One of the main effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the video game world is the cessation of all in-person tournaments and competitions in the immediate future. Especially touched is EVO, the annual fighting game tournament that draws thousands of people to Las Vegas to compete in Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and the genre’s most popular games that year.
EVO is an incredible gathering of a tight-knit community that has grown around intense competition. You have the chance to play against the best in the world; for fighting game fans, it’s like having the opportunity to shoot a basket with Steph Curry.
Founded in 1996, the first event was held in Sunnyvale, California. Known then as Battle By The Bay, it brought together 40 of Street Fighter II’s top players in double-elimination installments. The name was changed to EVO in 2002 and moved to Las Vegas in 2005. Each year the competition has grown fiercer, attracting players from Japan, China, Brazil and dozens of other countries.
This year’s EVO is a little different. Due to the uncertainty surrounding large gatherings, the 2020 event will be played entirely online, over five weekends in July.
While not ideal, it also represents an opportunity. If you couldn’t afford the trip to Vegas in the past, now you have the chance to compete against the best in the world from your own couch. But don’t register right away, if you want to compete you have to prepare yourself first.
Get your setup
Because you will be competing online, a fast wired internet connection is essential. While Wi-Fi is generally fine for streaming Netflix, to meet the demands of 60fps combat action you don’t want anything between your console and your router but a cable. It’s unclear whether the EVO organizers will put in place a way to assess connections for matches, but prevention is better than cure.
The games in the EVO 2020 Online Selection use what is called the “rollback” netcode, which is preferred by gamers to minimize lag. Instead of dropping frames or delaying while waiting for a response from the other player, it predicts inputs and slightly rewinds and replay if they don’t match.
Many fighting game players advocate the supremacy of a fighting stick, a piece of hardware designed to replicate the arcade experience with a joystick and rows of buttons. That said, many tournament-winning players have also triumphed using a standard gamepad. There is no right answer, so use whatever you prefer.
Choose your game (s)
One of the biggest obstacles for new players to the tournament world is the sheer number of games available. This year’s EVO Online makes it a bit easier, as only four of the games announced will be open to all competitors.
It’s possible to play in multiple games, but to maximize your play time before you get knocked out, choose a main title and a character or two to really focus on.
Mortal Kombat 11: The Aftermath
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath probably has the largest player base and the best resources available to learn. The recent release of new characters, including Robocop, has given the franchise some juice, and if you haven’t played a Mortal Kombat game since the arcade days, you’ll find that they’re much deeper and deeper. fluids.
The 2013 reboot of Killer Instinct has a very dedicated die-hard coterie. Because the game has been released for so long and hasn’t seen an update since 2017, it’s a known amount at this point, but its diverse cast can accommodate many different playstyles.
The fighting herds
Them’s Fightin ‘Herds is a little weird. It was developed as an unlicensed My Little Pony fighting game, which resulted in legal action. The creators then gave it a makeover to feature an all-new cast of six equine brawlers. It’s the smallest game in the lineup, but it has surprising depth.
Skullgirls Encore is a highly regarded indie title with a considerably high skill cap. It can be very unforgiving for new players, with a lot of mechanics to master to really compete on a pro level. Having said that, it’s an exciting and well-rounded game with a lot of options.
Lock down your combos
To be successful in tournaments, you need a few key ingredients, but one of the ingredients that all pros depend on is getting the most out of every shot you hit. Modern fighting games typically alternate between two phases: neutral, in which both players try to penetrate each other’s defense and hit a hit, and combos, where they chain additional attacks after that hit to maximize damage. and other benefits when they go back to neutral.
Neutral is something you have to learn by experience and will vary game by game. But the basics of combo practice are essential. Find the characters you want to specialize in, figure out their combos – many fighting game wikis describe them in great detail – then go into practice mode and run them over and over until you don’t have to think about it anymore. at the stages. Your standard combo, or “BnB”, should be second nature to you.
Entrusting your combos to muscle memory will increase the chances of being able to succeed under the pressure of tournament play. Every hit you get is valuable, and maximizing combo damage is often what separates pros from pot monsters. You won’t win games just with combos, but they are a key ingredient.
Play on the premises
In ordinary times, hardcore fighting game players would gather in arcades and other places to compete against each other in smaller competitions in order to hone their skills, learn the matches, and understand how to handle the game. pressure.
No matter how long you spend in training mode, there’s no substitute for a one-on-one with another human being. Many pro players live in houses shared with other players, giving them a 24/7 training partner available. You might not have that option, but participating in a local tournament can at least give you a taste.
Several of the better-known locals have moved their businesses online. Brooklyn’s Next Level Battle Circuit, home to some of the East Coast’s best players, has closed its physical space in favor of the weekly Street Fighter V, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Granblue Fantasy Vs. clashes. On the West Coast, the events of Level Up’s Wednesday Night Fighting are still ongoing.
Additionally, Reddit communities based on many of the most popular games run weekly tournaments. There is absolutely nothing to lose by throwing your name in the hat and playing a few tricks, even if you get washed – this is the best way to identify the flaws in your strategy and the things you need to do. work.
You have several weeks to train before the start of the competition. Good luck, and maybe we’ll see each other in parentheses.
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