and decloak for another Alpha Strike. This wasn't so much an issue prior to Legacy of Romulus since only Klingon Birds-of-Prey had battle cloak, but the Romulans have it on every ship they make. Thus there are occasional demands to nerf the mechanic. Opponents of nerfing point out that there are counters available (e.g. investing skill points into Ship Sensors allows you to target cloaked ships within a certain radius, with the other guy's Ship Stealth providing an opposing roll), and that there are builds for Starfleet ships that can do the same "escape if you're hurting too bad" tactic just as easily with no cloak at all.
- Pinball gets hit with this hard. In order to play competitively, it's crucial to at least know how to catch the ball on a flipper to stop its movement completely. This, like nudging (in "Out-of-Game Tactics" below), is a technique to regain control of the ball, a key part of getting the highest scores out of a machine. However, this is frowned upon by ordinary people because it slows the pace of the game down to a snail's pace, especially in tournaments where players may keep the ball trapped for minutes at a time as they think carefully what to do next.
- Mario Kart DS introduced "snaking," in which one perpetually drift-boosts even when not cornering. Proponents say it's part of the game and a valid tactic; detractors say it makes the game a boring test of who can mash buttons faster instead of a contest of skill and knowledge of the karts and tracks.
- Mario Kart 8 has frog/fire hopping, a tactic where the player constantly hops their kart after a boost so the effect lasts longer, which is exploiting a glitch. Like with snaking, the fan base is heavily divided over whether or not the tactic is either fair or cheap and boring. All the time trial records are held by players who abused the technique.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl had "planking", the tactic of constantly grabbing and re-grabbing a ledge for the invincibility it gave you, for the purposes of stalling out a match. Given that tournament matches are typically set to a time limit of eight minutes, this quickly became unacceptable even for tournament play. Tournaments now typically limit the number of times a player can grab a ledge (counted in the after-match stats), a rare case of competitive play banning a specific tactic.
- Hardcore View: Competitive play inherently relies upon drawing as many people to the game as possible, and it takes lots and lots of hands to make sure tournaments are well-organized, well-regulated, and well-marketed. As such, trying to fragment the community to promote your own game, genre or play style above others hurts everybody, because in the end, nobody gets what they want.
- Casual View: The above is easy to say when you're a tourney player and thus get to control what rules are standardized, what games are streamed, and what tactics everyone uses. For people who don't agree with you, it's a constant struggle to even be acknowledged. Especially when the hardcore crowd mocks other games as being not "competitive." It's all well and good to say that everyone should hop on the same bandwagon, apparently so long as it's your bandwagon.
- Neutral View: Why is any of that stuff important anyway? Professional sports exists alongside college sports and amateur sports, so who cares if everyone plays the same way you do, or if your game isn't getting mainstream attention? Trying to force everyone to do things your way, or else, only makes outsiders look at both sides with revulsion and turns them off from participating in either side.
- Notable cases:
- In the Street Fighter II community, after Super Turbo HD Remix was released, the near-two-decade-old Super Turbo community lost its collective shit. Some liked the balance retweakings, the updated graphics and music, easier command inputs, and other changes, and declared it the new ST tournament standard. Others proclaimed it The Antichrist of fighting games which ruined the scene forever because the "retweakings" were more like "rebreakings", the new art was ugly weeaboo crap, the music was like razor blades directly to the eardrums, and the new command inputs made stuff like the formerly Difficult but Awesome Spinning Piledriver an instant Game Breaker. For years, the ST community was at war with itself over which version would be played, with many players intentionally sabotaging the other game to promote their own. Few players dedicated enough time to play both, and the new players that HDR brought in quickly lost interest. For a time, both versions disappeared from the scene (aside from extremely dedicated tournaments). In the end, classic ST won, but you could say it was a Pyrrhic Victory.
- Note: It's debatable whether or not this effects either side at all and typically relies on different definitions of "Hardcore" and "Casual", although it's still often dragged into debates on the topic.
- Hardcore view: If the game's afraid of the Moral Guardians, how can we have expect the gameplay to be any better?
- Casual view: If development didn't focus on spending so much time goring out profits, then maybe they actually could focus on gameplay!
- Neutral view: You Keep Using That Word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
- Notable Cases:
- The Console Wars since the third generation can be summed up as such; Nintendo has, since the 16-bit era, been consistently laughed at by the larger community and dismissed as "casual" due to their kiddie-looking games as opposed to the gritty, deep realism of the opposing consoles (first the Sega Genesis, then the PlayStation line and now the Xbox line).
