Video Games with the Largest Skill Disparities
The world of video gaming is full of thousands and thousands of different games,hundreds of different genres and endless hours of fun and enjoyment. One of the main joys of video gaming is that you have so many different types of video games to choose from. Video games transport you to alternate realities – you can play Red Dead Redemption and become a cowboy or you can put yourself into the world of Dota 2 and play as an alien or a demon. Video games allow you to travel to distant galaxies, you can visit the depths of hell or be summoned to the pearly gates in heaven. Truly, video games allow us to escape our some times mundane lives.
Although it goes without saying that some video games are better than others, many of the best video games are those which truly challenge the player. Video games can challenge players in different ways – it could be trial by time whereby the difficulty could lie in how long it takes to complete the game – ‘Final Fantasy XII’, for example. Or perhaps it could be a case of trial and error where a game will ensure that it is sufficiently difficult enough where the player is forced to try over and over again to complete a task – something like ‘Hitman’ or ‘Manhunt’.
When it comes to games of skill, however, video games can usually be characterized into two distinct categories: dexterous and cognitive.
Dexterous games revolve around players using their hands. Dexterity refers to motor skills in using one’s hands. Games such as Dota 2, Star Craft, Age of Empires and Quake require extremely strong dexterity skills as those games revolve around performing different actions. Players can now be ranked by actions per minute (APM) – this phrase is mostly used in real time strategy games and fighting games such as Dota 2 and Quake and refers to the total number of actions that a player can perform in a minute. At a professional level, the best players playing these games are almost certain to have an extremely high APM level as evidenced by this jaw dropping videoof a professional StarCraft 2 player from South Korea.
Cognitive games, on the other hand, revolve around skills such as working memory and attention. Strategy games such as Hearts of Iron IV and memory and word problem games rely heavily on one’s cognitive abilities. It is of course possible to improve your cognitive abilities by playing these types of games. Cognitive games are often used by people who are looking to ‘sharpen’ their brains and train them to become better at tasks.
Dota 2 is currently one of the most popular games in the world and it is also one of the most challenging.
The draft in the first part of a Dota 2 game is like a game of chess. Teams look to set themselves as big of an advantage as possible before the actual game play even begins. In-game, abilities such as reflexes, ability to control and being able to position your units as perfectly as possible are vitally important. Players must be able to do all of these things whilst enemy players and teammates are calculating and making their own moves – this means that you have to take strategic decisions in seconds. The high skill gap and entertainment value in Dota 2 makes it one of the most entertaining esports to watch. Betting on Dota 2 is also very popular and a skill in itself.
To be able to play Dota 2 at a high level, good muscle memory, reflexes, game sense and an understanding of strategy – pros also need to be able to take these decisions under high pressure environments. One small mistake could mean the difference between winning or losing $11 million as evidenced during the final of TI8 – Dota 2s largest competitive tournament.
Ina matter of 2-3 seconds, one player – OG ANA – stalled four opponents with his units whilst at the same time, calculated what he needed to do in order for his team to still have a chance of winning. OG ANA saw that he missed claiming gold in order to purchase his buyback (respawn) and within a split second,calculated how much gold he would need in order to successful purchase his buy back. He then proceeded to take the rune (the objective) and reach the shop to sell an item that gave him just enough gold for his buyback which was needed for his team to be able to defend their throne and not lose the game. If OG Ana had not done this play – which you can see in full here– they would have lost the game. Amazingly, this game changing move happened within an 18 second time span.
Quake III Arena
Quake III Arena is a first person shooter (FPS) that was originally released all the way back in 1999. The Quake series spawned the whole fast paced FPS era. Games in the Quake franchise require lightning quick reactions, a sure aim, topnotch mouse handling skills and lots and lots of practice. Quake III, like most historic first person shooter’s is a deceptively difficult game to master.Although anyone can quickly come to terms with the gameplay and rules of this game, to be able to play at a professional level requires a high amount of skill. Similar to Dota 2, large amount of dexterity skills are needed in order to be able to compete in professionally in Quake III tournaments as evidenced bythis video between two of the best Quake III players in the world. Also like Dota 2, betting on Quake is common and profitable if you study the game and the players.
Ecco the Dolphin
Echo the Dolphin is a classic game the was brought out for the Sega Mega Drive in the 1990s and is a game in which you play as a dolphin in order to save the world from aliens. The game was extremely punishing and required a large amount of dedication as well as a high degree of trial and error. According to the designer – Ed Annunziata – he and his team went out of their way in order to make the game as difficult as possible for a child to complete the game over a single weekend. Following the games release, Annunziata even admitted that he had probably made some aspects of the game too challenging for young children, which was Sega’s main audience at the time.
The game revolved around solving puzzles, talking to other dolphins and staying away from dangerous sea creatures such as sharks, octopus and aliens (yes aliens). Actually, to complete the game you must travel through time in order to combat hostile extraterrestrials in the Earth’s oceans and on an alien spacecraft. Although very few players were even able to get past the first few levels so they had no idea of the alien horrors that awaited them.
StarCraft 2 is an incredibly strategic game which involves, let’s say, a large amount of mouse clicking. The original StarCraft relied heavily on your APM ratio, if it was high then chances are you would be successful at the game. However, UI and AI tweaks in StarCraft 2 meant that skilled strategy and well thought out tactics are able to carry you through, although a high APM is still important to play this game. If you can’t hit multiple keys and remember different patterns of keys that need hitting within a certain time span, then it is difficult to make it anywhere when playing this game.
In many modern games, the skill disparity is low meaning that even if you play against a player better than you, chances are that you will be able to win against that player every so often. However, in StarCraft 2 you will have no such luck.- the skill disparity in this game is extremely large.
Dark Souls 3
The Dark Souls series is famous for its notoriously difficult campaign walkthrough. Dark Souls 3 itself takes hours upon hours to complete and is a constant battle against the enemies within the Kingdom of Lothric. Playing the game is a slow and grueling process, you will battle thousands and thousands of enemies, you will most likely die an absurd amount of times and you will be punished heavily by making even the most minor of mistakes.
Dark Souls 3 is so difficult, there is even a Reddit page dedicated to discussing hardest non-boss encounters in the game. The game consists of a variety of different enemy monsters and creatures,all of which have their own unique weapons, powers and abilities. Dark Souls 3 is a fun game to play if you enjoy dungeon and dragon type games, but if you are looking for an easy ride, this game will not offer you one.