Now, normally, I would be counting down the days to the release of a new SF game. I remember going to Toys ‘R Us (do they exist anymore?) back in 1994 the release day of Super Street Fighter II for the SNES. My best friend and his brother went with me to pick up their copy on the Sega Genesis. As part of our league, we planned a draft party that nite to draft our new fighters for the upcoming season. The four new characters, Fei Long, Cammy, Dee Jay, and T. Hawk, were the top 4 picks as we were all excited about each character. Funny, now in 16 years later in 2010, I am looking forward to playing Dee Jay and T. Hawk again.
Of course everyone is eagerly anticipating the release of Super Street Fighter IV. From my experience, everyone seems to be excited about it for many different reasons. Some are excited about the new characters, specifically Juri and Hakan. Others are excited about bringing back the old Final Fight characters, Guy and Cody, while others the SFIII characters, Dudley, Ibuki, and Makoto. Still others are anticipating the new features in the game like Team Battle, Replay Channel, Endless Battle, and the Tournament Mode to be released later via free DLC. Personally, all the characters are interesting, but I am looking at the game from a standpoint of the SFCCL and how the league can benefit from these new features. One of the most promising is how video replays work and the in-game tournament brackets. When replay videos were first announced for SFIV, I was really excited about watching other matches in the SFCCL, especially the weekly Gold Championship match. Unfortunately, the reply system for SFIV was much more substandard than expected. With the various reports and chatter about the Replay Channel for SSFIV, there could be great potential for the SFCCL and watching other member’s matches, especially the Gold Championship match and Match of the Week matches. The Tournament Mode, which won’t be available for download until June 15th, also promises to record all matches to be viewed if the host (me) is on your Friends List. Of course, these are all rumors and speculations so nothing is known for sure. It all sounds promising for the SFCCL, but Capcom has let me down countless times before. I’ll withhold judgment until I see it for myself.
Let me first start by saying I deeply appreciate the commitment everyone has made to me and the SFCCL. I’ve said it many times before, but this league is only here because of you guys. I’ve kept my promise to every member that the only thing ever required from any member was that you play your 2 matches each week. Most have honored that commitment, some have not, and even 2 other members volunteered to take on more responsibility. Special thanx to xxUltimaCloudxx and Wild_X_187 for being my assistants in running some of the social events in the past year. As for me, I am only the inmate running the asylum. But even the inmates need a break once in a while. xxUltimaCloudxx has even created the first-ever branch of the SFCCL by creating the 2v2 SFCCL League (http://sfccl2v2.enjin.com/home). I wish him the best of luck with the league, which will use the new Team Battle mode within SSFIV to play its matches. This 2v2 league will be starting a week after the release of SSFIV (the week of May 2nd) and will be completely independent from the original SFCCL.
While I have been the last and only administrator for this league, I have also been a part of the league like any other member. I have always been fair to every member and I don’t think anyone could argue otherwise. I’ve also always put the league’s best interest ahead of mine. Hell, I might be one of the very few members to play in every event and never forfeit a match. Excuse me if I pat myself on my back for that one considering how little time I have in my private life to play video games, much less run a competitive league for the past year. I don’t like to share any details about my private life publically, including to members of this league. That’s just who I am. No one in this league even knows my first name, and I like it that way. For those few who have shared details about themselves with me, I might relate to them by sharing some experiences in my own life, but that is the extent of it.
Earlier this year, my personal life became even more hectic, but in a great way. Without going into any details, let’s just say my performance in the league began to suffer as I simply did not have time to play. I still got my matches done, but my actual fighting record was 1-5 since Week 24, with one mirror match. So if you want to blame those members that defeated me for my decision to delay the league, feel free! They should have let me win and buildup a false sense of confidence! Joking aside, my performance began entering into my decision as to what the future of this league would be. Furthermore, if I could even continue to play competitively in my own league. And if couldn’t be competitive, why commitment myself to the league? And if I wasn’t going to play in my own league, then why the hell would I run the damn thing for another year or longer?
As I wrestled with trying to answer all these questions one at a time, I began to realize that the answer was not going to be in the best interest of the league. It was going to be in the best interest of me. This has been a completely free, voluntarily league for everyone…but me. I can’t even imagine how many hours and time I’ve spent organizing this league over the past 15 months. Anyone could join or leave the league at any time…but me. There have been a couple of times where I was ready to pull the plug on the whole damn thing, sometimes even after I lost a match! Had I known what this league would morph into when I first began posting on the PSN forums, I may not have started it. But the more I thought about that, the more I understood that I have done this all in the spirit of fun. No one is paying me to run the SFCCL. No one is obligating me to run the SFCCL. I do it simply because I want to.
