CRAFTING A WORKER
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the hardest part of TEW to get right. The Fog Of War feature hints at just how hard it is to judge a worker’s stats without being able to see years of their development and work out how good they are. The stats are subjective, oftentimes hard to tell apart and there is no universal way to tell how good someone is. There are also so many of them and there are so many bonuses and maluses applied that can only be seen by the Dirt Sheet that there is never going to be universal agreement on stats. On top of that, if you watch wrestling then you are going to have those people you love or hate, which is going to lead to bias no matter what you do. A hundred different people could rate the same person differently and there is no way to say that any one of them is right. This section is the hardest part of getting a mod right. But at least we’ve covered popularity already, so we’ve got a baseline there. That’s a great start.
Starting from the start here, you’ve got to know what the stats correlate to if you’re going to have any chance of making your mod behave the way it should. Only once you know what they are can you truly analyse how a wrestler should work in TEW, by which time you’ll be able to work out the strengths and weaknesses of a worker. Once you can work that out, which can often be done by looking at how they are actually used in real life in the first place, you can start to put together a good profile for a worker. No-one is perfect, so once you work out their strengths and weaknesses you can (as a player) work out how to book them. It also helps with writing bios, as you can tailor it a litle bit towards those stats too. With Fog Of War on, that makes reading bios that bit more interesting (particularly for unknowns who you might be exploring) and adds to the value of that feature too. If people trust your mod to be well balanced, then the value of this feature becomes even more awesome which can add even more to the experience as you find out things about people the hard way.
One thing to remember right away is that youngsters need to have room to grow. We have potentially editable stats for Maturation Age, Decline Age, Relevancy Age and Retirement Age now. Maturation Age has a cap of 30 and a median of 24, giving most workers until their mid 20s to simply improve by existing in the gameworld, with further improvements coming through competing or being in development. Stat caps are also worked out partly based on age, so someone coming into the gameworld late is always going to struggle compared to someone coming in young. With that in mind, I’d consider setting a high Maturation Age for anyone joining the gameworld late. For example, I believe Batista joined late but had some obvious tools for success. His skills when joining the world would be pretty low but by giving him a high Maturation Age he’d have a fighting chance to develop them into something useful. Joe Sexy in the Cornellverse is someone who would benefit from the same treatment. For 99.9% of workers I wouldn’t touch any of these ages, unless you have an extremely good reason to believe that the random Destiny Roll is going to give someone a bad hand for some reason. Decline can start between 30 and 55… that’s a median somewhere in the 40 range, by which point most guys SHOULD be on decline already. So unless you are creating a historical mod and are determined that Ric Flair shouldn’t decline until he was in his mid to late 40s (which to be fair, might not be unreasonable
) then these stats should remain largely untouched. Having said that, I rigged the CV97 to get a few more decent years out of Sam Strong and Rip Chord in HGC, since those two are meant to be the driving forces there. Took me a long time to decide on it though, as it almost felt like cheating to KNOW that these two had some time in them yet. Not knowing adds to the value of the experience in my opinion, but your opinion may vary.
A few modding pointers while I’m here. Do the minor information of a worker first. Birthdays, debuts dates, gender etc… because unless you have awesome self discipline then you’ll forget to go back to it after you’ve done the main stats.
In this case, I also heartily recommend adding a worker’s Move Set as soon as you can because it can be a real pain going through lots of contracts later to edit them in if you forgot to do it at the start. For this same reason, if you are planning on doing a gimmick file (as I will recommend in a later section) then you should do that first too so that you can assign default gimmicks too with minimal effort. No point in giving yourself twice as much work! Go easy on the languages known by a worker, too often I see workers getting basic everything because they’ve worked in a region when in reality there is probably one guy doing half the translating. They aren’t all Larry Wood with a PHD in everything and the game already gives workers a lot of learning of languages as it is, so the extra just isn’t needed. Similarly, worker roles. If someone is a wrestler, only have them set as a wrestler and NOTHING else. It can lead to complications that are unnecessary and it’s generally better to keep things simple. The Technical Support section has been filled with as many oddities of things from real world mods that would’ve been solved by just keeping things simple. Non-wrestlers can have multiple roles as they often do, though it can be hard to get them to stay in the right role if you give them too many. Lastly for this section, relationships. Those I would add after I’ve finished doing a worker. But again, keep those to a minimum. Only the people who have a legitimate influence on someone’s behaviours would really belong. Guys who get along but don’t have any influence? That;s just covered by their existence. AJ Style/Christopher Daniels are obviously best friends… AJ Styles and James Storm? They may hang out and be friendly, but not enough to warrant a relationship. Similarly, there are a lot of negative relationships in most mods that are unnecessary… a couple that has split up but is on decent terms is covered fine with no relationship at all. Two guys who don’t necessarily like each other but don’t really get in each other’s way either, is covered fine by doing nothing. Removing the excess relationships leads to a smoother experience in terms of performance and gameplay in general, so as ever, less is more.
Actually, not quite on to stats yet… two more sections I want to cover first. Lifestyle and Personality. Lifestyle should be kept simple. There is a helpful question mark in that section now that describes things pretty well and for the most part, the soft drugs thing is never enough to affect a worker’s performances. And most wrestlers don’t seem to let alcohol affect them either. In those cases, they don’t need to even register on there unless you either expect them to get worse or think it’s obviously having an effect. The major companies have put some effort into curbing the worst of these things too, so most of the modern generation are relatively well off compared to the may wrestlers dying young from the 80s and 90s generation. Tread lightly or the first few years of your mod is going to see a slew of deths. Personality is a tricky one too as we generally don’t know much about a person in real life. Generally speaking, there’s no smoke without fire. If someone is generally known for being awesome then give them a fairly good personality. If someone is known for being terrible, give them a terrible personality. And if you don’t know… randomise them a bit. Give them a mix of good and bad traits, maaybe even make a little note in their profile saying that you’ve made up their personality as not much is known about them and change some of them every time you release an updated version of the mod. It’ll keep people guessing and add a little randomness to the game, which is kinda fun. Anything that gives the characters in the mod something to make them stand out is a good thing and the more variation, the better. At least in my opinion. The CV97 is full of people I’ve given random personalities over the years, particularly the bland or annoying referees from earlier conversions. The more unique the people seem, the better.
Now.. the Top Row Skills! These will always cause a lot of debate and I’m not going to pretend to be able to judge everyone in the world for thse, because I can’t. I lack the knowledge to be able to do so but hopefully I can help people with better knowledge to balance this in their gameworld. First of all, you don’t need to have a 100 or even a 90 in this row to get awesomely high rated matches. Sure, the better you are here the better… but within the Cornellverse there are only a couple of workers per top row stat that have 90 or higher. That’s maybe 1 or 2 per 1000 people in the gameworld that hit the top levels and yet the gameworld still gets lots of A rated matches out of people with less than A level talent. Why? Because so many other factors weigh into a match that you don’t need to pimp the top row to achieve good grades. Chemistry, tag experience, title prestige, momentum, storyline heat, charisma, star quality are the first things that come to mind on terms of bonuses and each of those can be adding up to 5 points (some of them less). That’s a lot of bonuses! Similarly, there are a lot of penalties too that can also bring things down… low psych, basics, consistency, bad chemistry, low title prestige, momentum etc… identifying the right stats for each is the key and can help you work out which top row stats rock, and which suck. Keep in mind that a good in-ring guy only really needs a 60ish in a top row stat to be doing pretty good/above average, a 70 to be considered a fine worker and an 80 to be brought up in discussions about being one of the best for a particular attribute and you should hopefully be able to mod well. Next, what do these stats really mean?
