Thursday, February 21, 2008

Definition of a Casual Gamer

Znodis over at Blog Azeroth listed four suggested topics for blogs. I don’t think anyone has actually answered any of these over there, but maybe I’m not looking close enough. I’ve been mulling over my answer to the first three questions for some time now. The fourth answer is easy:

Q: If you could tell a newbie one thing what would it be?
A: Run for the hills!!! There’s a reason why people compare WoW to crack!
Here’s my attempt at answering the first question, “What does casual WoW gamer mean to you?”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines casual as; 1) feeling or showing little concern, 2) lacking a high degree of interest or devotion, or 3) done without serious intent or commitment.

Everyone out there is going to have a different definition of “casual” gamers. Anyone willing to shell out the bucks that it takes to play WoW, I wouldn't necessarily classify as lacking concern, interest, devotion, serious intent, or commitment. Quite to the contrary! But there are still casual WoW gamers out there and I consider myself one of them.

I know a few people who love experiencing the thrill of leveling. Once they reach level 70, they’re on to the next toon. They don’t completely abandon their 70s because of all the end game stuff available to them, but they also aren’t dedicated enough to seriously tackle raiding and the like. Does this make them casual? In the eyes of a raider? Definitely. Personally, I think it’s still pretty hardcore to make the attempt to level another character to 70. Sure it’s a little easier, especially if you rely on your 70 to help out in gear, gold, etc. but there is still a time investment that cannot be avoided.

I consider myself a casual gamer. I spent quite a bit of time getting to level 70, but then again I soloed as a protection paladin almost up to 70. I consider myself a little anti-social and don’t spend a lot of time trying to make a bunch of friends online, but primarily I hate asking for help. I’m a guy! What can I say? I don’t ask for directions either. LOL!

Once I finally got to level 70, I started trying to upgrade armor by working on the instances in Outland and upgrading my professions that I hadn’t bothered with for a while. I spent time working on the dailies and am still saving up for an epic flying mount. Because I don’t focus on it and grind for the gold, and spend what I do have frankly, I’ll probably get that mount sometime when the 3rd as-yet untitled expansion comes out. I’ve also spent time working on rep with the Aldor, Ogri-La, and the Shattari Skyguard. I’ve gotten the Skyguard rep to exalted and Ogri-La should happen today, as I’m only 800 points or so away. I’ll concentrate on Aldor next and then move to the next probably, but I keep jumping around on what I’m doing and never stay focused on any one thing. I get bored otherwise. Let me give you an example.

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I spent a lot of time in the battlegrounds working to attain my Ornamented Gladiator armor set. Initially it was fun, but because I had time off from work, I was spending 10-16 hours on any given day to get enough honor points and tokens to buy the stuff. It was exciting as I purchased each new piece and added it to my toon. But I overdid it and quickly became burned out. Now I have a couple of rings and trinkets I’d like to get, but it’ll take forever because I can’t stomaching the battlegrounds more than two or possibly three times a night.

I haven’t tried the Arena yet and I hear the gear is worth it, but I also hear it is extremely time consuming and I am not that fond of PvP. So why did I spend so much time in the battlegrounds? Frankly, I needed upgraded armor. The battlegrounds provided an avenue to get some fairly simply, cheaply, and quickly (although quickly is somewhat relative). It only provided a stepping stone to getting into instances in Outland. The gear I had at the time was inferior and I kept dying in the instances. I also wasn’t healing as well as I needed to and the PvP gear gives a nice boost.

I’ve read the arguments between PvE and PvP gear and how they don’t work well in the other setting. Now I agree that in general it’s better to have the appropriate gear designed for the appropriate forum, but I disagree with just about everyone arguing the importance of gear because as important as gear is, and I think it’s very important, I think party dynamics, including class make-up and the individual players play a more important role overall, but that’s an argument for another blog.

So I’ve spent a lot of time jumping between daily quests, battlegrounds, reputation advancement, profession advancement, helping out lower level guildmates, helping guildmates get keyed for Karazhan, etc. I’ve been trying for three or four weeks to get into heroics, but I haven’t dedicated the time to doing it every night. Dyna’s been wanting me and Yec to join up with him as he’d prefer the three of us to do these with a couple of others, but Yec and I haven’t made the time. Dyna’s really gotten into it and has 47+ badges where I only have 6 and I think Yec has 2.
So does that mean focus determines whether someone is a casual gamer or not? It can, I suppose, but I don’t think so. I focused on battlegrounds, but still consider myself a casual gamer. Dyna’s really focused on heroics, but I still think of him as a casual gamer. I think there’s more to it.

The biggest reason why I consider myself a casual gamer is attitude. A couple of weeks ago I had a blast in a heroic ramparts although we continued to wipe multiple times and only came out with one badge. It cost me 47+ gold in repairs, but I had a blast! It was a learning experience, I was with friends, and I couldn’t have cared less. There are so many people out there that would have given up after the second wipe because to them it’s just not worth it.

Don't get me wrong! I'm all about upgrading my toons and being the best that I can, but I also want to just spend time with the people that I like and having fun.
Q: What does casual WoW gamer mean to you?
A: Bottom line, the definition of a casual gamer is someone who just plays the game to enjoy the game.

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