Let me also apologize for the tardiness of this second Reflections blog. I meant to originally post it some time last week, but my schedule got filled up quickly, allowing no time to reflect on this second post. As I wrote previously, I wanted this three-part series to be about the past, the present, and future of the SFCCL. In going with that, this second post will the most comprehensive as it reviews the past year with fun stories and details of how the league came to where it is now, the SUPER BRAWL tournament. Also, it might be a helpful tool or forewarning to anyone out there considering creating a SF (or any other fighting game) league. So, sit back, prepare for more typos, and enjoy this season in review.
As mentioned in the first REFLECTIONS blog, the SFCCL was born in the Official PlayStation forums (http://boardsus.playstation.com/). I had not played Street Fighter competitively in years as I had lost interest in the game. SFIII has a lot to do with that (sorry to those die-hards, but I never liked that game for a countless reasons). Therefore, as I purchased SFIV on the release date from a GameStop here in San Antonio (not a fan of those stores either), the first place I thought about to meet other SF players was the Official PlayStation forums. At that time, Street Fighter did not have their separate message board. Instead, it was simply combined with the ‘General Fighting’ section. To make a long, boring story short, I created a thread to organize a tournament with the members of the forum. My hope would be to recreate the SF league that my friends and family played in many years ago. I honestly believed that the league would be no bigger than 5 or 6 players. In the end, we had 16 players sign up for the 32-fighter tournament. Another player wanted to join soon after we began playing.
My hopes would be to run a smooth tournament both in functionality and transparency so that I could convince all the members to continue playing in my league. Despite the fact that I was doing all the ‘legwork’, I still had to branch out completely on my own as I felt my idea was being taken over. I wanted to be sure that my website, which I was working on secretly, would be ready by the end of the tournament. By the way, the other guys never got their league off the ground. You’ll excuse my smile as I type that. JThe opening 32-fighter tournament had every single match played, with the exception of the final Championship match. The first ever SFCCL champion, LUX_, was successful in getting both of his fighters to the Championship match, Guile and Zangief. So, the first ever-SFCCL match was a mirror-match, in which Lux gave the win to his main fighter, Guile. The 3rd and 4th place fighters were also owned by the same player, ElGeneral.
Based on the lineage of the paths that Lux’s fighters took to reach the finals, I then ranked every one of the 32 fighters from first to last. Basically, if you lost to LUX or ElGeneral, your fighter would be ranked highest in whatever round you lost in. From there, the next rank went to the fighter who lost to Lux’s second fighter, and so forth. By April 10th, the tournament was over. Five days later, I posted the first-ever weekly matches based on the final results of the tournament.
One thing that I did that I still regrets to this day was not placing Lux’s 2 fighters in the top 2 spots in the Gold Division followed by ElGeneral’s fighters. I placed both players’ second fighters at the top of the Silver Division in an effort to space out the obvious best fighters in the league. I didn’t want them to be stuck in countless mirror-matches at the top of the Gold Division. Again, my apologies to you guys!
Now, without going into boring detail of week by week analysis, I’ll highlight some of the important events this past season:
Let’s start with a brainteaser type of question to give everyone an idea of how long and big this league has become. Can anyone guess (without looking it up in the Fight Archives) how many matches will have taken place in the SFCCL Season 1 by the end of the Super Brawl tournament? I’ll give you the answer at the end of this blog.
The opening ‘Super Brawl’ tournament featured 16 members / 32 fighters.
The first-ever weekly matches expanded to 23 members (46 fighters). Only 2 members from the tournament did not continue on to the weekly matches, one voluntarily, and the other by my choice.
The three opening divisions were called Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
The divisions at the time were designed to have the same amount of fighters in each division with the top divisions being filled last. So it would be a constant juggling act every week to determine how many fighters would be in each division. At times, fighters would be promoted to a new, higher division simply because of new members joining at the bottom. This rule was eventually changed to max each division at 16 fighters each from the top first to the bottom last.
Week 2 introduced the White Division (not racial! – just the next division color chosen). Eventually, the colors would be limited to the top 3 division and all other divisions were simply labeled alphabetically. There was also a Black Division for a time!
