How would you describe each difficulty in DDR?

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Post #1 · Posted at 2018-07-08 11:31:26pm 7.6 months ago

Offline pikasphere
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So, for most of my life I've only ever played PS2 DDR games on a soft pad. I was very proud of passing 8s and 9s, which I've always thought were the hardest step charts around, with 10s being untouchable challenges for maniacs. Earlier this year, after a 10+ year hiatus, I dusted off my DDR games, played them, and got my skill level up to perform well with 9 footers.

Cue to me reading about DDR on Wikipedia. Apparently, starting from DDR X, the song ratings went all the way up to 20! I thought, what's the point? Aside from a few suspiciously rated 8s and 9s, how could there possibly be that much stratification of foot ratings?

Next, cue to me taking a look at this video of DDR A's song list (I know it's outdated now):

I was eager to see how my skill level held up today. Sure, games have power creep (in DDR's case, difficulty creep), but how bad could it be?

...Wait a minute, 13s? 12s?! 11s?!! All of these songs that I thought were hard and that I had practiced so hard to perform, all of these 8s and 9s, that's it?! Healing Vision Angelic Mix, Sakura, Insertion, bag, Drop Out, so many songs that I was sure would be in the upper teens, never broke past 14. I couldn't believe it. What the heck did 14+ songs even look like? And why is MAX 300 only a 15?! It's like everything I knew about DDR was a lie.

Cue to today, and now I see what I've missed since SN2. I'd like to provide my perspective as someone who got blown away by the new ratings and difficulty creep:

11 to 13
Is the song considered hard in the old days of DDR? Then it falls here. 8th note streams are the bread and butter, with 16ths (of at least 3 in a row) being used sparingly.

14 is a pretty distinct difficulty imo. From what I've seen, they're songs that are either barely doable or almost doable on a soft pad no bar, like I'd been doing for years. What I mean is, 13s are just about the limit of what I can do on such a setup-- they're the songs that make my pad slide and tear. 14s, on the other hand, are these but just a notch harder, like I'd think twice before doing them.

Another observation is that 14s are 13s but with 16ths slapped in. I know 13s and below can use 16s and that some 14+ probably don't, but it holds true for the most part: if you want a song to be a 14, you either make it a stamina chart or just sprinkle in some nice little 16th streams/triplets to an otherwise classic "hard" DDR chart.

And this is why I think Cartoon Heroes would be a solid 14, no more no less. It absolutely destroys my soft pad, but it's doable.

16th notes are the bread and butter. That's the big observation and the biggest difference between new songs and old songs: that innocent yellow color. The 16th streams you see here are unheard of in classic DDR songs without the word "MAX" in them.

What seems to be the case is that 15s are the new 7s: just average songs by today's standards, and ones that impress passersby.

For me, this is the minimum rating where I'd use a bar primarily, especially for sightreading. Aside from Xepher CSP (which appears to be a stamina chart primarily, so it's fine) and easy 15s, there is no way I could do these on a soft pad.


Alright, so that's about as much as I can say. I'm still working on my DDR skills so I can't say much about 16+, but I'd really like to see what you guys think, especially for what distinguishes 16s to 19s. I assume quite a number of you have been with DDR through thick and thin and have seen how charts have progressed and what patterns have emerged. Heck, maybe some of you can even provide input on the whole spectrum, all the way from difficulty 1.

Post #2 · Posted at 2018-07-09 04:15:52pm 7.5 months ago

Offline Zowayix
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The X scale being 1.5 times the old scale is usually (almost always?) a good approximation. Don't think of 1-10 as mapping onto 1-20; think of it as mapping onto 1-15 with anything 16+ being something higher than an old-scale 10. (inb4 ITG references)

Post #3 · Posted at 2018-07-09 05:38:49pm 7.5 months ago

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Well, there are some old scale 10's from the Supernova era that are now 18's as well, so I wouldn't say that's a hard and fast rule, but the 1.5 times thing is usually fairly accurate. I only just came back to playing DDR somewhat seriously since Extreme and if I were to attempt to describe the 16+ difficulties it'd be as follows:
16 - Still straight-forward patterns, but higher BPM's and a little more gimmicky
17 - Patterns start to become more complex, but typically only for brief periods. Again, BPM's rise, as do gimmicks.
18 - Complex patterns are pretty standard here. Songs are also draining as fuck a lot of the time. Some particularly gimmicky songs.
19 - As gimmicky, draining and complex as you can get for the sake of pushing the difficulty envelope. These stepcharts are typically hated by a lot of the community.

