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Rating the Ratings in WWE 2K17

At its core, WWE 2K17 is a fighting game.

When discussing the fighting game genre, WWE 2K isn’t the first series to come to mind for most people. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom, Tekken, and others are at the forefront. You can draw many differences between these and 2K, but the one we are going to focus on today is ratings.

What do we make of a fighting game that uses player ratings? Die-hard Mortal Kombat fans no doubt have their favorite fighter. Some might choose Scorpion while others are fans of Liu Kang, but these preferences are based more on what moves, combos and fatalities each fighter has.

Wrestling games used to operate the same way. Wrestlers were not given overall ratings, so character selection was based more on what you were feeling at the time. So if you wanted to take on The Undertaker with Spike Dudley, you didn’t feel at a huge disadvantage.

But this has changed in recent years. Even though you could (as I did) argue that WWE 2K is more of a fighting game, it’s typically lumped in with the other sports games, almost all of which focus heavily on ratings. NBA 2K and Madden, for example, promote ratings updates when they are released to users.

It should then come as no surprise that WWE 2K has followed this trend. And although they are not yet at the advanced stage of weekly roster updates, ratings have played a part for the past few years. So you can play as Simon Gotch, if you wish, just don’t expect to have the same luck against John Cena that you might have against Konnor from the Ascension.

As a huge fan of the NBA 2K series, one of my favorite things to monitor in the weeks prior to launch is the slow release of ratings info. It’s fun look at player ratings as we each make independent judgments about their accuracy. So what if we took that same approach to WWE 2K17, with the obvious caveat that not everyone will value each wrestler the same?

For example, I think John Cena at 93 makes a lot of sense relative to what the rest of the roster is rated. But as wrestling fans well know, there are plenty of Cena haters out there, and some of them might rate Cena in the low 80s out of spite -- or even worse, depending on the level of hate.

But, again, the question is not only if Cena’s rating is accurate, but whether he’s properly ranked among the rest of the main roster. Considering that only Brock Lesnar (95) is rated higher, while two others (Seth Rollins and the Undertaker) are rated the same, I’d argue that, yes, Cena is properly rated.

Main Roster

So let’s first take a look at the WWE 2K17 main roster ratings as it pertains to single competitors. To make this as universally applicable as possible, I will primarily consider how the wrestler is currently portrayed on WWE TV, which is a fancy way of saying I am considering not only their ability in the ring and on the mic, but also how strong they look within WWE booking. This segues perfectly into our first example:

Cesaro (88). He happens to be one of my personal favorites to watch today. I would argue he’s one of the best in the ring in WWE today. His mic work isn’t the strongest, but it’s above average at worst. If I were drawing up the ratings based on my personal biases alone, he would most likely make the top five. That said, the way he’s presented on Raw has varied greatly over the past few years -- perhaps greater than any superstar, other than maybe Dolph Ziggler.

He’s gone from world title matches all the way to dark matches, and everything in between. His rating here clearly reflects a time when he was more towards the top of the card, as opposed to floundering in an odd pairing with Sheamus that, to be fair, has kept me entertained far longer than I thought it would.

But consider who he’s either tied with or rated higher than: Finn Balor, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt. Now, again, do I think he’s on that level? Without question. But based on current WWE programming, that’s a touch too high for the King of Swing.

Braun Strowman (78). Continuing my point from Cesaro, you could argue that these two guys’ ratings should be flipped based on the march up to WrestleMania. Cesaro will be lucky to get on the pre-show, while Strowman has rubbed elbows with the top of the card for the past few months.

Again, consider all of the wrestlers either tied with or rated better than Braun: Hideo Itami (NXT), Neville (205 Live), and Apollo Crews (only recently starting to get camera time). All three of those guys are phenomenal workers capable of five-star matches, but they don’t have nearly the same clout as Strowman.

