Apparently it’s a big no-no to use words like “hardcore” or “casual” when blogging. Readers and bloggers alike seem to get so caught up over these labels that they completely disregard the actual argument!
The term “hardcore” has become a dirty word. No one wants to be labeled as a hard core player; in fact everyone will do what they can to twist the meaning of casual just to make sure that they seem to fit into this category and no one could ever accuse them of being a hardcore player. Forgive me if I stop to roll my eyes.
I really loved a post written a while ago by Euripedes at Critical QQ which gave an interesting perspective on the whole casual and hardcore debate (if you can call it a debate) and highlighted how there is no real definition for what constitutes these two play styles. And if there is no definition, everything is open to interpretation.
I’ve decided to steal a page from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and am rejigging his Time Management Quadrant (you know, the one that is shown is every business course your office sends you to!) to come up with a fail safe way to tell if your casual, hardcore or something harder to define. I’m basing these on 2 factors time spent playing and your gaming attitude.
|Time Spent Per Week|
|Gaming Attitude||Very little||A lot|
|Success-driven||This is Lath!||Hardcore|
The problem is that there are two grey areas: Success-driven players who play very little (that’s me) and Fun-driven players who commit a lot of game time. In my opinion, Gaming Attitude is the stronger factor of the two. After all, if I had more time to play World of Wacraft, I probably would. So I would argue that Success-driven gamers with little play time shouldn’t be afraid to be labeled Hardcore. Time-poor, yes, but Hardcore nonetheless.
And fun-driven players who spend a lot of time in Azeroth? I would argue that if you put yourself in this space how you label yourself comes down to priorities. If you log off the moment that you’ve run out of fun stuff to do? You’re definitely qualified to proudly bear the “casual” label.
The average MMO player spends 21 – 22 hours a week in game. That statistic comes from information collated by Nick Yee who did extensive research on MMO’s in society. Was that a surprise? Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Well Nick Yee also did some comparison to MMO players and the average TV watcher. Did you know that the average American adult spends 28 hours per week watching TV?
I think of myself as a casual player in terms of the amount of hours I spend a week. I’m definitely coming in under the average, even if I attend each of our four raid sessions every week. And that’s usually all I have time for. It’s what I do and it’s how I spend every second of my 15 hours of game time each week. Then I log off. And try and scrape time out of my lunch break to write for Hots & Dots.
Yet I play/raid with a hardcore mentality. I know what I’m doing and I don’t want to fuck around waiting for people who consistently have net issues or must go have dinner and AFK for 20 minutes in the middle of each raid. I’ve raided in those guilds before, hell I ran one of those guilds and while I have no problem with people who want to play that way – go enjoy be merry, it just isn’t my cup of tea.
The only reason that hardcore has become a dirty word is because it’s based on an unflattering stereotype. It’s the player who sacrifices their social life in order to succeed in a game. It’s the player that condescends to less experienced players. The player that boasts about their achievements and gear. The player that thinks casual players are ruining the game.
I’m surrounded by people who approach raiding in World of Warcraft with a hardcore mentality. And guess what? They’re not like that. They take time off from raiding to go to parties, to celebrate birthdays, to go on holidays. They try and get along with other people and make friends – after all – at the highest level of success, World of Wacraft is a team sport and nobody can succeed on their own. Most of these players have no problem with casual players as long as they don’t try and raid together (raids are not a good place to mix mindsets).
I know that I’m not the mean anti-social stereotype described above. So call me hardcore. I consider it a compliment. A testament to my achievements and my success. I’m not offended.
I actually clock up less hours online and less hours in raids than I did when I played casually. Crazy, I know. Don’t believe me?
Less hours in raids: In a casual guild there was always that “just one more attempt please” attitude and while we raided less days we raided for a longer period. The time between attempts was drawn out as we waited for people to answer the phone, restart their computer, or replace a player that needed to log off to do homework. I definitely get more bang for my buck in a more extreme environment.
Less extra duties: I’ve been both a GM and an officer in different casual guilds and I’m now an officer in Vitare. The work load is a hell of a lot less in Vitare where the only aim of the guild is to raid and you’re either along for the ride or you aren’t. There is no scheduling, no loot complaints and no time spent persuading members to join the raid because they feel like doing arena/BG/leveling an alt.
So fellow readers, where do you fit on the quadrant? Do you think this is a fair view of how to determine where you sit in the gaming community? Do you think hardcore has become a dirty word?
Or do we need a new, lighthearted definition for hardcore play in World of Wacraft? More dragon-slaying, please!