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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Stop Using Hardcore/Casual Incorrectly

Posted by BadSpock Thursday June 4 2009 at 11:07AM
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Users and guests of, and really this applies for all other MMORPG related websites and forums.



Many seem to believe that these terms refer to things such as the type of game, how the systems of that game play, the difficulty of a game, the user-friendliness, or even how "grindy" a game feels.

These are all incorrect.

Hardcore and Casual are play styles, and in most cases have very little to do with the actual game mechanics.

Hardcore means that you play the game feverently, you devote a lot of time per day or week to the game, you devote time to researching and discussing the game on websites and forums like, you talk about the game offline with your friends, these types of things.

Casual means you don't play as often nor for as long per session. You don't take the game as seriously, perhaps not investing the most time/energy into the more difficult challenges in the game. You get in, do what you wanna do, and get out.

Case in point - everyone favorite or least favorite MMO - World of Warcraft.

One of the reasons World of Warcraft is so successful is that you can play it in a very casual manner OR in a very hardcore way, or anything in between.

The game allows you to log in for 15-30 minutes, do a quest or two, maybe participate in a Battleground or few Arena matches, maybe run a quick dungeon... and then log off. Very casual.

The game also lets you raid for 4-5 hours straight at a time, spends countless hours grinding faction reputations or crafting skills/resources, you can min/max your character to the extreme and play competitively in the Arena for real world money... these types of things are all very hardcore.

Or you can do anything in between in WOW.

You also have games like Free Realms that are designed to be played in a very casual manner, with very little content in the game that really requires that much dedication, time invested, or skill/research.

On the opposite side of the token you have games like EVE that require a large investment of time, energy, thought, and socialization to really succeed that make the play style very hardcore in comparison.


You could design a game that had very harsh penalties for death such as item and experience loss, a game that could have full Free for All PvP, no quests but instead open-ended "sandbox" game play...

... but make it so everything in the game you can log in and do for 15-30 minutes and still progress your character and accomplish something significant, lots of options for instant travel and such.

Or you could make a game with no death penalty or item/experience loss with no PvP and a very easy experiece curve for leveling...

... but make all of the quests and dungeons and raids take hours to complete and require considerable preperation and time spent gathering resources and have limited windows you can access the content and have lengthy attunements and strict timers.

Hardcore and Casual are NOT game types. Stop using the terms in that way. You are wrong.

Hardcore and Casual are play styles.

Any game can be played either casually or hardcore. Some games have systems and mechanics in place that tend to favor players of a specific play style, while some have content for both and everything in between.

Sargoth writes:

Please stop using WoW in every stinking arguement about anything that remotely resembles mmo's? 

I'm a hardcore COD4 player.  I play for a few maps each day.  I consistenly take 1st to 2nd place each time.  I had to practice for months to get that good.  But now, I only have to play for limited amounts of time.  But don't call me casual because you don't know me. 

The terms Hardcore and Casual can be applied to a miriad of terms as they are adjectives. 

Thu Jun 04 2009 4:31PM Report
daltanious writes:

Agree with said. Mainly im hardcore :-)) player, but from time to tome i become casual.

And have no problem with wow making comparision.

Fri Jun 05 2009 9:12AM Report
BadSpock writes:

You are a hardcore player Sargoth that now doesn't play very often anymore.

You are skillfull, and you were quite hardcore but now only play for limited amounts of time.

Most people would consider you a casual Cod4 player now. Being casual does NOT mean you are not as good.

You misinterpret me.

Never said anything about skill.

Skill is not neccessarily a factor in the hardcore vs. casual debate.

If anything consider hardcore and casual as being..

Your approach to playing the game. If you are highly skilled and take it seriously when you play, but don't have time to play you can still call yourself hardcore if you approach it that way.

All I'm really trying to say is that hardcore and casual are NOT game types. There is no writing on the box of a game that says "hardcore" or "casual" only like an ESRB rating.

Any game can be played casually or hardcore, it's just some games cater to one crowd more then another.

Fri Jun 05 2009 1:40PM Report
Zadocx writes:

i do agree on hardcore and casual being playstyles...but what is WOW......blaa

Wed Jun 17 2009 6:22PM Report
Beatnik59 writes:

I disagree with the assertion that casual gamers "get in, do what you wanna do, and get out."  In fact, this describes what a hardcore gamer does.

Casual gamers play to waste time.

Hardcore gamers play as investments of time.

Casual gamers don't care if they get anything "done."  Getting things done is a hardcore concept, because it implies that the goal is more than passing the time.

Mon Apr 26 2010 3:36PM Report writes:
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