After 250 or so online matches of SSF4:AE (PC), I've discovered a few things:

  1. **There is a large gap between new players and non-new players in ranked games at the bottom level. As a D player, rarely do I see a D opponent (about 20% of my games). **
    a. While I may win a round or two, just the knowledge of footsies/combos will destroy any player who is learning fundamentals.
    b. It’s not off putting, but my matches mostly consist of either a charge player using charge abilities when I don’t know how to properly defend, or someone who is button mashing against myself as I don’t know when to punish.

  2. The endless lobbies are for the most part a waste of time if it includes 3+ players.
    a. Solely on the fact that it’s a crap-shoot if I will match up against a decent opponent. While I believe that playing against people who are better is a good way of learning the game, the lack of a chat system to ask questions destroys any chance of learning from mistakes.
    b. Playing someone who is at > B is not helpful in any way. This is what I encounter most during my endless battle games, and while I may win a round every 20 or so, it’s not productive in getting better when I am constantly getting combo’d MvC style to death.
    c. Waiting for three games before my turn to play is just a hindrance to production. I wan’t to play to get better – not watch two people play characters I don’t play.

  3. Practicing combos in training and applying them to the game does not work if you’re dealing with wanting to learn one or two things.
    a. I have practiced a single combo for 4-5 hours at a time in training mode until I have it down pat. As soon as I enter a game, I struggle trying to apply them in a real world situation. I often focus too much on landing the combo correctly and not enough on focusing on what the opponent is doing.
    b. Learning fundamentals in training mode and learning fundamentals in a game are two completely different things.
    i. I’ve read guides, watched videos, learned spacing, footsies, mastered normal moves like the back of my hand, but it is often meaningless in an online match. I am either getting combo’d in a corner as I don’t know the enemy combos and when to properly block or focusing too much on when I can unblock and counter. I’ve experienced that learning technique while playing solo in the training room doesn’t work in real games. You need someone showing you actual situations where these combos and moves should be used.

  4. As a new player, getting into the genre is a lot harder than I expected, solely due to reason number one. Not having a partner to practice with really hinders a new player’s experience. It’s not the depth of the game that what makes it so challenging to me – it’s the lack of resources that have real-use implications. Reading a guide on moves won’t help me get better if I can’t apply them to a moving enemy.

An argument could be made that I just need to play more and learn what all the characters could do – think of it like dota. This has a major flaw as not only do you need to know all the characters and their moves, but how to apply your vast array of moves on each character. It seems that without someone to guide you on this journey, you will be improving at a snails’ pace

Do any other newcomers to the game experience anything like this? I’m not going to stop playing the game because of said issues, but it’s pretty clear that it exists. I posted something on my local matchmaking forum but no one has replied in the last few days – I’m going to assume I’ll find some real life people sometime down the road but it doesn’t seem that it’ll happen any time soon. The region forum seems pretty dead.


Next time you’re in a lobby, just send someone a message asking them if they’ll 1v1 with you and/or give you tips. Also, there are quite a number of new players in the SSFIV reddit who would be willing to spar with you.

There’s a chatroom as well:


As a new player myself I’d say everything you’ve laid out rings true. Undoubtedly putting in enough hours will let us eventually overcome some of these obstacles, but they’re definitely there. I’ve had plenty of matches where I’m pitted against someone who was completely and totally out of my league and there’s absolutely nothing to be learned in a match where you’re just juggled from start to finish. So yeah, the matchmaking system could definitely stand to be improved.

I don’t entirely agree on watching others play in Endless being a waste of time. It’s not as fun or fulfilling as playing yourself, but it’s an opportunity to practice studying your opponent to pick up their habits. I’d say any lobby with more than 4 players is suspect though, because there’s a definite need to take that knowledge and then practice applying it and waiting too long makes that frustrating and less effective.

Having a partner to spar with is definitely a huge help when it comes to learning how to play a new fighting game. Back in college I played Third Strike with my roommates all the time and we were able to push each other to improve. Lacking a sparring partner for SSF4 has made learning the ins and outs of the game that much more difficult.


I played since SF4 came in to arcades, that is, a couple of hours a night minimum. There are somethings you (at least I) can never learn. You can never learn which side Vipers flame kick is going to get you. You can never learn if Akuma after his safe demon palm lands next to you if he’s going to throw you or DP you, I mean these trolls could straight up raging demon (ultra/super) and you could lose the game because of it. If you block Zangief’s knee drop, is he going to do his lariate thing or spd you? Impossible to know.

