The Capcom Pro Tour kicks off this weekend; are we already playing Street Fighter 5 season 3.5?

Will characters even need to look out for the nerf hammer in the mid-season finale?

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • March 12, 2018 at 7:28 p.m. PDT

Final Round will mark the beginning of the 2018 season of the Capcom Pro Tour for Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition and the question remains as to whether we will see a newly balanced version of the game after the tour starts like last year.

We previously put up a piece detailing the time table when "season 2.5" rolled out and how it could be handled now for a "season 3.5." Here is a different train of thought. What if we already got season 3.5 for the game?

At this point last year, the first information about season 2.5 was already available, and we were a few weeks away from the network beta tests for the update.

We've made a poll asking you to vote on whether you think Street Fighter 5 needs another balance patch this year, and while the polls are still open, people seem to be leaning towards yes right now.

Last month, Capcom released a patch for Arcade Edition that amounted to mostly "bug fixes" like Urien's Tyrant Blaze losing its hurtbox completely while his V-Skill Metallic aura was active.

Among those fixes seemed to be some apparent nerfs to everyone's "favorite" Candadian lunk, Abigail. His changes were referred to as bug fixes, but they seemed to be more like features for the character.

The big bodied brawler had his armor from his fully charged V-Trigger 2 Metro Crash reduced to two hits while moving forward as opposed to...much, much more.The problem with that being a bug is that it was mentioned in Capcom's V-Trigger 2 showcase special.

At around the 21-minute mark in the video below, the narrator states that "the metro crash is a chargeable tackle can absorb multiple hits while charging, and at maximum charge it will guard break and retain its armor while moving forward."

This seems to be an intended design choice, and not a bug left in the game. Perhaps he was not supposed to have that much armor moving forward, but it sure sounds like he would have more than two hits while moving.

Capcom seems to have put a lot of effort into designing and balancing the game for the release of Arcade Edition. They made core and universal design changes to the game to impact the meta and how people approach the game.

Throw loops were wiped out in nearly all cases and V-Triggers were changed to scale more on activation to reduce and balance out the damage output of characters after using their triggers. They went so far as to increase the damage scaling on Urien's second Aegis Reflector and Ibuki's second bomb during V-Trigger 1. Capcom came out and stated that the extra scaling are not bugs for those situations.

They seem to have planned out their road map much in advance of the release of Arcade Edition given how few changes the final characters from last year, Menat and Zeku, received with the new update. While characters like Abigail, Rashid and Guile are doing well right now, none of us can know if Capcom are happy with the success rate of the rest of the cast.

It's obviously not unheard of, Capcom even did it last year with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, but changing a game during a competitive season can cause its own problems. With MVCI, the pros were even unsure for a while which version of the game they would be playing on for Battle for the Stones and then had to use that newer version with much less familiarity. Perhaps, Capcom is trying to avoid something similar moving forward.

What do you guys think? Is it too late to re-balance the game once the competitive season starts? Was last month's patch really 3.5? Is Capcom going to be more gun shy about balance changes moving forward? How does Birdie has a hole in his hair? let us know in the comments.

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