Online Play FACTS and Basics

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Ok, so the debate about online play has been raging for a couple years now. We all have our opinions, but there are many things that which we can agree on. Here, I will lay out some of the brutal truths of online play and this forum, and "legit" regulations for everybody.

A: There is ALWAYS lag when playing online. In the best conditions, this lag is around 5 frames. A more realistic number is 9-12 frames in a good connection. What this means is that any and all inputs are registered 5+ frames late. In regards to safety of moves and punishing capability of characters, this has a huge impact on gameplay.

B: EVERY facet of the game is affected by this lag; throw breaking, step guarding, blocking lows, ducking high strings, backdashing, whiff punishing...the list goes on and on.

C: Regarding lag tactics; Any decent player will respectfully omit 'lag tactics' from their play in order to heighten the competitive and learning experience for both players. These are/have been up for debate for a long time, and there is no definitive qualification for what a 'lag tactic' is. That said, as an online community we generally follow three rules; 1: Do not use low attacks that are blockable on reaction offline. What is blockable on reaction? Well that is somewhat subjective. A good general rule is that any low that is 23 frames or slower, especially those that knockdown, are considered lag abuse. Please look at the frames and properties of low attacks here if you have any questions about their viability. 2: Do not attack constantly at disadvantage. This means that using 'block strings' like 2a2a THROW which do not work offline at all should be avoided to the best of your ability. Again, if you have questions regarding the viability of moves, framewise, check them out here. 3: Do not over-use horizontal mids that kill step-gaurd. Following this rule is kind of tricky because we all develop habits exploiting the lag in this sense. A good example of these moves are horizontal mids that are 20+ frames and can be stepG'd on reaction offline. Examples include Killik 66a, Astaroth 44a/a+b. For example, if I am playing offline and I see Asty 44a, I am going to do 3>g or 9>g so that i can close distance, block the move, and be at advantage. Online, I am going to attempt to do the same, but instead I will eat 44a on CH because my guard did not come out in time. It is not reasonable to say not to use these moves, but if you are abusing them it should be quite obvious to you, if only by how well they are working.

D: I don't care how good you think you are, true high level play in this game CAN NOT BE ACHIEVED online. It is a myth. It does not exist. Think you are among the best online? More power to you. Challenge some of us, have a good time. Think you are the best overall/offline? Show up offline and prove it, there is no other way.

E: If you have questions regarding a character or game technique, the online forum is not the right place to ask them. Remember, that this is a site DEDICATED to competitive, high level play. Go to your character's Soul Arena and ask, or go to the general SC4 forum and ask. I promise you will find far more intelligible people and helpful answers there. Don't be afraid to PM top players of your character asking for advice. Keep in mind that most of the top players/best strategists do not check the online section of the forums often, if at all. Better yet, go to your local/regional matchfinder and ask people there. Almost every region has people more than willing to help you out and even direct you to local offline competition.

What is really most important here is that we all have fun with the game. Follow these guidelines if you wish, or don't. It will only effect your personal experience with the game and community. If you truly seek to get better at the game and become involved, then you must try and follow them.

Remember, online is here for us to learn, kill time, make friends or rivals, and generally squeeze more enjoyment out of the game. It isn't here to threaten each other, or to prove anything. There is nothing to prove. Enjoy your stay.
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