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"You can be bad at playing a video game, and the video game will punish you, and deny you access to the rest of the video game. No other art form does this — you've never been reading a book and, three chapters in, the book has gone 'What are the major themes of the book so far?'"

The design precept that a game should require some kind of dedication from its players before giving them anything. All the fun and rewarding content must be earned, becoming accessible as the players "prove" themselves. While this is rewarding to players seeking a greater challenge, and it adds to the bragging rights of Challenge Gamers who like to play the game on Harder Than Hard mode, it can also be frustrating for those who don't have the time or skill to master the game. This comes in two flavors:

Forced difficulty, in which the player can't make the game easier without losing access to the game's full content.

Forced dedication, in which the player must spend large amounts of time or money on the game in order to have access to major content.

Things that are often confused to be this is:

Note that this trope is nearly omnipresent in video games to some degree: all but the most basic casual games contain some element of rewarding progression, even if simply by requiring that a player beat prior levels to progress to a later level. Tropes Are Not Bad, after all: done well it allows for things like story pacing and slowly increasing complexity of game mechanics, while rewarding players for successfully taking on challenges. If done poorly though this can result in It's Hard, So It Sucks!, where the difficulty is so high it brings only frustration whilst playing and offers no satisfaction on completion.

Given that this is an Omnipresent Trope, examples listed here should be exceptionally notable, unusual, or inverted/averted/subverted examples that don't fit any of the other tropes mentioned above.


  • Alien vs. Predator: Cheat mode essentially disables progress and your ability to save, and unlocking all the bonus levels requires you to beat the game in Director's Cut mode.
    • Better yet, most of the cheats are just cosmetic changes and don't make the game easier, either. The console cheats, however, are fine to use (and do cover things like God mode, Bottomless Magazines, et al.).
  • Alien Swarm is quite taxing on newbies that struggle with learning the game. Playing on easy will severely reduce the amount of experience points you get at the end of each mission and you need all the experience points you can get to level up and unlock new gear. Hard Mode Perks kick in hard when your level gets a bit high since you won't progress much unless you start playing on higher difficulty levels for extra experience points. Gear is also level locked, so you need to level grind quite a bit to get better stuff in order to be more proficient in combat and team support. Without them, you'll be stuck with weak guns and very little means of defense since you can easily be killed in just a few hits.
  • Atlantica Online seems to avert it initially, but this trope plays straight once you reach triple-digit levels, where succeeding in any content without use of items bought for real money (by you or someone else) is nearly impossible. It gets worse the higher you go.

  • Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is more realistic than most games, requiring to take care of not just hunger, but also thirst, vitamins, and taste, basing inventory capacity on both weight and volume (and wearing larger packs gives large penalties), requiring you to change clothes depending on ambient heat, and having a ton of controls that need to be memorized. You can play for months before getting into things like vehicle construction (which requires you to find a lot of specific items, but is immensely rewarding), dungeon exploration, or reaching the Refugee Center. Add in that it's a roguelike with simplistic (and optional) graphics and permadeath, and you've got a game that requires a lot of getting used to, but is worth getting used to.
  • Construction-oriented Construction and Management Games games like Kerbal Space Program, From the Depths, and Space Engineers require varying degrees of engineering chops to make a basic vessel that won't crash, let alone fight in a naval battle or make it to space. Experimentation is half the fun.
  • To experience the best of what Copy Kitty has to offer, you'll need to work for it.
    • While there are many thrills to be had in either character's Normal campaign, it's Hard Mode where the game truly shines. Enemies come in new varieties with new powers, remixed levels, challenge that'll test your abilities, and insanely cool and fun bosses. But here it's not a simple difficulty select, you'll need to clear all of Normal first, and some of the late-game bosses and levels can be pretty challenging.
    • In addition, there's the Endless modes where you'll be given the freedom to use every power in the game in randomized environments with several unique enemies and bosses, but it'll take a lot of work to get through 100 Waves, let alone the unique content in each environment. What's more, you'll need to stay alive through it all to get a high enough score to unlock the spectacular Superboss and its Bonus Level of Hell. This goes doubly so for its Hard Mode counterpart, in which you must complete a lengthy checklist of achievements before the game even lets you attempt it.