: Fairly simple, this is the kind of thing you generally see in the WWE where two guys fight each other in fairly simple fights, and more importantly, how much you can make the fans care about it. Fists fly, it’s not about finesse as much as it is about just being able to make it look like a fight and bringing energy into this can really help. As with all top row stats, it not just about how good you mke your own offense look it’s about how well you deal with your opponent’s offense too, being able to react to their brawling ways when they interupt whatever you are doing. There are various styles of brawling, from energetic fist fighters/bar room brawlers like Steve Austin (probably in the low 90s at his peak), to more methodical, slow paced brawlers like the Undertaker (consistently in the 80s until a few years ago due to Time Decline) to the wild fury of Samoa Joe (somewhere in the 80s range, crowds chant for a reason). Each of these guys are among the best in brawling in recent memory, though both Austin and Undertaker would have long faded from their peaks in this stat, leaving Samoa Joe as probably the best brawler in TNA/WWE today. Other parts of the world may have better guys, but I don’t know them.
EXTRA NOTE: Brawling also covers a lot of slams, power moves and throws… there may be some technique involved but technique isn’t the same as technical wrestling so a lot of those moves fall under this category. Thanks D-Lyrium for reminding me that I’d not mentioned that. Taz was a “Human Suplex Machine” and may have had great technique on his suplexes and throws, but for the most part he would be considered to be a great brawler/puro practioner, one of the better ones in the US at the time though lacking in other areas. He also had some technical skll, but if he wrestled purely in that style he’d not be playing to his strengths, which should highlight that he'd be a better rumbler than technician.
: A bit more complicated as it’s a style that is employed for the most part in Japan… it’s a combination of hard hitting strikes and intense suplexes/slams, the sorts of moves that take real toughness to endure which is part of why the Japanese style of wrestling is still so heavily respected… and it’s about making the fans care about this style too. This style is NOT very common in North America, though there are some people who can use the style pretty well after gaining a lot of experience with it in Japan. For the most part, North American wrestlers will be below the 50 mark for this, even the good brawlers. Most of the high rated workers for this will be Japanese and working in Japan, though someone like Samoa Joe would (again) would probably be the best of WWE/TNA in this stat (probably in the high 60s/low 70s) with Tensai having some good skills here too, though people with more knowledge of his Japanese work where he demonstrated this style would need to give a good range for him. CM Punk has some skills here but even he is probably only sitting at around a 50. In the past someone like Chris Benoit was probably North America’s best at this, likely being in the 80s due to his incredible in-ring talents (he lacked in other skills though). As a general rule you shouldn’t rate this higher than 30 for people unless they have experience working in Japan with people of this style.
: This it the fine art of weapons based matches. The most important thing about this stat is that it is NOT how willing someone is to bleed or do crazy things, it’s about the actual quality of the match itself… meaning, how much people care about the hardcore. Someone might only ever use a chair and do a number of spots just based on that and they could be a hundred times better in this stat than some guy who is wrapping himself in barbwire, setting himself on fire and jumping off a balcony through sheets of glass. That said, a willingness to try the more extreme stuff will reveal how good at it you are… you can’t be any good if you never do it afterall! Some of the best practioners of the hardcore style in recent years have been the likes of Mick Foley (in the mid/high 80s at his peak) with his wild and reckless brawling style, Jeff Hardy (high 70s/low 80s to this day) with his ability to use weapons in a variety of ways while taking crazy bumps too, Abyss (who is able to use weapons in a way that isn’t just for the sake of it, probably in the mid/high 70s), Bully Ray (high 70s, he has made a career out of being awesome at hardcore and tag teams… and now promos) and Triple H… yeah, Triple H is one of the best hardcore guys in North America despite how bad he is at hitting people with a sledgehammer. He’s probably still in the 70s range for it, roughly on a par with his brawling ability, but he knows how to get the most out of a weapons based match.
RUMBLE SKILLS NOTE: As a general rule of thumb in North America, brawling is the key skill in this department, with ther other two being fairly uncommon, at least in terms of how good the wrestlers are at it. Sure there are indys that want to be about head-drops and stiff kicks… and sure there are some all about hitting people with light-tubes, but the quality of match is generally very poor. This is linked in with other stats too (particularly psychology/performance skills) which can make it hard to tell how good some people are. For example…. Take Triple H. If he were to work a hardcore match with some indy hardcore guy, would the match be awesome because of the things people get hit with/the bumps taken OR because someone in the match would know why they are being hit with them/make people care beyond a pop for a move? That’s why hardcore isn’t about taking sick bumps, it’s about how much you can make the fans care about why you are taking sick bumps…. I hope that makes sense.
: Quite simply, this is about the ability to wrestle on the ground in a way that the crowd likes. You’re probably noticing that all of these descriptions have a variation of the phrase “in a way the crowd enjoys” in them, that’s the point. It’s not abot how many moves you can do (though that does help), it’s about getting them to care. The more they care, the better… match ratings/angle ratings are basically a measure of how much the crowd care, so that’s the point of all these skills. This is generally going to link to the other technical skills in that a lot of submissions are grounded and a lot of linked moves are grounded too. Some of the best practioners of this are guys like Kurt Angle (fairly obviously, likely in the low 90s), Chris Benoit (I’d go with mid 90s when he was wrestling) and Daniel Bryan (probably low 90s too). Each of these guys know/knew how to make the crowd get pumped for wrestling on the mat and that’s something that isn’t the most common in the major companies as it is generally slower paced and less exciting than the dominant styles of entertainment. For this reason, Technician style wrestlers tend to do less well in Mainstream based companies which is why guys like Bryan and Angle have evolved more towards Regular Wrestlers where they can combine in-ring skills with entertainment skills to be more viable as top guys.
: Sister skill to Mat Work, this is about linking moves together in an sequence. This is a more common skill in North American wrestlers than Mat Work, as it can be applied to all situations in and out of the ring. One of the best examples of this style I can think of is Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3… lots of up close moves, fast paced action, tons of near falls and all chained together beautifully in a way that makes that match a classic more than 25 years later. You don’t get a lot of big guys capable of doing a lot of chain wrestling and this is a stat mostly worked in the major companies by the Middleweights or lower. TNA’s X-division guys are generally good at chaining moves together and I daresay that ROH has a lot of talented guys in this department too. Counter wrestling is also an important part of this attribute, with the ability to turn another guy’s offense into something else and having that countered again being the definition of a chain of moves. Unsurprisingly, the same names mentioned in Mat Work get a mention here and I’m going to add guys like CM Punk (70s), Chris Jericho (low 80s), William Regal (70s now due to Time Decline but one of the best at his peak) to the list. In terms of technical skills, this is the attribute among them that flyers would probably peak in. Rey Mysterio isn’t a mat whizz or a submission guru, but he can link moves together in interesting and exciting ways to complement his aerial prowess, so Rey would do pretty well here (probably in the mid 60s).
: This is all about making submission style wrestling exciting. Whether that be in setting up someone for the big move by softening them up, the transitions on the mat game, the ability to make it look like you are wrenching in the hold or simply the ability to be able to tweak and torture a guy… if you can make the crowd care about the holds in a match, then this is where your skills lie. The first match I think of here is a Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund “I Quit” match… it wasn’t perfect but it was a great example of two guys who knew how to work submissions during an era where submission style wrestling wasn’t particularly popular. The ability to make the fans case about all the moves that would weaken the right body part is what defines this skill and they told an excellent match within this skillset. As ever, it is also linked to the other Technical skills too so you’ll never see someone with 90 submissions and 10 Mat Work, but some people are better at some elements than others. In WWE/TNA there aren’t a huge number of people with huge skills here, but the likes of Daniel Bryan (high 80s), Samoa Joe (low/mid 80s) and Kurt Angle (low 80s) would all feature highly. One thing to remember… someone like John Cena isn’t a great submissionist just because he has the SWF in his arsenal. He doesn’t work towards it at all, which means he pretty much is pulling it out of nowhere. He CAN work with technical guys and submissionists so he is competent enough (30ish) but without anything leading to that move as part of his skillset he is selling himself short on submission abilities.
TECHNICAL SKILLS NOTE: As mentioned throughout, these skills are generally linked to each other but if you can work out what some people are better at then it will make them seem better. Kurt Angle, for example, doesn’t do a lot to work towards a submission win for most of the match, which is why he’s not rated as high there as he is in other technical aspects. Meanwhile someone like a Ric Flair (who will work a knee a lot) or a Daniel Bryan (who can work any limb) or Samoa Joe (who will relentless target a body part) all deserve high skills there for their work. Joe doesn’t do a lot of Mat Work though, but he can Chain Wrestle very well. CM Punk can do a bit of everything around here and this is perhaps his main area of top row skill in TEW but he’s still only sitting in the 70s for this… which is about the same as Rich Money, one of the most talented guys in the Cornellverse when you take into account his complete skill set. Just a reminder that the best in the world don’t have to be awesome at everything.
