I’m not one to say it, but the metagame for Strive right now is pretty stale.

It’s not because of a particular player or players dominating the scene, because no matter what, they’ll do that anyways. It isn’t because of the length of time between patches.

It’s because most of the top tiers of the game just aren’t exciting or interesting to watch, and haven’t been since Sol was top tier, alongside the system mechanics enabling stale gameplay.

When the game was released, Sol was the king of the mountain, and the only characters who could hold a candle to him were Ramlethal and Leo. This metagame was not healthy in the least bit, but god was the most fun to watch—partially because the game was new and fresh, but also because the sheer amount of things to actually figure out, despite knowing who was good and who wasn’t, was incredibly useful for the future. If Fame and Hotashi didn’t grind out Nagoriyuki, we probably still wouldn’t have recognized him as the powerhouse that he is today.

It’s a shame too, because Strive is such a great game. Sure, I have my gripes with it, but it is just foolish to say that the game isn’t good or it’s going to fail. It’s easily one of the most successful fighting games in recent memory, and it will continue to grow for as long as it gets supported.

The next balance patch is one I’m looking forward to, as there are a lot of things I would love to see tweaked just a little bit. This isn’t the run of the mill “nerf x character because I hate them!” piece, but something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I feel would be good for the game as a whole, rather than something I selfishly want.

Positive Bonus

One of the first things I’d like to see addressed is the change to positive bonus. Currently, when you break the wall, many characters can use the meter gain from positive bonus to put you in a pseudo-infinite, or in a couple of cases, actual infinite blockstrings, for as long as the regen is active.

I think that positive bonus should be an incredibly powerful thing. You should be rewarded, very hard, for breaking the wall, especially when you aren’t using the super. Regardless of if I think the mechanic is good or not, it’s built around the game as a whole, and the disadvantage of having to go back to neutral should be balanced out in some way. I do think, however, that the meter you get enables a little bit too much.

Additionally, the fact that not everyone benefits from this is a problem. If we’re going to keep it the same, allow everyone to benefit from it somewhat equally. That’s a lot easier said than done, however, as that would require a total restructuring of every character’s meter gain or moveset. It’s much easier to just tone things down across the board than try to bring everyone up.

Wall Breaking

The next big thing I’d like to see is some sort of indicator on when the wall is breaking, or close to breaking. Combos can become super jarring to the large majority of players, and requiring them to have this awkward reaction to a wall splat, or just go through with whatever muscle memory they developed, and forgo a super, is really unintuitive.

Improved Lobbies

Lastly, I really want to see better lobbies. Our current lobbies, and ranking system for that matter, leave much to be desired. The Celestial floor is the highest floor possible in the game, and requires you to ascend past floor 10. In order to stay on the Celestial floor, you need to win the next five out of six matches on the Celestial floor.

The issue with this system is that it doesn’t have a consistent means of attaining, as the quality of player can vary so wildly in your promotional test matches. I don’t know what would be implemented instead, but the streamlining of how we improve should be reflected more directly, and the quality of players should be more in line with where we are in said floors.

In terms of balance, I don’t really know what would need changing aside from the stereotypical “Nerf Happy Chaos, Nago, and Ram” schtick. Quality of life is super important, and the fact that the game has remained so popular despite its quality of life issues is saying a lot. I want to see the game thrive as much as possible, and I think little additions like this would go a very long way.

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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