A few weeks ago, my friend Jascha and I were went on a multi-hour Overwatch binge. New to the game, Jascha bounced around from one character to the next, hoping to find a character to invest in. At first, he struggled mightily with high-learning curve characters like McCree and Widowmaker. Then he moved onto Symmetra and Tracer, where he started to show some positive gains. Despite his initial success with those characters, he stubbornly went back to McCree and Widowmaker, failing now just as he did before.
Piquing my interest with this curious decision, I asked him why he went away from characters that were working for him. While I don’t remember his exact response, it was clear to me that it was going to take more than being good for him to stick with a character.
Becoming a master of every single character in any fighting game is really hard. Now that games have dozens of characters with nearly as many play styles and a countless number of moves to understand, reaching a peak level of effectiveness with everyone is prohibitively time-intensive for almost anyone. With only so much time one can spend on any given fighting game, most people lean heavily towards one main character and possibly a back-up.
I fully endorse the approach of learning every nook and cranny of one character. You don’t have to look very far for examples of people who have taken this approach, such as Smug of Dudley fame in the Street Fighter IV series. However, that doesn’t mean that any time you play with a character other than your main is a waste.
In this edition of the Universal Fighting Game Guide, we cover the virtues of character variety. No one will ever expect you to master every single character in a game, but so much can be learned by exploring the grass on the other side. Here’s how character variety can make you a better fighting game player.