Try hard - are you one?

OsaX Nymloth

Community Contributor
Some of us are really competetive - want best scores, best gear, best possible rank, optimize builds.
Some are just "dirty casuals" - laid back, chill and nothing to worry about.
Some would like to try being competetive, but it's scares them, makes anxious.
Some don't admit even to themselves they enjoy a bit of casual match3 or puzzle game from time to time.

Which one are you? What's your opinion on the topic of "try harding"? Which games did you try hard and succeeded? How many times you failed?

Myself I would say I am between both worlds. While some people may point at me and say "you got master 1 rank in StarCraft 2, that's like top 1% of the server, you must be try hard!", I would say that I didn't really "try hard". Making my own builds and goofy strategies that are neither optimized nor even good in themselves is not really "try harding" and any semi decent player can crash me rather easily, not to even mention people who can get to 6K MMR by chilling and just playing. These people scare me man.

Other example could be Dark Souls. I did a bit of try harding to make sure I could beat every boss in DS without summons - I "got gud". In some other games I may also "try hard" a bit like doing solo runs in Infinity Engine runs or Pillars of Eternity.

At the same time, I sometimes enjoy just laidback game like Tropico or something where I can kinda mindlessly click around while listening to youtube.
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"you got master 1 rank in StarCraft 2, that's like top 1% of the server, you must be try hard!", I would say that I didn't really "try hard". Making my own builds and goofy strategies that are neither optimized nor even good in themselves is not really "try harding" and any semi decent player can crash me rather easily
You're in the top 1%, but any semi-decent player can beat you. So 99% of players are not even "semi decent"? Your calibration is off.

OsaX Nymloth

Community Contributor
You're in the top 1%, but any semi-decent player can beat you. So 99% of players are not even "semi decent"? Your calibration is off.
Nyah, I just realize that I suck :p

Usually I'm tryharding in finding walkthroughs on youtube, does that count too?

I am afraid it doesn't. Unless we go for special category "hardcore spoiling your games" ;)


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It varies from game to game. Actually, it varies from goal to goal even within a game. X3: Terran Conflict was incredibly fun for me so I worked on that thing for hundreds of hours to complete the huge HUB quest. Following that quest, there's another one after that that's a lot smaller to allow you to build your own HQ. I didn't bother with it. Restoring the HUB meant building an entire space empire to supply the thing, which I enjoyed. Building the HQ meant capturing a ship, which I wasn't enjoying.

Achievements are a factor, too. I don't know if anyone has even looked at my achievements other than me and I really don't look at them after I put the game down but they still provide goals and record when you accomplish them. Without achievements, all we have are save game file that we later delete to free up some space. Achievements are the only signs that we got anything done - and even those will vanish if Steam (or GOG or whatever) loses them.

(Unless you take lots of screenshots, of course. ;))
Not in the least. I always wished I could be better at multiplayer games (PvP shooters mostly) but I've never had a need to be the best. Games for me are about entertainment and not challenge so I have no problem breezing through lower difficulties of a game if I need to.
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TBH all that matters is probably Multiplayer so i'll focuss my experiences online.

On Coop games? i'm not that try hard unless we're working towards a tough goal where we need to be at the top of our game. I generally avoid PVP as it brings a seriously ugly stubborn side that frankly i rather not experience. For dark souls series i'll play off line for example or in the division i minimize playing in the darkzone. i will admit that stats like k/d do irk me so i play more defensive and i doubt anyone has fun dying repeatedly nor want to be a detriment to the team.
In FPS games like CSGO, COD: Warzone I go for the win. While getting top 10, top 5 or top 3 is nice, it is the win that counts the most for me; trying to adjust my playstyle from my mistakes and outsmarting the other opponents. I also like to find out new strategies/builds in games, even if most of them are not that good - like how most of my Diablo 3 builds work for low tier rifts, but gets utterly destroyed when trying anything really challenging.

