In my MMO travels, specificially in my World of Warcraft playing, one of the most common debates I see plastered on every story comment section, response to developer post and singular incoherent ranty post is the Casual vs Hardcore debate.
I consider this debate my mortal enemy on par with the PC vs Console debate.
Don't get me wrong, I debate some pretty silly things sometimes, but the problem with arguing something like this is that there really is no right answer, especially since everyone involved in the debate have varying definitions for what each word means.
In the MMO world, I've seen that the "casual" label tends to be placed upon people who don't play games in a "challenging" way or don't dedicate time to them. The person who logs on for only an hour or so a day would be a "casual". Those considering themselves "hardcore" tend to look down upon "casual" players as those players who don't deserve certain things in-game. They also blame the "casuals" when games are changed or altered to make them more accessable.
For the record, streamlining/making games more accessable does not equal dumbing down, but I'll get to that in a later posting.
On the other side of the aisle, "casuals" tend to look at "hardcore" people as overbearing perfectionists whose sole life revolves around the pinpoint execution of in-game activities, be it Raiding or PvP. To them, the "hardcore" players are the reason they can't access things they want to access, or even worse, believe that they are entitled to access.
The main problem with these two sides of the argument is that they look at the extreme stereotypes of their respective opponents as the norm. When a certain selection of gear is made available to a larger selection of people, "hardcore"s call foul and claim pandering. When things are made more challenging or harder to access to the general gaming population, "casuals" call foul and say it's the "hardcore"s' faults.
In all honesty, the way I see it is basically this, the true definitition of casual when referring to MMOs is someone who doesn't schedule their lives around said MMO, hardcore people do.
For example, do you have a scheduled raid night two or three times a week that you get to? Congratulations, you're technically hardcore! Do you only really have an hour or so a day to play and a bit more on weekends? Congratulations, you're technically a casual.
What about everyone else? Congratulations, you're a regular gamer. Which I believe makes up a far larger portion of the MMO community than the vocal minority (the ones on all sides of various arguments on various game message boards screaming "the end is nigh!") would like us to believe.
So, if you're a casual, are you entitled to see all of the content that hardcore players are? No, I don't believe so. Harder content is there for people who want to dedicate the time and energy to working their way up it. Does this give the hardcore people a right to complain when things eventually evolve to a point where it's accessable to those casual players? No.
I really see it as a case of "old man syndrome". The mindset is, "OMG, I had to work to get there and now it's easier for them! Blasted kids with your Justin Bieber albums!" Congratulations, you actually accomplished something with your time. Now get over it and move on to the next challenge.
And if you're a casual player, don't feel entitled to having access to every single corner of the game. Yes, you pay a monthly fee too. But if the game was accessable to everyone equally, regardless of time spent playing or difficulty, you'd have a flat plateau of boredom.
Face it people, games have to be challenging or they're not games. Period. Everyone's definition of challenging is different, I understand this, but if you want to feel like you accomplished something you have to actually work for it. It's called life.
"But I play games to escape real life! I don't want to have to work!"
Then don't! There's plenty to do in MMOs that doesn't involve working. RP with other characters, talk, interact, craft, do those things. But don't feel like you're entitled to every inch of a game simply because you pay. It's like paying the cover charge for a club and then complaining that you can't get into the VIP lounge too.
And hardcores, don't think I've forgotten you. Get your nose out of the air, you're not a superior individual simply because you're better at a game. And if portions of the game are made more accessable, don't start ranting and raving because frankly, there's not much you can do and screaming won't help. Just accept it and look forward to a new challenge.
So, what does this all boil down to?
Casuals, enjoy the game.
Hardcores, enjoy the game.
Everyone else, keep ghosting the forums and laughing at the chaos caused by the above two groups and enjoy the game.
Agree? Disagree? E-mail me or leave a comment and I'll repond here .
I'm N'Eligahn, the Bullheaded Gamer, giving you my opinion whether you want it or not.
Game on and take care.