I think I know what I don't like about KI

Let me start by saying that this game is very fun, but I think I realized what I don’t like. It’s that the combos don’t feel like they were earned. I tried a new character the other day, and pulled off a 28 hit combo, on accident. I have no problem with the execution being simple, I think all fighters should, but I shouldn’t be able to do stuff like that, just from a simple opener. I should have to get my character to a certain state, that allows me to do that. Perhaps maybe a stun state. Maybe Openers, should have longer start up. I know that’s what combo breakers are for, but it’s all guessing. There is no way my opponent is going to know, if I’m alternating between high,mids, and lows. Just doesn’t seem fair. I found myself feeling bad for my opponent after awhile. I just feel like I wasn’t working for it. Please let me know what I’m misunderstanding. I don’t claim to be pro at this game, it’s just I know part of the enjoyment for me, in fighting games, is the build up to the big combos. There is no build up, if every single hit, is an ultra.

KI I have always seen as an easier fighting game to play at any level, Combos in this game are not as rewarding as any other fighter because they are so damned easy (manuals to an extent included)…I like it but at the same time I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore ‘look into the tech’ fighting game enthusiast

Maybe old KI, but this game? KI can have some extremely complex combos once you get below the surface special>auto>linker>auto>ender stuff. Maybe I’m used to watching more pros lately, but to me, it looks like they earn everything they get.

Can you provide a little context? Were you playing online? What rank was the opponent? Were you playing the computer? What difficulty? I only ask because anyone can do a 28 hit combo if you open your opponent up and either have some meter and an opponent that guesses poorly or you get a counterbreaker.

Also curious which character you wereusing. If it’s someone like Jago or Thunder, then yeah, that’s a pretty damaging combo, but if we’re talking Kan-Ra or Cinder or someone like that? It probably did what, 40%? Not really a big deal.

Regardless, the whole point is the two-way interaction. It’s not Street Fighter where you make the correct read, open the opponent up and then earn the ability to do what you want. I mean yes, there is that aspect, but the combo system is the difference.

To earn the ability to do a larger or more damaging combo against most people or the CPU above easy difficulty, your opponent needs to guess the wrong strength and get locked out, or by having shadow meter and using it wisely, or by you correctly guessing when your opponent is going to try and break and counter-breaking them, etc.

You try and get better at earning longer or more damaging combos in a variety of ways; mixing in manuals, more juggling, recaptures, mixing in heavys in unpredictable ways, doing stuff that’s harder for the opponent to recognize and break.

I’ve played a lot of fighting games, and I think KI has one of the best systems I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of depth underneath the surface, and the more you learn, and the more you play against opponents that know what they’re doing, the more you feel like you earned that combo, probably more than most games, IMO.

But that’s just me and my experience with the game. I don’t fault you for you opinion. Not in the least.

Were you using cam?

Sounds more like you’re simply not fighting people near your skill level. If they’re not breaking you and letting you open them up easily then it sounds like they’re not providing you with much of a challenge.

KI rewards mind games more than combos.

For the first few months of playing, combo breaking is probably the most important part of KI, because that is all most players focus on.

But when you get REALLY good at the “neutral” gameplay (gameplay outside of combos), You will find that there is a whole new level of execution and strategy to learn.


I’m very curious. Do you have combo assist on?

I played a lot with friends during PAX South and I found that a lot of them had great success in pulling off combos while button mashing with combo assist on. Definitely not the way it was intended to be used, but it still worked for what a few of them were using it for.

I don’t find pulling off large combos accidentally very easy at all without combo assist.

Yeah when you counter break somebody three times in a row and hear the salt pouring out the headset I would say that doing combos is pretty rewarding.

If you don’t focus on the counter and combo breaking then yeah,then yea combos are easy I guess


The game isn’t about just doing combos… combos are ‘easy’ to do because they are ‘easy’ to break… just because you can do combos doesn’t mean you are going to win. And if you had combo asset on then yea it would be easy because it helps new comers… not all fighters have to have difficult combos to pull off to feel justified… I feel justified wit KI baiting people into a counter break because I am doing stupidly long combo and then getting more damage from it.

That’s actually exactly the way CAM was intended to be used - let a player roll his face around the pad and still have cool stuff come out. KI combos are easy for anyone who is used to fighters and has had some time with the game; the real challenge of KI comes from the mind games within them. CAM is designed to make combo execution trivial for everyone, so that everyone can break into that second layer of mind games that is unique to KI.

