Now that we've had a lot of time to play 2K18, I think it's time to bring this thread back and look toward the future. I would love to see what mechanics need improvement and what needs to be implemented for the gameplay to be better. This is for core gameplay mechanics only, so nothing about MyCareer or CAW mode or Inferno match or Community Creations etc., just because I think all that stuff gets enough voices for it and core gameplay isn't really talked about enough.
I'll start with the (edited) written feedback I sent for the gameplay section of that survey with a few more additions. Of course I don't expect any of this to make it in any time soon but since I'm a nerd and literally daydream of how the gameplay could be better, I type these things up at any slight opportunity that somebody at 2K might consider them.
@GMP: I stole the hell out of your bracing idea from the old thread and put my own twist on it.
Speaking of strategy, there's nothing that makes a player good at the game. I understand the want for new players, but the game may be too pickup-n-play. Wrestling is psychological and the games should reflect that. The gameplay should be as nuanced as possible, every aspect of the gameplay should affect other aspects of the gameplay. Right now all we have is "watch your stamina or you can't run or do certain moves", "if you target a limb throughout the match, making your opponent tap to a submission is much easier", "the more damage you take, the harder it will be to kick out of pinfall attempts" and that's about it. Wrestling is much deeper than that. The gameplay feels too linear. What about "if your legs have been badly damaged, lifting opponents is much more difficult, kicks do much less damage and may not even knock your opponent down, running is much more difficult" or "if your arms are badly damaged, punches and clotheslines are weaker, holding onto submissions is much harder, certain lifts like suplexes and military presses are harder to do", "if your head is badly damaged, everything is harder to do and you might find yourself groggy much more often even on offense". There should be plenty of animations to accompany these gameplay aspects. I remember in games like WWF No Mercy and the Day of Reckoning series, there were button-tapping mini-games for lifting opponents that were much heavier, there's no reason something like this can't be carried over to a modern day game. Attributes still do not do nearly enough to impact gameplay. Strength should mean something, speed should mean something.
High-risk moves should really mean high risk, that means for the player performing them too. Players should really decide which big moves are worth attempting because the player should suffer the consequence of the move as well. I am terribly tired of seeing people get right back up after hitting things like superplexes and announce table finishers. I don't care how much stamina one has, nobody should get immediately back up after doing something like that. Ladder matches are so incredibly easy because of this problem.
Also, I think damage and stamina should be more closely related and there should be more low stamina animations and effects than just dropping to a knee and occasionally staying down for a little longer after performing a finisher. There should be stumbling and staggering and leaning onto things to regain stamina. Heavily damaged and low stamina should affect pin combos as well. For example, if RVD is heavily damaged and performs the frog splash with the last of his stamina, the pin combo shouldn't work or at the very least respond very slowly, slow enough for the opponent to possibly kickout after being given a precious second or two to recover. Also, to add to strategy, I think once your body gets to a certain level of damage, your stamina only goes up so far which isn't really that far which would force players and the AI not to waste movements because a simple mistake or miscalculation can cost the match. We need to be able to naturally create moments that cause both competitors to be down so that we can have the return of the 10-count system from SvR 2006 and also so that comebacks and hot tags come more naturally. There should be recovery animations after big move sequences when a person is damaged or their stamina bar is in the purple state. So if I have a damaged torso and I pull off a nice rebound reversal I should take a second to tend to my injuries. Would be a nice touch. Also, I recently saw a clip from SvR 2008 and Orton's head was heavily damaged and he was selling that for the rest of the match by holding his head. As mediocre as that game was, that's something simple that it got correct. The only injury selling currently in the game is the ref stoppage which, though it may be a nice touch, is almost unnecessary. Without the limb damage graphic on the HUD, you wouldn't know that a wrestler was on the verge of a TKO because he shows no signs of it until the ref suddenly stops his opponent from attacking further. Wrestlers gotta sell their damage, that's wrestling psychology 101.
I like to think of weight detection and physics together. I mentioned the old minigame to lift heavier opponents, the success of this minigame should be dependent on one's size and also their strength attribute (for the smaller competitors). Kalisto vs Braun Strowman shouldn't play out the same way as Cena vs Orton. Kalisto should be looking to chop Braun down by targeting his legs and chopping his limbs and taking calculated risks but overall playing defensively, looking to escape and reverse every chance he gets. Braun, on the other hand, should be looking to manhandle Kalisto and throw him around. This is where I wanna talk about physics. Braun throwing Kalisto should not look the same as Braun throwing Orton. So I think if models had real weight, if there was a real sense of momentum/speed, and if the strength attribute meant even more, an organic free form physics engine could make for some realistically brutal sells if everything falls into place, adding to overall fun of the game. I was thinking every move should start with a base animation that briefly plays out until a certain point where the physics kick in so we can have different landings and reactions. The same lariat could look completely different every time you perform it, depending on who it's performed on. A lariat could fully flip Kalisto in the air, could explode Triple H onto the mat or send Brock Lesnar staggering into the ropes, all dependent on differing factors. Someone like Braun would be truly a blast to play as with something like this in game. I thought pin combos and whatever else may be negatively affected by this, but I noticed that currently, whenever the Havok physics sneaks in causes an unanimated sell/landing, the game does a decent job of transitioning/correcting the wrestler back into an animated position or for position feeding, so with a fully functional physics engine that would just happen a lot more. Also tables should break more naturally dependent on how they’re landed on, that goes for ladders too (and setup chairs, please). So a ladder bridge shouldn't always break from a regular grounded powerbomb onto it, it depends on who is being powerbombed.
