Degree of difficulty

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Degree of difficulty (DD, sometimes called tariff or grade) is a concept used in several sports and other competitions to indicate the technical difficulty of a skill, performance, or course, often as a factor in scoring.[1] Sports which incorporate a measure of degree of difficulty include bouldering, cross-country skiing, diving, equestrianism, figure skating, freestyle skiing, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, surfing, synchronized swimming and trampoline. Degree of difficulty is typically an objective measure, in sports whose scoring may also rely on subjective judgments of performance. In video gaming, "difficulty" often does not refer to how difficult a game is in general, but rather to a setting of the game, often chosen by the player in the menu or at the beginning of the game.

By sport[edit]


The International Swimming Federation computes the degree of difficulty of dives according to a five-part formula, incorporating height, number of somersaults and twists, positioning, approach, and entry.[2]


The International Federation of Gymnastics gives skills a difficulty rating of A, B, C, D, E, F, or G. Degree of difficulty is also enhanced by connecting skills together in combination.[3]


The International Federation of Gymnastics gives difficulty points for number of somersaults, number of body twists and the body position in somersaults (piked or straight). The total for a routine is the sum of the individual elements.[4]

Other sports[edit]

In video gaming[edit]

In video gaming, "difficulty" often does not refer to how difficult a game is in general, but rather to a setting of the game, often chosen by the player in the menu or at the beginning of the game. Sometimes, the difficulty is set for the entirety of the game, sometimes it can be changed during the game. In many video games, difficulty modes run on a general scale of:

  • Very easy (sometimes known as "beginner", "novice", "basic", etc.)
  • Easy
  • Normal (sometimes known as "medium", "intermediate", etc.)
  • Hard
  • Very hard (sometimes known as "hardcore", "nightmare", "extreme", "impossible", etc.)

Many video games use varieties of these as game modes. For instance, the Call of Duty franchise ranks its games on a scale of "Recruit", "Regular", "Hardened", and "Veteran", to stay with the military setting of the games.[5] Similar to this, the 2010 top-down zombie shooter Dead Nation's difficulty levels are called "Braindead", "Normal", "Grim", "Morbid" and "Undead".[6] Some games reward or punish players for their choice of difficulty. For instance, 2007 indie platformer I Wanna Be the Guy was created to be extremely hard to finish, and to illustrate this it uses the difficulty scale "Medium", "Hard", "Very Hard", and "Impossible", with no "Easy" mode or equivalent. If the player chooses "Medium", they will have a pink ribbon in their hair throughout the entire game as a sort of punishment for this.[7] In games from the Kingdom Hearts series, unlockable post-game levels and bosses are often unlocked differently per difficulty level, with the easier difficulties usually making it harder to unlock these and vice versa, and these games often contain certain content that can only be unlocked by beating the highest difficulty level, usually called "Proud Mode" or "Critical Mode".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Degree of difficulty". Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  2. ^ "FINA Degree of Difficulty / Formula and Components". Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Definition: Degree Of Difficulty". Gymnastics Zone. December 12, 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "FIG Code of Points 2013‐2016 ‐ Trampoline Gymnastics ‐ Part I (TRA)" (PDF). FIG. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  5. ^ Several Call of Duty video games, published by Activision between 2003-2016. Main website at
  6. ^ Dead Nation, video game. Published November 2010 by Sony Computer Entertainment. Main website at
  7. ^ I Wanna Be the Guy. Freeware video game from Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Several Kingdom Hearts video games, published by Square Enix between 2002-2015. Main website at