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News & Features Discussion  » General: New Column: Casual Play

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Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

OP  11/30/06 10:40:54 AM#1

Staff Writer Steve Wilson injects some new blood and gives you a new column entitled "Casual Play". In his first week, he asks simply "What Defines a Casual Player?"

The reaction I get is always the same, I can't be one, after all I'm too invested too be a casual gamer. Its true, I visit websites about games, talk about meta gaming, discuss game mechanics, write about games, and play games more than I probably should, yet I still consider myself a casual gamer. So why do I, and other casual hardcore players, define our play style as casual?

You can read the full column here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/28/04
Posts: 675

11/30/06 11:29:52 AM#2
While I know the plural of "axis" is indeed "axes" I just couldn't read it as such in the context of an MMO article. It makes me want to leave work, head home, and whip out my EQ2 berserker with his dual axes. And I'd use them to chop up the chart. I absolutely hate those style charts and have been doing my best to avoid them in management throughout my career. They make me shudder!

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/14/05
Posts: 148

11/30/06 11:36:44 AM#3

The main problem I see with casual games as they stand, is casual in gameplay is defined by minimum time invested to reach the maximum outcome. If you game has to little content the maximum outcome is very easy to get to but you risk boring your audience. On the other hand if you have lots of content suddenly you have made your game hardcore since the time to complete all that content is vastly larger, and few RPG gamers casual or hardcore would be willing to do content without some reward that furthers their character.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/29/04
Posts: 3120

Cynical? Me? Never.

11/30/06 11:53:48 AM#4
I used to be a hardcore player. I wasn't a raider, though. Raiding just isn't fun. The rewards are, sure, but raiding is not fun.

Why does not being a raider make you less devotedl? I used to play 40-70 hours per week on Everquest pre-Velious with 0 raiding time. I'd say thats pretty damn devoted.

Life changes and now I'd be lucky to put in 20 hours a week. I'd now call myself a very casual player.
  User Deleted
11/30/06 11:59:33 AM#5

To bad this is the opposite of what the industry folks define as "Casual" and "hard core gamers" To them, time does not factor in.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/03/03
Posts: 445

11/30/06 12:09:40 PM#6

I enjoyed this article. I am a dabbler by it and it represents me ok. I am willing to do a lot of things but I found out in WoW that I am not a raider. First time I was ever in a guild that did such things regularly and I found it mighty boring.

 I have been lucky in that game and in DAoC to have been in guilds that helped me. I have never really found it in any other games. My experiences sometimes make me wish for an easier time for dabblers and hardcore to get along. Seems like most hardcore that I spent much time with wanted me to change my character and playstyle. I have had percentages and things quoted to me in the game while playing. I still remember playing my paladin and a couple of hardcore members were telling me why I should re-spec and what I should choose. Another hardcore whispered me though and told me if I was happy then listen to the advice but still do what I preferred. Made me feel good but then in WoW the hardcore members were not as nice. They would stick me in the middle somewhere and leave me there. No advice or anything other than I wasted my points. There are all kinds and I like to enjoy the game and find it hard to want what is considered the optimized build and gear. I don't blame those who do but I have found out that I don't. The fastest way I found that out was with WoWs loot charts. 


Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/06
Posts: 5

Good...bad...I'm the one with the gun.

11/30/06 12:23:47 PM#7

I find it amusing that people who can play for 20 hours a week consider themselves "casual" players.  On a good week, I might squeeze in 6 hours of game time over the course of two or three sessions.  From my perspective, 20 hours a week makes you devoted.  But that just goes to show how different your perspective is depending on where you're standing.



Novice Member

Joined: 12/06/04
Posts: 635

11/30/06 1:19:09 PM#8

I may have 10-20 hours a week to play, but never more than 2-3 hours at any one time. Considering the raids or stuff that requires more than that sometimes double or triple, it's completely impossible for the casuals to do, with insufficient time or just not interested/devoted that much...


Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/05
Posts: 1428

11/30/06 1:31:58 PM#9

I went from being truly hardcore, to being something else that doesn't have a definition in this article. I am now the type that has around 20 hours a week I play MMO's and I can raid if I choose to. But considering that I do have a child of my own in school and I am married, plus I go to college full time to change careers, I typically only play about 2-3 hours at a time. So I can raid like I said, but I would never be a hardcore raider. I also don't care about min/maxing my characters stats and abilities out. I tend to choose a spec and stats that best suits the type of character I am playing. When I say character, I mean it in a RPish sort of way. I will not choose a spec because it is the most powerfull, cookie cutter, or what the community expects of me. I may end up choosing a spec similar to what is popular, but I do it for reasons I come to the conclusions of myself, but a lot of times I end up choosing gimp specs, because that is what is fun for me. But in fact the spec aren't all that gimp, they are just not the best of the best (which elite gamers consider gimp).

So I am a gamer who plays 20ish hours a week, can choose to commit to a raid and a guild or not, plays characters the way I want, not the way others expect me to, and I also play to have fun. I am not a slacker, I am not a reservist, I am not a casual, and I am not hardcore. I think I am best described as a Casualhardcore gamer with roleplaying tendecies with fun as my only objective. Titles, having the best gear over what looks cool, and everything else is secondary to me.

So what type of game do I want to play? I like games that take a person like me the entire time until the next expansion to become maxed out in, even though becoming maxed out may not be a goal. So if there is levels, the game should make the grind steep enough for me to just get max level when the next expansion comes out to raise it that much more. If there are alternative ways to advance, like PvP rankings, multi-classing and etc, then I should be able to reach the hight PvP rank, have all my multi-classes and whatever other ways of advancement the game might have before the next expansion comes out. I should never be able to have my character maxed out and repeating the same content, nor should I have to reroll for something to do before the next expansion comes out with the amount of time I play and the way I play.

Also, each expansion should provide a full years worth of content and advancement to keep me doing new things until the 3rd expansion comes out and etc. So in other words, there would never be an end game. My ideal game would be made as follows:

1. It would have a grind steep enough to last 9 months to reach the max level.

2. Grinding would be as fun as DAoC's was when you just found a camp and grouped up and leveled for hours on end.

3. There would be smallish raids that take no longer than an hour to complete that would provide resources and stuff for crafters to create the best armor and weapons in game, which would also be customizable and dyable so everyone does not look the same.

4. Months 9-12 would be for you to advance through the PvP ranking ladder and would be equivalent to DAoC's Realm Rank system.

5. With Each expansion they would increase the level cap and PvP ranks so that we always have advancement that needs done.

Players like me would always have something new to do, while hardcore players will just master the game and finish all its content sooner like they do already, but then they can just reroll and do what they want. The casual players that play less than I and can care less about advancing to max level will always have something to do, because of the magnitude of things to do that keeps a person advancing for a full year.

There would be just as many races and classes as there are in DAoC and more would be added with every expansion.

  User Deleted
11/30/06 1:44:53 PM#10

Despit the obvious, that hardcores are outnumbered.  MMO's continue to cater almost exclusively to them.  Always with the belief that casuals are not loyal and will leave the game in a short amount of time.  I find it interesting that a very casual game such as WoW, at least the first 55 levels of it, have confirmed that casuals are just as loyal.  We were just never given a chance in the past as they always catered to the hardcore / raider.  Yet after all is said and done, Blizzard lost their vision and turned the end game to a raid or die paradigm, giving the best rewards to the non-target audience.  They deny it, but there is no doubt in my mind that this was influenced by ex-EQ devs who adore raiding over any other play style.

I truly believe that once a game comes out that caters exclusively to casuals from beginning to end, they will discover the real financial power of the masses and they will realize that we casuals will stick around as long as they put out the type of content that we enjoy.  If a game is going to encompass many play styles, they all have to be rewarded equally.  If they don't, then only the play style that is rewarded with the best gear will remain loyal and the rest will move on to the next game that might treat their play style better.  Even in the USA, we deal with a caste system and it can be very oppressive.  The last thing many of us want to see in a piece of entertainment software is a caste system being shoved down our throats in a virtual world.