Reversals need to be greatly expanded on. I HATE the reversal animations that have arbitrary moves attached to them that may or may not be a part of our movesets or are highly out of character. I think regular reversals should just be escapes, dodges, and blocks and what moves are done after should be up to us. We should be allowed to pick reversals for more than just kick blocks, we should be allowed to pick reversals for punch blocks, chain wrestling (which should be greatly expanded on also in ways that I don't think necessary to put in detail) and mid-move reversals as well. We should be able to reverse moves into submissions if we want to. I think reversals should be reversible, so that buff after major reversals should be removed (major reversals should not take two slots, that adds an unnecessary limit to the potential of matches). This should be extended to diving move reversals as well so say I go for a 450 and my opponent moves, if I'm on top of my game I should be able to reverse that and land on my feet. I think running corner attacks should be reversible in the way that the person in the corner can explode out of the corner with a running attack of their own or a rebound attack (I'll explain in greater detail later how I think this would work best). The striking on the top of ladders should be carried over to potential top rope moves with the winner of the battle either doing a top rope grapple or a diving move depending on what side of the exchange they are on. Let us reverse diving moves with strikes that aren't finishers. Getting flipped over the top rope should be fully reversible by landing on the apron feet-first or skinning the cat or landing safely outside.
Bracing should be added to designated to a button different from the reversal button, we'll say L2. Bracing would be a way to take less damage from moves that requires 50% of a reversal slot, or better yet has its own set of slots (for an idea I have) and have a more forgiving window of opportunity than reversals. This could play out in an animation that sees the player resist falling from a strike or just having the player take the move normally but just not lose as much momentum or take as much damage as usual and recover a bit quicker. Pressing the reversal button and the brace button at the same time would result in a valiant no-sell but the window for this would be very, very precise and would require lvl 3 Resiliency and can only be done once so that it can't be abused and that it remains a rare occurrence. Bracing can be used for those back and forth strike sequences where the crowd cheers when the baby face lands a punch and boos when the heel lands a punch. So both competitors have permanently low stamina for the rest of the match, a player could brace for a punch or kick which would momentarily stun the opponent long enough to strike back and this could continue back and forth until the brace slots run out or till someone decides to reverse. This would all happen naturally based on player strategy and decision-making within a match.
I propose an improvement to overall movement animations. The running animation is terrible, but beyond that, it's unrealistic to fully jog while IN RING. Wrestlers in real life either cover distance with a few long strides or a few very fast strides, never a full run. I don't like the look of walking nonchalantly for a pin or to pick up my opponent or anything. Just like with running, in ring, players should not be walking like they're at the mall. Again wrestlers close the distance between them and their opponent or whatever their in-ring destination may be with a few long strides or a purposeful hop-skip. So I propose that controls work from anywhere within a reasonable radius of the desired destination. What I mean by that is if I do a move that sends my opponent across the ring, I should be able to press circle and there would be a realistic animation that sees me cover the distance to pin my opponent, so every move should have a pin combo with these animations in the game because crawling to a pin is a possible animation depending on the move that was done. I could go to pick up my opponent like this. If I want to climb the middle rope or get on the apron/leave the ring, I should be able to point the stick in that direction and tap/hold the action button and a realistic animation would play out that sees me cover the distance to those destinations. Last example, if my opponent is in the corner, I can aim the left stick at him and either A. press the grapple button, B. flick the right stick to go reposition him, or C. press the strike button to go for a corner attack. Option C brings us back to my earlier reversal idea, as the running animation plays out, the person in the corner would get two very quick reversal windows, one right when the runner reaches the corner which would have the reverser move/block/counter, and a window before the runner reaches the corner where the reverser explodes out of the corner to do a rebound attack or pin (think the way Sami Zayn does his corner exploder). You can incentivize the use of option C by making it so that a successful running attack results in more damage and momentum. These movement animations should be fully interruptible both manually and by interference and can also be sped up by holding the run button but this would cost stamina with the amount of stamina varying depending on the distance being covered. I guess an easier way to describe these movement animations is to say overall movement would be more similar to the way corner vs grounded opponent animations work with the difference being that you don't have to be in the corner nor do you have to be on the attack. This wouldn't replace regular movement, just provides a sensible and realistic alternative.
Last of all, the gameplay lacks room for creativity. In one of the previous pages we were asked, which match types need most improvement and I figured "one-on-one" because I believe if the core is as good as it can be, all the extra match types would fall into place because then it would be just adding a delicious dessert to an already hearty dinner. I want to be able to do spots that people haven't thought of yet and I don't mean anything outrageous, but why can't I hop on the announce table freely like in the old games? Why can't I climb atop the barricade like the old games? Why can't I climb regular tables like the old games? Why can't I set up a chair like in the old games? Why can’t I throw a chair like in the old games? Why can't I do running moves off the steel steps like in the old games? All these things we can no longer do for reasons not given should be brought back. There are way too many restrictions and invisible walls. I don't believe in OMG moments because I believe most of the ones we have should be possible organically. I want to create my own OMG moments. I want to set up a ladder bridge inside the ring and diving spear the poor schmuck standing on top off of it. I want to run off of a steel chair and fly to the outside onto my multiple opponents outside (speaking of diving onto multiple opponents, I think there should a visible zone when someone has the potential to dive, those caught in the zone are potential victims. Once the person is in the air, everyone caught in the zone has a quick reversal window to escape the zone. Each successful reversal is a person escaping the zone, if all escape, the diver crashes and burns. If none escape they all fall victim. If few escape...you get it.) I wanna carry a person on my shoulders as I walk up the steel steps and throw him off the steps into a table. I wanna carry someone in spinebuster position (new carry position) and place them on the top rope ready for a grapple or to be knocked the hell off. There is no reason these things shouldn't be possible. Give us a physics system, improve hit detection, remove the walls, restrictions and let this game be our simulation playground.