Rian 'ICE' Eddins is among the many players who's been vocal about Street Fighter V's direction. Though he was always familiar with tournament legends like Daigo and Valle, ICE didn't begin competing until 2013. At the time, he started out as a M. Bison main during Street Fighter IV's tournament era.
Now with Street Fighter V in the wild, ICE now takes on challengers with Guile as his primary character, and has proven that he can hold his own as he took took ninth at Absolute Battle 7 and seventh place at Texas Showdown.
Ice is now facing newer challenges in life -- marriage and a new career -- that require him to adjust his priorities, but he's not ready to hang up his arcade stick just yet. We passed ICE the mic to get some perspective regarding SFV's direction, thoughts on Kolin, challenges players face, and more.
We often hear players talk about what they’d like to see in the future, but what are some notable things that you love about the game right now?
Some notable things I love about the game right now are that most of the characters can compete. It is good to see that Zangief and M. Bison who struggled as the meta developed in Season 1 can now compete. I also love that V-Reversal is no longer a "turn stealer."
In Season 1, characters didn't really have to block much, because they could V-Reversal and take their turn. V-Reversals often led to meaties for the character that successfully landed it Characters like M.Bison, F.A.N.G, Sim, and Alex suffered due to this mechanic a lot. Now, in Season 2, there is more recovery after a successful V-Reversal, which means that neutral is reset and post V-Reversal setups are not as strong.
Accessibility is often discussed as one of SFV’s core areas to appeal to a broader audience. How has that impacted the competitive scene?
I believe that accessibility has had mixed reactions for the competitive scene. On one hand, players and viewers love to see rising talent like John Takeuchi and Haku (one of Momochi's students) beating the likes of Daigo and GO1.
It's an awesome thing to see new talent rising to the top! On the other hand, many people also feel like, due to the accessibility, it is hard to really differentiate and validate player skill. The games watered-down feeling leaves many feeling empty and desiring more than bare bones gameplay.
But not everyone who picks up SFV is looking to be a pro player. What does the game need to keep the casual audience engaged?
To keep casuals excited the game needs more features. Right now, if a player were to lose internet access, they would only be able to do training mode, story mode, survival mode, and trials. Street Fighter V doesn't have an arcade mode, which plenty of casual players enjoy.
The feeling of playing Street Fighter on the max difficulty and having the AI be able to read your every move was challenging. This is actually how a lot of casuals build up their confidence to play online. Some people don't want to play other people. They just want to beat the machine. I also feel like Capcom missed out on a ton of nostalgic opportunities. There's isn't any fun features like a barrel-busting challenge or a Parry Challenge as seen in Street Fighter III: Third Strike.
There's so many fun things that can be incorporated to keep the interest flowing for casual players. I also believe that providing better combo options would also help keep combos interesting. There's a lot of tech monsters who play casually, but are uninspired due to the lack of creativity. It's like giving a painter a brush and paint without a canvas.
What motivated you to pick up Guile?
What motivated me to pick up Guile is that he is one of my favorite characters, and the sense of control he gave me in Street Fighter V. Due to the nature of the game, buttons recover really fast. Playing M.Bison in the first season was very fun. But I told myself before I started playing Street Fighter V that I'm not going through what I went through with M.Bison in Street Fighter IV.
I let my pride get the best of me in previous titles. I'd often think I would be a better player if I struggled. But after reading David Sirlin's "Playing to Win," I was motivated to get [the win]. While I tried other characters, they just weren't as enjoyable.
I wanted to win and have fun. Guile allowed me to do that and control the pace of the match. I believe that this version is far more interesting than he's been in previous titles. The Season 1 version was actually more fun [in contrast to] Season 2. The combo and reset potential he possessed was very fun. I also enjoyed the V-Skill boom and crouch walk. It opened up a lot of new space control opportunities and helped his flash kick autocorrect easier.
What are your thoughts on Kolin? Will you be picking her up as a pocket character?
My initial reaction on Kolin is that she looks [like a fun character].
