Stop worrying about winning or losing matches. Focus on seeing what the opponent is doing. When you can recognize what they're doing, try blocking or avoiding it. Once you can do that, work on figuring what attack will result in a punish. Once you know what that attack is, you can focus on finding out if there's anything that combos off of that.
The above cycle only starts when you lose. Every time you lose a match, it's a gift. It's a whole new puzzle to work out. Stop thinking "I should be winning." Start thinking "I have to stop losing to this particular tactic." Once you've seen a certain threshold of tactics and conquered them, winning will follow from that.
The way I see it, fighting people your own level will only result in you picking up bad habits. Opponents on your level will fail to punish you when you make mistakes. Opponents on your level will blindly walk into your badly thought through attacks. These opponents might get you some wins, but they will condition you into making bad choices when fighting better opponents. Then when you lose to those better opponents, you'll wonder why stuff that worked before doesn't work even once.
The beginning of all of this is when you let go of the pride of thinking that you should win and you accept with humility that you have something that you need to learn.
I'd say that the most important tip is don't worry about winning. You can't approach fighting games as "I am getting better because I win more." You have to be in the mindset of "I am getting better because that tactic won't beat me anymore."
You have to realize when you are getting punished. A surefire way to see that you're getting punished is that you've attempted something at least twice (not necessarily in a row) and you had the same move rammed into your face. That should send you an instant signal to stop doing what you're doing and try something else.
Furthermore, you have to go into every match having a game plan. Having a game plan will condition you to look at each match with an eye towards predicting how your opponent will attack. It can be something as simple as "I want to block every jumping attack my opponent sends my way." Eventually, you'll go into a serious match having multiple game plans to deal with various scenarios. However, at the beginning it's important to go into a match having one thing that you want to accomplish. It doesn't matter if you lose the match overall, as long as you've executed on your game plan. If you get punished for your game plan, think of some way to change it up.
To this end, it's important to develop the mentality to want to fight people that will beat you. This is the only way to see if your game plans are effective. Winning just means your opponent wasn't able to beat your game plan. You can't learn anything from that situation except "I should try that again." Losing out in a scenario means there's something to tweak there. That's a whole new punish to learn how to get around. Ultimately, you aren't going to get better if your opponents aren't able to show you where to improve.
Duke Nukem 3D had a excellent shotgun that resulted in an alien gurgling sound as if their larynx and lungs had been obliterated.
Also, Killing Floor's shotguns paired with the highest Support Perk level was so satisfying with its penetration capabilities. Just imagine the world renowned sound of Red Orchestra guns accompanied by the sight of a line of 6 zeds crumpling one in front of the other. It's glorious.
I heard a Polish publication scored the exclusive rights to the first scored review. That review comes out on Wednesday. I heard a bunch of places haven't seen hide nor hair of any review copies. I'd temper expectations accordingly.