  • Dead or Alive 5 challenges the hardcore among the hardcore players if they want to unlock 3 extremely skimpy swimsuits for Tina, Christie and Lisa; the game features a whopping total of 8 levels of difficulty: 'Rookie, Easy, Normal, Hard, Champ, True Fighter, Master and Legend', with the last three being unlocked after the preceding difficulty is beaten; rest assured that your average player can’t go through Hard without losing continues, but if you want those Rare Swimsuits you must mow through Legend – 4 difficulties beyond Hard – without losing a single continue on Arcade for Tina's, Time Attack for Christie's and Survival for Lisa's. Simply put, it's a nightmare to get these pieces of clothing for the girls. The computer on Legend is on a whole new level of reading and countering any attack the player tries to connect; just beating this mode is a nerve-cracking task, but beating it without losing continues is absurd, and that's not enough: even though the task on Arcade and Time Attack is already beyond insane to complete, at the end of the day it's just 8 Stages each. On Survival though, it's 100 Stages, a-freaking-hundred quasi-unbeatable opponents to defeat with one small recovering life bar, so yeah, even some of the most hardcore players stop at Tina and Christie's swimsuits.
  • Dead Rising 2 is so proud of its opening cutscenes that if you try to skip the first one to get to the chainsaw-motorcycle-riding fun, the game punishes you by not only skipping that part of the introduction, but also the escape from the ensuing zombie outbreak. The game cheats you out of gameplay because you didn't want to watch a cutscene. Note, however, that the game has a big focus on (ab)using New Game Plus and the intro can turn into a boring grind after a time or two. Skipping the most repetitive bit of the game as well as the intro cutscenes helps speed you along into a new loop, actually subverting the trope for those starting a new runthrough.
  • Death Stranding can be interpreted as a Zeerust-history of the development for transporting goods; Sam starts out with nothing but the (admittedly high-tech) clothes on his back, a stick, and enough packages to break the spine of a bodybuilder, while forced to trek through acid rain, deranged rivals, and packs of wild spirits. Then he forms a contract with a fledgling country, and by making scheduled deliveries he can also create permanent alliances with other cities, increasing their prosperity and developing new technologies to make the work easier. From there, Sam builds bridges and roads to cross rivers and ravines easier, receives the weapons necessary to fight off the otherwise undefeatable hostiles on the path, purchases bikes and trucks to haul large loads safely and quickly, creates increasingly complex buildings as waystations between delivery routes, and eventually constructs region-spanning networks that can sidestep most of the hassle by automating most deliveries and building airlines (of a sort) for human-only jobs. Sam, and by extension the player, is building a network of trade routes and technological progress to turn a slogging, thankless trek through monster-infested territories into a quick and exciting ride with the occasional exhilarating combat. The trick is that, despite the rest of the team saying otherwise, the player learns that they don't have to re-invent the entire industrial revolution on their own.
  • Demon's Souls, Dark Souls and the various sequels and successors have this as a defining feature. Even the weakest enemies in the games will kill the player in a matter of seconds, with tough bosses often killing the players in one or two hits. The players will have to learn patterns for all enemies and bosses to survive, plus adapt to their slow, methodical attacks and other movements that can't be canceled. Healing is generally quite limited, and basically every area is full of traps, hidden enemies, and numerous other things that can kill you, certainly earning the games "Prepare to Die," tagline.
  • DJMAX:
    • The now-defunct DJMAX Online required you to grind levels to play harder songs.
    • DJMAX Portable 2: Wanna unlock 8-Button mode? Play 300 songs, or change the difficulty in the options menu to Hard if you don't mind stricter timing windows and bigger life penalties for missing.
    • Similarly, if you wanna unlock 6.2 Tracks mode in DJMAX Portable 3, you have to grind to Level 50 and then get it as a reward in the "pick one of three mystery boxes" feature that shows up every time you level up, or set the game difficulty to Hard and brave the harsh timing and reduced lifebar defense.