In response to @Hayabusaslice, it honestly just sounds like you aren’t playing people (AI’s?) that are any good. Very few characters get to rack up 25+hit combos at all, and certainly not for free. Against anyone who isn’t mashing first frame breaks or being tagged by counter breakers, you’re very unlikely to get a combo that high

And while guessing can play a role in the break game even at high level, to conclude that breaking is all about guessing is more indicative of your own personal skill level and preferences than a description of the actual risk/reward dynamic at play within the breaker game. That’s not a knock on you, by the way. A lot of players (especially new ones) see the break game in that light, and it’s a big part of the reason many will never rise above a certain level. While you can play KI as an exercise in pure guesswork, you will eventually get blown up quite hard for it as you move up in the ranks.


Combo breakers are all guessing? Fight someone who knows how to break and comeback. (Not trying to be mean if it seems that way). If you want,you can try to do those combos and if I can break only around 33% of the time,I am guessing. Now if you counter break,then awesome.

This is a weird sentiment considering KI is the only fighting game there is that requires you to do more than open your opponent up and then input your optimal, memorized combo. If you can get all the way through a 28 hit combo without getting broken in KI you have definitely earned it.


It’s on your opponent to contain the damage inflicted each time you open them up. Medium and (especially) heavy auto doubles are reactable, as are heavy linkers with some practice. They of course have to contend with the possibility that you could counter-break to catch their reaction (which is basically the only place you should be counter-breaking unless you’re in your opponent’s head), but the idea that you’re going to spam heavies and end a combo with 28 hits and 60% damage every time against a halfway-awake opponent is absurd.

That means you’ll be pushed into light auto doubles and the manual system, which is where things get interesting, and combos start to feel much more earned.

A skilled player might get into the habit of assembling combos out of smaller chunks that they’ve gotten good at executing reliably as chunks, which balance damage with breakability risk, and trying to select from those chunks in such a way as to avoid predictability. On top of the execution barrier on manuals, gaining proficiency with this kind of strategy requires gaining a sense of which of your chunks can be sequenced next to each other on-the-fly, as well as learning to mix them up sufficiently on-the-fly such that opponents don’t see a pattern and get a read and break you.

As an example, as a Jago player I might have the following chunks:

crLK xx medium wind kick
clMK xx medium wind kick
crLK xx light wind kick, crLK xx medium wind kick
clMK xx light wind kick, light manual xx medium wind kick
clMK xx light wind kick xx heavy auto double xx medium wind kick
clMK xx light wind kick xx heavy auto double with counter break attempt

crLK xx fireball ender
clMK xx launcher ender, sweep
clMK xx shadow fireball, fireball xx shadow DP

Here I’ve decided that a few options I have, such as heavy linkers, are usually not worth doing, and I’m ending a lot of these chunks with medium wind kick linkers, because, unlike the light linkers, the pause between the medium linker and the required manual input helps me to catch my breath and decide what to do next. Luckily all of these chunks are “compatible” with each other: they start with light or medium manuals, which can both be done after the medium linkers the chunks all end with. I’ve also got a few fancy enders composed of multiple moves that I’ve labbed out for either high damage or advantage going into the wakeup game, which function like miniature versions of optimal combos in other fighting games.

But as my opponent, you’re going to notice a whole lot of medium wind kick linkers if I assemble my combos from those chunks. In particular you might start to predict that I’ll follow a light linker with a medium linker every time, so you’ll “guess” break medium on the linker following the next light linker you see. Or maybe you’ll just guess-break mediums arbitrary linkers and accept the ~2-in-3 success rate. So maybe I should go focus on trying to extend my chunks (which also means having more chunks to choose from probably, which is hard) or I should get better at putting together combos from chunks that aren’t separated by that convenient medium linker (which means I lose my breather moment, which makes things harder).

Or maybe I should get better at just assembling arbitrary stuff on-the-fly. But not only is that even more difficult, because I have to compensate for timing and manual rules on-the-fly (light manuals after light linkers, light/medium manuals after medium linkers), but honestly, the human brain isn’t built to spit out randomized strings of moves. People just fall into habits of grinding out certain predictable chunks whether they’re thinking about it or not. I got into the habit of doing medium laser sword linker into light manual for no particular reason a while ago, and if anyone picked up on it they were getting free breakers all over the place. I mean, there have apparently been studies done on this, which I might try to link to later: people are not only bad at randomizing sequences of values, but are pretty decent at subconsciously picking up on patterns in sequences of values that other people try to randomize by hand.

Hopefully the above gives some sense that there is such a thing as skilled guesswork.

