Though I originally was responding to a question in another thread, the board didn't want to work with the posting of the reply. Given the nature of the thread, it's probably for the best. However, the following is an interesting topic in it's own right, and one I'd like to hear from the community on...
Tell me one move, any move, that requires practicing.
Well with Staff, here are a few...
1) The Backflip Saber Twirl/Slash - not only is it difficult to time the buttons to initiate the move in a combat situation, it's extremely difficult to use effectively due to the height of the blade swing. When timed properly, it can decapitate an opponent, or deflect the Red DFA. It's not easy to pull off, since the 3-button combo has to be executed in a precise order and timing sequence.
2) Jump Kicks: any direction - it could be argued that the standing kicks require timing, but the Jump Kicks are very difficult to pull off effectively and require practice to get the timing down well enough for them to be useable. As with the backflip, this 3-button combo requires a specific order and timing sequence or it won't work.
3) Alternating Horizontal Strafe Slash - it's possible to get the staff swinging in an alternating horizontal slash pattern very quickly, one swipe per direction, as a repeating combo; however, it requires alternating the strafe buttons in a specific rhythm or it won't work. This is actually very difficult to do with any regular consistency in the heat of battle. When done properly, and combined with crouch, it's very deadly and highly effective for creating a barrier or clearing a path.
4) Walking Crouch Sidestep Slash - one of my favorites is to hold shift walk, then right as the opponent charges or swings, quickly hit and hold crouch, followed by a strafe step and horizontal slash. It slices them though the lower body just about every time when done at the right moment. This one is a 4-button combo that requires 2 to be held throughout the move, and if done incorrectly may cause you to either roll to the side instead or get creamed by your opponent.
5) All of the staff swings are slightly different when Shift Walk is held down, and learning those moves effectively takes some practice.
6) Since the patch, many of the moves are more responsive to button combos - which means that it's a lot easier to accidentally do a crouching staff twirl instead of a rolling stab unless the buttons are hit in the right timing. So to do either intentionally with regular consistancy requires a little practice time.
7) With all of the standard flips/jumps and strafe moves (not special moves), the exact moment that one chooses to press the attack button within the progression of that movment changes how the swing is done and where the arc connects with the opponent. For example, try the Backflip while pressing Attack at different points along the flip - ie, just before the jump, immediately after the jump, half a beat after the jump, just before the fllip, after the flip... each one has a different swing arc, and some have a different animation altogether.
8) And finally... the Butterfly Staff Kick
- now I know that many can do this accidentally by just spamming the move over and over. But if one wants to use it as a precision attack in a single stroke, it requires practice. Many don't realize that there's actually a Spin Kick just before the last stage of the Butterfly, that can be targeted to hit an opponent in mid swing - if one targets their cursor about 10 to 15 degrees to the left of an opponent, and if the opponent is about 5 full strides away (or appoximately 5 yards), then one can actually kick their opponent while slicing them in two, and it's generally a one hit kill. The Matrix Reloaded outdoor map is great for practicing this, because of the block patterns on the ground... if one lines up about three diagonal blocks away and aims slightly to the left of the corner, the kick should happen at just about the far corner of the third block.
Now if one doesn't play JA or practice with the Staff regularly, they might not ever know about these. One can blow these off if they want to... but in my opinioin, it takes skill and practice to pull these moves off effectively and with any regular consistency in combat. If you don't agree, then simply load up the game and try them yourself. I'm always running into those who call the Staff a "noobstick" online; and while it does help new players have a chance, there's much more depth to the Staff than most people realize or give it credit for.
So... anybody else have some moves worth practicing?