I like the fact that she has a double jump. I like that she uses Ice (go figure) and her VT looks interesting. I'm interested to see how she plays and I'm hoping that she is not a poor man's Karin. I really like the fact that Capcom readjusted her face (Although I didn't think that the other one was bad).
It just shows that they are listening to the little things that people appreciate. I will give Kolin a chance. As long as she has decent health (950), great mix-ups and tools, I will definitely give her a chance. I paid $30 for this mystery pass because I didn't want to be caught off guard in tournament. So you better believe I'm getting my money's worth.
Over the weekend, there was a discussion about pro players adapting and you mentioned veterans. Why do you feel some older competitors are having a tough time?
There are a couple reasons why I believe veteran players are struggling.
The first reason is because the fundamental lessons that were learned in previous games aren't as strong as they are in SFV. The previous SF title focused more on reaction than anticipation. Street Fighter V leans more toward the anticipation side of things. I would consider myself a reactionary player. So Street Fighter V was, and still is, frustrating at times. But I have adapted the mindset of "be ready." It's the only way I can deal with things in this game. I also feel like, due to the pace and nature of the game, fundamentals that were previously learned in other Street Fighter games don't apply in this game.
Controlling space with normal moves and fireballs are a big part of Street Fighter. In Street Fighter V, the normals are stubby and fast, which indicates that Capcom wanted the players to be engaged in close combat more often than not. Combine that with the fact that fireballs are pretty much easy to counter in this game and it creates an uncomfortable neutral situation for players.
I don't really think it would be that bad if the normals were better. But combine the fact that normals are stubby and recover quickly — and the game has known input lag — then you have a problem. It creates a more of a "guess" feeling in neutral. It's very possible to whiff punish in Street Fighter V, but it just seems frustrating because of the fact there's input lag, and most buttons recover very quickly. It's hard to say how the majority of pro players feel, but if I had to take an educated guess, I feel like this would be the reason.
Now that Capcom has confirmed a new update is on the way, what changes would you like to see?
I know that we will more than likely see small changes, so I'd like to see the pushback to Balrog's V-Trigger on block reduced and his overhead at -8 again. For M. Bison, his EX Devil's Reverse isn't as bad to deal with, but the invincibility on his flip is "OD" and needs to be reduced.
I would also rather have the Season 1 version back. If they destroy EX Devil's Reverse, please increase his ground mobility. I think Urien charged HK should be 0 again on block and health back to 1,000. I believe they need to revisit F.A.N.G and stop being afraid to make him a character and revisit the universal overhead change.
It doesn't make sense. I think they should tweak Alex too because right now he is certified buns.
How can the game be optimized so that it becomes more interesting to players, as well as viewers?
I believe that by adding depth to simplicity, it can make things better for viewers and players. If Capcom paid closer attention, they could resolve this issue. Players want more depth and combo opportunity. Giving players more opportunities to create provides a better experience for the viewers. In this way, they won't have to see the same setups and combos over and over and over again.
Also, I feel that adding new V-Skills, V-Triggers, and Critical arts will also help with the overall player and viewership experience. Another way to increase player experience is to decrease the input lag. It's 2017, and we're getting excuses that this can't be done. I think this should be the first priority, especially for a competitive fighter.
How has the FGC’s growth influenced you as a competitor? And what are your goals for the future?
The FGC's growth makes me want to go out to more events. I want to play strong players. I want to see where I'm at compared to other regions. Since I don't play sports much anymore, this is my main way of staying competitive, so I enjoy the growth because I know other players out there are hungry as well. As of right now, don't have any goals in the FGC. My personal life and career are changing and I feel like God is taking me in another direction.
So I may or may not be travelling as much. I'm getting married now which means that it is not about me and what I want right now and that there is someone else counting on me to do my part. So I'll see what happens and how it plays out, but I still want to help newer players get better and I'll always be down to help players who want to get stronger. I'm trying to figure out how I can edit more videos.
I don't make time to do it because it can be time consuming and I don't want to halfway do something, but if there are any good video editors out there, let me know and I'll be sure to partner up with them so that I can do my part to help the community out.