The importance of competitive ranking

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Among a plethora of great new features in Pokémon X and Y, Game Freak has recently also added a recorded online ranking system.

This addition might sound like a no-brainer, but Nintendo has been a few steps behind on the whole online multiplayer scene. The company seems to be in favor of having players interact directly in person. One can see this just from the amount of StreetPass and friend code features on the 3DS.

I’m also in favor of direct interaction. My fondest memories of gaming are usually with a group of friends. Sometimes, however, it seems that Nintendo is so anti-competitive gaming that it eschews some online features that have come to be token in our modern era of gaming. I think of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the disappointing lack of online leaderboards. While there were also many technical issues with that game’s online multiplayer, the absence of online rankings took some incentive away from even attempting to bother with it.

And this brings me to my point: if a game has competitive online multiplayer, it should always have some form of ranking system.

Now keep in mind, I am by no definition an intensely competitive player. With most games I usually fall into a no-man’s land of moderate skill. Still, even though most pro players ruin me, I enjoy seeing how I rank amongst the rest of the community. Even if I do nothing with the information, there is an unconscious benefit from it. You might not do anything with the coins from Super Mario Bros. but the game would feel emptier without that counter up on the top part of the screen.

The strange, cerebral joy I get from going up a rank in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or simply seeing that I have the most success with Heavy in Team Fortress 2 is important to the overall experience of those games. Thankfully, X and Y have finally jumped on that bandwagon. Hopefully the new Super Smash Bros. will also follow suit with its online multiplayer.

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Author: Stephen Hilger View all posts by
Stephen Hilger is a recent graduate of Rutgers University. He has a BA in English and his favorite word is "tepid." His involvement with video games most heavily began with ""Duck Hunt" and it has been a blossoming relationship ever since. In addition to writing for Pixelitis, Stephen is also a stand-up comedian and involved in the performing arts both as an actor and writer.