On Leaderboards

The Problem

Global leaderboards are populated by people you’ll never measure up to unless you devote a large portion of your time to a single game. Very rarely will you ever be in the top 1k, or even 10k. local/friend-only leaderboards are generally too sparse

Leaderboards should promote friendly competition, feelings of pride, and feelings of wanting to work harder (within reason). They should inspire people to play your game and talk about it. Global leaderboards with the most insane, far-fetched scores being most visible do the opposite.

Possible Solutions

Tiered Leaderboards

e.g. “I’m ranked #17 in my global bracket/league of 100”

Possible problem with tiered leaderboards: You’ll probably jump between different brackets way too much for it to be usable, given a game with more than a few thousand active players.

Possible fixes: a “most improved recently” leaderboard; you’re assigned a new cohort/bracket every month or so based on prev performance, & you stay in that bracket for the rest of the month.

Geographically Scoped Leaderboards

e.g. “I’m ranked #27 in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I’m ranked #516 state-wide, and #21,592 nationally”

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