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Smash Ultimate: Should Rage be turned off by default

Rage is possibly the most polarizing mechanic ever introduced in the Smash Bros series, next to tripping in Brawl. Introduced in Smash 4, Rage would amplify the damage and knock back an attack did, based on your percent. Starting at 35 percent and maxing out at 150 percent, Rage added a brand new element to Smash. It was intended to be a comeback mechanic, to give players at high percents a chance to rebound.

However, as we saw countless times in Smash 4, it had some unintended outcomes. Jank plays were at an all time high in smash 4 as Rage was quickly abused by players. What started as a comeback mechanic turned into players being put into a severe disadvantage once they lose a stock.

Players of characters who struggle to get the KO in at higher percents were affected the most (poor Mr. R). This mechanic greatly benefited heavy characters, but hurts lighter characters. With all of this knowledge, many were happy to see that Smash Ultimate appears to let users toggle Rage off before each match. If this is true, should we keep rage in Smash Ultimate?

Not so bad?

This may not be the popular opinion, but I think rage can be a good mechanic, emphasis on “can.” Even though I personally have defended rage in the past, I can admit that it is flawed. I think that it’s good to have new elements like this in smash that give players a chance to come from behind and rally to win. However it doesn’t always work out as intended. While it might not be the best comeback mechanic in the world I do think it can work as a good punishment.

When a player dies to a rage smash attack at 60 percent to a player who was at 170 or higher, I see that as punishment for not getting the KO earlier.

Heavy characters benefit greatly from Rage
Youtube

I can remember times dying at 45 percent as Mario to a rage Gannondorf F-smash. All because I fished too hard for a specific setup, instead of securing the stock more efficiently. This is just one example of how rage can reward players for employing good DI and staying alive longer. Of course this doesn’t show the full picture of what rage is but it can be good if it was balanced correctly. Which sadly it isn’t.

TURN IT OFF

As cool as I think rage is, it’s still pretty broken. Rage by itself isn’t the worst thing in the world. The problem is that it can scale horribly with set knock-back.

Things like this occur way too often
Youtube

Moves like Samus’ “Shine Spark” and Peachs’ D-tilt into parasol have consistently killed at 0 percent. These moves have a certain set knock-back which can ruin your day when combined with max rage. Characters like Zero Suit Samus can up air and boost kick you to death without rage. So with rage you have almost no chance at survival if you get caught in a string of up airs. Mario can do this weird reverse up B that takes stocks insanely early if performed properly.

On the flip side of this, certain characters get ruined by rage consistently. Jiggly Puff is so light and dies so early that she rarely ever gets to utilize it. Sheik is a great character, has great frame data, very fast, but she lacks kill power. There’s a golden percent window where it is crucial to land a successful kill setup as sheik. If this fails, the uphill battle begins. How many times have we seen sheik players getting absolutely bodied by players at higher percents. All because rage benefits their opponent living longer from sheiks’ lack of raw kill power.

Rage also hurts a players ability to consistently get combos. Since knock-back gets increased, certain combos simply stop working depending on rage level. We’ve seen Donkey Kong players intentionally losing a stock to reset to zero percent and get their “Ding Dong” combo to work again. Even though this isn’t very common, this can be very frustrating. Rage is supposed to reward a player for staying alive. But many characters lose vital combo tools all because of rage.

Should we see it in Ultimate?

Rage has been readjusted from Smash 4 but we don’t know the full extent of it just yet. I’m sure it will be tested in tournaments once the game comes out. However I highly doubt the community and TO’s will decide to keep it on in tournaments. Having a well balanced rage mechanic sounds like a great addition to the game. But as soon as someone loses a stock in a janky type of way it’ll be hated again. As much as I like the mechanic, I think turning it off is probably for the best. No one ever complained because there was no rage and it seems like this option will avoid unnecessary drama.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


Featured image courtesy of @zerowondering on Twitter.

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