In Warzone I found out you can paint each other and make different camouflages based on that. I am also testing out if you can put a C4 on a small recon drone and use that to fly into other squads. It's fun when you manage to find new ways to play the game, even if some of the mechanics: like shooting people while parachuting or using the helicopter to teabag a player might be looked at as a naughty use of game mechanics.
I'm not familiar with the term "try hard", but to answer the question that lead me here, I am no longer very competitive. I used to be when I was younger, but by the time I got to college I didn't find a lot of pleasure in it. I didn't care for the resentment some would have (even though I realize in hindsight that was on them and not me), and "winning" as a goal didn't feel particularly fulfilling in and of itself. Especially if and when I inevitably happened upon someone who was simply better at me in whatever it was. If you just play to win, and then fail to win, it effectively can ruin the experience. So I just eventually decided to let that all go.

Nowadays, whether I'm playing a board game, computer game, pen-and-paper RPG, or whatever else, my first and only goal is to have fun, period. SOMEtimes that can mean handing someone's a$$ to them in a game, but not usually (for me). I generally try my best, especially in multiplayer, since nobody likes playing with someone who isn't trying at all, but I don't fixate on that to the exclusion of all else. I don't practice, or train, or study moves, or anything like that. I'm an okay chess player, but I would never beat anyone in a real competition. And my attention span is such that I've accepted there are certain genres I don't have the patience for (like EUIV and the like). And in a single-player game, if I finish/beat it, great, I'm happy. But I don't need to 100% it, or do a replay on Hardcore mode, or anything else. I also don't especially worry about Achievements (with few exceptions here and there.) A lot of it ties into bragging rights, and bragging does nothing for me.

Anyway. This is not to dump on anyone who enjoys that. I totally get why many seek the thrill of competition, as I still remember when that was a factor for me. But the older I get, the less I care about it.(Notice I did *not* say "the more mature I get," because that ain't happenin'. Just oldness.)
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Filthy Casual through and through.

Sure I tend to like a little challenge in games. I rarely play games on 'story' mode and usually go for 'normal' difficulty, or harder depending on the game. But Permadeath in games doesn't interest me, mostly due to the stress but also as what I like is building up a character and losing that would take away the fun for me.

I've been good-ish at some things in some games. Certain aspects of raiding in MMOs. The PvP and PvE *multiplayer in WH40K Space Marine, of all things.

But even then it was from a fairly casual perspective - the objective in raiding was to beat the boss, experience the game and its story, and get some loot - not to be the next Method. In PvP obviously I play to win because - well - that's what the objective is. But if it's the kind of thing you need to spend hours theorycrafting or studying to improve skill, no thanks. I get my fix of that from PC hardware rather than the games themselves.

For me, one of the best things about PC Gaming is people can get their enjoyment from games however they like - as long as it's not explicitly to the detriment of others (cheating, griefing, etc). I love that you can PC game competitively, or casually, or mod games, or speedrun them / find ingenious ways to 'break' games. I don't think it's possible to play a game 'wrong' if playing it that way brings you fun.

* - edit for missing word
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Community Contributor
I was more competitive in the past. When playing games I usually chose at least hard difficulty level. Now I'm somewhere in the middle. When it comes to RPGs I usually start on hard difficulty and bring it down during the playthrough if the game appears too hard. It's a little different when it comes to FPS. I rarely go above normal and switch to hard only on my potential second playthrough.

When playing online games in the past I tried with all my effort to get as high as possible. Now I have a more relaxed approach. Sometimes I like to play Quake Champions, but I'm not so good at it. I usually end up on 6-7 place. But it doesn't discourage me although in the past it would.

My biggest achievement in try harding? There are a few (I can't decide which is the most important). First one is finishing Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition on very hard from the beginning to the very end. Second one, reaching 4th rank in Hearthstone (I was a very competitive guy in this period of my life). Next is finishing Dark Souls 1 and 2. It took a lot of patience to end these games, but I succeeded.


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Good thoughts in here so far from @Krud and @Oussebon among others.

