“Smash Ultimate” 9.0 Recap

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Ok, but like, what do I even write here? The mad-lads actually did it…Steve from Minecraft is in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

It has been less than a week since Steve’s release as part of the Ultimate Fighters Pack 2 expansion for “Smash Ultimate” and already their has been a lot worth talking about, from the release of Steve to balance changes and the general mood of the community as a whole. Today, I want to catch up you folks on all of it, in case you have been out of the loop, and share my general thoughts on “Smash Ultimate” as of version 9.0. With that being said, lets get started.

Steve From Minecraft

From the moment it was confirmed that their would be DLC for “Smash Ultimate,” people were indeed excited for the games future. This excitement came to a tipping point when at the game awards last year it was announced that Joker from “Persona 5” would be the first ever DLC fighter for the game. From their, people’s imagination began to run wild with possibilities, and indeed, the results have been pretty crazy, with representatives from “Dragon Quest,” “Banjo and Kazooie,” “Fatal Fury,” and “ARMS” also being added as well. The only real “normal” rep to appear in the game thus far has been Byleth from “Fire Emblem: Three Houses.”

Now, the first exclusively Microsoft rep has entered in the arena in the form of Steve from “Minecraft,” and he is definitely unique in his kit. Most of his strength as a fighter, much like many of the DLC that has been released previously, relies on his meter, which fuels his ability to both build blocks as well as upgrade his weapons. On top of that, his side special is a mine-cart that functions both as a projectile and a command grab, his up special utilizes a glide mechanic similar to Pit in “Smash Bros Brawl,” and all of his smash attacks are both fast and strong, making him an all around strong fighter

There has a been a lot of debate about where Steve will actually fall on most people’s tier list, but considering the character has only been out for a few days, it is hard to tell with any degree of accuracy where he will end up, only that he will be extremely polarizing.

Balance Changes for 9.0

Unlike the previous patch which introduced a significant number of buffs for certain characters, 9.0 was relatively conservative in its changes. The full patch notes can be found here, but for the sake of this post here are the characters that recieved a significant number of changes/buffs

  • Bowser Jr.
  • Ness
  • Ice Climber
  • Simon/Richter
  • Sonic
  • Lucario

While it is hard to say the changes these characters received will make them significantly better, there was a little bit of frustration from the community towards these changes, especially for characters like Sonic and Ness. In the age of Corona-Virus, where the majority of competitive events for the game are being held online, it is undoubtedly frustrating to see two characters who notoriously benefit from delayed connections to receive any kind of buffs.

Still, the other characters that were affected by this patch, mainly Lucario and Simon/Richter, definitely needed some sort of change in order to see any kind of success on a competitive level.

Is Smash Ultimate Dying?

Answering the question “is x game dying” is usually one that is both complicated but also not really worth entertaining most of the time because of it being brought up in bad faith. That being said, with the pretty much universal disappearance of in person gaming events, the FGC is undoubtedly one of the hardest hit, as in person events are pretty much the heart and soul of the community.

While online events can certainly be entertaining, they are, in most cases, vastly inferior to their offline counterparts for a variety of reasons. The first is that the lag/input delay caused by using online systems. This inherent delay makes it so that players are not able to react to their full potential making punishes and strings that much harder to achieve.

The second is a bit more abstract, that being the sense of community that is lost from playing online. I can say from my own personal experience that the ability to hang out and talk with other players from the community, as well as learn things and make friends with those who compete is one of the best experiences of my life, and losing that experience has definitely taken its toll on me.

As for whether or not smash specifically is “dying” any faster than other communities, I have not seen the evidence to support that. While views for large events were certainly on the decline even before COVID-19, this is natural for a game that already been out for over a year. Ebbs and flows for general interest will always happen. The loss of Major communities figures such as Nairo and Zero, as well as a number of other top commentators, certainly impacted this as well, but again, this does not necessarily mean the community is dying any faster, only that its growth has been hampered.

Assuming the pandemic is dealt with anytime in the near future, which admittedly could not be the case given the response of the current administration, it is unlikely the community will be completely dead.

Conclusion

The Smash community is definitely suffering right now, but while the events surrounding top figures in the community certainly add to that hurt, it is unfair to say the community is dying anymore so than other communities. Still, with more DLC and updates still coming, and with the potential for offline events to come back with the next year or so, there is a lot to look forward to.


How do you all feel about “Smash Ultimate” lately? Let me know in the comments below.

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