Marvel vs Capcom 3/Combo Limiters/Damage Scaling
As combos go on longer and longer, moves start to do less and less damage. A move that has the base damage of 100,000 could easily only be doing only 30,000 damage when connecting late in a combo. This has been a system put in place in Fighting Games for decades to prevent combos from being overpowered and K.O.'ing people too quickly, but the systems used have always been extremely varied and, in some cases, extremely complex. Understanding Damage Scaling oftentimes can help you figure out what the best combo to maximize damage is.
The Damage Scaling in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is very straight forward and purely mathematical, so fortunately it's actually not too difficult to explain. The one interesting concept is that different moves scale differently depending on what "category" they fall into. There are actually 5 different category of moves in the game:
- Light Attacks
- Medium Attacks
- Hard Attacks
- Special Moves
- Hyper Combos
As you can see, even the categories are pretty straight forward and pretty self-explanatory. The first three categories cover all Normal Moves that are executed via the respective buttons. All Special Moves fall into the Special Move category and all Hyper Combos fall into the Hyper Combo category. The only questionable moves are Launchers and Special Attacks when performed in the air. Special Attacks in the air qualify in the Hard Attacks category and Launchers qualify in the Special Moves category.
Once you know which category the move falls into, it's just a math formula to determine the Damage Scaling. Damage Scaling in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is entirely based on the Combometer and what hit in the combo you are at. So Damage Scaling kicks in immediately from the 2nd hit onwards.
Here are the formulas:
Note: When it comes to regular Hyper Combos, there are some rare exceptions to the above rule. Amaterasu's Okami Shuffle, for example, scales at a rate of 98% rather than 95% (at least the first flame hit does).
So you can see that the different categories all follow the same formula, they just have different damage modifiers. Light Attacks scale much quicker with a modifier of 75% and Hyper Combos scale very slowly with a modifier of only 98%. Also it should be noted that all damage gets rounded down to the lower number that ends in two zeros. But let's see how that works with some solid numbers, shall we?
If a Light Attack does 30,000 base damage, it will do 30,000 as the first hit of the combo. That's a given. If a Light Attack connects as the second hit of the combo, however, then we get:
30,000 x .75 ^ (2 - 1) = 30,000 x .75 ^ 1 = 30,000 x .75 = 22,500
If it connects as the third hit of the combo, then we get:
30,000 x .75 ^ (3 - 1) = 30,000 x .75 ^ 2 = 30,000 x .5625 = 16875 ≈ 16800
If it connects as the fifth hit in the combo, we get:
30,000 x .75 ^ (5 - 1) = 30,000 x .75 ^ 4 = 30,000 x 0.31640625 = 9492 ≈ 9400
Because the modifier is exponential, you can see how the lower modifiers cause more pronounced damage scaling while the higher modifiers will cause much slower scaling. But the formula holds true for every hit for every category. So using lots of Light Attacks in your combos will rob you of a lot of damage and you're better off using as many Medium and Hard Attacks as possible. And you can see why, now, ending long combos with Hyper Combos still do a decent amount of damage. By the 20th hit of a combo, the modifier of a Hyper Combo will only be about 68% of the base damage whereas, for a Hard Attack, it would already be at about 13.5% of the base damage.
And, obviously, you can see the true power of Level 3 Hyper Combos: they don't scale at all! No matter how late in a combo they connect, they will do 100% of their damage! This is why whenever you X-Factor Cancel a move into a Level 3, the Level 3 does so much damage! There's just simply no scaling to those moves. Obviously, characters with no Level 3 Hyper Combos are missing a valuable weapon when it comes to damage.
Throws and Damage Scaling
Throws are a very powerful way to start combos in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and many Throws in this game can lead to a pretty devastating combo. However, this seemed to be something understood and, as a result, it seems the developers felt it necessary to really curb the damage of combos that occur after a Throw.
Damage Scaling kicks in hard and strong after any Throw in this game. Throws trigger a "Throw Damage Scaler" that will scale all following damage by 50% on top of the normal damage scaling. Thus, the formulas you'll get are:
So in the example above, with the move that does 30,000 damage, what you'll see is that, as the first hit after a Throw, it would do:
30,000 x .75 ^ (2 - 1) x .5 = 30,000 x .75 ^ 1 x .5 = 30,000 x .75 x .5 = 11250 ≈ 11200
As the third hit of the combo, it would do:
30,000 x .75 ^ (3 - 1) x .5 = 30,000 x .75 ^ 2 x .5 = 30,000 x .5625 x .5 = 8437.5 ≈ 8400
And so on and so forth. So do understand that combos you perform after Throws will do far less damage than combos performed outside of a Throw. But oftentimes, despite the damage scaling, it's still worth it to use Hyper Meter for combos after a Throw because damage is damage, and Hyper Combos are scaled the least out of all attacks. If you can get 400,000 damage off of a Throw at the cost of, say, only one Level of Hyper Meter, that is completely worth it. Also, from a practical standpoint, using X-Factor to increase damage after Throws in combos has a bigger net damage increase than using it elsewhere.
Also, take a look at the Hyper Combos in the above chart: there's no ".5" modifier on it. That's because, post Throws, Hyper Combos are immune to the Throw Damage Scaler. That means landing a Hyper Combo after Throws are absolutely worth it.
Minimum Damage Scaling
There is actually a minimum amount of damage scaling that can be applied to all the moves in the game. In other words, as the modifier continues to shrink, it'll eventually get to a number that it will no longer drop below. For example, with Amaterasu, her Light Attacks, Medium Attacks, and Hard Attacks can never scale below 10%. Her Special Moves can never scale below 20% and her Hyper Combos can never scale below 30%.
However, these values are actually not universal: they are actually character dependent. Doctor Doom, for example, has all of his Normal Moves scale to a minimum of 20%! So it's different for each character. Also worth noting is that activating X-Factor can cause the Damage Scaling cap to increase by a significant amount because it almost always gets set to 50% minimum damage. In the case of C. Viper's Hyper's with their normal minimum of 60%, X-Factoring can actually increase the amount the move is scaled by. Viewtiful Joe has the same problem, but gets so little damage bonus from X-Factor that level 1 X-Factor doesn't increase his damage at all on his hypers when fully scaled.
Level 3 hypers are unique in that they completely ignore damage scaling, and other hypers that can be comboed into and pull the opponent into a cinematic scale at 50%, regardless of what the normal scaling for that character is. Jill's Raven Spike is an exception to this, in that it retains her 30% damage minimum for hypers and will even maintain that during X-Factor.
Minimum Damage Scaling without X-Factor: (all numbers are 0.5 during X-Factor, excluding Jill's Raven Spike)