- Hardcore view: An essential focus that prevents Railroading the metagame if paid proper attention to. A proper balance can help vastly improve the shelf life of a game and can make Tournament Play pleasantly variable.
- Casual view: An unimportant and ultimately pointless focus since no matter how balanced a roster is, players will just choose #1 on the Tier List anyway. Additionally, a focus on mechanics that players really look too much into can be a detriment to other areas of the game, such as story or customization.
- Neutral View: While a complete lack of balance can make gameplay shallow and quickly stale, focusing too much on it does lead to other areas suffering. The development deadline means development time is zero-sum — any attention given to one area takes away from another.
- Notable cases:
- The purpose behind Project M is that Super Smash Bros. Brawl had a number of balance issues, which it was dedicated to fixing to create a more lasting game. Being a Game Mod, it was afforded more time to do so.
- Soulcalibur V is often considered to have the best metagame in the Soul series, but is rather blatantly unfinished everywhere else. The developers have admitted that only one-fourth of the intended game was finished due to Executive Meddling, so the mechanics had to get the most attention and the fastest, which has left some players crying foul as they would rather have had the attention placed on the story that the series was typically known for.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome
- Hardcore view: A natural consequence of an Arms Race metagame is that players will naturally gravitate towards the stronger options. If players want to choose weaker things for the sake of variety, it's their loss.
- Casual view: A result of manipulation via the use of arbitrary Character Tiers, whether players admit it or not and whether or not they actually know how to use the "stronger options". Can also stagnate casual communities due to players repeatedly just glancing at the tier list and choosing #1, thinking they'll be unbeatable because of it.
- Neutral View: While it's generally a very bad thing, it really can't be avoided due to natural gravitation towards stronger options.
- Notable cases:
- In Street Fighter, Ryu and Ken have consistently been the most selected characters throughout the entire series. There's a reason IV provides the page image.
- In the Super Smash Bros. Melee community, the "No items, Fox only, Final Destination" meme reflects players' annoyance at the fact that, in a game full of wildly diverse characters and stages, only a few are typically chosen.
- The Wii U/3DS game attempts to appeal to both groups by having two online modes; "For Fun" is for casuals and allows everything, and "For Glory" is for the hardcore crowd as it enforces "No items, Final Destination" rules. Reactions to this feature remain mixed, particularly among the tournament crowd it was intended to appeal to. In particular, projectile users have a large advantage since there's nowhere to go to dodge, and Little Mac having the best ground play has made the online community shift almost entirely to using just him - more so than Fox was in Melee. In addition, the "For Fun" mode only allows for 2-minute timed matches with no stock (as opposed to For Glory where you can play two-stock battles - though still with a time limit, although a longer one), to the annoyance of players who like items but prefer to play with stock.
- In the Pokémon competitive scene, Smogon rules take advantage of the natural trends to choose more powerful characters, setting up its tier system based on frequency of use. The intention is to allow everyone to choose their personal favorites without danger of being swept by a select few who stand out.
- In Team Fortress 2, competitive players sometimes only accept one loadout per character as "the right way" to play a character, and any player using a weapon other than their favored three will get chewed out over chat or mic.
- In Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, despite there being a wide variety of characters, weapons, powers, and equipment to use, only specific combinations are considered "viable". Before a match starts, everyone on your team can see what character and loadout (except powers) you've chosen, and if you don't fit their ideal, will either leave or kick you from the game. ME3MP uses a Freemium model (equipment is given randomly through "packs", and each pack takes either hours of gameplay or real money), so players become extremely touchy about wasting their time and in-game money on bad players. However, this attitude especially sucks when you're a new player; how are you supposed to know this new weapon or character you spent days to earn is one of the "bad" ones? And how are you supposed to know why everyone keeps quitting your game and kicking you? This attitude was even worse before later patches, as searching for a Gold match would infallibly lead a player into a Firebase White/Geth match.note
Direct Playstyle Conflict
- Hardcore view: If a casual player is on my team, then there's no telling what that idiot will do. I can't plan around them! No matter how good I am, I'll lose for sure if they're allowed in the server, especially on my side!
- Casual view: I can't enjoy multiplayer on anything because you have to be Griefers everywhere I turn, making me lose every match in less than fifteen seconds with those inhuman reflexes that you could only possibly have developed in a basement. Get out, and let me have some fun for once!
