Street Fighter V is Capcom’s latest entry to their long running fighting game series. I’ve been playing the series ever since Street Fighter II came out in arcades way back during my high school days and I do adore the franchise. However, with Street Fighter V… well, it’s definitely a mixed bag. Capcom felt the need to rush the game out to make sure everyone was up to speed with its really solid fighting game mechanics that made the hardcore audience love it. Yet, Street Fighter V lacks a lot of things that made it fun for the casual audience, such as an Arcade mode which every fighting game should have.
I still love the game to bits. I play it every now and then, especially when I don’t have anything new to play. Once in a while, I just love to boot up the game. However, there’s just so much you can do with the single player experience because of the missing Arcade mode which every fighting game should have! So, more often than not, I do try to get a few online matches in. I do love the challenge of facing off against another human opponent, especially Ranked matches. Now, even though I’ve been playing a lot of Ranked matches, I can’t seem to break out of the Ultra Bronze rank! I can bust through to Silver once in a while but I’ll promptly get booted down to Ultra Bronze a match or two later. It’s really frustrating, especially if you think you’re much better than just Ultra Bronze!
In order for me to figure out what’s wrong and why I can’t seem to break out of the Ultra Bronze funk, I decided to take a little introspective look as to why that is. And I think I’ve found five reasons why this is and, startlingly, while a lot of it is definitely my fault (we’ll get to that), some of them are extenuating circumstances that are actually beyond my control!
1. Lag, lag, lag and more lag
The greatest bane of any online game is definitely Internet lag. I think Street Fighter V’s netcode is decent and Capcom did a bang up job with putting in systems so that you can only get Ranked and other online matches with 5-bar connections. But even when the system does register 5-bar connections, there will sometimes be some intermittent lag spikes during an online bout.
Sometimes, these lag spikes would be almost negligible, not something you can really see but something you can only feel as your button timings during combos or anti-airing become messed up. But, more often than not for me, a Street Fighter V online match, even on a 5-bar connection, would become a jittery mess with characters teleporting from one location to another, hits being registered then being erased the next moment, and so on. And I make sure to go online without anything else connected to the Internet in my home so I know it’s nothing on my end! And good luck to me finding a 5-bar connection in Battle Lounge. Those things are rare!
It’s incredibly frustrating to play with/against lag. I’m just not used to playing under laggy situations. My rhythm gets thrown off. I’m mostly predicting instead of reacting. All my strategies are thrown out the window. And it’s just not a whole lot of fun. It’s almost enough to turn me off from playing online in Street Fighter V. Almost.
2. Hardware/financial/Internet constraints
I’m guessing a lot of the lag issues can be fixed if I had a better Internet service provider, a faster connection than my current DSL service as well as a way to affix a wire all the way from where my router is to my PlayStation 4. However, that’s just not possible because I’m not rich! It would be great to have a dedicated T1 or Fiber Internet line just for online gaming but that’s just not possible! For one, I’m in the Philippines, where Internet speeds just generally suck balls! What do you expect from the country that ranks second to the last at Internet speeds in the Asia Pacific region… again. So, even if I do move to a different Internet service provider, this doesn’t mean I’ll get better service. In fact, I’ve heard horror stories about one local cable Internet service provider who seem to throttle down customer’s Internet speeds! That would be even worse!
What’s the result of this? Well, a general lack of matches and practice against online opponents. There are times when I’m just itching for a Ranked match and I would go through an entire hour without getting a single match! I switch to looking for Casual online matches and I still get bupkis! I then try to look for a Battle Lounge… and all I’ll get are those rows and rows of players that are enjoying online matches but I know I won’t enjoy entering those lobbies as they all have question marks next to the connection quality! It’s like Street Fighter V’s Battle Lounges are questioning my very ability to connect and play the game!
It’s extremely difficult to actually break through the Ultra Bronze rank in Street Fighter V unless you actually get decent matches. Right now, because of the Internet service here, decent matches are hard to come by. It’s hard to improve against others if you don’t actually get to practice against other players!
But when I do get into an actual Ranked match, this leads to another problem…
3. Dishonorable opponents
When I’m playing against someone, whether it be online or offline, I do expect a level of “honor” from my opponent. Yes, it’s a game where you fight to best one another. But there has to be a certain level of decorum to the proceedings. I naively expect players to back off during lag spikes and, since Street Fighter V’s Ranked battles are best 2-of-3 matches, I expect to see the person that wins two matches to walk away and not cutting out to run before its over.
