Communication between Arc System Works and the Community has been steadily improving as the approaching Dragon Ball Battle Hour came. Producer Tomoko Hiroki recently made her appearance on the aptly named DBFZ Show to sit down with Community Talents @zDamasus and @Tyrant_UK and discuss the game and its future.
Dropping the ball at the last moment.
Hopes were high. Was this finally the opportunity for a rollback announcement to be revealed? COVID has truly brought together the FGC in terms of uniting to keep going through difficult times, yet the strain on FighterZ in particular has been reaching boiling point. Players left and right acknowledge the fun of the game, but the now dated Delay-Based Netcode pulled at the patience of players. Prayer for a Rollback solution and an experience akin to Guilty Gear Strive (touched on here: https://toptier.gg/guilty-gear-strive-open-beta-impressions) was increasing greatly.
After a 12 hour round-robin tournament, with teams comprised of players from five different regions, one team came out on top. Comprised of @GO13151, @Kyden94, @dani_gras, Mamba Lamba and @ReynaldJT, respectively representing Japan, France, Spain, US East and US West; they were crowned the Champions, securing enough points to be the top team of the day. They took home the tournament trophy, while @Yasha94_ took home the Player of The Day award.
Anticipation was now at its highest. SSJ4 Gogeta had been showcased, FighterZ was confirmed to have one final announcement. However, it was not as the Community desired. SSJ4 Gogeta had his release date trailer released (https://youtu.be/m04FAUKCUNI), with Hiroki expressing gratitude and confirmation that the game would be receiving a “new environment” for players to enjoy as well as promises to keep developing on the game. No explicit announcement regarding Netcode was made and FighterZ was moved on from.
Popular, established faces within the community began to announce that they would be moving on competitively from the game. Dekillsage and Supernoon, both making frequent Top 8’s on the Season 2 World Tour, announced that competitively, they were immediately taking a step back from the game.
Later confirmations from the duo confirmed that with no actual competition left, they had no routes for accomplishment. With nothing to achieve at present, their efforts could be directed elsewhere. Many others began to follow suit when taking into consideration that aside from the established top level players, there simply wasn’t much room for competition in DBFZ during the pandemic.
This exposed two glaring problems within the Community.
The first being the infighting. Whilst many people understand that players like Dekillsage and Supernoon simply wish to channel their talent into a game that they can compete fluidly in with no restrictions due to netcode, others see it as a defilement to their game. Is someone moving on therefore an implication that the game is dying or that they want to broadcast a negative opinion of the game?
For hours, Twitter was boiling with passive-aggression within the Community, those desperate to prove or disprove the points of FighterZ and it’s lifecycle attacking the issue as hard as they could. However, this issue does not come from players wanting to move on. The very issue that spawned all of this is glaring us in the face and simply must be addressed:
At the root of the problem lies one glaring fact. They’re upset because they didn’t hear anything about a vital, core aspect of the game they love to try and further its experience. They can be upset at each other all they want, but the issue comes from the lack of news, not our interpretation of it. Would players be competing around the world right now on if Rollback permitted it? Guilty Gear Strive’s feedback makes me say yes.
Japanese FG Developers have struggled with communication. Their recent addition of the Fighting Game Roundtable shows a step in the right direction, but a step away from very bad is still bad. Even Hiroki’s statement of: “We are working on a new environment for players to enjoy” creates fantasy and hope more than an actual informative stance on what the consumer can expect.
What this Battle Hour has exposed, whilst positive for viewers to watch and be witness to amazingly produced tournaments for FighterZ, is a nasty realization that the game which could live for years to come is close to succumbing to its dated architecture and COVID in the short-term. Have some people decided to leave too early, as some describe, or is this realism present simply because the player base knows that all they have right now is hope?
Either way, the Dragon Ball Battle Hour offered Dragon Ball FighterZ a plethora of content and demonstrations, but it indirectly exposed the now lit fuse the community has in terms of patience. It’s on Arc System Works to decide if they wish to retain the maximum competitive community, or bank successes on future titles such as Guilty Gear Strive.
Patience is a virtue, but dangling the carrot for so long has left expectations low. We can only hope that the game gets the support it truly deserves.