With Street Fighter V patch 1.04 came the removal of the concept of Zenny and the full opening of content in the in-game store. With more content in place and a better idea of the in-game currency-to-real-money equivalents, the Capcom DLC plan is a lot more obvious now.

If I were to ask you which fighting game has been the most egregious with pricing DLC content, you’d probably come back to me and say “Dead or Alive 5: Last Round,” which up until today is exactly the same answer I would give myself. They have a lot of DLC and collecting it all costs a lot of money.

If you thought that was crazy, though? Buckle up.


Let’s just get down to numbers and what you get for the money. We’ll assume:

  • You didn’t go with the Core Fighters stuff but instead bought the full game. And you bought it at release for $40.
  • You aren’t buying any DLC on sale.
  • You want everything you can get.
  • You are buying bundles whenever you can (we’ll talk about the SFV season pass later) because I don’t have the time to track all this DLC down individually.

Also, almost all costumes are available separately for $2. (Some of the packs, specifically ones that were pre-order DLC, are only available in sets.)

There are 35 characters in the base game.

Here’s the breakdown:

Add everything up:

  • Game is $40.
  • All DLC together is $531.
  • If you buy everything, you get 633 costumes and 1 character.
  • Purchasing in packs, this comes out to less than $1 a costume.


OK; pay attention, friends.


  • You bought the season pass (which you should; it’s a 50% savings on the DLC characters + battle costumes).
  • You are paying full price – no sales.
  • You are not using Fight Money to buy anything. (Right now, there is a limited supply of it, especially if you don’t want to grind Survival.)
  • You want everything because maybe you are creating a setup for a tournament and you want people to be that extra bit happy.
  • You are assuming the end-of-2016 character count, which is going to be 22.

Note that other than the Season Pass, none of the content is available in bundles or packs. It’s all a la carte.

We’ll group the content together to make it easier to figure out.

  • Street Fighter V: $60
  • SFV 2016 Season Pass: $30
    • 6 characters.
    • 6 Battle Costumes.
    • 1 stage. (Guile)
  • Story Mode costumes: $44 ($2 each)
    • 22 costumes.
  • Battle Costumes: $64 ($4 each)
    • 16 costumes. (assumes you did not pre-order and get the one included for doing so but you do have the six from the Season Pass)
  • Summer Costumes: $4 ($4 each)
    • 1 costume. (so far – Karin; data mining has shown at least four more are coming)
  • Stages: $12 ($4 each)
    • 3 additional stages (assumes you have Guile stage from Season Pass)
  • Stage Variations: $6 ($2 each)
    • 3 stage recolors

Data mining has also shown at least one more series of costumes is on the way.

Add everything up:

  • Game is $60.
  • All DLC together is $160.
  • If you buy everything available, you get 6 characters, 45 costumes, 3 stages, and 3 stage recolors.
  • The average cost per costume is closer to $3 (and should edge closer to $4 over time because only Story costumes are $2).

To give you an idea, if we assume the game will have four sets of premium costumes for just the 22 characters we have now, you’d be looking at $350+ worth of DLC – and that’s before more characters show up. And it’s certain more characters are coming. And they might end up charging for colors 3-10. (We should have been more careful when we said we’d pay to unlock those.)

I might go into the Fight Money economics at some point just for fun; we’ll see. But this is a good picture of the DLC situation for SFV as it stands right now, and it stands to be expensive.

If you have talked with me, my skepticism with regards to Avyd and what they are doing should not be much of a surprise at this point. (I hesitate to talk about it much because there are good people I respect who are doing business at and with Avyd and I am of course always worried about causing hurt.)

I need to say something about this, though.

Today, they are talking about the support they’ll offer as part of their service:

This reminded me of the job posting they’d put up a couple of weeks ago, about which I’d intended to say something more directly.

