The best way to keep the scene alive is to think about why it is dying. It’s because people started to go their own ways and play other games. I see so many of the old HDR regulars playing other games now when they used to be on HDR instead. The main culprits are SFIV and MW2. The other reason is that it’s hard to get new players into this because those that are left on HDR tend to be good at the game, and for a noob, there is no learning curve because everyone just kicks their ass, they get fed up of it and go to play some scrubs on SFIV.
All I can say, if you play both HDR and SFIV and you want to support HDR; then play it more and play it often. SFIV is huge, new and relatively beginner friendly, so it will always have a large userbase, whereas HDR is more of a “hardcore” game (I don’t know how to put it), and has a smaller userbase. SFIV will not miss 50 players if they decide to leave for a while and play HDR, but HDR will get a massive boost in available lobbies. We need to dedicate time in order to prevent HDR dying.
Nobody likes waiting ages for a game I know, but next time you start a player match for example, keep it open for as long as possible/for someone to join, but in the mean time browse SRK on your laptop or do something while waiting. Don’t just sit there, think no one is joining and start up SFIV. That is precisely why HDR online is dying. If you give up hosting that room, it’s possible for someone to come online looking for a game, see that there are no open lobbies and go on to something else. Then someone else comes online, sees there are no lobbies also, and then he goes to do something else. If you had been patient, you could have had a nice 3 player lobby by now. Simply put, if someone gets bored of waiting and goes to do something else, that’s potentially one less lobby open, and it might be that lobby that 3 or 4 other players were looking for but since it was not there they go and do something else. It’s like a butterfly effect. If one guy leaves, so can another, then more will follow those other guys because they want to play with them on a different game.
Keep it short and sweet
I suggest using 3 or 4 player lobbies, with 99 seconds time and best of three rounds. No 6 player lobbies with infinite time and best of 5 rounds please. It helps keep the lobby rotating even if a single person is dominating, and people are less likely to get bored and leave. The upshot to this is that if the lobbies are smaller, there will be more of them for a given userbase (example 50 players spread over 3 player lobbies instead of 6 player lobbies). This will give a more positive view when people see a large list of lobbies, as well as being able to find one with a good ping.
Encourage friends to play
You play HDR? Got friends that play SFIV? Tell them to get their ass on HDR for a bit. Send them an invite, or get them in a party and get them to play. Even if it’s only for a little while, more players online is only a good thing. Who knows, maybe they will remember how much fun they had before SFIV and might even play it a few hours a week.
If you’ve got a mic, use it. Discussing HDR tactics and stuff with friends is as much fun as playing it, for example talking about the latest tournament, what move beats what, who are good players to look out for etc. I’ve been playing HDR since it was released, and I’m still playing it with the same group of friends I made way back then. I’ve had so many random people add me over the years, but because we never spoke, they eventually removed me or vice versa. What makes this game so awesome is the community, so chatting to someone and making friends gives them a reason to come back to HDR - to play against you and have fun.
Encourage new players
This is sort of an extension to using your mic. Lately I’ve seen quite a few new faces online. Some of them are relatively new to Street Fighter in that they may have played it before, but they got into SFIV big because of the hype etc and decided to try HDR out of curiosity. HDR is less forgiving than SFIV, and for new players it can seem hard, unfair or just plain broken when they are getting dominated by some of the great tactics that have developed over the years. At which point if it’s obvious they don’t know stuff like reversal timing, piano inputs etc, suggest it to them and explain it. Once they get it, they will improve slightly and can enjoy the game more. Helping them understand how the game engine works will cut out some of the frustration and the temptation to give up on HDR and go back to SFIV (I have so many people ragequit in HDR directly to the dashboard or SFIV it’s sad). I’ve even managed to convince a number of Akuma players to Ryu players. It’s amazing how far some encouragement and help actually goes. It seems like some of them don’t even realise how broken Akuma is until you explain some of the details to them.
What we need is a plan to reclaim some of the HDR players from SFIV. The majority of my friends list has been lost to SFIV. Most of them get deleted except a select few who used to play HDR with me back in the day and we had some really good times. It seems that most times they feel they cannot be competitive in HDR and that since there is a wider player base on SFIV, that maybe they are able to find people of a similar skill level.