Post #4 · Posted at 2018-07-09 11:08:16pm 7.5 months ago

Offline akio
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12-13: What most people considered 9 footers back in the day. A decent challenge for newer players.

14: The dead zone for songs that are either way too tricky to be 13s or too "easy" to be 15s. There are several songs in this category that are harder than a handful of 15s in my opinion, but what the fuck do I know. I don't work for Konami. The more straightforward 14s are some of the most fun charts I've played in Ace.

15-16: Your standard Extreme-era boss songs. Perfect range for people who could AAA Maxx Unlimited and PSMO on command back then.


18+: Yikes.
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Post #5 · Posted at 2018-07-10 03:24:13am 7.5 months ago

Offline pikasphere
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Quote: Zowayix
The X scale being 1.5 times the old scale is usually (almost always?) a good approximation. Don't think of 1-10 as mapping onto 1-20; think of it as mapping onto 1-15 with anything 16+ being something higher than an old-scale 10. (inb4 ITG references)
Oh! That's true, I never put 2 and 2 together. Yeah that makes sense, so 7s would approximate to 10 - 11, which is right in the middle of the scale, and that's why so many 9s are 13ish. Having 15-20 prevents the problem of too many 10s that vary in difficulty (looking at you bag vs PSMO)

Post #6 · Posted at 2018-07-10 03:51:09am 7.5 months ago

Offline 500MASTER
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Except bag Heavy/Challenge isn't even in that range. It's a 13 on the 1-20 scale. But, yeah, I think the main purpose of the 1-20 scale is to compensate for nuances in stepcharts that would be considered 10s on the old scale. MAX 300 Heavy and EGOISM 440 Challenge obviously have a titanic required skill gap between them and giving them the same difficulty rating would be inaccurate and unfair to players who are at the skill level to clear a 15 but not a 19 and aren't expecting that level of difficulty going into a chart for the first time.

Post #7 · Posted at 2018-07-10 05:13:13am 7.5 months ago

Offline pikasphere
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Quote: 500MASTER
Except bag Heavy/Challenge isn't even in that range. It's a 13 on the 1-20 scale.
I was referring to bag being a 10 in the old scale and how weird it was that 10 was also the difficulty of PSMO. Now, as you said, we can differentiate 10s way better. As it happens, bag is an outlier that settled on 13 rather than 15+ like other old scale 10s.

edit: oh i think i see what you were getting at. i said "15-20", but i was just saying that generally to refer to the fact that there are more numbers to use other than 10.

Post #8 · Posted at 2018-07-10 12:37:29pm 7.5 months ago

Offline Dreamboy
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I always figured bag and sakura were rated 13 because they shouldn't have been rated 10 in the first place -- X 13 is the typical 9-footer. Of course, I wonder if bag should really be an 11 or 12 since it seemed more like an 8-footer that was tough to read 1x. When DDR X home version came out, it seemed as if X 9's were typical 7-footers, and X 11's were typical 8-footers, so I always thought the 1.5 rule was off at some difficulties although I'm not sure if the X scale has been tweaked since then (most 7-footers seemed to be rated 10, and most 8-footers seem to be rated 12). I haven't played an X era DDR for over two years (excluding my X and X2 home versions), though, and I have yet to try Ace...
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Post #9 · Posted at 2018-07-10 11:14:56pm 7.5 months ago