The MMO industry is still very much in its infancy and these companies are making a lot of mistakes.  Sadly, they are not learning from them quickly enough to make me happy.  At their current pace, it will be a very long time before they will start to appeal to the mainstream.  Not just the single player / console gamers, but also those people who wouldn't normally play computer games.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/05
Posts: 1428

11/30/06 1:50:33 PM#11

Originally posted by Mrbloodworth

To bad this is the opposite of what the industry folks define as "Casual" and "hard core gamers" To them, time does not factor in.

Actually in the 5 years I've been playing MMO's and the 1 1/2 years I've been reading this site and many others, "time" is the major factor determining who is casual and who is hardcore. Secondary is how serious you are in the game, whether your niche in the game is RPing, crafting, PvP, or raiding, or just exploring and other PvE.
  User Deleted
11/30/06 3:36:30 PM#12
That was a good artical. Nice chart illustration too. I'm definitely hardcore but I have a low tolerance for boredom. Repetitive raiding requirements is that boredom.

Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/04
Posts: 429

MMO session a day keeps doctor at bay.

11/30/06 6:01:00 PM#13

Originally posted by Vrazule

I truly believe that once a game comes out that caters exclusively to casuals from beginning to end, they will discover the real financial power of the masses

Unfortunately true; pop culture has already turned every other form of art into pointless crap with absolutely no depth or meaning, so I guess MMOs are next in line. Hardcore players at least care about what they are doing; casuals do not.

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/06
Posts: 22

11/30/06 6:18:40 PM#14

Hi all,

Your model is the best I’ve seen in discussions.

Personally, I think its a bad move to market to the lowest common denominator (true casual) it basically means that your game will nose dive (DDO?) once they have lost interest which is what was indicated when saying "As the entry bar to MMOs lowers more of these type of players will enter to see what all the fuss is about".

I’ve seen this more and more lately, games which have failed the backbone question. They are games where every whim of the clients are catered for with "nerf x, buff y" spammed continuously on the forums. The developers of such games have lost any vision of what they saw as their game, it is now just some conglomeration of marketing and servitude.

You can’t make a good game by catering to everyone in the marketplace. Just because GTA had hoes and ghetto slang doesn’t mean you need it, revolutionary games that get played and talked about for a long time were not rip off's of some other game.

Stop listening to the marketing departments.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/01/04
Posts: 124

11/30/06 7:06:29 PM#15
I can spend maybe 20 hours a week online gaming but when certain games,like for instance, MiR 3- totally cater to a handful of players who openly admit they used every bug and exploit they can find ,what you end up with is a private server that is more like a private club than an open game.

 I was playing 20-30 hours a week and when I quit I noticed not a single forum comment was made by my guild member, or by anyone and I was there from the first beta thorugh pay to play. My point about MiR 3 is that the size of that game (Very small) makes the mechanics easier to spot)

 Nevermind how the games are designed, just take a  look at the player base and their level of social skills. In EQ 2 I feel that playing 20 -30 hours a week is simply more enjoyalble, no one notices me or cares there either; and I dont expect anyone to bother with me.
In WoW I made a few casual in-game friends in about 2 days and progress at my own pace and that is cool by me. Forget making any real friends in a game, if they act like they care it is generally a ploy of some sort. Take real life friends into a game and have fun, is my advice. The egos involved in playing online has grown to a massive scale and is simply a waste of time for many of us. If the industry realises where the games are heading they might begin to respond to the majority who play for true enjoyment in a social enviroment. The name calling alone would make me hesitate to allow a child of mine to play in the general realm of MMORPG. I have played for over 6 years and I think I know what I like by this time.

Don't ya eat the yellow snow!


