So, anyone who has seen me post at all in the past month has probably realized that I’m a really, really big Phoenix Wright fan. I really believed in him as a character, and even now I believe that as released he was long term a truly top tier character, the single best in the game. He hadn’t really done anything in the tournament scene, but I had constant faith that he was merely a late bloomer since he was complex and had the whole high risk very high reward thing going. Now Capcom has given him a larger nerf than any character received from Vanilla to Ultimate. Tron Bonne and She-Hulk were treated super kindly by comparison really. His invincible Break the Witness assist, the best thing about him by far, is just gone completely, and he has received as far as I can tell absolutely nothing in compensation. He’s just obviously a garbage character now, not viable in any meaningful sense. The whole point with him was that achieving that assist was a win condition, and when you take an otherwise extremely disadvantaged character with a unique win condition and just remove that condition, what do you think you end up with?
This goes further than just losing a character I like. Wright was an extreme outlier, moreso than Phoenix in vanilla. The only real way to use him was to build your entire team, your entire strategy around him. To play Phoenix Wright, you had to play a completely different game from everyone else. I was perfectly fine with this; in fact, I found the Wright game more fun than the basic game and would tell everyone, even people who didn’t play this game, how Phoenix Wright was the greatest character in this game or indeed any any game. It’s pretty fair to say that 100% of my investment into Ultimate so far has been into either Wright directly or things designed completely to support Wright, and it’s also fair to say that at least 90% of what I’ve done is completely worthless experience for using teams that don’t include Wright. Now that Wright is virtually out of the game, I’m basically back at day 1, release date, in my experience with this game. I actually might be worse off since I haven’t been using vanilla tactics, which are more similar to playable tactics than Wright tactics, in a month.
Capcom’s impropriety here isn’t just that their balance change basically removed everything I’ve been doing and the thing in the game I liked doing most. The problem is that we all know how patch authentication and development works or at least I do since I’m not industry naive. At best the game had been out a week or two when this patch was finalized, and surely this decision was being seriously considered at launch. To be clear, the most likely outcome was that Capcom had already decided to nerf Wright a month after launch before launch and didn’t tell anyone. Not only did Capcom nerf out basically my entire gameplan, but they knew they were going to do it before I even looked at the game and decided on my gameplan. I suppose filling me or the rest of the community in that I was zeroing in on a slated for removal gameplan wasn’t on Capcom’s priority list. They could have predicted that people like me would exist and end up in this situation, and they just didn’t care. Of course, this isn’t surprising since Sentinel’s massive (and similar to this poorly conceived) health nerf was handled the same way, but at least health is a minor factor in this game unlike completely invincible assists which are one of the most powerful things in the game. All their other patches to vanilla were extremely minor as well so even though they were bad on principle at least they weren’t important. Now they’ve shown that that was at best a coincidence and that ridiculously huge changes to characters that dramatically shift overall quality are also on the table, and suddenly this really matters.
I’m sure some people here are rolling their eyes at the ranting of an extremely salty Wright main (and yes, you are right that I’m extremely salty), but the way this whole process is completely toxic to the community should be obvious. What happens when it’s a more popular character? What happens when this patch comes shortly before a major tournament? What happens when unexpected massive balance changes with no notice change results and people find themselves stuck financially committed to attending far-flung events they no longer have a realistic chance of placing in? For that matter, it’s probably safe to say that approximately 99% of the community would agree that this Wright change was stupid including 100% of people who actually play Wright; what possible reason could Capcom have had for making it? Capcom needs transparency, detailed change logs when decisions are made and NOT when patches are released or worse never at all, and an actual dialogue with the community over the direction of patching in this game. If they make a change (especially a really big one like this), we certainly deserve to know why, and it should come ahead of the change and not in some scrambled response to people raging after the fact. Presumably this game exists for our sake beyond their profit motive which we’ve all satisfied by buying so they could also maybe make some token effort to convince us that they actually care about making the game better for us with their changes as well. I’m well aware that design by democracy is stupid and that most people have stupid ideas when it comes to balance, but balance changes nevertheless need to reflect what the people are saying (design 101: listen to their complaints but not their solutions) and this one doesn’t at all. It’s not even a bug fix; it just makes no sense. I don’t even understand why Capcom removed my character from the game, and that’s as bad as anything.
Maybe people less personally salty over this have different perspectives, and it would be great to hear, but I really do think this is in a different complaint than the common (and mostly poorly founded) complaints against Capcom which are mostly about how the game is and always has been (like X-Factor being strong) which is kinda take it or leave it but having the game changed under you without warning into something that no one wanted but that really screws a subset of players is pretty terrible. I should stop now, but I really hope someone at Capcom reads this and maybe, though I find it unlikely honestly, has an inkling that this way of doing things isn’t okay. If Capcom truly doesn’t care, we should seriously rethink whether using these patches at all when we play is a good idea.