This Sunday morning I got into SFV hoping that I could get in some decent matches to share with my Youtube audience. To my dismay I ran into a steady stream of modders, and lagswitchers via the good old PSN. This was made worse by the pitiful excuse that is matchmaking. In SFV you have only two options when searching for a match online. One is regarding the platform of choice (PS4 / PC), and the other the connection quality (which makes no real difference with cheaters in the mix). Without the previous region options, and skill level settings in place the player is forced to play against those online players who are abusing the system. Noobs get paired with wannabe pros, and visa versa. This in itself is a huge oversight on Capcom's part. Their whole ideal of pro level competition is so badly warped that they have overlooked these matchmaking details in an attempt to force players to get better, or fail. With the lack of a proper tutorial mode (combos, setups, ...), and an Arcade mode with competent AI/CPU opponents to fight against newcomers do not stand a fighting chance. Not to say that going up against the world's greatest cheaters is going to make them any better though.
Another gripe that I have is the fact that this latest Street Fighter is a fully server based game. It is wholly server dependent. If the servers are offline then you can't even get in to play. I don't know what Capcom's team of geniuses was thinking with this move, but it was wrong. Dead wrong. Along with said server issues comes the lackluster assortment of in-game gaming options. As so many people have cried out in saying this game is a shell of what USFIV was on release. It's inexcusable for SFV to be this lacking in available content on launch. This situation stacked with the horrible online experience makes the game even more frustrating to those who bought into it. I've seen people on Twitter talking about trading the game in. Heck, I'm even considering it at this point. Even with the March update, and scheduled add-ons it will still not be the inviting experience it should be.
Capcom seriously needs to fix matchmaking, and add in region and skill level settings. Otherwise the online abusers will reign supreme, and run everyone who is willing to invest time and money into the game off. I also think there needs to be a match cancel option in which a player going up against a cheater can back out without penalty if lag is an obvious factor in their losing. How Capcom would go about this, I don't know, but it needs to happen. Perhaps something similar to what Bungie implemented with their "Mercy Rule" in Destiny would help. Aside from that there also needs to be a reporting option in place so that legit players can report offenders. Capcom could easily verify the claims if the replays reflected what actually went on during the match, but I'm noticing that that might not be the case, yet again. I actually complained openly before that replays were brought to a perfected state back in the days when USFIV was hype. While perfected replays might be good for show it defeats the purpose of exposing cheaters for what they are. It also helps the cheating situation to thrive. In fact if replays reflected what was really going on cheaters uploading said replays to their Youtube channels would be exposed if they dared to upload them, and would be less inclined to do said online offenses in future matches.
Capcom needs to realize that the fan base they are currently seeking isn't the one who made them who they are today. With the rise of competition, online streaming, video upload services, the troll culture, and the hacking/modding culture in place things are not what they used to be. They'll never get back to that state of being either if companies like Capcom openly seek to appeal to such customers. While going casual to a certain extent is understandable when you pull a move like Capcom did in advertising their game as eSports friendly it counteracts the intended purpose of said game's build. Esports competitions are for pro level players. Not casual gamers. You can't mix, and match players in an eSports tournament, and think it's gonna be fair to either party when doing so. Esports, in itself is nothing but hype. A way to promote a game, and reach out to those who are seeking to become pros themselves. Such tournaments never feature casual players, and only serve to incite even more online cheating from those gamers who are so desperate to be labeled as an "MLG Pro" that they'd cheat to win.
Fighting game developers need to wake up, and smell the roses, or the sh*t in front of them. They have become so invested in sales numbers, and crowd attention that they've lost sight of what made them great. They need to stop damning the few to appease the many. You didn't grow as a company early on by making your games easier, or more casual friendly, so why start now. You have to realize that some fads do more harm than good, and that hype is not always the best way to go when seeking out attention. I realize in saying that that modern games are more costly to make, and that producing games is even more so, but who says you have to invest in the quality that is next-gen graphics. Alot of us in the FGC (the real FGC) wouldn't mind seeing fighters the way they were back in last-gen, with a few adjustments/improvements. Upgraded graphics are good, but they are not a must. Invest your studio's money where it counts. Don't waste it on harmful eSports propaganda, or promotions. That type of promo has already proven that it does more damage than good even if a majority of gamers (cheaters) aren't outspoken about it. Just think at how pirated your games are, and who is really paying to play. Once you take this into account you'll realize how useless your changes really are.
I'm going to close in saying that I hope fighting games improve for the sake of the genre. I hope developers get their act together, and start focusing more on the fans instead of the numbers. If you have anything else to add in the comments below feel free to do so. I am off for now, and will not be playing SFV until I hear that the matchmaking is fixed, and that the cheating online has subsided. It's not worth the aggravation. Get it together Capcom. The bases are loaded, you're at bat, and you're one strike away from striking out. Can you hit that industry home run, and get yourself out of the pickle you're in or will you fail your team? It's up to you.