Many in the FGC are disappointed over the current Street Fighter V Season 2 patch. Some are adamant that a patch gets released before Capcom Pro Tour officially gets underway.
For the moment, players believe the balance update went overboard with character-specific nerfs. It's not uncommon to hear complaints from specialists who were once fond of Nash, F.A.N.G., Ryu, and R. Mika. On the other hand, Urien, Guile, and Cammy — who were already strong in Season 1 — received even more buffs that makes them greater threats this season.
FGC tactician Javits Arias proposed that Capcom take a page out of Blizzard's book by using a test client for future balance and meta changes. Overwatch fans recognize this as the Public Test Realm (or PTR for short). Blizzard has relied on this model for several games, allowing players to evaluate potential changes on a separate server.
Following his recent tweet, PVP Live reached out to Javits to get more input and discuss his thoughts on why Street Fighter V should adopt this direction.
Do you feel the initial patch is a test?
I feel the initial patch for Season 2 is a test, because they may be wanting to see the effect of drastic changes such as the change to grey health, removing invincibility on DP's, reduced okizeme on most throws, and heavily buffing specific characters like Laura, Guile, Balrog, and Urien.
Combined with the nerfs to some of Season 1's top tiers (such as Nash, Ryu, Ken and R. Mika), it seems they created a new set of overpowered characters rather than trying to achieve balance.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing since you'll see different characters placing high in tournament compared to last year. But I'm concerned that, as the year progresses and the tiers are more defined, you'll start to see less character variety in tournaments, which is what started to happen near the end of season 1.
I personally think: rather than overnerfing top tier characters and overbuffing low tier characters, they just need to do small adjustments to top tier characters (example: making Chun's air legs -1 on block and adding recovery frames to her stand HP), while giving necessary "quality of life" buffs to low tier characters that will improve their viability overall.
How often should the PTRs be conducted throughout the year?
A PTR is good once a year, ideally between major tournament seasons, with the goal of trying to achieve balance so that more players can feel motivated to use their main characters and not lose hope early on.
Isn’t there a downside to a PTR potentially causing delays with the official build releases?
I think there is definitely the potential for delays if the PTR is too long and feedback from the community isn't applied in a timely manner. The final version that runs for the entire season should be 100% complete, aside from DLC characters, at least three to four weeks prior to the first major Capcom Pro Tour event (in regards to Street Fighter V in this case.)
Overwatch does this for their updates. When a certain hero is nerfed or buffed, they make a video explaining why.
Lastly, a PTR is similar to an arcade "location test" where they gather data and take feedback from players to see how the new game or new patch is coming along. It's hard to know how in-depth these tests should be, but the community should at least be informed this is happening. If Season 2 in its current state is truly the final version for 2017, they should reset the rankings on CFN and give a special consolation prize to the top 10 highest ranked players in Season 1.
It's very odd to me that they didn't reset the rankings on CFN with so many changes made to the characters and the system.
What additional changes would you like to see?
I would like to see a defensive system similar to "just defend" where if you time your blocking at the last moment, you can reduce the grey health chip damage from normals. Or have that grey health recover faster if you block using this method.
This actually existed in Street Fighter Alpha 3 as a way to reduce depletion of your guard meter. If you blocked at the last moment, your character would flash white to indicate you did this correctly and you can block for a longer period of time before your guard is broken.
Similar mechanics also existed in Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Right now, offense is extremely strong. In my opinion, if there were a way to balance that with a skillful defensive mechanic, Street Fighter V would be a better game.
Game engine wise, reducing the input lag would be amazing also. The game has a lot of situations that can become chaotic, so introducing a more responsive input system might create more impressive moments that we all know and love. Similar to EVO Moment 37.
I feel like with the current state of the game, there's little room for historic moments like the famous Daigo parry. Reducing the input lag will make SF feel "good" again.