Poll: Which difficulty setting do you prefer to play games on?

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I've wondered for a while which difficulty setting most people prefer, so I figured I'd go ahead and make a poll of it. So, which difficulty setting in a game do you like to play on? Personally, I go with easy my first time through, and then gradually increase the difficulty on subsequent playthroughs.

Depending on the genre and what options there are I pick medium or one below medium. And like you if I feel like it when I got through another time I'll crank it up. I have played plenty of games on the hardest difficulty but it's not what I normally do, and never on the first time through.

I usually play on Normal/Medium.

That way, if the game feels too difficult or too easy, I can adjust the difficulty accordingly.

I usually pick Medium for my first playthrough, and then increase the difficulty on subsequent playthroughs. I'll usually only knock it down to Easy if I have to, or if I want to breeze through a game that I've already enjoyed. I never usually bother with the extra-hard difficulty settings though, I'm not committed to beating a game. If I want a challenge I might give them a go, but normally I'm not fussed.

Generally the hardest difficulty where available, unless the game plays strangely on high difficulties. I'll play a Witcher game on the hardest non-permadeath difficulty, but not Morrowind or Oblivion.

I always play on normal/medium on my first playthrough.

Mainly because I just want to get a feel for the game and take in the story, if there is one, and after that? It's going up if I feel like I want to play it again.

I typically begin with the standard difficulty setting, though I will tweak it depending on how I'm doing. If I'm coasting through the game without even trying, I'll start over on a harder difficulty (Torchlight). If I'm getting my ass handed to me by the first mini-boss over and over, I'll turn the difficulty down a notch or two (Ridicule me all you want, Ninja Gaiden. I'd rather be considered a "sissy" by the game than risk breaking my TV from hurling my controller at the screen).

Strategy games(TW games not included), turnbased and real-time, usually kick my ass on the harder difficulties(Must... resist... to... turtle), but RPG/FPS/Shooter games are usually easy enough on max difficulty.
Not sure if the difficulty has decreased over the years, or it's because most FPS/Shooter games are designed to be playable on consoles.

FPS and RPGs I tend to go with hard straight off, and then things I've not played religiously for the past 15 years I'll go with medium and slowly up it when I feel comfortable.

RTS and racing games I'm worst at, but I'm liking Starcraft II (and a lot of other games do this) where you can choose difficulty for each mission, and I'm fine with hard until I get stuck on one then do that on medium and go up again.

Don't play a grand amount of single player though.

I always jump straight to the hardest difficulty available to me.

I find that a lot of games these days are too short, too easy, or in most cases, both. Playing on the hardest difficulty is the only way for me to feel like I'm really getting my money's worth out of the game. It also forces me to play the game at a bit of a slower pace, which means I get to take in more of the sights and sounds.

Besides, completing a game on its hardest difficulty often gets you nice little perks for future playthroughs.

Generally speaking the medium or normal setting usually seems to easy for me. This could be because games are getting easier as some gamers are fond of saying or it could be because I've been playing games so long that I have a skillset that allows me to jump into most games and immediately start playing with some proficiency. Either way or both, I usually get bored or don't get enough excitement playing on normal so I go hard. Hardest usually isn't balanced correctly to be any fun.

I'm a story & exploring gamer. Dieing breaks from that. Changes from game to game. RPG I set to easy where as FPS normal - hard.

Depends. If it's tough in a fun way give me all the difficulty you've got, if it's tough in the way that makes me play ultra defensively screw that. Staying behind cover and poking my head out when a swarm of enemies give me a few milliseconds of attacking opportunity isn't difficult it just makes me want to screwdriver my own brain.

I usually start out on the standard setting. If it's too difficult or too easy I switch. Plain and simple. That said, I usually play more for story than for a challenge, so I don't mind putting it on a lower difficulty if it helps me enjoy the story more. Only rarely do I feel like playing a game on hard-mode.

I like playing on Hard. I know a lot has been said about how games are easier these days, and it is true, but I also play games for the challenge, not just for fun.

Usually I just go one up from medium so I get to experience the full game mechanics, but when it comes to modern games I haveto bump it up as high as it goes and then play only with half the equipment/skills so I'm not too bored.

It really depends on the game and how competent I am with it. There are at least a couple of games I can play well enough that Hard is my go-to difficulty, and I'll start off on Easy with any game that has a gameplay style I'm not familiar with (or if it's a retro game that doesn't fuck around). Almost everything else gets played on Normal.

hardest because i like my games to be challenging (provided the hardest difficulty is still fair unlike in allot of games were all upping the difficulty does is give the "weak" enemies the magic ability to survive several tactical nuclear strikes before dying and deal out enough damage to destroy small city's, see fighting games and the total war seris)

It really depends on the game. Do I know it well and enjoy the gameplay, or do I only care about some elements and not others?