This is all about high flying abilities… not just all the moves you can do (which could be covered by athleticism) but how much the crowd can enjoy your matches as a result of what you can do. Whether you are springboarding all over the place, diving to the floor, running the rails, or using your body as something of a weapon, this encapsulates a style that is generally quite exciting but not very realistic. How foten do you see a moonsault in a real fight?
But it’s not just about you… it’s also about how good you are at working with other people who do these things. From making sure you plant your feet properly to launch a move or to catch someone, knowing how best to deal with an aerial artist and generally to work with the offense of others, this makes it very hard to reach the upper limits of this style. Every indy spot monkey can break out twenty variations of a moonsault and get a quick pop, but when everyone is doing that and no-one is standing out, that means they are all average high flyers (50ish), with the better ones moving up towards 60. In the big leagues the best high flyers are the likes of AJ Styles (high 80s), Rey Mysterio Jr (high 80s, though injury forces him to perform less well) and probably Sin Cara (low/mid 80s, with consistency seemingly plague him). One of the best guys in Aerial that I can think of was Eddy Guerrero… he could fly if he wanted to but he was also amazing at working with high flyers, being able to adapt to everything they could do better than anyone I can think of. With that in mind I’d rate him at about a 90 when he was alive, but with lower flashiness than some of his peers.
: This is about adding flashy, sensational elements to your matches and unlike most of the rest of the top row, this stat is almost entirely about what you do yourself and very limited in terms of dealing with your opponent. In the Eddy Guererro example, he was an amazing flyer as he could both give and receive everything… but he didn’t add lots of twists and flips to his matches just for the sake of it. He was still flashy though, so he’d be something like a 70 in here which makes him very similar to the Duane Stone of old in the Cornellverse, before his knees changed him to a Middleweight technician. Rey Mysterio’s flashiness would likely be pretty high (mid 80s, held back by injuries), while many indy workers would likely have more flash than aerial, indicating that they are more style than substance when it comes to wrestling. AJ Styles is an awesome example of being flashy with his offense, having a huge range of cool and exciting moves to draw from across various styles and he would be a 90something star in this regard. Jeff Hardy is another very flashy guy, someone I’d give a high 70s score to along with a low 70s aerial skill as he’s very good but not exceptional in that area. But it’s not just high flyers that have flash… everyone can do things to show off their style, but most styles don’t have the ability to add flips or twists and stuff like that. The Rock is a fairly flashy brawler when he wrestlers, so throwing a 40 into his Flashiness is perfectly reasonable, while someone like Batista would have very limited Flashiness as he has a fairly simple style. Most of the great showmen of professional wrestling know how to add flashiness to their style to help win the fans over, but unless you have some true high flying moves or super-impressive things in your arsenal that no-one else can do, this should rarely pass 40.
AERIAL SKILLS NOTE: A lot of indy wrestlers wrestle a style that is quite flashy but not actually very good in terms of actual aerial skills. High flying moves can get a good pop but the end result is often a hollow experience as they don’t really connect to an audience. In cases like these I’d rate then higher in flashiness than aerial, and this may apply to a lot of the indy scene. In TEW10 the aerial:flashiness weighting in high flying skills was 9:1, indicating just how valuable actual skills are over the ability to do something exciting. This is very similar to way that hardcore works… being willing to do something doesn’t make you good. Flashiness covers for a weakness in some ways and adds a little to excitement, which can cover for some other skills lacking.
Now, there are probably lots of people thinking I’ve under-rated people here but that’s not the case. When working out a match rating the game looks at a few key stats to decide how much someone is contributing towards the match grade… Top Row Skills with a cap set around the level of Psychology involved in the match is the key, with various other modifiers applied after that. I forget the exact formula but basically the you will lose something like 50% of the match grade above the level of psychology involved… so two 100 brawlers with 0 psychology would only be able to pull out a 50 in terms of in-ring contribution to a match, as no matter how good they could be, they’ll never be able to channel it in a way that works for the fans. They simply don’t know how to make the most of their skills. Which is what the Performance Skills is all about.
Performance Skills are basically the mental attributes of how to work a match, which is why most of them no longer decline with Time Decline. If the top row of skills are the practical examples of how good someone is, Performance is all about the theory. Being good in this row means you’ll never put on a bad match as you will know how to get all of the basic principles down in order to get the crowd involved and to wrestle a match that won’t cause fans to lose their willing suspension of disbelief. In essence… the better you are here, the more people can buy into whatever it s you are trying to sell them. Without these skills, it doesn’t matter what you can do in the ring, people just won’t be able to care. So lets look at the individual stats.
: From bumping to simple sequences that every wrestler the world over should know, this is your fundamentals. You learn the difference between a wristlock and a wristwatch, you learn how to bump, how to avoid hurting yourself, when to bump and feed, when to do simple things. If you’ve gone through a reputable training school it’s not unreasonable to expect a worker to have a 60 in this stat, which represents an ability to go out there and look perfectly reasonable. With more practise they’ll keep getting better and better, with most of the guys we see in WWE/TNA probably being somewhere in the 60-90 range, with some guys breaking above that too (more than on the top row). The exceptions in the big companies to this rule are the rookies who are generally people who have a very good look and star potential, but who may not be wrestlig fans. Big men like The Great Khali still have terrible basics (40s probably) as he’s really not someone who does the basics at all due to his size. Half of the divas in the last decade were models who while good looking and athletic, were not strong in basics no matter how hard they tried. Broadly speaking, the longer you wrestler the better your basics get up to the point where you can more or less do everything without even needing to think about it. And Time Decline will never rob your of this stat any more, so remember to set this value to a veteran’s peak so that they can be used to train youngsters.
: This is the ability of the wrestler to get the fans into the story of the match. The story is whatever is defined by the booking, the characters involved and generally anything else going on around it. Being able to tell this story via the way the match unfolds is a universally desired skill in wrestling and it is one of the key things in the difference between a star and a superstar. Being able to mesh the characters of everyone involved in a match, pace the match to tell a story and hook the crowd from start to finish is the hallmark of this particular stat. It’s also one of the things most talked about by veterans as being something of a lost art. Most wrestlers know the idea of “Shine-Heat-Comeback-Finish” as how to build a match but being able to tell a ide variety of stories is the most important skill in a match. Without this, it doesn’t matter how good you are in the ring, you’ll lose something. In every match that goes down in legend, there is at least one person in there with a huge psychology rating. Ric Flair was great at it (about 100). Hulk Hogan was better at it than I’m generally willing to admit (90ish). The Undertaker is a master of it (about 100), able to get a great match out of everyone by meshing the characters together perfecttly (his match with Festus is still an awesome example of this). Shawn Michaels is another guy who was awesome with everyone because he could tell a story with anyone, another guy close to 100 and the reason why he has so many Match Of The Year awards (thanks to awesome stats across most other areas too). Of the current generation of wrestlers I would say this is a stat that is a little lacking, and that’s one of the reasons why there are so few breakout superstars. John Cena follows in the Hogan cast of psychology but isn’t as good at it (low 80s). CM Punk is probably WWE’s best and I’d only put him in the mid 80s. Chris Jericho is talented but again, probaly the mid 80s. Randy Orton, as much as I don’t find him very interesting, is someone who I would put at about 80. Triple H… he’s a guy that has a lot of talent but that has never been able to carry anyone to a legendary match, he’s in the low 80s for me too. Edge is another guy who I feel took so long to truly breakout because his psychology wasn’t strong enough. Good skills in most areas, but wasn’t quite able to have the amazing matches that would put him over the top. Daniel Bryan is sitting somewhere in the 80s range, though I’m not sure exactly where I’d place him. Christian Cage is probably WWE’s most under-rated in this regard, with him being someone I’d put in the mid 80s for psychology but who lacks a little in other areas and has probably his his popularity cap at B-, forever stopping him becoming as big a star as his talents would let him. As for TNA… one of the reasons Sting is still a wrestler is because he has good psychology, probably in the high 80s but he’s also in Time Decline and not able to get the most out of himself any more. Kurt Angle is someone I’d put in the mid 80s, maybe even the high 80s as he is able to have some very good matches against everyone. Bully Ray I would have in the low 80s/high 70s as he’s always been able to work well with people and has truly begun to show that he is capable of doing so in singles. As for TNA homegrown stars, AJ Styles is a mid 70s kind of guy, Samoa Joe is probably mid/high 70s while Christoper Daniels is a very solid hand in this regard and likely close to an 80. Daniels is a good all rounder, but is just missing something that stops him becoming a star even though he is so very good. Aries is very good here too, always able to create a match that works well with whoever he is against though I’d place him in the low/mid 70s. Bobby Roode is in a similar range as Aries for the same reason, as is James Storm and Abyss.
