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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

Powergamers Really Don't Understand Casuals

Posted by Meleagar Sunday July 8 2012 at 9:49AM
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In previous conversations, it's become apparent to me that powergamers not only do not understand casual gamers; they often are skeptical that there are that many truly casual customers playing MMOGs. I've mentioned in prior columns that it may take many casuals a year or more to level a character up to max level in most MMOGs and I was met not only with skepticism, but the opinion that perhaps those players should be playing some other kind of game - that MMOG's aren't suited for those that only invest 5-20 hour a week in their gaming activities.

IMO, a "powergamer" is a player that invests huge amounts of time in an MMOG and is focused on one thing - getting to max level as quickly as possible, and then grinding end-game content for whatever exclusive, superior rewards the game has to offer.  A "casual" player, IMO, is one who is not focused on getting to maximum level and generally finds themselves unable to participate in end-game content anyway because of time & lifestyle conflicts, and often also because they are often unwilling to play the game according to any min-max template or are unwilling to develop a professional-level knowledge of any game.  Casuals do not play games primarily to "get to the end" or "beat them", so to speak. They play the game to enjoy the content of the game.

Obviously, if the content of the game is deliberately constructed to specifically serve the interests and enjoyment of powergamers, it cannot help but be less enjoyable for casual players.  That's just a fact of life; if you offer a first class service, those that cannot afford it will feel slighted when they must use 2nd class options. Casual players are regulated to enjoying "as best they can" the content powergamers rush through to get somewhere else, and that "somewhere else" is a place that casuals don't spend much - if any - time in:  the endgame.  If a game is going to serve the interests of the powergamer in the long run, then most of the development team must be focused on providing more end-game content. This means, necessarily, giving the casual players the short-shrift on content updates and expansions.

Why? Because ultimately, in standard end-game scenarios, everything except the end game is just what powergamers rush through. If you're targetting powergamers, why develop an area that is going to be completely abandoned in  month or two? Why invest further time in it?

Powergamers ask why  casuals are concerned with end-game content if they aren't going to experience it anyway; the answer is simple. I'm concerned with end-game content because if it trivializes everything everyone else does in comparison to what a few do, achieve or acquire as powergamers, then I cannot help but feel like a 2nd-class player.  Right or wrong and all pop-psychology aside, it doesn't matter why I feel that way, the fact is that I do. In every MMOG I've ever played, I've felt like the game company considers me a 2nd class player, because all the best content is reserved for those with a different playstyle.

Now, I'm not saying it is wrong to develop games that cater to powergamers (as described above); of course it isn't.  What I'm surprised by is the number of powergamers who seem to be bent on preventing the existence a game - like GW2 - that specifically does not cater to that kind of playstyle; doesn't design the game to favor them or significantly reward them.

They - many of the powergamers posting on this site - apparently believe that no MMOG can substantially succeed unless that game significantly and exclusively rewards them and their playstyle with superior content, denying that there exist enough "casual" players to support such a game. The cannot even understand why anyone would be interested in playing a game other than, ultimately, to grind end-game, progressive, superior content.

This is why powergamers really don't understand the appeal of GW2, or casuals in general; they don't believe there is a significant number of MMOG players out here that play MMOGs for completely different reasons than they do, and see MMOGs in a completely different light than they do.  Apparently, they think it is a big waste of developer money and time to go to all of this effort and not even include what is, at least to powergamers, the only meaningful part of the game.

I think on August 28 and in the months to follow, the powergamers are going to be in for quite a shock.

 

Ortwig writes:

Good article.  It's all about maturity or lack therof -- I wrote an article on this awhile back as well:

http://strangesands.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/gaming-styles-and-competition-vs-cooperation/

In a nutshell, a mature gamer can see another person's point of view; an immature one can't.  There are a lot of immature gamers.

Mon Jul 09 2012 1:35AM Report
Krosslite writes:

In my first article I point blank say it took me a year to get to max level in an MMO. I also stated I like to make a LOT of alts.

I truly do enjoy the content over the race to the finish. I have found that most of the time these "powergamers" as you call them are console gamers. They have no concept IMO of how a MMO is designed to work, and most of the time these people end up quitting the MMO after a month or two. Usually whining about lack of endgame content.

The real people that support these MMOs are the casual players like myself that take a long time and thus invent more money to these companies.

