The purpose of difficulty naming is to inform players how difficult a map is. This article lists common conventions as well as other alternatives that have been gathered throughout the years. However, as long as the set of difficulty names is descriptive and clearly indicates progression of difficulty, you may use any desired kind of scheme.


This subsection shows the default scaling difficulty names for each game mode, which are the most commonly used.

  • Marathon: a map that is over 5 minutes of drain time, and thus can form a mapset on its own.

osu! osu!

  • Easy Easy
  • Normal Normal
  • Hard Hard
  • Insane Insane
  • Expert Expert
  • Expert+ Expert+

osu!taiko osu!taiko

  • Kantan Kantan
  • Futsuu Futsuu
  • Muzukashii Muzukashii
  • Oni Oni
  • Inner Oni / Ura Oni Inner Oni / Ura Oni
  • Hell Oni Hell Oni

osu!catch osu!catch

  • Cup Cup
  • Salad Salad
  • Platter Platter
  • Rain Rain
  • Overdose Overdose
  • Overdose+ Overdose+

osu!mania osu!mania

  • EZ EZ
  • NM NM
  • HD HD
  • MX MX
  • SC SC

Songs from other rhythm games

This subsection shows the scaling difficulty names for mapsets of songs that come from other rhythm games. Using said rhythm game's style of difficulty naming is acceptable.

Beatmania IIDX (or BMS songs)

  • Beginner Beginner
  • Normal Normal
  • Hyper Hyper
  • Another Another
  • Black Another Black Another


Abbreviations on this particular difficulty naming scheme are acceptable (e.g. NOVICE → NOV).


Pop 'n Music

  • Easy Easy
  • Normal Normal
  • Hyper Hyper
  • EX EX

DanceDanceRevolution (DDR)

  • Beginner Beginner
  • Basic Basic
  • Difficult Difficult
  • Expert Expert
  • Challenge Challenge

In The Groove (ITG)

  • Novice Novice
  • Easy Easy
  • Medium Medium
  • Hard Hard
  • Expert Expert

Songs from other games

Touhou Project (東方Project)

Difficulty spread inspired by Touhou Project (東方Project in Japanese), including any individual game from the project.

The difficulty spread would follow the Default difficulty naming scheme, with the exception of the Insane and Expert difficulties, which can be substituted by the following:

  • Lunatic Insane can be substituted by Lunatic.
  • Extra Expert can be substituted by Extra / Extra Stage / Phantasm.

Widely accepted alternatives

The following individual difficulty names have been accepted and are used more commonly now as alternative to the basic difficulty names:

osu! osu!

  • Beginner Beginner: in a default Easy-Normal-Hard-Insane-Expert spread, it refers to the lowest level of difficulty, even below Easy.
  • Advanced Advanced: in a default Easy-Normal-Hard-Insane-Expert spread, it's a difficulty between Normal and Hard.
  • Hyper Hyper: in a default Easy-Normal-Hard-Insane-Expert spread, a difficulty between Hard and Insane.
  • Extra Extra: it can used as a substitute for Expert.
  • Extreme Extreme: it can be used to represent a more difficult Expert or as a substitute for Expert+.