I had to break up that paragraph as it was getting unwieldy. In general, psychology is a trait that can only be learned through being in the ring and wrestling a lot. Unless a rookie has shown an incredible aptitude for pro wrestling, this stat is rarely going to even be above a 50 when they debut. Breaking the 70 barrier is fairly uncommon and that is why it’s so important to find people who can teach psychology. Veterans, particularly those from the old territory days, have worked squillions of matches and have worked against hundreds or thousands of people so they know how to adapt and to work with all sorts. This is what gives people the ability to use “Call In Ring” during a match, being able to use what they’ve learned to react to the live crowd and make the most of any reactions they get. In the days of heavily scripted TV and decreasing input from individual performers in storylines, the art of psychology is becoming lost. And in a real world mod this should also be the case. It adds huge value to a worker with big psychology, which adds another layer of strategy and realism when playing, something that is lost if a mod over-rated everyone. As for lesser workers, it’s often hard to tell how good they are. I remember one match recently in TNA featuring Robbie E/Rob Terry vs Wes Brisco/Garrett Bischoff before they joined Aces and Eights. It was the best all of those guys have looked in ages and I have to assume that it’s because Robbie E put a lot of it together, along with the TNA agents. And when I look at Robbie E now, I realise he has pretty good psychology when it comes to his matches… he’s just not very good in the top row and has a comedy gimimck that will keep him in the lower reaches of TNA forever given their product.
: Fairly simple, this is how safe a worker is in the ring. A guy might be able to hit hard, but if he can do it in a way that doesn’t actually hurt his opponent then that is awesome as it can make a match look good. This is one stat that can start at almost any level. Some guys are naturally clumsy and prone to hurting people (The Great Khali, Mark Henry in the past) and some people are never going to hurt you because they just know what they are doing (Ric Flair, HBK, a lot of old school guys). I’d generally avoid giving a wrestler more than an 80 in this to start with, but there is no reason to assume they can’t. Some people don’t hurt people… though sometimes it’s because they avoid pushing themselves beyond the limits of what they can do safely, which could mean they have lower top row stats in exchange for higher safety and consistency.
: Welcome to the stat where a low value virtually guarantees that you’ll be on Botchamania in future.
This is all about how often you perform at your very best. This stat can vary all the way along the scale for workers of all ages, though as with Safety, I’d find it very hard to give a rookie a stat above 80 here, simply in order to give them some space to grow in future. Someone like a Ric Flair in his prime could go out and wrestle to the same awesome standard every night, which is true of most people who get towards the top of any company as you generally have to be a consistent performer to get a consistent push. Jeff Hardy used to be an example of terrible consistency but in recent years he’s really improved on this a lot and has become fairly solid. My go to example of poor Consistency is Sabu… on a good day he could be incredible, on a bad day he could botch more moves and completely ruin a match worse than a Shockmaster run in. One link I make between consistency is with the Top Row. If someone is capable of being better in the top than they generally are, then you can simulate this by perhaps giving their top row a slightly higher score than you might normally and lowering their consistency score so that they don’t often hit it. Most of the WWE and TNA top guys would probably have 75+ in this stat, though this is a stat that drops with Time Decline and older guys like Sting and Undertaker would likely now be suffering hefty drops in this from their peaks more than a decade ago.
: There are a few different aspects to this that often go overlooked. The most obvious definition here is that it’s about making the impact of moves look good. It’s also about bringing in the effects of being hit by moves into the long term plan of a match, so selling a knee five mintues after it’s been hit can remind people that you are hurting and add to the drama of the match. And there’s knowing when to sell and when not to… for example, Undertaker sitting up after being hit with a move may be no-selling it, but the very act of no-selling ADDS to the drama of the match so this is a good example of selling. Being able to sell the immediate impact and the long term effects of a move is one of the keys to getting people to buy in to a match… that’s why it’s called selling in the first place! One thing that can be hard to categorise is the OVERselling of moves… some people can actually sell so hard that they ruin the drama. It’s a fine line, and sometimes people land on the wrong side of it. In terms of the top sellers today, there are a few that I would find worthy of mentioning. Shawn Michaels was fantastic at it, able to sell the short and long term damage of moves in a way that added awesomely to the darama of his matches (except vs Hulk Hogan). RVD is great at selling the impact of moves but a little shaky on the long term though he’d still get something in the 80s despite this. AJ Styles would be very high again here. Most guys in the middleweight or lower range in general once they get towards the top are probably pretty good at selling, though some are obviously better than others. As with other stats in the performance bracket, rookies can be very good at this too though I’d be wary of giving any rookies anything higher than an 80 in order to give them some space to grow. This does get lower with age as physical limitations start to kick in, so veterans will get lower skills here as Time Decline kicks in.
PERFORMANCE ROW NOTE: As mentioned before, this row is basically the mental skills of a worker, some of which can be impaired by physical decline. IF you are good at this then you can have a good match with anyone and the crowd will buy into whatever you try to sell to them. Bobby Roode in TNA is, in my opinion, one of the better guys in this row that TNA have, being at least in the 70s for everything. He’s also really crisp in the ring and looks pretty good, which is why TNA gave him the championship a while back. He’s remained one of their top guys since then and he can have a great match with anyone. Guys like Randy Orton can do the same, though none of these guys are a patch on someone like Ric Flair who was capable of delivering a great match instinctually every night. While I do think that for the most part there are more guys able to do more things on the performance row than in the past, the one area I think modern wrestling suffers compared to old school is psychology… less people are able to just go out and work with anyone on any given night and put on a great match that gets the crowd going. As such, one of the inherent problems with real world mods SHOULD be a lack of psychology with a general better degree of professionalism/not looking like an amateur for most of the top workers.
***deep breath time***
Onwards to Camera Skills! These are probably the easiest section of skills to judge and when Fog Of War was being added I actually argued that they shouldn’t be hidden half as much as the rest of them. You can generally judge this with your eyes fairly easily though differences in opinion can make it hard to pinpoint where people are going to be. So let’s get to each stat….
: This is mostly important for women, as not only are they the fairer sex but they are generally the least intimidating one (unless you are dating them, obviously
). A gorgeous girl is fairly obviously gorgeous to most from a fairly short viewing on TV or from a handful of pictures so it shouldn’t be too hard to ballpark a value for their Sex Appeal. Most of the WWE Divas and TNA Knockouts are going to be in the 80 range for this, with some of the particularly attractive girls going above and beyond this. Many of the most popular females in these two companies have gotten there based on their looks as much as their talents, though the very best tend to have both. Trish Stratus was a high 90s sex appeal, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Christy Hemme, Dawn Marie, Mickie James… some beautiful girls who all deserve 90+ in the Sex Appeal stat. Others probably around that range might include Lacey Von Erich, So Cal Val, Kelly Kelly (so good they named her twice)… the very atractive girls are going to be able to get over initially based on their looks and when the cap on that kicks in, their talents can take them the rest of the way. Don’t worry about being a little generous when you mod this particular stat, this is one where you can go a little bit too far without worrying about breaking the balance of a mod. In terms of males, sex appeal really isn’t a good way to push someone to get to the top of the wrestling world, so they tend to get lower ratings partly for that and partly by just not being as attractive. Anywhere between 20-40 would be a good range for a not-un attractive guy. Anything higher than that and we’re talking the kind of guys that girls will quite happily look at for ages, andonce you start to get above 50 we’re talking some seriously good looking dude. In the Cornellverse there are only a handful of guys above 60, with Champagne Lover basically being a Hollywood heart throb in the low 80s, which is where guys like Brad Pitt or George Clooney or whoever is an extremely attractive and famous man these days. I’m so out of touch with culture that my attempts to make pop culture references are never going to go well.
