Not unlike Battlefield Premium or Call of Duty Elite, World Tekken Federation (WTF) mode is a premium online community service that will act as a hub for a host of features including stat tracking, clans, and social networking integration.
At PAX Prime 2012, we got a look at all the goodies on offer, and they are shaping up nicely to please Tekken fans. Better yet, all of this stuff is free of charge.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
At the core of the Federation is Tekken Tag 2's online suite. It is where all of your data and activity related to Federation will be be pulled from. You have your standard suite of player and ranked matches, and they work as expected in any title. One addition in Tag 2, though, is a sort of practice mode that players can enter in while waiting for a match to load.
Basically, whenever you are waiting for an online match to start, players spar with a training dummy (Mokujin of series fame) instead of being treated to a static loading screen. Apart from being a clever way to hide loading times, this could potentially offer the chance to practice combos quickly, seeing what will and won't work online as well as it will offline. Lag wasn't an issue in the match we played, however, and shouldn't be much of one at launch either. Since Tekken Tag 2 uses the same netcode as SoulCalibur V, expect the same buttery smooth matches.
Once you've completed a match, all of the data from it is loaded onto World Tekken Federation's website, where you can view it for all the breakdowns. The crux of the experience lays in the player card. Acting as a snapshot of any given user, it's here that you will find the bevy of stats to assist your game. There are your standard win/loss ratios, but even here it goes deeper, tracking exactly what kind of win you got. Was it a standard win or double knock out? Did you perfect your opponent, or were you left standing with only a barely visible pixel left in you health meter?
Deeper than that, your player card shows your most used characters, most used teams, and win/loss ratios for both individual characters and teams.
Apart from this more general information, specific combat info is recorded as well. With the help of ex-pro player Filthy Rich, Namco is compiling an impressive amount of combat data. If you're not to sure where you're highest combo count is, Federation logs that for each match, as well as damage given from combos and juggles versus total damage output. In my match, I could see that while my damage output was very high, my combo/non-combo damage output was disproportionally leaning towards single hits.
Conversely, you can see how much damage you received from combos during a match, compared with damaged received from single hits. Deeper still, Federation tracks the amount of health your tagged-out characters recovered, as well as what percentage of strikes (highs, lows, mids) your character took the most damage from. The latter of these two is one of the more eye-opening features in Federation.
While I'm not an amazing player by any means, I do consider myself reasonably well at predicting mix ups between high and low strikes. So I was definitely surprised to see that over 90% of low attacks my opponent threw were successful. Player cards can also link to both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network accounts to track, but not combine, your performance across both platforms.
Outside of the stat tracking, there is a social element to World Tekken Federation with its team system. Functionally similar to a clan or guild, teams are, well, teams that you can form with other players to connect, battle with other teams, and otherwise expand your online experience. Teams in Tekken Tag 2 are more organized than what you might see in other fighting games.
Through Tekken Federation, teams can create a profile, send messages to another, and have a more unified, organized feel to them. Team leaders are integral to the identity of the team itself to, as they hold the sole power to recruit players, remove players, and customize the team's profile and emblem. There is also a ranking system tied to each team, with individual member's performance in ranked matches contributing to a combined rank that shows on the Federation leaderboards.
It's honestly about time to that a feature like this make its way into a fighting game. Thinking back to the obscene amount of time I sunk into playing with clans in last year's Mortal Kombat, a feature similar to this would have cut down on the ridiculous levels of petty infighting, as one player claims they are the clan leader, then another goes and says he's the best and should be in charge, followed by someone else going and taking it upon themselves to recruit new members, etc. Anyone who's been in a clan -- fighting games or otherwise -- can attest to this type of drama.
Outside of the social element with the teams, there is actual social network integration with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. That is all well and good, but there is the surprising, if not glaring, omission of Twitch.tv integration. Considering how integral live streaming has become to the fighting game community, and eSports in general, it's disappointing that it won't be launching with Tekken Federation. That said, Namco has stated that they are looking into adding support for Twitch.
In any event, what will be launching with World Tekken Federation is awesome. Federation offers a bevy of stats for hardcore players to lovingly pour over and still breaks it down simply enough for more casual players to get useful information for themselves, allowing further ways for good players to become great, and great players to become elite.
Sure, this sort of service in not a novel concept, as Federation takes more than a few cues from Call of Duty Elite service and Battlefield 3 Premium. But those aren't free, and this is.