Offline typeCHAOS
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id say in chunks and compare the foot ratings to songs you'd know already
10s' (7 footers)
11's (7 and a few 8 footers)
12's (few 7's and 8 footers)
13's (few 8's and 9 footers)
14's (few easy 10's)
15's (most pre-X 10's minus a few)
16's PARANOiA SURVIVOR MAX Challenge would be the middle ground of the bunch
17's Fascination MaxX Heavy would be the middle of the bunch
18's Fascination ~eternal love mix~ along the easier side of the bunch
19's no pre X era songs (first being Valkyrie dimension on X2)
20's unknown

it would be best to use this site below as to what you feel you can tackle

Post #10 · Posted at 2018-07-11 01:57:59am 7.5 months ago

Offline xXMokou98Xx
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1-4: Shoshinsha

5-8: you could realistically freestyle here, if this game were played in 2002.

9-11: never forgetwhere all the most basic 8th streams come to party, and sometimes 16ths also come to party, but they just hang out in the corner and talk about obscure music and games they found online that nobody else at the party knows. Comfy difficulty range.

12-13: Where most people comfortably play or peak. There's something fun here for eveybody, your favourite song is probably here, I know mine is.

14: Bridge to actual boss charts, the difference between 5'11" and 6'0".

15: The "I played EXTREME back in the day so I know what's up" difficulty. MAX 300 is here, half of the 700,000 songs are easier than it and the other half are harder. People still want more of these and forget there's 700,000 of them.

16: Imagine the 15s if they had more streams. Like, that's literally all this is. What a stupid ass jump in difficulty, that's all that happened. Just call this 15 (OVERCHARTED).


*ahem* but yeah, lots of really fast shit. The last point where there's a consistent balance of difficulty and quality charting, how sad.

18: Some of these are nice, some of these are not nice, there's not a lot of them. Maybe instead of adding another 500 trillion 15s, there could be more of these. Don't play Cozy Catastrophe.

19: Meme charts, don't play these unless you want to waste a credit. For a more enjoyable experience, try walking barefoot and smashing your pinkie toe up against a doorframe, crumbling to the floor whilst your life flashes before your very eyes as you contemplate whether or not your toe is about to fall off. Slightly more bearable than whatever VDO Challenge is supposed to be.
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Post #11 · Posted at 2018-07-11 12:31:01pm 7.5 months ago

Offline DJSuperNOVA
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1-3: Recommended for beginners

4-8: 3-6 in the old scale, I think.

9-11: Good for warmups.

12-13: Generally fun.

14-16: The wall that separates the advanced players and the pros.

17-18: I wish I can clear these

19: I think you can count people that can LIFE4 these with your fingers on one hand

20: Non-existing as of now
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Post #12 · Posted at 2018-08-06 01:41:11am 6.6 months ago

Offline PlasmaYoshi
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1-5: Great starting point!

6-10: FUN!!!

11-15: Difficult...

Yeah I can totally pass that not like I'm going to die haha

Post #13 · Posted at 2018-08-06 03:25:06am 6.6 months ago

Offline NewbStepper
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How beginners interpret foot ratings:
1: I can do this with one foot
2: Need both feet
3-4: Get a friend to help you

Okay, back to the actual question.
1-4: Your journey begins here
5: Hello, corner jumps
6: Hello consecutive jumps and/or 8th taps
7: Hi jackhammers and interesting freeze patterns
8: This is where we hit it off
9: Better start learning crossovers from this point
10: Rhythms start getting interesting from this point
11: The quintessential Expert difficulty for normal songs
12: Start building that stamina from here
13: Let's start seeing some 16th clusters or difficult gimmicks
14: The line between intermediate and high end level of play; stepchart count falls drastically from here on
15: The most bimodally distributed difficulty; major progress wall for many players
16: Studying is a must from this point
17: The bridge between sanity and insanity; you will miss normal streams without excessive twisting or songs without speed gimmicks from here on
18: The last difficulty you could possibly have any sort of fun in, if you're that good, that is
19: Charts made exclusively to give any player hell; you graduate from humanity if you can LIFE4 these
20+: No man's land
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