Some guys that seem to be very popular with the ladies these days in pro wrestling include Randy Orton (60ish), John Cena (60ish), Batista (50s, though I’m not sure why), John Morrison (probably the highest scorer I can think of, 70s), Dolph Ziggler (50s, maybe 60s), AJ Styles (50s, maybe 60s as girls I know seem to love him). But primarily, sex appeal applies mostly for women in terms of generating popularity rather than for men.
: This is mostly important for men. In a world where you are fighting to ultimately be the champion of wrestling, a title that means you are the best at fighting, looking like you are capable of beating everyone can go a long way towards having people truly believe you can beat everyone. Which is where menace comes in. Whether you have the cold, dead eyes of a serial killer, a wild Samoan savage, a crazy bounty huner, an escaped convict, a mystical undead zombie undertaker or a bizarre dentist… something they all have in common is that you kinda have to be more than a bit scary to pull off the idea in a vaguely serious way. This is another stat where it can pay dividends to aim a little high with it as it can often be difficult to see how menacing someone is with a lame indy gimmick. Take Umaga for example… he was obviously intimidating but it wasn’t until he became Umaga that he scared the crap out of me. Aim high, and Fog Of War can hide the specifics until much later. Size also plays a large part in this stat, so the bigger someone is the higher I’d set their Menace stat by default… with smaller guys probably having something of a cap unless they have made themselves truly uniquely scary somehow. This isn’t necessarily gospel, but following the guidelines here will add value to big guys, who often seem to take a bit of a beating in TEW due to their limits on other things such as top row skills and fairly low stamina.
Small: Cap of about 20 menace.
Lightweight: Cap of about 40 menace
Middleweight: Cap of about 60 menace
Light Heavyweight: Minimum of about 20 menace (250 pound men are a bit scary), cap of about 80 menace.
Heavyweight: Minimum of 40, no cap.
Big Heavyweight: Minimum of 60, no cap.
Super Heavyweight: Minimum of 60, as by now these guys are often getting fatter rather than scarier. No cap.
Giant: Minimum of 80, no cap. Only a fool would pick a fight with a guy this big, most of the people in this range are likely to be close to 100.
Following that kind of scale should lead to an increased value on the menace stat and make it more obvious why big men can get pushed so easily. Combined with Brute gimmicks and good charisma they can be pushed quickly as credible threats and gain a lot of popularity… and it’s this ability to gain popularity and feed it to others that can make big men so valuable. If you under-rate the big men in this stat you take away their key method of success in TEW. Similarly, if you over-rate the smaller guys you give the little guys who have so many other advantages yet another one. This stat is one that generally stays static after creation (at least until Time Decline), so don’t hesitate to set it a bit high on the high size. Women are generally pretty small compared to men too, so this scale should work for them.
: Last but not least in this section is a stat that is universaly helpful. Quite simply, the innate look of being a star. Don’t confuse this with recognising someone who is already a star because it is NOT that. There is a certain intangible quality that some people have, whether it be in their body language or their look. They just shout out to the world that they are a star, they are important, they are talented or something like that. The Rock is pretty much a perfect example of Star Quality. He was good looking, he was charismatic (both different stats) but what he had was a certain swagger, poise and charm that made him stand out from everyone else. You put him in a line-up with almost anyone else and ask people to pick out a star, and even people who don’t know him would single him out. You put Mick Foley in that same line up and he wouldn’t even get a second look. Mick Foley is popular and a highly successful star in his own right several times over, but Star Quality isn’t something he has a lot of. He became a a star despite lacking Star Quality and the poor guy gets this argument used on him every time I make this point.
This stat CAN go hand in hand with high sex appeal, menace or charisma but it is generally something unique to a person. Hulk Hogan had it in spades though has lost some since his peak (I’d still sit him in the 70s for Star Quality now though, more than Mick Foley ever had). The Ultimate Warrior was packed to the gills with it. The Rock has it. Stone Cold had a lot of it, but not as much as anyone else mentioned so far (I’d set him in high 80s/low 90s even at his peak). John Cena has a lot of it but not as much as Austn (I’d go with high 80s). Batista oozed Star Quality too, one of the best for Camera skills in recent times with high 90s here. In terms of Divas, Trish had huge Star Quality… there was just a presence with her that wasn’t just her boobs looking you in the face, there was more. The current crop of gals wish they had what she had but most of them are simply attractive but with nothing to say “I’m a megastar” about them. Which is kinda why the Divas get overlooked a lot… there is some talented girls there, but they don’t have star quality the same way that some of the Attitude Era girls did. Tamina Snuka? Eve? The Bella Twins? Rosa Mendez? Mediocre star quality… though the Bellas might be a little better off in that regard than the others. As for the effect of the stat… it adds a little to everything a worker is part of, so while you might not see any obvious effects the little extra boosts you get will slowly add 0.1 popularity here and there. After a while it all adds up. At 100 I think this stat adds about 5 points to your contribution to a segment AND it helps you to shift a lot of merchandise, which is profit for your company.
CAMERA SKILLS NOTES: If you are ever stuck with a choice of a C+ grade wrestler with C- star quality VS a C- grade wrestler with A star quality, ALWAYS pick the latter. They will make you more money and there’s always a chance they will learn to get better in the ring too. Short term the first guy might give you better results, but long term the other guy will win out even if he needs some short term protecting. Using Camera skills well can add significantly to a match and those bonuses can be worth more than the extra top row boost. Given that the star quality bonus is applied AFTER the rest of the match grade is worked out, it’s a free boost. Anyone of any gender or size can have star quality, which is seen all the way through the Cornellverse. But a combination of Star Quality, Menace, Charisma and a Brute gimmick is a license to print popularity and make stars. You don’t even need to be talented, it’s simply the perfect storm of attributes that can create an amazing aura around a worker and that is why it is one of the staples of wrestling and the reason Vince McMahon hires big guys and always will.
On to Entertainment skills since I’m finding myself talking about Charisma already. Even so, I’m going to address it last here as it’s the hardest to define.
: Put simply, this is a worker’s ability to talk and nothing else. If you were to put this guy on the radio to deliver a promo, this is all you’d rate him on. It’s his verbal abilities and nothing else. And generally it’s fairly easy to get a handle on how good someone is here, though there are a lot of different promo styles. The Rock is fast talking and often funny guy who at his peak could have tens of thousands of people singing along with his every word… that’s near perfect Mic Skills. He’s lost a few steps there by being away from a live crowd for so long, but he’s still golden. John Cena is also great at controlling a crowd with his words, though his character isn’t the best kind of character (a gimmick problem) to let him do so. I’d put his mic skills in the high 80s or low 90s for that reason. Steve Austin was another great promo guy, someone who could be relied on to get the crowd excited with every word he said. And one of my favourite promo men of all time… Jake “The Snake” Roberts. By golly, when he talked, you listened and you got excited to see what he was going to do next, putting him in the 90s (though substance abuse got in the way of that a lot). Raven is another amazing promo, someone who truly deserves to be sitting around the 90 mark even to this day. Bobby Heenan, perhaps the greatest manager of all time was always amazing with a microphone. Ric Flair could talk thousands of people into an arena too. Even Hulk Hogan would be in the low 80s for this, though his main strengths lie more in charisma. CM Punk and Paul Heyman should sit in the high 80s/low 90s each too as when they talk, EVERYONE listens and cares. Other guys I’d put around the 80 mark would include Bully Ray (he cuts money promos), Sting, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley (probably high 80s), Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and probably Jim Ross. A lot of the WWE and TNA uppercarders would fall around the 70 mark these days, partly due to not being given the free reign to be allowed to develop themselves on the microphone, which is something that hurts both companies in the long term. You can also do this in-game now, by scripting promos to avoid a disaster but also stifling development of your workers. A little side note… perhaps the most under-rated mic guy in pro wrestling is “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero. That guy could sell snow to an eskimo and still get money off them to call for a lift home, he’s someone I’d rate very highly in this stat.
