Hey everyone. So I have not updated Norematch in over a year, and I wanted to explain why for people who still follow this site. I have also stopped uploading videos on my Youtube channel. There are a few reasons for this.

First up, the majority of my uploads come from Twitch. Twitch updates their API all the time, and this has resulted in complications when it comes to downloading VODs. In the past, I have always found ways around it, from using Download Manager browser plugins to Twitchtools to random scripts I would find on Github. However, that all came to a halt around December of last year. Twitch changed their video archival method again, and my way of downloading videos no longer worked. I searched everywhere for an alternative, and could not find anything recent. A lot of other people were having similar problems, and eventually someone managed to write a program that could download the new Twitch archives. However, it did not work on my computer, because my computer is very old. Instead of spending money to buy a new computer for the sole purpose of uploading videos that don’t belong to me, I decided to just stop.

The other reason is that I do not want to compete with Jonio, the main content provider. In the past, Guilty Gear was relatively obscure in the fighting game world, and Jonio the streamer had a small audience. He would only stream on Nico, which is an awful awful video service. Archives of the tournament would also be uploaded on Nico, which was an awkward service to use for people who do not know Japanese. There was a long period of time during the Accent Core era where all of the big Guilty Gear footage was exclusively being put on Nico. I wanted to make that footage more accessible by mirroring it on Youtube and providing English translations on player names and characters used. And I have been doing that for a long time. With the release of Guilty Gear Xrd in the past 3 years, the game has exploded in popularity, and as a result Jonio is finally getting the recognition he deserves. He now streams on 3 services simultaneously: Nico, Youtube, and Twitch. There was even a fundraising campaign for Mikado shirts, and for providing Jonio with a better computer so that he could start streaming in HD. All of the streams now get automatically archived on Jonio’s Youtube, and the tournament and casual footage get uploaded there relatively quickly. So there is really no need for me to continue mirroring Jonio’s twitch stream anymore. The footage is already available on his Youtube channel in the highest possible quality; any mirror of it would be in significantly lower video quality. There is also something morally reprehensible about putting up content that does not belong to you, when that content creator is using the same service and updating regularly.

Now on to why I have not been updating this site. The short version is in a lack of motivation due to me being unhappy with the direction of Guilty Gear in the past ~1.5 years. Part of this has to do with Rev 2 and how I believe it to be an extremely poor update. But more on that later. The problem actually starts before that.

When Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- came out, I wrote a long post on here about my impressions of the game. The main points I want to highlight are YRC and Blitz Shield. Blitz Shield was a mechanic that I was initially skeptical on when it was first announced, and I was afraid that it would lead to the degeneracy that you see in Street Fighter 3rd Strike with parries. But luckily that was not the case, and Blitz Shields were very fair and handled well in Xrd -SIGN-. Unfortunately in Rev 1 this was all thrown out the window with the new Blitz attack mechanic. The end result of the new Blitz attack(and it being chargeable) is in encouraging more dice rolling on defense. The original Blitz Shield was fine and was pretty strong given the multitude of defensive options in GG. So there was really no need to change it.

Then there is YRC. YRC is a mechanic that in my opinion had some positive and negative impacts on the game. The most important positive is that by replacing FRC it lowered the execution barrier for new players. However, it introduced way more negatives than positives. Since I initially wrote my Xrd impressions post, the YRC OS has thankfully been patched out. But even with that, YRC continues to have a detrimental effect on the pace of the gameplay. The fact that YRC also eats up inputs makes me unspeakably angry. The ability of YRC to be used in neutral is probably the biggest issue with it: it completely cheapens the neutral game and throws off the pacing.

Nothing exemplifies my hate for YRC more than the matchup against Slayer in this game. Admittedly I am probably biased here, since I main Millia and the vs Slayer matchup is absolutely abysmal in Rev 2. Maybe I wouldn’t be so critical here if I played Ky or Johnny. But Slayer in Rev 2 is considered to be an average character, and he is definitely more tame compared to his glory days of XX, #Reload, AC, and AC+R. But I would much rather fight AC or AC+R Slayer than Slayer in the Xrd series. Why? A big part of Slayer’s design is in baiting counterpokes at close range. Many of his moves have evasive hitboxes or odd invincibility that allow him to pass through attacks, and have amazing counterhit properties. To compensate, he has poor movement, so he struggles to get in close against many characters. Even though old Slayer was a monster of a character, I could at least play lame and carefully keep him out in the neutral game. In Xrd once Slayer has at least 25% meter the neutral game is thrown out of the window. He can just use neutral YRC to force RPS situations. Instead of promoting thoughtful, deliberate gameplay, YRC just encourages Slayer to continuously diceroll. It creates this incredibly unfun experience since you can’t rely on reactions anymore, and have to hope that you guess right every time the screen turns black.

Then there is the character design. To be more specific, the design of the new characters. I greatly dislike almost all of the new characters. It feels like the Xrd team was trying to appeal to new players, so most of the new characters have giant gorilla normals, easy conversions off everything, and super streamlined combo routes. It’s a stark contrast to the design of the old characters, where learning to spot situational combos and meter management was important. I think the only new characters I like are the ones that shipped with the original version of Xrd: Ramlethal and Bedman. Sin, Elphelt, Leo, Jack-O, Haehyun, and Raven are just awful designs. There are way too many gorillas in the game now. It seems like the GG team may have dialed back a bit recently, as Answer is actually more in line with the old GG design philosophy. But the damage has already been done.

