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Pro Panel Weighs In on Street Fighter V Season 2 Changes
INTERVIEW // Street Fighter // By Chris Bahn // 8d ago
There's no doubt everyone in the community has ideas in mind for the next patch update coming to Street Fighter V. According to the official changelog, Street Fighter V introduced changes that impacted everything from damage output to character-specific factors.
Capcom has been analyzing character performances and came to the conclusion a new change is in order. Though we already presented some of our own suggestions, we felt this was a good time to check in with some players to get their perspective.
It’s been nearly two months since the Season 2 update has been out. What’s your current impression of the game?
Johnathan 'Panda' Oudthone, Panda x Gaming producer & SFV competitor: I feel there's an obvious shift in power with certain characters. Balrog, Laura, and Urien all seem very strong — almost too strong. While many characters like Birdie and Fang got even worse. To me, that doesn't make any sense. A few system changes have left the game dry in my mind. I'm still waiting for the updates that make SFV exciting and hype. Season 2 just feels like it went in the other direction.
Joe Munday, competitor and author of Gief's Gym: Season 2 is fine. The milquetoast changes to gameplay in Season 1 to Season 2 seems like a high amount of effort that only affect a small percentage of the player base. You can look at the data and see that most of the people playing SFV never got past bronze. Plus none of the changes introduced really affected those players in a significant way.
The gameplay or game balance was never really the problem with Street Fighter V. We still get questions on r/StreetFighter from the general gaming populous — asking if SFV is still broken or worth buying a year after the game’s launch. The SFV issues poll was pretty revealing about what people really wanted changed.
Patrick Lee, Competitor: My current opinion of Season 2 is more or less the same thing as [the first season], except the top tiers were swapped around. There's more viable characters now than before. Also, the characters who had their meterless reversals removed are far less likely to do their reversals now.
Joe 'LI Joe' Ciaramelli, East Coast Throwdown organizer & FGC Veteran: I like the game. I always have.
I only had concerns with the initial release, especially during the E3 beta. To me, it's a breath of fresh air to what Street Fighter IV was. Both games have their pros and cons. However, I favor Street Fighter V more.
Season 2 is kind of wild, but I still enjoy it.
Yes, things might have been over-buffed and over-nerfed. But as a whole, I like it. Obviously I love Urien, but I do miss using Nash. Honestly, I think it's become the "cool thing" to hate on Street Fighter V. Capcom did a good job with the initial balancing, and I'm sure they are trying their best. People see the negative side of things and think it's the end of the word. But I promise you — it's not. [laughs]
Things will get better as did all versions:
Street Fighter 2 to Champion Edition to Hyper to Super Turbo.
Street Fighter Alpha to Alpha 2 (actually I don't want to talk about Alpha 3!)
Street Fighter III to 3rd Strike, [followed by Street Fighter IV to Ultra Street Fighter IV].
Give it time — let the company work!
Now that Capcom has confirmed a new update is on the way, what changes would you like to see?
Panda: With a new update confirmed, I'd like to see them buff the rest of the cast to the level that the strongest are at. Currently the game doesn't feel like it's rewarding for being a character loyalist. Bring back Dragon Punch (DP) invincibility so we can have that rush of unpredictability again.
Joe: Personally, I never understood the DP invincibility nerf so it would be nice to see that reverted. It was a huge risk to try and steal your opponent’s turn with a mashed DP — when the most you’ll typically get is a little over 100 damage and some wakeup pressure.
If they really wanted to nerf invincible DP’s, they should take away the ability to follow-up with meaty pressure if your opponent quick rises. But that would require a bit of work to fix a problem no one complained about in the first place. My secret wish is that they give everyone in the cast a reliable Crush Counter anti-air, which can juggle into bigger damage. The risk versus reward of jumping is still a little too skewed at the moment.
Patrick: Changes I would like to see:
Bring back meterless reversals, but give them to more characters.
Lower input lag if possible, and extend range of most normals.
Remove jab/short anti-airs, but make medium/heavy anti-airs more rewarding.
LI Joe: I would like to see a damage reduction on some things for sure. Balrog, Laura, and Urien seem to be the culprits here. I am sure that I've forgot a few.
I understand it's hard to balance because you're not balancing two things on a scale. You're literally trying to balance a 20+ side scale here and moving one could throw off many others. The key to me would be to try and keep the characters play style intact while they go through nerfs if they have to be done.