Dolph Ziggler (85). Is there anyone going in WWE today that is more difficult to rate than Dolph Ziggler? Similar to Cesaro in terms of being relegated to dark matches, he’s also been on the other side of the spectrum with a world title win. Given his up and down nature on WWE programming, 85 feels just about right for him, tied with Big E and The Miz. And there’s a legitimate argument for everyone who is rated higher than he is.

For the rest of the main roster, for the most part, the ratings make sense. People you’d expect to see at the bottom (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) are at the bottom, and people you’d expect to see at the top (Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles) are at the top. You can argue a few points here and there to get the rankings to reflect how you currently see the WWE product, but kudos to WWE 2K17 for their accuracy in this key area.

Legends

The Legends on the roster are a whole different story. The debate about ratings for these guys is even more complicated. Some wrestlers have a few different versions, while most have just one. So we have Undertaker in 1991 (91) vs. JBL (87). The Undertaker’s rating makes sense since he’s always been near the top of the card, including in 1991. JBL, however, was near the top of the card for the twilight of his career. So although it’s clear that 2K is rating him based on his years in the world title picture, it makes you wonder what exactly they based their ratings on for the majority of Legends who have just one version in the game.

Which leads us to perhaps the most head-scratching rating blunder in the game: Andre the Giant at 80.

E-I-G-H-T-Y

Now, even if we acknowledge that Andre’s most impressive work was in the WWWF (yes, an extra W) and prior, and that most modern fans only remember the Andre who could barely move in the ring, 80 is shockingly low. I would exceed the word limit for this column if I listed all of the people who are rated higher. In fact, only three -- THREE! -- Legends are rated lower (Brian Pillman is tied).

But here are some of the more egregious errors: Typhoon, Earthquake and Jim Neidhart are all rated higher (81) than Andre the Giant.

Right. No. Just… no.

The rest of the Legends, however, make sense. You could argue that Chris Jericho in 2001 (92) is rated a bit too high (not for lack of ability, but for poor booking). You could argue that Ric Flair (91) should be number one instead of just top 10. And you could argue that Daniel Bryan’s run at the top was too short to justify him being rated the same as Shawn Michaels (89) and higher than Sting (87).

But that would just be nitpicking. And, really, that’s what these examples were. Because while it’s fun to debate with each other over whose favorite wrestler should be rated higher, and although there are a few head scratchers on this list, WWE 2K17 largely gets it right.

Women's Division

The women's division feels solid as well. Legends Alundra Blayze, Lita, and Trish Stratus each share the highest rating in the game (87), with current superstars Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley just a notch below (86). The rest of the list makes a lot of sense, and if there’s one criticism you can make, it’s that there isn’t as much disparity among the women as there is among the men. But, to be fair, there are far more male wrestlers in the game than there are female wrestlers.

What about you guys? Do you think the ratings in WWE 2K17 are accurate for the most part? Or do you notice some big errors? Let us know in the comments!


Member Comments
# 1 DBMcGee3 @ 02/22/17 08:21 AM
Young Sting at an 87 is a travesty. That guy was miles better than the Ultimate Warrior.
 
# 2 hall31 @ 02/22/17 08:30 AM
Just like not getting great pushes when they finally came over, Sting and other WCW wrestlers are casualties of not being on the WWF brand in the 90's. A real shame it even affects their game ratings.
 
# 3 PeoplesChampGB @ 02/22/17 08:39 AM
I wouldn't say the ratings are the problem. I would say the actual weight of the ratings which formulate the overall are the problem.

For instance, who cares if Big Show is an 80 while Zach Ryder is an 81. What would really matter is Big Show's strength/grapple damage rating (which should be high) against Zach Ryder's speed and striking rating (my perfect wrestling game would also have bans on moves that would be impossible to do.)

Just telling me that Big Show is an 80 OVR and Zach Ryder is an 81 doesn't justify the label of disservice to Big Show. Look at the individual ratings that make up the overall and justify it. Then we can have a discussion.
 
# 4 DC @ 02/22/17 08:47 AM
The issue is there is basically NO variance from SuperStar to Mid-Carder. There needs to be more of a gap between the best and the rest.

