Relativity and skill levels

In my 6-7 years of engaging with video game communities thanks to Fanime and college, there is something that I’ve learned about the remarks of video games of all skill levels:

Remarks from those of different skill levels, from the very beginner to the world record class, must be segregated based on their skill level.

I’ve seen people downplay their own abilities many times when it comes to video games, and something I’ve observed quite a bit is when people of lower skill levels see someone of an obviously higher skill level than them say that “they’re not very good” or that “they suck”, then feel like their efforts were downplayed even further as a result, merely because they’re not at this player’s level (nevermind any possibility of them not knowing how to play at a high level, let alone having the practice to). I’ve also observed the exact inverse as well: when people of higher skill levels see someone of an obviously lower skill level than them say the same thing, then feel the need to remark on how easy it is instead, leading to a somewhat close source for “git gud” remarks (nevermind how much time, practice, and perseverance it actually took before it became effortless, and that’s if they even remember the struggle at all). There’s an obvious difference in weight that needs to be observed from both lower level players and higher level players, and one must understand that the remarks that different players make in regard to skill are almost always RELATIVE, NEVER ABSOLUTE ON THE WHOLE SPECTRUM.

This is why it’s foolish for a high level player’s downplay to be treated with equal weight as a low level player’s downplay…because it isn’t. When I say that I’m bad at shoot’em ups, it shouldn’t be treated in the same light as when, say, dwrkoa says that he’s bad at shoot’em ups. Or when I say that I’m not fast enough at Tetris Sprint, it shouldn’t be treated in the same light as when, say, S2LSOFTENER says that he’s not fast enough on Tetris Sprint (and, by extension, all of competitive Guideline Tetris as a whole). The gap in ability must be considered to better keep all players happy with their own state of progress; failure to do so will end up either giving you a false impression that the barrier to entry is impossible (in a LOW -> HIGH impression: “I can’t play as good as them”) or make you come out as arrogant, even if you don’t mean to or even realize it (in a HIGH -> LOW impression: “How can they possibly be struggling on this when it’s so easy?”).

When you accept that remarks of different skill levels must be segregated from each other, it allows you to focus more on what’s within your reach, especially for a lower level player whose only meaningful progress is upwards. It also reduces the tendency to downplay your own abilities when it’s perfectly fine to just go through the motions at your own pace. You’re in your own league, and they’re in their own; there’s no need to worry about something that’s beyond what you can grasp right now.

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