Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Recently, I decided to move beyond my button-mashing ways and actually try to get good at Tekken 7. It's a tough transition to make—why would I waste time in the lab figuring out frame data and combos when I can frantically run my thumb over all the face buttons and still do sorta good? Especially in a game like Tekken 7, which feels pretty easy to mash out, but is one of the toughest fighting games to pick up as a newbie. I've been on a quest to get good enough to play in tournaments though, and to do that I actually had to try and learn the goddamn game.
I've long been attached to Lucky Chloe—hated by many, loved by weebs like myself. She's not very good, mind you. She regularly places low on tier lists with a huge chunk of her movelist being launch-punishable and easily sidestepped. But she's kinda goofy and a mega-goblin, so I was determined to stick with her.
The problem is, part of getting good is playing against other real people. Fighting ghost battles is all well and good, but nothing can replicate going toe-to-toe with another human. I do not enjoy fighting other humans. Nevertheless, I threw myself into ranked mode determined to come out on the other side a better player.
Online Tekken ranks work in colors, with each color having different stages. These days, you start off in teal rank, before moving onto green rank, then yellow, orange, red, ruler (light purple), and blue. Then you've got the peak: Purple rank and gold rank, which tops off at Tekken God Omega. Really good players can usually get to Tekken God Prime, one rank below the top, with Omega held almost exclusively by professional players.
I had one goal: reach Warrior, the first yellow rank and a milestone for new players. It doesn't sound too difficult, but ranked is pretty damn hellish this late in Tekken 7's lifespan. Frustratingly gimmicky players, smurfs, cheaters, and pluggers—players who disconnect right before they lose, often stopping the win from counting with no repercussions to the plugge—are rife in lower ranks. That's not to say those things don't happen further up the ladder too, but online Tekken can be a truly hair-pulling experience for those just starting out.
Did it suck? Kinda. Frequently eating shit and not quite having enough experience to figure out why was rough. Thankfully, I'm surrounded by wonderful friends who also happen to be ridiculously good at Tekken. Being able to stream my games and receive instant feedback about what I was doing wrong, which moves I should be using, and ways to out-gimmick the gimmicks gave me a leg-up not every low-level player is afforded.
Before I knew it, I was actually… getting better? I clawed my way out of the teal ranks with surprising ease, leaving the seemingly arduous task of battling my way through green rank to Warrior. Learning to play with patience, watching out for punishable moves, and learning a couple of combos saw me fly through matches. Turns out having some semblance of an idea what you're doing actually feels pretty good! Managing to pull off an entire combo without dropping was a victory in itself, but managing to do it while also clinching the win over my opponent was even cooler.
After claiming 59 victories, my promotion match to Warrior was finally upon me. A silly online rank is trivial when you boil it down, but I was nervous to tackle it at last. I was playing well though, and only needed to take three more rounds to finally parade my yellow rank in front of my pals (who are all placed far higher than me, mind you). I played as well as I could, waiting for my moment and trying my best to remember all my inputs.
The match ended, and Lucky Chloe's victory screen appeared. I did it. I bloody did it! I won and was rewarded with the "Promoted to Warrior" graphic emblazoned across my screen. Accompanied by my endlessly supportive friends in Discord to celebrate my achievement, I felt damn good about how far I'd come in mere weeks. Getting good in any game is usually an enjoyable journey, but I've never felt more satisfied than doing it in a fighting game. I've still got a lot to learn, but being able to display my yellow rank felt like the first step to being a better player.
Maybe one day I can join my friends in the orange ranks and beyond, but for now I'm feeling pretty good with where I'm at.