This doesn’t happen all the time.
I’ve already talked about lag spikes earlier in the post and how it happens even during 5-bar connections, however, I do expect players to not take advantage of these moments or actually revolve their game around these lag spikes. There are times when I would be in mid-combo and there would be this lag spike. I would try to finish the combo but then I would back off because I know my opponent is helpless. It wouldn’t be a fair fight. Too bad a lot of my opponents don’t do the same as there are times when my foe would continuously pour the offense and I can’t do anything as all I would see are these jittery frames of my character getting pummeled!
There are also the other kind of player that just can’t seem to take losing all that well. Recently, I had a couple of matches with really good connections. No lagging at all from my end (which is a rarity!) at least. They won the first match and we both hit the rematch button. I won the second match and I hit the rematch button. My opponent, however, decided to quit. This doesn’t seem all that fair, does it? I was okay with losing twice and losing a good chunk of my Ranked Battle points. Yet my opponents didn’t have the guts to do the same.
I sent a message to one of them, asking them why I didn’t get a runback. His response? I played “passive.”
I’m guessing that means I played lame/defensively. But he didn’t have a problem with my “passive” style when he won the first time. I won the second match because I managed to adapt to his “active” playstyle. This leads me to conclude that this guy ran out of tricks and got frustrated with my way of playing and I already figured out how he plays so he just left because he didn’t like to lose.
I can also conclude this with the second guy I mentioned because I realized he was just relying on tick throw setups with his Laura. So, during the second match, I would jump out of the way. He actually gave up during the second round of the second match as he just stood there, doing nothing. Oh, and it was a Casual match, meaning only our pride was on the line! I guess some people can’t stomach losing even when nothing is on the line.
And there are a lot of people that just want to increase their rank by any means necessary. There are guys that use bots and who would disconnect just before losing to preserve their precious Battle Points. There are even a couple of services where “professional players” will boost your account so you can “get the rank you deserve.” How disgusting is that? I can’t advocate that level of arrogance of getting a better rank by paying for it! If you have to pay for it, do you really “deserve” the high rank?
Yes, I believe I’m better than Ultra Bronze. But I’m going to put the work in to prove I’m better than Ultra Bronze!
4. A general lack of practice and skill
It would be so nice to just blame my problems on outside factors. But I have to be brutally honest with myself if I want to actually break free from the Ultra Bronze depths. It would be great if I could blissfully deny any problems in my game but a lot of it is definitely because I’m just not as good as I think I am. I do have holes in my gaming strategy. My reaction times aren’t as good as they used to be. I make a lot of execution errors. I mentally psyche myself out against some particularly tough matchups (even though the logic part of my brain knows that tier lists are just opinions). I tend to panic during high pressure. I still have difficulty timing meaty attacks. There’s many more!
All of these issues can be remedied somewhat if I played and practiced more. Problem is, life has a tendency of getting in the way! There are more games out there than Street Fighter V. There is more to do than just playing Street Fighter V all day and all night. However, if I really want to get better, I have to put in the time. If I’m having trouble with a particular character or playstyle, I could be more active in the local Street Fighter V community here in the Philippines! And there is a pretty active Street Fighter V community here!
But the biggest reason why I can’t break the Ultra Bronze rank is…
5. The points don’t really matter all that much to me
Everyone hates losing, even me. I can’t help but feel salty after losing a Ranked match. It’s demoralizing when you do see all your hard earned Battle Points disappear right in front of your eyes. In actuality, however, I don’t really mind being stuck in Ultra Bronze all that much. Sure, I would love to break into the Silver rank and eventually go on to Gold, Diamond and Platinum ranks. But I actually care more about having good matches. If I lose a really close one but I had fun, I have no qualms of telling my opponent it was a good game because, well, it was!
I love playing Ranked matches because my ego would want to see me climb up the ladder. I know I can beat a lot of the other Ultra Bronze, Silver and even Gold ranked players because I have in the past. But I’m more concentrated in having a good time. It’s more of the thrill of playing the game and having a good match than the actual winning that makes playing Street Fighter V online worthwhile. And isn’t having fun more important than your precious Battle Points and online rank?
But you know what would also be fun? Playing an Arcade mode in Street Fighter V! Get on it, Capcom!
Do you play online games? What are some of the hurdles you face? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!