The listing is here, but I’m assuming that it will expire at some point, so I’ll put the pertinent bits below:


  • Customer Service Representatives are responsible for handling our Client’s highest level of service issues to ensure customer issues are resolved in an efficient and timely manner. Agents provide knowledge and expertise to all online customers to effectively resolve any service-related, while balancing both the needs of the customer and the business.
  • Use empathy with the customer; allow them to vent frustrations, while staying in control of the conversation and maintaining focus.
  • Must be able to multi task
  • Follow up with customers to ensure issue has been resolved
  • Will be answering customer support tickets, inbound calls, and support chats.

Successful Candidates will have:

  • Previous Customer Service experience
  • Proficient in typing and computer skills
  • Energetic and motivated personality
  • Gaming knowledge
  • Available to work nights and weekends as needed
  • Be fluent in English
  • Team player
  • High School Diploma or equivalent

What We Offer:

  • Unparalleled work environment
  • Unlimited growth from within
  • Paid training
  • Continued development beyond entry level
  • Travel opportunities
  • Career advancement into management

On its own, that’s mostly fine. It’s a lot of attention-splitting, and the bit about nights and weekends without specifically stating what that means is a little concerning.

And then you get to the stuff about “growth” from the support position. It’s so much of a focus that it’s literally half of the bullet points in the list of “What We Offer.” It’s a red flag, especially when you hit this part:

Job Type: Part-time

Salary: $10.00 /hour

I don’t suppose I need to state that this is in an office and not remote, because the job posting should lead you in that direction on its own.

This is troubling because it doesn’t see support as a worthwhile career in and of itself. I am growing to understand that my current employer is somewhat unique in this, but I want to see the idea and the respect for support professionals continue to grow.

User support has been my full-time, salaried and benefited career for the last six years. It supports my entire household. I have had different responsibilities and been on different teams, but through the whole thing, I have been well-appreciated and been given the ability to build my career on having pride in the fact that I make our customers’ and clients’ lives easier, and that the ability to do so in an exceptional way is deserving of being a full-time employee.

The wage and (lack of) benefits in this Avyd job posting is sadly reflective of how a lot of tech sees support. Support is a place where you go to wage slave until you earn yourself a place as a supervisor, when you make a bit more and maybe get full-time, and then after even more time you might end up in charge of support for something and possibly get a salary and benefits. Or you have the (often just a) pipe dream of learning another skill and changing job responsibilities, which is seen as a promotion simply because you aren’t doing support.

I’m proud to work somewhere that prides itself on seeing professional support as a career, helping people build that career by supporting them and helping them develop, and giving those people good compensation, good opportunities, and good resources with which they can make the services we provide amazing experiences for the customers who pay for them. We make all employees who don’t work in support do a rotation in support every year, and every new hire regardless of position does front-line support for the first three weeks.

User support and respect for the people who work it is foundational to the culture here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter your industry, I encourage you to consider making it just as important to your company as well.

And yes; we are hiring.

This is crazy, but I suppose I should not be surprised.

Joe Mullin for Ars:

The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for lobbying hard on copyright issues. 


This year, the company is turning to its employees to fund some of that battle. Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC.

In the letter, which was provided to Ars by a Disney employee, Iger tells workers about his company’s recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Supreme Court victory that destroyed Aereo, and continued vigilance about the “state of copyright law in the digital environment.” It also mentions that Disney is seeking an opening to lower the corporate tax rate.

Yup. “Please give to our political lobbying machine, so we can take that money and use it to influence politicians so they weaken your freedoms.” At least no one falls for this one, right?

According to a MapLight analysis of the data, Disney employees contributed a total of $4.03 million in all election cycles since 2002.


Dear Capcom,

When I am playing Street Fighter V and I am trying to get placed into a ranked match, and while trying to sync up with my matchmade opponent I get this:


Do not take me here:



Just take me here instead:


And put me in the hopper for another match.



Someone who is kind of tired of suffering through bizarre UI decisions

In Street Fighter IV, you earned costume colors for each character on the roster simply by playing matches. Once you played a certain number of matches, you would unlock a new color and then you could select that color at any time. It was easy, it was unobtrusive (other than the notices that you had unlocked stuff), and it was quick. You got all of the colors for your main character almost immediately.