This a major factor why I feel I have finally found a game that I am REALLY looking forward to play >>>> Guild Wars 2

 

Mon Jul 09 2012 3:03AM Report
Lowcaian writes:

The thing is that there are not 50% powergamers and 50% casuals in a game. There are people in between so it's hard to draw a line, where do casual end and where do powergaming start?

Mon Jul 09 2012 10:55AM Report
dageeza writes:

I also think on august 28 that many power gamers in various games will be stunned at how empty their worlds will start to feel as word spreads of how fun GW2 is..

As a burned out lifetime power gamer that no longer has a place in games that focus their resources on "uber guild endgame raid content" i can honestly say GW2 is a blast of fresh air..

 

Tue Jul 10 2012 6:20AM Report
Vesavius writes:

Focusing on fickle casuals is building your house on sand.

Tue Jul 10 2012 10:19AM Report
SereneBlue writes:

I'm a casual mmo gamer. I would not say any mmo that got me to play was building their "castle on sand".

Case in point: I started playing Atlantica Online only a few months after it went online. I *still* play the game and am now lvl 129. My BF is lvl 130. We've both played that game for so long we've outlasted 3 guilds and had to hunt for a new one to join (and unfortunately looks like we may soon outlast our 4th).

Simply because we do not rush to end-game doesn't mean Nexon nDoors is losing money on us. We've both supported the game's further development with cash shop purchases (though they weren't necessary).

 

I find I am in whole-hearted agreement with the author of this blog as I think the assessment is spot-on. MMO casual gamers who also play just as long term as any WoW-Lifer do exist. And I think we exist in higher numbers than message boards or Facebook might show.

Wed Jul 11 2012 3:56AM Report
Meleagar writes:

I hardly think casuals are more fickle than powergamers.  Powergamers consume content in a heartbeat and then are bored, generally condemning the game for "lack of content" that casuals will be consuming for months if not years. Who is more likey to move on? Those that consume the content and get everything in a month, or those who may take over a year just to consume the original content?

Also, IMO it is more difficult for a casual to "move on" or be "fickle", since it takes us so long to develop characters.  We are often loathe to move to another game and start over.

From the developer point of view, which do you prefer?  Powergamers that make it virtually impossible to satisfiy their voracious new content hunger, or casuals who consume content much, much slower?

Wed Jul 11 2012 10:45AM Report
Gorelik writes:

Powergamers are like locusts. They move from mmo to mmo consuming and killing them. Developers would be wise to not please them and make them go to another place.

They are the ones that call for nerfs and rebalancing. Destroying the game for lot's of people that are enjoying it.

They wont support any game anyway. They consume it in the first free month and move away badmouthing the game in the process.

Thu Jul 12 2012 12:11AM Report
xholyacc writes:

how good powergamers at grinding is impresive, i was bitching about how hard you level up in PSO 2 and the whole point of playing the game is only grinding ( i am a casual gamers that hated grinding) , they are angry to me calling me weak due of my inability to grind. GW 2 is the only mmorpg attracts me until today ( being someone who most of the times playing dota with friend).  they dont ask us to go to max lvl just too feel the content, you only want pvp? you can, you want to enjoy the pve ? you can . gw 2 is the first mmorpg (for me) that promote player to enjoy the whole content of the game not asking us to go to the max lvl just to raid or pvp to earn some "glory" that powergamers seek

Thu Jul 12 2012 4:28AM Report
BrainDeadG writes: The problem with this type of power-gamer is that they rush. They rush through the gaming, they push and quickly go through the content without really exploring their environment. They eat up the game then leave because it just becomes trying to "beat the game" instead of actually enjoying it. I'm somewhat middle-ground. I don't like superficial easy gaming where everything is handed on a plate as a casual would. There has to be some level of edge or achievement within the game. At the same time I like to explore my environment and what the game has to offer to it's fullest extent, even if that means sacrificing some leveling just to check out an area or hang around at a social-spot. The good thing I can say about GW2 is that it's one of the fewer (or even first) mmo's that has random events happening on the map. So while i'm running around killing some monsters or two I might end up triggering an event that I can actively participate in. Most MMO's simply don't have this feature. It's turned into a rush thing or a super easy no effort type of thing. Thu Jul 12 2012 8:31AM Report
BrainDeadG writes:

@xholyacc

If you think PSO 2 is grind I've played some games that would probably give you a heart-attack (Ragnarok Online) and games with difficulty level to boot (Touhou series) that would cause man-child tears to gush out from the eyes of Diablo and WoWcraft gamers in frustration.

