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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Splatoon 2 Family vs. Friends Splatfest: White Ink Was A Bad Idea

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Gold ink, too. That whole Splatfest was a disgrace.

The first weekend of 2019 featured two things: KoopaTV's staff deliberating over the Game of THAT Year 2018 nominees (moreso the KoopaTV article awards than the games), and the Family vs. Friends holidays Splatfest. This article is about the results of that Splatfest, as well as the actual Splatfest gameplay itself. Click that Splatfest hyperlink to see that I was steadfastly on Team Family, and why I made that decision. (Good article.)

Here were the results, though:

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Team Family vs. Friends results votes wins
Team Family (here as Team “Fam”) won Popularity, and lost the actual Turf War matches to Team Friend.
So Team Friend unfortunately won the Splatfest.

Very regrettable results. I got to Fam King solely by playing Splatfest Battle Normal and stopped, but I know that I was above average within Team Family.

That said, I had my first ever 100x battle and lost it. Whoops. Can now confirm through personal experience that it's not a Fortnite battle royale, though!

What were the factors that caused Team Family to lose to Team Friend? Fundamentally, I think it's the ink colours. Allow me to explain the built-in advantage that Team Friend had over Team Family because of the ink colour differences.

First, take a look at how the player-toggleable map looks during a Team Family vs. Team Friend turf war:

Splatoon 2 Splatfest map overview screen Family Friends white ink
Team Family's ink colour is gold. Team Friends' ink colour is white.

On the map screen, turf that isn't inked by anyone is a dark grey. Map obstacles are presented in a very light grey colour — these are structures that cannot be inked on, but many are traversable by players’ characters. And, of course, if turf is inked, then it'll be in your team colour.

That means a Team Family member will want to go for areas coloured dark grey in the early game, and white in the late game. A Team Friends member will want to go for areas coloured dark grey in the early game, and gold in the late game. No one should try inking on areas shaded in light grey, because they will be wasting time and ink.

Players should be using the map on a regular basis for situational awareness. Where is the player needed to help the team? Where are the enemies? Can you spot the opponents based on the direction of their ink? Is it safe to Super Jump?

Here's the problem where Team Friends has a natural advantage: On the map, white and light grey don't have enough contrast from one another. Sure, if you stare at the screenshot above for long enough, you'll be able to clearly identify which areas are uninkable terrain and which are opponents. But in the heat of a Turf War, you have to be able to toggle the map on and off for half a second. Maybe less. You can't afford to stare at it for too long at a time. You have a team to support! And in that short time span, the light grey and white are basically indistinguishable. That's a clear disadvantage in terms of situational awareness for Team Family, vs. Team Friends where gold is the colour on the map that stands out the most.

You could argue that since the uninkable parts of the map are the same every time you play it and we should just get good at the game, I'd remind you that this was a holiday Splatfest taking place right after Squidmas. Lots of people just got a Nintendo Switch and/or Splatoon 2 for the first time. Maybe they're using the free seven-day (or longer) trial of Nintendo Switch Online.

They don't have the experience required to become very familiar with map layouts. And quite frankly, even with experience, the contrast differences are still a disadvantage, even if slight.

You could turn Colour Lock on (intended for colour-blind people) to make the colours Purple vs. Green instead of Gold vs. White and blame people for not taking advantage of that feature. Fair point, I suppose. Punish players for not exploring the Options menu.

While white-coloured ink was a clear advantage for Team Friends and I'm attributing their win to that, there was something possibly more insidious than the white ink.

The Shifty Station map was awful. (For those who aren't aware, a Shifty Station is a map unique to that particular Splatfest occasion that doesn't appear at any other time. Each Shifty Station is different between Splatfests (unless Marina is lazy), and they have a gimmick.) If your team took the centre early on in the match, you basically are ensured a victory until the end. Just stay in the centre and hold it. Easy. Splatoon gameplay isn't supposed to be that simple—standard rotation maps have multiple pathways to get around, while this Shifty Station was very constrained in terms of options.

Even worse than the design, however, were the GOLDEN SHOWERS. Exclusive to Team Family.

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Family Friends Golden Shower gold ink Shifty Station Dozer Flooders
Each Shifty Station had two of these ink-shower robots (called Flooders) per team that roamed around.
Team Friends had white-ink showers, while Team Family had gold-ink showers.

It makes me wonder what the hell was going on in Team Family's intrafamilial relationships if they had literal golden showers roaming around on the Team Family side. It's even worse if a Team Family member has an Ink Storm special... which I did, playing my Splattershot Jr. Custom.

The act of doing golden showers on your family members definitely falls within the category of “abuse.” It's something I don't really want to get much more into since I was a part of Team Family and I don't want to make it look like we deserved to lose to Team Friends (Team Family should've won or else I wouldn't support it). But family-based abuse is allegedly why a lot of Team Friends members joined Team Friends, because they feel like their family hates them and doesn't accept them or something.

Or maybe they're in single-parent households.


Well, I still joined Team Family.


Yeah, that's enough of this article. In conclusion, I never want to see white ink again. It's bad gameplay and bad for accessibility. The developers shouldn't put players in a position where they have to dig through Options and use something reserved for colour-blindness. Why the heck are Team Friends represented by white ink anyway? What are they doing with one another...?



Yup, enough of this article. 

Ludwig thought this article would be promising and addressing a controversy with logic, but then it turned really awkward by the end. Sorry. Please try to keep your comments about the first half of the article relating to white ink and the inherent disadvantage Team Family had playing against it, because Ludwig would rather address those comments than comments about the rest of the article.

Teams with white ink continue to win Splatfests even into Splatoon 3.


  1. White Ink seemed to have won every time. Team Milk Tea for a Japanese Splatfest first game, then Mayo, then Chicken and now this.

    During a Team Mayo vs Ketchup match a team Mayo player threw a suction bomb and I could not tell it was their suction bomb until it was too late because the Team Ketchup ink reflected on the Mayo Suction Bomb making it appear redder than it really was.

    1. Happy National Milk Day!

      We're dangerously veering into white supremacist territory with this...!
      (But that's what the facts say.)


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