No, I get it.
Some people here had already responded well enough to the OPs needs to improve. I simply noticed Killacam's post about the West Coast and decided to comment. Like I said before in my last post, I dont agree about giving up if you aren't from the West Coast, but I will say that the West Coast is better than the East. That's all really.
Furthermore, I never really went in depth about being able to compete at a pro level, either. I just touched on it to let the OP know the risks just in case he ever had a fleeting thought about it. Nothing more.
At any rate, without having to repeat the good advice from the previous posters, online isn't so bad compared to what most people think. Atleast from my perspective, on average, you will run into shotos a good chunk (say 60%) of the time.
Oftentimes that not, the shoto players aren't very knowledgable and prone themselves to repetitve things that you can easily take advantage of. If you're new to SF4 online, knowing matchups for the most common character is a good way to start.
Newbie shotos often make bad habits that another newbie cant really see the holes in. The most typical, just for the arguments sake, is that during a match, they often jump back to gain space and immediatly qcf+p.
When fighting them far range, its almost guarenteed what a shoto will do, which is constantly do fireballs, forcing you to react so they can control you. Its this easy yet effective strategy is what makes the Shoto so attractive. Either make moves to get in close or suffer a slow death.
Next time when you're online, try to get closer to them. Stand just outside the range they are able to cr. foward or cr. fierce you. You'll notice that just by standing there in that range, you took away a chunk of fireball spamming freedom from them. Simply because they can be punished at this range. What options they have now? Typically, from a classic SF2 outlook, they can:
1)Test the grounds and throw a well timed fireball to stuff any ground move you may attempt.
2)Try to force you to expect a fireball, as to bait a jump. From this range, a Shoryuken is the common answer to a jump in, and why many people are angry when playing online it seems.
3Walk up c.mk poke into another qcf+p to make space so its safe to fireball spam again.
4) Jump in on you and go on the offense.
So when you get back online and face a shoto, which shouldn't be hard since they are so many, try to focus on getting in that desired range where throwing a fireball is too risky for them. Keep in mind of the options they will take and see what they do. Once you have a grasp on what the majority of online players do, they you'll level up.
Though this may seem very generic and old fashioned, from what I've seen and experienced, the above strategy relates to a typical shoto's core gameplay ever since SF2, and even in Alpha, save for Thrid Strike, though.
Lastly, SF4's gameplay resembles the closest to SF2, even moreso than Third Strike or Alpha. You'll see that alot of Deejay, Blanka, Dhalsim, Guile and Vega players playing similar ways as they did in SF2. So while what I said in the above may not be the end-all-be-all for shoto play, its enough to help you get a grasp on the basic things to expect.
No offense, MsMaddamMandy, but lux is easily one of the best players on this board. He's an old tourney vet, so he's WAY past the anecdotal descriptions of basic strategy you've posted. Unless that part was directed at OP (hard to tell), in which case, disregard.
I don't know if you've done this, but
you can try playing the old street fighter games first to get a "feel" for how these types of games are played....
I haven't played SF4 yet, but when I was playing at the arcades
18 years ago I used to play Street Fighter 2 with someone who was TONS better than me.
And we used to play with others who were just as good and made friends, joined local tournaments and both win and lose....
We used to spar and practice using characters like
Guile's famous combination at the time
"Jumping fierce kick, standing fierce uppercut, flashkick"...
Or Ken's and Ryu's "Jumping fierce punch, standing fierce punch, shoryuken"...
It took me a while to do combinations, but once I got good at it, and felt comfortable and importantly was having FUN playing both with others and by myself I was doing well against most people who play the game. Even against the best ones sometimes....
You can try googling online for combinations, and general SF4 strategies and maybe watch youtube videos of good people playing. This is another way to learn to do something.
Even for learning to shoot a basketball and other sports....
Through watching demos of people playing the game, trying it on your own, practice, practice, practice, then when you're tired, practice some more! But having fun which i think is the most important part!
To the OP of this thread, I assume you're playing on a PS3 or some type of console with a gamepad right?
Just to let you know, as a friendly suggestion, and this is just a suggestion which means you don't have to do this, but
try playing with a Joystick on your PS3 or whatever platform you play the game on even it means going to the video arcades
and although it MIGHT feel awkward at first, you'll play a whole lot better than a gamepad on these types of 2D fighting games.
At least for me I grew up using joysticks and I like the "feel" of it....
I actually find a gamepad very hard to play with on these types of games because the buttons are so tightly spaced into your hands
and the joystick type of layout is easier at least for a beginner IMHO...
But of course it totally depends on you and what type of contollers you want to use. I think NO control layout is "better" than any other. It totally depends on the player's preference, budget, platform of preference, etc...
If you're really having trouble, buy a modded controller... just kidding but really those things are amazing