Episode 247: Why Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition Shouldn’t Get Any More Balance Changes… Yet


Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition has been out for a good couple of months and along with its release came a slew of new modes, such as the titular Arcade mode, and giving everyone in the character selection screen a second V-Trigger. A couple of new characters, fan favorite Sakura and fan loathed Blanka, have also come out in the subsequent months since. But the thing I’d like to talk about are the balance changes that came with Arcade Edition’s launch. Capcom saw it fit to make some necessary changes to the gameplay engine, such as further reducing the priorities of most anti-air light attacks and increasing pushback from throws to prevent the majority of throw loops.

Capcom also buffed and nerfed everyone in the roster in an attempt to make things a little more balanced. Unlike the balance changes in Season 2, the buffs and nerfs in Season 3, which is what season Arcade Edition is using, were relatively minor. There wasn’t any radical changes and they felt more like tweaks to make things a little more fair. Because most of the changes were pretty minor, a good number of the really stronger characters, such as Urien and Abigail, are still top tier while the characters that were languishing in the bottom tier, like FANG and Vega/Claw, are still there. There are some fans that would want Capcom to make another series of balance changes. This isn’t something unheard of as they actually did this in Season 2.

I am not one of these fans. I say Capcom let the current balance changes rock on for now before even thinking of making any buffs and nerfs in Season 3. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised for me to be even saying that I don’t want any more balance changes at the moment as my current main character, Vega/Claw, is still considered bottom tier in the eyes of most players. He may have gotten a whole lot of buffs this season but not to the level where he can deal heavy damage like Urien and Abigail, who, incidentally only got a few nerfs but some really great buffs and even great secondary V-Triggers. It just feels unfair, doesn’t it?

I guess a lot of fans do feel like their mains still needs more buffs and the top tiers need more nerfs. I understand that but I don’t like the idea of Capcom making more alterations to the balance changes once again and right in the middle of the season. Sure, Vega/Claw still sucks but, in my humble opinion, the stronger moves he got and more combo routes is enough for me. The buffs he got are definitely not enough for him to easily hang out with the big boys in the game but they’re enough for him to actually be more viable. He does feel stronger with the current changes and that’s enough for me for now.

There are some top tier characters that did get nerfed enough that they don’t feel as powerful as they were in Season 2. Take a look at Balrog/Boxer for example. I’m betting a lot of Balrog/Boxer mains are pissed off at Capcom for hitting him hard with the nerf hammer. I mean, his Turn Around Punch lost all invincibility to attacks and throws and his standing heavy kick Crush Counter pushes his opponent much further than before, removing some of his high damaging bread and butter combos. However, for the people that have to play against Balrog/Boxer, these nerfs make him a little more manageable to take on. And as he was incredibly strong in Season 2 because of those two moves, it did make sense to nerf them.

But what about the top tiers that didn’t get that badly nerfed. I’m talking about characters like Abigail and Urien who can really pump out the damage with one good combo. They also have two really good utilitarian V-Triggers and they can choose depending on who they’re facing. Abigail, who was already strong in Season 2, got a host of buffs, such as his standing light punch becoming an even better anti-air as well as becoming a frame faster.  only real nerf involves his command grab getting a few more frames of recovery. Then again, all grapplers got this nerf. Urien did get a good number of nerfs, like his quick press standing heavy punch Crush Counter being more difficult to follow up from but not enough to drop him off the top tier position.

So, if these two characters who were already really good and didn’t get nerfed all that much in Season 3, why shouldn’t they get more nerfs? I can think of a few practical nerfs, like Abigail getting a little less health or making Urien’s standing heavy punch a little bit more unsafe on block. But, as it stands, most of the characters who got buffed do stand a much better chance against them now. Even my wimpy Vega/Claw, with his low damage output, has a much better chance against Urien now. In Season 2, the Vice President of the Illuminati was the bane of my existence. Now, in Season 3, I find him much more manageable as his throw loops are practically gone and his new bread and butter Crush Counter combo isn’t as damaging as his old one.

Of course, I can’t speak for the other low tier characters like FANG and Chun-Li. They got some buffs and tweaks that make them much more competitive than in the previous seasons. It’s all theoretical for me, though, as I never really played as those characters in Street Fighter V. But they do have more of a chance now and I believe all characters have much better tools overall to counter jumping attacks, punishing whiffed punches, kicks and throws. They may still feel like the top tiers can overwhelm them but these new balance changes just came out a couple of months ago. We don’t really know how effective they are until the pros actually start using these characters to their fullest potential. We still haven’t uncovered all the new tech and combos these buffs and, yes, even nerfs have unlocked inadvertently by these balance changes.

Right now, all of these changes are really fresh and it’s just too soon to add more changes just yet. But I do say “yet.” Maybe in a couple of months, Street Fighter V fans will get a better idea how well these balance changes made each character. Once we do get a better handle on how they affected the overall meta of the game, maybe then we can think about a few more buffs and nerfs.

But please, let’s nerf Abigail then, okay?

Do you think it’s too soon for Capcom to add more buffs and nerfs in Street Fighter V? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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