Improved Ranking System ???


But do people then get disillusioned when they reach a certain point and see they can’t progress any further without travelling to US, or numerous major shows? I am seeing that with UK players, players who have lost any kind of caring for their ranking as it’s meaningless to them.

You say these players are the backbone of the WPPR, but how many of them are truly interested? How many of them have registered and filled in their profiles on the website? It’s just an aside to most of them - if that.

The negative impact doesn’t exist as strongly as you would say either. As your mother plays up to her 20 meaningful tournaments her WPPR will continue to rise, thus elevating her above others even if her rating or %ge went down. It would only start to go down after that if she couldn’t replace her poor results, or better people played more and earned more points.
That’s the beauty of taking, and using all 3 metrics, there isn’t one factor that can influence the ranking significantly on its’ own.

As for the higher end player. do the higher players really need the ranking system to prove who’s the best? Is it of any real use other than a bit of a chance of bragging rights? Does anyone put it on their CV?
I run a league, which runs over 6 months. On each night there’s also a high score competition. 1 game to qualify, 1 game final. It’s worth almost nothing in WPPR points. I still enter that each month as it’s good to compete and win. I could not declare my result in those comps if I didn’t win, if I really cared that much about my rating or percentage.
Moving forward, the solution would be even simpler - just don’t pay your $ to be IFPA registered for that comp as you perceive you have nothing to gain. Only pay your $ for comps that YOU believe matter YOU make that choice.


Greg nails it here . . . the high level tangible, valuable thing that the WPPR system offers is to give players a chance to participate in the IFPA World Championship.

Outside of the at-large bids, there are also Country Exemptions up for grabs. If these spots are not going to the “best players” in the country because of the skewed rankings that WPPR provides for these specific countries (UK and Australia) . . . unless that under-ranked player, who has proven to NEVER TRAVEL, would now travel to the IFPA WC, it continues to be a meaningless system.

The only thing it supports at that point is the ego of that player in being declared “the best in the country”, which I guess seems to be a tangible thing for certain players outside of the IFPA WC qualification process.


I don’t know the answer to that . . . but I also don’t know at what ranking number does something become “meaningless”.

There’s 707 players in the UK system, of which 17 are ranked in the top 1000 (2.4%).

There’s 18,360 players current ranked in the US, of which 575 are ranked in the top 1000 (3.1%).

There’s 2561 players in Canada, of which 50 are ranked in the top 1000 (1.9%).

There’s 1959 players in Australia, of which 45 are ranked in the top 1000 (2.3%).

I’m seeing that there’s representation among the top 1000 that’s pretty representative of the size of the competitive pinball community in those countries.

Should there be 100 players from the UK in the top 1000? Is it more about WHERE these players are in the top 1000? Is it only about the top 25? top 50? top 100? top 250?

I can tell you in the US/Canada, specifically with the SCS/PCS, we have more players QUALIFYING FOR FINALS than the UK has TOTAL PLAYERS. There’s absolutely a level of true interest that take SCS qualifying as a tangible goal that they can reach. With 750 spots, I would guess there’s easily a few thousand players that are seriously fighting for those spots.

As for my mom, her first event was October 2015. She’s now played in 24 events. She’s had ONE EVENT not replace her top 20 so far (her December 2015 result, even decayed, still makes her resume). She hasn’t always seen her rank rise (this past month she dropped from 8035th to 8220th), but she still feels she has a sense of control of being able to improve her rank, and I think she’ll feel that way for a long time to come.

I totally understand there’s a group of people that reach the point where they feel like the no longer have that control of being able to move up the WPPR charts, but I think it’s a very small group by comparison to those that still have plenty of room to not have hit their WPPR plateau.

The question is at what rank do we have to worry about that particular player hitting their max WPPR threshold, and the IFPA should be concerned about THAT PLAYER. It goes back to my question #3:

  1. If a player won’t play outside of 100 miles of their location, should a ranking system accommodate that level of non-travel? What if a player doesn’t want to travel 50 miles outside of their home? Should a system accommodate that level? What if I NEVER want to leave my house, but I’m still Zach Sharpe and I’m actually awesome? Should a pinball ranking system somehow still kowtow to my skills because I actually am awesome? Where’s that line of travel/commitment that should be EXPECTED for someone to be ranked the top 50 in the world? Clearly requiring international travel is ‘over the line’, and not leaving your house is ‘below the line’ . . . where’s the line?

