Yes, arcade sticks should make you better. Instead of trying to execute difficult moves with a compact controller, an arcade stick gives you plenty of space to use your hands and fingers. You can do much more with your hands and fingers when they are loose than when you are gripping a tiny controller. Also, if you get nervous when you play, an arcade stick makes it harder to mash unwanted moves, and it is also harder for sweat to interfere with your gameplay.
Trust the Pros
There is a reason why most professional players choose to play with an arcade stick. Fighting games usually require intricate directional movements and button presses, which you can do more easily when you have a tall joystick you can move with your entire hand and when you have big buttons laid out for your convenience.
At EVO 2019, the world’s most prestigious fighting game competition, the most used arcade stick was the Razer Panthera, and it was also the arcade stick that won the most tournaments there.
There Are Exceptions
Although rarely, you can still perform well without an arcade stick. Luffy is a French player who won the world’s biggest Street Fighter tournament at EVO 2014 with a PlayStation 1 controller versus an arcade stick user from Japan called Bonchan. However, Luffy is an exception, and he would probably perform even better if he invests the time to learn how to use an arcade stick.
Some games like Mortal Kombat are more suited for controllers, and some characters in games that usually work better with arcade sticks, such as Street Fighter, are more suited for controllers. Take Zangief, a character who thrives on 360 motions that are easier to pull off with a controller’s D-pad. Hitting three to four directions on a D-pad is faster than wiggling a joystick. However, in general, arcade sticks are the way to go.
Similar Options to Arcade Sticks
Realize that you can also improve your gameplay by going for a hitbox or mixbox. An arcade stick is like an umbrella term for hitboxes and mixboxes as well. A hitbox is like an arcade stick, but it has buttons on the left instead of a joystick. A mixbox has keyboard keys on the left instead of a joystick. Read more about this subject here.
Now, if you are ready to take the plunge and improve your gameplay, here are some good places to start: