Sparey: “You Can’t Judge Simulators Against Each Other.”

I have seen my fair share of simracing but I make it very clear when it comes to the Sim Racing Rankings that the name is just a name and does not encompass all of simracing esports. It is why I only focus on Road/Dirt Road as of early 2017. Even within simulators are different metas such as that between road and oval, to the point where my knowledge of styles of racing doesn’t allow me to permit that area on my rankings.

However today, it was made to my attention that Project Cars has decided to try and create a power ranking system that encapsulates all of simracing, and while I like the concept, it doesn’t work.

HOW THE POWER RANKINGS ARE CALCULATED

  • Podium Points are awarded for podium finishes in all esport events from the games listed.
  • Podium Points increase each year (ie.. points for 2013 will be greater than those from 2012, and 2011 etc..). This ensures competitors cannot rest on their past successes and must continue competing in order to remain highly-ranked.
  • Each event then has a “Prestige” value associated with it which is based on prize money, media prominence, community value, and viewership. Eg..

    • The iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series is a long-fought battle over many months which is highly prestigious both within the sim racing community and also gains attention both publicly and within the automotive and motorsport industries
    • The single Formula E Visa Vegas eRace however was a single event yet it gained a huge amount of media attention and had a large prize pool
    • Compared to other series that do not garner the same amount of attention, or value amongst the community or industry
  • Podium Points are then multiplied by the Prestige factor to then give the Rank Points
  • All Rank Points are then normalized to give a Top 40 ranging from 0-100

(All Credit to Project Cars)

Above is the rules for the power rankings that have been available since yesterday and quite simply put, there are a lot of issues with the power rankings.

First and foremost, the format is far too slow. If these power rankings stay the way they are, updates from these rankings would only happen once a year or so and that set in stone nature of the rankings almost defeats the point of the rankings. The whole point of a ranking is that it is used to discern the best, and when you are factoring everything that comes in from say the 2011 iRacing World Championship, it more becomes a hall of fame list mixed in with an attempt at making rankings.

From what I know of rankings, prestige is an important part but most sports rankings which include Football, Tennis, Golf, Snooker, Cricket and many others go off of a yearly or bi-yearly cycle where only results from the last two years apply to a ranking. Giving drivers who have retired or are too busy to race like Atze Kerkhof and Hugo Luis precedence and space in a rankings list like this doesn’t give power to them, in fact it chokes down on those who are already a part of Sim Racing and doesn’t give a platform to shine.

The next point of contention comes from having different simulators involved. While it is a Project Cars list, there is at this stage iRacing events being counted and I expect to see rFactor2, Raceroom and F1 Esports events more prominently featured. But the reality is that simracing has a lot of games where you can decide who is the best racer in the world. Each game has its own physics, scoring system, rules, regulations, capacity and capability. It is far too simple to judge rFactor against iRacing because it is like trying to choose between brie and stilton. While they are both cheese and you may like a cheese better than another cheese, to simply judge on what good cheese is would be ludicrous because it depends on who prefers what.

You can’t judge simulators against each other when the meta’s are different and a driver who could be amazing on F1 2017 or Project Cars but you put them into say iRacing for a race and they won’t be as quick, despite it still being a simulator.

While my rankings lists are based in some respects off of my opinion, I still have criteria in mind when it comes to my rankings such as how many wins has someone had in a month on broadcast, how prestigious were the races, how memorable was the race, and how well did the person or team drive during the event. Ranking everything in simracing is arguably far too difficult because you have to argue is GPVWC more prestigious than Season 2 of Project Cars? It is almost impossible which is why I would much rather have a system in place that measures each simulator for its own talent and creation.

Give every event a prestige ranking and over a span of two years you see who accrues the most points. After those two years, you replace an event with the next event to create a rolling championship rankings set. You can make prestige change depending say in iRacing’s case on SOF, Money, Audience Viewership and many other ways. The important thing though is that you give every simulator its own rankings to work with. It is far too difficult to do everything because of the amount of events on platforms, prestige rating platforms and in the end, bias comes into play somewhere down the line.

Simracing does need rankings, no matter which simulator it is but the way it has to be done is what needs to be put up for debate. While my Sim Racing Rankings are far from perfect, they are more a portal of how I view simracing more rather than a definitive post in the sand. If I decided to make a true statistical rankings, my view on everything would be very different however it is my responsibility only to offer an opinion into what I think a ranking should be, more rather than what is definitive and classed as black and white. There is no prize for any of my rankings except the knowledge that one person has declared this person as the best in the game.

Everything is allowed to be argued and debated. However I think what Project Cars has done is a good thing. If it stayed solely as a Project Cars rankings and focused on its own meta, I would have had no worries. The issues come from naming it the Esports Racing Rankings, which means everything has to be included, and then all the problems arise.

I’m not against rankings, its the foundation the Observer is built on. However there are right and wrong ways to do it, and in my opinion, I like the idea from Project Cars however it is the wrong way to do it.

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