In a game like Street Fighter V, how can you really determine a player’s true ability?
Perennial Street Fighter competitor GamerBee — now part of the Cygames Beast team — has been critical of Street Fighter V in the past (take our own 2017 interview from Evo, for example); it’s a game full of deliberate design choices made to level the playing field between new and experienced players. So in a title full of Crush Counters and guessing games, is there way to definitively determine a player’s overall skill level? And what should aspiring players be focusing on for long-term success?
GamerBee tackles this topic in a lecture delivered via his own BeePro TV weekly talk show, in episode #57, first aired on Twitch on April 18th. In addition to discussing the then-upcoming Saigon Cup 2018 with Oil King, GamerBee explored the key elements that you must look at to accurately assess a player’s strength. In his view, tournament results alone are not enough the really judge what makes a strong SFV player. He breaks it down into four primary attributes to consider:
- character strength
- mental strength
You can read a full translated transcript of the talk on reddit — and it’s worthwhile, as GamerBee and Oil King go into a fair bit of detail and discuss player-specific examples as they relate to their points. Here are some excerpts from their translated discussion on the above attributes.
On character strength:
I think [character strength] is fairly easy to understand. A player’s performance is directly affected by the strength of his or her character of choice. Every fighting game inherently has its share of strong and weak characters. While players themselves cannot directly change the strength of their characters, all players are equal in the sense that every player has the right to choose, pick or change their characters in any way they see fit. Everybody has the option to choose strong characters. … Everybody is equal in this regard, which is why I place more weight and emphasis on other attributes.
From my perspective, technique and stamina are weighted equally. SFV is designed in such a way that execution skill is very simple. A player who is new or have little prior experience in fighting games can learn to execute the same moves or combos as veterans after playing for half a year or one year. You cannot be a top player in SFV by purely relying on good execution. Hence, some differentiators in SFV are factors like experience, reaction and strategy.
Another aspect is “actualization” – the act of executing or realizing things you train for in one’s gameplay. In SFV, it is easy to execute what you intend to do in actual game play with minimal practice. In SF4, you cannot execute certain things if you don’t specifically train for them – and if you can’t execute those certain things, you will have no way of winning. It’s very simple. Execution is what causes fighting games in general to have a high barrier to entry. SFV is designed to have a low barrier to entry. … Therefore, it is very difficult to be creative or innovative in this game.
The climate right now is that tournaments are more challenging to that point that even pools are increasingly difficult to get out of. In the past, even though there already were a lot of players participating in tournaments in SF4, not many players were considered as actual threats. … SFV is a completely different story. The player base is much larger than before. Nowadays you may have to fight eight or ten matches in large tournaments before you could emerge out of pool.
Thus, stamina is increasingly important for professional players. It’s all about focus and stamina now because it’s so easy to lose once you are tired or fatigued. … I believe age is less of a problem. Comparatively, self-discipline and self-management are way more important… players need to ask themselves if they have the right eating habits or if they are adjusting to the timezone for their next tournament, etc.
On mental strength:
In SFV, it’s easy for “accidents” to happen. The game can be extremely stressful. Certain players experience stress more easily than others and can end up self-destructing… A player who is more prone to stress can get nervous easily during a match. The player may start to imagine the aftermath of losing which causes the player to underperform.
Mental strength is the deepest and most difficult competency to cultivate. Everybody has different levels of sensitivity to pressure. Every pro-gamer is in this profession for different reasons: money, love of FGC or that they want to play games for a living are just some examples. Precisely because every pro-gamer has a different background, each pro-gamer’s level of sensitivity to stress are also different. … It’s about understanding yourself. Strengthening one’s mental fortitude requires a tremendous amount of self-thought. You need to talk to yourself, observe yourself, and strengthen yourself.
In the full transcript, they also discuss the differences between Street Fighter V and the Tekken series, and the continuing professionalization of fighting games. If you’re comfortable with Mandarin, you can check out the original BeePro TV episode on Twitch.
Source: r/StreetFighter via Cygames Beast