Various questions from a newbie of fighting game series

Hello i’m an experienced gamer who has played pretty much every genre of games, whether it be starcraft,cs, xbox shooters, mmo’s etc, but oddly enough i’ve never played a fighting game, which is wierd because it seems like it would compliment my skill set the most, high apm and good mindgames… Anyway i just have 5 questions from a completely newbie standpoint to fighting games.

  1. SSF4 AE and MVC3: What are the differences in the competitive scene? Do they take similar levels of skill? Which is regarded as more competitive and has a bigger scene or are they similar? Balance? How do they compare to past iterations? Etc Etc

  2. Online vs LAN: One of the defining characteristics of fighting games, is the whole lan to practice and that lan is completely dominant. However now with xbox live both of the games above can be played online. My question is can i primarily practice online, while going to lan’s once and a while? How bad is the latency?

  3. LAN scene: Similar to the question above, how big are the suburban lan scenes? Obviously tri state area, socal, nocal, florida, texas scenes are probably thriving, but are suburban scenes relatively alive? I live in western mass, which is relatively close to boston and tri state, but the drive is still a pita. Again connects to how much better is lan because of latency.

  4. Skill gap: How big is the skill gap in the newest iterations of the game? i know that past street fighters and mvc2 had high skill gaps, considering the same people (daigo and company) won most of the tournaments. How is it the newest iterations? is there any random shit (tripping in ssbb LOL)

  5. And finally: Most mechanically demanding character in SSF4 AE? In starcraft i appreciate how much speed it requires to be good and in general i like fast, demanding characters to play. Who are the most demanding characters to play in SSF4 AE apm wise? potential as well possibly? How do they rank on the tier lists?

thanks for any answers~

  1. The differences are the crowds that play the games. They take different kinds of skills,but both require a high-level to be competitive. Both are very competitive and have similar scenes with many players who cross between the two. I hate them compared to past iterations, but that’s my own taste. SSF4 is a lot more balanced than MvC3.

  2. LAN? This isn’t an FPS. We play online with people, but where it counts is real life tournaments on a single console. No LANs. You CAN practice online, but you’re going to get accustomed to a different kind of player, where lag factors into play.

  3. There is no LAN scene. You play on a single console. Many places have local LAN centers that will host games though, much like Adventure Games in North East, PA.

  4. Skill gap? The same people that won in the past win now, minus a few exceptions because the games are generally new. It’s easier to become a pro or a good player at a newer game than a game with hundreds of seasoned players, regardless of game, and I assume the same can be said for genres. Though, as a player who is really good at FPS games might have an easier time getting good at a new FPS than somebody who never played one in their life, a player who is generally good at fighters will have an easier time than somebody new to the genre. Your basic theory and fundamental skills are down. You needn’t waste time learning how to dragon punch in Street Fighter, so you can spend that time learning game-specific things, like focus cancelling in SF4.

  5. Mechanically challenging? That depends, considering there are a number of different skills to master. Top tier characters factor in difficulty to use. Bottom tier factors in difficulty to use. Characters that are difficult to use don’t typically make top tier because theory fighter doesn’t apply. Nobody cares about “well, this character could be top if somebody can master this hard skill”. People say, “this character has no bad matchups and wins tournaments. They’re top tier.”

  1. SSF4 is probably more balanced, also much slower pace, MvC3 is pretty ridiculous in terms of shit happening on the screen.
  2. No such thing as LAN in fighting games, either online or heads-up on a single console. There is lag online which does make a difference if you are doing non-beginner combos/techniques.
  3. No LAN, but the scene depends on where you live.
  4. If you know how to play the old games just on a basic/fundamental level, playing the new ones shouldn’t be much of a shift for you.
  5. Viper, Makoto, Ibuki, maybe Gen but not sure. Like jscogz said the way the games are designed there is not a significant bonus to learning how to play these characters when instead you could be spending time mastering mind-games with a “simpler” character rather than practicing how to FFFxx EX siesmo, super jump cancel, meterless FADC, to ultra (with precision character specific spacing and timing mind you) with Viper.

Sorry for the rant on #5, but its true. I like Viper she’s my 2nd, but she is so hard to play well with because of the technicality of her moveset. Consequently, Bison is my main: really basic, really effective, relatively high on the tier lists.

  1. SSF4 AE is more balanced, MvC3 is faster. If you want a balanced, fast-paced game, I recommend checking out Arcana Heart 3 (PSN only in the US) or Blazblue CS. I’d recommend Guilty Gear over BBCS, but even Accent Core is old at this point (it’s a PS2 game). It’s quite possibly the best new-school fighter ever made though, so it’s worth checking out.

  2. Fighting games are one of the most latency-dependent genres out there, as some techniques require players to perform an input in a single-frame window (at 60FPS), but online is better than nothing at all. In fact, even routing through a LAN would probably produce noticeable latency - with 16.67 ms to a frame, it doesn’t take much. As others have hinted though, offline isn’t really a LAN scene per se because matches are played with players sitting next to each other, sticks plugged into the same console (or PC on rare occasion).

  3. Check Regional Matchmaking. Also, see above.

  4. The skill gap is huge, as fundamentals tend to carry over from game to game and there is no randomness whatsoever. When people call a setup “random”, they mean that one player put the other in a situation where he or she had to guess. When applied to a game, they may mean that there are one or more characters too fast to react to (like Dark Phoenix in MvC3). In general, while you might have to learn new combos for a new game, many of the techniques you learn in any one game will be applicable to others. To make a Starcraft analogy, combos are your micro - doubtlessly very important for competitive play, but more of a prerequisite to actually playing the game than anything. Space control and denial is the other major skill I see as prerequisite to play the mental game.

  5. C. Viper, Seth, Sakura, Ibuki