Bandai Namco has announced that they will be patching Dragon Ball FighterZ at least one more time. A DBFZ balance patch has been highly requested by the game’s community, and is now confirmed. The official Bandai Namco Esports Twitter account sent out a Tweet on May 2, 2022, saying, “We’re currently working on the game balance update, including the “Android 21 (Lab Coat)” DLC which was released on February 24, 2022.”
We’re currently working on the game balance update, including the “Android 21 (Lab Coat)” DLC which was released on February 24, 2022.
The details of the release time will be announced at a later date.
We hope for your continued support of DRAGON BALL FighterZ.
— Bandai Namco Esports (@BNEesports) May 2, 2022
This patch is a very welcome change. The Dragon Ball FighterZ community has been at odds since the release of Android 21 [Labcoat] earlier this year. While her strength is undebatable, the degree to which she has impacted the meta has been a huge debate. This patch offers a chance to stabilize DBFZ and help calm the vocally displeased community.
When will the DBFZ balance patch release?
Bandai did not offer up specifics in their tweet. The intent behind this seemed to be an effort toward more open communication. Many in the Dragon Ball FighterZ community have spoken recently about feeling in the dark about future plans for the game. This extends to pros, devoted players, and even casuals.
Since the release of Labcoat 21, Bandai and ArcSys have been radio silent on their roadmap for DBFZ. There was never any official word that Labcoat was the end of the game, either. This has made the future of the game a mystery and left a lot of players pessimistic.
With the announcement of a patch, Bandai has helped clarify what is happening with the game. Clearly, the team is still interested in balance. Whether that was always the plan or this is a reaction to Labcoat’s backlash is unknown, but a patch is welcome either way.
When will we learn more about the patch?
Bandai also chose not to disclose exactly when they would give more information about the balance patch. Instead, they simply said they would give more details “at a later date”.
There are two likely possibilities regarding when we’ll learn more. The first is at a major tournament. With Combo Breaker later this month, CEO in June, and EVO later this summer, there is no shortage of options for Bandai. An announcement at any one of these events would reach the broad DBFZ community and help build hype. This is common practice in the FGC, such as when ArcSys’ announced rollback for BlazBlue at CEO 2021.
The alternative is that Bandai may save the announcement for one of their Dragon Ball events. Historically, they tend to share major DBFZ news through these kinds of events. Should they announce an upcoming Dragon Ball news event, it would be safe to assume DBFZ will be discussed.
Why does DBFZ need a balance patch?
Ever since Labcoat 21’s release, the community has been torn. 21’s unique tool kit, specifically her command grab level one super which inflicts a permanent 21% damage debuff, has been divisive amongst the player base. Many wish to ban Labcoat 21, claiming her debuff super breaks the game. Losing a fifth of your damage output from any hit confirm is understandably frustrating. As a result, the community has endlessly debated whether to ban the character outright, something never done in DBFZ before.
The issue extends beyond the players, too. Celebrated New York tournament organizer Bum163 has noted issues that Labcoat causes from a TO and spectator perspective.
But guess what…games didn’t take nowhere near as long.
People feel they have to play LC21 because if your opponent nerfs your damage…you have to nerf their damage as well.
Then the games taken super long and it becomes really boring.
— Bum163 (@bum163) April 25, 2022
Bum’s observation that the slowed rate of play due to debuffed damage hurts the spectator experience and the pace of tournaments is a great point. Running a fighting game tournament efficiently is difficult enough. Add a meta-defining character who intentionally shifts the momentum to a halt, and you have a problem.
With that said, many DBFZ players feel banning Labcoat is an overreaction. The counterargument points out that DBFZ is a game defined by meta-dominating characters. The most common comparison is GT Goku during season two. GT Goku was featured on every team due to his incredibly powerful assist and devastating Spirit Bomb setups. However, GT Goku was never banned. Nor were other pervasive characters such as Android 16, Cell, and Bardock.
These situations are nuanced, though, and each new version requires a new perspective. The nature of the balance patch era is that games are constantly changing, for better or worse. Hopefully, Bandai’s new patch will bring Labcoat closer to the community’s vision and bring balance to Dragon Ball FighterZ.