I had to weight that against the reality of the situation. My time is a lot more valuable now than back in March 2009. More people depend on me now than a year ago. And that is a lot more important to me than the SFCCL. I won’t may any apologies for that.
That being said, I don’t foresee my nearly lifelong gaming hobby ending anytime soon either. It may just be harder to predict how much time I have for gaming and the SFCCL for the foreseeable future. I’ve enjoyed my time this past month, after my two fighter’s seasons were over following my SUPER BRAWL losses, playing whenever and whatever I wanted (currently loving Uncharted 2 online modes). I’ve only had to check my messages on a daily basis without having to worry about no-shows and other usual league problems. The tournament really did clear up those nagging issues.
It’s during this time that I began collecting and analyzing different ideas and possibilities for the next season of the SFCCL on SSFIV. I understand that my decision to hold off on beginning a new season is at the expense of the league. Fact is there will be a lot of people looking to play in an organized league with the release of SSFIV. However, with that excitement and buzz over a new game, there are too many fair-weather players that are here today, gone tomorrow with next latest game. The league would also suffer during this time. And I am more than happy to have the SFCCL miss out on that initial wave of players.
To recap, the SFCCL will return for a second season. The tentative starting date is late June 2010, to coincide with the release of the Tournament Mode DLC just announced by Capcom. This will also give the time to evaluate how all the new modes in SSFIV will play into the new season, especially the tournament mode with videable replays. However, that date is tentative and based solely on my timeframe. Some of the ideas for improving the league I’ve discussed with other members are all being considered. From making the league smaller (absolutely) to making the rise up the rankings quicker for new members (definitely) to waiting lists for new members to new special events to a holiday break (possibly) are all being considered for the league with the hope it will make the SFCCL a better, more exclusive, more competitive, and most importantly, more active league. All those things make my job a whole lot easier.
The league will be maxed out at 32 (or 40) members. That final number is still being debated. This is primarily for the betterment of the league since it should be easy to have an active, competitive, ready-to-play number of members within the league. This will prevent any fair-weather players from joining and slowing us down. Any members wanting to join will be placed on a waiting list or possibly a special play-in division or tournament. My patience will be very short with any members in this pool. If they play & win, they earn their spot in the league or take the place of a departing member. Winning your matches will also move you up the rankings faster compared to the current format used for this season which would take a #15 ranked fighter in a division about 6 weeks to rise up to the #1 contender ranking. We will try to have a special event every month or other month to shake up the league’s rankings and matches. Inter-divisional matches will also take place every 5 weeks, including the possibility of the lowest division challenging outside players to determine who is in the league. This could result in a member losing one of his fighters & only having one fighter in the league. The number of fighters will always remain at 64 (or 80 depending on the final decision). This number gives us an easy 64-fighter bracket to begin and end the season. The members that will makeup the league for season 2 will be contacted to verify their continued interest. The decision of who gets in and who doesn’t is based solely on the current list of members first (and their level of activity in weekly matches) before any new, outside members are included. These members will be contacted individually prior to the beginning of the season.
And that’s it. I’ve got nothing left to say! It’s been one hell of a ride with plenty of ups and downs. I thank everyone for their kind words and compliments for me and the SFCCL. I hope you can understand my decision. I know some will not be happy with it, but I hope they respect it. I’ll be around, but I hope everyone will give me the space to enjoy my time away from the SFCCL. For those wanting to continue playing play under the SFCCL flag until the league starts again, go to the SFCCL 2v2 League and signup you or your team at http://sfccl2v2.enjin.com/home. Competition will begin in about two weeks. This could be my second to last blog, and is my final REFLECTIONS blog. I hope they have all been informative and entertaining. Until the next & final time, good luck to everyone including the Final Four members in their pursuit for the final Gold Championship!
*** Oh, if you’re wondering what the SFCCL picture posted above this blog is, it was created by SHINNAGAKURE from the PS forums. It is very much appreciated especially since he volunteered to create them and has never been part of the league. I’m still not sure if that will be the future emblem of the SFCCL, but I thought it looked pretty cool! Better than anything I could make with my Paint program. Below are a few more he submitted. Thanx again SHIN!***