EXTRA: From D-Lyrium, who pointed out thst I’d forgotten to mention describe in better detail what would go into this. Excellent work from him.
Something I see in loads of mods, which always annoys me, is anyone who isn't American or William Regal being SLATED for mic skills, almost automatically. It'll probably happen less these days because of the likes of Wade Barrett and Drew McIntyre doing well in the WWE, but a few years ago practically every mod was giving guys like Nigel McGuinness a D. D?! McGuiness was GOLD on the microphone. So much so he went into commentary when he retired. Magnus is too to a lesser extent. Also, you don't have to speak English to be good on the microphone (Hiro Tenzan), though obviously it's much harder to judge if you don't speak their language.
Mic Skills should be about the confidence and smoothness with which they talk, not just the pitch of their voice or their accent.
Kurt Angle, for instance, has one of the more annoying voices in pro wrestling for me personally (which actually HELPS when he's a heel, same with Heyman), but nobody can deny the guy is great on the microphone.
Tell-tale signs of bad microphone skills are constant "umm" and "er" and pauses while they think of stuff to say or remember the script, mumbling, etc.
Constant freudian slips (accidentally putting words - often embarrassingly - into sentences where they don't belong at all), catachreses (mixed metaphors and misuse of words to an extent that the phrase no longer makes sense) and malapropisms (using a similar - but contextually incorrect - word instead of the one you meant to use, often giving the phrase a vastly different meaning) are also generally signs that a worker doesn't deserve top grades. Scott Steiner is king of all of those things BUT he doesn't deserve too low a grade (I'd go with a C) because his actual delivery is very good, and when he doesn't screw up, he's capable of good promos.
: Generally speaking, this is going to be a stat that is the lowest of the Entertainment group for most wrestlers. Wrestlers can generally play their own character but they are not trained actors, which can generally be evidenced by how badly their movies do. Hulk Hogan is a terrible actor (probably as low as the 50s or maybe 60s) compared to his charisma and mic skills (80s). Acting is about all the little non-verbal things that people can do, the subtleties that communicate something that words aren’t. It might be a little expression, a look or a tic of some sort… just those little things that you might not even notice but that sell the character to you in the context of what is going on. Given that wrestling is closer to pantomime than movie acting, this stat is something that most wrestlers aren’t as good at since they are looking to scale things up rather than be subtle. There aren’t many wrestlers now that I’d give more than an 80 to in this stat, but one of them would be The Rock, who has proven he is better than your average. Another would be The Undertaker… admittedly he doesn’t do anything except be Undertaker, but he has so many little things he can do that he is one of the best actors in pro wrestling. I’m genuinely struggling to thing of many more people I’d give a high acting score to… so with that in mind, time to move on to…
: We’ve covered verbal and non-verbal already… we’ve covered looks which can be qorked out on a quick first impression… what is left? It’s that intangible something, something that keeps drawing you back to a worker no matter what they do. It’s not the moves they do, it’s not the way they look, it’s not what they say… it’s something unique to a worker that makes you react to them. Some people have a built in charisma like The Rock. Some people have a sort of air of domainance, of alpha-ness (to borrow from Comradebot’s diaries) that make them seem like the top of the foodchain, like The Undertaker. Some people just have that ability to connect with people immediately and deeply. Whatever it is that makes you love someone, that is their charisma. Maybe you see something or yourself in a wrestler, maybe you hate them immediately because they remind you of someone you hate. It can be all of those things or none of them. What it boils down to is a worker’s innate ability to connect with people on some level and make them care enough about them to want to see more of them. Most of the biggest stars in wrestling history are the most charismatic guys the industry has, because charisma is what ultimately makes people want to cheer them, and that’s what sells tickets and puts asses in seats. I honestly don’t think this stat is valued highly enough in TEW but there is a bonus for every segment because of it and that in itself is enough to add fractions of popularity points regularly for a worker and to help them become a star. A story to illustrate this… the firs time I saw Shawn Michaels was when he made his entrance into the second Royal Rumble he won… from the moment I saw him, I knew I wanted him to win. I knew nothing about him, I was immediately hooked by his charisma (which I’d rate in the low 90s in TEW, though I may be a little biased here) and wanted to see more. The same happened for Elijah Burke/D’Angelo Dinero, I was simply hooked when I saw him. For a lot of people they have a similar story about Bret Hart or Randy Savage or Hulk Hogan. I had the same feeling for Rick Rude too, showing from an early age that I’d grow up to be cynical and want the bad guys to win because they were more interesting.
I had the same feeling about Raven when I first saw him too. All extremely charismatic guys that people just loved or hated from the first they saw them. If you have charisma, it’s almost impossible to get X-Pac heat... people simply care too much to ever stop caring, and that’s why there will always be a Legends Circuit for veterans and why there will always be nostalgia for the good old days. Because once people connect with that charisma, it’s hard to move. It can be learned over time too though… Daniel Bryan has gone from a guy who struggled to connect despite his talents while he was in early ROH to a guy who can now have a PPV audience chanting “Yes” or “No” for a few minutes in the middle of a 2/3 Falls match with Sheamus (the moment at Extreme Rules 2012 when I knew he had truly made it). It’s hard to grade this stat but the more people seem to care about someone beyond their simple wrestling life, the more that charisma I’d say that someone has.
ENTERTAINMENT NOTES: I know I’ve used less examples here, but it’s a hard section to categorise. One guy that I don’t think gets a lot of praise in this section any more is Mr Anderson in TNA. He can talk, he can hook people in and he is actually pretty good at acting for a wrestler, one of the better ones. His problem has always been that he’s not actually good at being a heel or a face, he’s always just played the same character regardless of alignment. But back to the main topic here… these stats are going to be highly valued in any Entertainment based company and when combined with Camera Skills can make a star despite mediocre other skills. As mentioned above though, both the WWE and TNA have spent a lot of time scripting what people do which limits how much development workers have had in these stats for a while. TNA is giving people more free reign (reportedly mostly bulletpoints) which has coincided with them having a noticably improved on-screen product most of the time as guys like Daniels, Aries, Roode, Storm, Bully and others can cut loose. Meanwhile, the WWE continues to suffer from over-scripting and guys like Ryback (who I’ve heard cut some fun promos before the Ryback gimmick as Skip Sheffield) suffer from never learning how to control a crowd by themselves. A real world mod should reflect these issues in modern wrestling by having gaps at the top of these stats, which will in turn create more value for the guys who do know what they are doing. CM Punk becomes an incredible worker to have when you have his Entertainment, Performance and Top Row skills together in one worker… though he does lack in Star Quality a bit, I’d only rate him in the low/mid 70s there despite him being one of my favourites in the world.
Up next is the last major section… Physical skills. I want to preface this by saying that I’d rather a mod slightly over-rated workers in this section than under-rated them. A lot of the stats here are very static, though there is a fair bit of growth in the early years of a worker’s career and Stamain in particular will keep rising simply by wrestling a lot of matches, often ending up far above it’s actual cap as a result. I’ve talked about some of these statsin more detail elsewhere but here is a better look at them for modding purposes.
