Article: How to fight like everyone else (or actually try something new)

There’s something I believe is one of the current fighting communities biggest hurdles, that only a fair few can ever jump. It’s the communities biggest help, but at the same time its biggest crutch and biggest wall that stop players ever reaching that illusive next level.

What is it? SRK itself.

Before everyone stops reading, skips down and posts abusive messages, hear me out.

The way fighting games evolve has radically changed over the years. I remember a group of us huddled around a SFII cab in a corner shop, standing in awe at the new combo that somebody had found, swapping newly found secrets. Getting high win streaks, only to go somewhere else and get your ass handed to you by something you’ve never seen before in the 100’s of games you’ve won.

These days, with places like here on SRK and videos up on youtube, there is no need to be secretly telling your friends the latest combo you’ve found, its all there right in-front of you as soon as you need it.

In a way, this is one of the communities biggest problems. Don’t get me wrong, this can be one of the biggest and best tools to learning the game, but there’s also an inherent danger. I’ve seen videos posted, posts been made, and straight away you get things like he should have linked this way or why did he cancel into that, that’s wrong. So what do we end up with? Hundreds and hundreds of people playing the same way. If your playing the same way, knowing the same info as the other guy that’s read the forums, what makes you any better than him? How can you step up your game if every other person is on the same level?

On a similar note, I’ve also sat and read through pages and pages of posts, where a top player declares that a character/move is useless and everyone agreeing, only to go in game and find that totally isn’t the case. I even see it on the SSFIV character forums now, with people saying things are useless and spouting off tier lists, before the game is even released!

It’s this mentality of no, that ways wrong which really holds back any further progress.

How can you get out of this rut? Dare to be different, don’t be scared of doing something wrong. You’ll probably find that if you experiment with the wrong way of doing something, you might find something useful that nobody else has found yet. How do you think the top players get to the point they are? From reading the same information that’s freely available to everyone else? They are on that higher level because they are the ones finding that info before anyone else does, finding out how the game ticks by trying new things.

Just remember, you have exactly the same tools as everyone else, and there’s lots to be discovered. Just because someone posts to tell you how you should be acting in a certain situation, or how combo a is better than combo b, doesn’t mean that they are right. They are just another person, sat in their house just like you. They aren’t some superior being, and they can be just as wrong as you.

If everyone just went along with what was already written, and not dared to challenge what the higher ups say, we would still think that the world was flat.

Dare to be different.

People are too busy playing SFIV to be rebellious.

You’re overestimating the value of an unknown trick. I agree most players aren’t creative, but not only do most players usually suck, regardless of creativity, I don’t think a lack of creativity prohibits being a good player.

You can always main low tier or win using bizarre strategies to get your point across

But vanilla, “solid” play is considered strong for a reason

As pherai said, you don’t really need to be creative to be good, if you’re consistent and make the right calls, you’ll be winning

I haven’t noticed a problem where everyone plays the same way, except for absolute noobs. Also, there IS such a thing as doing the wrong move. If someone uppercuts every time, I’d say “stop doing that, that’s wrong.” If someone does a punishment combo, they should go for the biggest damage they can get without messing up. Not some low-damage, unique combo. If you aren’t talking about these kinds of things, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

Also, top players don’t necessarily find out every secret/technique by themselves. They read the boards, watch vids, talk to other players, etc too… Although you should definitely be able to see for yourself why each move your character has is good/bad.

It’s not just about being a good player, its about finding things that could open up a whole new avenue to go down and options to explore, not just for the player that found it but for the community as a whole

Most FGs that are played competitively have been broken down and “figured out” to a degree the average dude trying to find quirks on his own can’t really match

lol, you have to assert that this is actually peoples goal. For me, and I’m sure most other players, contribution to the community knowledge base is a far second to improving themselves.

Eh, not necessarily. What about getting a knockdown? What about establishing a particular range post-combo? What about going for the stun? I know you’re familiar with all these subtleties and you were oversimplifying, but a lot of players aren’t aware of them and fall victim to rigid thinking like “always go for this combo.”

I’m not sure this is really an issue of players needing to be more creative though. It’s more of a problem with less experienced players thinking they understand what’s going on when they watch better players play, but really they don’t understand all the subtleties at work. Thus you end up doing stuff in a situation that looks the same as the time JWong or Daigo or whoever did the same thing, but because you aren’t anywhere near as good as them there’s a bunch of stuff you aren’t taking into account.

I don’t necessarily think people should avoid trying to learn from watching better players, but I think it’s important to adhere to the practice that if something is working for you against your competition, you should keep doing it even if you aren’t seeing better players do the same thing. If you base your entire approach to the game on attempting to emulate the very top level players you’re lopping off huge sections of your gameplan that might not be effective at the top level, but will be very effective for you. Furthermore, it’s essential you learn why those tactics become ineffective as you become a higher level player so you appreciate the situations in which, even against tougher competition, you can use them, and, perhaps more importantly, how to counter them. Thinking stuff like “oh, that move sucks, <top player of your character> never uses it so I won’t bother” is going to hurt you in the long run because without learning through experience why certain moves are shitty you can’t truly appreciate their situational applications, nor why you’re using your moves that are actually good. I know I’ve experienced this plenty and I’m sure many others have too; getting wrecked by some tactic you know is completely retarded because you’ve never been forced to deal with it before, because everyone you play is too busy trying to be Daigo.

