Nintendo recently updated Mario Kart 8: Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. The initial launch of the game was met with a lot of excitement, critical acclaim and tons of positive feedback. The new update, however, may make it a bit tougher to win online races thanks to a new balance change.
Over on the official Nintendo website, the company rolled out the changelog for the June 28th, 2017 update for Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. It includes some basic instructions on how to install the update if the game didn't automatically nab the update when you connected online. Additionally, if you don't install the update you won't be able to access the online portion of Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Switch. Why? Because the balance adjusts the itemization pick-ups for players in the back rows.
The changelog for version 1.2 states that players who are in the back of the pack will receive different items that are specifically geared toward allowing them to catch up more easily. I imagine this will include Bullet Bill, Stars, and triple Mushrooms.
This kind of feature was already present in the initial launch version of Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, with players in last place usually given lots of powerful items to help them catch up. However, when playing online there was a tendency to also get stuck with a lot of useless items as well that made it difficult to catch back up to the pack leaders.
This new update indicates that catch-me-up items will appear "more frequently", apparently much more so than they did in the vanilla version of the game.
The Wii version of Mario Kart also had this feature, and it gave gamers a lot of opportunities to catch back up to the race leaders after getting left behind either due to a lack of racing skill or being the victim of Mario-themed road rage.
This minor tweak for Mario Kart 8: Deluxe was also accompanied by another change where online matches end 30 seconds after the race leader passes the finish line. So while there may be more opportunities via items to catch back up, there's also the issue of having to stay close to the race leader, otherwise the race will end 30 seconds after first place takes the win.
My only major gripe with the game wasn't the itemization or the fact that if you got left behind you likely weren't going to be able to catch up, but it was the fact that most of the stages were just too wide. The track width was likely designed to make sure people didn't have to utilize a lot of skill to memorize the tracks, but it also made for more boring races compared to games like Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed.
Anyway, the new update for Mario Kart 8: Deluxe is available right now, and if you've been having trouble winning online races the item overhaul should help give you a much better opportunity to stick with the race leaders.