The competitive scene in Mortal Kombat 11 will soon receive its next big shakeup with the release of third tournament legal variation for the entire roster of fighters. Since the release of the game in April of this year, each character has had two tournament variations.
The inclusion of a third setting should expand the potential for diversity in play, though a persistent issue with these variations as a concept is that they force players to use the characters as the developers envision them, and not as the players may like. As Wesley Yin-Poole points out at Euro Gamer, the release of Shang Tsung was both an exciting and then frustrating experience, because the best looking moves from a number of the ninja characters in the game were excluded from tournament variation, and were not seen in competitive play.
This is something that has been teased for quite some time, but thanks to the most recent balance update, has not felt like an absolute necessity. Early August brought the release of patch 1.07 which nerfed some characters and allowed others to shine. Before that point, Lui Kang was mostly unusable in the competitive scene, and Cassie Cage was used by SonicFox to take the Evo 2019 world championship title.
The patch brought massive changes to the power of the characters and a few more tweaks after saw for the rise of Lui Kang, Kitana, Jax, and others to prominence in tournament settings.
The inclusion of tournament variations is something that is still met with some negativity, since it places a strict design limit on the characters in a competitive format. Outside of tournaments settings and the online Kombat League, players are free to customize their fighters as they please, and players have shown off their unique or game-breaking combos that do a devastating amount of damage.
For now, we can expect the tournament variations to main the standard mode for competitive play, but it would not be surprising to see the developers eventual release a secondary mode, with the Kombat League only or also in tournaments, that would allow for a free-for-all of customization. With that in mind, it would be almost impossible to balance for both types of play, and the move would fracture the player base into those who live by standard tournament variations and those who do not. Still, the idea if interesting to shake things up.
The patch is slated for release “soon”, but a firm date has not yet been set. October 8 is a likely date for its release, since the developer will be launching the next DLC character, the T-800 from the Terminator series in the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger.