The More I Play 'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' the Better It Gets

And I want to know: Which games did you learn to love only after getting better at playing them?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I feel like this applies to MOBAs more than any other genre but the level of effort required to get from abysmal to passable is herculean for most.


I would have to say MGSV. It’s kind of a combination of getting better gear as you move along, but also just learning how the systems interact with one another. The Phantom Pain is one of my top three favorite games of all time, I’d have to say, and it’s because it was so rewarding to unlock a new piece of gear and have it fit perfectly into my play style as it developed. I was learning how to play, getting better at the game, and having a better experience because of it.

Another reason is because you start off somewhat limited in what you can do in the game, so you HAVE to learn along the way. Then, once you start unlocking that gear, you kind of transcend into being a master at the game because you have these new tools that make you more efficient. I found myself getting S ranks on missions where I wasn’t even trying to achieve them just because my play style lent itself to that.

Oh, and also, I’ll always take whatever opportunity I have to talk about how awesome that game is.

Dark Souls series. Once I started learning about the gameplay, mechanics, lore and so forth, I immediately became hooked & understood why people either loved them or hated them.

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I couldn’t stand Isaac when I first tried it, but there were a few points that hooked me after giving Rebirth another shot.

Learning enemy patterns, realizing I didn’t need to collect every item, memorizing the effects of each item (so I wasn’t tabbing between the game and a guide so often), and learning how to manipulate item drops (with the D6 or tarot cards) were all separate spikes that made sequences I previously struggled with easier.

The lack of in-game information about each item or enemy bothered me initially, but I’m not sure I would have felt so satisfied by memorizing that information later had it been presented more clearly.

I’ll say Heroes of the Storm. First time I played it it was before the alpha, when all I could get my hands on was a leaked client which all you could do was play against dumb bots with dumb bots. I felt nothing. I played one game like that and went huh.

It was a nearly a year later, right before the Beta started, that I actually got into the beta.It was not a priority at the time. I was on vacation at the time (end of December) but didn’t feel like jumping in because of that first impression and the time that had passed. But once I did I didn’t stop. Whether it was playing along actual people, a year of polish or a combination of the two, this time Heroes stuck. I knew it when a week later AGDQ started and I said to myself one evening “Instead of watching as much AGDQ as possible after work let’s get in a few games of Heroes.” Heroes of the Storm had gotten more pull than AGDQ.

It still has more pull. To this day I get in a few matches every few days. Usually just enough to clear stockpiled daily quests.

The best personal example that comes to mind is the online mode for MGS4 (unofficially named MGO2; the servers officially offline since 2012). MGO2 had somewhat of a cult following, or niche audience. The people that got good at that game got really really good at it. Being skilled at that game involved being completely familiar with the maps, and getting headshots as quickly as possible; plus many other esoteric tactics, like looking down in third person, then quickly switching to first person to knife someone laying down on the ground.

I eventually became decent at best in playing that game, but never an advanced or expert player. The levelling system in that game is based on skill, so if you consistently win against players of a higher level you level up, if against the same level players you don’t, and if you begin to do poorly you level down. I managed to keep myself at levels 12/13; the best players were levels 17-19. And despite there being no experience based progression system in that game (there was a point based system that you could use to unlock cosmetic stuff), it always felt highly rewarding to do well.

Demons Souls. This was before the cultural zeitgeist around the souls games had formed, beyond Demon Souls being “difficult.”. Needless to say my ass was kicked by the game AI and other invading players .Slowly I got better and came to a bit of a revelation regarding difficulty in games, that is, it’s ok if you keep failing over and over. In fact, it’s expected.

Much, much later recruited another player and we took on the last boss. As he was sucking the soul out of my friend I struck the finishing blow. It had been a long, strange journey and there was that sense of completion mixed with elation as the credits rolled that I rarely get in video games or in life as an adult anymore.

Haven’t finished another Souls game since, though I’ve played them all…this won’t make much sense but it’s like I’ve already beat them since they are an extension of the concept of demons Souls…

DOTA is the only real answer but honestly as I’ve put more in more hours in and improved I’ve only suffered more and more.

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It took me nearly 6 hours to get out of Central Yharnam, but from that point on I was totally enamoured with Bloodborne

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I’ve had a few games that I’ve put a decent amount of time into, most notably Spelunky, and many that I’ve scratched the surface of before bouncing off, DotA2 & EVE Online, but the only game I’ve really fallen into is Rocket League. For things like Spelunky I’ve come close to engaging with the top tier of players, I have all the achievements and started heading down the high score path, but ultimately never felt compelled to truly engage with the high level of the game.

Rocket League on the other hand has presented me with moments where it seemed like I would step away from the game for good, but I’ve never taken more than a week or two off despite multiple declarations that I was taking an extended break for one reason or the other.

Two moments really stand out for me in retrospect. One came relatively early in my time with the game, when I realized that I understood the game better than most but that while my skill was relatively high I wasn’t able to play well with random teammates. It felt like the only way to get better was to play with consistent friends, which wasn’t an option. That seemed like the moment I was going to be done, stymied by random players I was incapable of lifting to my level and unable to find a squad to make further leaps forward with, I thought I had exhausted my skill ceiling. This was roughly one month after release.

But I wasn’t done with the game. Even as the allure of playing the competitive team modes was gone for the moment the core appeal remained. I moved over to playing 1v1 ranked matches, which solved my problems with frustrating teammates but showed just how much more I had to learn about the game as well. Playing on my own highlighted so many weaknesses in my game and I kept playing that mode for a good long time. Grinding things out and improving.