You can’t jump right past low and intermediate level play and become a high-level player. Those stages are essential for developing the well-rounded understanding of the game that allows you to become one of the best.

another great post from legendary shoryuken forums user sirlinfan69

There is a difference between sticking to fundamentals and being creative. Just as there is also a difference between being creative and relying only on shenanigans for the win. This is the different levels of playstyles as I see them:

fundamentals - creativity - shenanigans. There is a middle ground that mixes fundamentals with shenanigans (creativity), and this is what I strive for.

Even though every FG game has been pretty much analysed and broken down very deeply, none more than ST, there is still a remarkable amount of depth left, especially in ST, much more than the average FG fan would believe. It’s possible to still find new things that people haven’t thought of. I mean if Japanese Hawk players had not been creative, we might never have found out about Hawk’s inescapable 360 safejump loops. Hawk is still not top tier, but he’s closer to bottom mid and he’s been vastly improved simply cuz some players pushed their creativity to the limits.

Don’t believe the hype!

When they had no way of learning from better players, people just improved slower.
Now you have all the knowledge available to use but you still can’t change the person you are, so different people will still play differently. Usually people know their character’s top players the best, so a ryu player could tell you how Valle plays a different ryu than Daigo for example. If that player can tell that you can play a character in a lot of different ways, than I guess youtube vids didn’t ruin him after all…
And even if someone does play exactly like some other player, if it works it works.

If you want to be truly creative, play more games that allow more innovative things to happen. SFIV is neat and all, but you’re not gonna figure out more “creative” ways to play Ryu past what the top level Ryu players have all already done. Each player is unique in the fact that they like to utilize certain things at certain times, and make different decisions than other players who might be in the exact same situation. Just because everyone does SRK FADC Ultra doesn’t mean that each player doesn’t think their own way, but part of being a good player is choosing the best option to fit their needs. Ultra requires no use of any secondary meter, and after an SRK, that you already FADC to be safe I assume, it only adds extra damage with no disadvantage to the next round, so of course people are going to use it often. But like every game, there’s more than just combos, there’s a lot that goes on in every possible decision being made.

While not quite as obvious in SFIV, if you want to play a game where you can OBVIOUSLY get creative, try playing one that allows for it. For example, in a team based game like TvC, try playing a character that isn’t used nearly as much as the top tiers, or the overpicked characters. Or maybe, in a game like Arcana Heart, try using a character/arcana combination that isn’t often used. I find that when I watch Arcana videos nowadays, I see players getting really creative with all the different options they have, and its not like a ton of people play the exact same character/arcana combination, so a lot of that stuff they had to figure out for themselves. Or try Melty Blood AA, there’s a ton of characters, and each has 3 different styles you could play them. Pick a lesser used style for a character you like, and have at it.

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying Rob, but one thing I kinda don’t feel is right. In the last part of your post, its like saying, “be different just to be different” which I can kinda understand but at the same time, aren’t the ‘usual’ combination’s and characters used because they are easier and more effective to use? Some other things aren’t used simply because they aren’t all that great.

Like I was FR this year. I always used to wonder why C-Ries was considered at the bottom of the tier list. I mean, “how could she”? I thought. She has pretty good damage potential; not top tier but pretty good. She steals j.B from Ciel back in AC which is great for cross-ups, I think she has the best potential for pressure with all her command moves and her defensive game is very strong. But then as I played really good players I saw her failings like neutral jump-ins losing to the better AA normals, no good oki since her air grab leaves you almost at neutral outside of the corner, her highest damage requires 2 bars in the corner (normally) and not having that great of tech punish options. I mean a big part of it was I fought some good people and I was outplayed, but now I realize what made the better people, well better and why she is where is. I think variety is great but don’t end up frustrating yourself while trying to stand out. IMO.

the SRK Post Review

it should be a weekly front page feature

How about we all put ‘Article:’ in the topic for every thread we make from now on?

is there really any difference between picking an inferior character under the pretense of ‘creativity’ and neglecting to do the obvious best combo for the same reason?

you, sirlinfan69, should instantly know the obvious answer to your own question. it is about, as legendary game designer david sirlin would say, mind games.

That’s one of the big reasons I love AH so much. You can literally go in with some random arcana and fuck around and come up with a few set ups that while might not being terribly great, are at least somewhat useful and are a ton of fun to come up with as well as seeing what others come up with. Plus, occasionally some real gems come through. Good times.

I’m guessing that’s the kind of thing the OP is looking for. In a game like SF, there’s only so much you can do with regards to combos and set ups. The majority of the “creativity” comes in how you set up and land stuff.