To help you in these situations, you need to pay attention to detail every time you take damage and get creative how to avoid that situation again when you see it coming - though to be honest at high level it seems you rarely get the same set up done twice in a row.

This game is just a random mess online in my opinion. Teching throws is just nonsense against some characters, the ones with really good walk speeds, Akuma, Cammy, Vega, Blanka.

I think I got pretty good as SF4ae now, since I found 1 guy I played on xbl was from my town and he taught me a lot. Even before I met him I’d already played for a couple of years and continued to suck. I think having someone to help you is very important, or was for me. I also watch a lot of replays of my favorite players and when I see interesting moments I watch that moment on repeat and think “Why did he? How did he? What exact moment did he?” etc.

Such as Daigo vs Cammy players I’m trying to see how the hell he techs that bitch also what triggers him to dragon punch.

I reckon when you decide which character to play you pick a few high level players to follow replays and spend some time watching them. To be honest it’s most fun than playing this shit heap online.

Oh, one more thing to improve is always pay attention to your EX metres / Ultra and your opponents EX/Ultra. This is a KEY POINT in fighting games. If you just jumped in on Rufus and he has 1 EX meter, he’s probably going to use his extremely good EX moves to get pressure off him. If he has 3 meters and ultra, he can do his messiah ex kick focus cancel and land the ultra. T.hawk and Zangief got Ultra and jumping at you? Probably an empty jump so get out of the way he’ll pop ultra on you.

Got the life lead? Turtle it up if you can, timer running low? You can pop off ultra to kill the last 2-3 seconds on the timer to seal the win. Timer running out and you have the lead? Down block and get ready to AA cuz they’ll go apeshit crazy to make a last minute comeback.

Lastly, to get better at this game have the MIND SET that you are here and you are going to get better at this game. That means don’t dragon punch randomly forever because then you get to win a few games. Say to yourself okay, I’m getting thrown too much so maybe start your own throw pressure if possible (thats how I deal with getting thrown a lot online anyway). If you are getting people jump your hadokens and taking huge combo damage say to yourself okay, next 10 games I’m only throwing safe hadokens and im gonna avoid any jump in combos when its possible.

Set yourself small goals, they’ll add up to solid game play.


2.) a. Why do you need a chat system to improve? While a chat system would obviously help its mainly up to you to pick out what you’re doing wrong and improve upon it. Its a hard thing to do at first but if you really work on breaking down how you are playing a match as you play it you can really improve. Just think to yourself as you are losing “Why am i losing? Where am i taking the most damage? What fundamental aspects of my game are lacking and leading me to getting bodied?” You have to be mindful of you’re playing.These are questions you should strive to be able to answer on your own, and i guarantee if you answer them rather than anyone else you will greatly improve.

c. If you dont like waiting in lobbies then just use that as motivation to get better. Whenever im in a lobby and i lose with my main i know that it motivates me much harder to destroy whoever just beat me, especially if i have to wait. In the game i watch it also gives one time to meditate on why you lost the match, and when your turn comes up next you can approach it differently. All this being said while winstreaks are fun and satisfying losing is a core element to this game, there i sometimes i go to lobbies that i know ill lose in just to motivate myself and see where my game needs improvement.

3.) b. This is totally normal. Its much harder to hit learned combos in an actual game than it is to perform them in training mode against an unmoving dummy. Combining fundamentals that allow you to get in and hit said combo and having the actual execution to hit said combo while maintaining good footsies/neutral game is very hard, regardless of what game you’re playing. You need to practice some combos that are easy, basic punish combos, and from there learn some more complicated bnbs. The way ive learned to play in the past is to mix up which combo i do when. Sometimes when having and intense match ill just go for the easy punish combo that i dont think ill miss, othertimes ill go for the harder combo that ill eventually want to use as a bnb. Overtime i use the simple combo less and the more complicated one more so that i can eventually rely solely on the harder more damaging combo.
i. You can learn combos, mixups, which moves are safe vs which are unsafe, and a bunch of other things from guides and videos but to learn honest spacing control and footsies you really need to play on your own. These are incredibly nuanced skills that one can only achieve by playing the game a lot. The hardest part of learning this game is finding out what pacing works best for you and having the ability to play your game you way regardless of what opponent or mu you are playing.

