Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hey, who nerfed my toon?

Less than a month away from the release of Super Street Fighter IV and people are getting more up in arms by the day as they find out what has been done in the name of progress and generating sales. Several high tier (and one middle, poor Gen) characters have gotten significant nerfs, so much so that I almost feel sorry for people who play them. Almost because Sagat devotees deserve any and all misfortune that comes their way. At first I was confused by the sheer agony that some people appear to be going through. I fully understand why Capcom is making changes, and it is not just in the never ending pursuit of balance. Changes like making a tiger uppercut do less damage or taking away a trade into ultra are done to preserve replayability. At lower play levels (in which I include myself and 90% of everyone else who plays) it is possible to figure a character out and eventually become bored. This is of course not true for the pros, but if you take fifty scrubs and throw them into a room, eventually all of them will be playing either Sagat or Ken, avoid all the other characters, and become bored. Taking Sagat and Ryu (but not Ken, apparently) down a peg is a great way to get the vast sea of casual button mashers to try someone new. They put a lot of effort into the new characters and would like to see them used outside of tournaments and combo videos.

There are decisions that I do not understand, like nerfing a seldom used character like Gen or letting Guile suck for another game, and I may be overestimating what the truly casual will notice. The people making the most noise, though, I suppose I do identify with (a little, because aside from an iffy new ultra, Blanka got a boost). Most everyone has a main. When something is taken away from that main, the player sees it as not only an attack on the character but also as an attack on themselves. This change will make it more difficult to win, so obviously they will not be quiet about it. I am guilty of this myself, having avoided Blanka at the launch of Street Fighter 4 because he was not as good as the HDR version. Clearly I came around, as will everyone else who actually cares about the game. In the mean time I would avoid the SRK forums, they are going through some serious drama right now (if they are back up, that is).

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