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News & Features Discussion  » General: Casual Play: This Notion of Work

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Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  2/02/07 9:48:11 AM#1

This week, in a special Friday edition of Casual Play, Steve Wilson tells us about the Casual Gamer's perception of MMORPGs as work.

Count me among the millions of casual gamers that play MMOs to relax, this notion that the game must be work seems completely absurd.

This notion of work is the often-repeated mantra that implies that casual players want only the easiest content that requires the least amount of pain and effort to enjoy. To which many of us say, "Well, duh." We're here after all to enjoy ourselves, to temporarily escape from those real grinds known as jobs, expenses, and the crushing weight of a thousand dreary mundane tasks. We want to feel heroic and be able to do it in thirty minutes to an hour. We don't need a game like Star Wars Galaxies to give us yet another rent bill to pay. Or mandatory guild raids that turn our favorite game into a literal second job. We're here only for the fun.

Read the whole column here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Novice Member

Joined: 4/07/03
Posts: 84

2/02/07 10:17:56 AM#2
For some people, the "work" you describe IS their type of fun, I enjoy running dungeons over and over again, it's always different somehow and I enjoy it (assuming the group doesn't consist of complete asshats). Yes, developers "trick" players into doing the same content over and over again, but how much fun would it be if everyone got the epic they wanted whenever they ran their first dungeon? It would be boring, there would be no scale. Many people play to be better than other people and if everyone got all their epics, then that would be impossible. I'm glad it takes a lot of time to complete full sets and get that bank of trinkets.

Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/03
Posts: 7445

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

2/02/07 10:24:35 AM#3

I never have any problem with repeating the same content, over and over again.  I was an early "unlimited levels" supporter after all.


New content is better however.  But enforcing a new gameplay such as raiding?  No thanks.


I understand the position of the casuals and I actually can live with it, I will pass to something else quite fast, but at least, it will be a blast until that point!  Of course, you could have more interesting approach, such as having many different objectives that doesn't shaft the casuals, while enough to keep peoples busy.  An example could be 1 zone where you can earn extra stats, not working outside of that zone...


Anyway, cya in a group! 

- "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)


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 157

2/02/07 10:29:07 AM#4

I like this idea of how content is made repeatable and is given a rare chance of certain things dropping to encourage players, casual and hardcore alike, to repeat such content. However, I'm also very much in favor of keeping this content enjoyable. Perhaps it won't remain fun for as long as it takes for a person to get every rare drop that they are after, but if the gameplay remains enjoyable, then it doesn't really matter how stale the content becomes, because you play for the simple pleasure of playing. I've never found a MMOG that didn't eventually feel like a grind, but some certainly feel less so than others.

As more and more casual players enter the MMOG genre, I can't help but feel encouraged by the trend, because casual player's demands will help produce some amazing content and gameplay innovations, I'm sure. Oh sure, there will be tons of digital trinkets to collect and brag about, and there will be level caps for people to achieve in a few short days, and those things should keep the hardcore players happy, but I think these same types of players will also be thrilled to see how much more fun the game will be to play and how the content will become so engaging that even the most hardcore player pauses for a moment to enjoy a particular cutscene or scripted event.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/02/07
Posts: 215

"Its not "HOW" something is written but its "WHAT" someone has written"

2/02/07 10:41:14 AM#5

We casual players ??.......

I want to have fun and my way of fun might be different then your take on fun, you can not say "WE CASUALS" as it is your opinion, maybe shared by others..but still....

Being worried ingame about rent to pay for the virtual house you have is a choice you can make in a game, in rl most people don't have that choice, in games you are free to spend 24/7 hours crafting if  that gives you pleasure, in rl you (atleast most) must work  to make a living.

So yes i do not mind to have sort of rl commitments in a game, i can be very proud of my rl, but i can be also proud if i crafted something very nice and rare ingame, why shouldn't i, Everything in live you can  accomplish should make you give a sence of pride  even the smallest things.....i believe and thats a personal opinion there must be something very wrong if one can't feel pride even if its fantasy/online/virtual...its still a part of who you are and can be.....