  • Doom Eternal is known for a Sequel Difficulty Spike, something that was intended by the developers to force players to push their skills to the fullest. To make up for this, you're allowed to use whatever cheats you want with no penalty when replaying stages, so once you've powered your way through the main campaign there's no major skill gate to keep you from getting 100% Completion (the sole exception are the Slayer Gates, which are disabled when cheats are used so that you can't cheese your way to unlocking The Unmakyr).
  • Dota 2:
    • Dota 2 is notorious for needing to spend tons of time learning everything about the game & memorizing a ton of things before you can even think about playing it online competitively (which is what the whole game is geared towards), and then having to spend tons of time putting everything you learned about it into practice over long periods of time, and presumably through a number of face-crunchingly horrible games before you ever become even remotely good at this game, or at the very least have any idea what you're doing. The game does have a minor tutorial at the start that covers extreme basics (to the point where an equivalent tutorial would be teaching you how to walk in a First-Person Shooter), but most of the valuable information about the game that you have access to come completely from independent non-Valve-related people in the Dota community who are volunteering their information to you (for free, don't worry). Things generally take exponentially longer for players who go into it blind, and they might find themselves floundering around for months (at least) if they do so, before they even begin to get the hang of things. However, it can become extremely fun & rewarding once you get the hang of it, to the point where you might even find yourself unintentionally ignoring all other video games & spending all of your gaming time on it, even if you had lots of variety before going into Dota 2. This has happened to a lot of people.
      • How bad is Dota 2 in this regard? You can have spent 70 hours playing the game (enough to get 100% Completion in a good-sized JRPG) and people will tell you with a completely straight face that that's not nearly enough time to become competent at the game. And they seem completely oblivious to how insane this actually sounds.
    • Being bad at the game will lead to your loss - but you don't just lose, that wouldn't be hardcore enough. Instead you are at the mercy of the other team to decide to stop killing you over and over and win already. Of course, the other team has no incentive to win the game, because then the fun stops. Why is it worse in Dota 2? Because the game has no concede option but does have a penalty for leaving; Dota public games had neither while (third party) league games typically had both. Also, the absence of a ladder in Dota 2 removes all incentives to actually win the match, making the entire game about trying to humiliate the opponent and drag out their suffering and wasted time.
      • Of course, when you do get better, you can then do it to the enemy team every once in a while. Taunt the opponents with "gg noobs" or "too easy" for the maximum amount of fun units.
    • In both Dota 2 and League of Legends it is not uncommon for teams to report the worst player on their team for "griefing", which eventually leads to punishment. That's right, learn to play or get your account banned (to be fair, the punishment in Dota 2 isn't all that bad while in League it requires a ton of reports).
  • The new "Quest" mode in Drummania V6 (and probably Guitar Freaks V6 also) presents challenges which award you quest ranking points. However, when you start off, all of the hardest quests are not accessible. If you can already clear difficulty-level 95 songs, have fun grinding the "Clear this level 30 song" quests until your rank is high enough to access the real challenges.
  • Dustforce's level progression system. Getting to the end of any level is easy enough thanks to frequent checkpoints. But to really complete a level you must get an SS rank, which means cleaning up every single speck of dust in the level without breaking your combo once - and since getting hit by an enemy or respawning at a checkpoint breaks your combo, those checkpoints are totally useless when going for an SS rank. And your reward for the SS rank? A key that grants access to any level that's one difficulty harder. In other words, unlocking new levels doesn't just involve beating old ones, but executing them flawlessly from beginning to end - and as the levels get harder, it's virtually impossible to do so in a single try, requiring careful planning and dedication to work out the best possible route and then follow through.
  • The slogan of Dwarf Fortress is "Losing Is Fun". There is a reason for this. A player's first few fortresses will probably end up dying of thirst, dying of hunger, dying of goblin, dying of unexpected megabeast, dying of flooding, dying of LAVA flooding, etc. if not all of them at the same time before they figure out the countless mechanics and start being able to actually enjoy the game.

