Nintendo's Splatoon is almost a year old. Here are 5 top changes I would like to see.

Splatoon a Year Later: Top 5 Changes to Freshen Gameplay Experience

Nintendo's Splatoon is almost a year old. Here are 5 top changes I would like to see.
Top 5 Changes for Nintendo's Splatoon

Released almost a year ago, Nintendo’s Splatoon offers players a unique style of third person shooter. The game focuses primarily on player mobility, as players must cover ground to advance on respective maps and game modes. In ranked battle, mobility and multiple pathways are essential to completing the required objective. In regular mode, players must cover more ground with their ink than the other team to win.

I began playing Splatoon last August, and although the game is one of Nintendo’s best in recent history, there are several changes that could be implemented that would improve the overall gameplay experience.

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Change #1: Player Based Bonuses

First and foremost, there should be experience and in-game coin bonuses for players who do especially well on their team. Several times while playing alone, I find that I do the best on my team or that my team loses because we have an inactive player. Currently in regular battle, there is a bonus for winning teams, and a small bonus for players who score at least 400 points. In ranked mode, there are bonuses for teams who win the match without the other team scoring any points, and also a bonus for teams whose match lasts at least 3 minutes. 

If scaled bonuses were added to the game, players would feel more rewarded for their individual contributions and play ability and wouldn’t feel as let down by their team’s ability if they are doing the best on the team. This would be especially rewarding for players who often play Splatoon alone and must hope to be placed on a team of equal or better ability. There could be bonuses for when teammates super jump to you, a bonus for an above average lifespan during a match, or even for how many players you splat. Overall, this would offer a better individual experience playing online.

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Change #2: Stay on Same Team with Previous Teammates

Second, and this point places further emphasis on individual play experience, in ranked and regular matches, the game lobby should automatically keep players who choose to stay in the same lobby of players with the teammates they were with the previous game. If you’re playing alone, and you find a good team, you want to stay with those players because you were able to win together, but the current game interface mixes up players and splits players up who were previously on a team together.

When playing ranked mode, matches are intense and difficult for a player to progress through rankings, so if a player playing alone finds a good team on ranked mode, they will obviously want to stay with those teammates. This feature is utilized during “Splatfests,” so I struggle to understand why and how this feature could not carry over into ranked and regular matches. It almost seems lazy to not implement something like this when other online games have had this feature for almost a decade.

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Change #3: Change Gear During Lobby Screens

The third change I would like to see for Splatoon would be for players to be able to change their weapons and gear during the player searching lobby. This could be easily done with the gamepad while the TV holds the lobby screen. Again, this feature is utilized when playing with friends in a “Squad” during ranked matches, so I don’t understand why this feature isn’t carried over into the other play modes of Splatoon.

If a player wishes to stay in a lobby of players after a match, they do not have the ability to switch their weapons and gear, and this again seems lazy to not include in all parts of the game when it’s available during one other circumstance. Adding this feature to all game mode lobbies would allow much more convenience to players who like to mix up their playstyles in between matches without having to leave the search queue.

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Change #4: More Abilities 

Another change that would be great for Splatoon, and one that would admittedly require more effort than others to implement, would be to add more gear abilities. Currently, there are twenty-four abilities that are unlocked on clothing items. Although this is a great start and does allow for a diverse set of playstyles, I find the current number of abilities can be limiting.  some specific abilities like “Tenacity” (which gives players a slight ability boost if they have inactive players on their team) are niche and fail to contribute to a player’s loadout if the circumstances for the ability are not met.

I would like to see an ability that would give temporary strength boosts, defense boosts, or ink recovery to all teammates for a short duration. Or, a temporary boost to stats that are activated in-game if a player is doing especially well: like a slight strength boost if a player “splats” a certain amount of players in one life. If these abilities are perhaps too powerful for gear, maybe they could be specials instead. Creating more abilities would diversify Splatoon’s playstyles further, and allow for even more unique gameplay scenarios.

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Change #5: More Gear

One last change that could serve Splatoon well would be the addition of more clothing items. I love collecting all the cool gear, but at level 33 and (currently) an A- rank, I’ve found that IN checking the three respective clothing stores I rarely find items I do not already possess. This is probably the smallest addition in my list I’d like for Splatoon, but I would love to see more unique clothing items come out because I would most certainly purchase them (as there is little besides gun variations and clothing to buy with in-game money).

Overall, the changes I included in this list are mostly interface and slight gameplay changes that I feel would overall improve the experience Splatoon offers players.

Do you agree with the changes I’ve listed? What do you like most about Splatoon, and are there ways to improve that aspect of the game? What’s something you would like to see in Splatoon?

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Phil Fry