Week 5 beginning on June 2, 2009, proved to be the final week of matches for LUX, the first ever champion of the SFCCL. He retired both of his fighters undefeated, and remains the only player & fighters to remain undefeated. His Zangief character did have mirror-match forfeits to his Guile character, but neither fighter actually lost a real match in league play. He represented what it meant to be the Grand Champion of the SFCCL that I had envisioned when beginning the league. A great, tougher than nails competitor while still conducting himself with all the respect and class a Champion truly is. Sure, he could talk smack with best of them, but would not do so unless provoked. To this day, he has set the standard as to what I expect the Grand Champion to be for the SFCCL. I’ve never said this publically before, but I would kick out the best player in the league if I felt he/she was a complete a$$. One of the core rules of the SFCCL is to treat everyone with respect. I try to set the example by treating everyone in this league exactly the same, and how I expect to be treated. At the same time, I would not waste my time or anyone else’s time by having a Champion sit atop the league that did not mirror those qualities. Fortunately, every Gold Champion has done that.
Week 9 began on July 22, 2009, and featured the second ever Inter Divisional matches. By this time, the league was 15 members (30 fighters) strong. Despite the fact that the league had grown in the past 5 weeks, I was beginning to get concerned about how many people would keep playing. The prior week, Week 8, had a total of 26 members (52 fighters). In one week’s time, we lost 50% of the league.
Several members had told me to advertise the site on SRK.com and other SF forums. I hesitated to do so as I was afraid that the league would explode in terms of new members, and create more work & problems for me. By late July / early August, after the massive Week 8 exodus, I had to make the decision to possibly let the league die within the Official PSN forums, or expand. The decision was easy. On August 3rd, 2009, I posted open invitations to the SFCCL on SRK.com and SF4forums.com. Both posts were met with some hostility, but that was soon over. The influx of new talent and challenges was on. The next week of matches, Week 10 beginning August 7th, had a total of 25 members (50 fighters). Week 11 had 40 members. Week 12 had 47 members. Week 13 had 52 members. And so forth. The most ever members in the SFCC was in Week 17 when the SFCCL was 78 members strong.
As a result of advertising the league on several websites, I now had to get into the routine of checking my PSN messages as well as checking four different websites to be sure I got all the information on a daily basis, from results to players dropping out to new members signing up to any other types of problems.
Week 12 beginning August 31, 2009, saw the end of the White and Black divisions. They were replaced officially with the alphabet divisions, such as the A Division, B Division, etc. This was done in an effort to make it easier to keep track of the lower divisions and prevent me from coming up with every color in the rainbow to name a division! The alphabet would be an easy alternative to use in creating a new division for the new members.
The first-ever Official SFCCL Event was held on July 21, 2009. The event was a 2v2 tournament that only featured 5 members total. From there, 2 dropped out during the event. The winning team of THE3DRAGONS and STYLISHCAJUN won the event and earned the right to challenge anyone in the SFCCL. 2nd place went to DEVON202 (his partner dropped out), which earned him the right to challenge anyone in his own division, and yours truly came in 3rd by default. These same prizes were used for all the special events, including the second 2v2 tournament held on November 23rd, and third event, Survivor Series, on January 27th. Again, special thanx to UltimaCloud and Wild_X_187 for their assistance in running the last two events in case of my absence (I participated in all of the events!)
There have been a total of 5 sets of Inter Divisional matches. The first was in Week 4. I was not consistent in playing them every 4 or 5 weeks, as they varied between 4 and 5 weeks. Inter Divisional matches were played in Weeks 4, 9, 13, 18, and 23.
There have only been 4 Gold Champions in the 25 weeks of SFCCL competition. The first-ever champion as mentioned before was Lux’s Guile. He remained undefeated and retired following Week 5. His final record was 10-0, with 5 consecutive title defenses following his winning the opening tournament. ElGeneral’s Bison was ranked #1 going into the following week, and therefore, assumed the Gold Championship. However, his Guile began climbing the Gold Division ranks following my mistake to place him in a different division following the opening tournament. By Week 9, July 22nd, his Guile replaced his Bison as the Gold Champion in a mirror-match. While his Bison defended his title for 3 consecutive weeks, ElGeneral’s Guile went on to defend the title for 10 consecutive weeks, from July 22nd until December 11th, nearly six months. He still holds the record for the most consecutive wins. The final Gold Champion going into the Super Brawl tournament was xxUltimaCloudxx’s Rufus. His defeat of ElGeneral’s Guile in Week 20 was the first-ever actual match in which the Gold Championship changed hands as the previous changes occurred in either mirror-matches or auto promotions. Cloud’s Rufus went on to defend his title for 6 consecutive matches thru the 2nd round of the Super Brawl tournament. With his loss in the tournament, however, the season will end with a brand new & final Gold Champion of the SFCCL. He/she will be only the 5th ever fighter to be crowned the Gold Champion, unless ElGeneral’s Guile reclaims the title, which would still be a first in SFCCL history as no fighter has ever regained the Gold Championship.
