The response to the beta test was unanimously positive but it wasn’t perfect!  However, it looks like it’s going to be great for the fans who still play and good development experience for SNK, for their future products.  Make sure you fill out the feedback form! Deadline is May 7th!  Now let me discuss player experiences:

Upon the launch, PS4 users couldn’t start it, fortunately SNK moved fast and got it fixed before the weekend began, which was when most western players logged on. There were a few hiccups but nothing serious, perhaps the biggest issue was that PS5 users couldn’t use certain controllers and had to redownload the PS4 version for the PS5 in order to “fix” this.

For some players, it wasn’t clear where to get the beta download but I don’t think it’s fair to blame SNK for that, when I simply typed “king of fighters xv” into the Playstation store and found it immediately.  Note that when you go on Steam, you have to find the KOF XV page and then there’s a link near the buying options.  Not so clear there… but here I don’t think SNK can be blamed for this.

Perhaps to stop Japanese players playing all night, they closed the beta at midnight Sunday, which meant Western players had their experience cut shorter, for example here in Europe, the beta closed at 5pm, while I was running an open lobby stream.  Quite annoying and I don’t see the point of it.  If you were in PDT, it closed at 8am, which meant players lost the whole Sunday.  Why?

The question of input lag in crossplay still seems an issue but as the saying goes: ‘beggars can’t be choosers’. The whole benefit of crossplay was to unify and thus increase the pool of players.  There’s perhaps one fairly significant consequence to bear: it seems that PC/Xbox/PS5 players have to endure the slower conditions of the PS4 opponent to create an uniform experience.  The average player likely won’t understand the settings of input lag, and for now, the auto setting does a good job albeit the first round may be fairly laggy, after which it sets the best input lag for smoother gameplay.  SNK advised changing the setting in this occurence but that’s just going to cause different issues…  Going online was never simple and made worse by long distance and wifi connections.  Note that SNK has provided some new features such as turning OFF crossplay so players could shun PS4 players but doing this and even adding wifi indicators is just going to re-divide the playerbase.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a great online experience: this is a facade, players who think they have a great netcode are often in a local pool with good connections.  When that pool dries up, players will find the reality of long distance, vpn, half-duplex and simply unstable connections which then creates the input lag, rollback teleports and frameskips that ‘bad’ netcode is known for.  The good players deal with this by playing blindfolded and working with flowcharts,  while the average player just gets frustrated and blames the game- that’s the reality of online.  With rollback and auto input delay settings, SNK have almost got the best netcode possible, it just needs to adjust this input delay to decide faster, but I have no idea how that works. For now I recommend using auto.  If you have time and a snappy brain to whizz through the user interface (cough), look at the ping of your opponent:

0 = 0-50ms

1 = 50-100ms

2 = 150-200

3 = 250+

4 = 0-50ms but you are using PC and want to emulate PS4

Uh yeah, numbers. Free game with full DLC? Yes, that definitely helped.  However, for my lobbies, I saw the same players I saw on each platform, together for the first time.  It’s certainly a pool of sharks, but I did see beginner level players making their own rooms and having fun together!  Will they stick around, were they just there for the weekend?  That, I cannot tell.  It’s irrelevant to argue that new players will be scared away by the veterans, that’s the same issue for any game, they just need to have fun, and the limited content of KOFXV for the casuals when there are open world explorations in SF6 and dressing up customisations in SNKHeroines, well, you know, KOFXV can only keep the players who like FIGHTING.

The player invite option seems to have improved but not totally functional on steam. Still get the occasional “cannot enter room” error, rather than “room is full” or “room was disbanded”, which I would prefer.  Overall, thank you SNK for this update, matchmaking seems to work but it’s going to be difficult regardless to find ranking opponents in Europe at this point for a 1 year old game.  As for the lobbies themselves, they need an overhaul but that’s likely not going to happen and I guess the next Fatal Fury title will have exceptional netplay functions. Oh well. At the least, we can fill up these lobbies and have some great fights, KOF XV is still a great game to play and new characters are still coming!

Check out our lobby on the last day!

Thanks again to SNK for their continued support of this game.

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