I've seen this sort of thing been done before but I just thought I'd give my own take on it. I wanted to include my own descriptions as well as examples for all the different skill levels. Not just physical skill but also experience and mental skill as well.
Below are the various skill levels and tiers of Quake/ FPS games:
...according to me :)
- This is the bottom level, obviously. It's just like it sounds. New comers to the game, small children, and people eligible for seniors nights. They may or may not possess the desire to become better. Some may just be trying out the game to see what it's like. They probably have no clue that the game can be played competitively and intricacies like strafe jumping are a long way down the road before first learning how to switch weapons.
- These are the people who know how to play the game and are familiar with how things work. However, they lack the skill or experience that others above them possess. Many players in this tier will see what lies above of them and continue to play in order to get better. However some people may never advance beyond this tier. Although they won't get any better they still love the game and will continue to play. More power to em ! Players in this tier may not yet be playing scrims or dueling since they're usually happy in pubs, placing only better than the noobs below them on the server.
- These are the players who have been playing for awhile. They're good at the game and understand more than the basics. They can hit some nice shots and will consistently take the top 3 in a pub, rarely taking number one every now and then. They will play a few scrims or duels but often won't be a difference maker on a team or win most of their duels.
- These are the experienced and skilled players who will consistently take the top of every pub they join. They feel most comfortable there since they can always dominated the "Skilled's" "Player's" and "Noob's". They may scrim or duel more often than pub but when they do scrim/duel they will usually yield only average results, only sometimes having outstanding moments. Only when a player from a tier above outplays them in a pub do they feel confounded that anyone could dominate them. Often accusing them of hacking.
- These are the players who will rarely join a pub. They look for higher skilled opponents in scrims or duels. When they do join a pub they will easily dominate and often be driven out by vote. They probably belong to a clan or team in order to consistently organize their scrims/duels. Although they are far above most players they still have a lot of ground to cover in relation to the top.
- These are the players who dominate amongst the "Competitive’s". They own the online scrim and dueling scene. If they go to a tournament chances are they'll place around 17th-32nd.
- These players will easily handle the "Scrimstar's". Although they won't be making their sole living playing games they are probably part of a sponsored team that will get them to events. You will recognize their names but they're not associated with winning tournaments, usually placing 9th-16th.
- These are the "Pro Gamer's" who consistently place high at tournaments, around 8th-5th place. "Upper Pro's" will safely grab a high money spot at a tournament and occasionally make a run at a title.
- This is the top level of professional play. On any given day one of these players may walk away with a title. They are expected to finish at least top 4 in a tournament. Even though they may play other "Pro Gamer's" it's a sure win for them.
I've tried to keep each tier as separate as possible to illustrate the gaps between tiers however don't assume that just because I listed 10 tiers there aren't levels in between. For instance "Player Z is somewhere between X tier and Y tier".
Also, the tiers are like a pyramid. Each tier gets smaller as they get closer to the top. Just because there are 10 tiers total doesn’t mean they are equal in size. A majority of players will remain around the bases while just a handful will reside higher up.
Bonus! : Legend
- This is the rare upper most tier some pro's may never get to. Even up against a "Title Contender" a "Legend" is expected to win. In their respective games of dominance, names like vo0 and phrases like "gg toxic" come to mind. Anytime a "Legend" doesn't win it's considered an upset.