It is that simple

Unlike the NBA, there is no need for an OverAll rating because there aren't Trades and rotations in the WWE game.

It would be cool if you saw the profile the same way the NBA side shows Star Ratings for certain skill areas.

For example

Rey Mysterio Jr
Speed: *****
Agility: *****
Flying: *****

Hiroshi Tanahashi
Technique: *****
IQ: *****
Flying: ***

This should be the way WWE athletes are presented.
 
# 5 Blackwood Bully @ 02/22/17 12:24 PM
I usually do NJPW universe and I always edit the wrestlers to where I think they should be. It takes a while to do so, but it's worth it as the Universe is a lot more realistic when it's done.
 
# 6 nhthelegend @ 02/22/17 02:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeoplesChampGB
I wouldn't say the ratings are the problem. I would say the actual weight of the ratings which formulate the overall are the problem.

For instance, who cares if Big Show is an 80 while Zach Ryder is an 81. What would really matter is Big Show's strength/grapple damage rating (which should be high) against Zach Ryder's speed and striking rating (my perfect wrestling game would also have bans on moves that would be impossible to do.)

Just telling me that Big Show is an 80 OVR and Zach Ryder is an 81 doesn't justify the label of disservice to Big Show. Look at the individual ratings that make up the overall and justify it. Then we can have a discussion.
Yeah this is on point. Andre is rated an 80 because he is slow as **** and very immobile. However, his strength and power ratings are through the roof. He is one-dimensional which hurts his overall, but the 80 rating is a bit of a misnomer when compared to a jobber who's at a 78 overall because they are middling in all facets.

There could definitely be a better way to reflect these things though, perhaps akin to what DC suggested in his post ^^^
 
# 7 BAFL99 @ 02/22/17 02:49 PM
How about a stable Universe mode that makes sense and is fun to play? Then we can talk ratings.
 
# 8 woodjer @ 02/22/17 03:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhthelegend
Yeah this is on point. Andre is rated an 80 because he is slow as **** and very immobile. However, his strength and power ratings are through the roof. He is one-dimensional which hurts his overall, but the 80 rating is a bit of a misnomer when compared to a jobber who's at a 78 overall because they are middling in all facets.

There could definitely be a better way to reflect these things though, perhaps akin to what DC suggested in his post ^^^
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeoplesChampGB
I wouldn't say the ratings are the problem. I would say the actual weight of the ratings which formulate the overall are the problem.

For instance, who cares if Big Show is an 80 while Zach Ryder is an 81. What would really matter is Big Show's strength/grapple damage rating (which should be high) against Zach Ryder's speed and striking rating (my perfect wrestling game would also have bans on moves that would be impossible to do.)

Just telling me that Big Show is an 80 OVR and Zach Ryder is an 81 doesn't justify the label of disservice to Big Show. Look at the individual ratings that make up the overall and justify it. Then we can have a discussion.
These are both completely correct. Like DC mentions, maybe get rid of the Overall rating altogether since it can be misleading since it doesn't really reflect style/moves. Andre may have a really low speed rating but if most/all of his moves don't use that, should it really drag his overall down that much?

Also, I'll put a plug in here for Hyperballer's ratings system. People are always asking him to explain the overall rating for superstars but it's really more about emphasizing strengths/weaknesses for the appropriate move types. I used it for last year and found myself having to think more about what moves I was using, if/when I wanted to try that reversal, and how I could time my finisher for when the other guy didn't have a reversal ready. As a result, the matches felt like they had a reasonable flow and length to them. It takes a while to implement them all but the quality of the results was outstanding. I just picked up 2k17 so I can't speak to how well they work this year but he puts WAY too much time into it for me to expect anything less than last year.
 
# 9 DBMcGee3 @ 02/23/17 08:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodjer
These are both completely correct. Like DC mentions, maybe get rid of the Overall rating altogether since it can be misleading since it doesn't really reflect style/moves. Andre may have a really low speed rating but if most/all of his moves don't use that, should it really drag his overall down that much?

