How The Freakin' Hell Do You Get Better At This Game?

[INDENT=1]Seriously? I’m on the freakin’ brink of breaking this game into two and tossing it out the freakin’ window. As I type it is taking everything I have not to curse because of ToS and it being my first post and all.[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]But seriously. I have never invested this much time into a non-FPS or RPG game. As per my Raptr account I have invested 70 freakin’ hours into this damn game and yet I am seeing absolutely no progress in my skills. If anything I am seeing effing regression.[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]I’ve tried everything. I’ve done arcade mode against the CPU on Hardest to try and hone my skills. Whenever I go online 90% of the time in Ranked I do matches against “More Skilled” opponents as opposed to the same skill level. I’ve put over 30 hours into solo training against the dummy CPU and into trying to master the trials for the 3 characters I am trying to get accustomed to… and absolutely nothing has changed. I still get my ass kicked.[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]I’ve freakin’ recruited superior sparring partners online to try and help me and critique my style but all it ever turns into it me getting my ass kicked even more and I learn absolutely nothing out of it.[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]My stick skills apparantely are absolute freakin’ garbage because unless it’s in trial mode or training I can’t even seem to effing pull off a target combo anymore. Let alone for some asinine reason I can no longer pull off a freakin’ basic QCF motion with any consistency according to when I play online as a lot of the time the move isn’t coming out when I went it to - yet somehow always does when I DONT want it to(i.e. going into an opponents Ultra Combo).[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]Seriously… After investing 200+ dollars into the SFIV franchise(Vanilla, SSFIV, AE Upgrade, Fight Stick) I expect to see some progress in my game to at least become a half decent player but winning 1 out of every 3 fights isn’t freakin’ cutting it and is quickly making this a wasted investment and a killer of my childhood…[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]So in summation how in the blue hell do I get better at this game?[/INDENT]

It’s easier to help diagnose a problem once people know what the problem is. Which characters do you play? What do have the hardest time with - your execution or just strategy in general? Do you generally lose more health when you’re trying to attack or defend?

Try to break down the overall problem of not being able to win into smaller issues and then tackle them one at a time.

My three main character I’ve been attempting to use are Sakura, Guy and Ibuki. Execution used to not be a problem but now I can’t get even get the L > M > K target combos to come out with frequency as it turns into freakin L > L > nothing. I used to be capable of employing strategy but I’d say that’s been my biggest weakness of all as since Day one I’ve just tried to rush down people and go on the offensive and then just play defense by blocking rather than baiting or anything like that. I’ve recently tried bating with Focus attacks and into a backdash sort of noobish stuff like that but half the time my backdashes aren’t registering and I get wakeup DP’d. And I’d say I lose health equally because when I defend I always seem to somehow get opened up in the third or fourth his in a string of a combo. And especially with crossups which I absolutely suck at trying to throw btw…

As far as execution goes, it’s just a matter of practice. Try letting the dummy perform various unsafe moves which you block, and then focus on punishing them with a combo you struggle with. You can also try playing against a CPU dummy on a easy/mid difficulty setting in training mode and focus on landing a particular punish combo on them when you land a jump-in or they make a “mistake”. Don’t focus on beating the CPU (you can’t beat them in training mode anyway, and don’t bother playing arcade mode if you’re looking to improve). Just try to ensure you can land those combos under various conditions. Realize though that you will still make mistakes in matches, but you’ll get better with experience.

When it comes to defending against x-ups, it’s the same deal. Record the dummy knocking you down, then let them perform a x-up into a blockstring, and a x-up into a tick throw. Learn to defend against both. For landing x-ups (which isn’t such a great idea against opponents who can auto-correct anti-air you…), put the dummy on random block, then throw or sweep them, and then go for a x-up attack into a one of those combos you have trouble landing. If the dummy blocks, go for a throw instead (this is just a beginner exercise but it helps you to hit-confirm advanced things when you become more experienced).

Remember that there are two ways to cancel a Focus Attack: during the charge and after the attack connects. To cancel it during the charge, you have to input the dash while you’re holding down :mp: + :mk:. To cancel the attack frames, input the dash as soon as it connects. You can’t cancel it if it whiffs. This is also something you can practice in training mode.

For strategy, you best bet is probably the character specific forums. Record your matches and if you can’t understand why you’re losing, post the replays there and ask for advice. You should try to identify the problems by yourself though first, and then try a different approach.

The only way out of there is to practice your execution. 70 hours in this game resemble like 0.00000000000000000001% of time the majority on this forum have spend with it and still having trouble with execution etc. .
Progress is slow if you have no expereince in fighting games beforehand.

Playing the CPU is a waste of time
Trials are a waste of time, mainly because the combos there are not practical. Some of the combos there however, are useful for your characters.

Don’t bother playing others until you can do special moves on reaction.

Do you know how to use all your normal moves?
Do you know WHEN is the best time to use each of your normals?
Do you know when to use your normals against each specific matchup?
Do you know what normals/special moves beat your opponent’s? normals/special moves?
Do you know what normals/special moves lose to your opponent’s normals/special moves?
Do you have a specific gameplan for each character you face?
Do you know how to punish your opponent’s mistakes?
Do you know the best punish for your opponent’s mistakes in any given situation?
Do you know your good/bad matchups?
Can you name good players who play your main characters?
Can you critique the different playstyle each player uses for this main character?
Do you know how the SF4 engine works?
Do you know shortcuts for executing special moves (eg df twice + punch for dragon punch)?
Can you execute your character’s links consistently?
Can you consistently do your character’s mixups?
Do you know if your character even has any decent mixups?

These are just a few reasons off the top of my head why you are not winning matches.

If you do not want to learn any of these things, or if you are groaning at the prospect of learning any of these, then you should not expect to win matches against players who took the time to learn these things.