  • Enchanter has a nasty version of forced difficulty, where you can use a single-use scroll to bypass practically any puzzle (and some of the puzzles are very difficult), but if you do, it makes the game unwinnable, as you need the scroll for the endgame. Obviously, there is no indication that the game is now unwinnable or that you're unable to pass the puzzle requiring it, nor is there any indication as to which point you're supposed to use this scroll at, nor any indication that using it for a puzzle that you're supposed to solve another way is not the correct answer.
  • EverQuest, and almost every other MMORPG, features large amounts of level grinding, much of which is highly repetitive and against frankly unheroic opponents. There are also many very powerful items with low drop percentages, and almost all loot is random anyway.

  • Final Fantasy XI was pretty unforgiving to newbies for a long time. Leveling up requires a lot of grinding, some gear or materials take forever to get due to the Random Drop system, doing quests required a party most of the time (good luck doing that if you can't get anyone to help you), and dying means you lost experience points and the possibility of leveling down (if you had gear that was based on your level, you pretty much became naked if you lost a level), forcing you to grind some more to regain what you lost. While the expansion packs did make the game slightly more tolerable for new players, the game was made for people who had the time and dedication to learn from their mistakes and punishment.
  • This is discussed in JoCat's "So I Wanna Talk About How It Took Me 300 Hours To Like FFXIV". Here, it's not that it took him 300 actual hours to actually like the game, instead it's the fact that he was intentionally skipping the cutscenes, only doing sidequests and generally going out of his way to refuse to interact with the story of the game. Once he stopped such actions and actually paid attention to the game, he began to enjoy it so much more.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light starts you with the basic Kestrel cruiser as your only available ship. To unlock its alternate layouts as well as other ships and their respective layouts for subsequent playthroughs, you'll have to fulfill ship-specific achievements for the new layouts and complete sidequests for the new ships.

  • Goldeneye 007 and its spiritual successor Perfect Dark, unlike most games, require the player to actually earn cheats by completing missions under a certain time limit. Some are rather forgiving, others... *coughfacilitycough* will have you sprinting through the level, the guards peppering your back with lead only serving to propel you even faster. However, Goldeneye left in debug codes that you could put in and breeze through a level with no consequences. Shame on you. Unfortunately, there was no code to make Natalya invincible.

  • Half-Life is known for Trial-and-Error Gameplay, especially Half-Life. The protagonist, Gordon Freeman, isn't very spongy and quickly goes down under sustained enemy fire. Persevere, however, and you get to follow Gordon's journey and see him become an in-universe Memetic Badass.
  • The fictional video game Greed Island in Hunter × Hunter distributes Spell Cards through only one location. Spell Cards let players do basic video game things like warping to other towns and are the only way outside of overwhelming force to rise above subsistence. Since players are the people themselves transported to the game world, this one location is staked out by powerful players attempting to claim as many Spell Cards as they can—meaning to advance, players have to already be pretty good at the game. Simply reaching the town the Spell Cards are distributed from was an ordeal for the main characters, who are already exceptionally strong and somewhat well known among some infamous people.

  • In the old SNES game, The Jungle Book, the game ended prematurely if you selected Easy or Normal difficulty.

  • In Kerbal Space Program, Spaceplanes are this. At least you can laugh at your failures and revert to the SpacePlane Hangar

  • Left 4 Dead with its VS mode. While the game does give instructions on how to play as a survivor properly, you're not given any instructions on how to play as the infected beyond the basic controls. Expect to die a lot from survivors being able to pinpoint your location or blocking your attacks until you can learn how to ambush properly.

  • Especially common with Korean MMORPGs, of which Mabinogi is a classic example; with the intense Level Grinding only the start. Nearly all skills start as Magikarp Power, the best basic skills requiring months of training to be useful. Advanced skills require either Fetch Quests rife with difficult to find random drops, or arduous story-based quests that often require high levels of unrelated skills to even attempt; and nearly all of both types include a Bonus Level of Hell (however, in most cases it is possible to skip this level by buying the item from another player, or gain assistance from higher-level players). Story-line quests also require a considerable amount of involvement from other players in order to complete; so you actually have to convince your friends, or more often random strangers, to help you out.
    • Weapons and armor are also minimally effective without upgrades, which require a considerable amount of time and effort to acquire; and the best versions are often only available as random drops from bosses, or rewards from a Bonus Level of Hell.
    • Spirit Weapons also suffer from Magikarp Power, and require a consider amount of time, and buying expensive in-game items or grinding for items to feed it, in order to make them useful.
    • Not only do crafting skills require a huge amount of grinding to advance; but are often dependent on other skills, which can be similarly difficult and time-consuming. Examples are Potion Making, which requires ranking the Herbalism (and at higher levels, Exploration); Blacksmithing, which is much more difficult without a high level of Refine, Metallurgy, and Weaving; and Music, which combines 3 different skills — Musical Knowledge, Composing, and Playing Instrument — and both tedious grinding and difficult side-quests to level up.
    • Although event-only items are typically not superior to in-game items, they're usually in very high demand for aesthetic reasons; and collecting and selling them can make a substantial amount of money for the player, at the expense of a lot of grinding, or Nintendo Hard gaming, or both.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series and Mega Man Star Force sequel series has this in the form of "Navi Chips" ("Summon Cards" for Star Force), special Battle Chips that will summon a NetNavi to attack the enemy for you. These Battle Chips are incredibly powerful, but acquiring them means defeating the NetNavi associated with the chip (usually as an Optional Boss, but not always), and the attack power of the chip is determined by how well you fought. The games handle this in one of two ways:
    • For the first Battle Network trilogy and the Star Force trilogy, the chips are ranked V1, V2, V3, etc., Each progressive version requires a higher Buster Rank to earn with the strongest version needing an S Rank, but the chip has a higher damage stat as a reward. Somewhat frustratingly, each version counts as its own chip for 100% Completion.
    • For the second Battle Network trilogy and its spin-offs, "versions" were replaced with normal Navi Chips and "SP" Navi Chips. SP Chips still require a fast kill of the NetNavi, but instead alter the chip's actual damage stat depending on both Buster Rank and how long the kill took — max power from an SP Chip requires an S Rank in under ten seconds. Fortunately only the SP Chip itself is required for completion and doesn't need to be maxed out.
  • Mega Man ZX You have to beat Legacy Boss Omega to get the Infinity+1 Weapon of the game; but you won't get anything if you beat him in easy mode.
  • Minecraft: every automated farm, redstone computer, and golden pyramid built in survival mode begins with a player punching trees and hiding from the zombie hordes in a dirt shack. A player could lose everything they own by dying in or near lava, or having their chests blown to pieces by monsters.
  • In Monster Hunter, apart from honing your skills to a keen edge the only way to progress through the game and access the higher-tiered content is to get stronger weapons and/or armor sets. And how do you do that? A lengthy, often painful grind involving hunting increasingly stronger monsters and obtaining materials from them, with some of the more powerful weapon upgrades only obtainable via super rare mats like Gems and Mantles. Want that high-damage Hammer or pair of awesome Dual Blades? Then suit up and be prepared to track your quarry. Additionally, players who mistake the game to be just another Hack and Slash will soon get the idea brutally beaten out of their heads by the myriads of movement, combat and item usage mechanics that are required learning before you can even begin to hunt your first big monster.

