On July 30, 2019, Masahiro Sakurai showcased the Hero from the Dragon Quest series. In this video presentation, he gave the community information about the anticipated character. Since then, the community feels off. This character challenges many players’ views of healthy competition. His unstable playstyle adds a high level of uncertainty to any match.
After watching the showcase, the community was shocked. The character’s trademarks are his command selection and smash attack critical hits – two different tools that rely on randomness
A major problem with the Hero’s kit starts with his core mechanic. As in his game, down B opens up a menu with four different spells. With these four choices, the player has to either pick one of them or close the menu. As a design, it gives the Hero access to a wide variety of moves. At the start of the match, Hero begins with 100 MP. Every time he uses a spell, some MP is expended, the amount depending on the selected spell.
The issue isn’t specifically with this feature, but the spells it provides. Some like Whack and Thwack have the ability to instantly kill an opponent. Then there are some strong projectiles like Sizz, Sizzle and Kaboom, which all deal a moderate amount of burst damage. Next, we have the buffs Oomph, Psyche Up, Accelerate and Heal – spells that alter Hero’s health, attack power, knockback and movement. These give Hero the ability to dictate the flow of the match.
The community’s issue is with the randomness he brings. Nobody likes falling to a move at zero percent or being hit by a crit at 40 percent and dying. However, despite their undeniable strength and reach, Hero’s moves that are capable of killing at low percents are relatively slow attacks that aren’t too difficult to avoid.
Competitive video games need a high level of consistency. The metagame’s balance makes or breaks the game. If some tools are too powerful the game upsets its player base and starts to lose steam.
In the Super Smash Bros. community, balance is a high source of controversy. Looking back, two different games winded down due to their lack of balance. Brawl had Meta Knight, who outclassed much of the roster, and Smash 4 had Bayonetta, who had unfair combos leading to kills at ridiculously low percents.
At the current moment, the community’s biggest fear is that Hero will topple the balance of the game. However, even with his crazy shenanigans, his kit won’t have enough consistency. Hero’s frame data is very lackluster. So in order to get some results, players will rely on his specials. This means taking many gambles without a guaranteed payout.
When a player picks Hero, a lot can happen due to the ridiculous pool of spells the Hero possesses. However, as people learn the matchup, the consistency of them will falter. If a player dies to Whack two times in a match, there is another reason apart from the power of the move. Adapting to randomness isn’t impossible in this game. To push past these barriers, players need to find ways to effectively counteract Hero’s randomness. Once that happens, Hero will most likely drop to a modest mid-tier placing.
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Featured image provided by Nintendo