Don’t be discouraged.

This is exactly right. Identify your problems, attack them one at a time, and consciously try and implement the solutions in your games and in your training. Practice with a specific goal in mind, not just, “I’m trying to get better”. A pianist does not just play the song they want to play to play it will. They learn the notes, the scales, the intricacies, the dynamics, etc. Try to assess your problem on that level =D

Oh, and execution comes with time and grinding =D it’ll get better

It’s only a waste of time if you think you’re it’s going to improve your strategy against human players. For execution, it’s a decent tool. All Japanese players practiced their combos against the Arcade AI before the game dropped on console (look for the Uryo/TKD interview). Even on console, some pro players use the CPU to figure out which attacks can counter what (I think Gootecks mentioned Keno or Combofiend).

Trials are not a waste of time. If you having execution problems, then trials are a great way to build up your execution. The combo’s in there are not practical but they get you used to the timing of combo’s, and are a good indication of how good your execution is.

Take a break from the game. it’s not worth breaking stuff.

Don’t waste your time with CPU.
do your trials
set the computer to do things in training mode to set yourself up to do proper punishes.
go to the individual character sub forums and request pointers.

EDIT: Look at yourself objectively. if there’s bad habits you need to stop consider them.

70 hours? Really?
Do you know how many THOUSANDS of hours people have been putting into fighting games since the early 90’s to be able to do what they do now…

One of the best ways to get better is to record yourself playing a match or two and upload it to Youtube, then ask the character sub-forum for some advice.

You can practice stuff like combos and punishes, but a lot of what separates good and bad Street Fighter players is how they make decisions that are not all that obvious… such as, when to rush down, when to play defense, when to press certain footsies normals, etc. If you post a video or two of you losing, it’s easier for experienced players to identify the holes in your game that you don’t know exist.

lol be prepared to spend about 50x that. (3,500 Hours fyi ) And thats no joke. This game is no FPS game where you can just pick up and be good at it like CoD or Halo. It takes time like with anything else. And from the sound of it, it seems like you only play to win. Which is making you even madder when you lose. Best thing to do is take a chill pill and accept your losses and learn from them. And if you can’t do that, then well there is no shame in being a casual :]

Hell I finished out just shy of 2k hours to get to a CEVO Main level in a certain game…and I saw people with more than twice as much hours as I did who got much farther.

This probably is the root cause of your problems. You are using characters which are not beginner friendly and that are meant for advanced players who can think of creative ways to get around their obvious weaknesses. You might want to consider trying out a more beginner friendly character like Ken first before moving to these guys, don’t forget the fundamentals are always the most important.

very important op:

Do understand that by Scytheavatar suggesting Ken that it’s not a way of callin’ you a scrub, he has an easier learning curve, a reversal that makes people wary (FIYAH DP) respectable easy tools (step kick, two overheads, a fake overhead) Respectable tools that take a bit of practice (Kara throw. and a bloody good one.) Easy peasy punishes that establish a mixup (close HK xx [ex] Hurricane kick, mixup DP/Throw/crLPxxcombo) A throw that is good for cornering (Back throw) More life then your current choices. (allowing you to make more mistakes!) etc.

He’s an easier charcter to get the hang of the game and the hang of fundamentals better. and once you do so and become more experienced and confident, not only will you have an easier time moving on to the trio of characters that you want to use with your newly acquired fundamentals that you learned without the hinderance of a steeper learning curve, but you’ll have an alternate character when you need to counter pick

OR you could play 3rd Strike =D

watch this, and allow the playlist to finish and youll have a better understanding of how sf works.

playing the cpu is a massive waste of time

I don’t really have the time at the moment to play and also only started not that long ago (with AE release). Dabbled with some characters (ryu, oni, makoto etc…) and ultimately decided that I liked Yang’s style and started to hit training mode with him. Practiced stuff like hit confirm BnB, command grab into combo, FADC ultra, basic combo and basically all the special motions. Still, like you, when I hit online (as with all the other characters before) I got bodied really hard and did not even manage to use one thing I had practiced.
But then, while being raped in endless mode it somehow struck me: Footsies. Now, I did know what the term means and how it should be done in theory, but I guess I never really bothered to think about it. I started to realize, if I just stood there, watched my spacing and reacted to what my opponent did, Anti airing with rollkick and punishing whiffs with xx Rekkas (the most basic and easy combo Yang has), I was really playing the game how it is meant to be played for the first time.
So, this may be completely useless information to you, cause there is a good chance you are a lot better than me, but still:
Try to play really passive for a while: Don’t jump in mindlessly (or at all), get a feeling for when you can use which normal on which range and only do the most basic combos (and even then only when you are sure you are gonna land it, like after a whiffed shoryuken). Try to get a feeling of how to anti air and how to escape pressure. Try to see patterns in their throws so you can tech them. Try to learn how the opponent attacks you and how you can react to it, predict it, and punish it.
Get familiar with using more difficult motions (such as ultras, supers, DPs) reliably in a real match under pressure
If you are at that level, I also don’t think the character you are using will matter that much. Look at me, I play turtle Yang!

IMO, once you figure out how defense works, your offense will become much more solid by itself. e.g. If you figure out how you can reliably counter HK jump-ins, you will become much more aware of when and how you can use them yourself

Oh, and go endless mode. You don’t have to care about ranking and learn how to play against a specific character and player. I find that much more useful than only having the same matchup every 2 hours or so and thus having forgotten everything i learned the first time already.

As pointed out, I am a beginner too, so take it for what it’s worth. Just trying to help

Ranking just allows you to play with people at your level. If you go into endless your most likely going to end up just getting bodied way too fast and not know wtf just happened. Well imo anyways. I think rank is the better way to go to start off new and then work your way into endless.