Thursday, March 16, 2006

Difference Between Casuals and Hardcore

In a comment, Maybe offers the following reason on why the hardcore "deserve" epic loot:

However, if your guild is entering a new instance like BWL, and nobody in the guild has been there before, then that is a different story. My guild took 2 months to figure out how to down the first boss of BWL (even after reading all the strats online). That's 2 months of 40 people coming to the instance week after week knowing that they will probably wipe a bunch of times each night, getting no loot or gold in the process and having to spend their own gold on repairs (which can be quite substantial). That kind of dedication defines a "hardcore" player, and I think deserves epic rewards.

I disagree with the idea that a casual player would not be willing to come to wipe after wipe. I think that this is a common misconception on the part of the hardcore. In fact, a lot of casual players would be more willing to come to BWL than many so-called "raiders". You see this reflected in many posts on the WoW Raid & Dungeon forums. It's fairly common to see a post by a guild leader complaining that attendance for Blackwing Lair--with its many wipes and little loot--is much lower than attendance for Molten Core, which has few wipes and lots of loot.

Casual and hardcore are two ends of a spectrum. We all have elements of both casual and hardcore. Some people lean more towards one end or the other. In my view, the difference between a hardcore player and a casual player has to do with the process vs. reward outcome. A hardcore player aims for the "optimal" outcome regardless of the process, while a casual player will settle for a "good-enough" outcome if the process is interesting enough.

For example, take levelling. A hardcore player will try to get to 60 as fast as possible, even if it involves just grinding away on the same mob over and over. Grinding is the "optimal" way to get to 60. A casual player will quest, even if questing takes more time. Questing is "good-enough" for them because it is more interesting than grinding.

The same perspective carries over to gear. If a hardcore player decides that Blackhand Doomsaw is the "optimal" weapon, she will run Upper Blackrock Spire over and over, until she finally gets the Doomsaw. The casual player will probably acknowledge that the Doomsaw is the best weapon, but will be satisfied with his Bonecrusher. The Bonecrusher is "good-enough".

This also carries over to time spent in the game. The hardcore spend vast amounts of time, because that's necessary for the "optimal" outcome. Just look at the grind required to become Rank 14 in the PvP system. The casual player may spend one night a week playing WoW, because that's good enough for them. On that one night though, they'd be willing to come and wipe with the guild on Blackwing Lair.

Another example is Molten Core vs Zul'Gurub. A hardcore player is more likely to want to do MC, because the rewards are so great. A casual player would prefer to do ZG, because it's more interesting, even if the rewards are less powerful.

[Edit: I'm not sure the above paragraph is clear enough. I'm basing it on a personal experience. The guild I was in did a ZG run and an MC run each week, while learning each instance. The ZG run was stopped--even though people liked running ZG--in order to concentrate our efforts on mastering MC (ie multiple attempts, trash runs for materials for Fire Resistance gear, etc.). I do not think a casual guild would have made the same choice. I think they would have been more willing to accept slower progress in MC, but keep the ZG run as well. I don't think the decision to stop ZG was necessarily wrong (we did spawn Ragnaros in 3 weeks) but it was a "hardcore" decision.]

A casual player who is in a raid guild will come to Blackwing Lair wipes (maybe not every night of the week, but whenever they play). The process is interesting enough. A lot of hardcore players will also come, because the rewards are so great. The problem lies in getting the casual player to join the raiding guild. The rewards are great, but the process seems so much more of a hassle than non-raiding content.

A casual player is not less willing to raid (and wipe) than a hardcore player. However, a casual player is less willing to join a raiding guild than the hardcore player. This may seem like the same thing, but I think there is a subtle and important difference. In my opinion, Blizzard would be best served to cutting down the barriers that keep casual guilds from raiding.


  1. I'm in a guild with DKP that runs MC and ZG and AQ20 and the casual players perfer MC. Simply because the loot is better. Even Casual players get bored when you have the bosses on farm status, no matter the instance.

  2. Hmm. I kind of meant when you are learning the instances, not after they are on farm. The ideal hardcore progression would be MC -> ZG -> BWL because MC offer more reward for less effort.

    Maybe I'll try to reword things to make that more clear.

  3. Putting the labels "hardcore" and "casual" aside, if you are someone who just wants in on a raid only after a boss is put on farm status, you are simply "not cool" and are merely standing on the shoulders of giants.

    I think I was trying to say that I believe that effort put in equals rewards deserved. It takes effort to progress through end game instances as I'm sure you are aware. If you are contributing regularly to that effort, you are beyond the realm of being a "casual" player in my book.

    By the way, I was quite satisfied with my Bonecrusher for quite a while :)

  4. "I think I was trying to say that I believe that effort put in equals rewards deserved."

    Let's say that five friends get on every Friday night. They try and complete all the 5-man instances in the game. After a few months with all the wipes, and trial and effort, they have mastered all the 5-man instances. Yet they will have zero epics.

    Meanwhile, 5 others join a raiding guild. In the first night of MC, the guild takes down the first 5 bosses and each gets an epic.

    Which group put in the greater effort? Which group got the greater reward?

    My point is that casuals are willing to put in the effort. However, they're not willing to join raiding guilds. The problem is that being in a raiding guild is required in order to raid.

  5. I really think it's an artificial distinction between the two. I'll use my guild as an example. There were 20 people who were part of a raiding metagroup. Said group managed to destroy itself. The twenty of us who had been raiding decided we wanted to keep doing it. So we started with ZG runs and worked up till we had a soild 30 or so people and starting raiding MC. We haven't had a full 40 people yet. But I have my Essence of Pure Flame.

    There is a certain beliefs about raiding that are just wrong:

    1. You have to have 40 people. Call the raid if you have 39. Wrong! Having less makes it tougher but no where near impossible.

    2. You need 8 hours a night to raid, 7 days a week. Bah. Two hours a night, two or three nights a week is enough to learn the basics. If you can do more on Saturday/Sunday great but if not, that is why MC has a raid timer.

    3. You have to leave your guild. Try looking at Metaguilds and groups. The one I was in broken down from bad leadership, not because we were from differant guilds.

    4. I have to have 85 mods installed and turned on. Nope, for a while I ran with two. CTRA (Just CTRA not the full CT Mods package) and Decursive if you can clear debuffs. If you are a rogue then just CTRA.

  6. Point taken. People who master all the 5-mans should get epics and I hope they do in 1.10.

  7. After thinking about it some more, I still agree that the effort required to complete 5-mans does deserve some epics.

    However, when going into an end-game instance, it is already ASSUMED that you have spent time in Strath, Scholo, UBRS, etc, getting your blue gear.

    Being successful in end-game requires you to have more than just greens I hope you agree with me on that. Is a main tank without blue +def gear going to be able to tank in MC? I don't think so.

    After getting your blue set, if you go into an end-game instance only to find more blues...does that make any sense? End-game is the next step and it makes sense that the loot is on the next level.

    The fact that end game instances are for 20 or 40 people is unfortunate for people unwilling to join a raiding guild.

    Perhaps Bliz should come out with new 5-man only instances that are even harder than the current ones and put epic loot in there. These 5-man end game instances would be similar to 20 and 40 man end game instances in that you would not be able to do them with green gear. Maybe in the expansion they'll have something like this for lvls 60 to 70.

  8. Except that you keep saying "join a raiding guild". Most servers have at least a few meta guilds. These are people who love thier guild, don't want to leave it and want to run MC.

  9. Oh man, I'm reading these from the FUTURE ooooooo and it is so neat to see you talk about things that come to be later on...with a mixed amount of success.
    Also neat to see the same arguments still occurring.