Street Fighter V doesn’t work that way. I doubt you have missed out on this, but:

  • Colors 1 and 2 are unlocked from the start for every character and costume you have.
  • Color 3 is unlocked by beating Survival mode on Easy (10 opponents, maybe 10 minutes).
  • Colors 4, 5, and 6 are unlocked by beating Survival mode on Normal (30 opponents, about 20 minutes or so).
  • Colors 7, 8, 9, and 10 are unlocked by beating Survival mode on Hard (50 opponents, about 30 to 40 minutes).

There is a higher level of difficulty, but it doesn’t grant a color; it gives you some XP, some Fight Money, and a title that AFAIK is universal (not per-character).

STREET FIGHTER V_20160217231941

Here are the surface annoyances with this method (I’m going to talk about the horrid design of this mode and unlock method in a bit):

  • Unlocks are per-character. If you want to unlock all the colors, you’d better plan on spending at least 20 hours in this mode.
  • Unlocks are also per-costume. If you have one of the pre-order costumes, you don’t get the colors for it unless you go through the mode again with the same character.
  • If you get all the way to fight 30 in Normal and lose, you get nothing for your time. No Fight Money, no EXP, nothing.
  • If you are disconnected from the (fairly erratic) online servers at any time during the Survival mode run, you can no longer unlock the costume in that run and you have to start over.
  • If you complete Hard, you don’t unlock the colors from Easy and Normal. You have to play through the mode three times with each character/costume combination.
  • The difficulty spikes heavily towards the end of the mode. You spend the majority of the time fighting brain-dead AI and then the last few fights going up against what can be a sometimes godlike and prescient AI that will murder you with no warning.
  • There is currently no existing or announced way to unlock the colors other than going through Survival. You can’t even (sigh) pay to unlock them.

That seems like a pretty good list of stupid, right?

We are just getting started.

It’s annoying enough already, because this is a mode that most people probably wouldn’t have touched at all if the colors weren’t gated behind it. Survival mode (with the exception of gimmick modes like Tekken Force) is always the most garbage single-player mode in every fighting game in existence. And it’s a tragedy of design that this mode is what holds people back from costume customization in the latest Street Fighter installment.


STREET FIGHTER V_20160217212625

(Whatever, that’s not from Survival, but it is from the match where I broke into Bronze tier this afternoon, so roll with it. I’m a Ken player now, apparently.)

(Also we will chat about the stupid “favorite character” and Ranked play thing later.)

Anayway, back to Survival mode and why it’s bad design.

Survival Mode Teaches Bad Technique

After three tries, I cleared Normal with Ken tonight and unlocked three more colors. The first two runs I did, I would do pretty well all the way up to about fight 26, when the CPU decides it’s going to do things like string more than one hit together and actually use EX moves (or any special, for that matter).

29 is against Necalli and can be pretty brutal, because that’s the fight where the CPU decides it will start trying to counter things sometimes.

30 is Bison and he will try to rip off some pretty brutal 30-40% combos when given the chance. Every time I would try to play against him straight, nothing would work. Every throw I would attempt would be teched. Every good strike I thought I could get in—and previously worked against other opponents—would get countered or even crush countered.

So how did I finally win the mode?

I spammed medium Shoryuken.

Over and over and over and over and over again. I played Flowchart Ken, but DUMBER.

I would spam SRK until it hit, then forward dash to push the CPU as far as possible, then spam SRK on wakeup, then dash the CPU into the corner, then just spam SRK forever until dizzy, combo, KO.

Survival mode doesn’t teach anyone one of the most important aspects of any fighting game: adaptation. Because the AI largely doesn’t put up a fight and even then can often get crushed with special move spam, players who go through the gauntlet are not learning anything.

They are just grinding.

It’s not effective, and it’s not fun. At least in SFIV, when you were trying to earn costumes, if you chose to grind it out with dummy opponents in Versus mode, that was your choice. But you could also grind it out by playing against other humans, which would teach you infinitely better than survival mode.

