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Volunteer Moderator

What Difficulty Level Is For You?

I have been playing games, if you want to call it that, ever since I was around 10 years old. I haven't gotten any better at them since I started. Sure I can navigate menus but the ultra difficult levels of gameplay that others look for in most games, is way too much for me.

I get a lot of flack from my friends who just progress through games, unlocking and playing the most difficult settings they can find. These people are way better at games than I could ever be. I can usually get through a game play through at the medium or standard difficulty, but even then I struggle. 

I try on some games to push through when playing multiplayer PVE titles like Helldivers 2, but I am spending most of my time waiting for someone to call in reinforcements. 🤣 It feels great when we succeed, but I usually hold back the team noticably when compared to just about anyone else that could take my place in the party. 

Don't get me wrong I try to play these higher difficulty levels, and the challenge is fun, but I usually end up having to switch back to the middle of the road difficulty to avoid spending the next hour or two thinking of how to beat this boss that keeps scattering what used to be my character across the landscape.

I like a the feeling of accomplishing a nearly impossible goal as much as anyone, but I feel like I have a difficulty cap that is lower than the average gamer. This means my nearly impossible level of difficulty is way lower than someone like my friend that pushed to get to the hardest World Tier in Outriders, and similar games.

How do you feel about playing ultra-crazy-hard difficulty levels in games?

Can you keep up with the hardcore gamers, or do you need to dial it back a bit like myself? 

What do you consider an acceptable difficulty levels in games?

Are you trying to be the best of the best, or are you focused on just experiencing the story elements and relaxing? 

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15 Replies
Volunteer Moderator

I just want to have fun when I am gaming.  If the game is too hard for me (and many are), I give it up and move on.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

For me it depends on the game and the number of difficulty selections or if it's another play through. More often than not I do choose hard mode. 

Big Boss

Thats a tough one. Let me first give some context.

I haven't been a hardcore gamer (or a frequent gamer at all) for about 14 years. Some might say that after I got together, I became soft. And thats.... Just fine by me.

A long time ago, in my twenties, I would't dare playing a game on any setting other than the most difficult one. But those days and my quick reflexes are long gone.

I still play a few games on the hardest, because games nowadays are soft too! Doom 2016 and Eternal are a mere shadow of the Nightmare setting from the Doom 2 from 1995.

Today games have too many hints&clues on how to play a game. It was much more challenging having to shoot or punch every suspicious wall on Doom.

But here we are, however, I can still give my young work colleagues a hard time on CSGO. 

....until I make them play vintage Quake 3 Arena, to make them suffer muahahahahahah




Ok. Time to take the pills.





The Englishman

I'm a Bring 'em on! / Hurt me plenty kind of guy.

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Volunteer Moderator

I like to give it a try, but if I get frustrated enough I switch to one lower difficulty level.

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You would have to play Wolfenstein 3D or Doom to recognize those difficulty levels.

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For most games, I just go with "Normal". Usually that's the most balanced difficulty, and it gives me a good balance for enjoying the game and getting a sufficient challenge. Sometimes I'll toggle down to "Easy" if I feel like I wanna take it slower and have a more chill experience.

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Most important thing for gaming, that I got to learn, is that you need to know how to create your own fun. If you try to have fun replicating other people's methods, it might not work and only cause you to have a bad experience.

So ask yourself what you want from a video game and set the environment accordingly. I used to be the "real gamer" who only played games at the highest difficulty with the most skill based weapons/abilities because any other approach seemed embarrassing. That's because I grew up with an older brother back in the 90s who was also a "real gamer" and so he engraved this idea in my brain.

What I finally realized very recently is that, by doing so I am only ruining the experience for myself. Dying 50 times in one area repeating the same boss over and over again makes you completely forget about the story and the narrative experience designed by the developers for you to explore and experience. This is strictly for single-player games of course. In competitive, multiplayer games you have no choice but to "git gud" essentially.

So my current approach now is to play games at the normal or default difficulty, enjoy the story and the atmosphere and everything the game has to offer with no hurry. I take my time, let it all in and experience it to the fullest. Once I am done with the first run and complete the game, if I crave more and looking for a challenge, I up the difficulty and essentially do a new game+ run. This both keeps the experience enjoyable and fresh but also prolongs the life I can squeeze out of the game.

My latest game was Metro Exodus. I played the game in default difficulty. Enjoyed the amazing graphics, meticulously designed maps and well written characters. I did not die hundred times in a level because I cranked up the difficulty to maximum, ruining the experience. I just experienced the story at a pace suitable for me. When the game was completed, I started a New Game+ at hardcore difficulty with green tapes mutator (tapes you find in the game world that play developer commentary). Because I already knew the ins and outs of the game, hardcore difficulty was a challenge which made things more fun and engaging than before and plus I got the developer's inside as to how the game was created. It was an amazing experience.

If I started the game at hardcore difficulty from the start, I would probably keep dying left and right, get frustrated, rush or "cheese" through difficulty parts and essentially ruin the experience for myself.

So yeah, long story short, learn to create your own fun. Ask yourself what YOU want from the game and play accordingly. And if your friends make fun of you for playing at a lower difficulty, I am sorry but those are some **bleep**ty friends.

This is what I have been trying to do lately. Examples of games that I try at the highest difficulty level first are Outriders, and Diablo, but if I can't get it in ten or less attempts, I knock it down a difficulty level and continue until I can actually get it done. 

You are absolutely right in that everyone has their own experience and shouldn't just try to do what everyone else is doing. It can ruin your experience and leave the game less fun. No one wants that. 

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Ive always been a multiplayer FPS aficionado so you dont really get difficulty levels however i was lucky enough to be picked in one of the recent sweepstakes and received a key code for Islands of Insight. Puzzles are great but ive recently come across some puzzles which are so difficult im banging my head against a brick wall. It doesnt make the game less enjoyable just more challenging, its nice to have a game where you have to use logic and the old grey matter.

Volunteer Moderator

I have to give that a go. I played about an hour of it so far and it is just nice to relax and flex my brain, instead of pumping enemies full of bullets.

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Adept I

I usually play on hard it just depends on the game

Adept II

Depends. First you read on the internet about what the differences are, then make a decision. Some games you want to play unhindered, others you might want to push yourself.

If it feels too easy you up the difficulty. Vice versa. Some games are locked in from the start, such as Ace combat 7, so it's trickier. Game has 20 missions, had to restart the game on normal after trying hard when i reached mission 10. That was a bummer.

Some difficulty levels are more thought out, others are just rushed by developers. Hardest game i ever played was Darkest Dungeon and Pokémon Unbound. Darkest Dungeon actually never got to finish the last missions, while Pokémon Unbound finished on expert.

Only an insane person would play Pokémon Unbound on expert, let alone insane difficulty. Some games are just meant to test you. While others, most of them are directed towards a wider audience.

Volunteer Moderator

Definitely play most things on normal difficulty unless it's Destiny 2 for which I play the harder content. I like to enjoy the story of single player games

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Community Manager

Normal is usually my go-to nowadays. As I get older, I'm looking for more of a relaxed/fun experience when I game. Especially when it comes to single-player games (outside of games like Elden Ring...). I've been guilty of even dropping it down to "Easy" if I want to cruise and enjoy myself.


I keep my "tryhard" modes for multiplayer games with friends 😂.