Novice Member

Joined: 7/11/05
Posts: 15

11/30/06 7:15:35 PM#16

As a parent of 5 daughters and one part of a husband+wife online gaming duo there is similarities and differences between the axis portrayed on the OP chart. My other half would be a dabbler and i would be true hardcore for fervor and time investment. However i despise raiding and the incredible arguments it builds in. After suffering in a group situation on Vent for 5 to 6 hours to get a low percentage chance to bid/roll on something thats only minorly better then what im currently wearing is not for me. Dont get me wrong i love playing WoW and i love the Battlegrounds even thou i stack odds against me. Why? Because the people are different over time. The way the players react determine my actions not some cookie cutter "Rag does this then this and if you stand here youll be safe" Its only in places like AV can i have true freedom in a game. I have ground many level 60's thus far and look forward to grinding characters to 70. On my own time and for my own enjoyment for my own money.

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/17/06
Posts: 549

11/30/06 8:04:26 PM#17
This is what I do most of the time everyday, I go to school, learn some things, come back home, and play video games all day long. I hate school, but though I like to learn some things that I want to learn.

I play video games to entertain myself, and I play this games everyday, everytime. I play mostly RTS, TBS, RPG, and some shooters. I mostly play Civ 4, try out some of the free trails or games out there, and also play Battlefield 2.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/31/05
Posts: 168

11/30/06 8:34:58 PM#18
I probably could be described as hardcore casual. Hardcore time wise (40 plus hours a week if I want) with casual play style.

About 80 to 90 percent solo unless I know someone in or out of the game. I sometimes will do PuG's or form my own if I'm playing a group dependent class (it's rare) or if I'm playing a non group dependent class I'll usually group if asked and avoid grouping with fools (like over pullers or the over nukers) like the plague. I prefer not to raid. Bravo and Kudos to the Guild Wars devs for staying with no raiding and for devising innovative ways of keeping hardcore egoists, hardcore elitests, hardcore ninja looters and other such malcontents and the devs who cater to them in check. I just had to put that in : )


Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 3

11/30/06 11:11:05 PM#19

I want to protest!  I am forced into "Casual Gamerdom"  by life.  Being married with 4 children and a 60hr work week I am unable to play the way I want.    I play about 10-20 a week, 20 on a good week, and I pay I think 14.95 per month to be able to play WoW.  I had an 50 lvl infiltrator on DAOC, before switching to WoW, and it took me 2 years to get him to that lvl when all of my guildies had 2 or 3 50 lvl toons.  I am wasting, this is an estimate, 50-60 dollars per year about 30-40%.   I enjoy WoW very much, but I don't think any of the main stream MMOs took the casual gamers into account or maybe they did...


So, have you looked at how much money your wasting to day?


Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/03
Posts: 7445

The enemy is so dumb! They believe that WE are the enemy! - A famous orc commander.

11/30/06 11:33:28 PM#20

The OP manage to aggravated me.


I have ample time, I put a LOT of time and investment into a game; however I won't raid since raiding is time wasted in the most unpleasant manner.


The OP seems to associate hardcore to raiders, while in fact, raiding is seriously hard on anyone hardcore, since it is unefficient, it is not fun, it is unrelated with the gameplay they enjoy.


To raid, you have to be a slacker, not a hardcore.  A hardcore can accept to become a slacker for sometimes, in order to raid, but basically, we are talking about massive amount of peoples slacking together.  They kill 3 targets in X times, don't tell me they ain't slacking, they are slacking non-stop.  A hardcore is basically the guy who chain pull, not the guy who chain chat.


Raiding isn't hardcore.  FoH and AL where crying all the time about tons of stuff, such as bugs.  Hardcore players don't cry about bugs, they adapt.  Hardcores are happy when the devs increase the level caps.  Raiding guilds cry when the level cap is increase because it mean all their gear is obsolete.  Hardcore are happy when the bar is risen, so they have a new challenge to master the game once again...while raiders are happy sitting on their steaks for eons.


Trying to link hardcore to raiding is a miserable mistake that a casual or a noob can do.

- "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - René Levesque about the denial NO on the poll to his dream, project and goal. (Free translation)

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