If a player maxes out at a ranking of 5000, because they’ve won every local bar tournament over the past 3 years, and refuse to travel outside of that one location . . . at what point is it the system’s responsibility to kowtow to that particular player, and give them some sort of “official respect” out of the system?


Isn’t it a bit of a fallacy to keep comparing the US to the U.K.?

If we’re basing a lot of the skewing to the fact that travel distance and time is a factor, comparing the US to Europe would be a more fair comparison IMHO


I’ve always tried to argue that point to compare the Countries in Europe to that of States in the USA, but there definitely seems to be a level of difference there. I have a 10 hour drive to Pittsburgh twice a year, I can only imagine where 10 hours gets you traveling around Europe. When Zach lived in Germany temporarily he would jump in a car and ended up driving out to Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands while he was out there . . . and he was definitely doing this on a budget. It was his performance at those events that actually solidified his #1 ranking for the end of that year (2013).

If I’m in London, I can go to the Belgian Open by car in 5 hours, I can go to the Dutch Pinball Open and Dutch Pinball Masters by car in 7 hours. Both are shorter trips than Chicago to Pittsburgh. Those three events alone offer some significant WPPR points . . . certainly Cayle can attest to that :slight_smile:


I heard I might be better than someone named Peter, who I’ve never met or played against and probably never will. Can someone confirm this for me? Because if I’m better than him, I think I’ll retire from pinball a satisfied man.


The examples @WWJ gave comparing tournament values in US vs UK was actually very enlightening and got me thinking about an issue that might be the root of all of the hubub: WPPR Economy.

In the US, the WPPR economy is alive and well. There are plenty of high ranked players, thus new tournaments that happen are also worth a lot, which continue to spread more points around, feeding the cycle. In “developing WPPR countries”, there aren’t enough WPPRs to go around, so there is virtually no way to ever improve your WPPR ranking no matter how good you are. That is, UNLESS you travel to US and start winning events there, then go back to your home country and “spread” the WPPRs around (because you’re now ranked higher, tournaments you attend should now be worth a little bit more).

The problem is it is very difficult to get to this critical mass in the economy where a country becomes WPPR self-sustainable. Until enough people travel to improve their rank, nobody in the country can improve their rank, no matter how good they are.

Enter the “25 base value” system of years ago.
This actually provided a nice initial seed to WPPR economies everywhere. The US used it for years to help seed some of the rankings of the best players. In other countries, pinball might not have been as popular years ago. Now that pinball is becoming popular in other countries, they ARE at an objective disadvantage to getting WPPR points due to the change in the system that doesn’t have base WPPRs to seed their economy.

Now, is this objective WPPR economy disadvantage a bad thing? That is the question we should be asking (and are asking). Unfortunately, I think the answer is: the disadvantage is necessary due to the nature of the WPPR system. The disadvantage can also be overcome by traveling to the US, as I mentioned earlier, so it is not strictly a ‘hard lock’.

I’m not sure how you remove the WPPR economy disadvantage without completely breaking the system we have in place.


Maybe the current imbalance will shift toward evening out in 2018 and beyond when discerning North American players pick and choose their $1FPA events and the rest of the world continues enjoying free WPPRs.


That is certainly one of the positive-ish consequences of the $1 endorsement fee.


Daniele Acciari --> Ranked 4th, 4 events out of his top 20 are from the US
Mats Runsten --> Ranked 9th, 3 events out of his top 20 are from the US
Julio Vicario Soriano --> Ranked 10th, been to the USA ONE TIME in his life (for IFPAPA week in 2016)
Franck Bona --> Ranked 20th, 0 USA events on his top 20
Marcus Hugosson --> Ranked 22nd, 2 events out of his top 20 are from the US.

Julio probably stands out as the biggest contradiction to your statement Raymond. His resume consists of events in Denmark, Spain, Hungary, Belgium, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden and his one USA trip.

EUROPE in ‘totality’ (I haven’t used that word enough in the last 24 hours) is ripe with enough Whoppertunities for players to rise up in the rankings without ever having to set foot on US soil. You can pull the US events out of any of those top guys and replace them with the ‘next best finishing Euro events’ and they would in approximately the same position.

The WPPR economy isn’t alive and well in the US . . . it’s alive and well in AREAS of the US. Go ask Dan Stephney out in North Dakota how his WPPR economy is doing for him ( I got to meet Dan at Nationals last year, and he was a HIGHLY SKILLED PLAYER. There’s been FIVE TOURNAMENTS EVER in North Dakota, and he won 4 of them, including their State Championship. I’m sure he gets nothing out of being ranked “4570th in the world”.

