Monday, March 30, 2009

Define Casual

I've been thinking about the definition of a casual gamer lately. I mean come on, I claim to be a casual gamer, I even named my blog after it.

So, what is a casual gamer then? Is this anyone who isn't in a super hardcore raiding guild? Well, that would be just about all of the people I know (or who are probably reading this blog - I imagine the word "casual" might shy some away from here to begin with). Maybe a casual gamer is someone that can only raid 2 or 3 times a week, or ... maybe not. There isn't a hard fast rule, or a magical number of hours played in a week that draws a fine line, one that separates the causals from the hardcores.

No really, what makes the difference between hardcores and casuals? I don't think its just the time spent (however that does make an impact). Hardcore doesn't equal full time player just as casual doesn't equate to part-time player. Instead, I think, its a state of mind or a player's gaming style. Using this definition I would probably consider myself a "part-time" player instead of a casual player. Why would I say this? Well, for one, I write a freakin' WoW blog. The very fact that I'm writing this probably kicks me out of the casual camp altogether and makes me a bit of a paradox, or a least a misnomer. I might not have ran Naxx yet, but I have quite a few WoW podcasts on my iPod, my Google reader is full of other WoW blogs, and I even have a WoW shirt that says "I'm not addicted to WoW, I just want to finish it."

Perhaps I should rename my blog, "The Part-Time Huntering Blog". I'll have to think about that. So, here's the question. What do you consider yourself? Hardcore? Casual? Part-time? Something else?


mikemetcalf said...

Bob, I don't think you're that much of an anomaly. I think there are a lot of us obsessive wow gamers who would play more often if they could, but real life prevents it. I wouldn't want to trade any of the time I spend with my family now to dedicate to WoW, they're definitely my top priority. I also feel like I'm dedicated to my career, and my time spent on WoW suffers from life's other priorities. But I'm okay with that. I would love if some magical genie granted me 27 hour days to get in a few extra hours before I hit the hay, but I'm alright with my current playtime.

As far as casualty goes, I feel I'm currently more casual than I was at level 70. I expect to become less casual when I hit 80 (79.5 atm!). When I was 70, I would really pour myself into arena. PVP is definitely my first passion in the game, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. I will probably drool over S5 gear, obsess over my rating, and read up on the best specs and partner combinations. I'll also be doing some more raiding now and more heroics since my little brother, brother-in-law, and two friends are all close to 80, and all different classes. We make a perfect 5-man team for tanking, healing, and dps.

Holy long comment Batman! Anyway, after writing all that, I guess I've concluded that I really don't know where I stand. Maybe I'm a hardcore wannabe, but I'm okay with that.

Arrens said...

I imagine the line crossed from casual to hardcore varies from person to person, but there's a rather definitive line (at least in my mind's eye). If you're in a guild that states its purpose as being a progressive raid guild that hits the content for 3-4 hrs a night for 4-5 days a week, I don't think there's any doubt that's a hardcore guild/player.

As for myself? I'm hardcore in that I have goals in mind and use what limited playtime I have to achieve those goals. Right now, that focus is on the Loremaster title, so most heroic instancing and the few raids I might attend have been put to the wayside for the 2 hrs per night I typically play.

TL;DR version: The Hardcore/Casual tag is subjective, thus allowing any other person to define you. Therefore, I don't put too much stock into it.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that you can be 'casual' or 'hardcore' about different activities *at the same time*. Birdfall has a nice post about this at her blog.

For me, it's about attitude. Time and money restrictions may come from outside, but how intensely you care to participate in an aspect of the game is all you.

Bob said...

@mike I think we're in the same boat, except that I suck at PvP. Oh, and you'll have to let us twitter ppl know when you ding 80! woot! precongrats.

@arrens You're right, I guess I'm semi hardcore about somethings (like collecting mounts), but not so much about others (raiding). And you bring up a good point about labeling, that's not really good for anything in all situations, but we still do it.

@mania at the same time, I guess if you are looking at different aspects of the game that could be true. I'll have to look at you link you gave from Birdfall

Brajana said...

I mostly agree with Arrens.

Casual/Hardcore is very subjective. I consider myself pretty casual, yet I still spend most of my day talking, blogging, or sometimes even playing WoW.

I think everyone needs to define their own personal limits on things like this. For me, any time I raid more than 3 nights in a week makes it feel like too much commitment.

I think being hardcore comes from the choices you make, rather than the amount of time you play or how many level 80 characters you have. If you choose WoW over family/friends/work/school... I think that's the bad kind of hardcore. But if you just happen to spend all of your free time playing, well... it's your free time and you can do what you please with it!

Bob said...

@brajana I think I'm going to have to write a follow up post on this subject soon, its seems there are a lot in my same boat.

Brigwyn said...

*cough* emm.. err.. hmm. okay. I would say I mam more of a casual player when it comes to time in the game. (Even out of the game lately.)

But, when it comes to HOW? I play the game, it's definetely hardcore. By this I mean I play using the knowledge I've gained over the years (yes, I mean years and that probably also qualifies me as hardcore) into being a better hunter.

I'm not a HARDCORE min/max player, but I am now taking a harder look at my gear choices, talents, etc. to see if I'm really playing the best I can.

So yeah.. I admit it. I'm hardcore with a casual schedule. lol

Bob said...

hardcore with a casual schedule, I like that, I'll have to use that in my follow up post.

mikemetcalf said...

Is "hardcore" synonymous to an obsession with the pursuit of perfection?

I'm not a hardcore raider, but when I play AB or WSG at 39, I definitely strive to become the very best in my battlegroup, much in the same way that Brigwyn strives to become the very best hunter, and obsesses over his own respective gear and specs.

Bob said...

@mike I'm not sure, I don't know if there is a definition for hardcore set in stone.

Brigwyn said...

@bob - I think it's the best way to describe it.

@mike - Yep. you're a hardcore twinker then.

I think the definition of hardcore is taking something to a point where strive to be the best. e.g. Hardcore athelete=one that practices hours on end to perfect their game.

Hardcore musician - practices hours upon hours to perfect their style as well as sound.

(see the trend?)

Bob said...

Well, I think about the game way too much, but I haven't really gotten to the point where I feel hardcore even on a casual schedule. The interest is there, but the commitment isn't. When I was really into the guitar I guess I wasn't hardcore then either, didn't put enough time into it.

Now I'm all confused, I don't know what kind of player I am.