Novice Member

Joined: 10/24/06
Posts: 99

2/02/07 11:05:05 AM#6
I understand where you guys are coming from, I have quite a few friends who find running the same thing through and picking up rares EXTREMELY entertaining (as evidenced by the fact that one of them is still playing Diablo II). However, I think the point of this article is to respond to the elitist attitude that some "runners" have. One of my friends is quick to attack the fact that I don't want to work for the advancements when I'm asked (quite frequently) why I don't want to play WoW. When I turn around and take the same elitist stance as being a casual player (i.e. "I have a life: a girlfriend and I'm in vet med school, why would I waste my time 'working' in a GAME?"), then the fight breaks out. There doesn't seem to be any room for compromise. If you've spent 15 hours raiding the same dungeon to get that rare piece of armor, it's not fair that that casual player can go through a series of quests (with a good story) and get the same (or close to the same) thing. I say just slap a different name on it and be done with it. That way they can feel good about their "Uber l33t mace o' pwnage", and I can wield the same thing as a reward from my questing just with a name like "Lazy man's stick of poking", I could care less.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/18/03
Posts: 103

2/02/07 11:13:41 AM#7
I think the question to be asked here is, why do these games draw the casual gamer at all? From what I read in the column it sounds like casual players are looking for more of a single player game.  So why not stick with the console or pc sinlge player games. It seems to me you are paying a monthly fee and not getting anything more out of these games than the single player games would give you.

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/07
Posts: 1

2/02/07 11:25:27 AM#8
Originally posted by Asteriveth
I think the question to be asked here is, why do these games draw the casual gamer at all? From what I read in the column it sounds like casual players are looking for more of a single player game.  So why not stick with the console or pc sinlge player games. It seems to me you are paying a monthly fee and not getting anything more out of these games than the single player games would give you.
So simply because we choose not to spend our lives in game we're looking for a single player game? That's nonsense.
You can enjoy the community of an online game without wanting to spend hours at a time doing it.
  User Deleted
2/02/07 11:29:54 AM#9

By their very definition, games are meant for casual players.  So I find it rather odd that you think we don't belong in a MMO or that we don't have the right to influence the developers in creating a game that caters to our play style.  Its not that we don't think hardcore playing doesn't belong in the genre, we just find it rather tedious that you hardcores / raiders think that if everyone doesn't play the game your way doesn't deserve in game accomplishments such as decent experience, loot or just overall content.  That you think our financial investments in these MMO's has no bearing on a game's direction, yet yours does?

Its this constant one sided belief that "working / raiding / hardcore playing" are the only valid ways to play a MMO that get us casuals so riled up.  It is beyond arrogance and its just not a good business practice in general.  We don't post these topics for your benefit, but rather as a method of letting developers know that things need to change, at least for some of the games out or coming out onto the market.

We know you're tired of hearing us complain, but in all fairness, we're damn tired of the developers not listening.  We're tired of MMO's always catering to the least common denominator:  the hardcore work ethic.  We pay for a game, not a second job.


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/14/05
Posts: 148

2/02/07 11:33:14 AM#10

I think you might be in the wrong genre to be honset. Roleplaying games have always been there to be a second life type thing, even as far back as pen and paper. Its no surprise that in a second life you have what could be described as a "job" to do, be it gathering crafting supplies or gathering new gear. Just like real life the more work you put into your second life the more you get out of it.

However there is hope for gamers like you, there are starting to be more MMOs on the scene rather then just MMORPGs, and look to the online consoles for these such games. However as long as you are playing a MMO with RPG on the end of it you will encounter this problem.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 157

2/02/07 11:34:03 AM#11

Originally posted by Asteriveth
I think the question to be asked here is, why do these games draw the casual gamer at all? From what I read in the column it sounds like casual players are looking for more of a single player game. So why not stick with the console or pc sinlge player games. It seems to me you are paying a monthly fee and not getting anything more out of these games than the single player games would give you.

Actually, a better question would be, "Why do developers create online games that appeal to the casual player base at all?" The answer, as I'm sure you've surmised, is the money. The casual player base is also typically the wage-earning player base, and even the hardcore players (those who are too young to have jobs, or simply don't have one) oftentimes become casual once they get a job and/or mature. So, of course smart gaming companies are always looking to target the casual player first and the hardcore player second, because they know the lion's share of gaming profits comes from the casual player base. I happen to like the offline RPGs, as well, but if an online game can appeal to my casual sensibilities, then of course I'll play. Perhaps you'll see a few games out there that are tailored specifically to the hardcore player in the future, but from a profit standpoint, it really doesn't make a lot of sense.


Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20110

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

2/02/07 12:01:00 PM#12
Originally posted by jaix
One of my friends is quick to attack the fact that I don't want to work for the advancements when I'm asked (quite frequently) why I don't want to play WoW. When I turn around and take the same elitist stance as being a casual player (i.e. "I have a life: a girlfriend and I'm in vet med school, why would I waste my time 'working' in a GAME?"),

Well now, there's your problem.  Lose the girlfriend (they just turn into wives anyways), change your major to liberal arts (do you really want to stick your hand up a horse's and forget about real isn't, and it certainly isn't as much fun. 

