Rant incoming.

I’m upset. You want to know why? Because I can’t play Guilty Gear Strive. I haven’t been able to properly play the game for 2 months now. It’s bullshit, and I’m genuinely frustrated that one of my favourite games has become unenjoyable to play.

So what’s the deal? What changed?

As some of you may know, Guilty Gear Strive released on Xbox earlier this year. The very same day, crossplay for the game was extended to also include the new Xbox playerbase. Normally this would be a welcome addition – a whole host of new competitors is always great! Unfortunately, this amplified all of the existing problems with Strive’s tenuous lobbies.

Since March 7th, 2023 Guilty Gear Strive online lobbies have become a complete dumpster fire. In my own experience, I usually spend more time trying to get into a match then I do actually playing. The game regularly struggles to connect me to other players, and frequently boots me out of lobbies to the main menu. Hell – I’ll even get booted out mid-match sometimes, if Strive is having a particularly bad day. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

And it’s not like we didn’t see this coming either. When crossplay with Playstation was added in November of last year, the quality of online play dropped significantly. All of the same issues that exist now were still present then, but they weren’t as common so it was easier to ignore them. The Xbox folks joining the fray was simply the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

What makes this situation especially frustrating for me is the response from Arc System Works. If we pretend that prior to March 7th everything was fine, then it took Arc over 6 weeks to publicly acknowledge the problem. They issued a statement noting that were aware of the issue, but didn’t have an ETA on a solution. The second part of that statement is fair enough, but why did it take so long for y’all to acknowledge the problem? This shit has been so bad that people have been posting about it all over social media for weeks. Y’all were acting like fucking ostriches out here with your heads buried in the sand.

This acknowledgement notice was also followed up a week later with an update advising players to restart the game if they were running into issues.

NANI? You really going to hit us with the “have you tried turning it off, and then back on again” line?

I don’t even know what to say. Every couple weeks I pop into the ranked lobbies to see if things are any better, and I’m usually left disappointed. Connection issues are still rampant. Sometimes I get lucky, but more often I get disconnected constantly, and close the game in frustration.

May landing a fully charged command normal on Potemkin.

There is one saving grace however: throughout all of this nonsense, private rooms have continued to function almost without interruption. This means that I’ve been able to play with a handful of my friends over March, and April. That’s still less than ideal – obviously they’re not always around, and that somewhat narrows the scope of the characters you’ll be playing against. Still – I guess it’s better than nothing.

It’s really disappointing. Guilty Gear Strive is such a great game – one that I’ve enjoyed sinking hundreds of hours into. However, Strive’s legacy is currently poised to be one of frustration at the hand’s of its terrible networking. I don’t expect everyone will stop playing, but I do think that many have gotten sick of dealing with the issues, and are looking at other games. Lord knows I’m just waiting for June 2nd, so I can drop Strive for Street Fighter 6.

Here’s hoping that Strive’s online eventually gets fixed. I don’t have a lot of faith given the history of online related issues that have plagued the game throughout its life, but miracles can happen. Remember that you can always drop into private lobbies while the public ones continue to be a complete gong show if you, like myself, are still jonzing to duke it out with some friends.