**It seems here you summed up the entire concept of matchups in a nutshell. You absolutely need to learn the capabilities of each character and the strengths and weaknesses your character has against each other character. And you do in fact ned to learn how to apply your characters vast array of moves to other characters. Learning matchups is a enormous part of fighting games. Even with an army of people to guide you you will most likely be improving at a snails pace, i know it was that way for me. You shouldnt be dreading this slow improvement though, it is something you should be looking forward to. While it is frustrating at times there are very few moments in video games as satisfying as finally seeing all your hard work practicing combos and footsies finally all fall into place during a match. When i was learning rufus it was seriously frustrating at times, to have what felt like a gigantic amount of knowledge only to get beaten down again and again. This being said once i finally started to get a more nuanced understanding of the game and started seeing these combos and pokes i had practiced for so long it was amazing. There were literally games where i laughed the whole time as i methodically pieced people out and bodied them. Hell before that happened there were games where i would lose and be happy simply because i hit a single combo.

This game does take a while to learn properly, but for the most part it should be a fun journey learning it. Just know every single person that has ever played fighting games has been where you are, and that coming here to help expand this nuanced understanding of this hard intimidating game is a very solid first step on your way to improving. At the end of the day just remember that its all a game, and first and foremost you should be enjoying them as such.



  1. a. Because there is no form of communication with opponents other than the chat system (on PC). No one uses their mics if they have one and there’s no way to meet people in game. Without proper feedback and a lack of a replay system, there is no way to determine exactly what is causing my issues. A lack of an objective analysis harms progress.

c. Not to sound offensive, but this doesn’t discuss the point at all. Was I more motivated to win in my first match more than my second? No. That doesn’t make sense. Again you fail to address the primary issue of my point of the thread.

In response to what is in **: You’re telling me something I already know. My response would be that, like above, a lack of objective study of yourself limits your progress. I can play a thousand more ranked matches with no feedback and play the exact same. I will still not know how to use my characters effectively in different situations.


The only real issue I see here is a lack of evenly skilled opponents to practice with. I will be in the same boat as you once I decide to get my feet wet online. The last time I played SF vs another human being I had a Snes controller in my hands and there were only 12 characters, I fully expect to get absolutely destroyed for a long, long time.


Alright lets breaks this down…

No way??? This implies that you are completely incapable of adapting in a match in any way shape or form to how an opponent plays, which unless you are lobotomized i don’t believe. You dont need a direct outside opinion to improve upon your game, yes it can help a ton, but it is not an absolute necessity. Besides that is it not objective to say “i lost 50% life because i kept jumping in and he repeatedly hit me out of the air”. If that happened in a match what would you do (really, im interested though)?

If you can answer the above question than you have really addressed this whole problem of not being able to improve without a secondary analysis. You just make observation and play accordingly. They jump? You anti-air. They dp on evry wakeup? you block and punish. Dont know how to punish? Try things till you find something that works. To get better you are the one that has to do the majority of the work. I didnt look up or have someone analyze my work to learn how to play every single matchup in the game when i started learning. I played, i lost, and i changed. You can change and still lose but eventually you’ll find ways to overcome these matchups on your own.

Also there are literally tens of thousands of street fighter matches on youtube. Sure you cant get your own replays but if you really want some sort of different feedback then just watch videos of players better than yourself playing matchups better than you are. I guarantee over time you’ll be able to decipher what they are doing correctly that you are not.

Im sorry but while watching videos of yourself can help, having other people critique your gameplay can help, even watching pro players can help, none of this will make you improve at some highly elevated pace. One thing you need to understand is that this snail pace is ever present. Sure feedback and such can help, but like with training mode its one thing to be told to do something and its another thing to do it. The bottom line is that other people cant truly improve your gameplay, only you can. If you play a thousand games without feedback and still learn nothing than you are playing street fighter in an fundamentally flawed way. You need to be able to adapt on your own during a match/matches and be able to see why you lost and what you did right. This is the absolute bottom line, im sorry if this seems off but the way you talk makes it sound like you are incapable of this. This is a skill that will develop over the course of thousands of games, and each game you play you should gradually be more aware of what is being done right and what it being done wrong. Play mindfully, dont just autopilot every single game, think: what am i doing wrong? what could i do to improve?


