Funkyterrance wrote:Mr Changsha wrote:Rank is a complicated thing.
A player might have a high rank and have had that high rank for a while, but actually be merely treading water in recent times. One could be playing at say 2700 and winning enough to maintain, but not playing as well as they did when they actually achieved the score.
Alternatively, a player might have gained a high score through playing one setting (say dubs, foggy escalating) but then be playing on a very different setting indeed. Such a player's rank would in no way be a good indicator of their ability on a different setting.
In general terms a high rank is achieved by playing exclusively (or near enough) on settings at which the player excels or by avoiding settings on which even if the player is very good, the point differentials will hurt too much to maintain the score.
I would refer you back to my concepts of TRUE and GRASPING ranks. If I can continue to play my standard and team games and maintain over 2500 then I am a TRUE colonel...if I am forced to merely play team games (and possibly narrow my map selections down even further) to maintain at a certain point then I have reduced myself to a GRASPING existance. Why? Because my natural play is, and always has been, a mixture of standard and team games. Once I have to eliminate what I naturally play then I am grasping...
So some player's ranks are more BULLSHIT than others. A major playing absolutely everything and maintaining over 2300 is a player to be respected. A player at 2300 who plays one map and one setting could well be said to have a BULLSHIT rank and this would be clear if they were ever forced to play outside of their incredibly narrow comfort zone.
Speaking of which...
But seriously, I see what you are saying and agree wholeheartedly but it can' be ignored that, and you seem to only enforce this fact, you can't tell any of this information by rank alone. So that you wrote basically is saying that rank is bullshit here, but not there, so essentially doesn't that cancel them both out, leaving us with a "?" ? It seems there are other ways to tell the skill level of a player, which you mentioned and these are not bullshit. If rank can be bullshit some of the time then in general it's bullshit all of the time.
I'm happy to admit that it requires new skill sets to get used to a new map or setting but I'm not sure I agree that proficiency in all maps indicates a higher level of skill in general.
I'm still having a hard time telling how ranking above major is any indication of a skill level beyond a solid major. The only difference, from what I can tell, is the specialization you've mentioned. Perhaps it's just a limitation/skill ceiling that comes with a game that relies so heavily on dice.
To judge a player's skill one must consider the quality of opposition he plays against. If you check a player's latest games and see he is opposed consistantly by quality opposition, and more often than not prevails against that opposition, then this is a player worth their high rank.
With regards to specialisation, I have pondered this greatly over the last few years. Back in 2009/2010 I was convinced that the correct path to solid play (for me) was to play only a couple of maps but master those maps over both standard and team play. These days I am much more flexible with maps, though my settings have become extremely narrow (sunny, chained, no cards) and I still play both standard and teams. I am capable of winning well within those limitations. But there are players out there who can actually excel over a much wider field and they have my admiration. No doubt they have played more games than me and have more experience and these things help without question, but I think that there are of course better strategists than me here, players who are capable of playing at a very high level over numerous settings and these are the very best players.
Of course such players could be playing at any rank right now. But these players are capable of posting 3000+ scores over numerous settings against top quality opposition and these are the very best.
Most high ranks are nowhere near as good. If they move away from their narrow specialistions their ranks will drop, just like all those other players around 1600-2000 who play lots of games over various settings and lose more than they should. Mine would drop like a stone if I played much fog or escalating games. Am I worth my rank? Yes, within the area of the game I play. High ranks that AREN'T worth their rank have achieved it on such a pissy setting (farming etc) that their achievements can be safely ignored.
So to conclude most high ranks are worth their rank as long as they are playing games they excel at but swiftly look like imposters once forced outside of their comfort zones. The best players are able to play up to their rank over various settings. The ultimate player would be brilliant over both sequential and freestyle, escalating and no cards as well as standard and teams in the sense that the player would seem to be a specialist over every setting there is. Does this player exist? I personally doubt it, but all of us should be able to measure our abilities against this benchmark when considering to what extent our rank is bullshit or not.