Street Fighter V and the Army of Rookie World Warriors

Years after leaving Street Fighter V behind, I recently began my journey anew. This time, with a clear mind, no pressure to perform, and with a new account on PC with zero ranking points.

Though I still have a lot of rust to shake off, I didn’t exactly return to the scene as a white-belt warrior. In about a day’s worth of work, I jumped from 0 BP to about 4,500; good enough to get me into Gold rank. Based on the way that players are distributed across the rankings, I leapfrogged roughly 88% of the player base.

SOURCE: eSports Tales

As someone who has entrenched themselves in the upper echelons of ranked play across multiple fighting games, it’s really easy to lose sight of where most of the population is. Thanks to the above chart from eSports Tales, we can see what the spread looked like as of February 2020.

Almost 40% of the player base never left the lowest ranks. Almost 60% are Bronze rank and lower. Many of the players I fought along my journey had individual character levels in the hundreds, which serves as a solid indicator that these players have put tons of time – possibly thousands of hours – into playing this game at a low level.

Working my way through these lower ranks reminded me of the time I went to play Street Fighter V with a friend who was just getting started. He came into it with past experience in older Street Fighter games and he loved to watch pro tournaments on Twitch. But even at the Rookie level, I watched him lose 40-straight matches before finally getting his first win during the wee hours of the morning.

For those players grinding it out in the lower ranks, I salute you. I hope you’re having a great time engaging in battles with players of your skill. These fights aren’t any more valuable than the ones that the pros are having. If fighting in the lower ranks is all you want, then continue to do your thing!

If you’ve spent hundreds – or thousands – of hours, and have ambitions of leveling up, simply playing more isn’t going to get you there. I strongly encourage you to put more time into truly learning the game. Seek out training resources online, from YouTube tutorials, to message board chatter, to even my own Universal Fighting Game Guide. Put in time in training mode and really get your execution down. Study your replays and try to understand why you got hit in every situation that you did. By truly investing in your skills, you can get better.

Fighting in the lower ranks was just a pit stop for me, but I too have my ceiling to punch through. Will this be the time when I finally break past Ultra Platinum? If I ever get around to shaking off all the rust, I’ll have to put in the work to earn that distinction, just like everyone else trying to climb up the ranks.

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