Dragon Ball FighterZ: The Balance Changes Are Coming
Dragon Ball FighterZ: The Balance Changes Are Coming

This article is part of our Dragon Ball FighterZ series.

When it was announced a couple weeks back that balance changes were coming to Dragon Ball FighterZ, many were excited to see what would be coming down the pipeline. It was widely expected that the most powerful (cough broken cough) characters like Adult Gohan, Cell, and Android 16 would be getting nerfs of some kind, while many were hoping that other characters would also see buffs to try and level the playing field.

Well, we got some of that, albeit with one glaring exception. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the patch notes, let’s look at some of the new modes that’ll be coming to the game this week. Oh yeah, this patch is hitting this Wednesday. That’s in one day. Get hyped, y’all!

FighterZ Cup and Party Battle announced

We don’t know what they will look like in action, but we’ll have some new stuff to sink our teeth into come Wednesday.

First up is FighterZ Cup. This is going to be a monthly competition where players will take part in battles to earn points for their respective Z-Unions to earn some cool prizes (I guess? They don’t actually say what you’ll win, but I’m hoping it will be cool prizes of some sort. I’ll even take Zenni to feed by capsule habit). Seems cool enough, even if it’ll just devolve into much fanboying and fangirling over which character is the best (the answer, is Goku Black, don’t @ me).

The other new mode is Party Battle, a new co-op mode that sounds intriguing. Up to three players can team up to take on various bosses from Dragon Ball lore. So this is basically a fighting game equivalent of a PvE mode. I like it. My only reservation here is about matchmaking. Will there be any or will it be a situation where you need two other friends to queue up? If it’s the latter, well then I guess I won’t be playing. Even if it does have matchmaking, if it’s anything like the Party Mode we currently have, it’ll probably be a laggy mess. Basically, RIP to my chances of enjoying this mode.

Enough about this stuff, though. Let’s get to what we’ve all been waiting for: balance changes.

Spoiler alert: Cell didn’t get nerfed

That title says it all really. Whereas some of the other strong characters in the game saw notable nerfs, Cell was left basically untouched. They changed his Psychokinesis Crash so that it doesn’t appear behind the character, but that’s just an animation change. His kit will remain just as strong and oppressive as it is now. Unsurprisingly, this has a lot of people pretty upset since he was one of the three that many called to nerf. This just means that people who were using some of the other characters that did get nerfed will now just flock to Cell, resulting in less character diversity. Yay.

But it wasn’t all bad! Adult Gohan and Android 16 did get some good (or bad, depending on if you main Android 16) nerfs that should shake things up slightly. Let’s look at Gohan first.

  • Modified the property of Gohan (Adult)'s down light attack to match with other light attacks
  • Modified Gohan (Adult)’s heavy version of mid-air Ultimate Back Attack so that opponents are now able to ground recover when hit
  • Reduced the frame advantage of Gohan (Adult)'s heavy version of Machine Gun Kick when it's blocked by an opponent

Essentially, all the moves that made it so easy to trap people in ridiculously long blockstrings were dialed back a bit. His down light attack was probably the strongest in the game, which definitely wasn’t fair. Bringing that to the level of other down lights is a much-needed move. Removing the hard knockdown of his heavy Back Attack gives opponents a way to break free and limit combo potential. Making his heavy Machine Gun Kick negative on block is huge as that’s one of the main moves that keeps people completely locked down.

All around good nerfs with Adult Gohan. It doesn’t necessarily run him into the ground, but you just have to be a little bit cleaner with him now. No more throwing out heavy MGK that are positive on blocks for you!

Speaking of running into the ground, though, we’ve come to Android 16.

  • Now players will be able to recover from the ground when hit by Android 16's Dynamite Driver
  • Removed the invincibility to ranged attacks from Android 16's Standing Heavy, Jumping Heavy and Crouching Heavy

Oof. I feel bad for people who actually liked his character and/or style of play because, damn. Being able to chain Dynamite Drivers was a huge part of his kit and now you can recover from one. In conjunction with that, removing the invincible frames from his heavy ranged moves means that it’s harder to get in for those grabs. So for a character that thrives on command grabs, it’s now harder to get in for said command grabs and once you do get in, you can no longer just chain command grabs. Yikes.

While this is admittedly a huge nerf, it was needed. Playing against Android 16 was one of the most frustrating things ever. Now you have more options to deal with his pesky throws in this matchup. It may suck for Android 16 mains, but it was another much-needed nerf.

So those were the big ones. With as many characters that are in this game, I don’t want to be here all day going through the laundry list of changes and bug fixes -- plus, my editor might kill me in that case -- but I do want to touch on a couple others that will have an effect on competitive play.

Super Saiyan Vegeta:

  • The block stun on his assist was lowered, which makes it a little bit less oppressive. This is by no means a huge nerf, but just one that brings his assist in line with other characters. It will be interesting to see how this actually plays out and whether it keeps him as the best assist in the game.

Piccolo:

  • His change was a small one in theory, but one that makes an already pretty weak character even weaker. In short (because the actual language in the patch notes is ridiculously confusing), his assist can no longer cross-up, which vastly limits his mixup potential. The change has already caused one of the best Piccolo’s in the world, Eduard “HookGangGod” Deno, to drop said character and add the aforementioned untouched Cell.

Gotenks:

  • I didn’t think that Gotenks was in a place that necessarily deserved any nerfs. But then again, I’m not a game designer. shrugs Anyway, Gotenks’ assist no longer will restand an opponent. This was frequently used in conjunction with Cell to get a player back on their feet to continue a combo. Even though this is a clear nerf, it actually doesn’t seem like a directed one like we saw with any of the above moves. The language for this change says “Fixed an issue where Gotenks’ Z Assist can forcibly put an already mid-air opponent’s position back to the ground.” Apparently this wasn’t an intended feature of Gotenks’ assist, and they decided to fix it here. It undoubtedly makes the character a bit weaker, nonetheless. I’m curious to see if Dominique “SonicFox” McLaren will switch out Gotenks for another character due to this change.

All in all, I think these were pretty good changes. With this being the first real balance patch, it’s smart to not overdo it and risk breaking the game. Start small with some of the more glaring issues and then go from there. But (there’s always a but).

Despite the changes being solid as a whole, Cell not getting touched is a pretty egregious misstep. He was already ridiculously strong and now he was indirectly buffed by a couple of the other top dogs getting nerfed. Prepare yourselves for the real-life Cell Saga, everyone.

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