- Neutral View: You're both making multiplayer completely inaccessible. You're either inescapable or laughable, and neither is very fun to play with, so... Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
- Notable cases:
- This problem is Older Than They Think. Players nowadays are more used to being able to enjoy a game the way they want to, in the privacy of their own homes. Few people below the age of 20 would know what it's like to rush into an arcade to play your favorite game and find it hogged by someone who doesn't play your way—whether that means tourney players who beat you so fast that you can't have fun or amateurs that get stuck on the same stage for hours and thus ruin a "serious" session. Someone living in the same household as their foil may have a close idea of how it feels, though.
- With the MOBA genre in general, notably League of Legends and Defense Of The Ancients, their teamwork based nature causes conflict between people who watch the metagame like a hawk and those who are just there for a good time with their favorite character. it doesn't help that the genre is developing into a serious "E-sport" where thousands of dollars are on the line for those with the skills to win it. People in the queues see pros win that kind of cash and dream of being on that kind of team, woe to anyone who isn't up to their standards.
- The MOBA genre has also a split between Teamfighting and Split Pushing, which are respectively based around initiating a large-scale fight advantegeously, using it to gain objectives uncontested, while Split pushing involves simply pushing lanes, getting a few hits on a tower, then escaping to whittle down targets while the enemy is forced onto the backfoot trying to keep their towers up. Split pushers call Teamfighters a pack of Zerglings while Teamfighters claim Split pushers simply lack the skill to actually play the game. It doesn't help that characters like Magnus, Enigma, Lycan or Nature's Prophet on Dota 2, and Katarina, Caitlyn, Kog'Maw and Ahri on League of Legends are good at one and garbage at the other.
- Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer: As mentioned above in Complacent Gaming Syndrome, the Freemium model of the game (not to mention the punishingly unfair difficulty) quickly grooms players into elitists that don't take kindly to wasting their time. By the time a player starts getting into Gold or Platinum difficulty (the only profitable way to earn in-game currency), they're conditioned to not tolerate mistakes of any sort. People who play for fun are either complete newbs (meaning they should stick to Silver, or better yet Bronze) or over-powered Super-veterans (who already have all the good stuff and thus both have more room for mistakes and less need for money), but there's a loooong period of difficult gameplay before the former becomes the latter. To get a picture of how annoying these player types can be working together, imagine reckless idiots combined with elitists; the former constantly get themselves killed or hinder objectives, the latter refuses to help a team they feel are "beneath" them, and both Rage Quit the match entirely, leaving anyone else to fend for themselves.
- Speed running dungeons in Final Fantasy XIV has the community heavily divided. Speed runs are done by having the tank pulling large amounts of enemies at once so that the DPS classes can nuke them with AOE spam and kill everything faster rather than engaging groups one at a time. Engaging dungeons with large pulls is risky because the party can wipe if the tank is not strong enough to survive the dog pile or the healer can't heal enough HP to the tank. Players who are in favor of the speed runs say the speed run tactic is fine and no one should tell them how to play whereas the people against the speed run don't like speeding through everything while also arguing that new players would get screwed over since they won't be prepared for a speed run. If there's fighting within the party over a screwed up speed run, the blame will be placed on everyone and some may just leave the party.
- PAYDAY 2 has two groups that generally butt heads; Stealth heisters and Loud heisters. Debate over which is better, more efficient, or fun tend to devolve quickly.
- Hardcore view: Sometimes the developers have seriously overlooked something which can overcentralize the metagame around defending against one specific aspect. Bans are essential when this is the case.
- Casual view: Players should have the right to choose who they want. If the developers have said it was okay to use them, then it's okay to use them.
- Neutral view: People will either want to play the game or they won't, so as a general rule, don't try to convince other people to think like you do. If you want to be a competitive player in a game where one character gives an unfair advantage, then work on being the best possible player with that character, but be fully prepared to be a Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond in all other circles for it. If you don't want to be competitive (or don't want to use said character), then don't, and find challenge/fun in doing the best you can with limited tools. If you don't want to do either, don't play the game, and don't ruin it for people that do.
