Levelling Up II: 2nd Impact


#1

This is inspired by MOD’s thread, but where his thread focused more on “big picture” suggestions, I’d like to start a thread about more specific game-to-game oriented stuff. I’m certainly no expert, but I recently started improving my game in earnest, and I figured I’d share my observations and see what people have to say.

Also, I wanna take a Liberal Arts student moment here and warn that I like finding connections between things, so if I go off on an artfag rant about how x is just like y, just humor me, okay?

The first thing I noticed about improving is that you can’t improve if you don’t step outside your comfort zone. I know I just warned you guys about stupid “connections” rants, but I think that’s something true for everyone: Artists, musicians, programmers, and hardcore gamers. When you find something that works, you can’t spend more than a minute admiring your handiwork before you move on to the next improvement. Otherwise you stagnate, and only douchebags do that.

I play Makoto. She’s tough to play as, and tough to play against… a while ago I started to get pretty good with her rushdowns. With her strong mixup game, I could really take a fight once I gained momentum. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea how to play defensively, and I basically used the same rushdowns against every character. So, the more I played experienced opponents, the more I got my ass kicked. Finally after DVD kicked my ass back and forth with Urien for like the six thousandth god damn time, he said, “You have a great offensive game, but I think you need to work on defense.” I momentarily considered hurling him into the sun, but I decided to take his advice.

He was right. I started playing on GGPO and had to consciously force myself to play more defensively. I bolded “consciously” there because it’s a really, really important part. Until you’re seriously awesome, I don’t think you can allow yourself to play on “autopilot”. Unless you’re the best player on earth, it’s just failpilot.

You have to force yourself to PAY ATTENTION to the game as you’re playing it. It actually makes you play worse, because you’re thinking and hesitating and calculating and oh God he just perfected me, and it’s a little less fun to play that way! But when you do it, you realize shit. You realize, “All my opponent did that fight was punish my jump-ins. I’ll jump in less.” Or, “Every time I finish a rushdown combo with Makoto, this guy EX Shoryukens out of it. Why don’t I block? Oh, now I can Fukiage… and FP… sweet! Stun!”

So, that’s my first big epiphany. “Pay attention.” I played 3s for years with my group of friends, and we thought we were awesome! But there were just 7 or 8 of us, and we had no idea how advanced 3s play could get. We had never really tried to improve; we just played–on autopilot. The first time we went to Chinatown Fair, I think I actually sobbed with shame and defeat, and someone told us, “All you guys do is jump in. Don’t do it anymore.” So when we hung out next and decided to play 3s, we said, “Let’s try to play without jump-ins.”

After a couple of minutes, we realized two things: 1.) that the gameplay had instantly deepened and become more complex, and 2.) that it was really fucking hard! We inched closer, farther away, poked, dashed in, jumped out–it was a completely different game. Yesterday I played a new player on GGPO who I gave the same advice: “Stop jumping in.” After just one game, he stopped and asked me, “Well… then how do you get in close???”

I told him, “Now you’re playing 3rd Strike, dude.”


#2

I’ve had a similar experience with Akuma who most people consider a rushdown character, and in my early days of 3s (my first 2 years) I felt the same way. Now I’m beginning to think hes actually a better defensive character than anything, but I had to force myself to change playstyles so drastically. 3s is a fairly dynamic game where players need to be able to turn their playstyles in a different direction on a dime because of the absence of traps and presence of parries. If you’re constantly stuck on one playstyle, it’s hard to keep your opponent guessing, or even adapt to new matchups.

Good analogy really. If you are comfortable in the current game you’re playing, you’re not learning.


#3

I hear a lot of people say that they dislike 3s because of the traps vs. parries thing. I wonder if top-level play really is “just a guessing game”. Mind games are obviously a huge part of it, but I always feel like there’s a lot of subtlety beneath the surface, too.


