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Attending Majors and Playing with Friends

Ezekiel Xerxes asks a few questions.

“Norcal Regionals 2011 is just around the corner and I’ve been debating on going to spectate. Its not too far from where I live. Most of the time I just watch the streams available, even if they are relatively close to me, but this time I want to see what it is like in person. How friendly is the scene for people just looking to watch?”

Go in person. There should be no question about this, attending a tournament of any kind is an experience that many stream monsters do not understand or get to experience. It is a friendly environment, and in general the players are very accepting as long as you’re not a creeper or a jerk. You can play casuals, money match, and even make friends. Many players are willing to discuss characters and matchups. You’ll see matches that never get put on stream, like Mago’s loss to AKG|Shinji in pools at ReveLAtions.

If you can afford you should also compete. It’s a good way to judge where you stand on that competition level. You’d be surprised how much the pressure of competing in a major can affect your gameplay and any type of experience you get in competition helps. Your first tournament shouldn’t be Evo, especially if you have to travel, because you could be in for a rude awakening.

“…my friends don’t really care to play at a higher level. Have any tips on ways to make friends want to level up?”

First off, if they don’t want to that’s not going to change. Don’t lose a friend trying to force them to play a game they don’t really want to. Set up some casuals if you can. Doesn’t even have to be big casuals, a gathering of 3 or 4 friends, on a station or two, playing for a while and working out matchups with each other. Casuals can be fun but don’t forget there’s an emphasis on getting better and learning new things. Don’t just play to win, play and try to understand the game better.

Especially in the case of playing with friends, make sure that you seek out and give constructive criticism. Competition and trash talk is good and all but there’s a limit that makes players want to stop playing. Encouraging friends to learn will make them want to get better as opposed to being told they’re garbage all the time. You don’t have to be too serious, but “You fucking suck” isn’t as productive as “Stop mashing, it’s a safe jump dumbass”.

If you can’t get them to play but still want to move on yourself, seek out other casuals or start going to an arcade. Since you’re from NorCal arcades existing is not a problem. Be ready to put it on the line though, every loss is some change and another wait at the end of the line while you sit and think about why you lost.

“The last question I have is about character choice. Lately I have found it hard to pick a character and stick with it. I’ve played fighters for a long time but its only recently that I’ve encountered this issue. Thoughts?”

It sounds like you can’t find a character that doesn’t fit the way you want to play. Have you been using the same character over and over? Do you not like some of the changes they’ve had over the years? Chun between Third Strike and SF4 is a good example. Maybe the character you like doesn’t quite fit the game’s system. It could also be that with the amount of footage available of good players for every character you may be thinking that the way you’re playing doesn’t match up with what you’re seeing from your own performance. Try to figure out if it’s one or the other.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing many characters, but it’s better to have less characters you feel 100% with as opposed to a dozen you’re at 50% with. Try to play a character the way that works for you, while still knowing their fundamentals. That ability is what separates the pros characters from each other and allows us to say “That’s Daigo’s Yun” or “That’s F.Champ’s Dhalsim.” Try everyone out, and play them how you want to start. Then work in the details.

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