Just Sayin’: Hardcore Is Not Better Than Casual

Just Sayin': Hardcore is not better than casual. (Screenshot shows my raid group in FFXIV)

Hi, I have an unlimited amount of time to spend playing my MMO of choice, and I do so every day, every week. But my friend, who only plays two hours a night because of work, is able to get the same gear as me. This isn’t fair! He’s such a filthy casual, and him having the same gear as me completely diminishes my achievement!

This is something that has bothered me for years. I don’t consider myself a “casual”, however nowadays it seems that if you don’t invest your entire day in one game you no longer can call yourself a hardcore player. Hardcore has stopped meaning anything about skill or effort, and instead simply means, “I have more time to invest in the game than you do, therefore I am better than you.” Timecore, if you will.

Since when did gaming become about time/reward? Since when was it okay to exclude a huge proportion of the gaming community because they have to work to pay the bills and their subscription fee? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for telling people that they don’t deserve to get gear if they don’t put the effort in at all, or are mediocre as far as skill goes. I also don’t believe that a “casual” player should get the same amount of high level gear in the same timeframe as someone who puts in more time. That would be ridiculous! But why is someone with less time — not less desire, that’s different, I’d play my MMO of choice all day long if I could — worth less than a person who just happens to be free at this particular time in their life?

Let’s take a case study. Player A can play 12 hours a day. They clear all of the content available to them, and have a fully equipped character. Perhaps multiple characters/classes with the best gear available. They raid often. Then Player B comes along, can play for a few hours on a few days a week, but might have other commitments on other days. They are clearing the content, maybe they’ve dipped their toe in raiding and want to do more, and they’ve attained some pieces of the best gear available, but maybe they haven’t completed it.

Time and time again I see Player A complaining about Player B having access to the same items as them, like there’s some kind of time gate — if you play this many hours per week you can get gear, otherwise tough luck! I’ve even seen them say that Player B’s accomplishment takes away from theirs. How does this make sense? How does someone else receiving something, not even as much as you, take away from what you have worked hard to achieve? Is their work less valuable because they spread it out over a longer time?

Really, what I’m trying to say is: time invested is not a measure of skill. Don’t dismiss someone just because they play less often than you do.

Just sayin’…

  • Totally agree. People should just drop those labels entirely.

    • It really bothers me, particularly when people try to use it as justification for certain groups of players not receiving the same things as others.

  • Agagor

    I totally agree with your words …

    People should better complain about the “players” that get shoved everything up their asses without even knowing and being able to play their class … those really don’t deserve a lot of things they get.

    There are always more levels to the player, than just hardcore or casual … those are just stamps put in place in part by the game developing companies …
    This would be kind of ok, if the community wouldn’t jump on it like vultures on a carrion and rip everyone apart, who may not be part of their “group”.

    Just sayin’


    • Completely agree. And I resent being called a “casual” player because I simply don’t have as much time. It’s not at all lack of desire, or lack of enjoyment, it’s simply that I play from when I get home from work until I have to sleep if I want to be coherent the next day. 😛

      • Agagor

        Yeah … there are still things in life (ugh, what was that again? 😛 ), that may be slightly more important than playing games around the clock …

        And as we have to pay for the games, the money has to come from somewhere …

  • I always thought of “hardcore” as “I’ll play any game, anywhere, any time”, and casual to mean “I play while standing in line at the supermarket”. I think that’s what the industry generally trends towards as well. It’s the players themselves that usually end up with these far more stringent definitions.

    Ever notice how it’s the folks who label THEMSELVES as “hardcore” who end up talking down to other people? The issue with hiding behind terms is that it implies that there’s only one correct way to play a game, and only one way to ENJOY a game.

    • I can agree with that. To me a hardcore gamer is someone to whom games are part of their identity, and who will spend as much of their free time playing games as possible. They may be someone who plays only one game a lot, or someone who plays a wide variety of games. Casual gamers are people who are more “incidental”, who play because it’s convenient or because they’re bored.

      I completely agree — the people labelling themselves as “hardcore” tend to be the ones who talk down to others. I suppose you see that in a lot of communities, though.

