A Recent Concern With My Gaming “Skill”

duck hunt game over

I’ve recently been going through a bit of a gaming slump. Allow me to explain.

This slump had nothing to do with not wanting to play games (there are dozens of games I’m itching to play), but rather how I was playing the ones I’ve been playing. For a couple of weeks there, I’d been feeling pretty low on any gaming skills I may have once possessed.

I think the germ of this feeling started back when Bungie launched Destiny: The Taken King expansion. For the first time, there were Crucible related quests, and that caused a bit of gaming panic in me: the Crucible is not my strong suit.

Once upon a time, I actually found I had improved at the Crucible to a point where I didn’t cringe at my score after each round. I put time in, and found that I could do pretty well…solo. For some reason, when I play with other people in a fireteam, I tend to do far worse. This let me know I was just psyching myself out, and that if it was all mental, I could find a way around it to…well…suck less.

I’m still working on that one.

Anyway. Back to those Crucible quests.

I was worried about them, but I put on my hopeful pants (I assume we all have those in our mental arsenal), put on my best gear, and went in guns blazing.


I did not do well. It got to the point where I was (and in part, still am) unsure if I could ever complete all of them. In one particular case, a good friend helped me finish a quest by allowing me to kill him over and over in the Rumble playlist (a mode where everyone is for themselves). If he had not done that, I have no idea how long it would have taken me to complete that particular quest step.

And that got me thinking: I was sucking so badly at an aspect of the game that I basically had to take advantage of my friend’s kindness just to advance.


Add to this that that particular friend is exceptionally good at the Crucible, and perhaps you can see how I was in an odd position.

On the one hand, I’m tremendously grateful that he allowed me to basically kill him over and over so I could finally move forward in the quest line. On the other, I feel like I should have been able to do it the old fashioned way: with skill.

I am more than passable in the PvE portion of Destiny. I can certainly hold my own in a raid or in a strike. But when I find myself in the Crucible, the sucking is profound.

I ended up with another quest line, and this one also included a step that took place in the Crucible. Two friends wanted to help me so they allowed me to repeatedly shoot them in the face until I satisfied that particular requirement. And while I was entirely grateful, I felt even more flawed that I couldn’t seal the deal on my own.


But it wasn’t until there was another part of that same quest that took place in PvE that I felt really crappy. The requirement was simple and I felt more than confident that I could complete it in no time.

But I didn’t. And couldn’t. And I felt really ungood about that.

In all fairness, for that particular step, I found reports online that some people weren’t getting it to work as intended, so perhaps I just had the gods of lag or what have you against me. Perhaps I will never know. What I do know, is that when I sat down a day later to get it done, I did. Almost right away.

Color me confused.

Now I am a fairly rational person. I understand there will be an ebb and flow to how I game. But for most of my life, I’ve been a more than capable gamer. Some games I’m better at and some not as much, but overall, I do pretty well.

So combine this with my recent standstill in Bloodborne and I started to get a bit of a complex for a week or two.

In Bloodborne, truth be told, I wasn’t actually doing that badly. I just got terribly frustrated with the systems of the game and put it aside. Did I die several times? Yes. Did I expect that to happen? Yes.

But with those events combined, I found myself wondering if I had lost my edge and was no longer good at games. It started to really bother me, actually. I’m sure this sounds silly, but I really was concerned. It wasn’t until I put one of the recent quests in Destiny behind me that I started to feel any better. I’m not the kind of person who needs validation of skill, but for some reason, this Destiny thing got under my skin. Perhaps it’s from the zillion hours I’ve put into the game, or perhaps it’s just a thing of nonsense pride. Who knows? Whatever it was, it seems to have begun the delightful process of phasing out.

So with that, I ask: have you ever started to feel that you weren’t as good at games in general or one in particular? If so, what did you do? How did you work through it?

For me, I’m glad I pushed through those gross feelings and managed to find my footing again. I still may not be as good at the Crucible as I’d like, but there is always hope.

In theory.

9 replies »

  1. I have very little interest in competitive multiplayer and derive even less fun from it, so I just tend to steer clear. No reason to drag anyone else’s good time down, right? But seriously, I’ve encountered several challenges in gaming that were just beyond my skill. Sometimes it’s just not the right time, I’m too tired, distracted, or overall not in the right headspace for it. Other times it’s just too hard, it’s something I simply can not do. I’ve even noticed recently that I can’t react quite as fast to things as I used to, I must be getting older.

    Occasionally the challenge in question is important enough to me to be worth the time and effort to work at it until I can master it, and if I’ve chosen correctly I’m adequately rewarded. Otherwise I try to accept that it’s not worth the headache to me and move on to something else. Knowing where to draw that line is a personal one and it’s ever-evolving. I know I’m better than many at certain games, but nowhere near as good as most. I do know what you mean though, with those challenges that you struggled with and how you felt after… finding a less than satisfying way around them, let’s say. I’ve done it, and I’ve felt it. I don’t recommend it, but that’s just me.

    What I love most about video games is that we can enjoy them how we want, on our terms as unique individuals, if we allow ourselves. Sometimes that means sucking a bit, spending way too much time in one place, or even giving up. As long as you still enjoy gaming, that’s a win!


    • I know I will sound like a broken record, but well said, again.

      Competitive multiplayer is a weird thing. There are times when I think it’s terribly strange that my digital representation is shooting another person’s digital representation in the face. We are two real people in the world and THIS is how we are connecting? It’s just bizarre.

      You are correct! Video games can be very accepting and accommodating and I love that they allow everyone entry.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There are a couple games where I started feeling like I wasn’t as good. What I did was have a bit of a break from that game and after a couple of days, when I came back to it I started feeling like I could play again. I find that the more tense I am while gaming, the more likely I am to stuff up and after having a break for a couple days I feel more relaxed going into it and that makes me able to overcome certain challenges that the game throws at me.


    • Taking a break is always a good idea. If I find myself super frustrated with a particular section/game/whatever, I will just put it aside until later that day or the next. Almost always I find that the thing that hung me up isn’t as bad as I thought. I think we are on the same page!


  3. My issue was with the Prison of Elders mode in Destiny When I started the learning curve was steep, in my humble opinion! I just kept at it. Got with a few interesting matches in terms of matchmaking. There are some who are NOT interested in PoE. Ijs!


    • Oh gosh, Prison of Elders was a harsh wake up call! I was playing with two people who were/are Crucible rock stars and we got wiped out so fast it was nuts.

      I hope to be able to give it a try when it returns.


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