Also, I'll put a plug in here for Hyperballer's ratings system. People are always asking him to explain the overall rating for superstars but it's really more about emphasizing strengths/weaknesses for the appropriate move types. I used it for last year and found myself having to think more about what moves I was using, if/when I wanted to try that reversal, and how I could time my finisher for when the other guy didn't have a reversal ready. As a result, the matches felt like they had a reasonable flow and length to them. It takes a while to implement them all but the quality of the results was outstanding. I just picked up 2k17 so I can't speak to how well they work this year but he puts WAY too much time into it for me to expect anything less than last year.
Yeah, I just got turned onto Hyperballer's speadsheet. It's a daunting task to enter it all in, considering my gaming time is limited, but it sounds like what I want the game to reflect, which is a more distinct variation in the styles and abilities of the superstars.

Kinda figured I would choose 5 or 10 wrestlers of various styles and abilities and enter them first, so I can do some testing and see if it' worth my time to do the whole roster. I want to see how a squash match plays vs. a main event, and I want the right guys to be winning matches in my Universe when I simulate. Nothing ruins the immersion quite like having Jim Neidhart get a clean pin on Hulk Hogan.
 
# 10 EJordan23 @ 03/03/17 10:38 PM
Overalls should be gotten rid of. Even with that said, some of the ratings are horrible.
 
# 11 BlueAngels98 @ 03/10/17 10:38 AM
I'd personally get rid of Overalls also. It really is misleading
 
# 12 Spartan Warrior @ 03/17/17 12:45 AM
Just started messing with ratings tonight and getting better matches. Wrestled Bo Dallas as Goldberg and utterly destroyed him, beat him in three minutes after he barely got any offense in. Then did Bret Hart vs. Bo Dallas, Bo got in a little bit of offense but I was able to tap him out with the Sharpshooter in five minutes or so. And he quit the first time I got him in the Sharpshooter, which was a nice change.

Then I did Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid. It was a competitive match, Kid got some shots in, blocked the Sharpshooter (stealing my finish and hitting me with a Superkick finisher in the process). I kicked out, built back to special, got him in the Sharpshooter but he got out. Pinned him shortly thereafter with a cradle.

Not making huge changes to the ratings, mostly lowering strike and grapple power (amount depends on how big and powerful a guy is) and for lower card guys really reducing the amount of damage they can take.
 
# 13 Blackwood Bully @ 04/20/17 07:31 PM
Again, consider all of the wrestlers either tied with or rated better than Braun: Hideo Itami (NXT), Neville (205 Live), and Apollo Crews (only recently starting to get camera time). All three of those guys are phenomenal workers capable of five-star matches, but they don’t have nearly the same clout as Strowman.

You do know that Kenta has no "clout" in his thumbnail than Braun does in his entire body.
 
# 14 Rebel10 @ 05/01/17 03:26 PM
Andre is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and it's generally agreed upon that if he wanted to kill you in the ring, he could, and there'd be nothing anybody could do about it. But, to be fair, from 1987 and on, Andre was booked mid-card to upper and lost almost every big match he was in. He was booked as an unstoppable fan favorite giant from 1975 - 1986, but after his 2 or 3 year run with Hogan, Andre was a mid-card stable guy who was usually used as light enforcement and to put over rising talent. It's tough to rate him highly because for most of his WWF career, he lost his major matches, and in the matches he won as a heel it usually had to do with something dastardly that Heenan, Debiase, or another manager would do for him.

They should get rid of the visible overall rating because it doesn't make sense in a work. The wrestlers should be broken down by style and then have specific areas:

- Style (not a rating number, but a performance style)

Rating Numbers/Ratings:

- Strength - Ability to lift heavy guys
- Power - Ability to deal damage
- Tactician - Ability to deal damage with holds/submissions
- Stamina - Ability to maintain energy through a match, not get tired
- Recovery - Ability to get up more quickly after an attack, recoup energy, reverse moves, break pins, etc
- Speed - Ability to move around the ring
- Agility - Ability to chain moves quicker, perform specific moves, or do things like climb the turnbuckle, etc

And I'm sure there's others, if we're purely talking booked in-ring abilities those are just the ones I'm thinking of right now.