For me, gaming is all about fun, relaxation, creativity, and socializing. But what makes a game fun can vary a lot from game to game. Sometimes competition is an integral part of that, but I personally believe that all competition should be constructive, not destructive.

I don't know what the dictionary definition of a "try hard" is, but I've always attributed the term to people who try too hard to the point that they spoil the fun for other people. Destructive competition. I think that's the distinction. I can be playing a very competitive match of Halo or Rocket League or something, and everyone can be trying hard to win while still having a fun, constructive time together. I think a "try hard" would be someone who steps over that friendly competition line and becomes too aggressive, or abusive, or generally takes things too seriously to the point hat it degrades someone else's experience.

Putting effort into games you enjoy can be very rewarding! I just think it's important that our efforts serve to enrich our lives and the gaming community as a whole rather than putting ourselves on a pedestal at the expense of others.
I generally don't like multiplayer games with toxic communities. I think that put me off 'try-hard'ing.

I know now that there is a difference but I don't enjoy getting too worked up about my in game performance.
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A nerd that found his place
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Jan 17, 2020
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I used to be a bit of a try-hard. Back when I played tournament Halo 2 in highschool and I ran a growing city in Star Wars Galaxies. In those days I was extremely competitive in sports and in video games. That being said, I also had anger issues back in that day. Well, I went into the Army for several years, had a few deployments, was humbled and shocked to my core during this time. After a life altering injury, I stopped being competitive. While my injury did prevent me from being competitive for a while, it also helped me realize that I just wanted to have fun. On top of that, I found that the more competitive the game, the more toxic the community. It is amazing where and how often people will choose to take offense, how often the only time some of these people can have fun, is causing the misery of others while saying things like "get good" and "l2play". In honesty I feel rather sorry for those people. Now I do want to clarify, I have played with many people who are very good at a game, but are humble and fun to play with. I may get frustrated with how bad I am loosing, but it doesn't become anger and talking with these folks at the end of the match ends up being even better as they can give compliments, feedback, often times just a good conversation.

I think the final straw for me in any competitive online games has been the evolution of survival games, where the primary factor of the game generally seems to be how to screw your neighbor. Not a fan of loosing all the work I accomplished over hours by somebody who broke all my stuff just because they could (and they do, a lot).

TLDR I used to be a"try hard" but learned all that was doing was making me miserable and the folks who wanted to play miserable. I have mostly switched to co-op games like division 2, destiny, and MMO's.
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Not a fan of losing all the work I accomplished over hours by somebody who broke all my stuff just because they could (and they do, a lot).

Ahh, that reminds me of Rust!I used to play a lot of solo in Rust and ohhhhhhhh boy did I get killed and base destroyed multiple times by some squeaky guy yelling in the mic about how bad and horrible I was as a human being. Thankfully server resets helped with acknowledging that you will lose all your stuff in a short time.


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I'm a filthy casual because I love to play so many different games. There was a thread earlier that asked about the most hours you've put into a game and for me I don't have any games in which I've spent more than 300 hours. It's the guys and girls who put thousands of hours into games that become the real try-hards. At that point it's more than a game, it's a lifestyle. I'm just not willing to "get gud" if it takes me a thousand hours to get there.

OsaX Nymloth

Community Contributor
Hm.... putting thousands of hours into a single game is not something that happened to me outside of very few titles (SC2/Dota 2). But I don't think it's valid requirement - for example I may be "tryharding" getting all achievements in a game I enjoyed more than usual. Or the fact that I play almost every game on high difficulty setting (unless it's totally meaningless). In Dark Souls I have around 100-200h in every game in the series, did 100% achievements in DS3, did all the bosses solo at least once per playthrough and I think I was trying to "git gud" at them to some extent. And yet I don't have thousands of hours into DS.

All in all, it's game dependent - if I enjoy the mechanics I may go further into doing challenges and in general trying to be better. If I don't, I would usually just complete the game and move on without doing anything extra.
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