- Notable cases:
- In Pokémon, with such a large number of characters which are largely left for the players to decide what goes on in their minds, players get attached to their team, and when one is suddenly banned, players can feel that it's a personal attack against their friend and partner. Case in point: Mega Kangaskhan, who was liked for her design but was found to be able to power up rapidly due to her signature ability being paired the move Power-Up Punch. Because of this, she was one of the few non-legendary Pokémon banned by Smogon rules in Pokémon X and Y. A lot of players who were glad that she was finally useful in battle were very cheesed off by this news, and the fact that Breakout Character Lucario's Mega Form was banned as well later has turned discussions about Smogon rather violent.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Meta Knight, who was the last character still able to Combo after the physics were radically altered due to Creator Backlash against the competitive community, was the only character in the series' history to be banned from Tournament Play. The fact that he's an Ensemble Darkhorse and generally a Badass doesn't help.
- In Tekken 4, everyone came to hate and fear four letters: JFLS. (Just Frame Laser Scraper, an attack possessed by Jin Kazama that was near-instantaneous, safe, spammable, and came with variations which forced you to guess.) At the height of T4's popularity, there was an organized movement to either ban Jin or go back to Tekken Tag Tournament as the marquee Tekken game. More than a decade later, T4 has been partially Vindicated by History, because dedicated players have found new techniques that beat JFLS and open up a new and rewarding metagame. To this day, it has a number of dedicated players that not only consider it a great game, but one of the best in the series that was judged too harshly, too quickly.
- There are some pinball machines whose scoring is severely lopsided. When its value is significantly lower, players tend to dismiss it. The issue is when the value of something is disproportionately high compared to its difficulty, as it causes players aware of this issue, novice and expert alike, to ignore all other things on the machine and focus solely on this one thing. Such an issue is present on Junk Yard: Collecting the hair dryer changes the mode "Run from Spike" to "Shoot the Dog" (not to be confused with the trope with the same name), which is more difficult and yields about half as many points. In fact, "Run from Spike" is the fastest and safest way to gain points in Junk Yard, and playing competitively on this machine consists mainly of activating the mode and playing it again and again.
- Hardcore View: Trash-talking, being coached by other players, watching the other player's screen, listening for button inputs, stalling between rounds to break the opponent's flow, and other things like that, are all considered valid tactics. You're not directly interfering with the player's ability to play, and smart players know how to counter this (such as using a different screen, using quieter buttons, creating "dummy" buttons in the Controls menu, and wearing headphones to drown out background noise. As always, there's ways around everything, so if you want to win, learn to deal with it.
- Casual View: But what does any of that have to do with skill?! Sure, some of that stuff is ambiguous, but if stalling the game and deliberately ruining someone's momentum is valid, then what about intentionally inducing lag or otherwise dropping the framerate to screw up inputs? What about players who take up too much space in the play area so that you have no room to comfortably use your controller or joystick? And why is being coached by other players during a match okay? If you didn't prepare enough for the match beforehand, shouldn't that be on you?
- Neutral View: Just compromise. If you think watching another player's screen is vastly unfair, but don't feel that strongly about coaching, then why not ban the former and allow the latter? Or, at the very least, allow some things but create limitations where possible so that fun, exciting matches stay the norm and the emphasis is squarely on in-game skill and decision-making.
- Notable Cases:
- "Coaching" has been a hot-button issue in many tournaments, especially those where the play area is cut off from the rest of the venue. Some players like allowing their friends or teammates to come to the stage and tell them things they may have noticed. Other players think this is unfair, because it gives an advantage to players who come with a posse, or that are popular with the crowd. Others still think that taking five minutes between a match to talk unnecessarily slows the game down.
- The slowdown problem with coaching was a serious issue during the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U / 3DS portion of APEX 2015. Even though the matches themselves had a shorter duration than even those of Melee, the excessive coaching between rounds slowed the game down to a crawl, and the event was ultimately considered nothing short of disaster.
- Lag: the bane of a professional player's existence. Lag, frame delay, input drops, etc, directly interferes with a match and randomly makes it possible for a well-practiced technique or combo to fail. Thus, many pros either never play online or refuse to take it seriously. However, with the advent of streaming, LAN parties, and online tournaments, these sorts of problems are becoming more and more unavoidable. Players who primarily play online (or can only play online) don't like having their skill and hard practice invalidated by pros who say they "only" win because of lag or say things like "Play me in real life", and a lot of people certainly do not like it when rich First World people have an actual advantage due to being able to afford faster, more stable internet connections. It's true that online and real life are two different arenas, but if you're only good in one and not the other, isn't it your problem if you're out of your habitat?
