MegaMaster Musings

Net Operators
July 28, 2004

It’s rather ironic. Despite all of the talk about Lan and Chaud being so great at NetBattling, when you get right down to it, Net Operators don’t matter a hill of beans.

Let’s work through this. In the original Battle Network games, you, the player, control both the Operator and the Navi. If you took those games by themselves, you might be able to conclude that it happens this way in the plot as well—that Lan is literally controlling MegaMan via arrow keys on his PET or something. (The tutorial in Battle Network 4 even implies this, although we can discount that as just being a tutorial.)

But MegaMan and all of the other Navis are self-aware. Why would that be, if they didn’t also control themselves? Can you imagine being self-aware, yet being controlled like a puppet by an Operator? Seems kind of silly. Plus, when you factor in, say, the manga and cartoon shows, it becomes pretty clear that the Navi can move for himself.

So, where are we? If the Navi moves for himself, then he clearly aims, fires, and dodges for himself as well. This means he is the one doing the fighting. And this means it is the Navi’s skill, not the Operator’s, that matters. Of course, the Operator is responsible for sending Battle Chips. And Battle Chips, while not absolutely critical to most battles, nevertheless make fighting a heck of a lot easier, particularly when those chips are wisely chosen. But how exactly do they work?

In the classic games, you open your Custom Screen and you, the player, can pick which Battle Chips you want to use. Based on various clues given by the games, I would say that it is supposed to be Lan who is the one who is selecting these chips. But remember that once MegaMan receives the chips, he doesn’t have to use them right away. He can just store them until he is ready to actually fire them off. Of course, he has to use them in the order that they were given to him. But he is at liberty to decide when to activate them.

Contrast this with the manga/cartoons, where chips are used the instant they are slotted in. It’s almost like the Navi is going along fighting, and all of a sudden, through no violation of his own, he’s got an M-Cannon on his arm. Of course, even given this, I’m pretty sure that the Navi, not the Operator, actually aims and fires the cannon. So most of the work is still on the Navi. The Operator just has to worry about proper timing (and hope he doesn’t catch his Navi off-guard with the sudden slot-in).

There’s something else to throw into this mix. “Full Synchro” was used more in the manga and cartoons at first than the games, but the games did include it to one degree or another later on. The idea behind Full Synchro is that the Navi and the Operator become “merged.” As the manga puts it, this supposedly increases the battle ability of the Navi because the delay between command and execution is eliminated. But...there really are no “commands” being issued by the Operator. Remember, the Navi is doing 90% of the work all by himself. I don’t see how Full Synchro would help in slotting in Battle Chips any faster. The only way I can see it being of aid is if the Full Synchro allows the Operator to quickly warn the Navi which chip he is about to slot in, before he does so, and to allow the two to basically be on the same page about what chip they use when. shouldn’t really have any effect on the battle whatsoever. (And it actually doesn’t in most of the games, ironically enough.)

So the end result is, the Operator basically sits there and watches his Navi fight, and sends him chips occasionally, when he can. Ironically, this is basically how Battle Chip Challenge plays.

So why is any Operator praised for being a good NetBattler? It’s his Navi that makes the difference...

- The MegaMaster