The Right Way To Use Netplay in Fighting Games

October 31, 2019

The Right Way To Use Netplay in Fighting Games


De'angelo Epps / october 31, 2019

It’s heard over and over again throughout the fighting game community.

“Netplay is horrible for learning a fighting game.”

“Ranked sucks.”

“You aren’t going to be great unless you find a local scene.”

Well for most cases those sentiments are right.

Playing offline is the best way to “git gud” at fighting games and I’m probably not the first, nor the last person to tell you to go out and support your locals.

The constant input delay makes online in every way inferior to a good offline session. Offline is how our fighting forefathers got to where they are now. If you’re looking to become a pro, it’s a shared opinion in the community that local play is the way to go.

But that doesn’t make netplay useless.

Netplay can serve as a great component in the fighting game learning process, especially for those lacking a local scene or the funds to go out weekly. This is true now more than ever with the introduction of programs such as Parsec and Discord. In fact, many players now use online play for a great deal of practice. Cloud805, Chris G, Hookganggod, and KnowKami are perfect example. Many professionals got their start with fighting game netplay.

However, keep in mind that you're going to want the best online experience possible, so grab that ethernet cable and let’s look at the best way to grind your favorite fighting game online.



Before anything in a fighting game, you want to learn your character. This isn’t just a quick trip to training mode to learn normals, specials, combos, and mixups on the training dummy. Learning your character fully means you need to get into a match and explore how they deal with different situations. Online matches give you infinite time to study how your character deals with pieces of the game such as confirming, mixups, neutral, pressure and more. This is where you take those ideas you cook up in the lab and test on some random guinea pig. Here you can find out if that idea was legit and when it does and doesn’t work. After the match, you can immediately take that idea and improve on it in training mode. Once the tech you found is sound, take it to your local tournament and try it out there.

While you may not even notice it through these online matches while testing things, you’re also cleaning up your play and decision making. “When do I do this mixup?” “When should I go in?” Subconsciously you are noticing different times you should be doing different things. It’s one of the greatest things that can come from online matches.

Netplay player numbers go up into the thousands, meaning you’re playing with an endless number of opponents. With that amount of opposing players, you’ll no doubt be playing against every character on the roster. This is where learning matchups can come into play. Through netplay, you can familiarize yourself with every characters’ tactics and gimmicks, then take it to the lab and learn how to beat it. It helps even more if you don’t have anyone in your area that plays a specific character but have a netplay buddy that uses them. Matchup knowledge is so important in fighting games, making this a huge asset in the fighting game world.

Finally, you can use netplay to learn to lose. In fighting games, you will not reach your end goal of becoming a stronger player if you’re not ready to lose more than win. Take your L’s online and learn to deal with and overcome your salt. Don’t throw your controller, don’t yell, just breathe and keep playing to learn. The luxury of netplay allows you to go to training mode immediately after a loss and learn to come out on top of that game winning strategy.

Once you put all this together and learn how to use your netplay experiences to better yourself, then you’ll become an even larger threat in whatever game you play!


About the Author

De'angelo epps

De'Angelo is a writer with a huge love for playing and writing about fighting games (along with countless other game genres).


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