#4

The randomness of 3s has a finite influence on the outcome of a match which is why you don’t a new name winning every new tournament. Just like certain characters can take advantage of the mechanics better than others, some players can take advantage of the system better than others. The possibility of being “scrubbed out” is very real which I why I think any tournament needs to be teams or best of 3, but 3s isn’t a random game, it’s just a game where randomness is a very significant factor. It’s important for players to put themselves in positions where their chances of guessing right are highest.


#5

Maybe that’s why Sean is widely regarded to be a weak character… a big part of this game seems to be finding techniques that are “safe” or not easily punished, and he just doesn’t have many. If you know how to punish everything your opponent does, you stand a much greater chance of negating their game. If not, you have to rely completely on that randomness and your own guesswork.


#6

Sean is Sean. I’ve discussed his weakness more times than I’d like, but yes, characters who are good in this game create safe damage in spite of parry. Parry makes poking and throws in this game strong. Chun and Ken get big damage off safe, hit confirmable pokes. Yun ignores parry with geneijin. Kara kusa can’t be parried. There’s your top 4 :wgrin:


#7

Changing your mindset and playstyle works, however, I personally feel that if I play 3S tooo hardcore for an extended amount of time (like every day for 2 weeks) I have a tendancy to think too hard about mindgames, and that’s how I just crumple defensively.

It’s kinda like what Amir noted on the podcast; if players throw out “random” stuff, you’ll get hit, but it messes up your mind because every decent player will think - I got hit by that and it was so strange, because no one in their right mind does that.

Good example: dash up, Lightning Legs with Chun. That’s wierd


#8

Good point Endless… I usually find out that I do better if I take a break for a couple of days, after playing extensively. It’s easy to get too tied up in strategies.

I kind of feel like there are 4 main areas of skill at this game:

  • Randomness/Mind Games
  • Your character’s “safe” moves
  • Your character’s situational moves vs. other characters
  • Execution, getting technical & timing-intensive moves off consistently

Randomness/Mind Games is stuff like running up and lightning legs, or 5 Makoto rush punches in a row; mixups, etc. Pretty straightforward.

Safe moves is knowing what you can do with your character, without putting yourself at too much risk. For example, shoto c.MK, other pokes, avoiding predictable wakeup supers, etc.

This ties in to randomness & mind games because nothing is always safe; Makoto’s EX rush punch is safe on block but vulnerable to parries (as many things are), shoto’s c.MK can get punished by anything that combos off of a UOH. But generally a good player knows not to do predictable jump-ins or dash-ups when your opponent is standing.

Situational moves is knowing how your character’s moves trade with EVERY other character in EVERY situation. For example, “if Makoto does a MK tsurugi as she comes off the ground and Ken does a MK mid-jump, which hits first?” Or knowing that Makoto’s c.MK can pop a shoto out of their spin kick, or that her 100% stun doesn’t work against certain characters, or that playing keepaway against Q isn’t smart because of his taunt & rushdown mixups. These are things that you must force yourself to notice consciously at first, but have to become second nature before you “understand” them and improve.

I think if you watch matches, you can see that certain players excel at one or two of these things, and the best players are great at all four. They’re all connected, but they seem like pretty distinct areas of improvement, too.

(P.S., if I said anything stupid in my examples above, please correct me!)


#9

“you can’t improve if you don’t step outside your comfort zone”

this is why people don’t actively find offline competition


#10

care to elaborate on that, dude? I’m not sure what you mean.


#11

I would add:

Spacing: I have a similar example to your first post. About 4 weeks ago, I played a Urien vs my Ken in 2DF. Good guy, solid Urien. Charge partions and never missed unblockables. However, even though he knew and could execute all of these advanced techniques, I beat him pretty soundly after the few 2 games, because I controlled the spacing of the entire fight all the time. His Urien was only good at close range, near the edge of the screen. I just fought him away from the corners, without falling into setups, out of Urien’s range. Whenever I wanted to play rushdown, I would get caught and lose like 70% life because I wasn’t controlling space, but whenever I chose to fight SMART by dictating how close I play to Urien, I pretty much dominated.
Controlling space is a large part of 3S, and what 5 Star said on the podcast, I agree with; Large characters have difficulty in 3S, because they get hit by what others don’t get hit with.