But if not, think about, say, the wakeup game in any fighting game: attack-block-throw and whatnot. A meaty attack by the offense beats every button the defense can press, and puts them at disadvantage on block (which is a little like playing the wakeup game a second time), but loses to invincible reversals. If the defense blocks, the offense could decide to throw instead, which beats blocking and buttons but loses to the reversal. So why not try that reversal thingy and blow up meaties and throws? Because duh, the reversal is hella unsafe and the offense just blocked, and now gets to break out their harshest punish.

So what, in either role, do you do? You friggen guess, of course.

Also as the defense you can learn to do things like late throw techs (so your input gets ignored if you block an attack, you escape a throw attempt, and you might get a throw if your opponent tries blocking to bait a reversal, however this loses to jumping, late buttons, command grabs, etc), backdashes (can lose to fast-recovering meaties, hard reads and fancy option selects depending on the characters), shadow counters (do you know the timing of the follow-up move? Will they not press a follow-up button so they can bait the shadow counter?), etc. But you’re still guessing your way out of wakeup pressure.

Similar things can be written about basically all facets of fighting games. If you don’t like guesswork, get out of the genre.

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The longer the combo the more you risk you’re combo being broken and not being effective. The higher you get up in rank the more you will have people break you’re combo before you get to 28 hits. That’s when you’re going to need to do shadow moves and mixing up your strength.

Just on the subject of “it’s all guessing.” It’s only guessing if you’re bad at it. If it was only guessing then the winner of any match would be random and we wouldn’t see the same top players showing up over and over again in tournaments. So the idea that it’s guessing, random or luck is demonstrably untrue. This is actually the easiest part of the game to defend because we have empirical data to prove that it’s not random in the form of tournament results. If it was guessing then the results would be random and the odds of having the Evo champion also won the KI Cup would be astronomically low.

Other nonsense like “the combos don’t feel earned” is totally subjective.

I feel similar, that the game is too dumbed down and easy. The timing is so loose, for example I can execute a linker 2 or 3 seconds early and it still works. There’s no timing involved with combos anymore and the reward factor isn’t there.

Also, some characters were obviously made to be super easy for novice players and even people brand new to fighters to pick up and that’s a shame. Sabrewulf for example requires no skill at all to do any of the “special” moves, it’s all back and forth motions and not even requiring a charge - this is ridiculously dumbed down and quite honestly insulting to people who played he originals.

With at least 3 or 4 of the new characters, I was able to do their ultra the very first match I used them in without even looking at the command list, I just guessed.

The OP hasn’t posted a reply yet, but considering that you guys have all done such a wonderful job at explaining the combat system (in my eyes), I think that might be why. Also, it puts a smile to my face. I’d add more to to it, but I honestly can’t think of much you guys haven’t already covered. Keep up the good work! This community is awesome! :smiley:

This is very revealing. The idea that the game might be approachable for new players is a negative for you.

There’s a subset of people in the world who are experienced enough with fighting games to be able to do QCF motions and DPs who think that those skills are what make you good at fighting games. Thats like thinking that knowing scales makes you a good musician. You have to know those basics in order to advance further, but there is nothing musical about the mechanics of playing a scale. Further, you can be highly proficient at playing scales and be a lousy musician. Same with reading music. Yeah, it’s a helpful skill. But no one is going to say Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles were bad musicians because they couldn’t read music.

If you think that the point of a fighting game is for people who can pull off QC motions and memorize combos with opaque rules and strict timings to beat up on people who can’t, then KI is not the game for you. But you are also completely missing the higher level strategic components of the game which are very rewarding. By lowering the execution barrier, KI actually increases the number of people with access to those higher level strategic components, thus making the game more competitive and challenging.

I have a very strong opinion on this subject, which I will mostly keep to myself. But if you have the attitude that those basic execution skills are the essence of being good at fighting games you are really limiting your own experience with the game.


Cool guess bro, but don’t know why you would think this is a negative with the game, unless reading the move list is a rite of passage or something.

If every ultra in the game was QCF + PPP, and you never had to guess at all, the game would be no worse off.

<tugs collar nervously>


What does memorizing timing have to do with intelligent play? I mean, since you’re mentioned that KI’s approach is, on the contrary, “dumb”, I’m asking.

[quote=“DANK2theNUGZ, post:16, topic:5243”]
Sabrewulf for example requires no skill at all to do any of the “special” moves…[/quote]
Welcome to the world of 21th, where concept of user interface design exist.

I will never understand why some people prefer fighting against their controller more than against their opponent while playing inherently multiplayer genre. This is beyond me.

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