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Do we need a balanced game or perhaps ‘beginner’ and ‘expert’ characters?

Gamingtodaynews1g - Do we need a balanced game or perhaps 'beginner' and 'expert' characters?

Nowadays in multiplayer games, making all characters viable seems to be the goal when balancing a game. This is good if you want to win with your favorites, but I can't help but to think a big counter-argument against communism applies here as well: why bother spending time to learn something complicated if the reward is going to be the same as working with something simple?

Take a look at Melee for example: in hindsight this game is hugely unbalanced, as expected from a game with a development cycle of under two years. For years now, everyone knows Fox and Falco are number one in terms of speed and comboing, holy grails of Melee. However, not everyone will 'shine' with these characters, as they are hard to play with and you'll have a harder time executing combos with them than you'll have with other characters. This is mainly because many techniques require a 'short-hop', a small jump you execute by holding down the jump button for just a short amount of time, which is 1/30 of a second in Fox's case and maybe a bit longer in case you're playing a different character (which does make a lot of difference). Point is, Fox and Falco are 'expert' characters. Maybe you used to beat your friends with Roy, while he is not viable in tournaments now, as tournaments are of much higher level.

Fast forward to Smash Ultimate, where Sakurai understandably does not want to repeat the same mistakes, as Melee was unbalanced even with 'expert' and 'beginner' characters in mind. I did notice in Ultimate however that Lucina seems to be a better character in tournaments than Marth, which feels strange: these two characters are identical swordfighters with one minor difference: Lucina does more damage with her blade overall, while Marth does less with his sword, except if he hits an enemy with the tip of his blade, as that part is much stronger than Lucina's blade overall (more damage and launching power). Imo, it would be a great buff if there were combos such that Marth could hit with the tip of his blade, but make the combos hard to execute. The reason Marth is less viable is because he has no combos, so he has to space the opponent to hit that tip of the blade, but then your opponent's can just avoid that, so a Marth can never really go for the tip of the blade. There are probably more examples of such characters in the game, but enough about smash.


Another example would be Overwatch. Junkrat is a spammy character who can easily overwhelm anyone who is in bronze and silver and maybe gold, but after that, people can deal with it. About the same goes for Bastion: people just circumvent shield in platinum and kill both Bastion and the healer next to it. Genji however, is a dps that requires skill. Dare I say he should be buffed a bit, as shields in the game prevent him from charging his ult (which is what made him a strong character). I don't know whether Genji is played often in tournaments or not, but imo he should be worth learning and as much as I like Junkrat, I don't think he should be buffed to become viable in diamond, as he is a pretty easy character (though he is still buffed in a recent patch). Another example are the healers: Mercy got slightly buffed in her healing, while Ana got nerfed. Ana is a character who requires you to aim, while Mercy's beam does not. If your shot accuracy with Ana was 60% or more, you'd already heal more than Mercy and imo, it should've stayed that way (maybe it still does). I know Ana got other abilities besides shooting to heal teammates, but Mercy got as well, including reviving allies. Are the nerfs on Ana and the buffs on Mercy really justified?

Ofcourse I get that people don't like their favorite to be not viable, but trying to make all characters viable ends up making only characters viable that might not include your favorites. Perhaps we should not balance based off viability, but rather effort ("Perhaps a new methodology is required"). Besides, the majority of the gamers are casual, so they wouldn't really care about their favorites not being used often competitively.

What do you guys think? Does balancing need a change or is the current balancing system ok to you?

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