I would hazard a guess that players in the UK have far greater Whoppertunities than Dan does out in North Dakota . . . How do we get Dan the respect he deserves?? :slight_smile:


Can’t wait for the Wretched Refuse Tournament to happen.


Oh. I was under the impression that there were not opportunities for points like this, just going off of what people in the thread were saying.

Dem hard facts yo



I know Peter Watt and I’m sure he’d be flattered about all this talk about him. I also think he’d be a bit horrified that everyone is casually throwing around the presumed fact that he’s not only the best in Australia, but as good as anyone in the world! He’s a very humble man and one of the kindest guys in the pinball community. He’s also in ill-health and doesn’t travel much outside his home state / competitions. He had to miss the latest Brisbane Masters because of this even though it was pretty local to him.

Peter is in fact an example of the ‘reaping the rewards of a thriving local scene’ that is being used as a negative accusation to the USA folks - Queensland (the Australian state in question for those who don’t know Australian states) is booming and you can easily fly up the country ranks by competing there and only there. You can see that in a number of Queensland players who have started to take over the country rankings.

However, Peter is legitimately one of the best players in the country. Is he the best? It’s kind of hard to say as he doesn’t travel too much to the ‘majors’ in the country. The ones he has travelled to he has done well, but not better than any of the other top contenders - Richard Rhodes, Paul Jones, Steve Edwards, Robert Macauley.

Anyway, I just wanted to make the point that I doubt Peter would enjoy us waxing lyrical about him being possibly the best player in the world when I doubt he feels even slightly in agreement with that. The Australian scene has a lot of great players and maybe one day that will be proven on the international stage. We have yet to have a good result overseas so perhaps the ranking system is as accurate as it gets?


I don’t think anyone suggested that he’s the best player in the world. What was suggested is that his ranking is lower than it would be if he could compete in the US. I believe the same is true for any of other top few players in Australia.


I’m one of those players who does not travel to play. So I am WPPR bound by whatever events and points are available in my state.

I feel my ranking amongst my peers in the state is more accurate than my world ranking, but I don’t think there is any reasonable way to adjust the world ranking system to gauge where people like me who only play within a limited distance of home should really be.

I just like playing competitive pinball when I can and enjoy competing against others when they come to visit my home state at events like Free Play Florida :slight_smile:


The situation is really that most countries in Europe are not much bigger than the size of ONE STATE in the USA. Going to tournements in europe is SO MUCH easier than going to tournaments around the usa.


Well there you go, here endeth the lesson.

Soooo many players I’ve spoken to have moaned about how much easier it is for US players to move up the rankings because of the number of tournaments in their country, where as we have to travel all around Europe to compete to get any points.

Well there you go, straight from the horses mouth


I think the whole point I was trying to make has been lost in the age old argument about whether there are more points WPPR points available in certain areas and whether that gives an unfair advantage to people who can attend more competitions.
It’s clear that with the current system the more comps you play the more potential you have for increasing your WPPR points - therefore your ranking under the achievement based ranking which is currently used. That is not the debate I was trying to have.

It was whether there is a better way to rank players based on skill rather than achievement.

The debate has seemed to centre on Peter, (which is my fault for being lazy and picking him and clouding the issue by picking a non US player it seems). There are many US players whose ranking would similarly improve, BUT - it’s not just about people being lower ranked than they could be, it’s about players being higher ranked than they could/should be purely by turning up to many comps and finishing mid table without ever winning anything.

I’m not going to name those players - as it’s not a debate about individuals it’s about the ranking system as a whole. It would take anyone interested seconds to look at the spreadsheets and see the largest variances.

Is there a desire to have a more skill based ranking system, or are the majority content with the current achievement based system? Is there the possibility for both systems, or is that just getting silly?

I wasn’t even suggesting that any of the other 3 options would be used in the future if it were to change to a skill based ranking, just questioning if it should be looked at.

At the end of the day the ranking system is an indicator at the best of times, it’s what it is an indicator of I was questioning?


I don’t think it is the right time for the ranking system to shift in the way you have proposed.

In a world where “Jimbo’s funfest leftover 420 tailgate party phat pin-bong rips” tournament counts towards a world ranking, and a world where there are not consistent rules applied to events, I don’t feel that efficiency and rating should be given the weight proposed here.

I think the current landscape works well to always encourage players to participate in most any event for the most part.

I don’t think competitive pinball is ready for a shift that makes some players (who care) think twice about going to a tournament because if they don’t do well, they “damage” their ranking.