But seriously, this was a good article, and while I don't mind putting in some work on these games, I completely understand the causal gaming viewpoint.  There should be games for hard core, work oriented players, and there should be games that cater to the more casual player. (oh, wait... I think they already do exist... my bad)

Everyone should play games the way they see fit, and stop trying to make other people follow their playstyle.


In my day MMORPG's were sooooo hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow....uphill both ways.
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon


Novice Member

Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 114

The only thing your leading is Jack and shit and jack left town. - Ash

2/02/07 12:01:18 PM#13

Casual gamer....Hardcore

Games are about having fun. If a game isn't for you don't play it.

What I find funny is that Dan talks about how the casual gamer will guide the industry.

So what your saying is you want every game to be casual friendly? Which of course would alienate the core and hardcore players and put them in the position the casual players say they were or are in.

WoW is extremey casual friendly. Hell most games are more casual friendly than ever now. Even EQ is more casual friendly. My 68 year old father-in-law plays EQ. As a warrior and he solo's most times and is leveling pretty damn fast. He started on Jan 15th of 2007 and is already level 33 in less than a month and he only plays a few hours a day. WHen I played EQ back in 99 this was impossible for a warrior to do.

I just don't understand. Why can't we as the core and hardcore players also have what we like in games? Why does everything have to geared for casual players? WHy can't we have our raids? Our dungeons? our challenge?

Why can;t we as gamers co-exist in the same MMO?No matter what your play style is?


Novice Member

Joined: 9/18/06
Posts: 265

Take THAT, subspace!

2/02/07 12:01:42 PM#14

The uuber-idiots are by far the most vocal players, but nowhere near the majority of the subscriber base. Nearly all players initially come into MMORPG's to play the leveling and adventuring game. And of course that's what "draws" the vast majority of players into the game. It's only a handful of weirdos who subscribe to a game solely because they want to blow through the "transition" levels as rapidly as possible just so they can get to the "end game."

Players, immune to boredom, who get their sense of self-esteem twisted into a game are the White Elephant of MMORPG development. I think this emphasis is horribly misguided. Raiders aren't the best customers because they stick with an activity no one in his right mind would enjoy; they are the worst customers, because designing a game around the needs of these psychopaths is what eventually makes the games end up that way. Developers think of these subscribers as an endless supply of free money. That's nonsense. There is a very real cost associated with patronizing these people.

Take out the "end games" of PvP and raiding at the very beginning of the design process, and what would happen? Would you get the exact same MMORPG's we have now, just lopped off when you get to max level? Of course not.

Think of the difference it would make:

- As a casual player, I could not possibly care less whether the character classes are BALANCED; all I care about is whether they are FUN. How much design time would that save, and how much variation would it add to the game?

- As a casual player, I don't scream bloody murder when a skill, dungeon or quest is changed. On the contrary, I LOVE that sort of thing. With the same graphics, AI, everything, a change to a spell, skill or the combat mechanics can make the same game an entirely new experience every time I log on. Changing a few skill constants could add more interest to the game in a few minutes than a new dungeon costing thousands of hours of artwork and endless playtesting to make sure no one can "cheat."

- As a casual player, I don't make demands that lead to homogenous gameplay, or insane quest requirements. How fast another player levels is his business, not mine.

- As a casual player, I don't pride myself on breaking the game, going to cheat sites, or taking part in a "guild" chain gain to churn through content as fast as possible. If some idiots get to top level in 12 hours -- more power to them; give them a "YOU WIN!" ending animation and let the freaks leave. You can still make a penny or two off the other 99% of the players who aren't so incredibly pathetic that they think it's possible to "cheat" someone besides themselves in a roleplaying game.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/13/07
Posts: 369

2/02/07 12:01:44 PM#15
Excellent article.  I agree that monotiny does not equal difficulty nor fun.  We the casual player play MMO's because we enjoy talking to other players, helping new players out and sometimes just playing on our own.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/02/05
Posts: 1667

2/02/07 12:02:16 PM#16
As a casual player, I always smile when some unemployed person who plays videogames all day criticizes my work ethic.

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests


Novice Member

Joined: 9/18/06
Posts: 265

Take THAT, subspace!