One of my biggest concerns about conducting a SF league online was that there was no way to absolutely determine who was telling the truth & who was lying whenever a disagreement came up between members. I wanted to be sure to emphasis the Honor System when writing the official rules of the SFCCL, as it would apply to everyone, including myself. However, after two tournaments and 25 weeks of matches, there were only 2 occasions when members disagreed who won. In each case, the liar was revealed in time, sometimes the very next day. As I’ve said before, a liar will lie again. It’s what they do. The dishonest member was banned from the league in each instance. One member was still claiming to have won the match despite his opponent recording & posting the match online. That was the easiest of the 3 situations to resolve.
How to deal with no-shows became the constant bad thing about this league. Some members would signup to play & then never play a single match. Even then, I would still hold them to the 2-weeks-of-forfeits before I kicked them out of the league. Forcing everyone to use 2 different fighters, and thus play in 2 matches each week, did help identify which players were not making the effort to play their matches. For example, if I did not play either of my matches in a given week (never actually happened for me proud to say), but my opponents did play their other match, then it would be semi-obvious that I was the reason my matches were not completed, not my opponents since they did play their other match. Therefore, I would have been given the 2 losses via forfeit. If I did that again the next week, I would have been kicked out. In the case where both players in a specific match did not play their other match, then both would be given a loss via a double-forfeit. The rules, after many weeks, seemed to finally make perfect sense to me. And a curious thing happened……of all the matches that were declared forfeits (can’t give you a specific number as they were too many to track), only 1 time did a person ever protest a decision. Furthermore, not a single person argued when I kicked them out for inactivity.
Since the league was completely voluntary, I knew we would have a high turnover rate, especially when the league was expanded to the SRK forums. To handle all the turnover, the rule of the ‘Auto Promotions’ was put in place. I’m not really happy with the rule, but it became necessary to keep the divisions balanced and filled. Therefore, when someone dropped out, the fighters below their ranking would move up to take their place. In combination with the no-shows, the rule was further detailed by only rewarding those players/fighters that had played their matches. So, in the case where 8 members left the league, it created a void of 16 fighters. Even a fighter who lost their match the previous week would still climb in the rankings to take those vacant spots. The fighters would also jump any fighters that didn’t play their matches, thus rewarding those that played over those that didn’t play. This was one of the biggest chores from week to week, but made perfect sense at the expense of the rankings & divisions.
A Championship rule was put into place well into the season, but was never exercised. The rule stated that a division champion could challenge the lowest ranked fighter in the next highest division if they defended their title four consecutive weeks, excluding of course, the Gold Champion. Due to all the auto-promotions, a division champion would usually move up by default so no one ever got a chance at four consecutive title defenses.
To this date, only 3 players have been banned from the league. Two of them were as a result of being dishonest, and the other player was one of the guys I constantly argued with during the formation of the league.
With the Super Brawl tournament marking the end of this season, there have been a total of 190 players in this league this past season. 64 players entered the final tournament, 69 players were dropped due to inactivity, 54 players voluntarily left, and 3 players were banned from the league.
I hope that I haven’t left out any other fun information in this post, but it could honestly be countless pages long if I never stopped writing. I didn’t want to purposefully leave anything out but at the same time did not want to use this as a platform to embarrass anyone. I’ve deeply appreciated every person that has taken the time to signup and play in this league. I never would have believed we would still be going strong 14 months after it first began.
Once again, my apologies for the delay in posting this second REFLECTIONS blog. I hope it was an entertaining read and didn’t scare off anyone thinking about starting up their own league. My best advice is to try to think of every scenario possible when coming up for the framework of the league. Oh, and treat everyone the same and with respect.
I expect to post my final REFLECTIONS blog sometime in the next 2 weeks as we approach the end of the SUPER BRAWL tournament and the release of Super Street Fighter IV. That post will deal directly with the future of the SFCCL, something I have been wrestling with for months. And I have come to a final decision.
But I’ll save that for my next REFLECTIONS blog. Good luck until then.
Oh, but before I go, here is the answer to the trivia question I posted above: Can anyone guess (without looking it up in the Fight Archives) how many matches will have taken place in the SFCCL Season 1 by the end of the Super Brawl tournament?
Opening tournament = 31 matches
Weeks 1 thru 9 = 210 matches (21 matches per week on average)
Weeks 10 thru 25 = 1,032 matches (69 matches per week on average)
Final SUPER BRAWL Tournament = 127 matches
Grand total number of matches in the SFCCL Season 1 = 1,400 matches
Un-f’n-believable! I should have charged you guys a membership fee! I separated the weeks at the Week 10 mark since that was the first week following my post on SRK.com and SF4forums.com.