The worst part about this new design philosophy is that its even seeped into the old characters who have returned in Xrd. Specifically Johnny. This character used to be really cool and required a lot of finesse in the XX series. But now he is just another gorilla.

Then there is the actual Rev 2 update. Rev 2 is honestly whack. I’ve talked about this with my scene, and many of us(including notable player KizzieKay) think that Rev 2 was a rushed update. It feels like an incomplete product. Our theory is that since ArcSys is now taking GG’s growing popularity seriously, they wanted to have a new update of GG ready for Evo 2017 after the success of 2016. This is also why they have been timing the major announcements for Evo as well. But they were probably too busy(with other projects like the BB Tag game and DBZ Fighter) that they could not finish updating all the characters in time. But they needed to have the game available before Evo to give people time to practice, so they still released it anyway. It is really apparent when you look at the changes. Many of the changes don’t address any character weaknesses/strengths, and seem to be done for completely arbitrary reasons. Basically change for the sake of change. The way Bedman and Millia were changed in Rev 2 is a complete travesty. Another example is in how Leo’s 6p was changed to have autoguard but lose the followup possibilities or how Sol’s 5k was slowed down, when it has been 3f startup for the entire history of Guilty Gear in the past.

Elaborating on Millia since I main her, her changes were almost entirely nerfs. Now I don’t necessarily disagree with her needing to get nerfed or not, since she was considered to be quite strong in Rev 1. Although its worth mentioning that from Xrd -SIGN- to 1.1, to Rev 1, she has only been getting nerfs in every version. But it’s the way that she was changed in Rev 2 that is completely asinine. First up, there is one nerf that I think was good: the nerf to Chroming Rose. That change was needed because the super was honestly way too strong. But then the overall change of making pin required to get real combos and conversions completely goes against her character design. It has also made her extremely unfun to play. Millia throughout GG has been a low risk, low reward character: she has terrible defense, terrible normals, limited ground gatlings and conversions, and low damage. Her strength lies in her amazing movement and ability to set up hard to block mixups off a knockdown. Against characters with super high damage and superior normals(which is almost everyone at this rate, but especially the new gorilla Xrd chars), the main way that Millia would win neutral is by playing lame. Which means, staying out of range of the opponent’s normals, and using pin at safe angles to get in. This kind of style no longer works because she has to hold on to pin to have the ability to do combos. There’s also the fact that even if she does land a hit and convert into a combo with pin, there is a good chance that the ensuing Disc mixup has the pin away from her. Which means that even if the mixup is successful, it leads into very little. So essentially, this has made Millia into a higher risk character with lower reward than before, since she is forced to hold on to pin. But they did not give Millia anything substantial to compensate for this. They could have increased her defense, improved her weak gatling options, improved her ground poking game. Anything to support this higher risk playstyle. Instead she gets Level 2 Badmoon, which for whatever reason has LESS hitstun than regular Badmoon.

I honestly believe that Millia is one of the worst characters in the game right now. Not exactly bottom tier, since I feel that is reserved for Answer, Baiken, and Pot. But she is only a slight step above them. Basically I feel that from a gameplay perspective, there is absolutely no reason to play Millia. If you want to play a setplay character, I-No and Dizzy do a much better job. And if you want to play a fast, pixie character, Chipp is superior in every way. The only reason to play Millia is if you just really like the character.

So yes, not a big fan of Rev 2. I know there is a lot of bias because my main character was negatively affected by the changes. But my 2nd most played character, Dizzy, has AMAZING changes. She did get overall buffs, but they don’t make her significantly stronger in any way. Her core style is the same, and the changes are mostly Quality of Life improvements that make her way more fun to play. I just wish the same level of effort that went into changing Dizzy applied to all the other characters.

Finally, there is my local SoCal scene. During the period of time when fighting games were getting more popular worldwide from 2009 onwards, there was a lot of growth in my scene with an influx of new players. Blazblue was the main anime game that people were playing during this period. Even now with Xrd out it is very clear that on the anime side of things, SoCal is primarily a BB scene. We still have a dedicated group of players, but that playerbase has been steadily shrinking ever since Rev 2 came out. Presumably because the update was so weak. So there’s less people to play with, which is depressing.

Anyway, I apologize because this ended up way longer and more negative than I intended. I pretty much have no motivation to write new content for GG with the current state of the game. This does not mean that I have stopped playing GG completely. I still play it whenever I can at my locals. And out of all the fighting games out there in the market right now, I still believe Guilty Gear is the very best one. But I have just been increasingly unhappy with the direction that the series has been taking recently. I don’t want this post to be completely negative, so I will say that I am very happy that GG has gotten so popular throughout the world. I’ve been playing GG since 2006 and I remember during the Accent Core era thinking that the game would always be niche. Never dreamed that it would be a main game at Evolution again. I am also very happy to see Jonio finally getting the credit he deserves, for providing high quality Guilty Gear video content for more than 10 years spanning back to the Nakano TRF days. Also, this site will always be up! I have no plans on ever taking it down. Maybe if the next GG update improves things, I will feel like writing again.