Way of the Netplay Warrior feat. Milhous & Michael41Billion!
Thu 10th May 2018 - 4:00pm
Melee has been a purely local eSport for many years, but with the advent of Netplay, players can now compete online. Netplay has allowed players to transcend the geographical barriers, creating an entirely new online scene. It was no surprise when players began using this new tool to improve faster than previously possible.
More and more players from this new platform are making waves on the national level. I got in contact with two players who have held the #1 spot on Anther’s ladder, Michael41000000000 and Milhous to learn how they used Netplay to improve.
Friendlies or Ranked?
The secret to improvement in general is to be honest with oneself. Learning to be conscious of misused time is a valuable skill. Accelerating improvement is based on minimizing misused time and maximizing tournament level practice. Some people can stay in a tournament mindset in friendlies for hours, but most of us need something on the line. Putting a ranking on the line for a set keeps your mindset, and the opponent’s, serious.
Michael commented: “I prefer to play ranked. After playing friendlies for a while, it’s easier to get into a mindset where you start messing around and stop trying to improve compared to playing ranked.”
Another tip for using netplay time effectively is to get involved with local/regional discords. Not only will a better connection quality be ensured, collaboration also happens more naturally than on Anther’s. Improving is easier with a group of friends, but not everyone has time to travel for friendlies everyday. Utilize the convenience of netplay to play and improve with friends more often.
Milhous: “On the ladder, I prefer ranked. If I'm playing friendlies on netplay, it's exclusively though the faster melee discord or through regional discords that I'm in with people I know.”
Using OBS and Analyzing.
Milhous: “If I did analyse my own footage, I would have definitely used netplay to do that.”
One of the larger benefits of netplay is the ability to easily record and stream gameplay. Recording and then analyzing netplay matches allows you to pull every bit of useful information from a set. If you’re anything like Milhous, maybe analysis isn’t the best way to learn for you, but I definitely recommend giving it a try. Analyzing more obscure or rare matchups from netplay is one of the best ways to round out your matchup spread. In terms of logistics, a mid level player will rarely have their tournament games streamed/recorded and getting footage of your play against an odd matchup is even more difficult. With Anther’s ladder, it is easy to get a match with a specific character.
To record matches, a popular pick is Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), but there are alternatives. Be sure to utilize the convenience of recording computer gameplay to review matches.
The Differences Between Netplay and LAN
Michael: “Based on your setup, it may not feel or be the same as playing offline.”
When grinding on netplay, it’s crucial to always keep in mind the differences between netplay and console. With technology of today, almost perfect emulation of Melee is achievable. Not everyone has access to a setup capable of this, so be aware of how your specific build differs from console Melee.
“In the end, you're still playing Melee. With the right buffer and monitor you can make it pretty much perfect, but a major weakness is that you're much more comfortable at home. I'd say netplay is good Melee experience but not good tournament experience” Milhous added.
Apart from technical discrepancies, tournament Melee remains starkly unique. Competing in person is an entirely different skill than competing online. Finding composure can be tough when the crowd is rowdy or an opponent is very emotive. On the flip side, keeping your emotions controlled when no one else is watching is sometimes just as hard. Just stay positive and focus on learning and preparing for the next match, whether it will be played on a console or over the internet.
Milhous: "Competing on ladder is really different than tournament. People are in varying mindsets."
How to Climb Anther’s Ladder
Although rank is not a completely accurate skill identifier, the higher rank player the higher chance of them being good. If you’re looking to improve fast with netplay, you’ll want to be playing the best Anther’s has to offer. Ranking up is sometimes easier said than done, and don’t be discouraged from taking a few losses. At the end of the day, it could be anyone on the other side of the screen. Be sure to take your Ls with grace, never enter or exit a match thinking there is nothing to learn from it.
Milhous: “My best tip is to respect the opponent. You never really know you who the other person is and if you ever find yourself thinking you're better than X rando then you've already lost.”
An effective way to start playing at a higher rank level is to play with more high rank players. There’s no need to be afraid of playing with someone ranked above you. As long as you let your play remain moldable, games versus high level players will shape your play into a higher quality. Better yet, you won’t lose as many points for losing to a higher rank.
Michael: “Play as many ranked matches with as many high ranked people as possible to earn the most points.”
There is merit to playing against players at or around your current skill level though. It can be rough trying out a new trick against players who are all over you. Use matches against similar or lower skilled players to practice implementing techniques and strategies shown by better players.
Netplay is one of the strongest resources for modern players, but many people do not use it effectively. Remember to always ask yourself, “Am I using my time with the intention to improve?” Whether that means grinding out ranked matches or analysing sets one at a time, do what works best for you and start climbing! With the tips in this guide, you could find yourself at the top of Anther’s.
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