The Hero from Dragon Quest causes Controversy for Competitive Smash

On Tuesday the 30th of July Nintendo gave us an in-depth look at the newest character joining the Smash roster, The Hero from Dragon Quest. During a livestream, game director Masahiro Sakurai demonstrated all the abilities of the new character and also showed off the new stage Yggdrasil’s Altar as well as new content coming in the 4.0 update including Online Tournaments, easier options for the game’s World of Light Mode and other balance updates.

In the livestream, many viewers started to notice that The Hero had many attributes unique to him and most controversially his reliance on random chance.

Super Smash Bros. has always been a series with a large casual fan base. Created as a Party game on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999, the series had prioritised fun frantic gameplay over competitive balance. However, over the years a more dedicated and passionate core group of Smash players carved a competitive niche and from that, it could be argued that the competitive Smash community is sizeable enough to be legitimate based on numbers alone. Whether the game is balanced appropriately or has the features you’d normally associate with competitive fighting games (in-depth training mode features and proper online lobby systems.) The fact is that the competitive audience is here and is already dominating eSports tournaments such as the Evolution Series where the Smash Ultimate entrants are over 3500 and the highest number of entrants in the tournaments around 20-year history.

Because of this, a disconnect has formed between the casual mainstream audience and the more vocal competitive audience. Where a character like The Hero would be great fun an average player the competitive audience doesn’t enjoy his presence and chance of being cheated out of a skilful victory.

Top player and Smash personality Hungrybox weighed in on the current controversy

In typical competitive games, random chance is such a non-issue and most games play uniformly at all times. However, Smash has never been that way and has always had some presence of random chance even in competitive play. However top player Leffen argues that The Hero’s level of random chance is “degenerate.” Even going as far to start a petition to call for the character’s ban from competitive tournaments and to imply that he’s going to stop participating in competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The next major tournament to feature The Hero as playable will be Super Smash Con on the 8th of August. There we should get a good chance to see how his inclusion will affect the overall meta and health of the game. Here’s hoping that when Banjo is included that he’s a bit less controversial.

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