Hey guys Ive played SF4 for a few months now (not 100% full time mind you). but I reached rank B with my main and C+ with several other chars. so I just wanted to mention a few things Ive noticed to those just starting up.
1. Don't bother learning combos or anything the like. I spent hours practicing moves, how to focus cancel properly in diferent situations etc. but it is utterly useless against a ken/ryu who spams shoryukens the whole match(for example). Idd, you will most likely lose more matches against worse players than you, than against higher ranked ones(and no I am neither trolling nor angry, thats just the way it is).
This is because there is a strange phenomenon in SF4: People who start anew tend to try different basic attacks, and register which one is the most effective (like shoryuken, or DJ's HK Down), they notice which one is the most effective and spam/lame only that, and guess what? It works! so why do players get "worse" later on? Well, eventually they get BORED of spamming the same attacks and they decide to learn/try new stuff, but little do they know that this their downfall.
It is much easier to beat a B+ / A rank ryu/guile/cody etc. who has lost the HABIT of spamming their char's lamest attacks than a rank D-C+ one that knows only that.
The moral is: spam as hard as u can (even though I dont actually tbh, but I wish I could endure the boredom of doing so) because that is the key to beating... anyone (in this game).
2. Hate mail. Accept it. I got one of the shittiest welcomes to this game, but that didn't stop me (or any1 else who still plays)You will quickly learn to ignore/ fight back. Hatred is a way of life in this game. The winning players will often angrily send messages pumping their ego, and the losers will do the same making up any excuse...
Ofc this isn't true for everyone, idd there are also some really nice people in this game who enjoy a gg... but as far as I saw this is a relatively small minority(like 1/10)... either that or I was unlucky... who knows. what I CAN say is that I know other ppl who play SF4 and they all had the same experience so... u decide
3. Ryu. Another strange thing of this game, is that despite the 30+ chars to choose from, a general 70% of the players will use a ryu, another 20% ken, and 10% anyone else.
Do not worry. you are not going crazy. even if u fight 10 ryus in a row online it is entirely normal. This is because every1 wanna be the hero, and every1 wanna use a char that makes winning simple. Idd u might be a ryu player yourself! :O (in which case, stop reading this post immediately, uninstall game, and go in the corner of your room feeling ashamed)
Well thats all I can think of for now. I already know the "more experienced" players(or those who were lucky enough to experience SF4 differently) who read this post and answer it will all be like "nooo! you're wrong! its not like this, it is a game of speed/skill/xp/ etc." and the usual garbage they like to feed to those who didn't nerd as much as they did. But what can I say? if it has to happen, it has to happen :/
That been said... I didnt edit this original post as I feel that these were my sincere views of the game during the first phase (months), and I know many other people who felt the same when they played it - but apparently there is idd light at the end of the tunnel... the question is "how long do you want your tunnel to last?"
I know this book worked out for me, perhaps it will for you too... http://www.sirlin.net/ptw/