Kappy’s Paper Mario Challenge Running Tier List v4.0 (December 2018)

Since the end of December of 2017, I’ve been keeping tabs on the players who challenge run Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. I did this mainly because despite there not being an official list of the best players from the Glitz Pit Discord, there’s still discussion about it. Also, I like tier lists.

No extra fluff like last update. The only thing I’ll mention is I didn’t write a little blurb unless your position changed in some way or something really stood out. So, let’s jump right in.

 

GOD TIER

— The best of the best. The cream of the crop.
(sorted alphabetically)
COMBINED
  • Jdaster64
  • Kappy — The + goes away. To be honest, I definitely feel like I’m on a decline, and I’ll bet a lot of people are thinking the same. I’ve been focusing on my personal life (since I got a new puppy) and my other streaming endeavors, putting challenge running on the back burner without finishing everything I wanted to do (particularly in TTYD). In order to 110% cement myself as the Greatest Of All Time in Paper Mario challenge running, I’m going to be kicking myself into high gear next year. I don’t like getting rusty, and I’m feeling more determined than ever.
  • Koop
TTYD
  • ilikepieinmouth — Pie has now completed Impossible Pit and a slew of ultra superguard heavy Pit runs. At this point, I would go as far as to say he is the best superguarder in TTYD. However, I think he’s going too far into these superguard-heavy runs. I’d like to see Pie demonstrate that he can strategize with the best of them and not need to rely on raw superguarding to push through to victory — in fact, I’d like to see some superguardless runs. At this point, just seeing him superguard everything is getting stale, and while his position here is pretty stable, you can always fall from godhood; in my eyes, he will if he doesn’t change up his game…
64
None.

ELITE TIER

— Players in this tier are highly proficient in their game of choice. These are some of the best.
(sorted alphabetically)
COMBINED
  • Fatguy
  • GamerFourFun — With a recent Level -1 completion in 64 (including Final Bowser), GamerFourFun has reached Elite level in both games. This guy just keeps completing runs from fun to difficult. I hope he continues to play…he has potential to push through to God tier in either game. I think he goes relatively unnoticed, which is too bad. Go watch this guy!
  • MilesLuigi
  • Olmi
TTYD
  • A. A. Ran
  • amazydayzee
  • Gibstack — With a flurry of Pit challenges and some cool other challenges that aren’t the Extreme Randomizer, I think Gibstack has finally earned his spot as an Elite player in TTYD! His best asset is his strategy, which is something I rarely see in Elite TTYD players — most of them lean on the superguard side.
64
  • DarkMario1000

GREAT TIER

— Players in this tier are proficient in their game of choice. These are what I would consider to be a “general” challenge runner.
(sorted alphabetically)
COMBINED
  • MellowMathTeacher
TTYD
  • DarkMario1000
  • Dyla+
  • Kyle — Another explosive challenge runner. Like Dyla, he completed a bunch of Pit challenges: PHP, PHP NMRP, 10 HP PHP NMRP, Prologue Pit, and then 10 HP Prologue Pit all blazing fast. A couple things are holding him back, but to summarize — not enough strategy-involved challenges, and not enough footage. If he’s trying to be the best superguarder, then I’d say he’s easily the 4th best superguarder…but I’d like to see how his consistency evolves over time before I say he’s better than any of the current top 3.
  • Miccat87+ — Miccat has completed Disabled Pre-Ch2 Pit, and is now working on BP Only and No Damage. This will be a great chance to see how he strategizes, and might be what pushes him over the edge into Elite. We’ll just have to wait and see…
  • StarmanOmega
64
  • Timmy — Now that the 64 community challenges have gone through almost the whole game, I’ve been able to see more of Timmy’s play. The more I see, the more I like, and with Pro Mode Single Partner already on his resume, there’s other place but Great. We’ll see if he can push further than this.
  • TwoPieRadian

GOOD TIER

— Players here have breached past what I would consider “casual” and are officially challenge runners (or have the skills to be one). Most new challenge runners will be put her since usually they’ve only completed one or two challenges or are in the process of completing their first one.
(sorted alphabetically)
COMBINED
  • simodomino
TTYD
  • Gible_V
  • TwoPieRadian
64
  • A. A. Ran+ — Thanks to the Community Challenges, I can see a clear improvement in A. A. Ran’s play in 64. There’s a lot of strategizing coming from him, and while his strategies aren’t the most elegant, they’re definitely getting better. I expect him to be Great tier by the end of them.
  • Jon — A newcomer with the community challenges underway. He’s not bad; I can easily seeing him pushing into Great soon, but we’ll see how he fares from there.
  • Lolyuri — Another newcomer thanks to the community challenges! Lolyuri is good, and I’m seeing some nice play…he could push into Great easily if I see more.
  • Mailguy — Yet another newcomer with the 64 Community Challenges underway. He relies a little too heavily on RNG as his core, but shows promise. He just needs to work more reliability into how he plays.
  • Miccat87

INACTIVE TIER

— Inactive Players. Players have their last tier listed for reference.
(sorted alphabetically)
  • Auron Nomcario — Great Tier (64) | Good Tier (TTYD)
  • avengah — Elite Tier (TTYD)
  • Blanket P.I. — Great Tier (COMBINED)
  • catbooger — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Codebox — Great Tier (COMBINED)
  • DiamondCrafterA — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Dount Cooku — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Feposo — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Gradis — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Jayjar100 — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • JakeTheSnake — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Mathcat — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Michael The Fox — Great Tier (TTYD)
  • Mr_Some1 — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • ngburns — Great Tier (TTYD)
  • OmegaRaptor — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Prentiscool — Good Tier (TTYD)
  • Skawo — Elite Tier (COMBINED)
  • Snowy — Great Tier (TTYD)
  • Starlad — Good Tier (64)
  • stebbdogg — Great Tier (TTYD)
  • Wayoshi — Elite Tier (TTYD) | Great Tier (64)
  • ThatOneSpyGuy — Elite Tier (TTYD)
  • TRex Quisite — Great Tier (COMBINED)
NOTABLE CHANGES & THOUGHTS
  • Pie, in my opinion, has succeeded me as the current best superguarder in TTYD. Congrats, Pie! Your hard work in that area has paid off!…but seriously, go do some superguardless challenges.
  • Kyle really shook up the game. If he completes Impossible Mode soon I think he’ll be ahead of A. A. Ran and become the third best superguarder.
  • Congrats to GamerFourFun for becoming Elite in both games!
  • It’s been 1 year since I started making these. I hope you all have been enjoying them as much as I have making them!

And that’s it for this version of the tier list! I hope you all enjoyed reading my thoughts on this. If you’re interested in making it on this list, start challenge running (and if I missed you, let me know)! A great resource for challenge runners is the Glitz Pit, a Discord server dedicated to challenge running the Paper Mario series.

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Tales of Xillia: 4-man Co-op (first impressions)

So, for anyone who doesn’t know, I stream myself playing games pretty much every Saturday night. Usually, I do single-player games with a commentator or two. This time, after talking to a friend, I decided that I would tackle a game from the Tales series of games. These games are known for supporting 4-player combat, although most people just play by themselves or with one other person. Now, each Tales game generally has a gimmick that they can use to enhance combat.

However, Tales of Xillia’s is a little odd. It actually “hampers” 4-man combat. When you link with another character, the one being linked to is automatically taken over by an AI, and only unlinking will restore the ability to control that character. It’s basically a way to make playing by yourself easier and more fun because it makes the AI much smarter.

Now, at first, I didn’t like it. I didn’t think my group would need it. But then I started doing some research after a very painful 1st boss, and after doing some research and really thinking about it, 4-man combat with linking is starting to grow on me.

Let me explain linking really quick. Linking allows characters to beef themselves up, share skills, and use “Link Artes”, more powerful versions of normal Artes. With 4 players, linking isn’t really an option if everyone wants to participate in 100% of the combat. So, you’re basically gimping yourself for bosses, which is the problem (normal battles are completely fine with no linking). How can my group utilize linking effectively while not feeling like we can’t play during boss battles?

The easy way is to have two people allow themselves to be linked from time-to-time. I played a lot of Tales of Symphonia – it was my first ever Tales game! I played it so much I’d go through the whole game just having the CPU’s fight during boss battles and managing them through items. So, really, I’m okay with being linked and just sitting there sometimes, but even I’ll want to play sometimes, so I’m set on finding a way to utilize linking differently than the game intends you to (which is have it up basically all the time).

My strategies going in are not to try and fill the Link Gauge, which is filled through normal attacks while linked and using Artes while linked.

We could link for different things quickly. For example, if one of us is knocked down, we link with Jude, get picked up, and then unlink. We could link to position someone from behind quickly since the AI is programmed to take the best route to the back of an enemy. These are the kinds of small optimizations I think we could use with linking to utilize it while still basically playing the whole time.

We could also link just to spam more powerful artes if the boss is knocked down/stunned, and then unlink. It’d be a quick link to unleash a couple powerful attacks.

Those are all I’ve got right now though. If we wanted to fill the Link Gauge effectively we could go in waves of 2 players being linked and switching off every “tier” (I think there’s 4) of the Link Gauge. Again, I personally am okay with letting myself be linked, but this is a final resort kind of option if the boss is really hard and we need over limit.

I’m actually pretty excited to try and master linking with 4 people. Sure, it’s not the standard Tales 4-player experience, but to be honest it’s kind of refreshing and I think it can be a lot of fun. It’s obviously poorly designed (it feels like the multiplayer for Xillia was shoe’d in), but I’m the kind of guy who tries to make something work, and I think linking could be a really cool way to play this game with 4 people, even if it’s generally seen as bad. I think there’s a lot of strategy to be had with this sort of linking; unfortunately, no one’s really experimented with it and just bash it, so I think there’s a lot of untapped potential here.

There’s got to be a way to make this work. I think people just focus on filling the Link Gauge too much and not on the little optimizations you can make regardless of the Link Gauge.

Just Sayin’.

OPINION: Casual players have less fun than competitive players.

Do any of the following phrases sound familiar?

“I just want to have fun.

“I play for fun.”

“You’re ruining games by playing competitively.”

Maybe you’re one of those who says this to others when getting beaten to a pulp. That’s okay, I understand; I’m just going to point out that your ego is bigger than my ego, and I play games competitively.

Outrageous? Not at all. When hardcore and casual – especially in games with a competitive scene – collide, there’s an almost instant animosity: casuals do not like competitive. Why? Because we, the collective competitive, take away from the experience (apparently), and make games not fun.

Before I delve further, I’m going to define what a casual is for this post (as to not offend everyone. LOL). Casuals are not retired competitive players, they are not players who only play every once in a while, they are not players that respect competitive play; casuals are players who degrade competitive play and players, and complain when they lose to said competitive players by utilizing those three phrases (among others similar to those).

See, the problem with those three phrases are that they implant this kind of hierarchy onto “how to have fun”. “Having fun” is at the top, and “playing competitively” is at the bottom.

I guess now is as good a time as any – casuals, you’re not having as much fun as I am.

See, no one likes to lose. We like to succeed. When we lose, we stop having fun (this is somewhat true – you can learn to accept defeat and still have fun, but I’m digressing). When casuals say they want to play for fun, they’re not just playing a game to “have fun”. No, they’re playing with friends that they can beat, or with a randomness factor so large that sometimes you can’t tell who is better and winning is almost purely by chance (Mario Party comes to mind as an example).

Casuals say that playing a game at a high level takes away from the experience, but think about this: have you ever played through a game and not gotten better at it? Difficulty curve is part of game design; the game is designed to become more difficult as you progress and improve. That means all the casuals who are beating these games are doing so because they’re improving, getting better; they’re playing at a higher level.

They’re justifying their losses by putting down those who are better, or put in more time and effort than they do, but it’s still not fun to lose. They’d be having more fun if they accepted that they’re not going to put effort into a game and will lose to those who do most of the time, or if they start putting in that effort and seeing some results. They’d have more fun if they learned how to take a loss and still have fun instead of getting salty and trying to make excuses as to why they’re getting their ass beat. They’d have more fun if they respected competitive play.

Oh, you play for “fun”? Yeah, right. Everyone wants to be good at what they play. The difference between casual and competitive is that casual blames the competitive for their loss, while the competitive blames themselves (or the game. LOL) for their loss.

Just Sayin’.