Having the only multiplayer provided be ranked while simultaneously locking skills and upgrades behind significant playtime is unfair to newer players as they are often matched with players who simply have more unlocks. This also skewers the leaderboard as the best way to gain elo is to farm newer players. I have played many of those in the top 10 and while some of them are good players many are clearly being artificially boosted by a combination of bad balance and the seemingly nonfunctional matchmaking that will pair newer players with them for them to beat with rock paper scissors fleets that hard counter the conventional builds a new to intermediate player would bring. Having the leaderboard be faction based without providing any reference to whether it is 1v1, 2v2 or premade or not. Those at the top have accumulated so much elo, many of them by premade stacking 2v2s with lvl 25 plus fleets, that they simply won't be toppled even by someone with a 99% winrate unless they grind an absurd amount of games.
Some of the best builds are reliant on locked upgrades, the current system is extremely punishing for newer players and has no business being in the ranked mode.