PSO 2 is fairly tamed compared to what MMO's were back in 1996.

Thu Jul 12 2012 8:35AM Report
Meleagar writes:

I think I've "rushed through" some content in my day, but the fact is it was content that was designed to be rushed through - no depth, no detail, nothing going on "behind the scenes" if you hang around and explore. Nothing really to even find if you explore.

GW2 is different; it's made to make the whole world enjoyable, at every level. Because nothing special is being offered to those that reach the top level, it encourages players to take their time.  There's simply no reason to rush through it, so I can see why it's not very appealing to hardcore powergamers - other than, perhaps, to simply see how fast they can reach the top level.

I hope  ANET is prepared for the rush of "there is no content" posts that are going to be dropped in by powergamers who find out that there really is nothing special waiting for them at the top level in GW2.

Thu Jul 12 2012 12:27PM Report
xholyacc writes:

@braindead na. i never grind in ragnarok, i use bot in ragnarok and the publishers in every country including in my country doen't really care about bot. Its the only game i ever played that there is someone using bot on war (btw ragnarok is the first mmorpg i ever played)

Thu Jul 12 2012 12:52PM Report
kjempff writes:

Hmm IMO you look at powergamers the wrong way. The powergamers do not play to get to endgame as fast as possible, it is a result of the many hours they play combined with games that arent designed for playing many hours. And that is the problem, there are really only games for casuals, but the powergamers has to play something, so they simply "finish" in a month or less. The powergamer became one in a game that supported long term gaming, and are desperately looking/hoping for another game for their tastes. I are powergamer.

Thu Jul 12 2012 8:59PM Report
Beowulfsam writes:

Well most of my guild is powergamers, we skip low level content as much as we can. But I see it also as a flaw with games...it's the same content we saw numerous times (kill 10 mob, fetch this, fetch that) and every time we hope there is some magical endgame that will appeal to us and make the game worth playing. Alas, usually it's crap. And we move on.

Atm I play TSW and it's a nice change of pace, started to play it more out of boredom and I was pleasantly suprised, but, I'm also taking my time (we did however manage to figure how to get max weaps very fast, but we didn't do it, to not trivialise the content).

Not to get in to long tirade why, I'd say that it's also the games fault players skip content. And on that note, I wish developers would focus 90% of their energy on endgame not the leveling (since in 95% of the cases leveling is the same as in any ole MMO and is thus boring for a lot of people).

Fri Jul 13 2012 6:29AM Report
alkarionlog writes:

yeah in tsw you can get full ql 10 in blue mountain you just need a good number of friends (I was there alone though :p ).

 

I read the first people posting here saying lots of powergamers are immature and casuals mature, well most of casuals here are immature for the same reason you guys complay about power gamers you lack the point of view of powergamers, I hardly am a powergamer, but i was called that and by being elitist, just because I find the content too damn easy, we don't rush content, they are simple too damn easy for you spend that much time on that, and that is for someone who play most of time as a tank and alone, some with swtor doing heroics+2 alone is hardly a challenge, in tsw even though right now in egypt i'm having problem in doing some quest for my lack of hit in solomon I was doing pretty ok, even farmed a little of ql 10 mobs trying to do a quest who was bugged for the looks of it.

 

here is the deal MMO are made for casuals, you can go for the content fast without problem, its not like UO when you going to covetuous alone you would be or killed by a mob or by a mob of pks who feels like to sweep clean that place for then to farm, or like a nice poster who said he used a bot on ragnarok don't know on your private server but on my even though we had that problem (and bots are that a problem ) was banned, people cryed they would lose people and all and we as normal players always said and who said we want you here?

 

only problem I see here is MMORPG not being a MMORPG, now is just single player with rpg elements, some don't even have the rpg elements, you don't have to find a good build, you have to care about craft, you don't need to care if your friend or guildie need help to do a farm or run, now you just rush to point a to b kill c run back to a then run to d hey new quest hub rinse and repeat, oh that yeah I forget we had other players here too.

 

yeah when casual will learn MMO was never made for then....

Fri Jul 13 2012 1:01PM Report
xholyacc writes:

@alkarionlog you play ragnarok without using bot? the game itself dont have true quest and only grinding, and the grindind is demonically hard. and no its not private server its official server and more than 90%(if not) of the players use bot

Fri Jul 13 2012 2:20PM Report

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