Eventually I started playing more team focused modes and by that point I was good enough to not need to directly communicate with most players to win. The skill level I was at was populated with enough talented players who could read intent which meant that the team modes were fun again. Once more, I was back in.

Until, eventually, I hit another skill ceiling. This time though, it was very clearly my own problems that were stopping me. I’ve always been a strong positional player but my mechanics are lacking in comparison to other folks in my rank. I know where to be and how to maximize my chances of playing good offense and defense, but I hadn’t drilled the trickier specifics of play into my head. Now I was losing not because of a fault in my strategy, but simply because my aerial plays were slower than everyone else who was using their double jumps properly or because my clears weren’t forceful enough.

Again, I realized if I wanted to keep feeling like I was getting better I would have to take a step back and actively work on improving my game through training and drills. I surprised myself and actually decided to dig in on this side of things, to the point where I was spending 30-40 minutes at the start of every play session training and prepping. I shocked myself since I never usually commit in this style.

I love learning, and I love getting better, but this was something different. This was renewed and fervent commitment to a game that I already had played for more hours than any other game I’ve ever touched. I’m better at it than just about any rational person would want or hope to be, and I’m still unsatisfied with my skill level.

What it comes down to is that the game has the kind of nuance where small improvements to your technical skills can clearly and directly reflect in how often you win. When I improved my aerial game I noticed I was getting more clean shots on net, when I started double jumping properly I started being more effective on defense, and when I paid attention to my rotations I became a more effective teammate.

I’m a competitive person, so having a regular competitive game in rotation is a given, but Rocket League is the only one that has ever stuck long term, and it’s because I always feel like I’m improving. I’ve put close to 500 hours into the game at this point and it’s because every one has felt like it’s been building on the previous hour.

Honestly, The Witcher 3 was one of these games for me. I had watched several people play it and it looked incredibly dull. It wasn’t until I sat down and played it that I really understood what all of the fuss was about

The classic orobouros moba curse


Steep for me. One thing that game does really well is simulate what it’s like to be a pretty bad skiier and snowboarder when you start out. The controls aren’t super intuitive so at first it was like “Ah, this is pretty enjoyable, I’m just on a mountain, and I can do or not do as many of the unlockables and different sports as a I want while falling down a lot” – for me it was just Snowboarding and Skiing.

But the learning curve is forgiving and once I put some hours (probably 50+, maybe 100+ so far) into the game and got the hang of some stuff, it became a different thing. Instead of cruising around aimlessly now I like to find a good line and spend as long as it takes to get the best possible run of it while seeing what I could get away with (the overlapping voice lines at :35 makes me think the game thought I was gonna crash & here again at :15.) I find the repetition of attempting / satisfaction of nailing a line really relaxing and I wouldn’t be able to play the game in this way without a Steep time investment.

StarCraft Brood War for sure. When I first started playing, I didn’t know how to use hotkeys, only made a single barracks to queue up all my marines from, etc. but then my friend gave me some pointers to start getting the hang of things and it all clicked. I don’t play as much Brood War these days in favour of SC2 (still looking forward to SC: Remastered though!) but I definitely enjoy playing Brood War, win or lose.

Roguelikes entirely. Once I realized that the only thing keeping me from actually being “good” at those games was that I would get attached to a playthrough, they became a lot easier to play. I wouldn’t say I’ve gotten better at them. I still die a lot and it takes me forever to get to later game content, but I got more enjoyment out of them once I realized that the key of them is as much to find the will to keep playing as it is to actually be good at mechanics. If you’re willing to throw yourself up against a metaphorical wall for long enough, there’s a pretty good chance it’ll break before you will?

Not a literal wall though. That’ll hurt. Don’t throw yourself into walls.

Fighting games, for me. Kind of as an entire genre?

A local supermarket had a demo gamecube with Super Smash Bros on it. Think I was seven or eight at the time? I spent hours there while my parents were shopping. I got crushed by the older kids there, and it was kind of miserable for a time. Eventually, I started maining Samus. You know, as much as a snot-nosed kid can ‘main’ someone. Eventually, I started having successes. I think it was one of the earliest times I can remember long-term practice leading to visible results.

A year later, a neighbour got a PS2 and some version of Tekken. I don’t really remember the time that well. It introduced me to something that was a little more… I don’t know, directly competitive?

My brief experiences with those games? They just sat in the back of my mind over the years. When I finally got a console, the first things I got in to where fighting games. KoF and Tekken, mainly.

I went online, and suddenly I hated these games.
Still, I slowly ground my head against online opponents, 'cuz I didn’t have much else to play. I started to get an idea of the fundamentals. Footsies, bread-and-butter combos, hit-confirms, teching and other basic things.

And it just… it opened up a lot for me. Suddenly these games had so much more mechanical depth. I wanted to figure it out. Clearly, all these people bodying me online knew what was up.

To this day, learning a character in a fighting game, learning match ups and so on, still makes me really happy. Even if I am still pretty bad at fighting games.

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Gotta say it’s Monster Hunter for me. I remember playing Monster Hunter Freedom 2 for the PSP on and off and thinking “this is okay…” But once I took down my first Rathian, a pretty difficult monster to kill early game (and while using crappy equipment no less), something clicked, and I was hooked.

I agree with pretty much all of this. Fighting games are kind of the best genre for the fun derived from further understanding. Not to mention, getting better at fighting games also makes them much more fun to watch even. I’m still no good, but when I learned some of the basics I gained further appreciation for all the insane mind-games and skill displayed at EVO or Combo-Breaker and the like.

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I think I haven’t bounced off PUBG because there’s no ALMIGHTY META and a bunch of folx doing the same shit with the utmost toxicity yet rather than anything else. Because that is what keeps me from doing more with fighting games.