: The easiest one of the group, this is basically your injury prone-ness. As a guideline I’d suggest setting this somewhere around the 80 mark for most people unless you have reason to believe that they are never going to get injured or they are going to get injured fairly often. Someone like a Kevin Nash would have fairly low resilience in his career given the number of injuries he gets, Rey Mysterio suffers from low resilience, Sin Cara seems to have a touch of it too, as would Mark Henry. Loosely speaking, if someone is picking up a lot of injuries even while working in very low Match Intensity/Match Danger type companies, then they have low resilience. It would take a lot to put someone below 50 here, but this is another stat that goes down with Time Decline so a lot of veterans who once had high Resilience will now have lost a lot of that. Undertaker used to be very high here, but now he’d be very low given how long he HAS to take off after matches to recover. This is also a stat that a lot of the model type WWE Divas would be fairly low in, which mixes badly with low safety and basics to create quite a lot of injuries for them. Try not to penalise workers who take sick bumps a lot OR work ina high Match Danger type environment. Being injured because of those is to be expected, that’s why they are dangerous in the first place!
: Sister to Resilience, this is about being able to deal with the punishing schedule of being a wrestler. When you get emails complaining about a worker needing to rest up a bit, that’s because they are working more than their Toughness can let them handle. Low Toughness can lead to injuries too, as wear and tear on the body causes them to underperform in the ring and make the kinds of mistakes that can cause them to hurt themselves to the point that they HAVE to take a break rather than just wanting one. This also affects the rate at which a worker’s physical condition will drop when wrestling (head, arms, legs, body) so having high toughness will ensure a longer career for a worker. This is also the key to working matches with high Match Intensity, which is the primary attribute in the complaint emails about needing to rest up. Each match adds to the fatigue levels, which is why whenever you are plotting a tournament you should look at the toughness levels of the workers involved. The more matches you make them wrestle (not so much the length of them) the more likely they are to get fatigued by the last one, which will often be the main event of the night and a big chunk of your show rating. So watch out for that. Fatigue also is lowered from a match if it’s a tag team match (as is wear and tear) so if you want to extend the career of someone with low Toughness, putting them into situations where they can be protected more could give you many extra years with them. Broadly speaking, this is a key attribute for most top Japanese performers to have in order to deal with the higher Match Intensity and greater number of matches. The dojo system out there in real life generally weeds out the low Toughness guys, but if you are making a mod you should generally be giving the biggest names out there high levels of toughness so that they can have the careers they are known for. In Japan, 70-80 would be a strong baseline for a lot of the major guys with the particularly top guys having even more. In North America, anyone able to get away with the WWE schedule for a long period of time without needing a break would have maybe a 60 for this. Low Toughnes is part of the reason a lot of people need breaks or get worn down to the point of injury in the first place… and as with many stat, Time Decline can drag this down over time. Undertaker used to be super tough but he has lost some of that over the years because ot Time Decline.
: Pretty simple here, it’s about how long a worker can keep wrestling in a match before it starts to really hurt the match rating. Sadly I don’t have an exact scale to hand for correlating match lengths to stamina values, but if you think someone could pull of a 60 minute match then you should probably be giving them 90+ stamina. There aren’t many people around these days who could do that so there shouldn’t be many people hitting those height. To be fair though, those match types are going to be very rare so most people don’t need Stamina that high. John Cena is reportedly always in great shape and could probably get close on any given night. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are probably the same. AJ Styles always seems capable of doing so, and Kurt Angle could probably give him a good run for his money too. I don’t know about Samoa Joe any more but certainly in the past he’s done it so he’d have high levels of stamina. Don’t be afraid to over-rate this skill a bit, the game is also going to push people up a lot if they are wrestling often so this one can be a bit over-rated. Just being in the ring a lot will improve your ring-shape a lot, so try not to over-rate youngsters here just because they can run a long distance. Bumping a lot will drain you faster and when you are young that’s hard to handle. Smart use of holds and so on can all add to a worker’s stamina rating too, so it’s not quite a linear scale. And as a fairly obvious rule, big guys tend to suffer from lower stamina than smaller guys… just moving more weight around will drain you faster but guys like Kane, Big Show and Undertaker have all proven themselves in fairly long matches in the past so don’t sell them short either.
: Not too surprising here, it’s all about raw strength here. Power is a helpful part of any match and Adam has said in the past that a high power stat will help a match rating thanks to things like power spots and the like, though it’s not something that shows up in the dirtsheet. This is a stat that will grow as youngsters get into better wrestling shape and will decline in Time Decline as physical skills fade with age. For the most part, the bigger you are the stronger you are likely to be but there are always exceptions and Vince McMahon has always loved to push those guys. John Cena is freak level strong like Ant-Man in the Cornellverse, able to lift 400+ pounders, which is 90+ level strength right there. Eric Young in TNA is a guy who is stupidly strong to, he’s someone who should have a high 80s Power though you’d generally not notice it as he doesn’t use it much. Ryback, Mark Henry and Big Show are good example of guys at or close to 100 Power with guys like Hogan, Andre, Ultimate Warrior and so on being historical examples of extremely powerful guys. Again, slightly over-rating here isn’t the end of the world but your typical indy guy while strong for a guy his size, isn’t likely to cross beyond the 50 Power mark.
: Now this is a tough stat to work out! This is the all round athletic nature of a particular person, taking into account everything that this could make up. Strength, Stamina, Flexibility, Agility, Co-ordination, Toughness, Speed… it’s pretty much a worker’s command of their physical self. Generally speaking when I’m trying to work this out I look at the stats I listed above, rate them out of 20 and then add them up. It’s a kinda rough process and figure but there are very few people who are ever going to reach 100 that way, which leaves a fairly good level for this stat. For example, The Great Khali pretty much only has Strenght out of those and some toughness, giving him a score probablyin the 30s overall. Brock Lesnar is a beast in a lot of these stats, giving him a score very close to 100, which seems reasonable given that he is truly a freak athlete. A lot of modern wrestlers actually have a very good score in Athleticism, which is a good thing for this era and can reflect well on the industry as a whole. This particular attribute plays a role in governing stat and popularity caps, so avoid setting this too low if you can and you should find that people have a better chance of developing into a star.
PHYSICAL SKILLS NOTES: I just want to note a difference between eras for these skills. In the past workers were probably tougher and more resilient than their modern counterparts, in part because of kayfabe where you not only had to seem tough on screen but had to BE tough in real life. It’s part of the reason that big guys were more prominent too, as the air of raw Menace that bigger guys have added to the kayfabe illusion. With kayfabe being non-existent now you get a different kind of athlete coming in, with guys who may not be as big or tough getting more chances to succeed. This leads to smaller guys and better athletes in general who can physically do more, leading to more styles being used too. There may be less menacing people in pro wrestling now than their used to be, but there is probably a greater increase in better athletes, star quality and sex appeal which can be used to make a different kind of star. It makes monster pushes harder and rarer to do, which combined with there being no territory system to move around when you lose in an area, may also be why monsters are rarer now and hard to maintain a true killer heel aura. I seem to have wandered away from physical skills a bit, but I hope this helps to understand why some things happen in real life and what to do in terms of putting a mod together.
: A skill that should be 0 for anyone unless they are going to more or less be treated as a lead voice in the announce booth. It can be hard to work out how high to set this for people and I’ve been trying to work out the best way to say it. I would set this at a level where the announcer’s commentary is actively adding something to the match that is unfolding in the ring. I’d think of it purely in terms of match ratings… if the commentary provides a bonus then it must be better than the match quality itself (in-ring performance combined with crowd reaction) or if the commentary is hurting the match then it must be worse. An announcer’s rating should then be set accordingly. This pre-supposes an ability to rate how good a match is, which can be tricky but I think highlights the ability of an announcer. Jim Ross is the greatest wrestling announcer I know (screw Gordon Solie
) and there are basically no matches that don’t sound at least as good or better with Jim Ross commentating, which to me makes him very close to a 100 for announcing. Michael Cole, for all the internet heat towards him, has grown into the role of a pretty good announcer now to the point that he can make some matches a bit better and not hurt the top maches. With the WWE being lucky to hit 90 rated matches, I’d say that puts Michael Cole probably somewhere in the mid 70s range in terms of Announcing. Mike Tenay over in TNA (I swear they named the company after him
) is probably a similar level to Michael Cole and the new guy there Todd Kennely is pretty good too, probably in the low 60s with lots of room to improve as he gets more experience. I’ve always liked Josh Matthews and Matt Striker as announcers though they are probably also in the 60s range. Most of the other people on the announce teams are colour commentators so don’t NEED an announcer score at all since they’ll be rated on their charisma instead. I know the WWE has some lower level announcers too, but I know nothing about them in terms of being able to rate them. Nor do I know about ROH announcers.