I agree that having someone helping you learn will benefit greatly. However, since you don’t have that, you have to learn yourself. There’s a lot of scrub QQ in your post. It’s pretty sad to see how you whine about not being able to apply practice to real matches.

WTF did you think was going to happen for a while? You going to lose as you try to apply practice to real matches. Don’t whine about how you can’t do it right away. Plz scrub.

BTW whining about footsies (a fundamental) is straight up scrub. Learn the fundamentals first son. FUNDAMENTALS.

And if you don’t know how to defend against a move, then go read about how others deal with it, then try to do the same next time. You think you should win even though you can’t even deal with simple specials?



If that’s true then you are just not good at fighting games. We can’t all be good at everything. Play for fun and don’t worry about win and loses.

Newbies shouldn’t endless unless it’s straight up 1v1.


3. The lack of resources is unavoidable with so many characters and the addition of newer ones. Even good players struggle to play well against all characters. So you should not worry so much about it. Most wins didnt come because people followed a rule book. You have to think and discover for yourself most of the time. This is how all this info was collected in the first place.
It is just that as a newcomer you have to devote initially a lot of time in grasping the mechanics of the game. Something I wasnt able to accomplish since I started relatively late and had formed also my own style of play already.
Fighting games became so demanding. you have to learn so much in such a short time, when compared to the past. But I’d recommend for you to set your own pace. Then you will be able to see things in a calmer way. Forget online performance. Also avoid getting obsessed with getting an online win. that is the worst mentality and it totally disorientates you if you are new. Because you can win and still play like a newcomer.

I havent improved to huge degrees in the span of two years, but at least I can play C.Viper, something unimaginable a year ago.

2. **Watching matches on endless isnt always a waste of time. Some can be very funny
but if you game on PC, you can just Alt-Enter and do something else, eg browse the web, check email, post in forums, taking notes, playing on GGPO etc

it is not like in consoles where you are forced to watch everything.
also it is far easier to apply fundamentals in endless rather than ranked. because there people will play more openly. you can even play against good players who dont use their main and beat them. Not that it means you became a super player, but at least it will give you an incentive to play more.


I agree. I can’t play online cause I just get shit on and learning stuff in training mode isn’t the most productive thing ever. You can iron out the loose ends but to perform combos and stuff in a real game is an entirely different story. Watching random matches helps and studying mechanics helps but your knowledge improves while your mechanics suffer.

  1. a. There’s no way to meet people in game? If that’s true then who are you playing online? You even said there’s a chat system, why does it matter that nobody wants to talk over a mic? There is a replay system by the way (not sure about PC version). And you have to evaluate your own play, there won’t always be someone else to tell you “Oh, well you’re jumping into his fist dumbass”

You’re right about that last part though, if you have no feedback you will play the exact same. Why are you waiting for other people to give you feedback then? Your brain is capable of going, at the most basic level, “When I perform this action in this situation he hits me afterwards. I should not perform this action in this situation anymore”


There is a thing you need to understand. You can’t blame yourself for not blocking every single attack etc. Week one, two (and hell maybe even three) online - Sakura EX Hurricane resets and Ken’s post Hurricane Throw/Dragon Punch gimmicks and much more stuff like that was always driving me crazy and I felt like I’m doing something terribly wrong when I can’t block/get away safe 100% of the time, until I realized these situations are just designed to be guessing game and there’s nothing shameful about falling for a good mixup/ trick. Obviously it get’s 100% better when you understand all the possible options, but it’s still something that is MADE to make you guessing.

Also, before you get anything advanced, use training mode to improve your execution so you can shoryuken/uppercut or normal antiair on will 90% of the time. You can also set opponent to record Jump in attack to learn the timing or even set dummy to CPU and uppercut on REACTION to jumps. Anti airing is the most imortant thing to learn at the lowest level IMO as people will jump on you all day if you let them do that for free.

For combos, stick to easy stuff like Normal move > special move (prefferably safe on block in case you mess it up in a match) or jump in > normal move > special move ( in case you get a jumpin over a projectile etc.), but this is too character specific, so it’d be worth mention who do you play. Also even if you hate Ryu, give him some time to learn the basics, he’s really the best and you can apply this exp. on any other character.

Also this

edit:Grammar lulz