I usually play Elder Scrolls games on easy because I don't actually like the combat controls. I'm perfectly happy playing the Witcher games on hard because I enjoy the combat very much. I also love games with fixed difficulty like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls--everyone gets to play/work their way through the same fights.

I always play medium. I only play hard when I'm confident enough in my abilities, and easy only when said game is already known for its difficulty.

Uh... it depends on the game?

Kind of a no-brainer there.

Hard always hard . If the game has 3 difficulty settings i always start on hardest . If the game has more than three difficulty settings i always start on the equivalent of hard . I never play games on easy , and get bored quick on normal . Hard usually prevides me with a sufficient enough challenge for me to not get bored . Now sometimes hard is the highest difficulty setting , and i still choose it . When it's not the highet , i still choose the equivalent and work my way up . This is all on my first playthrough . I like challenge and i like difficult games . Very rarely i would start on the hardest difficulty ( like legendary on halo3) but it does happen . This is why it pisses me off when games make you unlock hardmode .

Depends normally. If I like the game a lot though I will always play the hardest difficulty of the game as possible. Maybe add some self imposed rules if there isn't one.

Depends on the game. Most RPGs I'll play through once on Medium difficulty to take in the story and all that jazz, then if I play through it again crank it up to the highest difficulty. Shooters are straight to hardest if it allows me too.

Oddly enough I was about to start a thread on Difficulties. I just finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the first time on "Give me Deus Ex". I only chose it because of the way it presented itself. I wanted Deus Ex, so I put it on GMDE. Might start doing that with more games.

My initial playthrough of a game will always be on the easiest setting available. Allows me to see everything on offer with little to no worries gameplay wise.

I'll then proceed to play on the hardest available - using the knowledge from the initial playthrough. Initially it's a steep jump, but on the whole it's served me well.

That said, Deus Ex: Human Revolution I played on the hardest setting immediately, I think at the time because I wanted a pure stealth experience - something that's rare these days.

It really depends. Depends on what is more enjoyable. Sometimes, I just want to burn through and destroy everything in my sight, and kick it on the easiest setting - usually when frustrated about something unrelated.

Usually, though I prefer to play on at least middle difficulty; not because of a sesne of self-fulfilment though, but just to keep myself interested. If it's too easy it's also easily forgettable.

And of course, there's a difference between "challenging" and "just fucking with you" difficulties. Difficulty can be done "wrong", and often is...

On my first play through I'll usually do Normal/Medium then for later play throughs I'll do a harder one.

It depends greatly on the game in question. I like to play on normal difficulty but sometimes I'll kick it up or down a notch. Take Torchlight, fantastic game but so easy on normal It's no fun at all.

Normal normally, with some exceptions;
Fallout/Elder scrolls games I set my own limits, such as only restoring health via food.
inFamous recommended me hard from the getgo (Thanks for the ego boost Sucker Punch)
Depending on the game I'll replay games on hard. Dragon Age is the only exception off the top of my head, because for someone spoilt by modern games, that game is unforgiving. But set the right difficulty for the player and it gives a warm feeling of accomplishment after every trash pack.

Normal for the intended gameplay experience. With a few exceptions, like Mass Effect or Deus Ex HR. I find a repeated playthrough stays fresh if you up the difficulty, and games nowadays are barely that hard anyway.

I did play battlefield 3 on hard on my first try though, and it was kind of a bad experience. I find that the more difficulty goes up, the more I need to conform to the game's rules to keep from becoming frustrated. No wacky combinations, no charging the front lines, no heroics. Sometimes it's better to not start on hard.

I mostly play on normal because I always get the feeling that it's where the developers intended it to be played on. If the game is too easy or if there's a specific achievement or story difference for playing on a harder difficulty, I just play through it again on hard :)

It depends. Most of the time I go for the easiest, or second easiest. I don't really play games for the challenge, but for enjoyment. Don't consider pulling my hair since I can't progress further much fun.
Occasionally go for the hardest difficulties for trophies/achievements though.

I chose hardest
Now, I'll always play first playthrough on medium or hard
But then, once I get good, I'll play on hardest, and while doing so make it so much more fun
So, the funnest playthrough for me is the hardest difficulty one

If there are two or more difficulties above medium, I'll go for the one just above it for first time. If not, medium it is.

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