    The series additionally has DLC that lets you put on special armor sets and weapons, often crossovers from other games...but the game ain't gonna give you the cool equipment right away. The DLC actually takes the form of more quests that drop tickets that then need to be redeemed to the blacksmith to forge the relevant equipment, and you'll often need more than one ticket for a piece of equipment. In the world of Monster Hunter, the concept of instant gratification does not exist.

  • NetHack: As with all rogue-likes, one can expect to restart many, many times before successfully conquering the game. This, however, is compounded by the denial of backup saves and a merciless Random Number God in charge of the loot.
  • Pokémon: The strong Pokémon are always the rarest and hardest to catch, and it's the trope namer for Magikarp Power. Not to mention the Legendaries that can only be obtained at special events.
    • Those unique Pokémon are sometimes captured at low levels, resulting in a true debate: raise your creature as you want (though the later games let you re-teach your Pokémon moves that they've forgotten anyway) or simply because you like the grind, or start kicking butt right away?
    • But those Pokémon you wasted hours trying to catch will probably be banned from tournaments anyway, and you'll have to spend hours EV training and chain breeding certain Mons not because they're the most powerful, but purely because they're optimal for countering the ones that other people use.

  • Want to drive a fast, highly-tuned sports car in any Racing Game ever? Be ready to pay your dues in a stock VW Golf or similar car for a while. Or bribe your way to victory.
  • The developers of Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando were aware of the First Person Wallclimb glitch, and decided to treat it this way, since it can only be done after unlocking Challenge Mode, meaning anyone who has access to the glitch has beaten the game at least once and have seen the plot through.

