Massively on the Go: Splatoon 3 begins 2023 with its best Tricolor Battle iteration yet


Well, the latest Splatfest has come and gone, and while my personal win streak is over, I think the event was a sweet victory for the playerbase overall. As we’ve mentioned in previous coverage of Splatoon 3 events, Splatfest in particular is a big hit, not only because of it being the sole source of Super Snails but because the whole “fight-for-your-choice” voting system that now includes a week-long pre-event, truly making Splatfest feel like a major spectacle.

The only downside has been Tricolor Battles, since the very first release of the feature. Between bugs, Nintendo lowering the frequency of the new feature, and hardcores understanding that participating only made it easier for the winning team to give the other teams a chance to win, overall reception was fairly flat. Nintendo tinkered with a few changes during the last Splatfest, but the results were barely noticeable.

The newest changes, however, finally make Tricolor Battles feel like a full feature.

We knew there would be changes prior to the event, but as always, I know there can be a large difference between what is said and what the results are, such as when Nintendo “fixed” connectivity issues during the previous Splatfest; as noted before, I noticed small changes, but saw no evidence of others really picking up on it across social media.

You can read the above changes officially put out by Nintendo, but the long story short is that everyone could queue for Tricolor Turf Wars and play either as offense or defense; you’d just get more of a clout multiplier when in a match that reflects your old role (current winning side as Defenders, current losing sides as Attackers). Previously, you were simply locked into your half-time status as an attacker or defender.

This has several impacts. First, obviously, it brings down queue times for everyone, so naturally that makes it more fun for those who already enjoy it. However, it also means people are playing more, which increases the ability for people to learn both the map and the roles. While the maps aren’t exactly new, they’re a bit different from the regular rotations and do require a little time to adjust to, which was always hard when you could play only one or two Tricolor battles every few hours with the old system.

Finally, there’s Tricolor Clout metric addition. Let’s do a quick comparison by viewing the whole results recorded by Splatoon3Ink. (Don’t worry, we aren’t going to do a lot of number crunching, just check the basic metrics.) Here are the results from the Pokemon Starter Splatfest:

And then here are the ones from the most recent Taste Sensation Splatfest:

It’s not just that Tricolor battles are more open; it’s that they’re a whole other metric, giving the other teams a chance to catch up. In fact, Tricolor Battle wins are worth the most overall points at 15, compared to 8 for conch shells, 10 for popularity, and 12 for both Open and Pro Modes. While second place gets the same rewards as third place, it feels better to get some points, especially now that every Splatfest mode gets something. That means if you prefer Open to Pro or (like me) and you love the Tricolor Battles, you can just play that mode and still contribute. Admittedly, Tricolor Battles being weighted more makes it seem like that mode is the most important, but it’s also a new feature and allows each side to fight the other two at the same time, so this makes sense for now.

It also felt like the map for this Splatfest’s Tricolor Battle was the most open. As I previously mentioned in our coverage of the last Splatfest, the Splatfest 2’s map guarded each base’s left side, essentially pushing each team to attack the one on its right. Remember, though, that it’s a 4v2v2 with the two smaller teams essentially being one team but with friendly fire on and more points for the specific Splatfest team that wins. This is important because while the teams are linked, there’s still a reason not to fully work together, so the old system essentially encouraged the chaos rather than allow it to unfold naturally. The lack of those guards this time, however, meant some of the games I experienced were very competitive, which was admittedly fun and also made Team Spicy’s victory in this category feel… extra spicy.

Obviously nothing is perfect, but it seems to me that Nintendo’s pretty close to it at this point. My major concern is still that Splatfests aren’t as frequent as they were in Splatoon 1 or 2 and that Big Run just doesn’t land the same way.

I do wonder if, perhaps, the two events should be merged. While Conches gives PvE players a way to participate, they don’t get the bonus catalog XP PvPers get, and PvPers don’t interact with Big Run at all. Having both occur at the same time, at least once, could allow everyone to contribute with their preferred playstyle.

Then again, perhaps this is what Nintendo is saving for the very last Splatfest.

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!
Previous articleDC Universe Online marks 12 years of operation with the return of the Anti-Monitor anniversary event
Next articleLost Ark’s Witcher collab and quality-of-life update launch January 18

No posts to display

1 Comment
oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments