Climbing the Fighting Game Leaderboards
Fighting game online leaderboards are not the be-all-end-all measure of a player’s success. For one, there are cheaters out there who will scam their way to the top just to see their names in lights. Also, sitting at the top of any leaderboard doesn’t entitle you to anything when it’s really time to prove your worth at a tournament.
That being said, leaderboard performance matters to me. I use it as a means of not only measuring where I stand against the rest of the world, but measuring my own growth as a player. Furthermore, it acts as motivation to get better, as you can see what lies ahead.
Back in the early days of Super Street Fighter IV, I hit a wall. My Akuma was stuck with a Battle Point score of 5,000. I had a hit a point where I did not have the skills to move further. At the time, that didn’t really bother me, as I was still trying to find my overall footing with the game.
However, that started to change when I switched to Rose. Once I hit the 5,000-point threshold, I surpassed that plateau and hit 6,000. It was a validation of my overall improvement in the game, as I never would have hit that score beforehand. As I got better, the competition got tougher, but the wins kept coming. Eventually, I hit #1 Rose in Canada and #1 Rose in the world on multiple occasions on multiple consoles.
While I actively chase the positions on the leaderboards, the reality is that it’s not about the numbers. It’s about getting better as a player, with the number acting as a validation for my efforts. When I made improvements to my offensive abilities, or my defense, or my match-up knowledge, that work would show in the results and ultimately translate into a higher placing in the leaderboards.
It became a vicious loop for me. Get better at the game, get rewarded with a higher rank. Repeat. Most recently, I hit Platinum status in Street Fighter V. Besides being a cool title, that puts me in about the top 1% of players in the world, which is insane. It’s awesome to be here, but I also see that there are over 3,000 players ahead of me. The next goal is to try and surpass them, too.
It also translated into tournament success. When I compete, I feel like I can hang with almost anyone thrown in front of me, which certainly wasn’t the case before. This year, I also won my first tournament at the WorldGaming Street Fighter V Regional Finals in Kingston, followed up by a 17th place finish at the national championships.
No one will give me a crown or a sponsorship for my placement on any leaderboard, but there is value in seeing myself rise through legitimate means. It’s one of many differen ways that I can measure my success. The goal moving forward isn’t to hit #1 on the leaderboards. The goal is to get better. Moving higher in the rankings is just a pleasant side effect.