Don't take away that core essence of the character. People put a year into a character and sort of lost that time on Season 2. It can be frustrating, but people can still play the character. It's not like they are erased from the game. However, the tournament circuit with Capcom Pro Tour and many others, plus the money that's coming into play is making people think twice about who to use.
Do I use who I like or pick the cheap stuff!? There's some other things besides damage scaling. Some moves on block can be adjusted and some V-Trigger changes also.
Which characters do you feel are in dire need of rebalancing? Why?
Panda: Obviously F.A.N.G. and Birdie. Those characters just don't seem very viable anymore. F.A.N.G. has such an interesting character design, but he's currently a wasted slot from a competitive aspect. Maybe he's the Dan of Street Fighter V? A biased opinion would be for them to buff Vega. At least make his target combo force stand so he can convert better damage off of crouching opponents.
Joe: F.A.N.G is the first character to come to mind. The majority of his nerfs simply seem unreasonable. The range on his mid screen normals are great, but they’re slow. Trying to own the mid-range with slow buttons is a really good way to get crush countered because of the way the priority system works. Both F.A.N.G and Alex would be better off if their normals were reverted to something similar in Season 1.
Patrick: Urien, Guile, and Cammy probably require slight nerfs to bring them in line to everyone else. Buff Alex, F.A.N.G., Ryu, and Nash. Other than that, it's fairly balanced overall. Just don't get too drastic.
LI Joe: I do feel Laura, Balrog, Guile, Cammy, and Urien can be slowed down a bit. (Look, I even said my character Urien.) Laura, Balrog, and Urien bypass the 50/50 on wake-up from Street Fighter IV, which is what they wanted to avoid in Street Fighter V, but they do the same thing without knocking you down.
I think I had this conversation with James Chen. He brought up this point and he's very right: the comeback potential for Laura, Rog, and a few others are crazy. Even Urien. While characters like Guile and Cammy dominate the ground game. Not a lot of characters can stand up to their neutral. I know Japan has Zangief ranked really high also. We also need to bring some of the lower tiers up to speed for sure; that's a must.
How can the game be optimized so that it becomes more interesting to players, as well as viewers?
Panda: In order for Street Fighter V to be optimized, it needs an overhaul. In its current state, the game just doesn't feel rewarding, nor does it allow players to have personalities with their characters. It just feels too textbook in the sense that there's only one way to play each character.
Capcom did a decent job of making the game more accessible. At the same time, it feels as if players who worked hard to develop fundamentals got a slap on the wrist. Execution isn't an impressive skill anymore, so there's no hype when players bust out flashy combos. Reads consist of: "is my opponent going to hit a button or not," since escape options are nullified. So there's no potential of excitement for making a super hype read.
Joe: There are a lot of interesting conversations to be had about balance and optimization, but I’m going to swing hard in the other direction and say this game could use a little more imbalance. In Kolin's reveal trailer, they show her easily blowing up all of the Urien [shenanigans] people have been complaining about. So Capcom is self-aware enough to address the imbalance. But isn’t it more exciting when someone blocks a Urien Aegis setup, or when they blow him up in the neutral for trying to get in for free with an EX Tackle?
A player's ingenuity has always been the draw of the FGC, not character balance.
Patrick: The game could use more system mechanics to make it interesting. For example, using one V-meter offensively instead of defensively (make it only possible on hit), so we can have more freestyle combos. Then, they can add another defensive mechanic to balance it out (e.g. Just Defend or something). Also, they can always add introduce another V-Trigger and more supers (i.e. Super Art selection à la Third Strike).
LI Joe: The optimization of the game is difficult. I feel they focused on the hardcore audience on the release of SFV, and they missed the majority of the casual audience. The casual players withhold more of a percentage than the hardcore competitive player base for sure. Some people just want to pick up the game, mash some buttons, see some endings, and get some unlocks. This is key for the casual player. I got to hand to the NRS [personnel]. That team hits the casual audience for all their games, no questions asked.
On the other side, they didn't forget about their hardcore tournament players either. I'm not sure if they can win back the majority of potential casual gamers this late in the game. Maybe, who knows. As for the viewers, I feel Street Fighter V will become more exciting as it evolves. Regardless what people say about Season 2, it's more fun to watch some character do their thing.
The more Capcom works on the game, the more characters we get, and the more WE play it, the more exciting it will be.