Leagues - The leaderboard system

Developers Nomi Lakkala and Pennina Muiruri discuss Metaplay’s season-based leaderboard system Leagues, and why it’s essential for building thriving game communities.

Today’s top-grossing games are driven by social features, particularly leaderboards, or Leagues as we've branded them in the Metaplay LiveOps Dashboard. These are essential in both collaborative and cooperative online gaming, fostering real-life communities beyond the game itself. Creating incentives for players to play above and beyond just engaging with the game is the cornerstone of a modern retention strategy, and a key driver of LTV.

Here, we introduce the new Metaplay feature, and profile the people who have brought it to life in the Metaplay SDK. 

Built by expert developers

Nomi - A gamer from the start

From practically being born with a console in her hands, Nomi Lakkala embarked on her journey as a game programmer at the young age of 12. She began by learning programming from a Java book and YouTube videos, eventually progressing to creating her own game engines.

Today she stands as one of the brilliant minds behind the Metaplay SDK. Her impressive resume boasts a diverse set of skills including full stack development, game programming, entrepreneurship and cybersecurity, and more.

Pennina - From industrial management to UI/UX

Pennina Muiruri started her career by delving into studies focused on production development and industrial management. Her passion for crafting seamless processes and digital services led her to actively participate in hackathons, where she discovered her enthusiasm for UI/UX development.

Over the years to come she studied full stack development and gained valuable experience from doing frontend and dashboard projects for multiple other companies. She soon became an integral part of Metaplay’s dashboard team, and now focuses on making sure that the new features we bring to the Metaplay LiveOps Dashboard look and feel amazing.


Leagues - Engaging leaderboards

Leagues are a season-based leaderboard system that match players against opponents of the same rank, allowing competition, progression, and rewards depending on in-game performance.

Four key concepts


The Leagues feature is made up of four key concepts. League is the name of a single competition system with its own players, seasons and rules. Season is the limited period of time during which a single league round is contested. Rank is the level the participant is playing at. A higher rank implies a higher competition performance. Division is a bucket of players grouped together for a single season. Each division has a specific rank level.

Leagues and leaderboards for collaborative and competitive online gameplay


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Leagues allow players to interact with each other within the same game, climb the ranks and advance in the divisions, sparking a feeling of community. Giving rewards at the end of a season based on division performance is also a great way to motivate competitive players. When players are able to form alliances, and even avenge each other throughout the game, it creates an emotional bond that encourages them to return to the game time and time again in order to play with their friends, and compete against their enemies.


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Competitive mismatch is a key reason for churn. Skilled players lose interest in a game when they don't find it challenging enough. Similarly, it's no fun for beginners to compete against players who are much more skilled than they are. By matching players based on experience, rank or even IAP spend, you’re able to create a more captivating game for everyone.


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Giving your players a sense of digital belonging in the game is vital for retention. By using the Leagues feature, you can build communities where players can interact with each other based on common experiences and shared game traits.

Final thoughts

Summarizing Leagues: A key retention and LTV driver

Finding new ways to build strong communities and getting your players to collaborate with one another - and compete against each other - are becoming increasingly important factors for player retention. Building these shared experiences around season-based leaderboard systems is a powerful tool for giving your players a reason to come back for more. By implementing Leagues you're sure to find new levels of player engagement, boosted retention, and improved LTV.

Read more about Leagues and how to implement them in the Metaplay SDK.