After a semi-vague promise of "sometime in February" Nintendo surprised Smash Bros. fans with a Tuesday night drop of version 2.0.0. The patch looks to be everything players could hope for, introducing nerfs for online scourge King K. Rool, an easier button command for short hops, and the much-anticipated debut of Piranha Plant!
One thing that frustrated the Smash community in previous games was the lack of communication when it came to patches. Whereas the standard for multiplayer online games is to provide patch notes, a point-by-point list of the exact changes an update brings to the game, the Smash team never did. Fans were told "changes were made" and were left to figure out what they were on their own. This changes with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as actual patch notes can be found here.
One of the biggest changes are nerfs to King K. Rool. The Donkey Kong Country villain has been a hot topic in Smash Bros. discussions due to the way he seemingly dominates online play. The patch looks to end that dominance by reducing the time he can bury opponents as well as shortening the reach of his vacuum gun. The multiplayer servers are down as of this writing, so we can't tell if this really will discourage players from using K. Rool, but it does address some of his critics' biggest complaints.
Also of note is that version 2.0.0 adds a new command. Pressing two jump buttons at once will allow you to perform a short hop. This is big for players who are just starting to break into more serious Smash play. The short hop, literally a jump that raises you off the ground less, is rarely seen in casual play but is considered a basic technique for hardcore players. Up until now it has always required a precise press of the jump button, so this new method will make it easier to pull off. That should be a major help to players still struggling to incorporate it into their game.
Finally, the legend is actually upon us. Piranha Plant is now a playable fighter for those who pre-ordered the game! For those who didn't, the release notes do say it will be purchase-able in the future. It will take some time, and the online servers going back up, to see what the plant can really do. I'm sure there will be tons of YouTube videos analyzing Piranha Plant by morning. Until then, I'm going to training mode to work on my short hops.