When I last wrote about Yomi, I was still very new to the game, but I’d decided to buy a single online character to get me started and to help me learn to play the game.
I do think this is definitely the best way to get started at online Yomi, because I feel there’s just too much going on and too much to learn if you are playing with different characters every week on the free rotation; unless of course you tons of time to play every week.
So if you do decide to plump for the “buy a character” option to play Yomi, as I did, you’re going to make a decision about who’s the right character for you to pick. There is a useful discussion thread about this over at fantasystrike.com that got me thinking about it too.
In the end, I decided to go for Grave as my “main”, and here are my thoughts on why:
1. He seemed to play slower games which I tend to prefer.
2. I liked playing him a lot when he was available for free play.
3. He didn’t seem to be so ‘random’ or reliant on a big combo/move or using a special ability like Geiger & Argagarg. The reason I compared to those two is that I also really liked playing as Geiger & Argagarg a lot too when they were free, but I got frustrated by the feeling of ‘heightened stakes’ whenever I played Temporal Distortion with Geiger or used a Bubble Shield with Arg. Obviously it’s possible to take some big gambles with Grave too, but it didn’t seem as “built into” his design, at least that was my perception of these characters at the time!
4. He has all the ‘moves’ in Yomi – Attack, Throw, Block & Dodge options in reasonable amounts. I didn’t like playing Rook or Midori (more throw-based ‘grappler’ characters) as much because I felt like they couldn’t try and do everything in the game as well. Similarly I didn’t like playing Setsuki because everything with her seemed to be based too much around Attack/Throw. I also felt it was better to learn as a character who ‘competes’ with all the moves in the game, to help me learn the game overall and so I can better understand what it means to not have some options available.
5. People generally said he was a good character to learn with and easy to learn (again, see the discussion link).
6. In a bit of reverse logic, he basically seemed to be the character I disliked the least! For every character I could come up with some reasons why I didn’t want to play as them, but Grave’s seemed the most minor to me. For a while I was really tending towards Argagarg until I found out more things about him that made me realise he was a lot more ‘aggressive’ than I’d expected and Bubble Shield wasn’t quite as good as I’d thought it was.
7. In terms of flavour, I already felt Onimaru was probably my favourite – but the Yomi expansion (version 2) that will have Onimaru is still a long way off, so I decided that Grave was probably the closest in flavour to Onimaru as I could get right now.
However as mentioned above, even Grave had some ‘strikes’ against me choosing to play as him. Here they are in more detail, and why I decided they didn’t matter so much to me as perhaps they might have done in another game –
1. He’s the “main boring characterless character” that ‘everyone plays’. ie He’s, at least intended to be the ‘Ryu’ of Yomi, and I rarely play as Ryu in Street Fighter partly because I hate main boring characters… so, this does make me feel a bit dirty using Grave. 🙂 However the counter to this is, unlike Ryu & Ken in SF, Grave does not seem to be so popular, and it’s nothing like the situation where he’s the main character that ‘everyone plays’. In fact Setsuki was the most popular character the last time Sirlin published some stats, and Grave was in the bottom half. This might be influenced by the free rotation so that new players tend to try out other characters first, or it maybe due to any number of reasons, but the fact remains that Grave is no-way close to the popularity and ‘main character’ feeling that Ryu & Ken have in SF.
2. Many people believe he’s the “best character”, in fact the latest tier list, which is obviously just comprised of people’s opinions, has Grave at the top. This gave me mixed emotions for picking him. When I play Magic the Gathering, I’m generally what’s known in Magic as a “Spike” player. I want to win & will generally use whatever characters/cards I think are the best. However I’m also a bit of a “Johnny” player too I realised – which is someone that wants to ‘win it their way’ – using the characters/cards that I think are cool regardless of what most people think. In fighting games that Yomi emulates, I am much more limited to which characters I can play (well) than I am in a card game due to the execution requirements to actually do the moves too, and one thing that attracted me to Yomi was the fact there wasn’t any move execution requirements forming a barrier to my choice of character too…. So in the end, that attraction won out for me. I quite like playing the character people think is ‘the best’ as it makes a nice change to the position I usually find myself in in other games, when the characters or cards I might best like to play are locked out to me for various reasons (execution, cost).
3. I’d seen comments that other people dislike playing against him due to his ‘boringness’ and especially his “counter” ability that stops the opponent playing their abilities. I can see why this can be annoying to play against, but personally it doesn’t bother me to be on either end of that kind of ability. I’ve always enjoyed playing with and against Blue “counterspell” decks in Magic or other types of control deck as I really like the additonal interaction between myself and my opponent.
I’ve played 40 plus hours of Yomi now, and really enjoying it more all the time and I am happy I picked Grave. I’m enjoying it so much I’ve ordered a copy of the actual physical card game too. It’s worth nothing that my friends have picked other characters than Grave, and for other reasons than I did. One picked Lum because they felt it matched their playstyle and the fact he is (probably) the highest skill ceiling character in Yomi, another picked Jaina mainly due to flavour reasons. Obviously these are all great reasons too – it just depends on what matters to you. If you’re reading this right now and aren’t yet playing Yomi, the only question is why not!? You’d be crazy not to give it a try since you can play it for free in your browser & also I’d love it if you get in touch and let me know how you got on. 🙂