Survival Mode Teaches Bad Tactical Decisions

At the end of each (one round, mind you) fight in Survival mode, you get a results screen that shows you the time it took for you to win the round as well as the number of points you have earned:

STREET FIGHTER V_20160217232059

The number of points is determined by your character’s remaining vitality at the end of the round. A perfect round scores 15,000 points and the scale appears to be linear.

The points are used to purchase “Battle Supplements,” for the next match, which are like upgrades for your character that change the following match. You can choose either none of them or one of them. They expire at the end of the next stage, and you cannot stack them in any way.

In addition, your health and critical gauges persist from one stage to another. (V-gauge does not.) You can “bank” meter for the next stage if you want, and any damage you take during a stage carries over to the next. Because of this, you are incentivized to spend your score on refilling your health meter to try and make it through the next stage (if you need it).

Problems abound here. Check it:

  • Managing critical meter becomes significantly different because you are essentially storing it from one-round match to one-round match, which is fundamentally different from conserving or spending it between rounds in a standard match, which is important to learn.
  • The only way you can fill the one resource that directly controls your chances of making it to the next round is by not losing any of it. This generally leads to whipping through the early stages as cheesily as possible (see previous section) and banking your score so you have it to spend later in the progression.
  • When you play this way, you hardly ever build V-gauge and thus don’t learn properly how to manage it because you are spending all your time avoiding damage, which is bad because…

Vitality is a resource in fighting games. It is designed to be “spent” during a match to gain advantage in some cases.

Because your health carries over from stage to stage, you are actively discouraged from thinking of it as a resource during any given round. This is counter-productive to teaching players how they should be approaching Street Fighter and fighting games in general and when they decide to attend a tournament or hop into ranked matches it is just going to discourage them.

Instead, as I mentioned, you are rewarded for staying as close to a perfect victory as possible, so you will have enough points to spend on refilling your vitality between stages towards the end of the progression—and those spends can get expensive. Which leads us to the last big problem here…

Survival Mode Introduces RNG to a Game That Shouldn’t Have Any

Let’s take a look at that screenshot from the last section again, shall we?

STREET FIGHTER V_20160217232059

Nice store, there. Too bad that if I had taken a lot of damage, I would not have been able to refill it because I can’t afford the health recovery upgrade. But let’s take a look at the same post-stage screen from later in the progression:

STREET FIGHTER V_20160217233703

Notice anything?

The available upgrades are different. They change from stage to stage, and the change appears to be completely random. You might get a 6,000 point tiny health bonus, or the monster 25,000 point full bonus, which is not really much more health recovery than the 15,000 point one.

This means that you can’t reliably budget from round to round, because you don’t ever know how many points you will need to get the boost you want. On top of this, it leads to some pretty tragic moments. How many people have run into this going into the final rounds of a Survival run?

STREET FIGHTER V_20160217234353

For the one round where I probably really need it, the only available health upgrade is the smallest one available. I had a run yesterday where only the Low health refill came up three stages in a row.

This kind of design is nothing more than annoying and frustrating for someone who just wants their character to have a signature color. It’s forcing people to play a mode that purposefully ignores several key principles of playing fighting games instead of organically putting those unlocks behind play time or any one of a number of ways you could release them over time to reward people for playing the game.

Because the Story mode that shipped with Street Fighter V only takes maybe an hour or two to clear for all 16 characters, this moving color unlocks—and especially the fact that they are per-costume and time-consuming—smells of padding the single-player content available at launch, but in all the wrong ways.

Casual players are not going to grind out a mode where if they fail at the very end after 15 to 30 minutes of investment, they get nothing.

More dedicated players are going to grind out the colors they want only grudgingly and hate the designers for the privilege.

Both groups are probably much more likely to end up paying real money for the unlocks—which might just be the intention behind this in the first place. (And would be shameful if so.)

So What Would Have Been Better?

