The idea wasn't to make a game where first timers and veterans are on an even ground. The idea was to make a game that doesn't disgust new players with inputs they'd have to sit down for a decent amount of time to get into their muscle memory.
A lot of the FGC just seems extremely removed from the outside world and doesn't seem to understand the reason why their genre doesnt have more traction among the more casual players, but it's not because fighting games are hard. I play with casual players all the time as part of my social activities, and I end up facing exactly the same situations everytime. People get frustrated and bored by street fighter or gg or blazblue because simply put they didn't grow up playing these arcade fighters and inputs are getting in the way of their enjoyment. It takes some investment to even learn how to access the most simple features of your character, and that's what's turning them off. The same kind of people get hella passionate and actually competitive about melee or smash 4, because half the game isn't closed to them and they can actually access all their options in an intuitive manner. That has value, because it opens the door for them suddendly turning their mind towards the strategic side of things. They immediately start using their moves more sparingly and intelligently than they do in street fighter, because they have confidence in their ability to execute a strategy - so their brainpower is focused on building that strategy.
That has value, incredible value. People who do not get what's fantastic about smash's design might be fantastic players but are ultimately holding the genre back from touching a larger audience. I personally have no personal investment in doing half circle motions or shoryukens. I learned to do them, because I had to. But do I care for them ? Not really. They're just there, and sometimes I wish they weren't, but by now I am used to them. But you know what I see nearly every week ? I introduce some random game to people, and at some point I do a super from halfscreen to show them a cool animation without overwhelming them. They block it, they seem impressed for a second, and are happy to have blocked it. Then they turn me to me.
"Wow, how did you do that ?"
"Eh, it's quarter circle back, half circle forward and this button."
And everytime, I have to see the light in their eyes die down. They give me an aknowledgement nod, pretend to try a couple times, and give up. They decide they'll play without it. Supers are cool, but will never be part of their strategy, simply because the input is needlessly stupid. They write it off as an "advanced" technique that's not for them. Which is retarded. The meter is there, why shouldn't they be able to use it without having to spend a good amount of time practicing this input ?
I think people that defend these inputs make a mistake. The passion that people put into fighting games has nothing to do with inputs. Inputs are just kind of in the way, you take a bit of time to get used to them, then you can actually play the damn game, and put your brain on the strategy side of things. The fact that this step is needlessly long in arcade japanese fighting games exists for historical reasons, but not logical ones. And every rule of good game design contradicts the need for them.
Complexity should be found in the parts where you put the pieces together, not in actually lifting the damn pieces.
While I don't agree with some of the decisions that were made for Rising Thunder, I am very interested in seeing if it succeeds. I'll play it, because why not, Dauntless and Chel are cool and its reliance on netplay is interesting to me, someone who never had an actual community where he lived and had to turn to popular online games to get his fill.