Broadly speaking, most announcers these days don’t have enough practise to be awesome at it so indy level announcers aren’t going to be very good unless they have a background in that sort of thing outside of wrestling that they can build on.
: Most people don’t know what a good referee is, but they can tell you what a bad one is. A referee can be responsible for everything from pacing matches, helping workers communicate in the ring, counting in a way that adds to drama, selling moves (Charles Robinson is great at wincing when people get hit hard), being in the right place to not get in the way of the action, being involved in some spots (often missing heels cheating), ref bumping and generally being able to help with the drama of a match in many little ways that can go completely un-noticed by fans. Referees aren’t MEANT to get over, they’re meant to help the guys who put asses in seats get over. The Hebner Dynasty of referees are all pretty damn good referees but I think the best referee in wrestlig for a whlie has been Charles Robinson, who can pretty much do everything that I mentioned above. Nick Patrick is another great referee who should be very highly rated for being able to do his job, though I don’t think he’s as good as Charles is. TNA referees not named Hebner are generally pretty good too and should be getting some scores in the 60s/70s. The big companies have referees who know how to do their jobs so there are no issues there, and I don’t know enough about indy referees to be able to comment on how good they are. One thing I’ve seen happen in a lot of mods is a tendency to rate some wrestlers on refereeing if they’ve ever special referee’d a match… there’s no need for that. Special referees will simply be factored on their overness in terms of being useful in adding to a match, so their refereeing skill is likely to be ignored anyways. The only time it might be worth adding is if you think a wrestler will become a referee when they retire (it does happen), but for the most part this will be for lesser stars that the fans won’t really care enough about for the WWE/TNA to ever want to use as a personality. Scott Armstrong and Guido Maritato are examples of former wrestlers turned referees, neither of which were popular enough or charismatic enough to really become personalities like a Bret Hart, Mick Foley or William Regal.
The last thing I want to add here is Fog Of War levels. It’s a new feature for TEW13 and one that I think real world modders and players should both make a good use of. But it’s not easy to know where to set the levels in order to get a good balance. Too low and you can’t see things that may already be obvious… too high and you defeat the point of the feature… and worse, if people don’t like the way your mod is playing or don’t trust your opinions (we all vary wildly on opinions about stats) then they might just ignore this feature entirely due to it. But in reality, Fog Of War is a feature that players and modders should LOVE! For example, none of us really know much about the low level indy scene and getting those stats accurate is almost impossible. But as long as you can get a few basics about right, it should be easy to set those key stats to the right level and then get the rest roughly right. Fog of War then hides the stats and arguments about the exact nature of stats should more or less become obsolete. After a few years of game time workers can have evolved so much from their starting point that eventually the entire world feels more natural, with you knowing the kinds of things you should know and the modder not having to feel the pressure of getting every stat for every local guy accurate down to 1 point. As long as the grades are showing up about right, the mod should be doing great things and a reference in a bio to any particularly useful stats a worker has adds value to bio writing too.
With that in mind, here is a rough guide to how I’ve set scouting levels in the CV97 mod. Scouting levels increase the more someone is used in the relevant capacity, so this is a very rough guide.
0 gained while injured/inactive
+1 for every 2.5 years active in the ring but not on TV/PPV
+1 for every 1.5 years active in ring and featured in a cult level company (1 year if a touring company)
+ 1 for every 1 year active in ring and featured in a National+ level company (0.75 years if a touring company)
That should lead to guys slogging through the indy scene taking 20 years to max out their level, while someone on the grand stage of the WWE should rise much faster. All you really need to calculate this is a debut date and a date to work out how long they’ve been with a major company, which should be easy enough to find. This SHOULD also mean that very few people under 30 will have their full stats revealed, which I think it a good balance to have. If someone is injured or otherwise not being used in the ring then they shouldn’t be gaining anything. For Japanese touring companies where they wrestle several matches per week, this should become uncovered much faster.
0 while injured/inactive
+1 for every 2 years used fairly regularly in angles but not on TV/PPV
+1 for every 1 years used fairly regularly in angles in a cult level company
+1 for every 0.75 years used fairly regularly in angles in a National+ company
(+1 for every 3 levels gained In-Ring)
“Fairly regularly” is deliberately a bit vague but I’d say that if someone is doing something that involves their Entertainment skills at least once every 2 weeks then they are making good progress here. In the WWE, where angles are king, that means this type of Fog is going to be lifted pretty quickly but the workers do have to actually be used. The final rule in brackets is mostly one I used in Japan, where angles are fairly limited. It’s designed partly to highlight that no matter what style of company you are in, your charisma will eventually become obvious to all simply by being exposed to you over a period of time. But for the most part, in Japan you’d be more likely to know a worker’s in-ring skills over their entertainment skills, while the opposite is true in somewhere like the WWE. With this in mind, having an indy scene set up with varying types of companies is always going to be good, as it will not only help develop workers in a range of skills but will also help to lift their fog leves faster and allow you to know how good or bad they truly are.
0 while injured/inactive
+1 for every 2 years active anywhere that uses gimmicks (3 years for non-gimmicked companies) but not on TV/PPV
+1 for every 1.5 years active anywhere that uses gimmicks at cult level (2 years for non-gimmicked companies)
+1 for every 1 years active anywhere that uses gimmicks at National+ level (1.5 years for non-gimmicked companies)
This should raise fairly quickly for wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike. If they are playing a character it should uncover their skills fairly quickly, if not then it shoud still happen but fairly slowly as you don’t get to see the as much evidence though you would still be able to make guesses at what they’d be good at.
Announcing and Refereeing
0 while inactive.
+1 for every 2 years active but not on TV/PPV
+1 for every 1.5 years active at cult level
+1 for every 1 year active at National+ level
Fairly straight line here and it doesn’t matter what kind of company you are in either as long as you are being used on the announce team or as a referee. Announcing DOES apply to colour commentators, so as long as they are on the announce team they should gain in scouting level even if they have 0 skill there.
If someone falls somewhere between two levels then you’re going to have to make a judgement call. Generally speaking, if it’s a low level (5 or lower) then I’d round them up to the next one and if it’s a higher level (7+) I’d round them down. Good use of this feature should mean that people are desperate to find out if a worker has hit their caps, or are trying to develop a worker in an area without necessarily quite knowing what is going on. Veterans become more valuable because you know what you’re going to get with them, while unproven commodities become more risky as you don’t know for sure what you are going to get with them. It should add to the challenge of booking, perhaps pushing you to rely on your established stars more than you might want to (hello there WWE!) or give you the freedom to try something new if you are in the position to do so (hello there TNA!) because your situation is more stable. All in all, if a mod is balanced well and stats are smartly done throughout then you can use Fog of War to greatly deepen the experience of playing the game. It becomes less of a case of being an omnipotent, all knowing wrestling god with every piece of information at his fingertips and more a case of having to do what happens in real life… you’ve got to take risks on talents, you’ve got to keep an eye on how successful someone is being and when it comes to putting good matches together, you’ve got to know the strengths and weaknesses of your roster in order to make the most out of it. With good mod balance, this SHOULD be quite tricky as not every match you make is going to be perfect… if you pair up people with the same weaknesses you might get a terrible match, but put them in with the right person who can cover those weaknesses and you could have some awesome matches with those same people. And that is part of the finesse of mod making. Get the balance right and you can see why certain things happen in the real world (like, how monster heels are so tough to book now, or why Brock Lesnar vs Triple H was a good idea for the WWE to book even if it hasn’t gotten much love) and that is what the game should be able to highlight. A perfect mod should translate real world issues into the game… and as players, we should be able to learn to book smartly enough to take advantage of what we have and make the most of it.
My next entry is going to be all about gimmick categories (I left them out here deliberately), assigning gimmick and making contracts. This is where you can create a moment in time more than any other section and something that can be used now to simulate things that can be overlooked.