This way, you can have a guy like Wrestlemania-era Andre (1985 - 1992) have incredible power, incredible strength, but have virtually no stamina, very little recovery, and little agility and speed. This would mean that another guy could go over him who is more balanced, even if he has less power and strength.

Ultimately, because wrestling is a work and videogames (usually) treat it like a shoot, it's going to be problematic in some areas. For instance, if it's a simulation then you should never have 1994 Razor Ramon (86 or whatever) be defeated by 1994 1-2-3 Kid (65 or something, when Waltman was a jobber), yet that very famously happened as a way to put over 1-2-3 Kid and create a solid feud for the two. Pro wrestling is not a simulation, of course, and some guys should be booked better than other guys, so you almost need something like a "Booking rating" or something. Not that 2K should do this because it makes no sense given that they usually try to present their wrestling game as a simulation, which is ridiculous, but that's a digression. Otherwise, you can look at a guy like 1985-1991 Hogan and say... He has a lot of strength (slammed Andre, did press slams and power moves to lesser guys), but does not have a lot of power (none of his moves have ever been sold as devastating power moves, compared to a guy like say Lesnar or even 1995 Diesel), has great recovery (it's the essence of his character to get beaten up for a whole match and then win in 60 seconds with 3 moves), has no tactical ability, has average speed. These attributes shouldn't add up to a guy who is a world beater, and yet, for a 7 year run, Hogan lost cleanly with his shoulders on the mat only once or twice... So, obviously, there's an issue with using attributes in any wrestling game to determine the outcome of a match.
 
# 15 DC @ 05/22/17 01:53 PM
The reason why I WOULD be in favor of erasing overalls is because wrestling is based on styles. Each wrestler already has ratings in each skill category, no need for an overall honestly.

It isn't like an Overall is needed like it is in a game like NBA 2K where the CPU uses the overall to set rotations.

Outside of WWE Wrestling games, I never see overall ratings
 
# 16 Steven547 @ 05/22/17 05:05 PM
To me, the big thing I would like to see changed next year is to allow ALL ratings to be 1 - 100. Why they stop it at 30 is confusing. That means we lose 30 pts towards creating better differentials between wrestlers. Wrestling is scripted as to who wins. Video games are not. So we need that ability to "create" our own script in a way.

And yes, we can eliminate the overalls. They are misleading. I did my own ratings last year (like Hyperballer did for this year), and it can be a tedious task. Just because a wrestler is a 70 OVR, doesn't mean he is terrible.

But I also feel the sliders should not affect the ratings like they do. A wrestlers ability should be solely based on his ratings. The sliders should just be for things like volume, entrance effects on/off, etc. Things that are non-wrestler related. I feel these interfere with the ratings. We have reversal sliders, but also have wrestler reversal ratings. I feel these things cancel each other out. Replace the finishing slider with a finisher rating.
 
# 17 Hyperballer21 @ 05/22/17 06:01 PM
I also agree to there being no restrictions to attribute floors or caps. It should be 1 - 100 for ALL superstars.

Also, some of the attributes themselves are too vague. The best example is Ariel Offense and Ariel Reversals. The both should have both STANDING and GROUND subcategories.

ARIEL REVERSALS: For example, Someone like the Big Show would have low Ground Ariel Reversal since he does not quick enough to roll out of the way or put his knees out that often. However, he would have high Standing Ariel Reversal since he can catch/block/swat most wrestlers while they are airborne with ease. A smaller wrestler may be the exact opposite.

ARIEL OFFENSE (STAND VS GROUND): This would determine not only the damage of these moves but the frequency/willingness to use this move. Just because Sheamus does a diving shoulder block does not mean the generic elbow drop everyone has should have the same effect.
 

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