Find ways to get people to play, but play the way they want. Put it behind matches played, like Street Fighter IV did. Put it behind the apparently meaningless character or player levels that Street Fighter V already has, but do it in a more intelligent way like Killer Instinct has, where you get new colors, titles, and icons just by using characters and playing well, earning XP.

(Not the first thing KI has done really, really well. Should talk about that more later.)

From a design standpoint, I understand that you want people to play your game often and for a long time. If you want to gate content behind play, that’s fine. Just do it in a way that rewards players for playing the way they want to play, not hoops they need to jump through because you say so—and especially not in a mode that actively teaches bad tendencies for the real way your game is meant to be played.

STREET FIGHTER V_20160216161710

See you online.

Trace William Cowen for Complex:

When Houston resident Paul Aker answered the door to find seven armed U.S. marshals waiting to arrest him earlier this month, he was understandably shocked. “I was wondering, why are you here?” Aker told FOX 26 on Tuesday. “I am home, I haven’t done anything. Why are the marshals knocking on my door?” Aker, who was arrested and presented before a federal court, had been targeted by the U.S. Marshals over a (gather yourself before reading this) 29-year-old student loan in the amount of (gather yourself again before reading this next part) $1,500.


Student loan debt continues to be a huge problem, at least in the U.S. I’m still many thousands of dollars out on my (and my wife’s) education, and there’s no near-term end in sight.

And you can’t declare bankruptcy to get out from underneath them, because of course you can’t.

There has to be a better way. My own student loan debt means that I’m never going to be able to afford for paying even part of my kids’ tuition, which means they will be in debt, which means…

According to Green, private debt collection agencies are getting judgments against the owners of these debts (even, apparently, 29-year-old debts) secured in federal court with ease. After a judgment is secured, the agencies are apparently asking for (and being granted preposterous access to) the usage of armed U.S. marshals.

Your police state tax dollars at work.

And he wasn’t notified that this was going to court at all?

I hadn’t heard of the ScreenOS backdoor vulnerabilites, which are CVE-2015-7755 and CVE-2015-7756, until last night when I ran into some tweets about Matthew Green’s exposition on what they are and why they are so crazy:

To sum up, some hacker or group of hackers noticed an existing backdoor in the Juniper software, which may have been intentional or unintentional — you be the judge! They then piggybacked on top of it to build a backdoor of their own, something they were able to do because all of the hard work had already been done for them. The end result was a period in which someone — maybe a foreign government — was able to decrypt Juniper traffic in the U.S. and around the world.

And all because Juniper had already paved the road.

Some of his tweets on the situation explain it in even better terms IMO:

And—back to the article—on why this is important to talk about:

For the past several months I’ve been running around with various groups of technologists, doing everything I can to convince important people that the sky is falling. Or rather, that the sky will fall if they act on some of the very bad, terrible ideas that are currently bouncing around Washington — namely, that our encryption systems should come equipped with “backdoors” intended to allow law enforcement and national security agencies to access our communications.

One of the most serious concerns we raise during these meetings is the possibility that encryption backdoors could be subverted. Specifically, that a backdoor intended for law enforcement could somehow become a backdoor for people who we don’t trust to read our messages. Normally when we talk about this, we’re concerned about failures in storage of things like escrow keys. What this Juniper vulnerability illustrates is that the danger is much broader and more serious than that.

At this point, there’s no two bones about it. We need to be using encryption everywhere. And the encryption we use needs to be open source.

Well, I guess if I’m looking to fire the blog back up post-sabbatical, this is as good a place to start as any:

A woman who was previously convicted of attacking people with a home-crafted nunchuck was arrested again this month for allegedly chasing a fellow Metro passenger around with a sheathed sword.

Believe it or not, this did not happen in Florida, but in Seattle.

There can be only one.

I’ve been watching events and streams on Twitch for some time now, but it’s been during my sabbatical break from work that I’ve spent a decent bit more time paying attention to what’s out there and what people are streaming.