  • Shin Megami Tensei: You can get most boss demons to fight with you afterwards, but this isn't just a simple case of Defeat Means Friendship. Defeating the boss only grants you the privilege of fusing them, and fusing a boss demon often requires a very specific set of "component" demons, some of which are entirely possible to never see at all in a given playthrough if you don't dedicate time to experimenting with fusions and filling up the Demon Compendium (if there even is one).
  • Sonic and the Secret Rings begins with Sonic moving slow and sluggish, which, considering Super-Speed is a major draw to his games, can get annoying and frustrating, especially since the stages are designed with a faster speed in mind (but can be cleared at his slowest). He doesn't get speed upgrades until he clears the third stage, upon which the game becomes more enjoyable and obstacles and enemies become easier to dodge.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games often start you off with a dinky pistol and a handful of bullets, a knife, binoculars, an infinite supply of bolts and some bread and vodka. And then throw you out to the wolves to survive bandits, military soldiers, hostile factions, mutated wildlife, angry mutants, and even radiation and anomalies within the environment itself. If you want to even hope to survive in the long term, your only real option is to work your way up the food chain in equipment and ammunition while taking care not to get ambushed or mowed down at a moment's notice. Even fully kitted out with a Gauss Rifle and exoskeleton armor, one misstep can get you gored. Such is life in the Zone.
    • And that's even getting into mods like MISERY...
  • Streets of Rage 3 has this if you play on Easy difficulty. If you try to beat the game on Easy, you get treated to a bad ending where the real Mr. X isn't found and you get mocked for "playing this game like a beginner." It doesn't help that compared to the Japanese version, the North American version is actually more difficult by increasing damage from enemies (Japanese version doesn't do this) and the Japanese version even lets you beat the game on Easy. If you weren't good enough to survive the game on Normal, you would probably never see the last two levels or the other endings.
    • Players can also get their blitz attack upgraded at every 40,000 points, which can make some characters extremely powerful, but you lose an upgrade if you lose a life and have to collect 40,000 points again. Unless you were good enough to use the button combos on a 6-button controller to do the upgraded attacks manually, you'll be grinding for points trying to upgrade your fighter from normal strong to absurdly strong.
  • Want to play the Special Cup in Super Mario Kart? Can't do it on 50cc! You must beat the Mushroom, Flower, and Star Cups on 100cc with a gold trophy on each and then you are allowed to play on the Special Cup. Want to race faster in the 150cc class? Prove you can beat the Special Cup with a gold trophy on 100cc first. Later games were more lenient with their unlockables, but you usually had to get the best rank just to get anything.
  • Super Metroid: You have some special moves that are not listed on the manual, such as walljump (but the game "tries" to teach you), but you will never be presented to bomb jumping, shinespark diagonally or horizontally, crystal flash and some other moves. Also, the routes are hard and no one tells you where to go, but the game is far from being hard just for being hard.

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3: In order to unlock all the levels, skaters, and cheats, you have to 100% the game with 22 different skaters.
  • While the Shoot 'Em Up community generally regards a true clear of a game as clearing it on one credit, Touhou Project is infamous in that getting the good ending requires doing that, on Normal or above; failing either condition results in a bad ending. The sixth game, Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, takes it a step further by outright denying the player the final stage on Easy difficulty! Worse yet, the developer specifically requested that his fandom never post any of the endings online (plot summaries yes, other cutscenes yes, just not the endings), and somehow this became the one issue on which the majority of the fandom actually listened to what he said. Not even YouTube or Google will save you this time. You also need to do a ≥Normal one-credit clear to unlock Extra Stage to see the complete story, with the Extra Stage itself turning off continues, ensuring that the player will need to train hard to see the entirety of the game's story.
  • In TrackMania, virtually all of the tracks require you beat the previous 5 tracks with at least a Silver medal in order to play them.
  • Turgor AKA The Void drops you directly into the game world with only a cryptic poem to think about, and every character except the very first one you meet blatantly lies to you about how the game really works. After your first few doomed playthroughs (which can take hours each), you'll get the hang of managing your gardens and all the cryptic poetry and vague dialog will start to make some sense, and the game finally takes off from there.

  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. You start with a stock vehicle that can maybe make 250 km/h tops, and to get it to full tune you need to complete Story Mode. Each stage in Story Mode uses up one credit, and depending on the installment there are 60, 80, or 100 stages to complete; thankfully, from the fourth game onwards Story Mode has been locked to 60 stages. Once you get that tedious grinding out of the way, that's where you can start seriously playing VS Mode, Ghost Battle Mode, and Time Attack mode, where most of the excitement takes place. Oh, and you have to do this with every new car you start, unless you have a friend who can offer you a "Discard" that gives you a 20-stage head start on Story Mode, and even then it's still at least 40 stages to complete.
  • A very casual Warframe player who plays it like any other third person shooter will find that they are very limited and probably very bored with those limitations. One starter character, a handful of starting equipment, and one or two planets available. An unimmersed player will wonder what all the fuss is about. Warframe veterans, however, will be able to launch themselves across a map in a whirlwind of devastation and glory, able to use their weapon selection (even basic weapons) or just their Warframe's special powers to tear whole battalions of enemies to shreds. Players who stay and learn its mechanics are rewarded by feeling like the oft-mentioned "Space Ninja" and/or futuristic fashionistas.
  • World of Warcraft has gotten better over the years. In the original release, the most interesting dungeons, strongest rewards, and best storylines were generally reserved for levels 50 and above. And even at that level, to get into the best dungeons and raids would require intense personal farming of rep, gear, and attunement quests.