- Every Pinball professional knows how to nudge the machine to save the ball, and this has been a part of Pinball since the creation of the genre. However, non-professionals hate it because the use of outside forces to influence the ball's movements feels like cheating. That being said, all pinball machines have a mechanism that penalizes the player for shaking the machine too vigorously, which is turned up to its maximum sensitivity in all major tournaments.
- Hardcore view: Affects gameplay negatively by distracting and can turn the match around with a lucky roll of the dice.
- Casual view: Can add variety to a stale metagame, along with preventing one skilled player from wiping the floor with all others every time.
- Neutral view: "Luck" is relative. It's a skill in itself to take advantage of good luck or to minimize bad luck. Ask anyone who's ever played poker, or been in something as chaotic as a gunfight. And if even that isn't possible, then you should learn how to Know When to Fold 'Em.
- Notable cases:
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl had Random tripping, which couldn't be disabled or worked around (unlike items and stage hazards) and left many a player highly vulnerable, turned many matches completely around.
- In Pokémon, Critical Hits often have the potential to destroy an opponent who otherwise would have survived, especially since the metagame is fast-paced enough to where even the strongest are generally knocked out in two hits.
- Smogon has the stated goal of minimizing the effects of luck on matches. While they take little issue with Critical Hits, Paralysis, and other similar aspects of the game (though many players in such circles get annoyed when they come into play, even if it's in their favor.), they have banned Abilities like Moody, items like Brightpowder, and moves like Double Team due to how they provide nothing skill-based to a game, instead merely introducing luck for its own sake. A number of Smogon's members believe that evasion-boosting isn't nearly as powerful as it once was, but are still against it being unbanned for this reason.
- Mario Kart gets the debates of "skill versus luck" for nearly every single installment, mostly due to the Spiny Shell item that targets people in first place and nobody else unless other people got in the way of the item. Since the types of items that appear are influenced by RNG and the position of the player when they get the item, the debate takes over from there.
- Mario Party goes through a similar debate from Mario Kart where people argue whether or not skill should be a factor in who wins the game or if luck is the entire point of the game so that anyone can win. Mario Party 9 caused a major divided among fans due to the game easing up on luck based games and events.
- Pinball faces this issue on two fronts. The first is the accusation of pinball's gameplay being mostly made of luck. The hardcore vehemently argue otherwise but agree that older machines have a stronger element of luck than newer ones. This stigma, in fact, got pinball classified as gambling devices and thus illegal in some cities, most notably New York City, and has not gone away even with Roger Sharpe's courtroom demonstration that proved so convincing that the ban was overturned. The other issue is that while most machines will give out fixed amout of points under predetermined conditions, there are a few machines whose viability for competitive play is under dispute due to there being a strong element of chance to scoring and/or progression, such as Jack*Bot and Monopoly, which are well-liked tables by those not interested in competition.
- In Dota2, it is actually the competitive scene that is largely in favour of the RNG because it can be exploited to some degree (pseudorandom number distribution means a string of fails is followed by a near guaranteed success).
- Hearthstone is infamous for having RNG based mechanics that can swing an entire match on one bad roll. Oddly enough, there are different groups in the hardcore and casual groups that both support and hate this for various reasons.
MST 3 K Mantra
- Hardcore view: I know it's a game, but this is how I play, this is how I get immersed. I take the engine by the reins and push it to its limits, and you have no idea how thrilling it is. It may not look like much, but trust me, there's nothing more fun than squeezing all you can out of a game.
- Casual view: You're taking this way too seriously, and it's ruining it for the rest of us who want to actually play the game.
- Neutral view: You play what you like and I play what I like; people are allowed to enjoy things however they like as long as it doesn't interfere with others' fun.
- Notable cases:
- The Guitar Hero and Rock Band fandoms are split between those who just think it's fun to play the electric guitar and fantasize about rock stardom and those who play for the leaderboards, aiming to hit every note perfect and ender Star Power at exactly the right points.
- In Pokémon and Digimon, do you just go nuts raising adorable superpowered critters, or do you strive To Be a Master?
- Star Trek Online Do you strive to boldly go where no man has gone before, immersing yourself in the interstellar world you've grown to love, or do you seek to conquer the galaxy?
- Is Super Smash Bros. a fun party game where you beat up colorful characters, or a fast-paced all-out battle with deeper potential than Nintendo realizes?
- Is Hearthstone's relative simplicity the perfect platform for a new card game competitive scene, or is it just a fun game to pop in and play a few games with a deck made for ridiculousness?