Controlling the pace of the fight: Spacing is a sub-category and related to this. Ken, Yun, and Chun are all solid on this, because all of them can go from full RUSH to complete DEFENSE at any moment they feel like, and still be effective (and in turn, frustrate the opponent). Some characters control the pace of the fight with their moves (Akuma is an excellent example with his air fireball) while others have a pretty much set style (Alex needs to play a safe offense, he won’t win by fighting defensively)
Also, this is done by getting meter; Chun will/can dictate the pace of the fight once she gets meter, because she can choose to slow down gameplay, or speed up gameplay. The opponent needs to counteract appropriately and adjust to the pace of the fight cuz they don’t want to get hit by SA2.
Which brings me to the point of what 5star said that “Lifebar doesn’t matter”. I’m beginning to see that, but I havne’t had the chance to put that into my gameplay yet.


#12

getting out of the house is outside some people’s comfort zones


#13

the more people you fight the more you learn to adapt to any playstyle or situation.

you will be* formless, shapeless,like water. *

Seans only really unsafe move is his tackle fake and if you learn to parry after the tackle fake as a setup then your good. He has poor knockdown ability but his offensive options are very wide and all of em opens up continuous offensive options total opposite of ryu. You just need to do the right things at the right time, problem is most people who play sean plays him like a car running car with nobody in it.


#14

Bruce Lee’s wisdom can be applied to any walk of life. I try to be like Bruce Lee when I eat a fucking pizza. “You must be like water… it can flow, and it can crash!” :qcf: :nunchuck:


#15

[quote=“Tonren”]

The first thing I noticed about improving is that you can’t improve if you don’t step outside your comfort zone. I know I just warned you guys about stupid “connections” rants, but I think that’s something true for everyone: Artists, musicians, programmers, and hardcore gamers. When you find something that works, you can’t spend more than a minute admiring your handiwork before you move on to the next improvement. Otherwise you stagnate, and only douchebags do that.

I play Makoto. She’s tough to play as, and tough to play against… a while ago I started to get pretty good with her rushdowns. With her strong mixup game, I could really take a fight once I gained momentum. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea how to play defensively, and I basically used the same rushdowns against every character. So, the more I played experienced opponents, the more I got my ass kicked. Finally after DVD kicked my ass back and forth with Urien for like the six thousandth god damn time, he said, “You have a great offensive game, but I think you need to work on defense.” I momentarily considered hurling him into the sun, but I decided to take his advice.

He was right. I started playing on GGPO and had to consciously force myself to play more defensively. I bolded “consciously” there because it’s a really, really important part. Until you’re seriously awesome, I don’t think you can allow yourself to play on “autopilot”. Unless you’re the best player on earth, it’s just failpilot.

You have to force yourself to PAY ATTENTION to the game as you’re playing it. It actually makes you play worse, because you’re thinking and hesitating and calculating and oh God he just perfected me, and it’s a little less fun to play that way! But when you do it, you realize shit. You realize, “All my opponent did that fight was punish my jump-ins. I’ll jump in less.” Or, “Every time I finish a rushdown combo with Makoto, this guy EX Shoryukens out of it. Why don’t I block? Oh, now I can Fukiage… and FP… sweet! Stun!”

So, that’s my first big epiphany. “Pay attention.” I played 3s for years with my group of friends, and we thought we were awesome! But there were just 7 or 8 of us, and we had no idea how advanced 3s play could get. We had never really tried to improve; we just played–on autopilot. The first time we went to Chinatown Fair, I think I actually sobbed with shame and defeat, and someone told us, “All you guys do is jump in. Don’t do it anymore.” So when we hung out next and decided to play 3s, we said, “Let’s try to play without jump-ins.”

QUOTE]

i agree with those 2. when i want to get better i conciounsly put myself outside the game andwatch myself play and i see everything i suck at which is so awesome