It’s 2020, and new amiibo trainers still have the same question on their minds: what is a personality? That’s a complicated question, but here’s a simple answer: a rather meaningless label. We’ll start with this: trying to force your amiibo into a certain personality often muddies its training and lowers its potential. For example, feeding a Pikachu amiibo Spirits over and over again (or putting it through specific or odd training) in an attempt to make its personality Lightning Fast usually won’t go well. Personalities change at the drop of a hat, and the intricacies behind this change are so complicated that we may never fully figure them out.
But there’s a lot more to understand about personalities, too. If you’re interested in learning what amiibo can actually be taught to do – or what little aspects compose a personality – you’ve come to the right place.
What is a personality?
If you aren’t aware of this already, amiibo have an NFC chip stuck in their base. As you train it in-game, a set of values change based on your actions (as well as the Figure Player’s). These values are then saved to the chip. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate then reads all of these values and decides to describe all of them with one or two words. Aggressive, Enthusiastic, Thrill Seeker… those are all a very rough playstyle description. Two FPs with the same personality can play so differently that you’d probably expect them to have different ones.
To add to this, it’s almost impossible to tell what an FP’s personality is just by watching it fight. There’s generally one exception to this. The Unflappable style is perhaps the most defined of any; it perfect shields as often as possible, walks around the stage, and focuses on defensive maneuvers. Even then, other personalities come close to this (Cool and Logical, though to a lesser extent). If you’ve joined our Discord server, you’ve probably heard us say this a million times: personalities don’t matter. Focus on your movement and your attack choices, not the label your FP winds up with.
What’s in a personality?
As mentioned earlier, Figure Players are comprised of a whole bunch of values. We (and by we, I mean fudgepop01, whose work can be found on Twitter) have isolated the functions of several of these bytes. There’s a pair of values that handle an FP’s aggression; we assume this means how often it attacks, but it could also involve how often it runs (rather than walks) or jumps. There’s a pair for defensiveness, too, which almost certainly involves blocking, rolling, air dodging, and perhaps even get-up rolls. There’s yet another pair for anticipation. Their functions are unclear, but we’ve noticed FPs with high anticipation values try to “read” their opponents. As an example, it might charge a smash attack to catch a landing even if it was never taught to.
Here are a few rather self-explanatory values: grabbing, edgeguarding, taunting, meteor edgeguarding, and collecting Smash Balls. We assume that the higher the number on these values, the more likely it is that the FP will perform the action in question. That might not be the case, though, as testing these values is actually extremely difficult. It’s tough to notice changes even if we shift a value from 0 to 255; it’s even possible that we think we notice a change that isn’t there. Hence the term placiibo.
There are also values for each one of the FP’s moves. This includes its jab, tilts, smashes, and aerials. Throws appear to be hardcoded. The chip also includes two values for each of its special moves: one on the ground and one in the air. We’ve surely stated this in a previous post, but it’s probably best to include it here for the sake of completion.
Of course, there’s still several values that need to be figured out. It’s possible that the ones we do know aren’t even fully correct. There are a few other functions we think exist within the FP: evasiveness*, button mashing, charging smash attacks, jumping, and even dash-dancing, among others.
* Evasiveness is included here because certain in-game Spirit battles mention “the enemy prefers to avoid combat”. Most AI tweaks present in Spirit battles carry over to amiibo personalities; it’s just that we haven’t isolated the correct value that might correspond to this yet.
Interaction between values
The following is mostly theory, but we have some ideas as to how these personality values might interact with each other. Earlier, we noted the existence of edgeguard and meteor edgeguard values. The first one controls how often the FP leaves the stage and attacks; the second controls how often it attacks with a meteor smash (if applicable). Imagine an FP has a low edgeguard value but a high meteor smash value. In this case, it wouldn’t leave the stage on purpose, but if it were knocked off, it would attack with meteor smashes as it returned back.
Another interesting tidbit is combos. It’s well-known that FPs can’t really combo on purpose. But if you have a Ridley that uses both its down tilt and forward air a lot, chances are, it’s going to link them together in what we would call a coincidental combo. Down tilt launches the enemy into the air, and the AI decides that a forward air would most likely connect. The FP isn’t thinking “I am going to use a down tilt to forward air combo”, it’s thinking “I have landed a down tilt. The opponent seems to be within range of a forward air”. This is why FPs can’t learn combos that aren’t hard-coded into their AI. They can pull off cool strings by coincidence, but not on a consistent basis.
Figure Players always start with the Normal personality. As you fight them, their values will start to increase — they won’t be set to 0 anymore (as is the case with a newly-reset FP). By Level 40 – give or take a few levels – the FP will likely have developed a different personality. That being said, it is possible to retain the Normal personality even at Level 50.
Most trainers will find themselves getting the same personality over and over again. Many wind up with Aggressive, Enthusiastic, or Light; others tend to get Cool or Logical. There are a few personalities that are really hard to get without feeding an amiibo Spirits; these include Lightning Fast, Tricky, Technician, Entertainer, and Lively. If you’re looking for a Technician-style Robin amiibo to complete the theme, you may want to give it up: these personalities are difficult to retain without switching Learning off… and if Learning is switched off, the FP can’t become any better (though it also can’t become any worse).
We’ve also written about a theory that involves Ultimate’s actual CPU characters having personality values we can’t access, too. Whether it’s true or not remains unknown, but if you’d like to read a bit more about it, you can do so here.
To sum things up, personalities don’t really matter. When training an FP, your goal should be to teach it to use the right attacks and employ the right movement strategies, not to force it into a specific personality. If you still have questions about this, feel free to join our Discord server and ask them — we’ll be happy to help! We host online tournaments on a regular basis, so if you’re looking to participate, we’d welcome your FPs!
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