Smash Ultimate has received a brand new stage called Small Battlefield, along with improvements to its online play. These new additions came with the previously unannounced version 8.1.0 update on August 4.
Smash Ultimate’s new Small Battlefield arena is a flat stage with two low platforms. Its layout is similar to that of the two Pokémon Stadium stages. Players can now select Small Battlefield in competitive online battles, along with Final Destination and Battlefield. In addition, players can now listen to music from any stage in the game while playing on these three stages. This extended list of songs also applies to Big Battlefield.
With the update to FD/Battlefield music choices, we can now have what we’ve all been waiting for
Megalovania on FD
— ESAM (Panda) (@imESAM) August 5, 2020
Perhaps most importantly, the new patch made changes to the game’s online experience. This included adjustments to matchmaking while using Preferred Rules. In addition, the update changed how the game calculates initial GSP values and shifted the Elite Smash entry thresholds to include a larger number of players. The patch notes do not elaborate on any specific netcode adjustments. However, they do note that “further investigations and adjustments to Online mode are expected.”
Community response to Smash Ultimate’s Small Battlefield stage
With the addition of Small Battlefield to Smash Ultimate, many players have begun to explore the benefits of the stage. Its close-to-the-ground platforms could help many characters improve their mobility, combos, and kill potential. Since it is a potentially tournament viable stage, Small Battlefield’s addition has also reignited debates about the game’s stagelist.
— BLM | Brosa 🔜✈ Riptide (@BrosaFGC) August 5, 2020
Along with testing Small Battlefield, players have also been eager to try out Smash Ultimate’s online changes. Unfortunately, it is currently unclear the extent to which the game’s netcode is actually better. Ultimate’s best online player, Kolawole “Kola” Aideyan, noted that there were no perceptible differences in online play. Only time can tell if Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s delay-based netcode will ever receive substantial improvements.