2/02/07 12:13:55 PM#17
Originally posted by Amathe
As a casual player, I always smile when some unemployed person who plays videogames all day criticizes my work ethic.


I think I see a trend here:

The uuberleetz who schedule their lives around a computer game call everyone else "lazy;"

The gankers who want to roleplay a prison rape gang refer to everyone else using effeminizing terms like "care bare;" and

The raiders who need a computer game to force other people to associate with them refer to everyone else as "anti-social."


Novice Member

Joined: 8/23/06
Posts: 82

2/02/07 12:26:32 PM#18

Very nice article, it hits some important points. But too bad half the readers won't really understand what it means.

Casual players don't want to get "all the epics" within one hour because that's the time they allocate to MMOs, but they want to acomplish *something*.

That's one common misconceptions that they are lazy or w/e...if the casuals didn't exist, we wouldn't even have a gaming industry (because obviously the kids with too much free time in their hands wouldn't be able to massively afford lots of games).

Maybe if you could get an epic by doing a chain of xxx quests, each taking 30min/1hour instead of raiding for 4 weeks/5hours per day things could work out. But then again, it's too hard to make interesting craploads of quests so casuals can progress, its easier to design a dungeon to be repeated.

What the MMOs have to do to keep it interesting ?I don't know, but whoever innovates first either will be copied and fail or be incredible successful.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/18/07
Posts: 54

2/02/07 12:56:55 PM#19
This might come as a shock to most people, but there is nothing to suggest that the majority of MMO players are "casual". Nothing. Also, there is nothing to suggest that all gamers can be lumped into two categories (casual and hardcore). Id put my money on most players falling somewhere in the massive grey area inbetween.

I can tell you that in my years of playing MMOs, I have never for even a second felt like the community of any game I was playing was made up by mostly people who played half an hour to an hour a day, so if that is your definition of casual, I seriously doubt that the majority of players fit into that. I personally dont even know a single person that plays that little and that includes many people with wives/husbands and kids.

Where this article fails is when it addresses the best comparison in this entire debate: sports.

The reason it fails is because nobody is making a comparison between professional sports and people who just casually play sports. They are making a comparison between people who play in local leagues or on high school teams  and people who play casually. This is a completely different situation. There is no money involved in either situation. Some people just enjoy the organized team aspect of playing. For some reason, most people who claim to "casually" MMOs cant seem to process this thought and feel the need to approach the situation with an attitude ten times more condescending than the opposing attitude of "you have to work for it".

People who play organized team sports get the benefit of playing for a larger audience, winning awards, and the satisfaction of being better at their hobby than the average "casual" player. I dont see people playing baseball in their backyards complaining that nobody is showing up at their house and handing them awards so why are "casual" MMO players complaining?

People who put a lot of time and effort into the game and organize themselves into real teams (guilds) should be rewarded for such. Any other notion is totally ludicrous.

I play for a couple of hours a day. I hate raiding. I dont sit around complaining about every other person, I just avoid games that completely cater to them. It just seems to me like people dont want to leave whatever game they are playing (most likely WoW) so instead of just researching and finding a game that does fit their playstyle, they are whining. I quit WoW because it was too raid focused and now Im playing Vanguard and having a great time. The endgame is not going to be raid focused and I find the lack of instanced content to actually make it easier for me to hop in and out of the game for quicker sessions.

It didnt take a lot of work. It took about half an hour of research into the game. Ive got about 8 friends that play the game with me and I get together with whoever is on and play with them for a little bit, then I leave.

It isnt very complicated, just play what fits your style. It seems to me like most of these people complaining have only payed WoW.

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/06
Posts: 20

2/02/07 1:52:44 PM#20

I agree with what this article is saying. I am probably a semi casual gamer. I do not raid but some weekends I will play for hours at a time. I believe there has to be a happy medium, there should be multiple paths to an end game, not just everyone must raid to get the rare piece of whatever again and again, until the next expansion comes out. Wash, rinse, and repeat gets pretty boring after a while and is a sign of a poor development or a lack of original ideas.

Besides being a casual gamer, I am also a social gamer and the community in a game, whether it is a lively guild or just a group of people that gather in a tavern, is important, otherwise you might as well play a single player game. But games that force you to group/raid do not promote a social community just a group of people made to group in order to get something done. That I believe is where things can become too much like a real job (ie being forced together to complete a job).

I like to work in games (crafting, hunting, whatever) but at my own pace, if I can find like minded people than great but it shouldn't  be a pre-requisite to play an online game or advance in a game.


Just a few thoughts. 



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