Because it’s my children’s summer vacation, they have often been sitting and watching with me, learning about games (especially the classics!) and just spending time with their dad while he has time away from work. And partially because of that, I’ve noticed something:

Twitch has a massive outbreak of foul language on an awful lot of streams. And it makes the service and consequently the watching of games as a leisure activity for kids something difficult to recommend as a result.

When I stream, I do what I can to make sure my part of the stream is family-friendly. No swearing, no inappropriate references, nothing that would make me embarrassed to have my own kids watching the stream.

I decided to do this not only because of my own family, but also because of BigJon, who is currently my only Twitch subscription because his content is always family-friendly and his speed runs are a huge hit with my kids. His dedication to being family-friendly and keeping drama out of chat is a big inspiration to how I approach streaming.

GameJ06, aka BigJon, probably the most notable specifically family-friendly streamer on Twitch.
GameJ06, aka BigJon, probably the most notable specifically family-friendly streamer on Twitch.

A Hard Call?

I know it’s hard to find what that line is when trying to determine “family-friendly.” (For instance, what to do when I’m playing a game that has non-ff content in it, even though my own language and conduct would be family-friendly?)

But I’d love to see Twitch streamers change it up a bit and realize that we aren’t going to be able to inspire the next generation of speed runners, fighting game aficionados, or modders without providing them with streams they can watch with their parents and siblings.

My kids are heavily-influenced by the streams I watch. Because of BigJon, my autistic son is now super-into The Lost Levels. Because of things like Games Done Quick and Evo, which keep their commentary family-friendly (I think) on purpose, my oldest son has purchased Virtual Console copies of Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man. My daughter picks up the arcade stick once in a while and tries to learn Ultra Street Fighter IV and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

(Specific props to FGC commentators like James Chen, David Graham, Seth Killian, and skisonic, about whom I’ve noticed a tendency to keep the language clean even when crazy things are going down.)

There are lots of things I just won’t watch with my kids because the language is just too over-the-top–and I suspect it’s likely it limits the potential audience for lots of content. Several Mega Man X runners I respect otherwise are fountains of cursing. A runner I was going to watch who is playing through the entire NES catalog had to be turned off because the first sentence after I loaded the stream had two f-bombs in it.

I’m not anti-swearing. I think there’s a time and a place for it. But it doesn’t need to be in streams, and I want to think we can carve out a safe space for kids and families to be watching this content to engage and interest new generations in the games we love. (Not to mention the fact that it could have a significant halo effect in making the communities around these things friendlier to more people in-person.)

Teaming Up

I’d love to create a Twitch team that embraces the concept of family-friendly streaming. To find like-minded people and give them a place where families who want to watch together can find streams that would be language-free, non-discriminatory, non-sexual, etc.

Of course, there are problems with this, not the least of which reason is that I can’t create a team because I’m not streaming enough to build the audience one needs to be partnered (though time, we have time). :)

But there are other things to consider. What if I want to stream a Saints Row game (which is decidedly not kid-friendly) late at night my time, but I’m on the list and there are people either with kids up late or in a different time zone? How would you handle that? Splitting a stream into two streams isn’t always the solution to the problem because then partners wouldn’t get the full attention necessary.

And there’s the added problem that the non-web apps don’t support the team structure or (I believe) the mature flag on streams. (Thinking that members of the team could set the flag if they are streaming something not-appropriate.)

This is mostly thinking out loud, but it’s an interesting problem to consider.

So What Then?

In the meantime, I think the best thing I (and you, if you are interested) as a streamer can do is just make sure that I do what I can to keep my conduct family-friendly. If I’m playing a game that’s not, I can either turn on the mature flag or depend on viewers to know that what I’m playing doesn’t lie in that spectrum (and play later at night, of course).

I’m interested in your thoughts. What do you think about how family-friendly (or not) video game streaming is? Do you keep your stream that way on purpose? Do you think streamers shouldn’t care? Do you know of streams that are friendly that you’d like others to know about? Do you think this is important to growing the audience for this type of content?

Leave a comment on the post (all comments are moderated) with your musings.