Anyone who has played Super Smash Bros. Brawl knows that the online portion is crap. Whether the less than satisfactory net play can be attributed more to the team's lack of online experience or to a rushed development schedule, the fact remains that it wasn't an enjoyable experience back then and it isn't one now.
It sounds like series director Masahiro Sakurai is taking all the shortcomings of Brawl's online into consideration for the Namco-developed fourth Smash. In a recent Famitsu column, Sakurai responded to a reader who was annoyed that the remaining online Brawl players all avoid items and never instigate attacks. Sakurai answered, "The idea of Brawl's 'carefree brawling' motto was to get rid of as many restraints as possible and allow people to choose whatever play approach they liked. I'd like people to take some freer approaches with their gameplay, but the sort of battle style you describe in your letter is not interesting or fun. That's why I'll probably be thinking of a way to deal with that in the next game. We've learned a lot about net play since Brawl was released, after all, so a lot more is possible."
Sakurai accepts responsibility for the poorly conceived online previously, and he promises something a lot more cohesive in the future that will allow for different playstyles. I just hope he doesn't force design decisions merely for the sake of hampering high-level play for those who enjoy that. It's time to put the dark days of tripping behind us!