On a serious note (if this thread doesn’t spontaneously combust as soon as someone takes it the slightest bit seriously), I don’t want to see Fulgore nerfs. Yeah the character is strong – I don’t think he sucks anywhere on screen, he can run multiple gameplans really well and interpolate between them on a whim, pip cancels give him access to that extra checkmate in many interactions, he obviously has great defense – but KI is kinda about powerful toolsets, and strong Fulgore is an amazing thing to watch when in the hands of a player who has mastered him.
Anyway, broader thoughts incoming. Warning: long, probably flawed post.
My main worry with Season 3 has been that the game’s balance would finally cross the precipice to where it’s no longer about exploring powerful toolsets. A bunch of very shenaniganzy characters – Wulf, Kan-Ra, Sadira, etc – seemed to get neutered in the S3 rebalance, which I think has made the game unfun for many competitive players who made their names in Season 2 on the back of powerful mixup-driven offense, and don’t so much like being frustrated by characters like Jago and Fulgore who can run safe games with offense driven by frame traps and pokes and solid defense and force patience in their opponents, a kind of strategy which has had an honour seat at the S3 table. Since then there has been this building hunger for Jago nerfs, which have been dealt out in skirmishes that haven’t really tended to satisfy anyone. It seems like even more reasonable players like Bass think Jago is too strong in some fundamental ways, so I’m kinda just waiting for a serious Jago nerf, I guess? But I think that’d be the final straw, KI would be about fundamentally different stuff if you took away Jago’s unreactable midscreen combo starter or the fast meterless DP, or nerfed his frame traps in a meaningful way.
To my mind, there’s at least a strong top 7-or-so who are fine – Mira, ARIA, Omen, Fulgore, Jago, Hisako, Riptor – and a bunch of characters below them who could use something extra to hang with that crowd. I think Mira is S3’s Kan-Ra, the character has a lot of untapped potential and should develop into a monster with the kinds of players who are putting time into her, but I’d be glad to see that happen. I want to see the rest of the cast get buffed so they can hang with that top 7-or-so, because I think the things that are happening at that tier are fine and I want more characters to engage with that, and I don’t want to see a continued decline in powerful KI.
I also think that some respected people in the community have wrong-minded ideas about which characters are make the game fun when they’re strong and which characters just frustrate people. I like the game when Jago and Fulgore are powerful, sure, but there are plenty of people in the community who hate being frame trapped or feeling like they’re up against an impenetrable wall of mostly safe decision-making and strong defense, who probably see Jago as the fun police here to instill a regime of patience and boredom in the game. Those same people want to lock in Wulf, Shago or Kan-Ra and go crazy. Other players still want to lab out a character and be rewarded for it as the season progresses, which luckily we seem to have with Mira, but I think that makes balancing to minimize the chances of some zoner or shenaniganzy character running away with the game a bad idea: lab monsters will be less engaged if they feel like the game is being deliberately contoured to contain a character. My main point is that what I want from game balancing is a god-honest attempt to make everyone viable and no-one too good, and I never want to see anyone promote a good/bad for the game approach to balance ever again, because it’s so subjective and it makes people hate the game.