Was it Heaven or Hell?
It was a long weekend for me and the Guilty Gear Strive closed beta test.
The beta was a painful ordeal of latency and connectivity issues, which is to be expected in any beta environment. But when it came to playing the game, I had a fine time, even if the delay-based netcode wasn’t indicative of the final product’s promised rollback netcode.
No, the real problem for me was the new lobby system, which was not an April Fools’ joke given we’re at the tail end of April. Out is Arc System Works’ virtual arcade lobby, where you wander a lobby filled with arcade cabs and you sit down to take on all challengers like the classic arcades of the ’90s. In now is a 2D hotel lobby with sprite avatars that hold a weapon to indicate you’re up for a match.
I seemingly couldn’t challenge opponents, and I waited anywhere between five to ten minutes for challengers to come my way. I was so confused by the experience that I talked to the hotel concierge character at the front to double-check how to challenge people, and sure enough, he just said to ready up my weapon and approach others who are doing the same. Most of the time I held out a baseball bat with no feedback as to whether I was actually getting a match at all or just doing nothing.
The Guilty Gear PR Twitter even unironically prescribed social distancing in the lobby to help alleviate connectivity problems.
In the current closed beta test, we have confirmed there is difficulty to establish a match against multiple avatars in a crowded environment.
As a temporary measure, please keep your avatar away from other avatars when setting up your weapon, and stay where you are.
— GUILTY GEAR OFFICIAL (@GUILTYGEAR_PR) April 18, 2020
Sometimes, I’d see an initializing match notification at the bottom of the screen, and most of the time it’d be followed by a “failed to connect” message. I must’ve snagged maybe eight matches Friday before throwing the idea of coming back to the beta on the following days into the trash.
Still, from what I got to play of Guilty Gear Strive, I’m interested, where many people I followed who consider themselves to be longtime fans were turned off by a lot of the changes, such as the altered Gatling structure and the insanely huge and simplified battle UI.
If you’ve never managed to consistently land counter-hit combos before, Strive will definitely let you hit those specific combos, and the new Roman Canceling system is still largely unexplored and worth mastering. For example, as a Potemkin player, I never got the chance to tinker with using it in neutral to throw out a long-range poke, then Roman Cancel to slide closer by precious inches. And while damage is ridiculous, so is the guts multiplier, so the same combo that would knock off 50% life will fail to kill despite the math stating otherwise.
That is to say that this beta didn’t lock this game as a sure thing for me. I loved what I managed to play and the promise of rollback in the final product is incentivizing, but if the new lobby is here to stay then I’ll have to remain skeptical. I’m confident a lot of grievances I have with the lobby are shared, but what about your experience? A lot of my immediate Dtoid friends didn’t talk so much about the lobby but shared the all too familiar mid-game disconnect.
How was your experience with the Guilty Gear Strive beta? Have you been soured by the experience or are you holding out some cautious hope?