  • I was watching a random Twitch stream of this person playing Dark Souls 3… and they weren’t that talented at it. Died a lot, ran away, etc… and yet the ENTIRE time they kept making references against “filthy casuals”. But, to me, their skill level placed them fully as a “casual”…

    But I’m casual, too. Hell, I even named my site “Casual Aggro” because I’m casual. I work full time, have friends, a wife, a social life, a house, a yard, and game on the side. If at the end of the day I get an hour or two to game, I’m lucky. Yet, I’m ostracized. As you said, I don’t expect the greatest gear with little effort. Why would I? I work for everything else I have in life, why would gaming be any different? If I want the gear, I’ll put in the effort. Most times, though, I look at it, perform a time/value assessment, and say “meh”. Incremental power upgrades do nothing for me, the uber gear is for those with no life and no responsibilites.

    It’s sad, but whenever I see someone complain about the “filthy casuals”, I can’t help but picture them in their parents basements, complaining on Facebook on how they again don’t have a date for Friday night.

    • I suppose casual vs hardcore means different things to different people, but I do think that skill level comes into it for a lot of people. I don’t believe time should be the only way to tell if someone is hardcore or casual. Why should someone be ostracised by the community because they have other things they need to do? I consider myself a hardcore gamer, or at least not a casual gamer, as I do play for literally all of my spare time outside of work. I’m lucky enough that my fiancé not only supports that habit, but enjoys it as well. But still, I feel like I’m thrown to the side by people who just happen to have more time at this point in their lives to play. The lack of responsibilities shouldn’t be how someone receives gear!

      Haha, I know what you mean. I try not to look at the people saying it like that, but I suppose it does feed into stereotypes.

  • When I read this title, the first thing I asked myself is “how do they define the word ‘hardcore?'”

    This determines what I think about your assertion that all playstyles be rewarded equally.

    If you define “hardcore” as meaning “most time played,” then I do agree. Two people of equal skill should get equal rewards, not necessarily “having to put the time in.” Time-gating artificially drives me crazy.

    If you define “hardcore” as “playing harder games,” then that wouldn’t matter anyway. If someone is playing WoW, they’ll get different rewards from someone playing Candy Crush.

    Finally, (and this is my definition), if you define “hardcore” as constantly pushing to do harder content, and “casuals” just piddle around with dailies or what have you, then hardcore players should absolutely receive something above the paygrade of the casual. If I am doing rated PvP and you are doing unrated PvP, then I should have way more awesome gear than you, because I am doing harder content.

    Now, it is possible for people to be hardcore about crafting in certain games, such as the upcoming Wildstar. They allow you to specialize, and it requires skill to progress. This system encourages people to focus on one thing and do it really well, like a weaponsmith just making awesome pistols. Not swords, or rifles, or anything else, just pistols. You make the best pistols on the server, but that is what you have worked towards and pushed forward on.

    • I agree with your points completely. In this instance, I’m referring to people who happen to invest more time; both types of player are participating in, and completing, the same content, but due to the time-gating we talked about one group is being ostracised or told that they are not deserving of any gear. This is something I very strongly disagree with. Now, I could just be biased, as I’m being referred to as “casual” because I can’t play for more than a few hours in the evenings, but it’s something that bothers me.

      I think my biggest problem is with this artificial time-gating. Someone who spends more time working on one thing such as, in your example, crafting in Wildstar, should receive the same rewards more quickly than someone who spends less time working on the same task. However, I do feel that both players should receive the same rewards, even if over a longer period of time for the person with less time.

      I think ultimately it does come down to how a person defines “hardcore” — it can have so many different aspects to it. I’m not trying to say that a person with more time is hardcore, just using the terminology I’ve seen players use when trying to segregate.

  • In Warcraft, I have been criticized because I can’t run dungeons every single day to maximize my valor to boost 1 or 2 pieces of gear a measly 4 ilvls, which would be a minor at best improvement. I am what I consider a casual gamer from a time standpoint, but I do my research make sure I play well with what little time I do have to maximize my enjoyment of the game and those around me.

    I agree with you, this “timecore” mentality is just silly

    • This is exactly what bothers me. Personally, I wouldn’t consider you a casual player purely because casual players don’t do research to make sure they’re maximising their enjoyment as well as the enjoyment of those they’re playing with. Most casual players I’ve encountered only do dungeons for funsies; non-casual players will read guides beforehand, and learn mechanics of fights to make sure the time they get to spend in-game is spent wisely.

      Thank you for your comment, Cer!

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